Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Small was beautiful

As I waited impatiently in line at the cash counter of a bookstore, clutching half a dozen books and an equal number of magazines, I noticed this little girl ahead of me, she was holding this story book, taking a peek ever so often and then closing it with a content sigh. It was almost as if she couldn't wait to reach home and start reading the book. She barely reached the top of the counter as she paid the cashier and then ran over to her waiting mother, clearly wanting to head home in a hurry.

How many times do we see such an image and smile?

As the cashier prepared my bill, I looked again at these wonderful books I was purchasing and soon began realising that the thrill that little girl had was strangely missing in me. I knew it was missing because I've had it before as a little boy or even when I was a gawky teenager. I remember those good old days of bargaining with some roadside seller of old books over a copy of a Hardy Boy's adventure or a Louis L'Amour western or a fresh adventure of Richmal Crompton's William. Usually, after a successful bargain (often involving all the money I owned as of that moment), I would race back home and settle in my nook, munch on something and start reading the book.

As a kid, I could never own comic books like Tintin or Asterix because they were frightfully expensive. So I would get one those from a local lending library and read it a few dozen times before it was time to return it. Now that have entire collections of these books, often brand new, I hardly ever re-read books anymore, almost forgetting that some books grow on you the more you read.

Come to think of it, isn't this true for most things we do as grown ups? I wonder why we were in such a tearing hurry to be adults.

Thursday, June 23, 2005


I knew if I ever wrote sometime, I would eventually write about Julie.

This is a tribute to a very dear friend.

I was 11 years old when she came into my life. A little brown bundle of pure joy was this pretty cocker spaniel with twinkling eyes. I remember the day she walked into our home pretty well, she dashed inside the living room just as soon as my mother released her, instantly making my 6 year old sister scramble up the nearest window. My sister spent the better part of the day hanging on to that window and refusing to move till this 2-month-old monster was removed from the room. Julie was up to the challenge, taunting the swinging sister to put her feet down. Eventually she did get down and they got to know each other just fine.

Julie grew fast and our friendship grew faster. We developed a unique bond that only a dog and a 11 year old could. In no time she was the fifth member of the family, having firmly carved a place for her in our midst. Julie was very different from the rest of the dogs we knew. She fiercely guarded her house, yet she had the heart to herd and safeguard a little chick which my adventurous Mom decided she must have in her backyard, even carefully carrying that little chick in her mouth to safety every time there was a predator crow in sight. Much later, she also took in a little stray kitten and gave it a place to stay when it found its way into our home. She was a strange little dog but one couldn't dispute that she had a heart of gold.

I'm told that she could hear my bicycle bell as soon as I enter the street on my way back from school and she would be ready at the gate with her tail wagging and her eyes twinkling. This was immediately followed by our crazy routine, which involved a lot of tail wagging, arm chewing, wild barking and a spot of wrestling. I think she looked forward to it everyday as much as I did, if not more.

She eventually found a mate (a dashing cavalier of a dog who would jump over our large compound wall to meet his lady love) and had a couple of pups and grew them to be as well mannered and gentle as she. She even let the little kitten she rescued play with them like it was another pup of hers.

As she got older and greyer everyone took special care to ensure that her needs were taken care of. Yet, Julie never broke her routine of welcoming me at the gate every time I got back home on the weekends from college. We had seen each other through our easy days as well as the hard ones and had settled into a more mature friendship always comforted by each other’s presence.

Finally, one day when I returned from out of town and walked into my home, I could sense something was wrong since no one was around. I walk over to the backyard; my dad was standing there with a crestfallen look, immediately I knew what that look meant. I walked to this little shed hesitantly and saw her lying in my Mom's lap as my sister sobbed quietly in a corner. My Mom told her softly that I've come and gently transferred her frail head into my lap. I held her, stroked her head softly and called her name.

After a while, her tail wagged wanly and in a few seconds I felt her heave a huge sigh, which was her dying breath. As it turned out, the Vet had told my parents that she would die in an hour or so they day before I got home. She had double pneumonia and had lost her vision too. My heartbroken Mom sat with her every minute, talking to her, assuring her that I would come home soon. She had held on for 24 long and painful hours. Fighting for consciousness, even gaining the strength to walk for a few seconds one time. Waiting resolutely.

To this day, I can never express in words how I feel about her final act of friendship. She had set her mind to welcome me home one last time. And she did just that.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Don't we often look but not see? Aren't we often so immersed in our lives and problems that we forget the world around us? Don't we often make snap judgments and move on? I know I'm guilty of these as anyone else. The few instances when I take the time too see things clearly or explore something deeper or strike up a conversation I end up being very pleasantly surprised. Mostly though the childhood eagerness and curiosity seems to have given way to grown-up apathy.

Just imagine! There must be so many unexplored surprises, unopened books and interesting conversations that we must have walked away from, in our lives!

If only we could be more aware of our environment and have a dash of curiosity then every day would become that much more exciting, keeping us that much more younger!

Seek and ye shall find..

Sunday, June 19, 2005

An Arranged Marriage In July

He is a good man from a good family, they said and she accepts her parents' advice. Conservative at heart, she calmly takes the risk of her life. Is this what she wants? Is she truly happy? No one knows, and I suspect neither does she. Trust is all she has, happiness, she hopes won't be too far behind.

She was born when I was five; this little sister of mine. We met for the first time as she lay in her crib a day after her birth, I touched her little hand she held my finger tight, a moment I would carry with me all my life. I swore that day I would give her all she wants, though now I sit mutely, unable to read her mind. Maybe she became mature beyond her years and left her big brother behind.

The little girl slips away and a lady comes to light.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

He said, She said..

In a pub its very easy to identify a table which has married people in it, the guys are all sitting together drinking beer (and contemplating on a move to whisky) and the women are sitting together nursing cocktails and whispering (and quite often giggling) while pointing at one of the husbands. How do I know this? More often than not I' m the single guy in one such table, sitting there and taking in this wierd married ritual of weekend pubbing. Often this could be a boring thing but at times it can also be an incredible source of mirth and knowledge. These are some of the gems I remember having happened over the last few years.

The scenario usually is a pub or a restaurant on a friday or a saturday evening.

He said: Hey guys, today I really exercised my rights as a boss. I let the office driver drive the car, I sat in the backseat and had a smoke. It was such a great experience.
She said: WHAT? You smoked in my car???
He said: Err....noo....yes...but there is no smell...
She said: You smoked in my car????
(This great trip cost the dude one long evening of pain)

(An attractive girl walks past the table, wearing a rather unique perfume)
He said: Ahhh..thats...
She said: Thats what???
He said: Thats a nice song that they are playing, isn't it?
She *rolls her eyes*

She said: Paragliding is sooo thrilling, you are strapped on so that you can't move either ways, the view is so scary and you are floating aimlessly in the air with no control in your hands.
He said: *muttering* Just like our marriage...

(A recently married couple)
She said:Hey, my second cousin Riya who lives in Bombay is in town with her husband next week. You remember na, you met them at our wedding.
He said: Close cropped hair, spectacles and mustache right?
She said: Ya, but Amit doesn't have a mustache, does he?
He said: No, no, I meant Riya..

She said (Chugging a beer): I'm going to Talwalkars (a gym) for the last one month
Friend said: Oh! How much have you lost?
He said: Twelve thousand bucks man..
(Oft repeated line but a true incident nevertheless)

She said: But Ajay you need to get married, you are 34 and you live such a boring life!
Ajay: But I still have my choices open don't I?
He said: (slapping Ajay in the back) CORRECT!!!! (then realised the wife is staring at him) But...marriages have their plusses, you know?
(This was narrated to us by the wife, Ajay being her elder brother)



Is happiness a process or a destiny? Is it a state of mind or a function of environment? And will it ever be complete?


Take a few minutes..

I came across a post which I just had to share with people. It is titled 'Break not my heart'. I think it speaks for itself.


Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Why am I so angry?

I've been asking this question to myself for the last half an hour. I just visited the blog of a very famous blogger, as I was going through her posts as I eagerly do with any new blog, I found a photo series titled 'Indian village image'. There are shots of village folks (one post consisting entirely of women) performing various their chores . Why should I be angry? I ask myself.

Then it came to me, if someone took a picture of me at work or at home and then put it up on the internet in a way that it obviously implies that I needed pity I would be pissed! And I hope so would others be on my behalf. I agree with this blogger that the conditions in our country is sad, we have the one of the worst records for respecting individual rights. Our rural (and in many cases) urban infrastructure is very bad. BUT contrary to international belief, we don't lead a sad life. Coz this is the only life we all know. This feature looked too curiously like a virtual tour of the 'poor' India for the 'suffering' junkies.

Let me just expand this thought further, put a man in an A/c room for all his life and then one day take that room away from him. Now thats a guy for whom one should feel sad about. But if there is another man who works hard everyday in a farm for a daily wage, his family living in a hut all their lives and him sleeping under the stars all his life then he is no different from you or me. It is one thing to highlight the corruption or exploitation of an uneducated person or people (like in Annie Z's post titled 'Pick one village', I urge you to read it) or to write about someone's loss, but its a whole different thing to pity someone going about his or her day to day life. A big difference! A very big difference! How would you like it if Bill Gates took your picture now?

Dear Ms. Blogger,

If you ever do find your way here. Welcome! This really isn't a hate blog so relax.

Firstly, I would like to mention that most cellphones are as cheap as landlines (especially a Reliance CDMA phone), hence if yours could work there the chances are good that someone else in that village could also get one to work (Hence the argument of just five landlines and six mobile phones does not hold water). Did you ever think in the lines that this form of communication is probably not needed by the subjects in question?

Secondly, lets take electricity. Why would a village need it?

a) To pump water for their crop - None of your subjects look to be farm owners. They look more like farm workers or daily wage earners and in one case a petty shop owner. Hence they couldn't be bothered about this reason. If they were farmers, there are a few other methods of getting water like wells, infact you've photographed one of them. If you press the point by saying how would someone work a borewell, I have to admit, you've got me.

b) To light up their houses- If you notice rather carefully, all the houses you've captured are thatched huts. I do not think they would be electrified even if they get the electricity

c) To run fans, microwaves, washing machines etc- We know t he answer to this one

More than 60% of India's villages do not have power, despite the continuous growth in power generation. This is due to the growth in Industrial demand as well as the urban demand. Only off-late are some states becoming power surplus and starting to export power to other states. People live a hard life in these villages and yet manage a smile everytime a camera is pointed at them, would we be so kind? (Ever wonder about that?)

You have an eye for detail, so I would really advise you to highlight the ills that are faced by people in villages. I would be among the first people to applaud if you did. But to put up someone's day to day activity or their homes in a way that evokes pity just isn't correct, even if they were totally unaware of this.

In reality, there isn't two kinds of India but only one. The one from which we need to remove corruption, poverty, social inequalities and this feeling of pity. Paradoxes are of our own creation now its up to us to undo them, not the Government, not the politicians (the highly priced fall guys) but us. One thing I would have to tell you though is that, if you were intending to do anything more than just posting these photographs for international view, you have my most sincere apologies.

(As all bursts of righteous indignation, this one could be misplaced anger at a rather innocent photo feature. A Picture tells a thousand words and the words that I picked up tell this story. Hence I have to be true to my thoughts as I write this blog even if every other viewer may think differently).

To be fair, I wanted to post the response by the blogger in question:-

dina said...
Thanks for this detailed expression R ... its funny but as i was reading what you said, i couldnt help feeling we both believe much the same thing !My observations from the villages i visited are just those on a specific research project - and i personally was struck by the dichotomy that exists and felt like sharing it. And they are happy pictures - no pity intended whatsoever. Taken with their permission. It certainly wasn't meant to be a commentary on corruption or social change or the structure - just observations as an ethnographer - i was intrigued by the various activities women were involved in as i walked through the village.And btw - I was thrilled to see the use of cell phones there - despite there being no electricity or landlines - i suspect you just missed the point :)

My response: I still miss the point.

Monday, June 13, 2005

A Birthday Bash

(This narrative is about a boring get-together at our home last evening. If you'd rather read about a cool party instead you should probably be headed here. )

Dad turned 59 yesterday, Mom had managed to convinced him that it was a good idea for a prayer meeting, something rather new at our household. From about 6 pm the place was literally invaded by aunts, uncles, cousins, neices, nephews and a whole lot of strange people. Deftly managing to avoid the cheek pinching aunts, I ensured that everyone settled down, had a drink in hand (non-alcoholic ofcourse!) . The prayer meeting commenced at 6:30 pm, sharp. The ceiling of the house was nearly blown away by the sudden burst of singing with hoards neighbours rushing to our compound wall. I could see the worry in their face, there is nothing like a family going holy in a neighbourhood because it always results in audio assaults at odd times of the day (and night).

Now my are dogs really not used to such performances around the house, often having to be satisfied with a solo by my sister were overjoyed and joined in the merriment. The result was a howl, well, actually a series of howls. There were a total of four songs and result was a couple of madly happy dogs and nearly destroyed building. After a few minor but interesting incidents (like the Pastor falling alseep when someone was praying etc) the meeting ended.

Everone broke into small groups and the usual chit chat followed about who died, who was the latest occupant of a padded cell etc. I went around serving cups of juice to the junta and the following are some examples of the exhilarating conversation that followed:

An Uncle I've never met before: So where do you work
Me: XYZ Bank, would you like some fresh juice?
Uncle: Ah, how long do you work there
Me: Usually from 9:30 am to 6:30 pm
Uncle: No No, Since when do you work?
Me: Oh I see what you mean, I've been with them for the last 3 years
Uncle: What is your salary? These MNC banks pay well ah?
Me: (thinking) I get a five paise coin every time i do a back flip. (But saying) Excuse me Uncle, I think my mother is calling ..


An Aunt I knew barely: R., your mother tells me that you are next in the line for marriage!
Me: (smile weakly) Fresh Juice, Aunty?
Aunt: So tell me what kind of girl are you looking for...there are a lot of good girls! Even the other day I met this girl who finished her doctorate..
Me: (Thinking) Naah, Can you manage a hot redhead with green eyes instead? (But saying) No Aunty...We are just focussing on my sister's wedding at the moment..I have no plans of getting married now...
Aunt: Ah! You already have a girl in mind huh (conspiratorial wink) should I speak to your Mommy?
Me: (Thinking ) Oh yeah, My girl is waiting for me outside as we speak, we are planning on a night of raw passion. You think you can cover for me? Oh, and can I borrow your car? (But saying) No.. No Aunty, I have no girl in mind...I think Mom needs me...


Aunt I knew well: Meet my nephew R., he works for XYZ (dragging me infront of a pompous uncle)
Pompous Uncle:
(in a pompous tone) Ah! What do you do?
Me: (thinking) I clean the executive restroom (But saying) I'm in corporate banking
Pompous Uncle: Credit cards? I get calls from you people daily! Even today a girl called Rashmi called me for taking another card, They don't let you live in peace i say! I know she will call again. She even has my mobile number..
Me: (Thinking) Yeah, hang around, she just might call you for phone sex (But saying) Sorry about that but I'm in the corporate banking division
Aunt: Yes, He is a manager.
Pompous Uncle: My nephew works in ABC bank, you know? He's a vice president.
Aunt: R. is expecting a promotion soon! (nudge)
Me: (Thinking) Ah..Great! does my Boss know?
Pompous Uncle: He (the VP) is always flying here and there. Very busy fell0w! He has 2 children, studying in the Bombay Scottish School!
Me (Thinking) Yeah and I bet he also has 2 dogs who hang out at the Kennel Club (But saying) Thats nice... excuse me..

It was one long evening to say the least. Dear Reader, if ever you have such social events at home, take my advice, Skip town.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

On history

Now history is often an interesting thing, it encapsulates a person's long life into one short line of introduction. I only remember my maternal grandfather as a former Thasildhar of the city of Madurai (The Head of local administration), no more. This is all the I know about this gentleman, since he was dead long before I was born. This got me thinking about what would I be remebered as by people who have never met me.

R., the famous writer perhaps (yeah right! sounds corny even to me), R., the billionnaire (hmm, as much as I like this line of thought, I digress from the topic ).

I believe a part of the success that we crave out of things we do is to leave a legacy behind. I could very well be wrong but humour me in this line of thought, will you? Some people are remembered for a single day or single act in their lives, Paul Revere for a horse ride, Columbus for his directional brilliance, Neil Armstrong for climbing down a ladder (not to mention poor Buzz Aldrin, the first man to pee in his pants on the moon) etc. And some are remebered for their lives, examples being, Albert Einstein for his contribution to science, Gandhi for his contribution to peace and social thought, Leonardo Da Vinci, for his contribution to arts and science etc. Infact, Da Vinci, if some historians are correct has left a lot of mysteries in his works of art to keep people interested in him for a very long time. I'm told that the Shroud of Turin might be a fake created by this brilliant prankster and that too in his own image (It is alleged to be the first ever photograph).

Artists writers, creators and inventors have it better, they can leave their visions creations and most importantly thoughts, behind in a hope that these would be seen, read and appreciated over hundreds of years. Those of us who don't possess these skills end up with just the one line to sum up our lives.

What would you like to be remembered as? It really isn't a certainity that we can pick the moment nor even like what we would be remembered as. For example, what ever poor Monica Lewinsky does in her life, she would always be remembered as the girl who had sex in the oval office. One married man, one misplaced secret and a branding for eternity.

Do you remember Tiananmen's Square in 1989? A single man stopped a column of tanks from advancing and became an instant living legend, an eternal symbol of peace and a powerful image of the triumph of free spirit. I don't think he would have realised this that fateful morning when he had his breakfast.

Interesting to think that this new week might contain the very moment that just might sum up your life.

Look sharp! A your spot in history might just be around the corner!

Saturday, June 11, 2005

'Modern' Indian society

This is an edited version of my post. It initially had two parts, one of which I feel I am not ready to put up as yet. Apologies for removing that portion, when I am good and ready I will put it back up, hopefully this real life incident would have a better ending by then.

On a night out with a bunch of old time friends, I met this pal who had gotten married seven or eight months earlier. Over a glass of beer, this friend of mine started telling me that his parents do not wish for him to travel outside the city for the next two weeks. When I enquired about this, he smiled shyly and said that his parents felt that according to his wife's biological clock, this time period was the best to conceive a child. I was severly shocked since this wasn't an uneducated person speaking nor were his parents uneducated for that matter, they were a highly educated upper middle class family. The very thought that an entire family was timing the body clock of a poor girl was horrifying, not to mention the couple's sex life. When I mentioned this to him, he said, that his parents were right in what they are doing since there is immense societal pressure for them to have a grand child. Where is this moronic society, which pressurizes people to have children and grandchildren? If I am considered a part of this society, where do I hand in my resignation?

Roughly a month later when I met this dude again, he told me that they are doing a lot of tests on his wife to see if there were any problems. Oh God! I pity that poor girl is all I could think. I intially thought that this was an act of a rather stupid family but when I took up this up for discussion I found to my chagrin that a lot of people agreed that its better to have a child immediately since this would silence a lot of mouths. The ones who waited for a few years expressed the pressures of being questioned continously in every social event. In an over crowded country with a million orphaned children who need a loving home, how can the society be so fixated about producing more and more children? Why isn't adoption promoted the way it should be? And most importantly whatever happened to things like ‘choice’ and 'privacy'?

We take great pride in our economic and technological progress over the decades; we drive better vehicles and have all the modern amenities possible. But we still hold on to our age old practices that are both blind as well as cruel. Have we really progressed? When would we ever learn?

Friday, June 10, 2005

The talisman

As a writer of limited capacity I'm always scrambling for ideas. Considering that one is only as good as one's last post, the pressure to write something interesting every time is rather enormous, not that I've not been too successful in that endeavor either. While I grapple with my very first writer's block, I urge you reader to think over words by someone I admire immensely, a man they call Mahatma and father of the indian nation, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (not Ben Kingsley but the real deal).

In one of his last notes before his death he wrote "I will give you a talisman. Whenever you are in doubt, or when the self becomes too much with you, apply the following test. Recall the face of the poorest and the weakest man [woman] whom you may have seen, and ask yourself, if the step you contemplate is going to be of any use to him [her]. Will he [she] gain anything by it? Will it restore him [her] to a control over his [her] own life and destiny? In other words, will it lead to swaraj [freedom] for the hungry and spiritually starving millions? Then you will find your doubts and your self melt away."

How many times do we take decisions based on how they impact others? If I could take atleast one decision in my life based on his words I would be a contended man.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

What a Wonderful World...

' I see trees of green, red roses too
I see them bloom for me and you
And I think to myself, what a wonderful world...'

Louis Armstrong's wonderful voice oozed from the stereo, early this morning on my way to work. As I sat there listening, I was transported from the middle of the traffic jam to a small black and white cafe. I found myself sitting by the window sipping coffee, the smell of freshly baked bread wafting deliciously in the background. I watch people walking past, everything moves slowly and everyone looks happy. Children play in the sidewalk and not a vehicle on the road. The weather is nice and time stops still...

I think it was a two and a half minute glimpse of heaven.

Monday, June 06, 2005

The old man under a tree

They said he was well traveled and once quite rich, this old man sitting under the shade of a lonely big tree in the middle of nowhere. It seems he sits there all day, gazing around in peace. Some said that he was mad and some that he was wise but all of them agreed that he was unique. One morning, I walked up to the tree and sat down beside this frail old man. He welcomed me with a nod and a smile.

My curiosity got the better of me and I asked him what he looked at everyday, he smiled and said "Paradise" in a soft voice. I waited a while for his words of wisdom but none ever came. So I asked him where this paradise was and if I would be able to find it. He smiled and said haltingly "Son, it is up to you to search for your own paradise, mine is right here, all around, it took me many years and many journeys to find it". I looked around as I leaned back on the tree, wondering what he ever saw in this hot and lonely land.

After a moment or two of incomprehension, I glanced at his contended face. I realised then that I didn't have to know his reasons, they probably only made sense to him. Acceptance washed over me and I kicked back and sat a while longer sharing this spot in his paradise.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

A real life incident in a coffee shop not so long ago..

Another real life narrative. I always have the feeling that they seldom make for interesting reading to someone else but I just couldn’t resist writing about this incident.

Earlier this evening I walked into this new coffee shop and all I wanted to do was to have an espresso, a chocolate chip cookie and be on my way. Every time I visit one of these trendy coffee shops I wind up in a very familiar scenario, wonder if any of you share a similar experience. So without further ado, here's how it went..

Counter Guy: Good evening, Can I take your order?
Me: Yes, I'd like an espresso and a chocolate chip cookie please
Counter Guy: (Looking Up) but... that’s without milk..
Me: (Thinking oh boy here we go again) Yeah, I know that..
Counter Guy: If you would like a coffee with milk I could give you a Latte, its strong
Me: No, no thanks.
Counter Guy: Well if you would like a lighter coffee you could try a Cappuccino
Me (smiling patiently): Well, but I want an espresso
Counter Guy: Can I interesting you in a Café Americano instead?
Me: But isn't that like plain black coffee?
Counter Guy (smiling widely): Yes, that’s right. Espresso is very strong…
Me: But I want an espresso...
Counter Guy: Ok, would you like to try some new kinds of coffee beans? We have Kenyan, Jamaican, would you like to smell the beans (Thrusting a container of coffee beans at me)
Me: No, just the regular espresso please (Glancing at the watch, hoping he took the hint)
Counter Guy: Ok, one espresso and one chocolate chip cookie, isn't it?
Me: (Nod Gratefully)
Counter Guy: Would you like to try our brownies instead of the cookie? ( Looks at me, I think it was the gritting of my teeth that told him that my ability to speak had come to a screeching halt) OK, is that all?
Me: (Blank stare)
Counter Guy: (Hands me the change and the bill nervously) Have a nice day
Me: (mumbling) Yeah right, thanks.

No wonder they say an espresso gets you all worked up. Now, I don't blame the counter guy; he was just doing his job. It’s me, I guess I just don't look like an espresso drinker . Sigh.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Being 30 plus --

Saturday night.

Ever wonder why one 'has to' go out on this infernal evening? With all popular hangouts being overcrowded, getting a decent table takes a mini miracle. After a night of loud music, louder people and bad service, you wind up in a smoky nightclub leaning against a pillar for support along with a bunch of tired people at 2 am in the morning. Staring with bloodshot eyes at kids dancing like they are possessed as the music does a number on your nerves. Someone in the gang is worried about her kid and someone else is talking about how much things have changed since we were in our early twenties. Things haven't buddy, we have.

Dreaming of a bed and a few soft pillows as you stare bleakly, not wanting to be the first to call it a night..

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Of blogging and bloggers

I swaggered into blogging in the usual manner that I attack most of my new ventures, filled with a good dose of confidence and an absolute lack of knowledge or experience. After I finishing my first post, sitting back, I realised that it really didn't turn out the way it was intended to and hence I tweaked it a bit. I finally found the post appealing and charming (if i may say so myself) after a few attempts. I published it and awaited contendedly for the fan mails to start pouring in. A day later, there was no comments or fan mails, I sighed as great artists would and started work on my second post.

Well written, was what registered in my mind when I finished the second post. Surely this one would rise to dizzying heights in literary circles, I thought. The salesman in me took over and I marketed my blog with my friends, hoping for good word of mouth. Some of them read the piece and some only pretended to. Among those who read is a friend who is an accomplished writer. I would have to attribute my first taste of reality to her. She started by saying that there was potential but then described the areas of improvement, eg, the spelling, grammar, flow of thought etc, it is from her that I learned that a 10 year old child probably would have better grasp of english grammar than I did. THUD! My ego landed, bruised and battered.

I have her and a few other friends to thank for their critical commentary, because they opened my eyes to the reality around me and made me want to learn new things rather than just imposing my writing on others. Humility had firmly set in by this point. I started travelling around the various blogs and immediately realising that there was enormous amouth of talent out there and there are many writers/bloggers who could make my efforts seem rather average. It was like wearing a superman's outfit and walking into a party only to find out that it was actually not a fancy dress event but a formal affair. As I browsed around in wonderment, I began realising that all this quality writing did'nt deter me at all, infact they were highly invigorating. Finding a great new blog ever so often became a thing of joy. I now see writing is a mountain which I must climb, if only to see the fantastic view on top and I'm sure that I will get there some day.

I've listed below some of the sites that I love visiting, I hope you would enjoy them too.

a) Annie Z's , Annie is a very accomplished writer, who's style of writing I admire a lot. The way she feels for topics makes for compelling reading. (Suggested post to start with: Kali-bai, soul of the story).

b) -c's , title of this blog 'Up the creek without a platypus' makes me laugh everytime I see it. I don't know if its a literary quote or -c's humour at play. The the writing is unique and incredibly funny. (Suggested post to start with: Meet the tomato)

c) Dilip D'Souza's, Dilip is a published author who can manage a wide range of topics from Gwen Stefani's new line of fashion apparels to more serious social issues with consumate ease. (Suggested post to start with: Irene)

d) Anu Bakshi's, its the official blog of Project Why and my concience.

e) Ammani's, Ammani says a lot with very few words in her wonderful quick tales.

f) Pat Mullan's , Pat is an accomplished writer of thrillers and a former banker. I'm hoping to read his book The circle of Sodom, as soon as I can lay my hands on it.

g) Cheesecakey's , Cheesey is a fellow reality show fan (yes, I do watch shows like the Amazing Race and the Contender and I like them too!) and you can expect anything at this blog, nude pictures or reviews of reality shows or a painting of Hieronymous Bosch or some neat worldly wisdom.

h) Baghdad Burning's, this is the inside story from Iraq.

i) DigitalBlasphemy's, Zahra's, Apss' (my first blogging guru) and Dan's are some neat blogs, my only complaint being that they don't get updated often enough, infact Dan's blog pretty much stops during the campaigning phase of the American elections, an reminder of an interesting period of time.

Fantastic bloggers all of them, some very fantastic posts and all in all a fantastic club to be a part of.