Sunday, November 7, 2010

Season's Greetings...and some writing...

Diwali-The Festival of Lights..I woke up early in the morning-thanks to my bajuwalla building kids, who for some reason known to them alone, thought it would be clever to start bursting crackers at 4 in the morning.

I had the Abhyang Snan (untranslatable in loses its Essence when I do that. Amazing how language does that. eg.Try translating "Hum kaffan mein bhi aapka intezaar karte rahein." It would be something like "I kept waiting for you in my grave.")

Anyway, for people who don't know, it involves applying oil on your body and taking a hot bath with a fragrant powder called Utni..After this there is a ritual where you crush a cucumber-like vegetable called Karta under your feet while the ladies in your house take your Aarti.

This was followed by a breakfast of Poha and Diwali farsan-sev, chivda, laddoo.I met my neighbours,wished them and touched their feet, seeking blessings.Sweets were distributed amongst neighbors. (I ended up with about 6 kilos of sweets.) Some were dressed in new clothes..

In the evening we had Laxmi Pujan and a huge Rangoli was made on the landing of our floor.

Now, you have probably realized that I am one sentence away from making this the quintessential Std. 5 essay on "Diwali".(That sentence being "Diwali is my Favorite Festival!")

What I want to focus on though, is an incident which occurred at around 11 that day.I happened to have some work and had to go out. I caught a bus and another proof of it being Diwali met my eyes.Everyone was dressed in new clothes (the shiny,silky,reserved-for-festivals-and-weddings kind)..probably visiting their relatives.

Amongst all these people the only people who didn't have a holiday and were working even on a festival day were the Bus Driver and Conductor.Working even while everyone around you is enjoying a holiday is quite a frustrating thing to do..and nice on your part too.

Some sudden inspiration (probably the thought of them having to work while their families being at home.And having seen a school girl thanking the driver some weeks back when on my way to college) made me want to thank them and wish them a "Happy Diwali" while getting down.However I pondered over this throughout my journey.."What if he thinks I am being cheeky?".."And what if he gets angry,wouldn't I just spoil things more for him then?"..

So, while getting down I had those moments,where you hesitate to take a step, turn around and seem like you are going to say something...but step forward and then again you turn around and say it all too fast.

I didn't even wait to see if he had heard or not..I just got down hurriedly,feeling embarrassed..walked two paces at a time,taking out my cell-phone and calling some imaginary friend of mine acting as if my life depended on it..(I know we all have those moments.Facebook has around 2000 likes for the same.)

I come to the point now-"Are we in an era where politeness and basic goodwill is embarrassing?"

Why did I feel so embarrassed after doing that?
Why don't people generally thank the bus drivers, rickshaw pullers and taxi drivers?
Why do college students only rarely wish their professors?
Why does just smiling at a familiar person become such a bother?

We are just too ashamed to do that. Funny..since we have learnt about being polite right at Kindergarten level. Explains why the school girl I mentioned earlier bothered to thank the driver while the rest of the passengers (including me sadly..) didn't bother to.Why,do students suddenly lose this sense after entering college?

And even double-standards follow.The very same people will thank almost everyone at a McDonald's outlet..or at a mall or when at the Airport..Why?Do we suddenly get this sense again when at such places?

One might argue that at such places..people are bound to understand and appreciate what you are doing and why you are doing it..while at local places people might not care..

And thats the whole point..the OVERALL attitude is like that..That's why no one seems to care at these places and that's why we feel embarrassed all the more..and that's why we don't do it..and again that's why people aren't used to it..and maybe that's why thy don't care.

I just happened to notice this on the day of Diwali-the day when we spread goodwill and peace and brotherhood..And it makes sense,doesn't it? I realized where I am going wrong on the very day meant to symbolize it.. :)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Rethink Public..

"Republic Day is the day our Constitution was formed.Do you know what our Constitution says kids?Read the first page of your Civics Textbook,it bears the Preamble of our Constitution.Tomorrow we have the flag-hoisting ceremony in School."

"Ma'am is it compulsory for all of us to come?"

"No..but come,no?The Boy-Scouts and the Monitors have to come.All of you write an Essay on "गणतंत्र Divas" and bring it on 27th.

This was on 25th January..The year is not necessary because it happened every year on the same day,except in the older standards where only a few teachers told us about Republic day anymore.

You can imagine what it must have been like on the eve of Independence Day.

Honestly,I was very pleased that i wasn't a monitor.Because that meant a nice holiday and being at home.

26th January,2010 2.00 pm

"Write down this program..."

"Sir...let us is Republic Day..."


"Sir,Flag hoisting....heh heh"
(Cackle of laughter from the lame childish eighteen year olds in my Computer Programming classes.)

"You dont take the nation seriously,do you?Country chahiye naa?You don't vote,you are not interested in politics..."

But all the people were still laughing at the 'wise-crack'..Sir left the topic there..

As I left the classes and was walking back home,I saw street side vendors having extra ware today.Paper flags and other Tri-colored decorations.Even in the morning when I had gone to the market,I had seen people going about wearing tiny flags on their chests.In some Societies people were gathered around a Flag where someone was making a speech.A banana vendor had cleverly stuck a flag in a banana.Children were going about singing Patriotic songs.

And I knew what the scene was going to be the next day-

Flags strewn around.Some torn,some still in their places but probably because whoever had placed them there hadn't noticed them yet..why? THEIR day was over wasn't it?The next day would be coming in 6 months now.So people had stopped noticing.A few people might look around to make sure no one is watching,then if they are sure no one is around,they might pick up some flags but then not knowing what to do with them,probably throw them back.The few people who keep it with them,might give it up as a lost cause seeing there are so many around

So thats it,isnt it?We have finally reduced the feeling of Patriotism to something that we feel for some hours on 15th August and 26th January.And maybe after coming out of movie theaters after watching 'Rang De Basanti'-RDB--"Hey did you watch RDB, AWESOME movie man.."

Movie theaters have the National Anthem play before every screening.People stand and wait impatiently,some nervously wanting to sing along but scared that people around them would laugh and point and look around.
Honestly,how many of us would even stand voluntarily and immediately if say all the other people in the theater didn't stand?No..we are ashamed of doing that aren't we?No one wants to be the only person who is proud of his country in a whole hall-full of people.

We don't conveniently say..
"Arrey yaar..kisko vote karega?Saale sab gunde hain!"

" then you are thinking of getting into politics when you grow up?So that you can change things around?"

"Ha Ha..paagal hain kya?System ko badalne gaya naa...tho system apne ko badal degi...heh heh.Have you seen that movie..very nice."

At times like this,the few people who do care genuinely feel like fools for caring about the nation.No one wants to be soldiers no..some might want to be fancy pilots yeah,but for Commercial Airlines..with big pay-packets

And I am not making this up.You all might agree at some point.Whenever I say I plan to get into politics some day,people will smile to entertain me.Some say "arrey don't be crazy"..and all those things that they have probably heard someone else talk about and they from some on else...and so on and so forth.

As eighteen year olds we will be very excited about our Driving Licenses..but Voter ID Cards...wait,what are they?

And we are supposed to be the dynamic youth.The go getters,the young blood..I have still to figure out what Dynamic Youth exactly means..Some of us do want to change the system..But we don't know what to do.We join Groups like "Proud to be an Indian" on Facebook..but these groups lay inactive for months together then,except say for a few months after a movie like RDB..Oh its "RDB"..Lose Control..yo!

And I won't even talk about the 26/11 attacks..or the  Media-Glorified version "India ka 9/11"..

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

I Like....

Engineering Sem-I done..So now I have the time to actually post something when I really feel like it..

I like...
-Reading...I used to curl up with a book for hours as a child.Sadly,I don't have that kind of time anymore.What am I doing that I don't have time anymore,you ask?Sadly I don't know the answer.
-Thinking about all that I am going to do..Half the time I don't do it in the end.Wish I did..
-Eating..Eating without any hurry that is.I literally fantasize about all that I'd read and eat if I had a UNLIMITED budget thing..
-Listening to what I like and telling my friends about it.Going about shouting that I liked a particular song just kills it for me..And I don't get the point of publicly abusing songs I din't like either.I used to think that is cool.I wanted to try it too..But then I realized its just not ME enough..So I respect you Himesh Reshammiya..I just don't listen to you,If you'll excuse me?
-Arguing..I could do that continuously,for hours.Now,at times,I stop arguing in the middle of a heated debate..if I feel the other person isn't open to ideas.
-Sitting with a hot cup of tea on my favourite chair.A nice book would make things heaven too..
-Bubble-Wraps...i like bursting those bubbles.The way they go "POP"...
-My loo time..and I mean the loo time where I am not disturbed by someone else's ready-to-burst (or so they say) bladder.
I don't like being asked to hurry up either..(I can't..its as simple as that..there is no piston sitting on the top there,you know..It just comes when it wants to)
-Slobs...well i don't like them..But I consider them to be better that the snotty Snobs..
-Thinking about helping people but then worrying that they wouldn't like it..
eg.Informing people that they are boarding a first class compartment..I never do that.i feel guilty thinking about how they'd land up in trouble if caught by a TC.But then,who am I to judge, by their appearances, whether they have a First Class Pass or not? (The fact that I have seen people getting severely reprimanded for blaming someone wrongly just fuels my desire NOT to tell them)
-Imagining small ant-sized people, and how my seemingly 'constricted' surroundings might be a whole world for them..I used to gaze into the branches of the huge tree outside my 3rd Grade class window..about how they must be travelling from one branch to another through some small contraptions made by them..I stopped doing that few years back..I grew up I guess..I still do that at time when I am travelling by train..
-Thinking about Spiritual stuff and mythology.I had considered taking up Mythology as a career too..I like thinking about how a person can correct his ways if he is doing something wrongly..Not that I am living a life where whatever I do is always correct, but I try not to err often..
-Wondering about how it would have been if we lived in a state of Utopia..corruption,injustice makes me cry at times..
-Daydreaming about me and my friends and family in different scenarios and places..I can waste hours like that.
-Daydreaming..generally..Currently i am daydreaming about how I am going to convert my CPU into a Power Supply Unit..( HAIL ExTc Engineering!)
-Thinking about how nice it would be if I could find a green 'foresty' place where I would take a book and a camera along..
-My House..both the present one and the Dream one..the dream house has an underground lab,a pool table,a bowling rink,a multiplex,Gaming zone..It also has many secret passageways and hidden rooms..
-The firm that I want to own.Where everyone is going to work because they LIKE working there..where everyone will feel that they are important contributors to the Larger Scheme.
-Writing...another career I had considered..
-Talking to my friends for hours together..people like Nik probably spent junior college nights talking to me..
-Chatting up with people I don't know and getting to know strangers..I had wanted to be one of the reticent,mysterious kinds who don't make fools of themselves in front of other people by speaking whatever they feel like saying and doing whatever they feel like doing..But then again...I realized its just not ME.
-Being a people person..I follow trends.Not senselessly, no..but I follow them when I want to.I dont see the point in suppressing that feeling of 'wanting to do' just coz everyone else is doing it or standing out of the crowd for the sake of it.
When its Blue Day...I wear Blue coz I have a Blue T-shirt...I dont see the point in wearing a White tee when you had anyway planned to wear it, but changed your mind when you came to know its Blue day.Just as I dont see the point in buying a new Blue Tshirt especially for that day..

(I have followed a trend blindly just ONCE.And that too I had thought it was for a different it wasn't exactly blind..But at the end of the day I ended up giving people the impression that I own a collection of exotically coloured bras-green,purple,golden and govinda...Trust me..I thought I was showing people how colourful the world was.)

-Opening up to people easily.I don't really LIKE that..But thats what I normally do..

Yet, I don't understand why I just opened up like that to everyone..but I just felt like writing..and I went on..

So there!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

When you wish you were six feet under...

Have you ever got those moments when you felt you'd rather be anywhere else in the world except in your current place?

I guess you must have.If you haven't, then you are either lying..or you must have been a overly-careful,delicate person right from your childhood.These are one of those moments when I take out my cellphone and start gazing at the screen intently as if I haven't seen one ever..or I just call a random person from my contacts list and while the phone rings,I wonder what to talk about with him...coz i really cant bury my neck in the soil however much I want to.

Some of those moments..I fel like writing about these because of a somewhat embarassing incident today..

-My aunt's 18th birthday.I was just eight then, she had called all of her college friends home.The cake was one of those cliched chocolate ones with green sugar roses on top.I dint like the sugar roses much.i have got an aversion to them even now.

"Wyack! Do you like those roses,they taste pathetic.." dint strike me that since it was on the was obviously meant to be eaten by someone,if not me.

Just after I was done saying this..which was pretty loud (I cant control my tone or pitch or whatever that makes my voice as loud as it is. Maybe that's why my friends used to take care not to whisper to me during lectures..coz my whispers tended to make the lecturer look around.But thats another story)

I realised everyone around me go quiet..And it wasn't one of those moments when everyone stops talking at the same time coincidentally..It was because of me..

One of her apparently sensitive friends had chosen a nice green rose with silver sparkles on it to devour.She flashed around her "oh-he-hurt-me" look

"Dude,careful!",says one of her friends..

"Abhishek!Halluchi!" (meaning "softly!" in Konkani)

But overall if I were to look at the positive side of things..That incident made me realise that there was a zipper pocket on my tee..with which I started playing shortly after that..


-More recently, in my college,I blew air into an empty plastic-bag..the ones which are strewn around the college when 'Assignment Submission' time is on...and I burst it loudly against a wall.

Everyone was startled.I was feeling very clever about it, when i looked around to see a lecturer glaring at me..

"Where you think you are in?" (No..I havent made a grammatical error.SHE said it.)

"Hmm...sorry ma'am.I was just..."(What?going around making banging noises?..I have no idea what I was going to say after that)

I ran off...two stairs at a time..



McDonalds Borivli..our whole group had met there.I finished my Coke,opened the lid,put my fingers in and took out an ice cube.I planned to throw it into Negi's V-Neck t-shirt (HIS "cleavage" was clearly visible)...I overshot..result-

The ice cube landed on the adjoining table but thankfully missed the occupants' tray by inches...

I sheepishly raised my hand and apologised..."Hmm..I.."

Thankfully I had the laughter around me to concentrate on at that time..


Saturday, November 14, 2009

In Want Of Updation...

I havent written from a long time I know..But call it dealing with engineering woes if you want....Submissions,assignments,practicals,midterms...whatever!

This was just after the sky cleared up after the surprising November rains...

The first rays of the sun after a Sabbathical of 2 days..

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Indianness in them....

This is after the article that I saw in the Mumbai Mirror this morning..

On the first page...."INDIANS STOP BOTHERING ME"-Nobel Laureate Venkatraman Ramakrishnan

And the whole Indian thing of "Look-we-have-some-part-here-so-its-ours" couldnt help but come to my mind.

Indians are hypocrites when it comes to such things.We just realize that there are some of us working out there,slogging when they get some recognition.

Now consider this...theres not much of India in Sunita Williams...except her first name and the fact that she was born here (Even taking samosas to outer space doesnt count..really)
But when we got the news that shes going out in space..we suddenly realized that theres a woman out there who was born in India.

Then there was Slumdog Millionaire,never mind that more than half of the crew working on the movie was British,the fact that it was shot in India with Indian actors suddenly made it an Indian Movie..And when the movie got The Oscars...Oh my god "We Indians are great arent we...we showed them!"

It was the same with the movie "Water" at the last Academy Awards.

When movies like "The Sixth Sense" and "The Village" were successful we started behaving as if M.Night Shyamalan had never left Kerala for Philadelphia..

Vijender Singh was made the Poster Boy of Indian sports when he got the bronze at the Olympics...but wait...wasnt there a piece of news some days back about how P T Usha was refused a room of her own at a National Sports Meet...why was that?

Because shes been out of action from quite some time now..

I dont say we shouldnt be proud of what our fellow Indians achieve...but what irritates me is this sudden affection that we get for people whn they get aome well deserved fame and recognition..

Now,Venkatraman Ramakrishnan was born in India and educated here..fine enough..But the research?All the hardwork?That was what he did in the US right?So why are people suddenly forging long lost relationships with him...why are people clogging his email when all these years they didnt bother to keep in touch?

Salman Rushdie and M F Hussain are in exile..Why?Coz we cant face their work..we are intolerant when it comes to their work.

But do wait sirs...maybe it will take another Man Booker and maybe some honour in Arts..before we finally realise that even you are Indians..

Monday, October 12, 2009

Some I am typing away.Sitting online,having nothing else to do (I have got first year engineering studies to do yes...but that's different).It wasn't what I had imagined myself to be doing about three hours back.It all started a week back..

"I want to go to Jehangir Art Gallery and the Prince of Wales Museum...Are you interested?"

"Sure,I am in,"

"And then maybe we could check out the booksellers near Metro at Dhobitalao."


This is what transpired between me and Nikhil a week back.

I had wanted to go alone..spend some time with myself..but then I thought,

“Why not call Nikhil, he’s interested in such places too and it had been quite some time since we met.”

The fact that we had met just five days back for I-Rock was conveniently overlooked by me..People whom you used to meet everyday…five days is quite a long time when it comes to them.

“I want to come too..”

“What will you do with us anyway?Its just two of us guys and maybe Siddhesh will join us.”

“So call the others na..Even I’ll be able to come then.Call Subhi,Barkha,Dipti,Tabish and all the others too…”

Fine,I guess we’ll all be able to meet that way.”

That was Sneha..So now it was decided..all of us were was gonna be fun.

“Why don’t we go after Tanuj comes?”

“He doesn’t like such stuff..”

“How can you assume such things?”

“Because I know..”

That was Sneha again…

One of our friends was coming back from Delhi-where he had gone for studies-

this diwali..And we had planned to go three days before his arrival..

“I have got classes from 7.30 to 12.00…”

“I have got classes from 4.30”

“So now we cant go?”

“We can go in the morning na,,”

“Yeah right…you thought I had classes till 12 at night?”


This was with Nikhil the previous day

“I wanted to come….”

“I know, but we cant do anything na..”


Sneha again…

I got up early the next day (today).. I had my maths classes and I didn’t want to get late…there were two batches that day…I didn’t want to be packed in like some cattle so I had to go early.

(Ten minutes later)

“Aaj class nahin hain..”(“no class today”)



And unlike the other guys I wasn’t abusing the classes people for having made me get up early…I was happy that now I’d be able to go…

(Ten minutes later at 7.45)

*Phone rings*

No one picks up.

*Phone rings*


“Where were you…sleeping?”


“Fine get ready,we gotto leave..Classes got cancelled..we can go to Churchgate now..”

“Yeah that’s good….”

“Call Sneha and Nilay tell them to get ready..I ll tell the others…We leave in an hour”

“An HOUR?”

“Yeah…why?How long do you take to take a bath anyway?”

“Hmm…Yeah ok…”


Sneha and Subhashree couldn’t come because there weren’t many girls,Nirali had her midterms so basically I helped her by waking her up and asking her to get ready—she didn’t come though-

Nilay had classes,Nikhil wasn’t allowed to go, Samir was busy as usual,Tabish for once was ready…but then,there was no one else

Dipti and Barkha normally needed a weeks notice whenever we planned to go out so they were out of question…

Ultimately it was just me and Siddhesh…and we would have gone too…only I thought it would be wise to call enquiry to ask whether the museum and art gallery were open…..It was Election Day after all…

“MTNLchya 197 enquiry madhye aaple swagat aahe.”

“Welcome to MTNL 197 enquiry”

“Hmm….are the Jehangir Art Gallery and Prince of Wales Musuem open today?”

“Naahin..Aaj Election aahe naa…” (“No,since its election day.”)


I felt like a huge balloon burst inside me…I had really wanted to go from a long time

“You can spend time alone at home too..”

“Yeah,I guess you re right…I ll read some books today or go online….”

So here I am….

Take my word….excessive planning is bad…all the more when you have got such a huge group as mine..

Though you should take care to plan things like which day to go on…Unlike me…we decided to go on the wrong day and the enquiry struck me at the last moment…..

So long…