Sunday, December 23, 2007
Thinking about nani, i was immediately reminded of the days with my grandparents. My grandparents hail from a small city called Bhagalpur on the southern banks of Ganges. It has been more than ten years since i last went to Bhagalpur but the memories of the fantastic time spent with my grandparents there are still as fresh as ever.
I very well remember the arduous journey that we had to undertake to get to my grandparents' place. Getting down at the small town called Jasidih in the dead of the night signaled the end of the first relatively easier part of the tour. The second part involved spending around three to four hours at the dilapidated Jasidih railway station waiting for the morning to dawn. For companions, we almost always had disinterested beggars and your quintessential chaiwallah. To add a little spice to the plot, there would invariably be a couple of small town ruffians loitering around who looked straight out of some 70s bollywood movie. The sun breaking through the horizon marked the end of our stay at the railway station. Half asleep we would trudge towards a vikram - a type of autorickshaw designed to carry 10 people at a time, but which always had 15 to 20 passengers inside. In another half an hour, we were at the Jasidih bus stand to board a bus for Bhagalpur. For some reasons, these buses always ran jampacked and the concept of airconditioned buses didn't exist then - atleast in this part of the country. The seat inside the driver's cabin was the coveted one because it helped escape the impoosibly increasing crowd inside the bus. Of course, we had to shell out extra bucks to get the prized seat.
The bus journey always turned out to be the most adventurous part of the entire trip. Bus drivers, by some designs of destiny, are always on a high. No matter what part of the day, how narrow the roads, how crowded the streets- a bus driver is bound to drive oblivious of all such facts. For him its always HIS road. So the next three hours of bus journey would give us enough tales of nail biting escapes either for the bus or for the smaller vehicles that plied on these roads. In defence of the bus drivers, it can be said that even the drivers of smaller vehicles consider the road to be their own property. Of course, this being Laluland, we would come across a bunch of buffaloes sunbathing right in the middle of the road every now and then. The three hours journey would have no less than five pit stops where the bus crew would get down at some roadside dhabas for refreshments. This also afforded the passengers an opportunity to relieve themselves in the nearby bushes. Hordes of people would get down together to pee on one small slightly bushy patch of land merrily chatting all the while. This setup hardly gave any sort of privacy but then who cares! By the time the three hours journey came to an end, the bus would be putrid with farts and sweat.The bus journey would have already taken its toll by then. My mom's migraine attack would have resurfaced, my younger sister and I would be down with nausea and my dad would be busy doing what he is best at- attending to co passengers turned patients. Back then, the only mode of travel in Bhagalpur were cycle rickshaws. The final lap of this Tour de Bhagalpur would involve a 15 minutes ride on the cycle rickshaw. Compared to the highly taxing bus journey, this was always a Godsend. At the end of 15 minutes, we would be standing at the gates of my grandparents' imposing house. Down but not out !
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
IDEA: There was a list of ten personalities - both real and fictional. It included names like Mussharaf, Super Commando Dhruv, Frankenstein, Hitler's mom, Olive Oyl (other names elude me right now). You have to imagine that you are one out of these people. Then write four blog posts that this person might have come up if he was actually blogging. The time allotted was 90 minutes. So as it turns out, it would be quite a longish post. I dont really expect you to read through the whole of it. But a casual browse-through is solicited :) Btw, i 'doppelgangered' Frankenstein
I sometimes wonder if they stopped making people like me. I don’t understand any of the shit they teach in school. Why should German be taught as a compulsory language to each and every student in the school? Why physical training is deemed so important? Why do my parents want to me to stick around with the other guys and indulge in the so called ‘normal’ activities that these people indulge in? I think, I am born to be different. While the others in my class love a lesson or two in Chaucer, I would rather while away my time looking out of the window. My friends consider me a misfit and scoff at me. My parents never take me seriously. No one is willing to discuss the evolution of this world and the evolution of man.
I am not an avid reader but I love reading books on alchemy. Of course, my parents won’t allow any of that into the house- so I have to sneak them inside. I keep them hidden in my grand father’s old chestnut trunk under my bed. I hate people who think that alchemy is the same thing as black magic. I don’t particularly like my parents either and vice versa. To let you in on a little secret of mine, I am starting to learn alchemy pretty fast. Why only yesterday I actually managed to set fire to a log of wood using only a couple of chemicals. Fortunately for me, my parents weren’t around and I cleaned up all the ash before they were back. I will tell you more about this as I progress. Till then keep reading and keep commenting. And do not waste your time trying to figure out who I am.
The first thing that naturally comes to mind is why I stopped blogging altogether after my first post. It’s almost five years now that I last blogged. I expected that loads of people would read my blog posts. And I would be flooded with comments and queries about alchemy. My original idea was that if there were just too many queries about alchemy, I would start a separate anonymous blog on alchemy itself. As it turned out, I did get a few machine generated comments about how I can increase my revenue by subscribing to Google ad sense, how I can make my sexual life more exciting by using potency pills of such and such company, how I can go around dating people living near my home and so on and so forth. Not a single genuine comment. Further confirmation came from my apples-studded-hit-counter which didn’t report a single increase in the number of hits. Posting my blog link on the ‘anonymous bloggers’ community on Okut didn’t help either. Apparently, nobody takes an anonymous person seriously. People are strange when you are a stranger!
As a last resort, I went around commenting on blogs of random people. Leave aside hitting back, these people didn’t even acknowledge my comment. As if it never existed there in the first place. Getting filthy and abusive on others’ blogs didn’t help either. People simply deleted my comments.
Five years down the line and I have matured a lot. I do believe that it doesn’t matter whether someone reads my blog or not. After all, a blog is a vent to your emotions and feelings. Rather than allow, the turmoil to build up, I would use this as a platform to get my ideas across.
The latest news from my side is that I am on the verge of stardom. My interest in alchemy is about to payoff. The readers of this blog are a few of the lucky people on this earth who are getting to read the mind of someone who have stumbled upon the secret formula of LIFE. I won’t reveal more details here. But if are you really inquisitive, then keep watching this space. On second thoughts, please do visit my blog.
I know, I know! I haven’t ever received a single comment. And still, I had been blogging incessantly for quite sometime. Then, all of a sudden I took a break. Till now my posts had all sounded chirpy and cherubic because I had reasons to be. My grasp over alchemy was becoming stronger everyday. As I had mentioned in my previous posts, I was very near to what is technically termed as ‘cloning’ by some fools. My posts centered on my having discovered a secret code to actually making another man. Not that it got anybody interested as the number of comments on my blog would show.
The reason behind coming up with this post in the middle of the night after such a long hiatus is because my formula actually bore fruit. That also explains the hiatus. I did manage to clone a human being. Everything was going well till I actually saw the ‘human’ that I had cloned. To call it a human would be mocking the entire community of homo sapiens. This ‘successful’ experiment took place almost a couple of months back. The result of my experiment left me mortally terrified and dazed. Shocked and perturbed, I just ran away from the scene and kept running till I thought that I was far away from his reach. I had forgotten all that happened as a nightmare.
My new life here is or at least was just so rosy. I have made some amazing friends with whom I go around a lot. They make me forget all the troubles and miseries of life. So much so that I had even ignored my blog. Lady luck seems to be showering all her blessings upon me. While loitering around the town, my eyes fell upon the most beautiful woman that I have ever seen in my life. We started off with our hellos. Through some acquaintances, I was introduced to
Ideally I should be very happy. I am not exactly sad or disappointed. But the nightmare that I had long forgotten is back to haunt me. There is something deep within me which says that the monster is lurking somewhere nearby. He is out to seek vengeance and even all forces put together on this earth cannot stop him. I only pray that is just a sad passing thought and I will somehow get over it. Meanwhile, you, my reader wish me and Elizabeth a happy and peaceful married life. This is the least that you can do apart from commenting
I am aghast, totally heartbroken, wretched, hapless, woeful, pitiable and inconsolable. It cannot get worse than this; I am just back from attending three funerals in a very quick succession. What started off with the murder of my best pal ended with the death of my father who died of grief over the death of my bride-to-be Liz. The worst part is that I could have easily prevented all this but for my idealistic thoughts. Trying to save this world, I ended up ruining my own world.
Without confusing you any further, let me admit that my worst nightmares had come true. Proving my premonitions to be correct, the wicked scary monster actually hunted me down. Not only is this monster extraordinarily huge, its damn shrewd as well. Using tidbits of information which I had left behind, he actually managed to track me down all the way to this town. After he got rid of the little boy, I found out that he was hiding somewhere in the town. In lieu of letting me live in peace that crook begged me to make a female equivalent of him.
In the name of Christ, how could have I done something as blasphemous as that!!Give him a female and they will produce twenty children. These twenty children will then screw each other thereby producing hundred more like them This cycle would go on unabated and they will finally end up killing all human beings and make the whole world their own. I tried diplomacy with him but in vain.
Exhausted, I returned and waited for his next move. What else could have I done? I know I was acting selfish by not warning people about my own creation. But I had no other option.
I didn’t have to wait for too long. The monster made good on his promise by first killing my best friend and then he doused the light of my life and the fire of my loins-
Before embarking on this tough mission I would like to make a promise to all you readers over here. If I do not succeed, I shall not return alive. If you do not see any more posts on this blog, assume that I am dead. But do not ever tell your children that Frankenstein died a coward's death
Victor Frankenstein- for that is my name!
Sunday, August 26, 2007
If i go into all the details, i might as well end up writing a travelogue which hardly anyone would bother reading . So i would talk about a few inci-dents that stand out.
Death trap1: Gawande, freshly out of a BMC (Basic Mountaineering Course), was itching to prove his superior trekking skills to the lesser mortals . And it didn't take long before an opportunity presented itself before him. There was a rivulet, not a river, flowing which had to be crossed. The villager on the other side of the rivulet warned us not to enter the waters at the point where the flow was relatively strong. Still high on heavy doses of BMC and dying to prove his mettle, Gawande entered the waters exactly where the flow was the strongest. Within a matter of few seconds, he was down in the water and the water carried him along for the next 12 to 15 feet of vertical descent . His arms were flailing wildly and there was a look of terror on his face. For a moment, we all thought that our trekking group would now be depleted of one member. Finally he managed to wriggle out of the water where the flow wasn't strong. Ego bruised but physically intact. The champion had been humbled and this showed for the rest of the trip :P This was our first encounter with death in a region full of 'death traps'. For the rest of the trek, we used the term 'maneater river' to refer to Gawande's nemesis
For the next hour, the trek couldn't have been more enjoyable. It was raining incessantly which helped to spruce up things further. Out of nowhere, waterfalls sprang up all over the place making it very slippery to tread on the rocks. But the party went on unabated, stopping every now and then at some waterfall . Getting soaked in the flowing water of the falls was pure bliss!
Death Trap2: Towards the summit, there was a vertical climb which was entirely made up of rocks. Monsoons had ensured that the rocks were as slippery as it gets. To do or not to do - that was the question. The heart egged us on while the head advised us against going for the kill. The two sensible ones in the group - Ameya and Shiksha backed off. Rest of the group inched forward. Time passed - minute after slow minute.Finally we were almost there. The view from the summit was awe inspiring. I have never seen something more beautiful than this. This was even better than walking in the clouds. It was a brilliant mix of red earth, the pouring rains and the ghostly clouds. We drank in all that like a heady wine
But for time, we could have stayed on forever. The mere thought of the descent gave us goosebumps. With lots of trepidation, we started the descent. And this turned out to be worse than what we had imagined. One wrong step and you would be plumetting into the valley leaving behind no trace. We maintained enough gap between each other to ensure that if one person takes a dive, he doesn't take the entire gang along with him. Sai led the descent. When we finally reached the spot where Shiksha and Ameya awaited us, we were simply euphoric. More Parle Gs followed. Strangely enough, they tasted relatively better. The last part of the descent was easily accomplished and we reached our base camp where the villagers were outrageously helpful. Few photosessions at the village followed. The remainder of the journey was not uneventful though. The group got split up into two. And the two subgroups followed two different routes. As it turned out, neither of the groups had taken the right path. Another misfortune befell our group when we were suddenly attacked by a pack of buffaloes who apparently got pissed off when i wanted to click their photographs. What ensued was a 'charge' where a few buffaloes took a special liking for Shiksha and went for her. She darted for cover and outran the buffaloes holding onto her dear life.
After following various false trails, we finally managed to hit the right track. Walking in knee deep dirty water full of excreta of all possible organisms (including humans), we finally managed to reach the base camp. The other group had not made it to the base as yet. The next few minutes were minutes full of anxiety for us. Meanwhile the news of Gawande's heroic stunt had spread like wild fire in the village. While we waited nervously for the other group, Gawande regaled the audience with stories about how he had 'deliberately' committed that act of bravery.
The arrival of the other group ended the trek on a happy note. Incredibly tasty (anything tastes incredibly tasty when you survive 12 hours on Parle G) non-veg dinner followed.
Now that i am a veteran of three treks, i would definitely dub this as the most eventful, the toughest but the most enjoyable trek of my life. Now the question is.. been there, done that, what next?
Date: 25th August (Saturday)
Venue : Siddhagad
Team: Sai, Shiksha,Das,Ameya,B Dot,Kris,Gawande,Mittal and I(Arunabh)
Sunday, August 19, 2007
Ahem ahem.. so this book review by me got published in 'Yuva', a tabloid catering to youth which was launched in Mumbai recently.
My review got published on the 15th of August to mark 60 years of India's independence *collars up*. So if you were damn unlucky and didn't get a copy of the newspaper, you can read that review here. I am looking forward to seeing you run to the nearest crosswords store to get your copy of the biography once you are done with the review !
Its the biography of Vikram Sarabhai authored by Amrita Shah. Its titled 'Vikram Sarabhai~a life~'. Published by Penguin
Vikram Sarabhai: A Life by Amrita Shah
This biography by Amrita Shah delves deep into the real character behind the name Vikram Sarabhai. The biography starts by taking us into Vikram Sarabhai’s childhood. Born with a silver spoon in his mouth, he had a princely childhood. His doting parents ensured that he was reared up in the best possible fashion. As a toddler, Vikram turned out to be noticeably energetic and showed flashes of his brilliance during the growing up years. His love affair with Science began in his school days when he worked in his specially constructed ‘home-labs’. With the passage of time, the interest became a full fledged passion. Coming from a highly renowned family made things pretty easy for him as he traveled world wide meeting some of the greatest scientific minds of his time. The book has some very engaging episodes of his encounters with the likes of Millikan, Raman and Bhabha.
The author very successfully unravels different facets of the great man’s personality. To his children, he was the most doting father they could have had, often taking on the mantle of a ‘single parent’ to help his wife pursue her passion for dance. On the family front though, all was not well. There was always the shadow of the ‘other woman’ looming large. He was quintessentially a man who could charm people and get the best out of them. Man management was something that came naturally to him, whether it was working with a grass root level worker or with the top brass.
A philanthropist to the core, Sarabhai was instrumental in the setting up of some of the best institutes in the country to date, including the IIM Ahmedabad. This was his humble contribution towards the greater cause of nation building. He was someone who had his own views on serious issues like nuclear technology and space exploration. Counted amongst the greatest scientists of his time, these were also the issues that were close to his heart. Towards the later stages of his life, he had a tough time handling men with political inclinations.
The author has done tremendous amount of research in coming up with this biography making it a very interesting read. Loads of amusing incidents and anecdotes are scattered throughout the book. This apart, there is also a rare collection of photographs tracing the life of Sarabhai from a toddler to the Vikram Sarabhai known to us. Once you have started with the book, you won’t feel like putting it down.
Thursday, July 26, 2007
Another thing that has dramatically changed in just one year is my love-hate relationship with lectures. Till last year it was only mutual hatred. The professors didn't like my attitude which reflected on my grades. And i despised them more than i despised my hostel cooks when they cook any dim sum paneer recipes. Now the things have changed. I still despise the professors as much but love to go to the classes. It gives an escapade away from the humdrum and monotony of existence in my room. And yes, the professor has also started to despise me. Till last year, coffee shack was the place i used to frequent whenever there was a break between any two lectures. Now, classroom is the place where i go in between any two sessions at the coffee shack.
I cannot publish this post without discussing this very interesting incident that took place about a fortnight back. I was coming all the way from Charni Road railway station and had got down at Kanjur Marg from the local. I hailed a rickshaw for hostel. Just as i got inside the rickshaw, a woman also entered and sat beside me. She must have been in her very early thirties and was wearing an unusually hits-you-in-your-eye bright kurta-jeans combo. In very fluent english, she told me that she had to get off a little before iit main gate and sought my permission to hitch a rickshaw ride. My 'aye or nay' was totally immaterial as she had already made herself comfortable beside me, ofcourse maintaining that safe distance which any three seater rickshaw in India affords to 2 passengers. At the sight of her, the rickshawalla flinched and his face contorted into spasms. He muttered something incoherent about how people resorted to shady means to save a few bucks but a steely 'Chal jaldi start kar' from the lady was enough to silence the crook (that was what i thought of him then). The 5 minutes journey was uneventful. Finally she got off a little before the main gate but not before she gave me 5 bucks, a thank you and a disarming smile. I was chillar enough to accept everything. Later, the rickshawallah told me that she was a dhandewaali and he had picked her quite often from shady bars near Kanjurmarg. I couldn't have accepted/refuted his story. So i thought silence would be the best virtue. For the next five minutes i heard all kinds of stories of sleaze and sex around Kanjurmarg. Finally when i got down at the hostel, the rickshawallah had already made me his brother and kept referring to me as 'chota bhai'. An advice on how to behave 'smartly' in Mumbai or face the threat of being laid by such women followed. When he left, i couldn't recollect much of what he said. But i was pretty happy that i had saved 5 bucks.
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
Monday, June 18, 2007
We left IIT for the railway station at around 5am. Wihin half an hour , we were inside the local heading towards Asangaon. Most had slept only a few hours the previous night while a couple were on nightouts. But that didn't reflect on anyone's spirits as most were quite chirpy and cherubic. And no, we didn't play any antakshari in the train. It was more about the hitherto unheard 'manly' games as the pic clearly shows :P. In around an hour we were at the small decrepit Asangaon railway station. The sun was out in all its might which was not a good sign. The place reminded me the of typical Hitchcock murder plots but i somehow managed to keep it to myself.Only one eaterie was to be found- hot succulent vada paos, amul kool and walnut muffins formed the brekfast. Having a couple of marathis in the group made communication with the locals much easier. The bravehearts that we were, we decided to walk the distance from Asangaon to Muhali. A little help from an autorickwallah, who seemed high on something didn't help too much either. We could have actually asked him to take us all the distance to the base camp. But one of the more enthusiastic group leaders thought that walking the distance shouldn't be a big deal. The decision was catastrophic. But no blame games here :P
The road definitely seemed the road less travelled. There were only autorickshaws plying on the road carrying loads of trekking enthusiasts. Alas! every group but ours had a good enough sprinkling of the other sex. This added salt to the wounds. But then Lady Luck had better things in store for us. Not for the first time. Black clouds started gathering. Now we could see the silhouetee of the intimidating peaks. I could literally feel the butterflies in my stomach. But the enthusiasm didn't sag. Even the four kilometers of walk had not done much damage to the enthusiasm. At the base camp we were greeted by the sight of another group which was almost 6 times as large as ours. And they also had girls:( This group had a wonderful origin upon which i would dwell later. The sight of the peaks was awe inspiring and intimidating for a newbie like me. I was going through a gamut of emotions which i did well to keep to myself. Not that i would have frightened others but would have made me the butt of ridicule for the remainder of the trip.
The initial climb was a child's play as we were almost running. The land was largely flat which made it easier. But hardly had we gained a little height when all of a sudden, unannounced, the climb became steep. The path had become ragged, slippery and stony. After about half an hour of ascent, i was left high and dry. The party came to a halt on a little piece of flat land. It was only when i looked around did i realise that we had actually gained a lot of height. The other group used this opporunity to get a lead on us. A friendly talk with a group member and we realised how omnipotent Orkut has become. The group comprised trekking enthusiasts from Maharastra who had come together through a trekking community on Orkut on a whim. This gives the Govt another reason for considering/not considering the idea of clamping down on orkut. 10 minutes later we started the second round of our ascent. This was more gruelling and more demanding. I was feeling something that can be best described as a close cousin of vertigo. The other group was using 'Aye O!' to keep in touch with each other. The whole landscape kept resounding with loud screams of 'Aye O!' every now and then. It also turned into an 'Aeee O!' when one of the female enthusiasts decided to give it a voice. We had to fight back. We zeroed upon the F word. 'Fuck u' was how we were going to communicate with each other. And soon the "Fuck u"s drowned the 'Aye O!'s That was the first among many of our victories that day. Then came the time for the second break. My legs were giving away and i wasn't the only one who was making noises. The climb was also showing its effects on Aashish and Sumit.
The second rest was a tad shorter than the first one because Sai and Poddar were keen on making the conquest asap. We were forced to tow their lines, but not before i had done my lil bit of Pranayama. And Nirav his lil bit of smoking. The climb now was the toughest. For this purpose, the party was practically split up into two. Sai would be dragging me and Sumit up the slopes while Poddar would lead the remaining three ahead of us. If Sai was getting frustrated by the way we somehow dragged our loads, he didn't show it. At some places, he was even pushing me.
Meanwhile, kaviraj Anand kept twisting the lyrics of "Ganpat" of the Lokhandwala fame to egg everyone on. Lady Luck seemed delighted with our efforts. Scintillatingly (for the lack of a better adjective) soothing wind began to blow combined with a comfortable drizzle which was pleasant enough so as to not hamper our ascent.For the last 500 fts or so, the slope became absolutely precipitous and the ascent gravity defying. Had i missed a step, you would not have been reading this account. Every 100ft, i paused, did a rapidfire version of pranayam and then repeated the question to myself,'To do or not to do?'. The answer always came from behind in the form of a light push from by Sai.
Finally, after approximately 3 hours of an arduous jouney we were there where everyone craves to be. Been there and done that! Now was the time for the hunger pangs to start showing their effects. Biscuits were all we had. I was having an uncontrollable craving for non veg food and could have eaten anything raw. Alas! that was not to be. We rested our tired limbs and then decided to explore the landscape. If there is beauty on earth this was it. We were literally walking on the clouds. And it had started to pour now. The script couldn't have been better. We were all soaked -Nirav and I more that the others because we had landed there without any protection. No words can do justice to the divine beauty of the place. So i would let the pictures speak for themselves. After roaming around and soaking in the beauty of the place, thirst started getting the better of the men. We had been forewarned to carry enough water on us. But we never knew that the enough would not be enough. We were having a steamy hot affair with Lady Luck. We chanced upon a group of locals who emerged as if out of thin air. They led us to a source of water where they did rain water harvesting. We drank water as if there was no tomorrow and then filled all the bottles. Replenished and rejuvenated, we were back at our helms. We had still a lot to explore before we could be on our way back. This curiosity had us walking into a jungle which reminded Anand of Kali's jungle from the bolly flick 'Kaal'. The jungle had lots of variety to offer. But the most noteworthy was an engraved stone with a long key drawn on it- something that brought back memories of another bolly flick Haatimtai where there was a tilasmi chaabi. This one had a chaabi but the tilasmi part was beyond the comprehension of mere mortals like us. Finally, we came upon the Kalyan Darwaza which was a paradise for the rock climbing enthusiasts. Fortunately for me, my group members had not given a thought to this and so were without the basic paraphernalia. Which meant that we weren't going rock climbing :D
Now having seen all that was to be seen, we started our descent. Compared with the ascent, the descent was a child's play. Although the legs were hurting badly and there were rashes, bruises, broken nails; the descent lasted for approximately two hours. Once we were grounded, we turned back and bid our final adieu. Once amongst the population, we dined at a restaurant in a way that would befit a pack of hungry wolves.
Before i wind up, a few facts and figures to spice up this gory and wonderful tale. This is approximately 2700 feet high which means i can go up 1/9th of Mt Everest :D. Sounds boastful and vainglorious but i would count that as an achievement for someone who had not climbed more than 500 feet before. A few casualties here and there - my costly nike shoes suffered irrecoverable damage. A few wind cheaters that weren't actually wind cheaters - couldn't bear the brunt of pre-monsoon showers. Someone lost a cap.
For a newbie like me, a few lessons were also there to be learnt.
Like jeans might look cool but thats not what you wear when you go on a trek.
Never ever look up. The height left to be covered keeps increasing in geometric progression. Water bottles might be difficult to carry but you realise the importance of them, only when you have to stick out your parched tongue in the hope that some rain water will fall on it and quench your thirst.
Lady Luck changes even before you have had time to thank her .
Pranayama rocks !!
Having a few girls is always a bright idea. But boys dont suck either! You all rocked!
The guide is the GOD!
And finally, the joy and excitement and the kick that you get out of such a trek is simply unparalleled. Hats off to all my mateys. You made my day :)
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
Hero worship is something that i indulged in the moment i started to understand the nuances of the game. My first childhood hero was - who else but Kapil Dev. I wonder if there would be anyone from my generation who hasnt idolised Kapil Dev at one point or the other in his life. All i began with was this little piece of info that Kapil Dev was India's best quickie who also wielded the willow ala Dhoni does today. I grew up on tales of how a young lad from a small town in Haryana had become the biggest sporting sensation ever to have hogged the limelights. My mom, very mommy-like, used this phenomenol success story time and again to drive home the importance of milk in any person's success - the kind of story which can have great impact on the impressionable minds of young children. Stories about how Kapil could drink 5 litres a milk everyday had us siblings more mesmerised than his actual cricketing exploits.But a mom will always be a mom. She was also quick enough to point out that sports was one area where the number of success stories were far outnumbered by those which could somehow never make the cut.
Padhoge likhoge banoge nawaab
Kheloge Koodoge banoge kharaab.
Regardless of that, kapil continued to 'haunt' my imaginations like no one had done before. So much so that i had a secret plan up my sleeve - study during the day to keep my parents satisfied and work upon my batting when the whole world slept. Yeah, i didn't fancy myself as a 'bowler Dev' but more as a 'batter Dev'. But very soon i knew that shadow batting wont take me anywhere.
So to overcome the disappointment, i went for a hero-change. Replacement came in the form of the indomitable Sir Vivian Richards. Arguably the most destructive batsman to have ever wielded the willow with elan. Though he was nearing retirement, he showed no signs of mellowing down. He was as menacing as he used to be though the effect was not quite the same (so said the old timers). I remember buying old issues of sportstar from the raddiwala at exorbitant prices, even if it carried a single article about King Richards. And i drank in all that like a heady wine. But then the inevitable happened. Sir Viv called it a day. I was heart broken and for the first time in my conscious memory, was left 'idol-less'. Days passed and i became more and more desperate for an idol.
W.V. Raman ( now dontcha ask raman who? ) came in as the compromise choice. This incident took place sometimes in 1995-96. My joy knew no bounds when i realised that he was travelling in the same train as me (ofcourse in the 1st AC) for a ranji match at Jamshedpur. As soon as he alighted from the train, my younger sister and I rushed towards him. He was accompanied by the now infamous Maninder Singh, once-also-clicked Ajay Sharma and Atul Wassan who is now the host of some of the most boring cricket shows on DD National. Yawn! I got his autograph on the back of my tshirt while Mani obliged my sister. That was the last i heard of W V Raman. I briefly experimented with the likes of Ian Healy,Bevan, Azhar, Dominic Cork, gentle giant Walsh,even Aaquib Javed and few others who do not merit a mention. But all these experiments were ephemeral. Because by that time Brian Lara and Wasim Akram had become the big names that were going to rule international cricket for years to come. I agree that i discovered Wasim Bhai a tad late. He had already won the hearts of cricket lovers around the world with his bowling which clearly reflected a hunger for wickets. The kind of killer instinct that gets the adrenaline pumping. His trademark lethal toe crunchers which were almost unplayable. I can still vividly remember a grimacing Kiran More; almost on the verge of tears due to the sheer physical pain; dragging himself back to the pavilion when he was trapped in front of the wicket. And the celebrations thereafter were what folklores are made of :) FYI,More's toe took almost three days to heal thereafter.
But my search for the elusive idol finally ended with one man everybody loves to call Brian Charles Lara. The man the machine. The run scoring machine. One man who singlehandedly saved the Windies from plummeting to the abysmal depths that it ideally should have once the Ambrose-Walsh-Richardson era ended. For a team that had suddenly been bereft of all big names, Lara led from the front. A terminator to the core, who always let his bat do the talking. And the real test of character came down under in the face of possibly the best bowling attack ever in the cricketing history. An attack that boasted names like Warne ( i also flirted with him briefly), McGrath ( how i hate his consistency, Gillespie(why did he perform the vanishing act?), Lee (man!! he sure knows how to celebrate) etc etc. And he dominated them all. So much so that Mcgrath rates him as the toughest batter he has ever bowled to. Now that he has officially called it quits, Brian Lara would still continue to be my idol - FOREVER!!
Amongst the current crop, its a neck to neck between Freddy Flintoff and Huss Hussey. But i guess it would be Hussey in the end because i dont see England breaking the Australian jinx in the near future. And i sincerely hope they dont.
Sunday, June 03, 2007
Before i get to the original story, a prelude would be in place.
The prelude: This is the story of a young guy. The guy doesn't mind watching movies once in a while regardless of the language, theme, quality, actors etc etc. What matters is the medium. A television or a pc would be more than welcome. But the guy shirks at the thought of spending a few precious bucks for the sake of watching the same movie at the theatre. The only movie that he has ever watched to date in a theatre has been Dilip kumar-Vaijyanthi Mala starrer 'Madhumati'. The reasons for watching the movie would require yet another post.
The story: Then something happened one day. The guy, tired of vegetating within the four walls of his hostel room, decides to grace PVR theatre with his benign presence. The partners in crime being the ever scheming 'S' and 'An' who quite deserves the 'bapu' tag. I would stick to these names so that they can be in no way used against the guy when he stands for the post of President of India or the President of World bank or for that matter, Chief Justice of Pakistan in future. Change of heart was brought about by the fact that 'An' had two free tickets. Deal was that the three of them would contribute equally towards the cost of the third ticket with 'An' being generous enough to not make noises about it. Catch - the movie was 'Fool and Final'. The guys land up at PVR well ahead of time. Then came the second biggest shockof the day. The biggest ofcourse being the guy relenting to go to a theatre. The movie was running housefull. Unbelievable yet true. Even as Himeshbhai was crowing nearby, the scheming 'S' got into a huddle with 'An' thinking of ways to 'katao' the guy. But in vain. The guy won't budge without them in tow. Ultimately, 'S' came up with this bright idea of first selling off the tickets and then deciding what was to be done with the money. Finding fools for the foolery was the simplest thing to do. A pair of what were definitely love birds (though the guy must have been the same age as the girl's father) leapt at the offer. Now the troika was richer by 300 bucks. But the foolhardy didn't stop at this. Huma theatre was the next target. Nothing changed. Soldout. A few expletives directed at the person manning the counter didn't help either. They had been fooled and this was final. The writing was clear on the wall. But the booty had to be utilised. An awesome combo of pizzas, nutty chocolate rolls, french fries, garlic bread and chilled coke at a cool 300 bucks enough to serve three grown ups more than made the day. Sumptuous meal !
The End: The guy rounded it up by watching Eastwood's 'Letters from Iwo Jima' in his room.
50 bucks are still 50 bucks. For the mathematically disabled, when you split up 150 bucks between 3 people (which would have been the cost of that elusive ticket), each ends up paying 50 bucks. The guy had planned a tear-to-shreds review of the movie on his blog (regardless of the movie starring some Miss Takia). A free treat is a free treat is a free treat. In conclusion, all is well that ends well. "What man proposes, God disposes!"
Before signing off: Left to me, i would rephrase Coelho as "When a man wants something very badly the whole universe conspires to ensure that he doesn't achieve it. This makes the universe very happy. But this happiness is rather shortlived. The man realises that by not having achieved that 'something', he has endedp up happier". Now beat that !
PS: No marks for guessing who the protagonist is.
No marks for predicting that there is no love lost between me and Coelho
Monday, May 28, 2007
So getting back to my driver- he is bitten by the sometimes very irritating 'travel bug'. People who are itching for an opportunity to travel. The kind who will even jump at the chance to buy a toothpaste. But the catch would be that he should be allowed to travel to the most uninhabited corner of Nainital and locate a shop there. The typical sturdy villager of Kumaon who has spent most of his life 'upping and downing' the majestic hills of Nainital. And God knows how, but he was living under this false illusion that i am the typical hectic jumping jack types- his perfect companion for the roads less travelled. Getting back to his skills, he firstly hypnotised my mother into sending me out with him to a trip of Bhawali ( i am not sure if thats the way its spelled in english) and Mukteshwar. These are places around Nainital which are at much higher altitudes than Nainital. We set out inside our car without any eating hamper to go with. This is going to turn out to be very important later on. He has a very simple straighforward driving principle. 'Drive as fast as you can. The serpentine roads of Nainital are so treacherous that any driver worth his salt is extremely careful. So why should he bother ?' So normally when it takes others 1 hour to reach Bhawali, we were there in 45 minutes sharp. Then came the shocker. We were going to trek. Me and trekking ? I tried reasoning out with him but in vain. He was already there with the necessary paraphernalia and claimed that he was related in blood to Tenzing Norkay. I knew he was lying and yet i was convinced. The mountain in front of me resembled a gargantuan orang utan ready to feast on my meat. It was densely covered with pine trees. Strange thoughts started cropping up. What if i get lost ? I will have to survive eating the yucky tasteless looking pine cones when i am a die hard non veggie. The fact that i had recently watched 'The Hills Have Eyes' didn't help my cause. Then came the gut wrenching shocker. He started drawing out ropes. My eyes popped out of my sockets. He was going to indulge in rock climbing. That sounded the death knell for my trekking bravado. I had had enough. I left him to God's mercy and told him that i would meet him at the top of the hill. Very slowly i steered the car up the slopes and reached the top via road. He was already there flashing the happy dent smile. The sight from there was awe inspiring. I know this is getting tad too longish. But i cannot stop before i have talked about this tree. We were blessed by the sight of the tree right at the top of the mountain.This tree, as the natives claim, has ridiculously incredible medicinal properties. But the best part was they said it was the baap of viagra. My driver couldn't agree more. And there was no immediate way to verify the claim.The scenery around was breathtaking. Only Kashmir might be better. I drank in all that like a heady wine. And then i drank a cup of tea in the kind of tea stall that every bollywood movie associates with a hill station. Something was written on one of the walls of the tea stall. Closer inspection revealed 'Bhoot ka hai apna ghar. Mujhko toh lagta hai darr'. Why the hell did i have to read this? I got goosebumps. Not because of the cold. We left the place in a hurry. Hot steamed food and worried parents waited me. The smart driver again managed to convince them that i had the best travel experience of my life. More action to follow but in later posts.
For records' sake here goes my driver
Sunday, May 27, 2007
Four years of stay at IIT are now officially over. Unofficially i already hold the BTech degree. One more year and i would be a postgrad-the so called advantage of being a dual degree student. Another debatable issue which should be mentally filed for future reference. Four years down the line and some things have changed drastically and irreverisbly. A lots of familiar faces are gone for ever. Not that i miss them much- those left behind more than compensate. What awaits is one year of a princely existence. No classes. Absolutely nothing. A dual degree project carrying abnormally high credits to keep you occupied. What this ends up doing is it affords you infinite time to retrospect, introspect and circumspect- not necessarily the last one and not necessarily in that order. But like every other civilised beast i must retrospect and more importantly blog about it. What went wrong during my 4 years stay at IIT ? Academically ? Everything. Almost that is. I screwed up my acads badly- its very voguish these days to make such a statement. You are considered a cool-dude-who-doesn't-give-this-world-a-damn. So much so that even 8 point someones love to make such grand statements. Before you start growling,barking and woofing, i must point out that there are also many honourable exceptions to this phenomenon where people are actually proud of their academic assets. To get back to the point, i have 'screwed' up my acads in the truest sense of the word. And I DO feel bad about it specially as the job season inches closer.
I didn't do a zilch on the sports scene. And I DO NOT feel bad about it. Simply put, i am not cut out for any sporting activity. I did play quite a lot. But that was the kind which does not lead to your CV enhancement. Cricket in the wing- i prided myself as a bowler. People called me Nainital Express because they got great kicks out of it. Bowling was the preferred option- not because i can do magic with the red cherry- the dirty yellow tennis wala in my case. But because it ensured you were not hit below the belt in that ungentlemanly format of the gentleman's game where the motto simply is 'Aim for the crotch. Everything else is an illusion'. Anything that was played in the wing had me involved as an active player-sometimes even as the sutradhar. The moment the scene shifted to anywhere but the wing, i was reduced to being a mute spectator. I did grumble and made few noises but then who gives a damn.
Dramatics was something that i always wanted to do. Did a few typical dram roles while in school. The kind where you walk all dressed up as a sainik (Not the Balasaheb version) - just one component of a large entourage that moved with the Rajah on the stage. Just to earn my one minute of fame. The blink-and-you-miss appearance where the only people interested in you are your doting parents. In IIT, i stayed away from dramatics considering it to be a sacred bastion-the one reserved for the real talents.I envy those who are good at dramatics. So i hardly envy a few in the institute. That sums it up all.
Did a lil bit of debating and a lil bit of creative writing here and there just for the heck of it-also cos it leads to resume enhancement.
I must have done lots of other things. Ok atleast, a few other things. But age is fast catching up. My memory is failing me. Another fashionable statement. To be honest, its late into the night or very early in the morning depending on which side of the divide your sleeping habit falls. Its 4:30 am.More updates of a demented mind will follow.But for now, its bon nuit. So long and thanks for all the fishes !!
Wednesday, March 07, 2007
All it requires is a triggering agent and the sluice floodgates of the mind open thereby letting in past memories flow back. The memories that were lying dormant somehwere in the deep recesses of the brain become active. I had such a triggering reaction today. As i was casually browsing through the newspaper, i came across the headline saying 'Geodesic to buy Chandamama for Rs 10 Cr'. I didn't have to read the entire story. What actually ensued was i was transported back to my childhood days. The days when Chandamama,Nandan,Champak and Nanhe Samrat formed the staple food for the curious mind. The invasion by the westernised versions had just begun then. Archie was far removed from the Indian style of living. So it didn't have much calling. Action sequences-be it deshi or videshi could never keep me riveted for long. So Super Commando Dhruv,Super Man and their ilks were always out of the question. That left me with the Chandamamas and the Nandans. But awesome were they. I was specially a big Nandan fan. I still wonder why. The stories in Nandan generally had a brave 'rajkumar' and a divinely beautiful 'rajkumari'. And there was the quintessential villain- the kind of plot that has been lifted with clockwork regularity by stupid bollywood flicks. Champak was outright idiotic. You had scatterbrained animals trying to play humans. I know 'Animal farm' rocks but this came nowhere close. The scheming fox, the super duper helpful elephant, the wise owl and God knows what. Nanhe Samrat was one magazine which prided itself on the detective stories that it churned out with the claim that they were not plagiarsied. Regardless of the tall claims, they sure were!! Some were lifted straight out of Sherlock Holmes. Television was Doordarshan which meant that these comics were always very much in demand and they always ended up burning a hole in my father's pocket. Not that he minded it much. Then there was this very unknown english magazine called Target. It was totally Indianised and all the stories were meant for children. It had some of the most weird stories that i have read/heard till date and i had subscribed to it for a year. After six months, i stopped receiving my copies. I tried contacting them but in vain.Years later, i was told that the magazine went bust within a year of its inception. I won a few elocutions by reciting poems directly out of that magazine. And i still miss its weird stories.
But in a nutshell, these magazines/comics were pure unadulterated fun. Television/internet is an unnecessary evil which has almost killed my reading habits. But before i sound sermonising, i shall sign off on the note, happy reading !
Tuesday, March 06, 2007
This post stems from my concern about the nomenclature of schools. I can wager a bet that ATLEAST 50% of the schools, especially in the smaller cities and towns, have a name bearing the suffix Saint(St) before their names. I think i am really smart because i have a theory to explain every smart phenomenon on this planet earth. So i also have my very own theory to explain this fad. It goes something like this. The dimwits behind the naming of any school first sit down for a brainstorming session over a jug of some very high content alcoholic drink. The first step is to come up with some Anglicised name for the school. The imaginations are allowed to run wild. The person who comes with the most common sounding name is then made the principal of such a school. This helps kill two birds with the same stone.The school has a moron as the principal and the school has a name..almost that is. The dimwits still feel that there is something thats still missing from the name of the school. Enlightment dawns upon these poor souls all of a sudden and they prefix the name with a St. (short for a saint). Everyone heaves a collective sigh of relief. End result-the common man has to put up with outrageous sign boards painted in the most unprofessional manner in 'dhinch' colours. These can be seen at every other 'gali n nukkad' proudly claiming that the 'gali' has St Ignatius, StMauritius, StThomas, StRonaldo, StFederer, StSchumacher, StSchwarznegger-name them and they have them.
Some schools do not stop at this. They believe in stooping lower. The signboards are further spiced up with claims like 'English mediumICSE education till 9th standard'. Or something which goes like'Teaching same as in CBSE board' when the CBSE board might not even have heard of the existence of any such school. As for the english that is used while designing these repelling boards, the less said the better. But this should take another post. ...
PS: This post in no way tries to berate the so many schools using the St. prefix. There are many
that have done a great service to the nation and have produced top class alumni. So sincere apologies to such temples of learning. For the other so commons. feel free to criticise ..
Sunday, January 28, 2007
In my fresher year, when i was just too innocent and naive, i worked as an organiser. Being an organiser means that you get exploited (:D) in every way possible (except perhaps sexually) . The best part is that you realise this only once the fest gets over. And then you are too embarrased to even admit it and dub it as a part of a learning process. Running around for small errands, gatekeeping, bringing food and bisleri bottles, pretending as if you are very busy, trying to strike up a conversation with the girls from outside iit - all form an integral part of an orgy (even the term sounds so demeaning) job.
Once you are in the second year comes the job which is just above an orgy in the job hierarchy at techfest. This time you end up with a an identity card dangling around your neck that loudly proclaims coordinator techfest. Not at all the kind of job that dreams are made of. How different is it from being an 'orgy'? Strikingly different. The orgies (pun intended) are always huddled together while gatekeeping. On the other hand, a coordi stands alone dressed more formally and doing what? Gatekeeping! All the while hoping that the people from outside iit do notice that you are a coordinator and not an organiser. And on top of that, you also expect (how on earth ?? ) the outsiders to understand that a coordi comes above an orgie in the techfest hierarchy. For the insiders- you dont mind for they dont matter. But the coordi job also comes with the kind of 'political ambitions' that an orgi job does not. If you are 'poltu' enough and smart enough to interest the people above you, then you stand a chance - the coveted opportunity of becoming a manager techfest in your third year. More importantly, you should be working with loads of zeal and enthusiasm when 'people who matter' are in the near vicinity. Does this sound like grapes are sour ? Sure does:(
Haan so now onto 'managerial fundaes'. A manager defintely is a very important person. Not because he is so vital to the success of Techfest. That ofcourse is stating the obvious. Important because it gives him such a strong resume point to brag about during job interviews. "I was the MANAGER of such and such Techfest". But since my story ends at being a coordi, so i wont comment- attribute to it to lack of knowledge and partially to 'sour grapes syndrome' :(
Now onto the current Techfest. I am having a dream run over here. Managed to win two techfest tees [definitely the best techfest tees that i have seen to date :) ], one fundoo mousepad and 2 cans of free red bulls. So far so good. I can only hope that today is even better. In lieu of all these goodies, i must admit Techfest roxxx....
Thursday, January 11, 2007
By now, you must have realised that this post gives vent to my frustration on not being a member of this league of extraordinary ladies and gentlemen. So i am ending this post on a hopeful note .....