Tuesday, February 28, 2006

What would you do?

Imagine you were planning your future and the doctors came and told you 'Hold on, don't plan anything. Give us a week. We'll let you know if you need to plan at all'. What would you do?

Normally, a day in you life is nothing. What if there maybe only 100 of them left or 50 or 30? What would you do?

Would you laugh because there may only be a little time left for laughter ? Or would you cry because your dreams of a tomorrow (not a better tomorrow or a healthier tomorrow but just a tomorrow) may be safely packed away?

That is Nandini's life for you. She is a child who should be going to school and living a full life, yet she is struggling to find answers for these questions.

She needs your prayers.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

A Badly Written Poem with an Unoriginal Thought

Our roles in life define us,
Or so they say.
We know our parts but not the words,
So flit between many a cliche.
Confusion within, confusion without,
Why think? we are just bit actors in a grand play.

We smile if happy, cry if sad, fight if slighted,
It's the same from New york to Bombay,
Who leads who? What leads who?
It's hard to tell on any given day,
Confusion within, confusion without,
Why think? we are just bit actors in a grand play.

(I am not a poetry freak, far from it, I can't understand most modern verse, to me you gotta spell it out in black and white, no shades of grey or pink or orange or whatever colour, just black and white and poets seldom do that. Apart from the poems that I had to read in school, I have never read popular poetry. When I approached this post I was only armed with the knowledge that I had to get rhyming words in the end of each line or each alternate line, thats it. So I dunno if you like one this but I personally prefer the poem that starts with 'All the world's a stage...', I don't remember the other lines. This is most definitely my first and only attempt at poetry. Now, I'm gonna get all artsy fartsy and ask that when you comment on this post, you have to write something nasty about this poem and the effort, limericks are more than welcome...call it poetic licence :P )

Monday, February 20, 2006

A time to celebrate!

Today I just had to write a post. So I asked myself what would I write if I were given no time to think out a post. I said to myself, there could be something witty to write ofcourse, apparenltly witty took a day off today. An amusing anecdote then? Well, writing about watching the twitching mustache of a client for 94 minutes and 43 seconds isn't really a barrel of laughter, you have to admit (then again if there was the right kind of music to go with it, it should be worth a giggle or two).

So what would I write about then? A sad moment? I just did write about a downer of a day, if I write more, then this blog would be labelled as a tear jerker or worse it might be even called 'sensitive' (eeks!). Today is a day to celebrate life and not to think of some silly sad moment!

Et Voila! (thats french...Oo la la, if I may say so myself) A lightbulb moment! Maybe I should write about travel. ZAPPP! Realisation! I ALWAYS write about travel. People must be tired and sick of airline stories, airport stories, Bangalore stories etc. But then again, there maybe a moment or two, yet to be told...

The reason why I want to write is just that I feel full of life now, bursting from every thought and every word thanks to a moment in my life today, maybe it deserves a word or two.

About 3 hours ago, as I was rushing to the Coimbatore airport (to catch a flight back to Chennai), we were driving from a little town called Tirupur. About 20 kilometers away, it happened, I saw the headlights of a truck coming at us just few feet away from my car as we turned a busy but blind corner at full tilt. It was staring at us with it's deadly glare as we hurtled towards it at about 80 kmph. It was a strange moment dragged for eternity.

No one can figure how no one got injured, heck there was not even a scratch on the car or the truck (I think). The vehicles sweved in the last moment to miss each other by millimeters. The car ploughed into the open ground by the side of the road. There was no damage except for three very shaken men, me, my taxi driver and the driver of the truck.

How the two vehicles missed each other is something none of us are very clear about but great balls of fire, they did!

Like I said, I'm celebrating life, I just had to write, even if it was about a moment or two.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

The All New Look

"The food here is terrible, and the portions are too small"- Woody Allen.

This blog has reinvented it's look due to yet another mid-life crisis of it's author. Anyway, the metamorphosis has taken 4 hours, so when you recoil at the bright orange, remember the hard work that has gone into bringing you this new look. Most of the hard work was concentrated on changing the font colours from a blue or black to orange or black and I am happy to announce, this endeavour has been almost successful.

Sadly though, the quality of the writing would remain the same.

Your views on this change are solicited.

Friday, February 17, 2006

A bad day

Yesterday was a bad day. It's one of those days when you know things are gonna go downhill the minute you wake up. Even the gay bird (gay=happy, bird=bird) which usually sings a happy tune outside my window seemed to be mouthing the F word at me that AM. (Fark you too tweety!). I went to work with a sinking optimism that something might happen during the course of the day to change my bleak outlook. Lo behold (always wanted to use that in a sentence), things took a turn for the worse with every passing hour.

Afer four unsuccessful and frustrating meetings later, I and my two colleagues decided that the day was a complete wash out. In our line of work we have either spectacularly successful meetings or those that make you wonder what the heck you are doing with your life (shortly and not so affectionately called wthyadwyl). So after four wthyadwyls we were emotionally battered and bruised as we made our way back to office on a wing and more than a few cuss words. Things weren't great at office either, I had a dozen issues waiting for me in my inbox and surprise surprise, none of them could be resolved immediately.

A hurried and bad lunch which had started showing it's effect by late evening didn't do much to salvage the mood. My colleagues and I kept looking at each other, then finally decided to call it a day early. Both the guys made their way back home to their wives and kids, knowing fully well that in a few minutes their mind would be taken off the events of the day. They would be in their comfort zone. Some families are great stress busters (and some not so much). I had no one waiting for me back home, so I took a walk down Residency Road, feeling a little sorry for myself. I liked being alone but sometimes every person needs someone to go back home to, to feel needed and to connect. I hated such thoughts as I've always felt this was way too sappy, plus people who feel this way end up rushing into marriages that they deeply regretted later and that scared me more than anything else. What a thought! *Shudder*

A humongous bra fluttered from a shrub by the side of the road, even this failed to make me smile as it normally would have. Every tall tree I passed sheltered a homeless person or family looking for a hand out. In this noveau rich city of Bangalore, all the money that is made hasn't changed the lives of those who need it the most. There are more homeless people every year yet we gush about the 'development' and the 'advancement' that this city has seen. I couldn't help but shake my head, as I walked past, I can't blame others if I don't blame myself. A prickly social concience was all I needed on a day like this. Sigh.

As I neared the end of Residency Road, I saw a familiar neon sign. The Pub World. A low key, no nonsense pub I used to hang out, usually to catch a game, more than 5 years ago. I thought, heck, might as well grab a drink and some dinner. I walked in and as my eyes got adjusted to the dark interiors, I heard an exclamation of joy. From within the pub, arms outstretched was this bartender in knew from five years ago, Selvam. "Saarr, How are you saar?" he said. I smiled and replied. It was very nice of him to remember me after 5 years. He told me that he was one of the floor managers now as he showed me to a barstool in front of their big TV on the bar, my favourite spot in the pub (he even remembered that!). He gave specific instructions to the young bartender to ensure that he took special care of me. I was chuffed and grinning ear to ear. As I downed a beer and some tasty fish kebabs, Selvam made frequent trips to my spot to have a quick chat. He showed me pictures of his son, who was now going to the 4th Standard. I remembered that five years ago we were discussing which school would be the best for his child. He had huge ambitions for the kid.

After an hour of conversation, great food and some good old rock music, I bid goodbye to Selvam & Pub World, more at peace with myself. I needed to sleep to prepare for another long day.

Sometimes, in life we clutch at straws to get through the difficult days and these straws come by in many strange ways. We get by.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Another day another airport

If you think by now that I've written enough airport stories, you are probably right


I left my sister's house to catch a 10 PM flight to Chennai. My nephew volunteered to drop me at the airport in his bike. I agreed, thinking about all the times that I used to take him for rides in my bike when he was a little tyke. Now, here he was a twenty year old engineering college student with a bike and all. I looked at the mirror on the way out, the wrinkles around my eyes were beginning to show.

After a quick bike ride, which involved a lot of twists turns and racing through the pothole ridden roads of Bangalore, I managed to reach the airport without screaming for help. The reason I couldn't scream for help was that it would really have been uncool, especially in front of my nephew and I wasn't ready for that kind of a reality check as yet, though it was true that things surely have changed.

I walked into the airport and the first thing I noticed was that there were way too many people there than normal. I walked over to the Air Sahara counter. My intuition was right, my flight like most flights had been delayed by atleast 3 hours. I ask around with other airliners, all of them were running at 3-5 hour delays too. This was courtesy the dense fog in Delhi that AM which had had a cascading effect all day. Great!

I get a boarding pass, buy a Woody Allen novel (Without Feathers) and find an empty chair in the waiting lounge. After a bit of reading, I get bored and started looking around at my fellow passengers, in the same situation, stuck at the airport. After a while, I realised that each person or each event has a small story to tell. So this is a collection of them that I started noting down.

Shweta Come Here- Then Intrepid traveler.

The first fellow passenger I encountered was all of 2 feet tall and about 2 years old. It was easy to find out her name, which was either 'Shweta Don't Go There' or 'Shweta Come Here', which is what her Mother yelled her every so often. She never really answered to either of these names as she was caught up in a little world of her own. This little doll with an easy smile walked around, exploring the rows and rows of chairs filled with tired passengers. You could see that she was thrilled to bits.

Almost everyone brightened up when she walked down their row with her squeaky shoes. She never let anyone stop her from her quest, which was usually a walk to another row of chairs. She eventually decided that she would take a dekko at the book stall which had a huge full length display windows. She walked past the window, very slowly, leaning on the glass and staring at the books, lost in a world of her own. Some of the titles she browsed were, 'The Seven Habits of Effective People', The 86 degree solution', 'The!nk', 'Nuts!' and she spent quite a long time in front of 'The Historian' & 'The Da Vinci Code'.

It really was plain to see that the world had another thriller freak.

The Teenager & her Mom

Slightly ahead and facing me were this teenager and her mom. The teen was continuously on her cellphone messaging someone or the other. The mom would start a conversation and the teen would be messaging as she spoke. The Mom would try and peek at what the teen would pull away. This went on for awhile. One could see the worry lines on the Mom visible deepen. After awhile the teen gets up to use the washroom. The Mom slowly reached into the teen's bag and took out the teen's cellphone. Quickly the Mom goes through all the SMS's, frowns at a few, smiles at a few and then slips the phone back inside the bag before the teen came back.

By the time the teen is back the Mom is looking around casually with her arms folded with a look of someone who desperately wants the world to know that she was not upto anything sneaky. I think she just stopping short of whistling a nervous tune. This reminded me of a poster of Dennis the Menace, which my Mom gifted my sister a long time ago, there was a caption that read "You can fool some people sometime but you can't fool Mom".

Keeper of the broken chairs

To my right sat a smart middle aged gentleman reading the latest Outlook Magazine. There was a row of seats behind him were empty, a rarity in a crowded airport, so this attracted quite a number of passengers looking to take a load off their feet. Everytime someone would venture out to this row, this kind gentleman would point out to them that the chairs (linked together) were broken and it was dangerous to sit on them. He must have warned more than a few dozen people during the course of the night. My respect for him grew with every passing warning he gave to people, ensuring that no one sat on the broken row of chairs. He waved at a few airport officials to take care of the chairs but they were too busy with their jobs on this hectic night.

Now the kind man could have just as easily found another chair somewhere else to continue reading his magazine in peace but he chose to stay there. Says something about the man.

Real heroes seldom wear tights.

The Narcissist

A nervous guy sitting in front of me kept fiddling with his laptop. So I slowly leaned over to see what he was doing. I found him adjusting his picture which he had selected as the wallpaper on the laptop. After many adjustments, he was finally comfortable with his effort, which was a blow up of his face up to cover the entire screen. Very disturbing. More disturbing was the way he stared at his face for a real long time.

He then proceeded to put on some music on his laptop. Now the speaker in the laptop wasn't that effective, so he would put on a song, minimize the window to reveal the photograph of his big head, give it a look, then semi close the laptop, put it in the bag with the bag open and then lean on the bag. He did this song after song, some songs (like one from Ashique Banaya Apne) were played thrice.

This boy would need a shrink very soon.

A true Indian Wifey

A few rows ahead of the narcissist, sat a trendily dressed young couple (looked newly married). He looked like a pencil and she, well she was something else, gorgeous would be an understatement. He would read a book, she would peek in, finish the page before he did and wait for him to turn the page. She would talk animatedly, he would nod vaguely looking somewhere in space. He streches his arm, banging it on the arm of the chair, she rushes over to that side and massages his arm for half an hour (I kid you not). She talks nineteen to a dozen and he looks around. She puts her head on his shoulder and he shrugs it off not so gently. She goes back to talking and he goes back to staring in space.

And they tell me marriage is a fun thing. Ha!

Funny Heads

Ever see a man who has wrinkles all over his head like a bull dog?
Ever see a man wear a toupee that looks like a dead bandicoot (and probably smells like it too)?
Ever seen a man wear a pink hat (and a yellow shirt, ofcourse)?

I saw all three within 20 minutes of each other.


As I was about to catch a snooze a pretty girl walked towards me and sits across the aisle from me. She wore a tight brown leather trousers and also a rather tight black t-shirt that read 'Keep Staring, I just might do a trick', right across her bosum. She had a look in her eye that would have frozen a Volcano.

Would go and tell her that her leather trouser was ripped on the side?

I wouldn't. (She would have slapped me if I had pointed to her thigh)

This isn't right!

James Frey's "Million Little Pieces" has started climbing up the popularity chart in India now. Now, after it has achieved infamy. Bookstores like 'Sankars' at airports have started putting these books in their 'Bestsellers' & 'Recommended Reading' shelves over the last few weeks. These books also have the 'Oprah Book Club' recommendation on them. This goes to show that there is nothing like bad publicity.

The Apple Pie

At midnight with all the airport shops closed, I walked out of the airport into the cold Bangalore night to find something to eat. Since I was wearing a t-shirt I was shivering in the cold wind as I made my way to a Coffee Day, outlet in the middle of the parking lot. As I looked hungrily at the counter, I spied a large apple pie. One of my main weaknesses. I must have given it very longing looks because the guy behind the counter asked me if I wanted a piece of the pie. He said he would heat it for me too. I think i almost purred!

After heating the pie, he turned back to me to ask me if I wanted a scoop of vanilla ice cream on that, words were stuck to my throat, I merely nodded.

There I was shivering in the cold night air, gobbling a piece of the pie with a scoop of ice cream, smiling happily into the dark night.

I think perfection just found itself another metaphor.

(After 5 1/2 hours in the airport, I boarded the flight at 2 am for the routine 30 minute journey back to Chennai)