Monday, December 25, 2006

A Movie Year

As the year comes to an end, we often reflect back on what have been the specialties of the year gone. One of them, for me, has been the movies. Some excellent movies by Indian Film Industry and some Hollywood classics made this year truly memorable.
It started off with Rang De Basanti – which I would rate as the best Hindi movie I have ever seen. On similar lines was the very entertaining Lage raho Munna Bhai. If Munna Bhai MBBS made the word “bole to” and “jaadu ki jhappi” popular, it was “gandhigiri” this time around.
In the second half of the year, it was a series of literally different movies which I experienced. It started with Yun hota to kya hota which, unlike many, I enjoyed a lot. Then there was Pyar ke Side effects followed by the humourous Khosla ka Ghosla. This movie potrayed the real meaning of humour – based purely on situational comedy – it made me a real fan of Anupam Kher.
In addition to the Hindi movies, I also experienced a few English classics.
The first was Shawshank Redemption – an amazing movie – probably the best English movie I have seen. (2 of the bests of Hindi and English in one year!!) And more recently I have seen Schindler’s List, Million Dollar baby, Boys Don’t cry, Finding Neverland, Fight Club, Memento, Cinderella man.
Among this list I would say Schindler’s List was at the top. Simply amazing ‘true’ movie about a person who gave everything he had to save1100 lives during WW II. 1100 lives – think about it. The people who show bravery to save 1 life get a medal from president on 26th January and that person saved more than thousand. An amazing movie about an amazing person – I guess the best Steven Spielberg would have directed.
Fight Club – a Hindi movie of the same name was also made this year. After seeing that you want to kill the person who kept that name. The original one is a classic ranked 32 among the top 250 movies of all times. And I guess the Hindi fight club must rank 32 – from the bottom.
Memento is difficult to understand first time. It moves backward. Which means the last scene of the story is the first. And from there it moves backward. That is what you call really different movie.
With movies like Sin City, The Pianist, Hotel Rwanda, Reservoir Dogs, Confessions of a Dangerous mind lined up on my hard disk, I guess the year would end on a high as far as Movies are concerned.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Time Flies...

It was a weekend dedicated to cars. From Tokyo Drift to Gone in 60 Seconds(I hadn’t seen both of these) to NFS Most wanted. It was a strange feeling carrying my laptop to my cousin’s place. It was only a couple of years ago when I used to take my hard disk to their place to give them the latest songs, software, movies etc (of which my college hostel was one of the greatest source).
And this week end I again went to them, this time it was my turn to be the recipient and get some movies and games from them which incidentally are coming from the same hostel rooms, from which it used to come some years ago. It was an experience of coming far away in time. Something which we couldn’t have thought happening some years ago. Desktops and hanging hard disks replaced by sleek laptops and miniscule pen drives. There was a time when one of we five cousins would sit on my Pentium 1, playing PC-MAN, others shouting and cheering away. Yesterday, we connected our lappies with a LAN wire and slammed our cars against each other while racing for the top spot. It was a time to realize that times sure have changed. But one thing, which I guess has not. Having not played NFS for past 2 years, I thought I had gotten over it. But, when it is there on your comp, it is still very difficult to start your computer and resist the Need for Speed. So whereas on one hand I had the feeling of being carried away in time, NFS sort of balanced it out by taking back to the old times.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Celebrations @ Infy

It was 25 year celebration time at Infy, Chandigarh. The celebrations had started in a grand way at Mysore. And they have moved on across all DC’s. Chandigarh DC being a small DC, had been allocated a lesser budget.(May be even lesser than what we used to have in college annual functions). So where we had KK at Mysore, Shaan at Hyderabad, Sonu Nigam at Bangalore, it was lesser known Parikarma here. May be it was the main reason I and may be many others were not very excited about it. Still my friends and I were there on time to witness the celebrations. And it was a rare occasion where the Chief Guest, Mr. K. Dinesh, one of the founders of Infy, arrived before everybody else. It was real sad to see the event having been poorly organized. The stage was there only for the Parikarma. The other performers, who were instrumental in balancing the affect of poor organization, had to showcase themselves on the same ground level as audience. ‘Daris’ were put on at the last moment (in fact after the scheduled start time) and that too sporadically. I imagine, the performers, many of them who performed bare feet, must have had a real tough time in the freezing cold out there.
Another goof up happened, when the announcement was made about a Bhangra performance but the participants were no where to be seen. It was a goof up which can be a part of any big event such as these. But it brought forth a chink in the armor of the Anchors. The male anchor, seemingly poorly prepared was absolutely out of sorts and confused about what was happening all around. His female counterpart was, thankfully, a saving grace.
Things started improving once the performances started. The Bhangra which as the DC head also later pointed out is generally the last to be performed, rocked and made up for the awkward situation that had been created earlier. After the performances, it was time for some speeches by the DC Head and K. Dinesh. The small crowd was not interested in the stuff that was being said but Mr. Dinesh showed why he is there at the head of a colossal company. In few minutes he was able to catch the attention of the audience with his captivating stories which he and his colleagues had experienced on the journey to make Infy where it is now.
Parikarma followed after that to a rousing welcome but I guess they didn’t had the appeal to keep the audience in front of them. They belong to a particular genre of music that is rock and I guess that didn’t match with the taste of majority of the audience. We just had the appetite for 2 songs after which we went inside the food court to satisfy our other appetite. The food I must say was excellent, though we enjoyed it more because we were the first ones to start. The ones coming later had to stand in long queues which incidentally have become a standard in Infosys. The bad start was brightly and colorfully compensated at the end of the show. As all of us were heading were heading to our vehicles, the street lights suddenly went off and there was an extended display of fireworks lighting up the night sky – thus ending a rather average day with a feel good factor.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Bandh: is it a solution?

West Bengal is in news for some days now. Everyday the major news on every news channel involves happenings in the state. First it was Singur for which Mamta Banerjee, who I according to me seems like always on the edge of losing sanity, is still on hunger strike. There was a huge fracas at the Bengal assembly. Furniture was broken all over and the whole assembly literally ransacked. Infact, the assembly was made open to the public for next two days to show how shamefully our appointed leaders behave. But I don’t think these half minds have even an iota of guilt on their conscience. But this incident was nothing to what took place today.
The whole of West Bengal and Kerela was closed in lieu of a bandh. The fact that the strike was initiated by the ruling party, resulted in a colossal effect. As a hindi saying goes, not even a leaf fluttered in the two states. Everything from shops, govt and private offices to trains and even airlines were left useless. OK. The strike made national headlines. It will be all over newspapers tomorrow.
But then what? Most of the unemployed and below poverty line people for whom the strike was meant for, may be didn’t even know what it was all about. They will be the first ones to forget the strike and get on with the struggles of their lives. But still it is good that leaders are concerned about the condition of the people which need attention. Strikes have always been an essential part of a protest and making a point. It was the major tool for getting independence. But the difference was that it had the whole hearted support of the whole nation. But now it is forced upon most of the people. To an average person like me, such bandhs give an impression of just gaining political mileage. How many times have we heard of such a strike being effective? Will some thing be done for the upliftment of poor people or unemployment? It is the same state govt which is not very enthusiastic about allowing IT companies and Outsourcing coming to them.
Then is not hypocrisy, what has happened today. The CPI leader was of the view that 1 such strike will not scare away the investors from the state. He may be correct. May be it will not deter the companies investing in the state but what about the people of the state – who were held ransom for a full day. No trains, no flights – the lives paralyzed. We don’t know how many families of the daily wagers had to sleep empty stomach. How many patients didn’t get timely medical attention? Business of crores of rupees was lost. And I am sure most of the people didn’t venture out – not in support of the strike but out of fear that they may be harmed. The way of protest loses its meaning when it has to be this way.
But how then should then the point be made to the government who is not listening?
Perhaps Raju Hirani can give the politicians some ideas of how to follow Gandhigiri in this case. May be, in today’s date, the CPI leaders giving roses to the Congress leaders outside the parliament will get an equal attention by the hungry media. This will save the country a lot of time and money and the people of the country will be spared a lot of inconvenience.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

A visit to Mumbai

Sun Set at Chandigarh

It was a trip to the land of Sachin Tendulkar – Mumbai for me last week.
It was a rather tiring flight which delayed by 1.5 hours landed at 8.30 PM at the Chatrapati Shivaji international airport. As I came out, there was a sea of people, with names displayed in front of them, looking expectedly at a steady stream coming out of glass walls. Soon this stream will merge into this sea. It was tough experience, finding the person with my name on the paper. There were literally hundreds of them and it felt quite odd to go through each of them. And as my luck would have it, I found my name at the end of the row. The hotel I was putting up in had offered a free pickup and drop to the airport. But it seems the concept of outsourcing has penetrated deep into our society now. Many hotels had outsourced this pickup thing to an agency. So as I waited, 3 more customers were assembled, packed in a maruti van and we hit the roads of financial capital of India.
The driver seemed like a die hard fan of Michael Schumacher. But as I later realized over the next 3 – 4 days, he was not alone in Mumbai. The traffic sense is literally zero there. And yet surprisingly, I didn’t even see a vehicle touching another during my stay. I cannot help admire the driving capabilities of people. But seriously, mumbaikers need a lesson in driving sensibilities. I assume, whenever Sachin takes out his Ferrari, he would have to concentrate more than on a cricket field.
Some years ago when I had been on Mumbai (and Delhi on the way back), I had thought that Mumbai was where traffic flowed smoothly whereas in Delhi it was a chaos. But this view has reversed now (It may be the case that I had been to marine drive quite often during my last trip)
The morning I had to come back, there was a big breaking news on channels that there has been an intelligence report that there may be a terrorist threat on airports and security had been considerably beefed up specially at Delhi and Mumbai. Hence, I expected some hassles at airport. Just outside the security check, there was a board saying that items like toothpaste, deos, gels, creams etc should not be carried in the hand baggage. I contemplated removing the stuff from my bag. But then decided to keep them and see what the ‘beefed up’ security was like. Not surprisingly, I was cleared without any problem and I had almost all the things specified on the board. To add to it, I couldn’t find any indications of alertness to the threat. The policeman checking me was chatting away with his colleague while metal detecting me. Again, I can’t help compare the attitude of personal in similar positions at Delhi and even at a small airport like Chandigarh. They try to interact with you, get into some discussion and most of the times, try to get some info out of you. It must be part of the training as I don’t think so many policeman I have encountered are so outgoing type who like to get into conversations with strangers. One more thing at the airport, the Public Address system was rather poor. You couldn’t get at all what was being said. Though there were plenty of visual translations available but the PA system is a basic foundation of a railway station/airport. Even if some important announcement has to be done, it would be useless there.
Well, I guess mumbaikers would be vying for my blood after they read this piece which is all about negative aspects of the city. But it’s only a translation of my experiences this time. Had I been writing a blog some years ago, when I last came here, there would have been a post on why I loved Mumbai.

Monday, December 04, 2006

How does this happen?

I don’t know it is me only or it happens with many people.
When you ‘plan’ and tell a lie, that lie unbelievably comes true.
An incident a few days back triggered this post. And I have experienced it many times but I can’t recall them. Some of the incidents I remember are:

1. The most recent one: I had ordered a Dell laptop Online. But due to some misunderstanding between Dell and my bank, the order was delayed to be sent into production. The salesman said that it will be delivered around 10th Dec. I told him that I had to travel around 5th Dec so to please expedite the process and make the delivery at the earliest. It was a lie but to my utter disbelief, my manager said on Friday(1st Dec) that I had to travel to Mumbai on 5th (exactly same date!!!!) for a couple of days to implement something on client side. There was no travel for me on the radar and now out of the blue this happened.

2. Another one I can remember is when I had to come to Chandigarh for my convocation from Mysore. In the excitement of coming, I left Mysore for Bangalore quite early whereas I could have taken a later train and made it on time comfortably. My PL called on phone asking where I was. So I lied that my flight had been rescheduled and it was departing a bit early so had to come soon. What a poor excuse – always it is flights and trains getting delayed. Never heard of flight being early. But unbelievingly, I got a sms a few minutes later that the flight had been pre-poned – not much but by around 15 – 20 minutes. And I was requested to reach the airport accordingly.

3. Another one. Once in class 12th I was late for tuition. I thought I will tell the teacher that my scooter got punctured. And the next moment I see my scooter wobbling. It was like – No!!!! How is this possible… I didn’t make it to the tuition ultimately.

There are many more which I can’t remember but I have surely experienced. It is still something to ponder for me – that how is such a thing possible. Now please don’t say that it is God who is listening to what lie I said and He made the lie a truth. If that happens, then the thousands of false promises made by politicians should also come true. ;)

Friday, December 01, 2006

A Fi(e)ry End to the Month

As I came out of office, I saw a Fire Brigade rushing towards the Infy main gate.."Fire? In infosys". It was impossible. It is something like what people used to think some 94 years ago - "Titanic is unsinkable".. but titanic did sink.. and one Infy building did catch fire yesterday..and coincidentally it was the infy building which is shaped like a ship - u can call it titanic.

From Today's TOI: Fire at Infosys, Chandigarh

There was thick smoke coming out of the Hostel block - which houses the hostels, and a part of the food court. The fire seemed to be out, but within 15 minutes I saw 3 more fire brigades rushing, suggesting it was not a minor one.
As I reached home, witnessing some more sirens and revolving red lights on the way, I put on the TV in anticipation of some news about the incident. But a much bigger fire had caught the attention of all news channels. Dalits, angered by the insult to the statue of Ambedkar in Kanpur,were in rage all over Maharashtra, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka . They burnt a train, caused havoc, disrupted normal life.

Though it may not be the case, but there are high chances that the same statue had the fate of a normal statue in India - rotting away, used by birds for most part of the year and coming in use only on birthdays/death anniversary of the great soul. This incident caused death of 2 young people. I guess this is more insult to the departed soul than spoiling his statue.
Later on in the night there was another news on a car suddenly catching fire, in Delhi, killing the occupant. A burning building, train and now a car- it was too much of fire for me for the day...

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Those were the days.....

Tagged by … who else – Fleiger…

The Wonder Years Tag…

1.Write 8-10 things about childhood ( 1-12 years) that you miss.
2.Write 8-10 things that you disliked about childhood.
3.Tag a few people.

Hard to write about age 1 - 12 years..but I guess I have managed pretty well to keep out the memories after around class 8th..

What I miss about my childhood

1. The long summer vacations, when cousins used to come and stay for more than a month... 2 months of masti..think of it now.. 2 free months...hardly possible anytime in future.

2. Cricket on the porch: well, the porch has been the field since class 1...that is what 18 years can't say I miss it, because I still play here.

3. Going to school on Cycle: Guess a cycle is a symbol of freedom in younger days. I enjoyed going to school - under hot sun, or in rain wearing a raincoat or in the fog in winters on the Hero Ranger with straight handles ;)

4. Aluminum foil Ball - I kept it for a long time after school time also. it was such a master piece. made out of aluminum foil of each day's lunch, it took a long time to bring it to the shape it was. Lots of "catch-um-catch" was played with it.

5. Trump Cards- they were a rage - weren't they? Started with 30 cards one and later some 200 cards or something. Bret Hitman Hart(rank 2) was the fav. Hulk Hogan - rank 1. Yokozuna - heaviest. Giant Gonzalves - tallest.

6. Chacha Chaudhary - guess have read most of the comics of the guy whose mind was faster than a computer. (Don’t know if it can compete with today’s Core 2 duo's) and his companion whose anger resulted in a volcano being erupted somewhere.

7. Chuppan-Chupayi - "the boundary is from here to here".. "do a pugan ka pugata" ... "go and give the den" " i am coming"... "ayis-pyss.. dhappa".. Nice game.. isn't it??

8. The excitement before bursting crackers on diwali... hurrying through the pooja... and then rushing to light the 'phuljhadi', ‘anaar’, ‘charakhdi’ etc

9. Studying in the car during winters.. it was my fav place to study even in college.. chilly days, bright sunshine with the car trapping all the heat inside.. if you want you can also put on light music... and after lunch can sleep sound on the back seat..

10. Sleeping under the sky in summers.. the thought of it is itself exciting ..isn't it... today, you cant sleep if the AC is not there!!!

What I disliked about childhood

1. The frequent trips to the dentist.. I don’t know how many of my teeth have been uprooted and how many hours I have sat under that small operating light..

2. Sanskrit - I dont know how I got 98 marks in sanskrit...and I dont know how I learnt those 'pathti, pathsi, pathanti'

3. Drawing, Music and Craft classes - never been my forte - in the last SUPW(craft) class I managed a C, I guess..And my fight with colors has been historic...but the drawing did help later..a mechanical engineer has engg drawing almost all 4 years..though we have drafters and all to do it.. but sometimes you had to do those in 5 minutes, sitting in canteen without even a scale.. may be the drawing classes of school did help there.

4. Writing long Hindi essays as HHW - Holiday HomeWork during summer vacations. That was a pain..

Like Fleiger, I am also forced to stop here as can't think of any more dislikes..

Whom I am going to tag

Any one willing to go down memory lane...

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The Home Ground..

It happened after more than 2 years.
We were back on the local turf - surrounded by walls who had heard countless 'howzatts'... marked by glass windows, some of whose predecessors had cracked under the pressure, the wooden chair got the best place to view the event. It stood where earlier a plastic chair used to stand - just behind the man with the bat- acting as the wood to be shattered.
The bat.. ahh.. The Bat, which has hit innumerable boundaries and sixes, has felt the sweat of countless hands across many grounds in the city. The poor thing was rotting away in some corner.. until its owner(me) got on to the chair and then on to his friend's (rompy’s) shoulders..and then on to the roof retrieve it from its exile.

Batsman's view

It was then the game began once again.. the neighbors were awakened.. the walls were jumped to retrieve the ball..the ooohs and aaah’s came as the ball missed he wicket or the catches went down..
It was a case of home ground - literally. The rules are tough .. one tip one hand – out...shot hitting the walls directly - out... shots going over the wall - out..
Personally, it is by virtue of playing here - on the porch of my home... that has improved the quality of my defense...of playing with soft hands... of concentrating for long time and sticking to the wicket...of playing late.. etc etc..
so raman phaji.. now you know how I got the confidence of playing against your express bowling in our early morning sessions...
Bowler's view

so this weekend, it was back to the porch for the hard hitting lolly, who made most of his runs in fours....rompy, who chased the highest target and the usual me, who accumulated runs slowly and steadily without giving the opposition many chances of getting me out...(the combination of three of us can be deadly.. hahahaha)
The bodies playing there were those of the ones working in MNC's but the soul was that of normal college going guys..
only Lolly's LML and Rompyz CBZ were missing outside the gate....
An offer for the Indian team - come and practice here before the world cup..
I am sure it will do wonders..

Fielder's view of Bowler

Fielder's view of Batsman

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Young and Shining India

25th November, 2006 has been etched in my mind as a day when I experienced something truly different in my life. Today, I was a part of Rural Reach program which has been started by Infosys. In this we had been formed into 10 teams of around 6-7 people each and were assigned 10 different schools in near by rural areas. I was a part of 7 member team which went to Govt High School in Sarangpur. In the morning the taxi was preloaded with a desktop, some refreshments, gifts and mementos to distribute among the students.
The plan was simple - reach the school at 9.00, interact with principal and faculty, start the session at 9.30. Continue till around 1.00 and return back to infy by 1.30. Pretty straightforward. We were also given a CD with PPT’s to show.
As we reached the school, this is how the things unfolded.

  • As we identified the school from the main road, it seemed a small school. 3-4 year olds were playing outside. It was like – Are we going to teach kids like these?? The school building was small. And the talks among us brought out the apprehension of not getting enough students as audience. So many times it happens that first impressions are wrong.
    As it turned out later, the team interacted with around 300 students from class 5th to 10th.

  • We met the principal and were offered excellently made tea. Discussion carried on, on how to divide the groups and take sessions. But I guess in cases like these, theories are just useless. You have to get into practicalities. Had we kept on sitting, we wouldn’t have come to a conclusion even after hours – happens so many times in meetings. As two ‘practical’ school staff entered the picture, things started to shape up. Within minutes we identified the rooms and they took responsibility to fill in the students. Problems had just started.

  • We got a rude shock as we saw only a packet of some 20 chocolates, few pencils and pens as gifts. Sensing we would be addressing large number of audience, we needed more incentives. Nimesh took the responsibility of bringing in more stuff as we pooled in more money from our side. How much difficulty he had in getting chocolates and toffees in a rural area in the early morning hour – we will never come to know. But rest of us had some problems of our own to handle.

  • Girls – Surabhi, Swati and Vandana took the responsibility of facing classes below 7th and going by the response we saw from those kiddies later when we were leaving, I was sure they had done an excellent job. Moreover, I felt that girls were more adept at handling small children rather than the higher classes who can get rowdy.

  • We had 2 rooms for classes 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th. Infy desktop was installed in say room 1. For the second, I got in touch with the Computer teacher. She was a very young and sweet and soft spoken teacher and as I loaded the PPT from the CD in their machine, I asked her about the status of the computer knowledge of the students there. What I perceived during the talk to follow was a bit of frustration from a teacher who was trying to make a difference. She told:

    • The students were from very poor families as the relatively rich had access to schools of big towns nearby.
    • There was a computer fees levied which was a deterrent to students enrolling for computer course. Though they were trying to bring the fees down.
    • Students were not interested in joining the course because to them, it was just useless as regards to future job prospects. This point, I decided to concentrate on while addressing the students.
    • The subject syllabus involved from basics till HTML to class 10th. Frankly that was a shock for me. I didn’t know what HTML was till college. Moreover, we had been told that some of the school children didn’t even know what a computer is. And here they were learning HTML. We were in for more pleasant shocks later on during the interaction.

  • The second computer we took to room 2 under the glare of students. There was no power here. The person told that room1 had the power switch. So we moved the extension wire to room 2. But the switch in room1 didn’t work. So I rushed with a school admin person to nearby shops. After a long walk, one of the shopkeeper gave us the extension. During the walk, the admin person made me privy to the politics going on in the school. He had his own problems to rue about – about the biased principal, the arrogant right hand man, the rogue students who had no sense and who created nuisance 24X7. What I felt afterwards about the children was very confident, eager to learn, largely without inhibitions with good learnability. If that is called rogueness, senselessness – well I beg to strongly differ. Yes, there are some naughty ones but what I feel is they can be moulded easily. I mean, I now see some of my naughty school mates – I can’t believe how time has changed them.

  • Now after most problems sorted out, the sessions began. Anoop and Rajendra were in room 2 with classes 8th and 9th while Nimesh and I took up room 1(classes 7th and 10th). It was 2.5 hours of plain fun and eye opening after that. The PPT’s given by infy were not opened once. We started with paint brush. I wanted to convey the point that learning computers has a great benefit in future as regards to high paying jobs as well as basic jobs. And this Nimesh and I conveyed pretty effectively – going by the responses later. I had not really imagined that we could carry on for 2 -3 hours, but when it started, everything just flowed. To our surprise, they knew stuff which even I didn’t know even till college. They drew in paint, opened word docs, changed the font, color of text. One of them even wrote his name in power point and made it appear in a stylish way in the slide show. I was impressed and guess, so was Nimesh. I thought knowing the full form of HTML was the high point. The chap who told seemed from a poor bihari migrant family but had the air of the studious kinds which we all must have encountered some time or the other in our lives.

  • We gave them info about the internet – the basics of how it worked. What are the uses it has – about email, chatting. What is the use of screen saver, how to change wallpapers etc. To make sure it was drilled down in their soft minds, we got it repeated over and over.

  • In between, to have fun they were asked to perform some songs, dance, jokes etc.
    This was the time to see their confidence. They were literally fighting to come on stage to perform. We had jokes, dances and lots of Punjabi songs. Also, we asked history, geo, maths questions. Not everyone knew the capital of Karnataka ,but everyone knew the local geography – capital of India, Punjab, Haryana. Strangely Trivandrum was quite popular. The 1st answer when asked about capital of a southern state came as Trivandrum.
    I guess only 1 was aware of ‘father of nation’ while most knew Bhagat Singh. Shahrukh Khan, Kareena Kapoor, Kajol, even Manmohan Singh and Abdul Kalam had the reach which Gandhi did not. We had problems of language here, as they sometimes didn't understand what rectangle or geography or trignometry was and we got confused between 'chakor' and 'chauras or whether 'bhoogol' was geography only or something else. Also we were asked to ask questions on Hindi language. Hindi !!.. what do you ask on Hindi subject?? Also we, so used to speaking 'Hinglsih' now, had some difficulty communicating in hindi without the influx of english words in between.

  • Scores of chocolates, pens, wafers were distributed during the session. We had 3 trophies to give away. The 1st one went to a very confident girl. She had not enrolled in the computer course but the way she summarized what all had been said, left no doubt that she deserved it. The second went to the studious guy. He was soft spoken and a bit shy. But he came out and answered the ‘tough’ questions and in his low pitched voice gave his own interpretations of the world of computers and their uses. For the 3rd we made 3 -4 students to summarize everything. The trophy went to a girl who had actively participated during the whole event.
    I hope that we made those young bright minds a bit more aware, bit more confident, and helped overcome their shyness by recognizing them in front of everyone. This was a small effort on our side. And the experience has enriched me and given strength to my belief that India is indeed shining – not only in software companies of Bangalore or call centers of Gurgaon or number of McDonald’s being opened or sprawling malls but here in small villages at the root level where the future of India is being written. Yes, there are problems which will be always there but those can be overcome if we have the will. And if we spare some of our efforts towards this side – in a hope to strengthen the base to build a strong country tomorrow.

The greatest indicator of the zeal of students, the enthusiasm, the will to learn and perform and if I can immodestly say, success of our program came at the end. After we had distributed 3 trophies, one 7th class kid came up to me and said in Punjabi, “Next time when you come, that trophy will be mine”. I was speechless.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The Computer Journey

When I signed up to volunteer for a program to go to some village nearby and spread computer literacy in a school, my thoughts tried to fathom how I gained my computer literacy ?
The thoughts had to travel a lot. It was class 8th or 9th when I had my first tryst with computers. It was in school that I first saw a computer. We were taught about abacus, generations of computers, types of computers, difference between typewriter and computer and many such theoretical stuff which we had to mug up. On the practical side how to operate the floppy drive (the 5.25 inch
one) and some basic DOS commands. Later we were to learn wordstar in class 10th, which ended the official school learning in the field of computers.
At home, it was a 386/486 computer my father had brought home for a few days which brought me real close to the thing, supposed to be invented by Charles Babbage. The horizontal CPU with monitor on top, no mouse, and the 5.25 inch floppy drive(I still have couple of 'those' floppies) gave me the freedom to explore things without time constraints, like in school. I guess I used to try out commands, play some basic DOS games like PC man and bricks on that.
Next in my life was a Pentium I – the latest in town those days. It had an amazing 8MB RAM and a 600 MB Hard Disk. The vertical CPU was a neighbor’s envy and Owner’s pride those days – though not many neighbors had a computer then. The basic OS was DOS and you had to type “WIN” on the prompt to open the windows 3.1. Windows was an entirely new thing. Paint brush and Solitaire was the fav past time. Some games were installed which had better graphics. That resulted in the computer being packed for around 1.5 years as it interfered with the 11th and 12th studies.
It was reinstated in college though by then I was seriously lacking behind in knowledge and the technologies in those times. It was my friend Lalit who helped me bring back to the world of computers. It was with him I had seen the IIT screening result on something called internet. Then under his guidance I opened my first email id – on The first year in college was spent exploring the net and writing C programs on my old Pentium I. But by now something called Mp3 had come. And if on that good ol’ machine, winamp was started, everything else used to go down.
By the end of 1st year, it was realized that the 4 year old P-1 had served enough and that gave way to the keyboard, I am typing these words on. Of course the keyboard was accompanied by a 128 MB RAM, 40 GB HDD, 128 MB dedicated (to games) Graphics card, 833 MHZ Pentium 3. It has given me company through the college years from the era of 56K dialups to today’s broadband. The poor thing never had its CPU cover screwed. Its HDD always hung lose – ready to be taken out within seconds. Infinite movies were watched on it and it still has one of the widest ranges of song collection.

In between 2 years were spent outside home during which I worked on the best machine I have had till now – the one I inherited from Fleiger – the 1GB RAM, Pentium 4 with a flat LCD monitor. And now as I expectedly wait for my new laptop to be delivered to me, I think how I have been a part of one of the biggest revolutions – from a bulky, black and white 386 to a 3 kg , true color ‘core 2 duo’.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

One Fine Morning..

I wake up early
Many chores to deal
The month is November
And the morning air chill

The sun is rising up
In the far.. over the hill
The rays seep thru the windows
Warming up the room they fill

On the cozy bed they fall
Challenging my will
In this busy life, I think..
How many times, the inner voice we kill
And not enjoy the small moments
Which make life worth while..

I call the office
And feign ill
Then remove the tie and get under the blanket
Letting the sun intoxicate like a sleeping pill

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Identity - a Fiction

Some training in Bangalore took me to the city I had left more than a year ago. And it was a bit nostalgic to be back and meet some old friends. I had also decided to go to Mysore on week end to meet friends there.
As I crashed on the bed of the guest house room after an exhausting Thursday, the TV told me that there was a Karnataka Bandh the next day. Some so called Patriotic Kannadigas wanted to protect their language and culture from being westernized and being lost so they had decided to help the state and the country incur loses of crores of rupees the next day.
Just then Ajit called from Mysore.
“Tomorrow has been declared a holiday. Why don’t you come to Mysore tomorrow only”
“Is it?? I didn’t get any mail for this?”
“Oh! May be because you are not in the Bangalore users List”
“Ya! May be. Ok then I will come tomorrow only.”
“But try not to come by Volvo. There may be some trouble”
“Ok. I will catch the train – 11:15 one!”
“Fine then. See you tomorrow. By the way your favourite Sholay is coming on Max”
“Oh.. is it?? Hhahaha… have to see it..”
I put on Sholay where a demanding Gabbar Singh was saying, “yeh Haath mujhko de de Thakur”.
It is a serious scene of the movie and how it is more fun for us now, I amused as Mr. Gabbar brought down the two swords with an evil shriek. Is it so easy to cut off the arms of a person, I thought and moved on to Star Sports where the prolix Navjot Sidhu was into his normal fight with words.
I started a bit early for station next morning with buffer for any bandh induced delay. But there was none. The usual Bustling Bangalore Station looked like a lonely desert, due to the bandh. It took me hardly 10 minutes to get the ticket and reach platform 6. I had come quite early and even the train had not yet docked at the platform. So I sat down on the bench, took out my CD player and got immersed in the mellifluous voice of Hariharan.
I was pulled out of the spell by a rough, bulky man. From his dark face and thick growth of hair on his face, it seemed like he had just come out of jail. He spoke something in Kannad.
“Kannad.. Illa”, I replied.
“Listening.. What??”, he tried his hand at English.
“Damn!! Does he want me to share headphones with him”, I thought uneasily.
“Songs”, I replied.
“Hindi???”, he again asked.
I nodded in affirmation.
Then suddenly he started speaking angrily and quickly in Kannad.
“No understand….”, I tried to explain.
“Only Kannada songs”, he said pointing to the CD player. “No Hindi”
“what the hell!!”, I was frustrated.
Then out of no where he snatched the CD player and threw it. I was trembling with anger. Finding nothing to hit him with, I pushed him hard.
In return, I saw his arm in full swing and a perfectly timed slap landing on my face with a elegant follow through. I felt my face heat up and go red like a cherry.
Then suddenly I woke up. Sun’s rays were falling on my face. The CD had played out and the loudspeakers on the platform were playing some Kannad Song.
“Oh Shit! That was a dream”. I was perspiring.
Some people had arrived at the platform now but the train was still not there.
Then what I saw resulted in my heart missing a beat.
I saw that same bulky, ugly man whom I had seen in my dream walking towards me in slow heavy steps.
“Oh!”, my mind suddenly realized “I must have seen the person when I came here. And the dreaded image stuck”
But the man seemed to be coming straight to me. He indeed was. As he came closer I could smell that he was drunk. He came and said something in Kannad. I was reliving my nightmare.
“No.. kannad”, I replied hesitatingly.
“why.. you here…”, he asked.
“Going to Mysore”
“You from delhi??”
“ya..ya.. delhi..”
Then suddenly he burst out.
“why you northies come here??”
“this is our state… you spoiling our state…”
Then some abuses in Kannad.
“Go back to your state….. you don’t know Kannad… why you here.. Run away.. get lost”, he went on and on.

My shock and fear was being converted to a rage.
“What get lost…. Haan….What state ”, I finally replied simmering.
“Is this not India?? We come here to work far from home… and what get lost…”
“Get Lostttttt!!!”, he shouted with spit falling all around.
“Just shut up.. piyaakad saala… you get lost”. I shouted along with some Punjabi abuses.
He went off walking quickly from where he had come.
“What idiot”, I thought sitting down. “It is due to these kind of foolish people that some demagogues are able to divide people into hindus and muslims… kannad and non kannad.. northies and southies… How can any one even think this way…Who fills this kind of crap in the minds of people… Why is that people are finding their identity as a member of a state rather than a nation.. infact in today’s flat world it is more of member of world rather than nation also.. On one hand we talk of globalization and boundaries between countries dissolving… and then you see such kind of people intent to building back the walls…I will surely write a blog on this.”
As I was going through the turmoil, I heard a loud cry. Some 5 – 6 people armed with chains, rods and swords were running in my direction. The bulky gunda was leading the pack.
“Is this really happening???”, I was dumbfounded and frozen.
By the time I realized, they were on me.
Shouting obscenities in Kannad, they hit me with a chain on the back. A rod landed on my chest leaving me gaping for air. Then the bulky man said something to his fellows. And 2 of them caught my hands, stretched them and held them tightly there.
The bulky moved in with 2 swords in his hands, looking more menacing than even Gabbar Singh. “Oh Shit.. I was thinking about this last night only. And now it is happening to me.”
Bulky was saying. “You work with these hands in my state.. I will cut them off”
Then all of a sudden, my mobile on the bedside rang and I woke up trembling.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Heading Uphill

Back to the Curvy, green roads after a Long time

It was Diwali time and it was a rare occasion that we old friends were at one place at one time. Plans to go uphill were being made for quite some time before actually meeting.

Awesome view

Initially the plan was to go to Shimla and spend more than a day there. But at the last moment the plan was changed to Kasauli – a one day trip.
Lolly was at the wheel with me giving him company in the front and Rompy and Anki at back.

Studs - Lolly, Rompy and Anki

And it felt nice to be on that curvy, green road after a long time. We carried on at a leisure pace - reliving the old days and in between about days to come. The weather couldn’t have been better - on a slightly cooler side with sun shining.

Reached Kasauli

Soon the plains gave way to the hills and then hills to mountains. We reached Kasauli in around 2 hours and instead of going to the town we climbed further ahead. The view was awesome there. I have been to many hilly places, but the difference here was that we could see the plains far below us, which is not the case when you higher up like shimla.

View of the Plains from top

We sat down, clicked some DCH kind photos and many other non DCH photos(around 200), climbed small hills, lay down under the warming sun.

Deja vu - DCH

Will this time come again (as rompy renamed this foto)

At around 2, we moved back and had a heavy lunch with Butter chicken and Tandoori Chicken at Chawla’s at Dharampur on the way.

Having Fun

While Anki and Rompy dozed away in the rear, I tried hard to stay awake in the front failing once for a small-few second nap. Thankfully Lolly didn’t have any such naps. Else we would have been lying in some gorge – right in the nature’s laps.
It was a refreshing sojourn as is the case with any trip to the hills.

Leaving fond memories behind...

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Tagged once more...

Rules of this tag:

1. Name the person who tagged you.
2. 8 things about you.
3. Tag 6 people.

The high flying eagle -Fleiger : The person who has tagged me and from whom I have got tagged myself ‘zabardasti’ ;)
When I read his tag, I got 3 -4 points there itself. So Fleiger, if some of these seem to be your copy paste, you can guess that I have ‘reused the code.’ But only because the functionality(characteristics) matched with me..

I love writing… about the things happening in life.. things happening around me...things which enrage me or make me smile, which concern me or just my imagination.
And yes, some day I would love to write a full fledged novel – may be… some day!!

It takes time for me to make ‘good’ friends. Friends I have many but there are just a handful of special ones. Of course they are the ones with whom I have long associations and have spent large chunks of life. And I am sure that these special ones will last the ‘distance’

Courtesy my parents, I have seen almost all parts of India. And as a result I love going to explore new places. Specially the ones with natural beauty associated with it. I like Mountains more than Beaches. Mainly because each turn gives a new view.

I am a great movie buff. There was time when every movie to be released had to be watched. Considering the fact that I have seen Naach in a 9 – 12 show after office should be enough proof that I can watch any movie (I got nightmares is a different thing). The interesting habits me and my friends have gained is remembering the dialogues of movies we enjoy. So in some cases the whole movie have been stored in the movie room of our mind. Of course for that requires watching movies more than one time e.g Border, DCH, Lakshay, hera pheri, andaaz apna apna, Rang De Basanti, Sholay – which range from 25 – 100 views. The latest movie to catch the attention is Khosla ka Ghosla.

Like writing I love reading too. The interest in reading had started with Chacha Chaudhry. It then continued with Hardy Boys. Fictions of Grishams, Sheldons and Archers found favour during college. And of late, it has been non fictions like India Unbound, World is Flat and The Argumentative Indian etc. Fictions also come and go in between to lighten things a bit.

Music has been part of me for long now. I remember my mother’s small cassette player as being the first tryst with music. Then we bought a player – which could handle 2 cassettes and we could record from one to another. The first song recorded on that was I guess baba sehgal’s “thanda thanda paani.” The journey continued and the mp3 boom really helped widen the variety which I listen to. Presently, according to mood, I listen to rock or ghazals or hindi movies – from 1960’s to 2006..or nusrat’s qawalis or hariharan’s soothing voice or Strings or English Soft rock or Hindi pop . and the list goes on and on..….

I like working out and be fit – though it happens in phases. There happens to be a phase when for 3 – 4 months I am regular at gym - pumping iron.. then comes the phase with very less physical activity for 2 -3 months..waiting for infy gym in chandigarh to come up!!!

I love games, specially – what else, Cricket. ‘I think’, I understand the game quite well – the strategies and moves that we see captains adopting in the game. Having some practical experience also helps a lot in understanding. And the 4 years in college gave more practical classes in cricket than any other subject. I think you have passion, you can play any game. The point is to enjoy. After cricket I have enjoyed playing squash. Badminton, football, TT, Volleyball and Bowling are some other outdoor games I have tried my hand at.

Now Time to Tag people..
1. KT (after you finish your swades series)
2. Amrut (not seen him around on blogspot for quite some time)
3. Rompy (dude – ur kasauli blog is pending..)
4. Bharath (sir jee.. some of ur previous tags are also pending)

Monday, October 30, 2006

India vs Australia - Live from PCA

It was touted as the biggest match of the tournament - India v Australia and that was happening just 15 km away from my home.
Logic said that it shouldn't be missed but the tickets were sold out within hours of the counter being open. It was a lucky stroke of luck just half hour before the match when Parul informed that she had 4 VIP passes and that we could take them. It was a hectic one hour then - of trying to reach the heavily guarded stadium.
One of my dreams is to watch(Live in a stadium) Sachin make a century. Today was the day when he could thrash Mcgrath on the way to his 100. It was a comfort to see Sachin and Sehwag batting in the stunningly beautiful greens as we found seats and made ourselves more comfortable.
The match - as I saw from there on:

  • Sachin got out - to mcgrath. Some signs of what was to come.

  • There seemed to be no gaps in the field while Australians were bowling.
    Fielders amazingly came running from third man to covers to stop well hit shots. These things are not very evident on TV where the camera generally follows the ball. But seeing Australia Live on the field, I realized why they are such a great side.
    Compared to that, Indians were Pathetic - to say the least

  • When the Aussies ran - it was in a perfect rythym. Their running was something machine like - similar for almost everyone in a certain kind of rhythmic pattern - even the 12th, 13th man - who came in drinks break.
    I cried watching Powar (not in playing 11), Munaf Patel, Sehwag etc run. On TV they look fine but in real, I honestly felt there was a lot lot lot left to be done.

  • Commitment was a big Zero on the part of Indians except for some one like Raina and kaif. 2 incidents I distinctly remember:

    a) Harbhajan Singh on widish long off. Ball hit to covers. Ball rolling away (at not a very fast pace) to the fence. And bhajji strolling away like in a park - no serious attempt to save the boundary. And had he been in the crowd at that point, he would have been killed. Because everyone knew in our stand (towards which the ball came)- that it was very much possible to save that four.

    b) Ball goes between midwicket and mid on. Sehwag chases it from mid on.
    Dinesh Mongia standing on deep mid wicket doesn't move an inch.
    The concept of relay throw was omnipresent while Aussies were fielding.

  • Finally saw it in the real that how woefully pathan is out of form. He was a picture of a misery. Getting carted all around with disdain. No real zeal or enthusiasm or grit visible from his body language.
    Add to it the poor fielding of Munaf Patel. He can be arguably called the poorest fielder around these days. And you don’t bring in Anil Kumble citing poor fielding and old blood. Whereas your new blood can neither run to chase balls, throws under arm from the boundary and can't hold the bat.

  • Finally, I felt ashamed to see the Indians so out of shape when compared to the Aussies. Each one of them was perfect - not an inch of flab seemed to be hanging from their bodies. Then you looked at Sehwags and Powars and you could see why India can't win. Others like dinesh mongia, sreesanth etc seem fit but each and every Aussie looked a class apart.

Based on what I saw yesterday, I am in no doubt that India will NOT win the World Cup. It simply CAN NOT.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Happy Diwali

The king of festivals is here to rock again… Diwali…The festival to mark the home coming of Lord Ram after a 14 year ‘vanvas’ in the jungles..
But I still don’t know whether Ramayan is just a fiction written by Valmiki, like another fiction novel which we read these days or does it consists of actual incidents which took place.
What I believe is that they were characters born out of imagination. But doubts arise over these beliefs as there have been some reports of NASA finding the bridge built between India mainland and Sri Lanka. Also some landmarks like Sugreev’s caves are mentioned in Wikipedia.
So my point of view is still surrounded by confusion. The atheist in me still gives the benefit of doubt to the fictional view of the story.
Anyway, fictional or not, the 24000 verse epic is there for sure. And is a source of some great philosophies and teachings. It is in fact a holy book for the Hindus, which they regularly read to satisfy their religious needs.
But does everyone follow it??
I have not read ramayan… but came across a thought provoking excerpt. I wish all a very Happy Diwali and leave you with this excerpt to ponder over.

“The Injunctions of Worship of Gods, sacrifice, gift and penances have been laid down in sastras by clever people to rule over people”
source : The Argumentative Indian by Amartya Sen

Monday, October 16, 2006


“No! no more rotis for me”, Sameer replied when his mother asked out from the kitchen.
He would feel sleepy if he filled his tummy. “A nice question to be put to the chemistry teacher”, he thought “Why do we feel sleepy after eating too much”
However, it was time to study physics now as he had a test at the tuition early morning – Fluid Mechanics and Optics.
It was a routine now from the past one year. Class 11 and now 12th – the pressure had been unceasing. Tests everyday - one day it was maths, next day chemistry, then physics and so on as the vicious cycle carried on..
Sameer climbed up to the stairs to his room. He had an exclusive or rather reclusive room on the top floor of his 3 floor house. There was just 1 room on the expansive roof top with an attached bath. Besides that, a small artificial garden had been constructed decorated with beautiful flowers, pots giving a green look to one corner of the barren roof.
As he reached the top, a lovely fragrance came floating towards him. It was heavenly. Only a slight aroma, tantalizing the smell buds coming with a smooth breeze.
How he wished he could just sit there forever. But he had a test tomorrow. “Need to be back among the fluids again.”
He marched towards his room, with his heart and brain still in a tussle. “Why can’t be there a moment when I can just think of nothing but sit outside smelling the flowers and watching the sky”. He loved the openness and the hugeness of a night sky with million starts twinkling to him – forming different patterns and molding them any way you wanted them to look like. But the time to do all that was becoming lesser by the day. As he entered the room, the uneasiness increased further – seeing the similar old setting – a study table in front with a book rack on its side – lined with thick science books. On the left was a single bed with a poster about “Positve Thinking” hanging above it. A simple 2 –in -1 in a corner completed the room. There were many days when he just hated to come to this room. He had the option of taking his books outside and study under the sky but it was too distracting. The simple setting of the room took away all the distractions.
Today was again one such day when he felt that uneasiness creeping in. He took out ‘H.C Verma’ – the larger than life book on physics. Soon he will be immersed in fluids studying about the Eureka of Archimedes and forget all about the stupid smells and the light breezes.
Before he could turn to the chapter on optics, it became black all around. Instead of “oooooohh shit!!”, it was “oooh yeah!!!” today. He happily closed his book and got out to be with the good ol’ sky, lovely smells and the breeze which, noticing that the light had gone, picked up some speed. Sameer took out a chair, put his feet on the parapet and sat there looking at the sky – forming imaginary images. The flowers, gently caressed by the breeze, gave out pleasant fragrances which acted as lullaby.
Slowly, Sameer went into a trance – enjoying the free moments of life wishing them to never cease.
And then as suddenly as it had left, the light came back. The trance broke, breeze slowed down, stars became invisible and Sameer, with a heavy heart, headed back to the table.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

RDB revisited...

Plz Note:
1. To understand this post u must have seen Rang De Basanti. And it is better if u also remember the original dialogues.
2. The blog is basically a series of mails, exchanged between me and my friend Ripudaman aka Rompy, which also brought forth the imaginative capabilities in both of us.
3. The mails (which includes modification of RDB’s dialogues) were written from memory.. so minor variations may be there from original dialogues.
4. I don’t know if you find it funny or not.. but I couldn’t stop laughing hours after. Hope it tickles a rib..

A little bit of background:
Rompy sent a mail in which was written that “It is the 2nd Death Anniversary of veerapan today… so we should shut our PC’s for 2 minutes in remembrance”
Along with it there was a photo of a grave and on the tombstone was written – R.I.P
(which by the way means Rest In Peace)

So I replied back :

From: Sid

What does RIP stand for - Remember in Prayer?????????

And u r talking of switching off pc for 2 mins.. today eveing I will switch off the pc for 2 days !!!
Long live Veeru…

Then there was some exchange of mails in which I was not answered so I again asked:

From: Sid

Par RIPu, R.I.P ka matlab to bata do….
Lash pe R.T.P likha hota to bhi samjh aa jata.. (Rovo Te Pitto) – par R.I.P ???

From: Rompy

O relax yaar…
Puch le sue se…mainu koi matlab pata hai….

Veeru da inaam pakka…!!!!

(This is the dialogue which DJ says in the send off party for Ajay
It goes… main koi peeti hai.. puch le sue se… )

From : Sid

O sue taan kehndi – R.I.P means Routing Information Protocol..

From: Rompy

Jhoot bolta hai…
Sue to khali BA pass thi…usko kya pata Routing Information Protocol…hahahaha

From: Sid
Sue: maaji, apka beta to tester hai…

DJ: O yeh software jaaanti hai… O tu ne bataya nahi mereko..
. tu..tuuu sab samjhti hai???
Sue: Haan
DJ: O yaar.. yeh software samajhti hai.. badi gadbad ho gayi yaar

(This comes when DJ introduces sue to his mother and realizes she can speak hindi..)

From: Rompy

SUE: Kuch kaam kar lo…

DJ: (thoda sa code likhata hai) : har taraf sab kuch bikhar raha hai, main khada tamasha dekh raha hu
Hum jaison ki koi aukat hi nahi hai, agar hum RIP ka matlab nikaal bhi lein, fir bhi koi farak nahi padega, tab bhi kuch nahi badlega…
Veeru ek acha terrorist tha, ek acha gunda, achi achi moochon wala…us bande ne kabhi kisi ka kuch nahi bigaada yaar…kabhi kisi ka galt nahi kiya..
Aur apni banto(supposedly veeru ki janani) yaar, apni bachi…

(This comes when DJ cries while eating after Ajay’s death and the lathi charge where Ajay’s mother is injured)

From: Sid

DJ: Humen kuch aisa karna padega… jo unhe jadd se hila de…

Banto(veeru ki janani): Zinda kar do usse…

Sukhi: zinda kar den usse.. Veeru ko zinda kar de..

Pandey : ojha baba ka intezaam main kar dunga…

Sukhi: bhadka mat Pandey… baat baat par logn ko zinda karna tere liye aam bat hogi..

Karan: Zara si baat… veeru ki maut zara si baaaat hai…

Sukhi: par karega kaun,.. zinda kaun karega usse…

DJ: main karunga…

Pandey: roz raaat 12 baje .. chaand baadlon mein chupta hai… tabhi kar denge…

Khoon chalaaaaaa… khoooon challlaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa… veeru ki ragon mein… fer se umad ke … khoon chala….

(This is the next scene in the movie where all of the guys decide to kill the defense minister)

Saturday, October 07, 2006


“Mast movie yaar”, I said, as Tarun, Mayur and I moved down the steps after watching late night show of Khosla ka Ghosla.
“Arrey yaar Bedi, you should also try writing something fictional in your blog”, Mayur said.
“Fictional??”.. I pondered.
“yaar, the blog is according to a theme – about my life..can’t write fiction in that”, I tried to give an excuse – a poor one, which I realized immediately after I said it.
The topic changed but the thought lingered on with me. ” What’s the harm in trying?”, I I put on a Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali khan cassette which I had just bought from Planet M.
As I moved on the deserted roads, I kept thinking about what would the story be like?
Should I write a love story.. naah!! It had to be something different. But this is the first time you are writing. Why not stick to the tried and tested formula, as they say.
But not a love story. Then a mystery?? or a comedy??
“Guess, I need to consult with Amrut – the Story teller”, I concluded as I diverted my attention to NFAK’s ‘Ho jave je pyaar te sauna bhul jaanda’.
“Why did I took the shortcut at this ghostly hour”, I thought as I passed through a dark stretch of road with overgrown trees making the road a tunnel. But then it struck, “why not write a story about ghosts only?”
A sharp explosive noise blasted me out of thoughts as the car took an uncomfortable bump. Then again – accompanied by a similar bursting sound. As the car limped towards the left, I realized,
“I must have run over something sharp and both the front and rear tires are punctured. Shit! Shit!!”
Hoping Tarun had taken the same road, I pulled out my mobile to call him as I got out of the car to analyze the damage done. As I started going towards the rear of the car, I saw 2 dark figures scurrying towards me. “Ghosts?? How is this…..”.
“Idiot.. it was a trap.. they are coming to rob you”. I rushed back to the open door. “Where are the keys?”.
“Where did you keep the keys. Damn it??”. I put my hand deep into the cargo Pockets as the other rolled the window up. The mind rewound back few seconds, and got back the picture of keys dangling at the place where they should be – in the keyhole. The hand responded quickly and found them. “Now don’t act filmy and refuse to start”, I begged the car. Thankfully it did. And precisely at the same moment a huge hammer came crashing on my rear window – landing in the middle and making a gaping hole with pieces of glasses still sticking to the sides. Scared to the hilt, I pressed the accelerator as I hard as I could.. With two tires punctured, it was pretty hard for the car. “chal dhano.. aaj teri basanti ki ijjat ka sawaal hai”. From where did that come? Strange mind!!
The old maruti limbered on. The black figures were running besides me. With their big hammer looking ready to thud again. One side of the car was literally on the rims as it sparked its way along. The robbers were not in a mood to give up. They were following with full vigor on foot. How far could the car go without wheels on the long stretch of the road? Then I heard a loud burst again. It must have been another blow on the rear. I quickly checked the mirror. There was no hole but what I saw scared me more. Another car had gone over the trap.
“It must be Tarun!!! Oh Shit!”. The robbers stopped and turned their attention to the new prey.
I got hold of the mobile which I had thrown on the seat and quickly dialed Tarun’s number.
It was difficult to decide – whether to move on or stop for him. I decided to keep moving and warn him to not stop.
“Tarun!!”, I said as I got connected. “Don’t get out of the car and keep moving”
“Why what Happened?” he asked.
“it is a trap… puncture.. just get in the car and drive… fast”..
In a daze, Tarun got in the car. I had not stopped, not wanting to lose the momentum car had picked up. I kept on shouting on the phone. It was then I heard a loud thud on the phone. I couldn’t make out in the mirror, if the car had stopped or not. Then I saw a figure moved in front of the headlights.
“What should I do now? Where is the nearest police station?? C’mon c’mon… sector 7.. 8.. no..”.
I heard some loud voices over the phone. I had to go back I decided. ‘Dekhi jayegi”. It was heart over the mind decision. It was time to test if picking up heavy pounds everyday in the gym was of some use or not. But deep inside, I knew I was no match for those bulky dark bodies with a hammer and don’t know what else with them. I got out, took out the lever which is used to push up the car jack and started running towards Tarun.
Simultaneously, I called out 100 on the mobile. I had never dialed 100 before and was also not sure whether something has to be added while dialing from a mobile.
“Chandigarh police. How we can help you?”, the voice crackled.
“Hello… there are some robbers on the road in 26.”, I huffed away.
“Which road sir?”, the voice was alert now, may be simultaneously trying to connect to some Patrol vehicle.
“This road.. near Khalsa College”.
“What is your name?”
“Send some one quickly .. damn it...”
“Sir. I need to know your name?”
“Sidharth… they have caught my friend.. please do something”. I turned off the phone.
As I came close, I shouted “ Tarun…”. No reply. “Tarun… Are you ok.”
I slowly came closer, getting my breath back.
Suddenly a shadow appeared from the side and pushed me to the ground. The weapon I had, fell away.
In a deep Haryanavi he said, “oh.. you are planning to hit with me with that”… he said pointing to the metal lever.
“acting smart with me..saale”, the thug said as he took out a knife which distinctly shone in the dark..
Strangely there was no fear inside me
I replied back, “Where’s my friend??”
“Very concerned about your friend… you don’t worry about yourself?? Hahahahaha”
“We have tied your friend to the tree..Now its you turn”. He took hold of my arm and in a flash twisted it and put the knife on my throat . Then he began searching my pockets.
“The phone! No way I am going to let him take my 18K phone”. Strange motivation but motivation at least. I gathered all my courage and power and hit his groin with the elbow. A shrill shriek disturbed the silence of the night.
He doubled up in pain. Meanwhile the second thug – the one with the hammer came running towards me. I was in no mood to get shattered. I quickly picked up the lever and ran. Tarun was somewhere tied to the tree. I Hoped he was not injured. I went around the car and called out for him. I didn’t have much time as the bulky second figure was coming close.
“Ya. I am here”, Tarun called out. Then I saw him sitting besides the tree.
“They must have hit him”. “Where is the police?? Do they always have to come after the show is over??”
The hammer guy was on me now. We stood face to face. My jack lever looked comically miniature in front of his thick hammer. But at least I had a weapon. It was then that we heard the sirens in the far. For a moment everyone was distracted and I took the opportunity to land a swinging, merciless blow to the hammer guy’s face. He fell screaming to the ground. The PCR was there now. And in true filmy style, the policemen got down and caught the robbers. They always know who the villain is. Never have they come and by mistake caught the hero. Well it was the same case here. The robbers had hit Tarun on the head but fortunately the Sardar’s Turban had saved him, leaving a minor cut on his forehead. But he was shocked as was I. It was still unbelievable that all this had happened.
But I had a story – a real one, for Mayur.

1. Only the first 8 lines of this piece are NON Fictional... Everything else - my imagination.
2. The conversation on '100' is imaginary and is no way related to what a real conversation would be like.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Its Back

The fever is back - no no .. not dengue but the Cricket Fever.
The Champions Trophy or the Mini world cup starts tomorrow with a low key match between Sri Lanka and Bangladesh 15 kms away at PCA stadium.. And the runs will continue to flow long way till World Cup finals on 28th April at Barbados..
During the season - TV sales will rise, malls will be less crowded on week ends..offices will take a hit on efficiency while hits on cricinfo and cricbuzz grow exponentially..people will be crowded in front of Electronic shops...blogs will be flooded with cricket...everyone will be a cricket expert...some heroes will rise while some will go into oblivion...
The big cricket has also been made special by an explosive return of the God - Sachin Tendulkar...
And it will be foolish of people to yet again criticize him...He has proved what is he made of....Countless cricketers have come and gone.. they shine for a brief period and then fade away - never to return.. but god has been there 17 years..and still in the recent domestic matches in chennai, there were youngsters who retired hurt due to exhaustion while the master stroked on and on effortlessly...
May be this is going to be his last world cup so the sight me and millions of Indians would love to see and hope to see is a team in Blue overalls, a big Tricolour waving in the background with the a cup in the center throwing its shine on the moment...and God standing there with his usual childish smile - satisfied after having showered his blessings on the tournament..
Wishing Team India All the best!!!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Change - Can we???

Was watching Rang de Basanti Salaam yesterday in which some brave souls – some living and some departed were shown. The last one was Manjunath who gave up his life fighting the oil mafia and corruption in UP.
I also met some school friends and we were debating on Gandhian values, bribery, corruption etc. One of my friends, while referring to Chanakya Neeti remarked that we need to act according to the situation. E.g if you don’t have time and want a job get done- let’s say a license made- which can be done be done easily be shelling out some moolah – then take that option else if you have time – then do it yourself.
What will you prefer – generally the 1st one.
Now I come back to Manjunath’case. He knew that it was life threatening to take the path he took. So would it have been better to go along the mafia – turn a blind eye and let things happen?? And what difference did his death make? The malpractice must have stopped for 1 week .. 2 weeks… a month.!!!
As DJ says in RDB- “zindagi jeene ke 2 hi tareeke hain – ya jo ho raha hai hone do.. ya fir zimmedaari uthao usse badalne ki”.
People like Manju – did take the responsibility. Bringing it down to a small scale. If I get caught jumping a red light – will I try to bribe the havaldaar Rs 100 or prefer getting a challan for Rs 300. Ask yourself. More often than not anyone will choose bribing. The so called chankanyaneeti comes in.
Is it good? For us – yes. May be we are saving our Rs 200 or may be our life. We are not taking the responsibility to change as Manju did – because we see that it didn’t make a difference.
But how can we just assume that it won’t change without giving it a try? May be the death of 1 Manju didn’t make a difference. But what if every person who takes his seat also takes his path? Don’t you think something will change? How many people can the mafia kill without coming into notice.
All of us may not become Manjunaths and have the courage to lay our lives but in some small ways we can contribute to a change. And I say it again. WE CAN!!!
Why not try and be a maverick and don’t do what others do.
On a personal front, I have decided on 1 thing. I will not be giving a bribe in future.
And if that day comes when I break this vow, I will come here and tell about it. It’s a promise.

P.S: a definition of bribery may cover a lot of things. But here I would stick to the general definition we know – Monetary benefits to do some favor which is unlawful.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

I want to be....

I want to Stand at center of Eden
And watched by Lakhs
But I want to be on the other end and watch the GOD
While a masterful century he cracks

I want to be fastest in the car
But I don’t want to go over 20
When I see the sun setting
Behind the mountains in the far..

I want to be a jawan
Who protects the nation
But I don’t want to be one of the crowds
Who easily forgets the bravery a soldier showed..

I want to fly
And own the sky..
But firmly on the ground is where
I want my feet to stay

I want to be among the richest on the earth
But some times I want to be that poor man
Lying Drunk on the road
Without a care in the world

When I flew..

Wednesday, September 27, 2006


This week end, the country will celebrate Gandhigiri on the occassion of Bapu's Birthday. But few knew and even less remembered Shaheed Bhagat Singh - another short lived but one of the most important pioneer of the freedom movement, on his birthday which falls exactly a week before Gandhi's. Some sources say its 24th of Sept while others 26th September and a few more tell us it was today.. but even then , there was hardly anything in news. What is the exact date of birth is not important. The point is to remember the young energetic, very well read, passionate, and a completely dedicated Soul.

He was a person who was crystal clear in his ideas and thoughts.. who could communicate them so effectively both in speech and writing.. who had the foresightedness which today's CEO's would be envious of... who had the love of country in his heart rather than the love of power.

He was the one who possessed the courage to hit back on being slapped wrongly, instead of showing his other cheek.

He had the courage to getting hit by iron rods while tied in shackles in unknown dungeons rather than facing lathis collectively in a crowd..

He had the young, hot blood India needed rather than the corrupt, power lusty blood India got.

He was the action oriented leader India needed rather than the ones who kept fast and sat and hoped that everything will be controlled...(if u counter saying keeping fast is brave and needs courage... he kind of broke records by fasting more than 100 days to fight for his rights in a jail)

He was the one who tried to open the minds of farmers, mill workers and the country instead of telling them to follow some one blindly..

He was the one who had the courage to stand up and tell that the other person was wrong rather than just smiling at him and forgiving for the wrong doing again and again and again..

He was the one who died respectfully, with his head held high and a smile on his face, singing songs of praise for his mother land rather than being killed by a fellow citizen of the country..

I often wonder - what if he would have lived... to see the rise of a nation and take part in it actively..

Some articles/Letters written by Bhagat Singh. These show how clear and definite his thoughts were.

Wikipedia says Bhagat Singh was born on 27th September.
But in some places in Punjab, his birthday was celebrated on 24th (which came as a 2 paragraph report on 5th page of a newspaper)

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Blog about a Blog

Took the tag from Fleiger

Are you happy/satisfied with your blog with it's content and look?

Looks – Yes.. I like a simple, clean look..
Content – More or less yes.. would like to know from others on areas where I can improve.

Does your family know about your blog?


Do you feel embarrassed to let your friends know about your blog or you just consider it as a private thing?
Oh!!! I put a mail to all my friends, inviting comments and their thoughts, whenever I publish a new post.

Did blogs cause positive changes in your thoughts?
Some times Yes!!
e.g blogs like The year that Was and Inquilab Zindabad

Do you only open the blogs of those who comment on your blog or you love to go and discover more by yourself?
People who visit me are the most visited. I like to explore, if I have time on my side.

What does visitors counter mean to you? Do you care about putting it in your blog?
I DO!!! Would love to have the world converging here and share their ideas/thoughts

Did you try to imagine your fellow bloggers and give them real pictures?
Most of the fellow bloggers are my friends so no need for imagination. I try to in case of others…
As regards my image – the image link is same as the orkut one.. so I am there on my blog!!

Admit. Do you think there is a real benefit for blogging?
Oh yes ofcourse!! Some instances of blogging helping people was witnessed during post-mumbai blasts craziness… also recently read on Mridula’s blog – how blogs can be really useful… apart from this they also tend to propagate a thought, an idea… which if on a large scale has power to bring revolutions…

Do you think that bloggers society is isolated from real world or interacts with events?
The society is very much a part of the society and everyday events are the biggest influence on what people write.

Does criticism annoying you or do you feel it's a normal thing?
Its not a normal thing – it is a very good thing as it helps you know ur weakness and improve on it..

Do you fear of some political blogs and avoid them?
It’s the opposite. I tend to read other’s political views.. As it is always better to know all aspects before forming an opinion yourself. Though it does not happens always.. but that’s what I try..

Did you get shocked by the arrest of some bloggers?
I have not heard anyone getting arrested… but if they are. I assume they must be misusing the power called Blogs

Did you think about what will happen to your blog after you die?
I really liked the idea of a epitaph blog suggested by Fleiger. May be I will also do the same..sorry Fleiger.. violating the copyrights here!!!

What do you like to hear? What's the song you like to put its link in your blog?
Depends on Mood really.. Usually blogging is done at night when u tend to hear slow, soulful songs…but it can be anything.. from Nirvana to Hariharan to Jagjit singh to Ghulam Ali to Gurdass mann to Shaan.

Five bloggers to be the next "victims"?
Anyone and Everyone!!!
(Cuckoo has taken an anticipatory bail.. So this accused is excused)

Shots from Heaven

These are some of the shots I took at 30,000 feet above sea level..

A window opens and invites.

To Beautiful Spectacles and Sights

Clear Blue Skies

And Clouds spread out like Carpet

Makes me wonder

Is this heaven I am looking At

Friday, September 15, 2006

Happy Birthday to me!!!

Hi all… Today is my 1st birthday…thank you.. thank you.. for all your wishes on this milestone…
Ohh.. forgot to tell you.. with the space I am eating up with these words that you are reading, my weight will be 50 blogs…u guessed it correct - In my world, weight is measured in units different from all you humans…
On this happy occasion I will let you know of my life in the past 1 year… This guy Sid.. gave me birth on Sept 16, 2005. (technology has really excelled… guys can also give births now)..Sid told me that after he first saw my clone, which were his friend khushal and Bharath’s babies and thrn got ideas to conceive me….Like you humans have 2 eyes and ears..i also have 2 parts – one of us is remains concerned to sidz life. The second part he watches a lot of TV, specially news, reads newspapers etc. u know the ‘I need to have a view point on everything’ kinds…
I put my first blogss (ok. Kgs in ur language) with some words about a trip sid had gone with bharath…. Then followed some imaginable stories.. his tryst with bungee jumping… talk about his college days. (he is really obsessed with his college days and friends.!!! ). He also bored me with his philosophy.. and I traveled with him to his home.. it was a long 40 hour trip and I gained a lot of weight during that journey… also learnt some poetry (didn’t understand much though).. and enjoyed a lot when I was painted green, yellow and red during last holi…sid made me privy to some of his insanity..and also incidents at office.. I was witness to some mesmerizing spectacles at places like Chamundi Hills near mysore and Sukhna Lake at Chandigarh …Though the best one, according to sid and some of his friends was about the famous and inspiring words Inquilab Zindabad

My second part, as I already told, watches a lot of TV and is quite different from the 1st.. It is more concerned about cricket, quotas, movies , politicians and things like that…
Many of Sidz friends visit me often… specially when I eat and gain weight… Amrut, KT and Rompy have been visiting right from my birth.. They say lovely things about me and give me gifts. In my world they are called Comments… … recently birds like eagles and cuckoos have also been visiting me…one tied 2 lovely tags around me…they tickled me and I laughed a lot …there are many others who meet me but they don’t give me gifts .. while some don’t tell their names while giving gifts…
This has been pretty much my life till now.. Life which I am living in a small corner of a big big world called internet. But I like my space – decorated in plain blues, whites and shades of grey... I first thought of asking sid to give me a new dress on my birthday but then I changed my mind as I love the way I am presently..
Ohh.. I have eaten up quite a bit of space.. this is one thing I am concerned about.. Sid, when he nurtures me, tends to stuff me with lot of words.. I am going to ask him to let my weight increase but also at the same time keep me fit and in shape…
Hope I have a fitter, healthier and better second year with new experiences and thoughts to share.. Hope to have your company along…
Biii and take care…