Thursday, December 31, 2009

Escape to Love...

Having been extremely busy with stuff, I haven’t been able to post anything here of late. To finish off an eventful year, I’m posting a story which I wrote for Avada Kedavra as a guest post on her blog. I’ll be back with lots more in the new year soon.


She felt weak in her knees as she hopped down on to the platform.

She didn’t know if it was due to the exhaustion of the tiring journey or due to the biggest step she had ever taken in her life. But either of the reasons didn’t really matter now. Here she was. All alone, in an entirely unknown city.

She looked left, then to the right. No sign of him. “He must be there somewhere, checking every coach for me.” She thought. She hadn’t had a chance to tell him the coach number.

She saw an empty bench ahead. “I better wait for him here.” She sat there with her bag clutched in her lap.

There was life all around. Families getting off the train with loads of baggage. Porters running along in search of prospective customers. The vendors shouting at the top of their voices while doing brisk business. She tried her best to divert her attention to those little details of people’s lives. But at every next minute, she would involuntarily look around in search of him.

Amidst all the noises, she found her mind recollecting the events of the day.

It was early morning, when her dad had announced that the prospective groom and his family would be arriving in two days. And that was when she had lost it. She had announced her disapproval about the idea in no uncertain terms. And her dad had shouted at her. And she had shouted back at him. For the first time in life… !

And then she had rushed in to gather her belongings. She couldn’t breathe anymore in that cage. She shoved her things in the bag even as her mom continued to let her have more than just a piece of her mind.

She had decided. She was leaving. She wanted to be with HIM. HE was her life now.

She had tried to call him. But couldn’t get through. So she messaged him to let him know that she had left all for him. And that she would be arriving by the evening express. She got herself an un-reserved ticket with whatever little money she had saved. And she boarded the train. She was free. She was finally going to be with him.

A slight chill in the air shook her back into the present. The sun had almost gone down, letting the darkness take charge of things. But he still wasn’t there…

She felt her throat go dry. She quickly took a couple of gulps from the bottle she had bought. She felt better. But still…

It was almost an hour since she had de-boarded. Why wasn’t he here ? Did he get her message ? She took out her mobile phone. She hadn’t even got a chance to recharge the battery before leaving. The screen was blank. She switched it on. It showed some signs of life. Suddenly it blinked twice. “LOW BATTERY.” And it went dead again.

She saw a pay-phone on the side of the coffee shop. She went up to it, dropped in a coin and called his number. “NOT REACHABLE !”

She tried again. And again. And again. But without any luck.

She was starting to panic. Here she was, all by herself, in a completely new city. She didn’t know a soul. Except him. She didn’t know where to go. And she didn’t even have enough money.

She took out her purse and counted. She hadn’t eaten anything all day. Would that much be sufficient to buy her a meal ? If it was, then what after the meal ? Or should she skip the meal and buy a ticket back to home ?

HOME ?? What home ?? She had left home for good. There was no one to receive her back. Even if they were, did she have the courage to return ? She had argued… shouted… and vowed never to return. Could she face them now ?

And suddenly she felt her heart sinking…

She slowly went back to the bench and sat. What were the options for her now ? Were there any ?

“Why isn’t he here yet ? He’d surely have got my message. He always does. Ohhh… Why did I leave ? Why didn’t I think ? Did I act too hastily ?” That was all she could think of. Her heart sinking deeper with each passing second. Her mind was inching closer to the extreme decision. Her eyes brimming with tears.

He smiled as he looked at her from behind the pillar, still trying to catch his breath. Running the length of the long railway platform coupled with the immense anxiety about her had almost left him breathless. And then he slowly moved towards her.

He stood there, quietly, in front of her, while she looked down at the floor, almost numb with hopelessness.


Startled, she looked up. And there he was, smiling at her.

She suddenly felt extreme emotions ready to explode inside her. Nothing could match the sense of relief she felt. But the raging anger felt matchless too. She loved him all the more now. But she also hated him with all she had. She wanted to run into his arms. And she wanted to kill him.

But all she could manage to do was to stand up and say, “Where were you ??”

“Sorry. Late as usual. You know I can never get my things ready in quick time…” He replied, still short of breath.

“Things ? What’s in that bag ? Where are you going ?” She was puzzled.

“WE are going back. To your place. I have to ask your dad for you. I don’t want him shouting later that I stole you.” He grinned.

“He won’t let you…”

“Then we’ll run away together. That’s why the bag…” He laughed.

She couldn’t keep herself from folding into his arms. Finally, she let go of the tears as well.

“I’m hungry…” She said.


Wishing you all a very HAPPY NEW YEAR !!!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Unacceptable Love...

Almost all of us, at some point of time or the other, have been witness to couples (lovers) being separated instead of letting them marry and live peacefully ever after.

Reasons ? Differences in caste or religion or nationality or even financial status.

But whatever the reason may be, we see it happening day in and day out. And eventually, the helpless lovers give in and marry as and where they are demanded to.

It was only the other day when I came to realize the real reason of such incidents happening with an amazing frequency in India. I was talking to a close friend, discussing about his plans for his marriage.

As usual, his is an inter-caste case. So, obviously, not much help with starting things (if you are in India !). The girl’s family is not too pleased about it all. In fact, there has been an un-official refusal made already. So, while discussing about the available options, he informed me about the case of the girl’s elder sister, who had already experienced a forcefully broken relationship.

“Inter-caste too ??” I asked him.

“No.” He replied.

“Inter-religion ??” I asked again.

“No.” He replied again. “Same caste and religion.”

“What do you mean ?? Was the guy a criminal or something ??” I asked back.

“No. He was a well settled doctor.” He replied back.

And thus, it dawned on me that the reason for the family’s disapproval of the match was that the girl knew the boy before marriage. And that couldn’t be allowed.


Yes ! That is exactly the reason why us Indians are never comfortable with love marriages. We make all sorts of excuses. We so confidently claim that arranged marriages are always more successful than love marriages. That a person can never adjust to the lifestyle of a family of a different community. That there is nothing called love that’ll last a lifetime. And a pile of such age-old arguments.

But the bitter reality is that whatever excuses we make, it is actually the idea of love that we cannot accept. We just cannot see two people who are happy being with each other. Instead of being content with our own happiness, we are troubled to see others happy. Even if the others are our own children.

Take for example, the recent cases in Haryana. A whole village made life hell for a couple who fell in love and wanted to marry each other. Reason ?? They belonged to the same ‘gotra’(whatever that is supposed to be)

So that means, they won’t take people marrying out of their community. And neither would they allow people marrying in their own community. But don’t you get it ?? Actually, they wouldn’t tolerate a love marriage.

But why this intolerance ?? Is it merely an intolerance or is it in fact, a sort of payback ??

People who fall in love, but give in to the demands of their parents, family or community, wouldn’t often tolerate their next generation trying something similar. If they couldn’t have their way, how can the kids have theirs… ?? What they went through in their times, has to be paid back.

For instance, in the above case, the parents didn’t want their daughter to marry someone she already knew. But they wanted to marry her off to some unknown guy who, only God knew, would turn out to be what. They would rather take the risk of marrying their daughter to a possible wife-beater instead of letting her marry a decent guy she already knew. It would just be the girl’s luck if the guy turns out to be nice. If not…

In other words, if the mom found things out the hard way, why shouldn’t her daughter too ?? Is that the question they are trying to ask ??

And such a thing is not just limited to the un-educated population. Education has nothing to do with the mindset of the individual these days. I know well about a very senior doctor who is the head of his department in a reputed medical institute, who is making life hell for one of his residents just for the reason that this resident married a girl he loved out of his community. (the biggest irony is that this senior doc married his wife in just the same manner when he was a resident himself !)

We call ourselves the largest democracy in the world and take pride in it too. But do we let it out to the world about the type of sadists that we are ?? That we don’t even spare the happiness of our own kids… We don’t have the guts to love and then face the world. But we revel in targeting anyone who dares to.

Why can’t we just mind our own businesses ?? Why can’t we feel happy if our children are happy ?? Why can’t we just simply accept love ???

Monday, November 30, 2009

Strawberry Crush...

He was still in a trance when the missile hit him. The small, white cylinder got him somewhere around the right pectoral. The impact was enough to jolt him back to the real world. In the next couple of seconds, his mind raced quickly enough to evaluate the summary of what was happening while he was away. The results were quite startling.

Professor Mr. D was the source of the piece of chalk that was sent flying across the hall towards him. And Mr. D was now practicing the dreaded stare he was famous for. It was the conditioned reflex that instantly told him to stand up. Mr. D’s eyes seem to see right through him coming from behind those thick glassed spectacles.

“I’m sorry to have disturbed your visit to dreamland.” The tone was sarcastic. “Should we expect an answer from you ? I guess we aren’t fortunate enough. Well, it would be just as fine if you could repeat my question.”

Darn. Had Mr. D caught him ??? Did she know he was looking at her ??? She’d surely know now… How could he be so careless ??? What to do now ??? What was the stupid question Mr. D had asked ???

There were whispers from the immediate neighborhood. Most probably suggesting the answer. Not the answer but the question. In fact, the answer to Mr. D’s question. But he didn’t seem to grasp anything. His mind seemed to refuse to do so. Bonny from the back seat even said it loud enough for Mr. D to hear. But panic didn’t allow his mind to work.

This sudden activity startled her a bit too. Though she was constantly feeling uneasy about something. What was it ? Maybe the sixth sense which was perceiving the stare of a pair of eyes. But she daren’t look. How could she, sitting in the first row of the class.

And she was trying her best not to look there, even now. She was just listening to voices. Voices, which tried to make a picture of things in her mind.

“I think you need some fresh air. Better if you go get some outside.” Mr. D’s voice boomed. And that was that. There was no other option left, but to comply with the suggestion. But now was the most difficult part of it all. He would have to walk across the room. Right in front of her. Darn. Better to get it over with as quickly as possible, he thought.

He gathered his belongings, and walked up towards the front. Even approaching Mr. D in one of his bad moods didn’t seem as tough a task. His mind was just concentrating on the front bench. The silence was deafening.

She couldn’t look up. Or at anyone else. She just glued her eyes into her notebook. But her eyes couldn’t read. The letters seemed to be some haphazard design in ink. All she could sense was him walking past her. But she didn’t look up.

At last, he was out of the hall. Somewhat a with a sense of relief which a ringmaster would have experienced after coming out of the ring, completing the dares with a pair of newly recruited lions. But still, he wanted to kick himself. How could he act so stupid ? Why on earth did he have to look at her ? Why ?

He was still sulking when he seated himself on an empty bench in the shade. And it all came flashing back in his mind for the hundred and sixtieth time in two days. Just two days ago, the past weekend, there he was, outside the lecture-theatre-complex, waiting for the doors to be open so that he may peacefully complete the mid-afternoon nap that was so mercilessly broken by the odd hourly class. He restlessly looked around as people were busy chatting with their friends.

And that was when, suddenly, out of nowhere, without warning, their eyes had met…

It couldn’t have been much longer than two seconds. There wasn’t a smile, nor a frown. Just two expressionless faces staring into each other’s eyes. Those two seconds seemed longer than eternity. And suddenly, back to reality.

And that was the beginning of the strange uneasiness…

(to be continued.......)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

A K9 Concern...

Yesterday I visited one of my school friend’s house, who was home for the Diwali holidays.

It’s been more than two years since I last visited her place as she has been working out of town for long now. But I did remember about meeting her pets on my last visit. So I was expecting a noisy welcome this time too.

As we entered the gate, and moved along the side of the cars parked in the passage-way, I noticed Archie standing and looking at us from the far end. For the information, Archie is her little dog who is somewhere mid way between a ‘Blood hound’ and a ‘Basset hound’. I wonder if we have any ‘Basset hounds’ in India. If not, then he is a ‘Blood hound’.

To describe him, he’s a little K9, not much higher than a 'Pomeranian', with large black ear flaps hanging on both the sides. He is white, with patches of black all over. One of those dogs who are full of hair.

As I approached him, I was pretty surprised at the amount of soberness he was showing towards a stranger. Before long, he started walking towards me too. But as we came close to each other, I could sense something strange about his manner. He just sniffed and after deciding that nothing was abnormal and worth creating a ruckus about, he turned back and walked away. Something highly in contrast to his manner when we had last met.

When we had seated ourselves in the drawing-room, and he having placed himself quietly at my friend’s feet, I couldn’t help but ask her about the reason of Archie’s quiet behavior.

To which I was shockingly informed that he being old now (ten years is too old an age for such dogs) had developed cataract in both the eyes. Because of which, his eye-sight had almost gone down to level zero. No wonder I couldn’t find the sparkle in his eyes this time.

Remembering about the active and lively self that he was at the last time we had met, I felt really sorry for the poor pet.

My friend told us how they had consulted the top ophthalmologists of the city for Archie’s problem, but everyone declared their inability to help in his treatment. While we chatted, he quietly changed positions around the room to rest without disturbing us even a bit. Something I constantly felt uneasy about all the time.

When we got up to leave, he did arise from his nap to see us off, which must have been a reflex for him all his life. And as he came near me, he couldn’t stop bumping his nose against my leg, which clearly indicated that he wasn’t being able to even make out objects in front of him.

I wonder why there are no specialist veterinary ophthalmologists who in my city who could treat the poor pet and get him going as he was some time ago. I really wished then that I was a ‘vet’. Then I could at least have helped those wonderful living beings who cannot speak, but still make our lives so beautiful.

If any of you reading this bit does know about any veterinary ophthalmologist in India who could treat Archie, please inform through this blog or at my email, so that something can be done.

And I wish everyone should consider their pets as one of their family members (which they obviously are) and take good care of them like this as they would of a family member.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


Ok. So, I’m back !

Back after a rather adventurous fortnight of my life. Being somewhat in the thick of things, I couldn’t really get time to post about my exciting life lately.

Ok. So as you must be knowing by now that I got involved into helping my friend elope and marry. It being the usual ‘inter-religion’ case, things weren’t easy at all. So, desperate measures were required.

But rather than the usual ‘elope and marry’ thing, it became a sort of ‘marry and elope’ scenario. Well, if you are failing to grasp the plot, I’ll just elaborate it for you.

As mentioned in my last post ‘Right or Wrong...’, I was on my way to get my friend married to the girl of his choice. Though both their families were well informed of their choice, neither was ready to accept it. (Isn’t it ironical that people who carry on an affair behind their parents’ back are always considered the obedient son/daughter by them. But if they are honest enough to confess their choice, they at once become the spoilt and disobedient child…)

So, they eventually got married. It was decided after the ceremony was over that neither would inform their family and they would keep it a hush-hush affair till their parents see some sense and they could manage to persuade their parents to accept their choice in due course of time.

But as usual, there are always people around who cannot do without getting some ‘excitement’ into other people’s lives. And it so happened that within the very first week, both the families got the news of their lives. (Well, surely not everyone does get the ‘news’ of their child getting married…)

As almost always happens in such cases, the scenario regarding the girl’s family is usually the more delicate one. And it just sounded like a co-incidence to me when their arose an emergency of sorts in the girl’s home which resulted in her arriving in some panic.

If I have not mentioned it earlier, I should tell you that the girl is from my own city living not more than five minute’s drive from my house. (And her dad’s office is just two houses down my own street…!)

So, I received the couple when they arrived at the station. I dropped the girl some distance from her house to avoid her being seen by someone which could result in some unpleasant consequences. We (my friend and I) were driving to my home when she called to inform that there really was no emergency. It was a trick to call her home and look into matters (which I was sure wasn’t going to be something pleasant…)

While my friend continued to try to get to talk to her on the phone (there appeared to be quite a commotion on the other end between her and her mom as I could hear), I decided that certain drastic measures were needed to be taken in the situation. We had already entered the street to her house when I heard her mom shouting into a phone for her dad to return home immediately. Which meant, he had no clue about the proceedings by then. But the return of her dad would make sure that things would get highly complicated. I had already heard about the shortness of her dad’s temper before.

So, I quickly and strategically parked my car into a by-lane very near to her house while my friend suggested her to come out of the house as quickly as she could. Now, when I say suggested, it was more of a mix of panic and desperation. But it surely was effective.

We were rapidly losing precious time, as it wouldn’t be much more than a matter of five minutes before her dad would be driving in, his sleeves rolled up to his elbows. Well, we didn’t get to see if actually he did so because before long, she could ‘escape’ out and made her way towards us. I was ready with the door open and she had hardly got inside, when I told her to lie down on the back seat.

And we drove off….

I still wonder about the number of seconds by which we gave her dad the slip. But yes, I had to drive around town (with her still lying on the back-seat) into clever short cuts and by-lanes to avoid barging into her dad or someone even remotely known.

I have always believed that the best place for any criminal to hide after committing a crime is the police station. That is the last place where anyone would go searching. And so, I got them to my home, knowing that her dad’s office was barely a few steps away. But as I said, he would never come searching for her anywhere near his own office. Though I had to use a back-lane to get to my own house, but that was worth it.

We waited until it was dark and then I got them bundled onto a bus headed out of town to escape being pulled up by any acquaintance. So it became a case of ‘marry and elope’

It has been many days since, and they have returned and resumed their work. The families, though still sulking, are somewhat recovering from the shock. But we all are positive that they will manage to please their families in due course of time.

As for me, I’m rather satisfied to have been of help in preventing at least two lives getting spoilt for good.

And also that I got sufficient practice at driving off with a girl in the back of my car… I don’t know yet if I’ll require that for myself too.

But, who knows… :p

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Right or Wrong...

Lately, I have been pre-occupied with matters of life and death. Not exactly mine, but of someone extremely close to me. If you have read my earlier post about ‘Being an Indian Girl…’, you would very well know what I’m talking about.

Ok, so there’s this case of a young couple who are in love and are facing some pretty bad opposition from their families in order to end it all. But thankfully, due to the prevailing of some better sense (and some serious efforts in persuasion from yours truly), they finally decided to marry.

So, just the other day, I suddenly got a call that all was decided and they would be marrying in the quick way which such couples usually have to resort to ultimately. As I was needed as a witness, I had to leave immediately for the destination.

Since all this was a hush-hush affair, there wasn’t anyone else who would be there to give some much needed confidence and support to the marrying couple. Not even our other friends. So, I decided to hook along one of our close friends who was visiting his family during the Puja holidays.

All I told him over the phone was that we were going to attend a wedding. Whose, I did not tell. I promised to let the secret out once we met at the bus station.

I found him inspecting the vacant seats of a bus when I reached there. As he caught sight of me, he gave me that look which said, “You have some explaining to do… and pretty fast”. I smiled and suggested that we find seats for ourselves first.

We had hardly been seated when he threw the flood of question at me. I had to break this slowly to him, for I knew about his history of being really bad at taking surprises. More so, this would be surely a shock rather than a surprise.

But experience isn’t everything. Because, hardly had I revealed the name of our mutual friend (who was getting married), his eyes bulged out of their sockets and he jumped almost bumping his head on the luggage rack above his seat. A classic example of watching someone jump even while he is seated…

After a few minutes, when things had probably started to sink in, and also the bus had started moving, did I see him coming back to life once again. The following is the conversation we had between us after that.


Me : So…. ??

Friend : This is not right !

Me : What is not right ?

Friend : They shouldn’t marry like this…

Me : But there’s no other option…

Friend : How will their parents feel…

Me : They’ll feel bad. Obviously.

Friend : They should think of their parents who’ve done so much for them all these years…

Me : Hmmm…


Friend : They should have thought about all the problems before starting their relationship…

Me : When love strikes, the brain is always in deep slumber. Love is not a decision. You cannot decide emotions.

I just remembered my earlier post ‘Decision or Emotion…’

Friend : How can they just forget about their parents… ??

Me : Who said they are forgetting their parents ? Or they would forget after marrying ? Why is it that everything that they’ve done for their parents is calculated on the basis of this one decision… ?? Would everything they’ve done for their parents get wiped off just by their decision to marry… ??

Friend : I mean why can’t they think of what their parents wish for them.

Me : Isn’t their wish in this matter unreasonable ?

Friend : Why ??

Me : What’s the shortcoming in the boy or the girl ? Just that they were born in different communities ?

Friend : Still. They are trying to make their lives at the expense of their parents.

Me : How do you mean ?

Friend : Their parents have to live in this society.

Me : Yes. So… ?

Friend : They have to be answerable to the society.

My hand twitched to hit something in a fit of irritation….

Friend : It will be a difficult life for their parents.

Me : Leaving this case aside, have you ever seen anyone from the caste/community come forward to help one of their own in times of any difficulty ? But yes, they’ll be right there to criticize once a person does something off track.

Friend : Still…

Me : Still what… ? Tell me. Is pleasing one’s own community more important than the happiness of one’s children ?? That community which gives a damn to everything once the wedding dinner gets over….


Friend : Have their parents done all that they have done to deserve this ?

Me : Deserve what ? If they both give the utmost care and respect to their own and each other’s parents after their marriage, is that a raw deal ?

Friend : And how long have they known each other ?

Me : A little over three months.

Friend : How can they expect to know each other so well in such a short time that they expect everything to go nicely ?

Me : Hadn’t A****** (another mutual friend of ours) met his wife just for an hour and decided to marry her. Is it valid just because theirs was an arranged meeting through their parents ? In most arranged marriages still, most couples meet each other for a few hours once or twice. How then, is that considered to be a good prognosis for a happy married life ?

Friend : Still how can they put their lives in each other’s hands… ? Parents know best as they are experienced.

I thought of reminding him that he hadn’t known the driver of our bus well enough too before putting his life in his hands. The way these drivers drive these days, it’s really like putting our lives in their hands. But I decided against telling him this.

Me : Usually parents look for a decent reputed family, financial stat…

He chipped in…

Friend : Yes. A reputed family background. That’s not a wrong criteria to look for.

Me : Agreed. But does a reputed family background guarantee a boy or a girl with a good moral character ?

And I named a few such examples from good families whom we had seen and experienced in college.

Friend : In an arranged marriage it is not just the couple but the bonding of two families…

Me : So, is that bonding between two families more important even if the couple are not a good match and are not happy being together... ?? And if the couple themselves cannot bond, how can you expect the families to bond... ??

Friend : Do you mean to say arranged marriages are wrong ?

Me : No. In fact they are the best possible option for certain people. I’ll tell you which people. They are the best for people who have never loved. Those who are happy to live with a person who has been searched according to the criteria they and their family have. Those who want a simple life with a partner who can manage the aspects of married life according to their own and their family’s needs in life.

Friend : So ?? Aren’t arranged marriages more successful ?

Me : If you consider success by two people living together just because they are wedlocked, then I don’t agree. There are so many examples where the couple can’t stand the sight of each other. But are still together. Either for the sake of family or for the sake of their children. You can call that a successful marriage. But I won’t. But then again, there are numerous examples of successful arranged marriages too. But it’s absolutely wrong to arrange a marriage elsewhere for someone who is already in love with another person.

Friend : They are resisting their family’s wish to get married elsewhere. I know its difficult. But after marriage, everything becomes fine. Everyone forgets and moves on in life.

Me : How do you know… ??

Friend : Why ?? Isn’t A*** (another mutual friend) happy ? He got married as per his parent’s wishes. He forgot his love.

Me : Hmmm… It may be possible for boys to forget and ‘move on’. But I guess it’s not so with girls. And I have ample proof to support my statement which unfortunately I cannot divulge. It’s easier for boys more so because they have the upper hand in a marriage.

Friend : Huh…

Me : And by any chance, a guy gets to know that his wife had an affair before marriage, which most often he does, then life’s nothing short of hell for that girl. Is it right to ruin the life of one’s own daughter just for some false honor… ??

Friend : Hmmm…


Friend : But if I were in a similar case, I wouldn’t have done this…

Me : That’s why you are not in a similar case…

Friend : I would never approve of my children marrying into another community…

Me : Well, I hope such a situation never arises. But I know you’ll love your children more than anything else.

Friend : You may say what you like. But caste/religion/community does matter.

I wished to ask him if he knew what caste or religion or community was the vendor in the bus from whom he had purchased the bottle of cold-drink earlier which he was busy sipping now.

Me : I know parents do all they can for the good of their children. And also that children do all they can for their parents. But they should be allowed to take this one decision of their life.

Me : They are making a difference. And I’m with them in this. That’s how some stupid mindsets would eventually be eradicated from our country.

Me : And you are with us too in this. Aren’t you ??

I smiled....

Friend : Hmmm… Yes. I am. Why do you think I’m accompanying you…

My smile broadening….

Friend : But…

Me : It’s not wrong… !

Monday, September 28, 2009

My First Awards...

Over the past few days, I received three awards from fellow bloggers. Considering that I’ve been into blogging for just about over three months, these awards have left me simply overjoyed.

Kaddu was the first to award me the ‘timeless friendship’ award. It was obvious that my very first award came from her as she was the one who motivated me to start blogging in the first place.

(Timeless Friendship Award from Kaddu)

Thanks a lot Kaddu…

I received the next two awards from Avada Kedavra who has been supporting my posts with really nice comments.

(Blog Buddy Award from Avada Kedavra)

It feels really nice to know that people actually like to read whatever my blog has to offer.

(I Love Your Blog Award from Avada Kedavra)

Thanks a million dear, for appreciating my blog.

These awards will surely inspire me to write more frequently about all the varied thoughts that fly around in my mind all the time. :D

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Architects of our future...

It is the 5th of September once again. The day, which is dedicated to teachers in India. In other words, the day when India celebrates ‘Teacher’s Day’.

I remember the enthusiasm for this day right since the time we were in school. It was a much anticipated occasion. We would have the classes being off for the day. The school hours on the day would be used up in decorations and wishing all our teachers a happy teacher’s day. And then we would have our school’s annual music & dance competition.

But the real relevance of the day, (which, I guess we didn’t use to realize back then) was to make the students remember about the respect they should have for their teachers. For us, (mostly) the event used to be just another school function.

One thing that makes me ponder is, does a teacher really need to teach a student in class to command his or her respect ? Or for that matter, do all teachers who teach us in class are entitled to respect by default ?

I remember that back in our school days, people were asked about the significance of ‘Teacher’s Day’ in India. Failing to reply to this question (in other words, not knowing much about Dr. S. Radhakrishnan) would result in a simple opinion that the person didn’t really respect his or her teachers.

But one thing that always irked me was how people would be so respectful to the teachers on one hand while calling them by their ‘pet names’ behind their backs. (and those ‘pet names’ are not always cute, obviously) After all these years, it actually amazes me how I never ever referred to any teacher (irrespective of my dislike for some) by their ‘pet name’. Maybe because I was myself from a family of teachers, including both my parents and my Grandfather (Mom’s Dad). I don’t really know. But it never would come to my mind while even talking to my closest of friends.

It is a fact that all teachers can never be the same. Not every teacher is ideal. Most of them impart academic knowledge to the students. Only a few really ‘teach’. Obviously, those few command special respect from their students. But the others deserve their share of respect too.

But as teachers are humans too, there is always the presence of favoritism. It is surely not something new. As very well exemplified in ‘The Mahabharata’, how Drona demanded for his ‘guru dakshina’ from Eklavya in the form of his thumb. Drona was afraid that Eklavya would become an even better archer than his favorite student Arjun, and thus demanded the sacrifice. Amazingly enough, Eklavya sacrificed his thumb happily even though he had never been taught by Drona in person. He had simply been practicing with Drona’s statue being a symbolic guru. He very happily paid for his guru’s demand. But, ‘guru dakshina’ or respect can never be demanded. It is always commanded.

I always hear that it is our country’s tradition to respect all our teachers. I agree to that completely. But would it be right to respect someone who doesn’t fit anywhere in the definition of being a teacher ? I’m forced to ask this question to myself as I remember a few examples of people being a blot on the name of teachers. (a certain male teacher in my school who was a total creep. >-( )

Shoving all such examples apart, teachers deserve our respect. But it shouldn’t be confined to just a single day of the year. Do we love our mothers just on ‘Mother’s Day’ ? Or our Dads just on ‘Father’s Day’ ? So, why do we remember, all of a sudden, on the fifth day of September, that we owe some respect to our teachers too ?

Though our country takes pride in the belief that we respect our teachers like Gods, the reality is far from it. Even in the India of 2009, there are ample examples of not just disrespect, but much more towards teachers. Every one of us who has attended some sort of an educational institution would agree with that.

Isn’t it outrageous that in our own ‘teacher-respecting’ country, rowdy hooligans who call themselves students, not only attack and brutalize a teacher in broad daylight, but end up murdering him in full public view. (Just for the reason that he wanted students to spend their time in studies rather than on the elections of the student’s union) And in the end of it all, they get acquitted by the court of law…. !!!

The world saw how those ABVP goons brutally murdered Professor H. S. Sabharwal in Ujjain’s Madhav College. The media even aired the video of the leader of that mob openly threatening the professor with his life. But three years on, and the court acquits all the accused as all the witnesses turned hostile. ‘There was no proof’, is what the court says. But a teacher was murdered in full public view. So, there must be someone responsible……. For God’s sake……. !!!

Does the court mean that no one was actually responsible for a man’s death who sustained 3 broken ribs and punctured lungs ??? If those criminals are actually not guilty, then there must be at least someone who was guilty. Shouldn’t the court order an enquiry to nab whoever was really guilty ?? But it doesn’t. And we can guess why.

And there is no shortage of people who go to the extent of defending those thugs on live television. Just watch what the dumb lady answers to a simple question by Arnab Goswami, that, “who killed Prof. Sabharwal”

We like to show off our traditions to the entire world. But in reality, we really don’t care if we ourselves tear our very own traditions apart every day.

If we cannot stand up for the very people who shape our futures, then I wonder whom can we stand up for. Or do we consider our debts paid just by remembering our teachers on the 5th of September every year ?

Friday, September 4, 2009


These days, I am enjoying the company of a new friend who visits as often as his busy schedule permits him to.

On one such visit, he wasn’t much in the mood of interacting with me that much, and hence, decided to utilize the valuable time in relaxing in a quiet corner of the house.

I couldn’t but help capture the moment of such carefree leisure and at once snapped it up on my mobile phone. Well, you know the sound these things make when you try taking a snap. It was loud enough for me to look for cover at the prospect of breaking the spell of slumber of the four-pawed pack of naughtiness. But, instead, he just lifted his head, turned it my direction to about 15 degrees, gave me a sort of look which probably said, “Ohhh. So it’s you again…”, and then went back to enjoying the late-afternoon nap.

There are countless things we can learn from animals. One of them being, to indulge in complete leisure once in a while, leaving the world’s tensions and complications out of our minds. Isn’t it so ?

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Obsessed with Success... (Contd.)

Before continuing with my previous post on success, I’d like to link Kaddu’s post about ‘Failure is Never Final...’ for all those who missed it.

Coming back to the topic, I agree to the fact that different people have different criteria for success. A big success for one may not be such a big deal for another. For example, the other day, I didn’t think much of watching a kid on the street trying desperately to pull down a kite he had discovered dangling on the branches of a tree. But it probably made his day, that after about half an hour he managed to get hold of it and ran triumphantly with the prized thing in his hand. It would have even made not only a day but maybe even a week for him.

As I said, the criteria may be different. It could be fame. It could be money. It could be the dream job. Or, for that matter, it could just be a kite. But such successes are just a part of a successful life.

It couldn’t have been anything but the feeling of success when Archimedes discovered the principle of buoyancy while in his bath tub. (No wonder he ran the streets shouting ‘Eureka’…’Eureka’… even forgetting to dress himself)

Success would have just been what Shah Jahan must have felt on seeing the completed Taj Mahal.

No different would have been the success of the Wright brothers after the first flight of their plane.

How would have Neil Armstrong felt after setting the first foot on the moon ? Or for that matter, Sir Edmund Hillary after conquering the Everest ?

So, success can be based on anything. As the above examples prove. In the first case, it was serendipity. The second was success in love. The third was the success of imagination. The fourth being the highest example of thrill and adventure.

Now I would like to state some other examples.

Would you consider the Indian Prime Minister to be successful ? Every morning he wakes up with nothing less than a trillion problems on his mind. Does he feel successful in what he intends to achieve ? Which is, the ultimate well-being of the nation.

Is Barack Obama successful ??

Are the Ambani brothers successful ? Obviously they are the richest Indians in the present times. No matter they are fighting bitterly between themselves. But they have in their accounts, the amount of money that many people can’t even think of.

Was Michael Jackson successful ?

I hope don’t you don’t laugh at my next example…. but…. is Sachin Tendulkar successful ? Yes, I know he holds more number of cricketing records than almost all the present cricketers combined. Ok, he may not give the Ambanis a run for their money, but he has ENOUGH for himself. And talking of fame, you cannot find a single Indian (ok, make that 10 Indians) who don’t know him.

But if you ask Sachin if he considers himself successful, I can bet he will answer in the negative.

Reason ? If you may have seen his interview a couple of days back on the television, he stated that he is not yet satisfied. And he has that never ending hunger to perform which goes on and on.

Which makes me think that for any person to feel successful in his or her own eyes, there is just one criterion. And that criterion is SATISFACTION.

Satisfaction in whatever you dream of achieving.

If one dreams of inventing the time machine, but ends up being the director of the best technological institute of the world, he will not feel successful. But he is a great success as others see him.

If one dreams of being a psychiatrist, but ends up becoming the best cardiac-surgeon, he will never feel successful. Obviously appearing to be highly successful for everyone around him.

The girl who died in Delhi, scored 93% in her boards. But failed to get into LSR. For everyone, she was not successful.

If one dreams of marrying his beloved (who gets married elsewhere) and ends up becoming the richest person I can only wonder how successful he’ll consider himself to be. But don’t we all consider the richest people to be the most successful ??

Which means that there is a difference between being successful and appearing to be successful. And that is probably what people today fail to understand. They would rather appear to be successful than feeling good about themselves.

Short term successes could be anything. It could be fame, career, position, love,…. even money. But the real success lies in the feeling of satisfaction. And that is something that no one else can judge but the person himself.

Most people these days are giving up on their dreams for the sake of money. They feel that big money can buy name, fame, and all the luxuries of life.

If only money could buy satisfaction…….

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Obsessed with Success...

In my last post, I mentioned about the mindset of people regarding success. Different people may and do have different criteria for judging success. But, usually, in the end it comes down to how others judge people about their success and not people themselves.

As a nation, I guess, we are becoming ever so obsessed with success. Be it the results of our national cricket team or be it the results of an election, we just cannot take failure. But what exactly differentiates success from failure ?

Last night, while once again watching the news on the television, I came across an incident from Delhi where a girl had jumped to her death from the balcony of her house. Reason ? She had failed to get admission in a reputed college after missing out on the cut-off list while most of her friends made it in.

Ok. One can understand that she must have been highly disappointed at her ‘failure’. Even more so as her friends had succeeded in achieving the common goal. She didn’t do well enough in her boards. So, obviously it was a failure for her.

But the next revelation in the story made me almost cringe. She had scored no less than an aggregate of 93% in her board examinations… !!!

To be honest here, if I would have scored that many marks (in any examination whatsoever) I wouldn’t have stopped jumping for joy till someone would have brought me down to earth. Scoring 93% in any examination itself signifies that the person has performed much more than just average. Even most of the examining boards categorize anything over 90% as excellent.

For this girl, the same result was no less than a tremendous success at one level, but it was a big failure at another. Failure as in the eyes of others.

Shouldn’t she be happy at her success ? Hadn’t she performed excellently in her studies ? But the failure was big enough to overshadow what she had achieved. And the only option she could choose was death.

Why are we so obsessed with results ? And successful results at that ? We just don’t seem to have the ability to use failures as motivation for future success. In fact, we are absolutely intolerant to failure. Be that our own failures or those of others. We are never ready to put it behind and move forward. We are dead scared of failures… !!!

What if that girl could have got into a not-so-reputed college, studied hard enough to become something even better than her ‘competitors’ studying in the reputed colleges ? Wouldn’t that have been a sweet and satisfying success ?

But as I said, we want to be successful enough to stay level with others, but we cannot accept a failure which could be a stepping stone to move ahead of them.

*** To be continued... ***

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Decision or Emotion...

Recently, I saw the movie ‘Love Aaj Kal’. Though I’m not a big fan of any new Hindi movies, but since Kaddu had suggested me to give it a look, and also because it was one of those nights when sleep was nowhere in sight, I decided to… well… give it a look.

There are movies which entertain you right throughout. And then there are movies which portray reality. But then there are a few which, while portraying reality, also try to send across a message. Most often, it is a rather concealed message which only those with ample understanding capabilities can actually take out after watching that movie. This was one such movie.

I don’t intend this post to be a spoiler for all those who haven’t yet watched ‘Love Aaj Kal’. So, I’ll not go into the plot and surely not discuss the end. But I’ll just share what I felt after watching it.

The movie aptly depicts how the present generation of youngsters treats love. If you look around yourself, you will see people running helter-skelter in pursuit of their careers. Something, which is actually quite good both for an individual and for the society in which he or she lives. But it is when people complicate things by bringing love or relationships in between their career goals, that the problems start.

In fact, what I don’t understand is, whether people are in search of love or in search of a relationship in their lives. Personally, I’ve started to feel that there is a difference between the two.

A person always tries to achieve all the requirements of a successful life. It begins with acquiring the best of education, leading to a job which earns him a handful more than that’s required for a luxurious life. I guess that should be satisfying enough for anyone who intends to be successful. But somewhere I feel that in today’s times, people consider themselves to be successful by not what they have achieved, but by what others think that they have achieved.

I guess I’m drifting from the topic here. But coming back to it, a relationship is now just another necessity people tend to add to their achievements. Just like a car is a necessity for a working person in today’s times, so is a relationship. People, more than anything, need to be known to be going around with someone. But just as a person cannot take his car along with him or her if he shifts to another country, similarly does he act in case of relationships.

And that is what this movie, 'Love Aaj Kal' portrays very well, that for today’s youth, long-distance relationships don’t work. So, as a person is happy to sell off his old car before shifting to a new place for better work options, he is equally happy to break off his or her relationship too. Even to the extent of throwing a break-up party… !!!

I agree to the fact that people have their own career dreams. Some are nurtured right from childhood. But should the pursuit of a dream be such that it doesn’t even care about the most important people in one’s own life ?? In other words, can a dream career/fame/big pay-package take preference over love in one’s life ?

It can’t… ! And if it does, it is not love. It is just a relationship. Because love can never be a hindrance to any dream. In fact, it is a great motivating factor towards any achievement a person dreams of. One can break-up a relationship. But one can never break-up love.

People tend to show that they have different priorities. For them their career dreams are above anything else. Even love. But personally, I feel that such people have never loved. How can job/money/fame be more important than a soul mate ??

And that is probably what this movie portrays about love aaj-kal. The youngsters of today are confusing love with relationships. They consider a relationship to be an essential part of their success in life. And for that, they use their brains in the matters of the heart.

But what they don’t understand is, if it’s really love, there is no amount of thinking the brain can do to get matters straight. It is only the heart that can.

Sometime back I read a quotation somewhere which said, “Love is a decision, not an emotion.”

But personally, I always feel that...

‘Love is a wonderful emotion; it can never be a decision.’

Those of you who find it tough to manage their ‘relationship’ (long-distance or otherwise), along with working hard in pursuit of your career dreams should surely watch this movie.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Being an Indian Girl...

You know what… I sometimes wonder how special would Indian girls feel. To be playing the role of a mother, daughter, sister and getting all the admiration that is showered on them.

But when, sometimes, I imagine, what if I was born as a girl in India…. I’m scared to the limits of my soul… !!! Makes my hair stand on end… !! Why ???

Ok. I’ll tell you about a real Indian girl whom I know.

This girl, is as simple as they come. She had always been the sincere daughter as was expected of her. Never ever asked anything for herself. Was always truthful to her parents. Studied hard to become a doctor. Kept studying hard to qualify for higher studies. When suddenly…….

She fell for a guy.

Someone, two years her senior. Someone, who really cared for her. Someone, who reciprocated her feelings in just the same way. Someone, who made her smile even through tough working hours. Someone, who made her feel really special. Someone, who fell for her just in the same way as she had for him.

So, where’s the problem ? It’s going perfectly fine, just like a fairytale, you would say….

Religion it is…. Now you realize this fairytale is Indian…. Don’t you ??

As per her nature, this girl didn’t want to hide her feelings from her family.

You must already be expecting what’s coming round the corner by now….

The bomb had been dropped…. !!! Sacrilege…. !!! Matter of life and death. No…. !!! It’s even more than just life and death. It’s about religion…. And respect….

Obviously, she was greeted with stern disapproval. An outright NO from her brother and mother. They didn’t have the heart to inform her father.

And then begins the tormenting. The increased commotion to find a ‘suitable’ match for her as soon as possible.

This girl, who hadn’t so much as had a proper conversation with any guy all her college life just because her family wouldn’t like it (Yes…. It’s true), gets constantly pestered by the same family now to talk on the phone or even meet total strangers, one of whom would be her ‘match’.

And as she refuses or even hesitates, the mother gets hysterical, stops eating, continues crying and using these as handy emotional blackmailing tools. While the brother tries to gather any cooked up shortcomings of her love-interest and threatens him of dire consequences.

The family are ready to stop at nothing. Even if it means stopping her from pursuing her studies altogether.

Why ?? Because she has let them down…. !

If I may ask,…. How has she let them down ? Is it by being a sincere, honest and selfless daughter all her life ? Or has she let them down by proving her merit in studies ? She could have gone and got married behind their backs. But she chose to tell her family the truth. Yes, she let them down.

If I may ask,…. Is the guy she chose unsuitable ?
Is he illiterate? NO.
Is he uneducated ? NO. Most highly educated.
Is he unemployed ? NO. And with a bright future indeed.
Is he a criminal ? ABSOLUTELY NOT.
Is he indecent/manner less ? ABSOLUTELY NOT.
Does he indulge in bad habits ? Never drinks. Never smokes. (A rare virtue in doctors these days…. Believe me)
And he has utmost respect for elders and Indian traditions.

So, does being from a different religion over-shadows all other virtues ???

Or does religion or caste decide the real marital happiness ???

And today, I hear the most ridiculous thing of it all. While pressurizing her yet again her mother said something which was…. “I’ve kept you in my womb for nine months. Consider that as a debt. I beg you to repay me that debt now by ending your relationship.”

Is that why parents have kids ?? So they can demand the payment of their ‘debts’ at the expense of their kids’ happiness just to fulfill their unreasonable demands and the desire of a fake respect in the society… ?? The society, that is nowhere to be seen after the wedding dinner is over.

Should all the acts in life and results of relationships be assessed just by the decision of marriage ? Shouldn’t a girl be allowed to choose her own life-partner ?? Should she accept to be tied to a complete stranger who assumes that he owns her ?? Should she be even a bit considerate for parents who feel as if they’ve obliged her by bringing her into the world even though she is a girl ??

It boggles the mind….

But I do sincerely hope and pray to God, that, better sense may prevail and this girl must not face the fate so many other Indian girls face everyday.

And I also hope that more and more Indian girls stand up for not just their rights, but also for their dreams and aspirations.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Thank You GOD !!!

Just a few of the reasons that make my life so so wonderful…….

The time when we first went for a bite… And I ended up spending my last penny for your insatiable wish for chocolates…

The way you would search for me, when you needed company… And the way I would accompany you to accomplish those difficult tasks…

The way you would listen to my heart’s call… Even when we were far apart… And call me up… Instantly… To make my day…

The times when you would snatch my papers… As I would fumble with them, dropping them around… And put everything right in order, to keep safely with you…

Those midnight calls… When I would listen while you wept… Ready to absorb all you worries, and sadness… And that feeling of satisfaction when you would laugh in the end…

The ways in which I would tease you… Without fail… And you would run around chasing me… And I would let you catch me eventually…. While you would punch me in the arm as hard as you could… That wonderful pain which would make me laugh so much…

The things you would make me do… Which no one else in the world could… (Including making me eat ‘Black Dal’ which I hated for dear life...)

Those wake-up calls which you would make… To make me rise, and study… Without fail… Every day…

That tone of panic and sound of worry in your voice… When I was due for my eye-surgery… And the cute and funny ‘sms’… Which you would send to make me laugh and be at ease… Though you weren’t at ease at all…

The way we would fight… And you would go away… And how we would always make-up… Me with a sorry… You with a punch to my arm again…

Those priceless little gifts… Which you gave me… And which, I still don’t allow anyone to so much as touch…

Those long drives… With just the two of us… While you emptied all the sorrows of your heart… And then quietly listened to my advises…

That simply marvelous ‘curry’… That fabulous ‘Maggi’… That awesome ‘I-still-don’t-know-what’ that you made for me… And how I always ended up licking my fingers…

The way you would suggest something silly… And I would scold you… And eventually would run around to my wits end to try to please you…

The hours I would spend on the phone… Trying to put some sense in your mind…

The way you would scold me… For not eating properly… And then I would eat…

Those little things… Some difficult things… Which I would go any lengths to do for you… Just to see that smile on your face…

That power you had… To make me accompany you inside a girls shop… Thoroughly enjoying the embarrassment I felt…

The way you would clutch my hand… When we would cross a road…

That time, sitting on the steps… Together… Amidst drops raining from dark clouds down the walls… And tears raining from your eyes down your cheeks…

That moment when I faced a loaded gun… Aimed at me… Just to get to meet you…

Those achievements of yours… Which always made me so proud…

The deepest secrets… Which I only shared with you… Those chapters of my life… Which no one else knows about…

Those sleepless nights… I’ve spent worrying about you… Hoping that you slept peacefully…

The sheer cuteness of it… When you called me up two hours before midnight… On my Birthday… To be the first one to wish me… (And then realized that in all the excitement to wish me, you had miscalculated the date and were a day before…)

The way you would always know… When there was something troubling me… And really pester me till I confessed it to you… (And the cute helplessness you had on your face if the problem would be beyond your powers of fixing… But you tried all the same...)

The fact I always knew… That you are always there… Just a call away… Whenever I need your support…

The inspiration of never giving-up… Which just your remembrance brings to me… Whenever I feel down in the dumps…

The way you made me laugh…

The way you made me cry…

The way you made me smile… And still do…

The million goose-bumps I had… When you tied that thread around my wrist… Giving me the happiness I never had felt before…

And the way… You still pester me like anything… To get you a ‘Bhabhi’

I could go on for ever… But for the mist in my eyes… Just like every time I miss you so much… Not my fault though… Because my emotions for you… Tend to escape through the eyes…

I miss you Dearest Sis

For the fact that you are so far away… Though you are still in my heart… And will be…. For always…

*** Dedicated to my sisters with whom I was not lucky enough to be born in the same family… But feel like the luckiest person to have found them en-route my journey of life… ***

Thank you God !!!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A Celestial Marvel !

It’s not often that you find me wide awake in the early hours of the morning. It only happens if I have to catch some early-morning train. Or for an all important match on the telly. Maybe even during exam days. But otherwise, catching me in the best of form when the sun is just about up is as nearly rare, if not equally, compared to a solar eclipse. And that was exactly what got me up and about today morning. I’m just back after witnessing another one of the numerous celestial events that I’m so crazy about. This time it was a total solar eclipse yet again.

After all the hype and drama on the countless news channels that we are now almost used to, the day finally arrived. I was actually waiting for it for some days now. And so, I made it a point to set an alarm to go off at five in the morning (which is usually comparable to midnight according to my biological clock).

I instantly tuned into a couple of news channels for the updates on my laptop. The countdown on NDTV showed 14:35 minutes. So, I just moved out onto the terrace to check if the sun was out yet. And more importantly, if there were any clouds around which would greatly upset my plans.
Thankfully, there wasn’t even a single cloud in sight (which wouldn’t have been a welcome sight on any other day in these times of badly needed rains) but neither was the sun. So, that gave me time to get my cameras ready.

Well, I am as much an admirer of simplicity as of advanced technology. So, I had both a pin-hole camera along with a digital camera ready for the event. I don’t know if you have ever experienced it, but the old and simplest of gadgets which are based on basic scientific principles provide the best results. And a pin-hole camera is a great example.

The countdown had reached to four minutes or so when I suddenly heard something in the form of a commotion outside. It appeared as if all the crows from the neighborhood accompanied by all their visiting relatives had all of a sudden decided that their vocal sacs (birds lack vocal cords) needed some urgent exercise. My first reaction was the thought that the horde of the hooligan monkeys was back to cause nuisance. But as I looked out to check, there were none.

And then I observed that the birds, which had woken up on time and were out on work as efficiently as ever, had realized that something was unusual. They couldn’t actually decide if really it was once again the time to get back home so soon. Maybe they were so panicky, they were shouting at each other to decide on to what action needed to be taken.

The sun by this time was up enough to be seen above the houses around ours. Here’s how it looked like as it emerged from behind the buildings.

The sun appearing from behind the buildings !As I checked the news again, it was already eclipsed to about a quarter in Guwahati. And so I positioned the pin-hole camera and observed the image. It was already cut to almost half. To my amazement, I could see some people in the neighborhood. Two people on their respective terraces (one of whom was sort of busy in the daily routine of exercises), the newspaperwalla throwing those rolled newspapers onto balconies and over gates, and a man walking (maybe on his morning walk) on the road. This was very much in contrast to the last time we had a total solar eclipse way back in 1995 (or was it 1996 ??) when I was the only one on my terrace around a neighborhood that looked as if put under curfew.

But I couldn’t see any of the stray dogs which are otherwise always around our street and more so around our house (as I often give them something to bite). Almost all of the birds had vanished. Except for the three brown fakhtas (country doves) sitting on the power cables which were still so confused to decide whether to return or not.

The sunlight was feeble by now. Just as it is at the time of sunset, but it felt very different. The pin-hole camera was showing the sun in almost a crescent.

Image from the pin-hole cameraI tried taking pictures of the sun with the digital camera. But it was still bright enough to glare, refusing to be caught being eclipsed by the moon on cam. Luckily, a few of the snaps caught an added reflection of the eclipsed sun besides the bright glare.

Too much glare even from the crescent !
Wide angle shotAlmost totally eclipsed ! In almost within a minute or two, the sun was a mere crescent. Just as the moon appears on Eid.

The acute crescent in the pin-hole camera
Getting out of the eclipse ! I checked the news again. The channels were showing pictures of the total eclipse as seen in parts of China and many cities in India. But what was so irritating was the emphasis on the astrological aspect of it (if there really is one). There were those big fat jyotishis sitting almost on each news channel and blabbering about the things not to do on the day of the eclipse. Also adding about the ways one can escape the ‘wrath’ of the eclipse.

More than showing the actual visuals of the eclipse, they were happy to provide those where people had gathered to take a dip in the holy waters, to pray, to donate food, clothes, even cows…. !!! Even for once, they didn’t talk about what new studies the scientists were planning to carry out during this eclipse. So I shifted my attention to NASA’s official eclipse website.

By then, the light had started to get normal once again, and some of the birds had started to appear too. The crow which now sat on the edge of my terrace was giving a look to his partner as if saying, “I told you so….”

Thursday, July 9, 2009

God's gift to the world !

I was just wondering about the things about which we feel ourselves being extremely lucky to have been able to experience during our lifetimes. Things which we consider as God’s gift to us. Well, such things would surely differ from person to person. Although there are things which may be common to some people. Also, there may be some those are common to a whole country. But is there something that’s common to all of the human race, (well,…. almost) across borders and continents.

A simple answer would be music. Of course, music is not limited to certain parts or people. But, it connects people across the world.

And no one did that better than a certain Michael Jackson.

I wonder if there has been someone more popular than him around the world ever. Ok, at times for the wrong reasons rather than the right ones. But yes, he was ‘well known’. And so was his music. (well, you surely can’t have unbelievably huge crowds all around the world for concerts just for nothing !)

Wikipedia describes him as a recording artist, entertainer and businessman. (not as a singer/musician/dancer strangely) And an entertainer he was. In the truest sense. I wouldn’t consider him as a successful businessman though, having been in no less than about 500 million dollars in debt (if you would consider money as the basis for his business)

I first came to know about his existence sometime back in 1986-87. It was an audio cassette titled ‘Thriller’ that was presented to me by my friend Akshay on my birthday. I was rather fascinated by the image of the slim young man holding a cub that was on the cover of that ‘Billboard’ cassette.

And strangely, that gift coincided with my getting my first ‘walkman’. It was as if, destiny had planned well to introduce me to something that would be with me for ever. And for the next few months, I would listen to the cassette at least twice daily (the ‘Thriller’ track more than five times every day).

In the next summer, after a hard day’s cricket (we were in the middle of our summer holidays, of course) Akki suggested we watch the ‘Making of Thriller’ on tv (those were the days of the video cassettes) as he had rented the same from a library.

And I was mesmerized…. To put it lightly.

There was something…. something special in the way he presented the dance (if it was really a sort of dance) that I was hooked. And I hadn’t even seen any of his other videos. So, when he came out with ‘Black or white’, I would never lose a chance to catch it on tv.

Once again in 1995, I was presented his ‘Dangerous’ on an audio cassette (on my birthday as usual) and as expected, I couldn’t stop listening to it.

And then began all those controversies about him which would be obvious for any celebrity even of a level much less than his stature. But I didn’t get to hear or know much about all those except from the newspapers mainly because I had myself busy in rather important decisions of my life but also because I didn’t care.

As I found on the internet, “Jackson donated and raised more than 300 million dollars for beneficial causes through his Heal the World Foundation, charity singles, and support of 39 charities.” Making a sort of record in itself too. But even in his music, he had messages for everyone. ‘Black or white’, ‘Heal the world’ and the ‘Earth song’ were a few to mention. In fact, the ‘Earth song’ is considered to be an anthem rather than just a song. No wonder people were after his life.

He changed a lot in appearance. In fact, he had completely changed from those times of ‘Thriller’ and ‘Billie Jean’, but still, was special.

And suddenly, we heard of his passing away. I didn’t know how to react to it. So, I decided not to. But I was tempted to type in his name on ‘Youtube’ to check what I get. I had barely typed M, and I when it showed up results related to MJ. Maybe because of the increased traffic searching for videos about him since his death. There were some of his music videos, his interviews, personal compilations and some from his concerts around the world.

As I started watching one video after another, I realized why he was so special. Here is one such excerpt from his 30th Anniversary concert in New York in 2001.

And I watched on. From Munich, to Bucharest, to Kuala Lumpur, to Mumbai, to London, to the magnificent ‘Superbowl’….

Yesterday, I was showing my friend some of MJ’s music videos that have been in my collection since the time I had started downloading from the internet. And as expected, he reacted in just the way someone who hadn’t seen MJ perform before would. So, before long, he was wishing if he could see more. And so, I shared some of the amazing videos I had ‘favourited’ on ‘Youtube’.

As far as I gather from whatever I have seen and known of him, he was humble. Not full of that typical arrogance those so called famous artists carry. Tell me, which performer would allow his fans to come on stage and hug him right in the middle of the show. I doubt if any of them would risk it. But MJ did. And was always graceful.

We were soon onto a discussion about whether he was really special after watching seas of fanatical fans in each of his concerts (my friend hadn’t seen people crying and getting unconscious, being taken away on stretchers right in the middle of the songs too). So, we decided to check on the concerts of some of the other famous artists for the sake of comparison.

I wouldn’t name the other artists on whom we checked as people might have different preferences. But our instant reaction after watching those was…. Its not the same. 'Dry' was the word we both used in comparison to those by MJ. I can’t and wont say that he was a better singer, or dancer than other famous artists, or that his music was better, but surely he was the best entertainer. The best ever.

But still, there was a sense of loneliness about him. You could feel it if you ever followed him and his life. But he always smiled (at least that’s how I always saw him). I don’t know what people may think about him. Maybe I don’t even care. But for me, he provided the magic which would take me into some other world (even if for those few minutes) away from all the thoughts troubling my mind. And maybe that’s what he did for people around the world.

As for now, I’m obsessed with ‘Blood on the dance floor’ and ‘You rock my world’ which I have been watching regularly at least five times daily for the past week or so. And I will remain so till some other of his videos/songs catch me. They keep changing time after time. But, for me, Michael Jackson was and will always be God’s gift to the world…. always !

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The importance of waiting...

Sleep usually evades me in the early hours past midnight. And last night wasn’t any different. So, I got hold of a movie called ‘The Lake House’.

A few minutes into the movie, and I had started to lose it a bit. Not because the sound quality was bad or anything, but I couldn’t really grasp what exactly was going on. So I ‘Googled’ for the English subtitles and played it over again.

And before long, I was right there, being totally involved in the proceedings.

For those of you who haven’t yet watched ‘The Lake House’, I’ll just provide a brief introduction to what it’s about.

Kate (Sandra Bullock) is a doctor who has just vacated a small but beautiful house built on the lake-side. Unsure about whether the post office would take care of her changed address, she writes a letter to the new occupant of the house requesting him to forward any mails that are delivered for her. This new occupant is Alex (Keanu Reeves) who is an architect and is looking for some peace and seclusion.

In her letter Kate apologizes about the dog paw-prints at the front door and clarifies that they were there even before she had arrived. And also mentions a box in the attic. But, to Alex’s surprise, there are no paw-prints by the front door. Neither is any box in the attic. So he writes back to her suggesting a probable mistake in the address. And she replies back being absolutely sure about the details and also reminding him about the mistake he made in the date in his letter. It’s supposed to be the year 2006 rather than 2004 which he had mentioned.

But Alex is as sure of it being 2004 as she is of it being 2006. And they have proofs to back it up too. And before long, Alex finds a dog appearing out of nowhere from the woods and running into he house, making his paw-prints.

Yes, they are actually living apart not in distance, but in time… !

Not really believing that such a thing could happen, Alex goes to the address Kate had written in her letter. But only to find an under-construction site where she supposedly resides in the present.

After being somewhat convinced that neither of the two is playing a game with the other, she provides him with the events that had occurred in 2004 which he finds actually happening. And most amazingly, they happen to be having the same dog called Jack with them.

And one day, while returning from work, Jack the dog runs off with Alex behind him. And Alex ends up finding him at a house where there is a party being organized. And to his surprise, the party is called by Kate’s boyfriend to celebrate her birthday. Alex attends the party, meets Kate, they get close, but he isn’t able to tell her who he is. Because he knows her from her future. Maybe she would consider him being crazy.

With each letter they exchange, they get closer to each other. They try their best to meet up. But they cannot…. Because they are living in different times.

It seems obvious that Alex would have to wait for two years before he can try to meet Kate. But the wait seems to be just too much for either of them to go through.

And so, losing all hope that they would ever be able to meet, Kate tells Alex to stop writing to her. And she decides to marry her boyfriend with whom she had broken up after the birthday party. Alex has no option but to accept it too. But there are still some twists in the tale.

Though it is obviously something that is impractical, still the movie captivates the viewer. A story, that would leave you trying to reason with the happenings at many occasions. I found myself working out the way which would enable them to meet even though living times apart. And more often than not, the movie itself pointed out a flaw in each of my solutions.

One important message that the movie brings out very well is the importance to wait.

People everywhere seem to be ever so ready to jump aboard the 'train of life'. We just want to get to somewhere without even waiting to analyze if that is where we intend to reach. In other words, we just want to get our lives going. And almost nothing that we leave back seems to matter. (for the time being, that is…)
Whenever we reach a hurdle in life, we are prepared to change our course and take an easier path. Take for example, relationships. Whenever we tend to reach a difficult bend in the path, we would rather end it then and there and ‘get a move on in life’. But we don’t want to wait. We are neither ready to give time to the other person, nor to our own selves.

I wonder how people can be so impatient to find a soul-mate. Ok. Agreed that it is absolutely reasonable to get impatient finding that ‘special one’. And even more so for those who haven’t yet found theirs. But how can someone, who ‘supposedly’ is in a relationship, be so impatient to couple up that he/she is ready to end it all, only to move on with someone else at the onset of difficult times… ???

The beauty of relationships (or life in general…) lies in the sense of success one has after weathering the storms and achieving all that he or she actually wants. Rather than opting out the easy way and compromising their desires for an easy life all along. But, of course, waiting is never the easy way out….

I guess we all just believe in spending our lives, rather than living it. But in order to live life in the true sense, one has to be patient. One has to wait.......


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