Thursday, November 27, 2008

Raindrops

I wake up to mom warning my sister she’d not wake her up again and that she was already late for school. My eyes are screaming to stay shut, while my feet drag themselves lazily to the wash basin. The gloomy weather outside only furthers the temptation to go back to bed. A coffee and a bath later, I’m all set for the day. I walk down to the gate only to realize I can’t walk further. The road is completely inundated, and there’s no way I’m spoiling my shoes walking in the dirty water.

“No school today!”, mom announces and I wake up with a jolt. Genuine happiness or relief or whatever emotion you may choose to call it, surges through me, in perfect harmony with the steady sound of the pouring Bombay rain. Here comes Complan! As I savour the newly introduced coffee flavoured drink, I switch on the television. What better way to start a day than sip your favourite drink watching Atom Ant and Secret Squirrel! The “new millennium” being around the corner is the buzzword everywhere, and I haven’t found it immature yet to stop watching Cartoon Network. I don’t think I will ever.

The railway station is a hundred meters away, yet I will never make it without my socks getting completely soaked. Wet socks and air-conditioning (they make sure its on at all the wrong times) make a deadly combination. The last thing I want is turning the routine fake smiles into genuine twitches of disgust. Ten bucks to an auto driver and I am at the moderately long queue, waiting to buy my return ticket. And today is one of those rare occasions in a human being’s life… I haven’t taken my mobile phone with me.

It’s been just a week since the new cycle came. My excitement hasn’t yet died down, and after about half an hour of cartoons, I put on my raincoat and step outside. Mom’s repeated “be careful”s are kind of irritating, but she’s only concerned. The sound of big rain drops hitting the rain-cap is music to my ears. I get on my cycle and pedal fast, the raindrops hitting me with more force the faster I pedal. The road’s more or less empty and I sing out loud even as I realize there wouldn’t be a point trying to slow down, and that even if I did, there was no way the brakes would cooperate. I’m singing louder. I smile.

I buy a newspaper for company. Half an hour of travel in a relatively empty train without a mobile phone can be mentally distressing. The train arrives. I board, get a window seat, the side where water wouldn’t spray even if it rained outside. Half an hour in that seat, ten minutes of reading the newspaper and twenty minutes of getting bored of the newspaper, sitting idle, and the journey itself. Twenty minutes I could’ve used thinking of something constructive, maybe a poem, maybe philosophizing where life was heading, maybe asking myself questions about the things that needed attention in life. None. I spend twenty minutes thinking about absolutely nothing. I know it’s impossible to think about nothing, but a bunch of incoherent random thoughts amounts to more or less the same. I get down and get to office, something routine, the only change today being, I hold an umbrella over my head all the way.

I stop pedaling, and eventually come to a halt. I remove my raincoat, for it makes no sense anyway in this downpour. Might as well get completely drenched for I haven’t taken bath yet. Cycling without a raincoat is a far better experience, for I can pedal faster, I feel lighter, and its way more thrilling! And now I have a friend for company too. He’s bunked school, while I wonder how his school even thought of working today. Today isn’t the day to talk about Lucky Ali’s latest song or the World Cup that’s just ended. It’s time to race in the rain!!

I’m sipping coffee two hours into work. The coffee isn't quite the same as what mom makes. But it’s at least better than having none at all. The rain hasn’t let up yet. I watch through the glass window, five floors below, a kid on the road chasing another. There are smiles on their faces, and I’m sure laughter too, though I can’t hear it from where I am. Rain drops create blurred moulds on the window glass, cleaning it of any dirt there might be as they drip. I wish it rained on the mind too…cleansing it of dirt, confusion and every speck of negativity, making it clear and transparent as the window glass. The air conditioning is on, and it’s cold. I wonder if it’s as cool outside too. I would have to go outside to find out. And there’s work…

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Super Whiner!

Scene 1:

Buzz!! He sees the green light. He is excited. The jugdes say something about his rendition being good. All he cares about is he's through to the next round.

Happily gets his green colored certificate (they call it ticket, he learns later), and rushes out of the make-shift room with black cloth walls, waiting to announce his victory to his friends and foklks at home.

"Sir sir, konjam nillunga..pinnaadi ponga sir… thiruppi athe maathiri excited a odi vaanga sir, camera la seriya edukkala ungala"

Scene 2:

He goes onstage again. Notices one of the judges is kinda cute.

"Neenga romba cute a nadanthu vantheenga. Enna paada poreenga?" (Murphy's law had to work!! The other nowhere-close-to-cute judge speaks)

He's tempted to say "shoe la mannu pugunthuruchu athaan…"

Song 1: Buzz!! The disc on which he's standing glows the kind of green he associates disticntly with this look one of his schoolmates used to give him when he scored a mark or two higher than the latter.

"Romba nalla paadineenga. Nejamaave gramathula irukkara oru feeling… … …"

Song 2: "Uyire…uyire…" He knows he's offkey, and desperately wants to spit out that irritating whatever in his throat, but what with cameras around (oh he feels like a star doesn't he!), the SHOW MUST GO ON"…
Buzz!! Red.

"You have been waitlisted"

Scene 3:

She watches in eager anticipation, as they've shown her brother in the initial rushes of the episode!! He's sitting right next to her. Mom's gone out.

"Hey nee da!!"

"Enna paada poreenga?" asks the judge.

Wait a minute! Did she just hear the judge say the word "cute"? She was beginning to giggle looking at the constipated reaction her brother gave on television.

"Uyire…" Buzz. Red.


Scene 4:

"Enna machi red light adishtaanga!! Select aitta nu sonnai!"

"Ama da, select aitten. Waitlist aanen. First song ku green buzzer, athu tv la podala"

"Etho solra po…"

"Dei nejama da!" :-(

Scene 5:

"Amma sodhapittaa maa"

"Athukku thaan sonnen intha super whiner , lottu losku laam vendaam nu. Ozhungu mariyathaiya mela padikkara vazhiaya paaru. Thuni machine la poda sonnen illa…"

Meanwhile on tv: Ivanga irandu perum sagotharargal. Oruthar select aagi vittar, ivar aavara?? Break.

Subject is in a high state of embarrassment, with consolation msgs and calls coming up, despite his replying that he's thru to the next and the next round"


And they call this reality television!!! :-(

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Sunday Afternoon

It tasted tangy with just the right amount of sweetness. Wiping beads of sweat that trickled down his forehead, the little boy sat down on one of the stone benches along the pavement. The sun was beating down hard, and glass of the lemon sharbat he was selling, was refreshing. Business had been good today. Cricket fever had quite a few Marina beach regulars battling it out in the heat. And their battle was his victory. Someday I'll set up a shop here...with a/c... And then open a branch in Beasant Nagar beach too... if only father worked... i wouldn't have to wait so long... its so hot! I'll have another glass of juice...just one more...after all business has been good today.

*************




He felt totally out of place here. Yes she was a good friend, and the ones with her were pretty friendly too. But 40 bucks for a hot coffee??!! (the cold ones were way too costly for his conscience) ! This wasn't exactly what he had in mind when she invited him to "hang out" with her gang...its just once... and i need friends... when in Rome... The coffee arrived. It wasn't as hot as the filter coffee he woke up to every morning. It had some foam floating on it. He couldn't help noticing the dark mound of chocolate, whipped cream and ice-cream floating on a glass of what looked like ice-cold Boost, even as one of the guys in the group dug into it with a long spoon. Someday when i'm earning, i'll celebrate my birthday here... The conversation went from IPL to plans for the next weekend. They asked him if he was free. They were going for a movie.
"Oh no i might go out of town with parents..."

*************



One of the few days when he had absolutely nothing to do. The recording was over and the next big thing on his schedule, was an award function the following friday. He had switched off the lights in the room, the only illumination coming from the dots of blue and green on the mixing console. Reclining on one of the bean bags that littered his studio, which was his home as well, he closed his eyes. For a moment, his mind went blank. And then thought by thought came trickling in. The first time his fingers touched the keyboard... his father smiling at him from the recording booth after he had just finished playing a Bach piece during one of the breaks... that was all he remembered of his father... his mentor scolding him for turning up late, threatening to chuck him out of the job... coming back home to learn that his sister had won a competition in school... the big show... the pilgrimage... the film offer... the international recognition..
. he said a silent prayer, even as a solitary tear made its way down his cheek...
"Daddy daddy I'm able to play twinkle twinkle little star on this keyboard! You want to hear it??"

*************



She sat in the air-conditioned hall, switching between TV channels aimlessly. This time next year she would be in the U.S. Happily settled , away from the madness that was here. Away from all this heat! So what if it was going to be the same monotony of writing code? She'd at least be writing code in a country she always thought she should've been born in. A country which was worth living life in. She'd have the luxuries she had always grown up with, and more! And a companion to share them with too! Life couldn't be better.
If only this summer ended soon...


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The recent past...

Been quite some time since I've updated the blog. Speaking of time, or the times rather, they've been pretty testing haven't they? But of course, an automation tester IS expected to spend his time testing… but little do we realize that in the long run, it's time that tests!!! :-)


Quite a lot of things have happened lately. Deliverables, deadlines, pressure…continuous practice during weekends for a show by Euphony, which culminated in some 8 lakhs being raised for charity… And even as the slogging continued the next week, there was news of a cyclone killing thousands in Myanmar… yesterday an earthquake killed another few thousands in China…


Its convenient to have news coming to your desktop. Keeps you updated on whats happening around. So when something like an earthquake hitting china pops up on the Reuters' webpage, with a pic or two showing the debris around, it takes your mind off the stress of work, and helps you relax with an sympathetic nod and if you are weakhearted enough, a "tch tch tch" maybe.
But on questioning myself, I realize there's really nothing more I could possible do than sympathize with the victims. Am I supposed to feel bad all day and shed tears? I wouldn't try faking.

It all boils down to this- unless you matter to somebody, you are not given a damn about! And vice versa… its not cold-heartedness. Its human nature. I'd rather spend time hanging out with people I love, and try finishing off work in time, so that I can leave on time, than spend time discussing the earthquake. But even as I say this, I realize I've been blogging about this very earthquake all this time, and you're probably calling me hypocrite(and it also dawns on me this moment, that I'm not giving enough importance to the cyclone, which infact was the bigger killer! Its just that I'm lazy to mention both everytime :-P )!


What sense does this post make? I don't know! I don't care! There are a lot of things that don't make sense, yet we live with them! And for Francois Truffaut's sake, its my freakin life, and my freakin blog!! I write what I want to!!

Monday, January 28, 2008

The block...

I've always been told to try my hand at writing. Its another thing that I have one of the most illegible handwritings you would've ever seen. But hey, I don't have to worry about that now. I get to legally use someone else's version of the alphabets, standardized into what we call fonts. Not to sound archaic, I have been using these for pretty long, filling up an insignificant speck of cyberspace allotted to me "free of cost" under the name of blogs.

To say I'm suffering from a writer's block would be gross injustice to the word "writer", but lets just say my gray cells aren't gray enough to help me put thoughts into words, and words into bytes. These days I find myself in front of the computer screen during most of my waking hours, apart from the multitude of "activities" such as eating, drinking coffee, traveling back home, eating, drinking tea, traveling to work etc, that keep me occupied. Isn't that what we are meant to do? Work, feed our families, keep our loved ones happy, keep ourselves happy, and lead a successful life??

Of course isn’t it impossible that our families aren't happy because we aren't spending enough time with them, that we are living to work rather than working to live, and that we make ourselves believe we are successful and happy, and that this is what we must be doing, since there are so many others around us who are doing the same thing!

Life was a lot better when we were kids wasn’t it?? I bet every twenty-plus nobody’s felt that way at some point of time or the other. Those who haven’t, are the lucky ones living in their own worlds, in mental asylums around the world. As for the rest of us, the make-believers as I like to call the lot, all we can do is coin terms such as “mature”, “sane”, “responsible” and the likes and take pride in calling ourselves and each other by these names. But we still like to wish we were kids again…

Childhood, where all the brain had to do was think about how you could ride that cotton candy cloud wherever you wanted to go, pick up friends on the way, sing that catchy rhyme, and ride into the sunset. When the most serious problem in life was finishing off that chocolate bar before your friend did, so you’d still have some left while he didn’t! When fights were resolved by a simple complaint to the parents, and a “sorry” which nobody meant, but still made things easier! When lying was a crime and poems had rhyme (couldn’t resist that one) !

When we were kids, we weren’t unspoilt. Some of us were pampered with more that what we asked for, some of us lacked manners, and some of us were spoiled by being confined to our homes doing homework. But we were definitely happier… for the sheer ignorance of what lay ahead for us in life, was bliss! Responsibility was a word beyond comprehension, and proverbs were things that would come true by repeating in chorus ten times!

My gray cells are still not gray enough, and the way it looks, my hair cells are going to beat them to it! This write up has already started sounding like just another of those forwards doing the rounds in offices! Forwards…about the only things that remind us there is a world outside of our cubicles, and that for some of us, it is that world which has life in it. A world in which our wishes and desires have been stacked away safely. A world where we could chase dreams and live them too!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

" In the spirit of the game "

Dear Mr.Ponting,

It was some spectacle watching you on the ground, captaining your "Champion" side! I used to loathe your game, and every time a commentator of mediocre cricketing intellect compared you with greats like Sachin Tendulkar, my blood used to boil. Having said that, I am no cricket expert, but I can certainly tell a player with technique, from one without any. Of course, there are a lot of other things I cannot distinguish between, like a player with "integrity" from a player without any. However, after yesterday's match, I have changed my opinion about you.In fact I have become a fan of yours!

This letter is to let you know that in these moments of elation and victory that you have just achieved, I completely empathize with you when people question you unnecessarily about irrelevant things, such as umpiring and behavior. For your conduct on and off field has taught me so many things in life that dad, religion and experience couldn't, a few of which I felt I should share with you and make you proud:

* The world is a dirty place, and you can’t expect it to be fair. When people call you a world champion, you represent the world, and since the world is unfair, why not be unfair? After all its in the “spirit of the game”

* Stand by your teammates no matter what. You know you’ve nicked it to slip, but won’t the non-striker feel lonely if you walk off? That too when you’re not sure whether the umpire is pointing at a kookaburra flying up there, or his actions have anything to do with the ball you just played…

* When you desire something from your heart, all the forces in the world will work towards helping you achieve it. Very true isn’t it Mr.Ponting? You desired to carry on your winning streak, and all the forces of cricket, the umpires, match referees, cricket boards… helped you achieve it!

* The grass always appears greener on the other side. Which is probably why people who saw the television replays think they saw more grass on the ball than fingers!

* Love thy enemy. Is it not in the interests of Harbhajan that you filed a complaint against him? Who else, but captain courageous, could exemplify good-manners! I can see your noble intentions in trying to reform him. That you seem to cower when he’s bowling (try a chucking allegation hear, Murali will testify) is an insignificant fact ain’t it??

* Be humanitarian. Of course someone who insults our ape ancestry, and hence our race, ought to be called racist!

*Always think twice before you speak. Had that reporter known that integrity is something you lack, he wouldn’t have questioned you about it. I can understand how it would’ve felt when someone “questions” something you don’t possess at all. There are a lot of other things I learnt, that I would love to share with you, but I do not wish to waste your valuable time. I understand you will need plenty of time to network with umpires, board members, statisticians, team mates, devise “winning tactics” (after all aren’t you the best captain in the world!), think of allegations to hoard on players who “trouble” your team, and ensure that your team plays in the “spirit of the game”.

Last but not least,

YOU MIGHT’VE WON 16 MATCHES, BUT YOU HAVE LOST THE GAME

With reverence,

R Vijaynarain

(a fan of the gentleman's game)