Thursday, November 27, 2008


Numb, this has been my state of mind ever since I woke up in the morning to read vague headlines of “Rash of Terror Attacks in Mumbai: 80 dead”. In my foggy, sleepy state of mind I could not comprehend the headline, 80 dead how, when, I saw the news till 9 pm, there was no news of this sort till then. I even thought it was a cruel, insensitive media gimmick. But truth is never that simple. As the fog in my mind cleared, I read the newspaper in shock, in numbness not completely understanding what had happened, skimming through the papers searching for the obvious and now much too familiar modus operandi of bazaars being bombed through surreptiously placed tiffin boxes. There were no serial blasts. What does ‘firing indiscriminately” mean, what does they “threw bombs” actually mean. I just did not get it. What I did read clearly was that 80 people had died, that my brother in law lives on Napean Sea Road, that my brother lives near Vile Parle and loves Leopold CafĂ©. I called them up, relieved that they were fine, messaged friends and got back comforting replies that they are all fine. I spoke with my dad; he said that “this is war, it is not a terrorist attack”, I was forced to switch on the TV. And probably that is when the enormity of this ghastly, horrific attack dawned upon me. Yes, they “threw bombs”, they “fired indiscriminately”, they walked around with knapsacks on their backs and AK 47s in their hands and they wore jackets full of grenades. They stormed into the Taj Hotel, The Trident and Nariman House and opened fired at guests, staff. They opened fire on the streets, in CST; they opened fire and threw grenades at people generally enjoying a drink at Leopold, attacking hospitals where the sick were healing. And at 8 when I switched on the TV, they were hostages and guests trapped in Taj and the Trident. I could see smoke emanating from the beloved Taj Hotel. I saw images of some of these menacing crazy looking terrorists roam around the streets with hand grenades and AK 47s. I just could not believe that I was seeing those images on television, that this had actually happened. It was not about the numbers of causalities, but about how they entered Bombay on motorized dinghies through sea, about them just mocking and making a cruel joke of how “secure” we are in our own homes, on our streets, in our offices, our hospitals. About how they could walk around the streets opening fire where they wanted to, throw grenades in any direction they fancied. About how easy it was for them.
As I write this at 6 in the evening, Bombay has come to a halt, as a friend living on Cuffe Parade tells me; she heard gun shots all through the night and well into the day. The streets are deserted; the two hotels in question still have guests and staff trapped inside as the army combs each floor of the hotels. Images of guests dressed in white, leaning against the glass windows asking for help, trying to convey that they are safe waiting to be rescued have been flashed through the day. People are waiting outside, calmly, fearfully, hoping for the best and not thinking about the worst. I spoke with friends through the day and we all are terrorized, there is a fear unspoken at times but palpable immediately. Up till now we all felt that avoiding bazaars on crowded days, immediately reporting suspicious looking unattended bags would ensure safety, but now there is no plan on how to avoid this. All strategy fails, how many aspects of our lives will we change to finally feel safe. The terrorists seem like cockroaches; every time you find a way to kill them they mutilate their gene to be resilient against that particular brand of insecticide. There is a feeling of helplessness. I am incoherent but that is how a lot of us are feeling.
But come to think of it, maybe this attack, this war declaration, this brazen invasion on a city that is the financial capital of the country is not as dangerous as the unabashed north Indian “bhaiya” driving a cab in Bombay, maybe concern over terror is not as legitimate as the Gujjar demands, maybe this day is not as historically relevant as the Ram Sethu, maybe not as revolting as the MF Hussains paintings, maybe not as scary as couples making out in parks, maybe not as catastrophic as homosexuality, maybe restoring peace is not as important as ensuring no one else is “converted”, maybe these terrorists are not enemies enough as the opposition parties (only till you need to bed them for power after next elections). Because these are the issues all our “leaders” have been focusing on since time immemorial. None of them have ever addressed terror rationally, never has the political parties come together to fight this menace at a grass root level without getting political about it. They just cant seem to get enough of creating politics of hate. Terrorism and gun men firing randomly may be damned, only till the “leaders” can make a poll issue out of it. I am angry, angry that the prime minister addressed us after 19 hours of the beginning of this mayhem, that Shivraj Patil has not resigned even after this, that the NSG took 8 hours to arrive in Bombay as they were busy protecting the leaders of the nation, angry that since July of this year we have been attacked again and again and we have been watching like the timid shy school boy whose tormentors, the bullies are getting more audacious by the day, appalled that I sit every month watching a new city being attacked by a new group in a new way.

As I watch the horror unfurl, I pray for the souls departed, thank the firemen, policemen and army forces fighting to save lives. I pray to God for this to end quickly. But we all know this is not the end.

I have never been a jingoistic, patriotic Indian who shouts from the roof tops about Arya Bhatt or IT revolutions, I have always been confused about what I feel for my motherland, realistic, affectionate, sure that I would never want to be born as anything else but Indian though unsure about the reasons why I feel that way. However I have always been proud of our thriving democracy, smug that in this hot bed of troubled neighborhood we as a country have a functional democracy, an economy to be reckoned with and a country that does not have fatal and fetid issues to deal with like our neighbors have. I am not so sure any more. To the outside world probably we are just the same now. I know its not true, but am too scared to say that anymore.

I want to do something about it, but I do not know what to do. I want to walk into the parliament and shout till I am heard; I want this nightmare to end. I want politicians to stop fuelling politics of hate because this is what happens at the end. Can you tell me what WE can do about this?

Saturday, November 15, 2008

This is a First

In many more ways than one….

1. The first time I am posting two posts in a single day
2. The first time I am posting a picture of myself, which actually come to think of it is no big deal since all of you already know me, but so what it is a first.
3. The first time through a piclog I talk about one of our many weekend jaunts…

So here goes people brace yourself!!!!

This is me sporting my new haircut!!!

Same picture but now lo and behold with a torso and hands and all!!!

And now for the weekend jaunt!!!

This was to Bheemeshwari Fishing Camp, ideal for a spontaneous weekend getaway, we planned this trip as we got bored on a Saturday evening, called up friends and we left for this magical place 90 kms away from Bangalore on a sleepy Sunday morning at nine am. I love weekend jaunts that don’t involve getting up at ungodly hours of 4 in the morning.
We reached the place at around 11:30, spent some time looking for a place to set up our little picnic, thanks to Mridula decided against it and signed up for a day trip to the much famed Bheemeshwari Fishing Camp, run by Jungle Lodges and Resorts. What was great about this is that we had been planning to plan a weekend trip to Bheemeshwari for ages, but could never get a reservation for an overnight trip. But signing up for this day tour that included an early morning trek, lunch, tea and boating in a coracle was fairly easy and required no prior booking. And now the Piclog!!!

The Cauvery in all its glory

Another view

This is us, lazing on the riverbank.

The two women all set to take charge.

Do not get fooled by the picture, we realize navigating through the river Cauvery is no laughing matter. Please to be noting, we are alive to tell this tale because there was a professional boatman (seen in the picture making last minute adjustments to the coracle).

Two men waiting in the coracle
Miffed a little as the earlier attempt to set sailing was foiled by big fat raindrops and a small thunderstorm. But we got back in again after the skies calmed down a little.

The waters were really choppy somewhere in the middle and we were glad to be wearing life jackets!!!

The deep waters and dark skies.

And then a bright (well not that bright) rainbow, had been a while since I had seen one of them!!!! Umm Can you spot it.. go on squint a little turn your head a little there you go...

And this brings us to the end of our little adventure!!!!

We drove back happy and content reached home at 9 in the night, glad to have taken this impromptu trip.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Because I am Daddy’s Girl

Well I have been going through a rough patch at work. The one’s where you believe that the entire world is conspiring against you, trying to make life difficult for you at every given opportunity while they drive their own agenda. The kinds where the entire day is spent screaming and banging your head against deaf and stupid walls. It is not the kind of crisis where you are not getting along with your Boss, or you seem to be caught up in meaningless work, or you resent the slaving away for long hours. It is the kind of crisis where you see the whole year’s hard work come crumbling down, days clocking away with asking rates climbing upwards, days where you are at your tethers ends as seemingly simple solutions are twisted beyond recognition by complicated situations. Basically I am feeling lost and dejected. What makes matters worse is the fact that I have 15 people in my team who look up to me for support and guidance and everyday I feel that I fail them as a leader. And the thought that the success or failure of these three months is going to affect each of them of them personally, professionally and monetarily weighs me down. It does not help that I actually care for my team and am genuinely pained as I am forced to be a mute spectator to their trials and tribulations.

Now as is clear from the address of my blog,I can be a little capricious, to quote myself from the very first post of this blog I easily fluctuate between extremes, “there are times of extreme happiness followed by those of extreme melancholy, extreme optimism followed by extreme pessimism, extreme anger followed by unreal forgiveness; annoying verbosity followed by worrying restraint, profound courage followed by loathable fear....”. And for all those who know me I am not one for hiding my emotions, what you see is what you get. This entire fortnight my team really saw my emotional, angry and desperate outbursts sometimes caused by them and at other times just aimed at them. The fact that my team also cares about me makes my misery painful for them too. Basically it has not been a good work week.

Today was particularly bad, I sought advice from close friends at work and the super efficient and extra professional husband, got the usual spiel on detachment and dispassionate approaches, all of which I knew were right and were probably the only things that would salvage my sanity. But somehow the burden of acknowledging that there has been a fundamental flaw in the way I deal with professional crisis made making amends all the more difficult. The sense of defeat as I witnessed my greatest strength compassion, turning around its head, teasing me as it rolled its eyes and tongue at me to become my greatest weakness made me cling on to the impassioned, emotional reactive frame of mind that I had gotten into. The more the voice of reason and well meaning colleagues told me to distance myself and care a little less, the closer I pushed myself to the problem till it became a blur I could not see but could not help caring about. As I dealt with all this, quite emotionally may I add, I got a call from my dad. Normally conversations with my dad are about things back home or about what we do apart from work with some fleeting and inconsequential references to work. But today I just spilled the beans and cried my heart out as I told him how bad things at work were and how I have been struggling to bring myself together to deal with things a little more effectively. I cried about how much I cared and how I felt cheated every time something went wrong for no fault of mine. I complained about how other seemingly casual colleagues seemed to get past all the daily tribulations like a breeze. I cribbed without the hope of learning anything new; with the sense of quite defeat as you anticipate yet another person embark upon the familiar lecture of the wisdom of being pragmatic and practical and the foolishness of being emotionally involved with work. To my utter surprise I heard my dad in his usual matter of fact tone say, “But what is really wrong with being emotional, passionate, what’s wrong about caring for the people you work with?”. I was shocked to say the least, I mean even though I agreed with what he said, I knew it was not the right thing to do. He went on as I listened spell bound, “Who would not want a boss who cared and did not treat her subordinate as just another resource at her disposal, I would be glad to have such a Boss and so would you.” Somehow what he said started making a little sense to me. This seemed like the conversation I had wanted to have in a long time. He went on to recount stories from his work life, where sometimes his passion and emotion were misdirected but he did not seem to regret his passion and emotion. He was sure that at the end of it all people around him had been left a little better off than before because of his passion. At the end they seemed to care about him too. He went on, and so did I cringing a bit while narrating various incidents and events that had been nagging me for a while. He listened patiently and each time cajoled me to look at things in a different perspective, a perspective that forced me to be a little less censorious of myself than I have been and a point of view that gave me a little more credit than I was willing to give myself. I was already feeling much better, the smile was inching its way back and my head felt much lighter. And at the end of the phone call, my dad very simply told me; “Be emotional, be passionate but don’t take it personally”. As the conversation with him ended, I realized that not only was my father probably the only one who knew what it is to be me, who appreciated my motivations and motives, the only one who empathized with my agony, he was also the only one who knew how to set me free. It was not about my misguided passion or emotional outbursts or about caring a little too much, it was about not taking it personally. My dad reminded me of the two lessons I had learnt the hard way in school and college:

  1. Accept who you are, be matter of fact about it, be neither apologetic nor cavalier about who you are.
  2. Its not personal, professional things are never personal.

As I came in from the balcony, I smiled as I realized what my mom always knew; I am Daddy’s little girl.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


A Haircut can really change the way the world sees you and the way you see the world. It was the welcome break I was seeking....I mean I am Happy!!!!!!!!!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Suspended Animation

An ode to my friends who made some of the best days infinitely better

Remember the first day we entered mystical Malviyaland,

Marking the beginning of four years in that wonderful quicksand.

All of us looking shy, well almost demure,

The ragging week with giggling, crying and depraving of the pure!!!!

We dealt with homesickness pangs and such sundry pressures,

And then the finale with us singing Jo jeeta la la la at the freshers.

The first year of having “cycle loads” of fun,

As we regaled in the ratio of having thirty for each one.

All of us getting into an auto, holding each other to prevent a fall,

As we go watch a pot boiler in a dripping cinema hall.

Or the Saturday special lunch and the damned drafter,

I mean who can forget the “call”ing guys and then the raucous laughter.

It was all about learning the special survival tricks,

Dealing with secret admirers and fans, the letters and the limericks.

The first year of making friends was all fun and game,

With everyone wondering would we ever be tame.

(Did I mention the guys who were “just friends”)

The second year promised to be much more exciting,

The possibility of ragging the facchis was truly nail biting.

Remember the faithful “Compus” we all pooled in for,

And the all night compu game wars vying for the highest score.

Discovering the maggi at nochus and the canteen chai,

While some of us were falling in love with the “guy”.

Cycling back madly after classes at four thirty,

Sharing everything that happened, the good and the dirty.

The generous swapping of clothes, shoes and ear rings,

I guess the friendship was worth more than just a few things.

It was not easy dealing with those Birla Bhaiyas and IT morons,

To top it all the professors were mostly clowns.

Carrying ourselves in that jungle, sometimes clumsy but mostly with poise,

In the second year our hearts searched for the men amongst the boyz.

(Did I mention that you all made everything a cakewalk and loads of fun)

The third year brought us at the cusp of change,

We were calming down, now wasn’t that strange.

There were more serious heart to hearts in the courtyard,

Planning for the future and working really hard.

Of getting used to the constants of the years,

The “ooncha” rickshaws, Kashiytara and after evening fears.

I know don’t jump, how could I forget,

The delicious Aaloo Parathas and butter that would just melt.

Falling in love with the Ghats and the Dhroopad mela night outs,

Getting less annoyed everyday by the goons and the louts.

It was not always exchange of sweet sound bytes,

There were times of serious disagreements but mostly silly fights.

Three years down we had finally quit tryin,

We would never study in time to save nine.

(Did I mention I think the third year was the best)

The fourth year started with us leaving beloved principal quarters,

And moving into a lightless, lobby-full hostel that was admittedly hotter.

There was our tryst with PPTs, stupid tests and the occasional interview.

And the weekly CAT & Mouse PT test rendezvous.

It was a year of nostalgic farewells and a filmy “sangeet”,

An end to the bitterest cold and the torrid heat.

Putting up a final fight for a “just” cause we thought.

It was good to know the “fire” was not completely doused out.

The hurried trips to fave nooks and crannies in the last few days,

And the million pictures we took marking the end of that phase.

Finally they were teary goodbyes and poignant adieus plethora,

Yes little women it was the end of an era.

(Did I ever say sorry I did not handle failure well)

I learnt as the years after that unfurled,

You taught me to revel in being a woman in a man’s world.

You all were not just “friends for having fun”

But each one of you was, is a “loved” one.

Let me admit lately I often struggled to understand,

Where does our friendship today stand?

I often wondered why our paths cross so rarely,

Why we meet, laugh and remember each other so rarely.

But then I saw: actions of the present and the future will have to spare,

Maligning the beloved past that we all share.

It actually requires no toil and zero perspiration,

I know “true love” can survive in “suspended animation”.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

I know possibly this is not the most logical response to the tragedy that happened in the family.. but here I am with my profound grief.

Life is fragile, hanging by a delicate balance and however smart we assume we are God outsmarts us all the time.

I still can’t believe we lost him and I am not saying this because this is the politically correct thing to do but he was a nice person, a genuine, righteous and affectionate man. He loved us as his own kids.

I don’t how the ones left behind will cope with this, but I shudder to think of the days ahead. Mausi deserves more from life.

Trivial things are really trivial and should have no place in one’s mind-space. Life is too short for grudges, if you love someone and you are convinced that s/he loves you back that is all that matters. Finally life to too short to crib, grudge or repent. I think I knew all of this but today I have really learnt it.

God, give mausi the strength to cope with this. Help her become what he would have wanted her to become.. help her smile again.

It was so sudden no time for good byes, no time to say how much we cared for him and appreciated him. I now know that people who truly matter need to know this all the time. There is no such thing as too much love.

Just wanted to let you know through this blog how much I love you, thank you for bringing happiness in all our lives. I will miss you.

Go Green

I don’t know how it happened but the green bug has bitten me, please don’t judge me for having jumped on to the band wagon as late as I have, I am happy to have be bitten by the bug and as the wise men once said “ its always better to be late than never”.

As I go about writing this I realize how a few decisions in my life will now literally have to pass the GREEN signal before implementation: (before you read and judge all the decisions are mundane.. but so is my life… read on)

1.Buying a washing machine(like I said redefine mundane): As I was reading articles on how to go green in one’s life a lot of them talked about running full loads on washing machines and dishwashers. For once I thanked the Lord for the simple life we lead and the new fangled machines we don’t own. We don’t have a washing machine and I have been really happy with the current arrangement of the help washing the clothes and them drying out in the good old Indian sun. I now have a GREEN reason to not buy the washing machine I have been so avoiding. I knew it did not make sense I know why now.
2.Newspapers: We subscribe to 3 newspapers and giving the two of us due credit, both of us read all three everyday. However considering all the trees that have been cut to ensure us the daily dose of news I guess now the time has come to completely embrace the e revolution and read atleast one of them online. Inshallah, in due course we shall wean ourselves away from the physical form enough to only subscribe to one of them. Amen to that.
3.Carrying one’s own Jholla to the supermarket. Like I said just get back to good old simple life of Lucknow till the late 80s.
4.Walking to where ever we can, instead of driving, taking the stairs instead of the I mean this is awesome not only is this good for the environment but is also good way of containing the ever expanding waist line.
5.Simple things like switching off the lights, fans, heaters et al when not in the room.
6.Not wasting tissue papers, never using kitchen paper towels and sticking to the good old cloth wipes.
7.Using gmail (green mail) for every communication, not printing documents if not absolutely essential, printing on both sides of the paper etc etc
8.Trash management: will try and segregate waste into recyclable, reusable and compostable trash.
9.Have been thinking of joining a gym and give up the thrice a week running around the block routine. Am re-thinking it now, treadmills guzzle electricity….
10.Buying books: I am fascinated by the written word and love owning and reading books. I buy 2-3 books a month. Have never been into e books, have not been a member of a library as an adult because I love buying books. I love reading them, love the smell of new books; don’t mind the sneeze when I discover an old forgotten book in some dusty corner of the house. Books are my passion. With the green bug biting me I am rethinking the appropriateness of indulging in my passion ever so often. I am thinking about E books (shocker!!) and about joining a library. Also this amazing thing called Kindle from Amazon has caught my fancy, not only is it green it also promises a huge number of books at your disposal in less than a second.
11.Just read that 3% of global warming is contributed by airplanes. Now given that I fly twice a week, I think the only way to counter this is to in future look for jobs that require minimal traveling or better still use technology to minimize traveling.
12.Finally for the 1st time in 8 years I regretted not having gone into research pursuing maybe a PHD in “development of bio degradable plastics” ok regretted only for a nano-second and then came crashing back to reality. Now that would have taken my go green campaign to a completely new level. People who know me or who have read about my Technical PIS will appreciate the U turn I at least thought of taking for a fleeting moment from what has been a firm belief for a very loooooooooooooong time i.e. GOD did not intend for me to remain an “engineer”.

The list is endless but basically the guiding principle from now onwards is: REDUCE, REUSE and RECYCLE.

As I write how the green bug will manifest itself in my life I realize it’s really very simple, at least for my generation of Indians. It’s just about “unlearning” a lot of things we learnt in the exhilarated delirium after 1991. It’s about going back to the frugal and minimalist way of life our dads proposed and we tried to wiggle our ways out of. It’s about pausing and then beginning again to guzzle a little less. It’s about being careful about spending, about consuming not because it’s expensive but because it’s precious.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Roadies Are Smarter

I know the sentence is incomplete and grammatically incorrect but given the subject(s) of this post I am guessing it does not matter at all. At the outset let me admit (please no snickers) that I did catch of few episodes of Roadies while it was on. And no it was not because I thought that the demented juvenile delinquents were my role models or smart, neither did I think that the format had an iota of adventure, thrill or goose bumpy moments. I just watched it because I was intrigued by it all. I was intrigued by how any one could take the insane and incessantly screeching bald guy seriously or how could this group of “roadies” be so incredibly dumb or whether their Attention Deficit Disorder had actually been captured as a pathological condition.

Anyway to sum it up I was intrigued, they were dumb and I caught a few episodes on the telly. Thankfully the show ended

I was flicking through channels on day and I stopped at something called “splitsvilla” on guess what….yes, MTV. I know, damn that intrigue, I mean can you blame me, “splitsvilla” does sound intriguing. And I know I have no only else to blame but myself and my intrigue for the onslaught on my senses that followed after that.

It suffices to say that those young girls made the Roadies look smarter. Considering their inability to construct sentences that had more than three words it is safe to conclude that they were inarticulate. They had more exclamation marks than words or ideas to express themselves and to top it all they were not even pretty!!! From whatever I could make out in those 5 minutes the format of the show involves girls being dumped week after week by two losers of the Roadies. Anyone who agrees to participate in that is an undisputed nincompoop without an iota of self respect or dignity. Or more scarily without anything better to learn, or without any other rainbow to chase or any more cherished friendships to make and nurture……

Before you all conclude that I am being judgmental please sample what happened in those five minutes.

Nincompoop 1: She called me a “sweet bitch”

The “tortured yet outwardly smiling and minting loads of ka ching” Host: Wow that is something, but did she really mean it?

Nincompoop 2: No I meant it in a good way.

Nincompoop 1: *%$$$$###

Nincompoop 2: &*^&$&^#&^%#

The host: *%*($@)&$@#$$%&

Basically it was all Bull shit…

The only thing I can safely say after those five minutes is that these girls have their priorities misplaced. At 17 you don’t need to be told that a complete stranger judging and “dumping” you on bizarre standards is what will write your destiny. At 17 you need to know that you will become your own person, you will chase your own rainbow, you will chart your own destiny and finally people who care will never judge you. I am feeling sad to report that the girls were superficial, one-dimensional and without a doubt completely disconnected from reality. And that brings me to the point of the tirade: reality television today is NOT REAL.

Reality Television is as artificial as the much maligned K Serials on the tube. I don’t think I need to write about the fact that none of the shows deal with anything REAL, to top it all the emotions on the each one of them are also completely FAKE. Fake laughter, fake tears and fake excitement. What petrifies me is that is builds “Fake Role-models”. The out of tune “Indian Idol” who wins because of regional biases, the hysterical dancing starlet, the emaciated size 0 aspiring model, the conniving Roadie…. are these the real role models? Can I please get the “reel” role models of RDB back?

But like always I am overreacting. It is comforting to know that there is also the Hunt for India's Environmentalist on NDTV Green, that kids came out in support of handling the Aarushi case with dignity and finally that there is a kid who forces his mom to switch off all the lights for an hour every week.

Friday, April 04, 2008

At times, I Just Don’t Know what to do

I walk out of the airplane and quickly make my way to the car waiting outside. As usual the rush hour madness has caused a road block. Harried passengers are standing on both sides of the road waiting for their pick up. I stand there not thinking of anything particularly. And that’s when I see him. He is on all his fours, crouching, as polio has rendered his legs weak. He can’t stand, he can’t walk, his legs are weak, thin and disfigured. But, he has mastered the art of crouching and hopping using his hands and two legs. He hops to me and stretches his arm.
I instinctively turn away; I am programmed to block my vision so that I don’t see him. I look ahead at people chattering, waiting and getting annoyed in general. I don’t see him anymore. But I just can’t seem not “see” him. I can’t help wondering how calloused his hands are from all the hopping he does. I feel my palms, soft and moisturized. I wonder if his palms have ever been soft and moisturized. Curiosity gets the better of me. I turn back, he’s gone. Was he a figment of my imagination? I am sure not. I have not gone totally bonkers yet. I turn again, and see him deftly crossing the road to the other side of “waiters” having tried is luck on this side.
I can’t bear to look at him. I don’t know why I am disturbed. I thought I had straightened this out. Evidently not. I think it’s his calloused hands.
I never pay beggars because momentarily helping them will never solve their problems. Also they are either healthy looking albeit underage mothers with deliberately tattered clothes and doped children, or they are kids performing some weird acrobatics, and anyway aren’t all of them part of a mean gang. A gang that kidnaps kids, disfigures them and then lets them loose onto the world to “beg”. It is a syndicate, that’s what they all say. Or aren’t most of them collecting money to get doped? I don’t know why exactly I am programmed not to yield to their misery and pay. The voice of reason without giving me any specific reason has told me not to pay. But as of now, I just don’t know what to do.
I try and ignore him. I try and surreptiously steal a glance. A car blocks his view. I heave a sigh of relief. I don’t see him anymore. But I just can’t seem not “see” him. I take a decision; a decision that is like all of my decisions, emotional. I decide to pay him. I know I have a hundred Rupee note in my wallet, but I fish around and find a thick wad of tenners. I start counting as I “cross over to the other side”. But counting seems so futile; I am in a hurry to get it over and done with. I reach to the other side of the car. He is gone. I look around and see him again hopping over with his arms outstretched. I quicken my pace and follow him. I try not to think all this while. He senses my presence and turns around. I hand him over the wad, avoiding eye contact. He seems to be in an equal hurry to get this over with. I turn away and at that moment I know. I have not paid him because I feel sorry for him, neither because I think his misery is more deserving than others, nor because I think it will help him in anyway. I just pay him so that I can stop “seeing” him. I think he knows that.
I cross back to my side of the road waiting for my car to come. When I think all is over I see him again. He is hopping with a renewed vigor and speed. Wait, he is hopping towards me. Have I challenged the age old wisdom and “voice of reason”? Have I “encouraged” a “street urchin” to “tackle me emotionally”? I relax because I see he can’t be bothered to bother with me. He is carrying on with his business. I turn away and I can’t see him anymore. It is true money can buy you most things.
The car comes and I speed away with it. As I sit in the car I see a bill board screaming: “Why party with your friends this weekend when you can party in Singapore?” Like I said at times I just don’t know what to do.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

New Year Resolutions

I know it is a little late in the day for New Year Resolutions but what the heck, this is my blog and I can be as tardy as I want to be!

  1. No prizes for guessing this one. Shall exercise more and eat healthy. As I type this one, realization dawns upon me that this has been one of my New Year resolutions for the past 10 years. Talk about consistency, over the past ten years I have changed countless postal addresses, acquired degrees, got sucked into the big bad corporate world and changed my marital status, yet this one steadfastly occupies its rightful position as the number one resolution for the new year!!!! To set the record straight I do exercise and try and not succumb to the temptation of the fast food onslaught all the time. (But its criminal to ignore chocolates for a long time, infact its unhealthy to ignore chocolates, there is talk about dark chocolate reducing blood pressure and being a potent antioxidant. So that’s that; chocolate is healthy and I shall be having more of it in the New Year!!)
  2. Learn a new sport. Well this was also on my last year’s resolution list. Without sounding like I am bragging I did learn how to swim last year and am ready to take on more grueling and competitive sporting and physical challenges. Okay don’t take that seriously just teach me how to hit the ball with the racket.
  3. Read more and read more of what I have not read till now. For the past few years I have been trying to break out of the reading comfort list. So no more pretentious Indian writers writing in English with familiar themes, verbose and highly complex sentences but with no beginning, middle and end to the story. Having said that Vikram Seth is still my favorite author.
  4. Write more. My blogging frequency is abysmal. Will work on improving the track record.
  5. Rekindle my love affair with Music: I really liked singing and being part of the school choir. I loved learning Hindustani Classical Music. I did not like my last music teacher and just as teenagers as prone to do I rebelled against him and quit learning music citing the impending board exams as the reason. I wish I had continued. I wish I had taken it up again hen presented with the opportunity. But now I will so something about it and be back in the classes I loved.
  6. I think I have saved the biggest resolution for last. I will in 2008 figure out what is it I really want in life. Figure out what I REALLY want to do… and then do something about it.

Well that’s the end of my resolution list.. what have been your new year resolutions?? (Or are we already in that time of the year where the resolutions have long been given up on and all of us are back to our bad old ways!!)