Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Gain some, lose some

Three days and, already, life is in a routine now.

Get up at 7, breakfast at 7:30, lunch at 1 and drop off at 12.

Is this good news - my final induction into discipline?
OR is this sad - the loss of wily uncertainity?

Friday, June 22, 2007


I sold off my bike to a very shareef gentleman last Sunday. Final snaps.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Moving to Delhi

There is a sense of vulnerability and solitude when you're shifting.

Suddenly, you're without a roof over you.
the apple and peach you painted for the kitchen door has to be pealed down now for it never was your kitchen door.
The posters torn, the old, weather-beaten shoes which hugged you in this and that trek to be left over for the cook or the maid.
The small nothings, the books - suddenly homeless and in indifferent and cold cartons.

In life we try to define ourselves by the things we buy. Not the essential utilities; but the skull shaped pen-stand or the cute little pendant key-chain. Sifting through them and touching them over - LucknowKanpurBombayChicagoBangaloreTokyoDelhi - it's as if a different era altogether now.

Indians by the dozen

A friend has just reached US and settling in. She's on an onsite project.
She's staying in a $69 a day hotel room and shares a car with a colleague. Another senior colleague from the desh, in tow with wife and kid, has rented his own car. Now the project manger there frets over the cost and has decided to move these Indian resources to a cheaper hotel and allow only a single car for the trio.

Fair enough, if the budget is such a bother.

But the project has another Indian, in fact the youngest of the lot. She's joined the co. straight from some Dallas university and is, hence, entietled to an unquestioned $109 hotel accomodation and a car of her own to insulate her hallowed holiness from Desi airs.

The friend in question also did her MS from US; but commited theunpardonable indiscretion of returning back ot the country and working for the company for four straight years.

When I listened to the saga over the phone, my take was - expose the hypocricy, no matter what the final decision be. And come back and take on a pending offer from an all-out India company; peacefully reassured of being treated unfairly sometimes but equally so.

What say you?

How to steal a book

In 2005, I checked out a book from my office library but another book got listed against me name in lieu.
Talked to the librarian; issue clarified. Another came along; again talked to her; clarified. For some mysterious reason, they could not simply delete the error from the system. Now two years and three librarians later, the book is still against my name and I have to pay for it if I want ot leave the company by Friday.

I am pissed. So pissed that I am contemplating doing sthing I have never done: steal a book. Is it worth it? Shall I? Would I?

If it has to be, it has to be the golden paged leather-bound copy of Rudyard Kipling that I have not been able to find anywhere else.


Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Isn't it funny...

1. ... that girls fall for your perceived strengths, and yet love you for your weaknesses.

2. The louder the voice, the less the substance.

3. People harping on "East or west, India is the best" have seen neither much of the FarEast nor the West.

4. We crave simplicity, but are in a juggernaut of more and more complexity.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007


Part of me tells me to grow up. And I become the man I wanted to be.

Part of me tells me to hold on to that purity and faith. And then I become the introverted, self-doubting pariah.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Anne Frank Redux

Lines from the diary - “If God existed, he certainly wouldn’t allow living people to be pushed into ovens, the heads of little children to be broken open, or people to be stuffed into sacks and gassed to death.”

I agree. The next person who says that this is the way god tests us should have his babies' heads smashed against the side of the boxcars; like the ones used to transport Jews to Auschwitz.

Chana Zor Garam

Playing on the radio right now.

Just noticed a verse -

Mera chana kha gaye gore,
Jo gintee mein hain thore,
Par maare humko kore.


Shrek and I

I like watching movies alone when I am serious about them. 'Coz when I am, keep your trap shut if you've got no interesting trivia to add (Sabby, Tandy and Rakesh,with their side-spltting wit, are always an exception).

I have walked into movies sometimes to discover gems.
When I was a kid in Lucknow, there was only one theatre that screened English movies - Mayfair. Then there were the morning shows at Novelty. I caught a lot of the English classics there - cycling on the weekends to the movies, watching my first Indiana Jones, Spielberg, brilliant 80s dramas, alone - and coming back; silent, as I had none to discuss the stuff I had seen either at home or school; dreaming and running the scenes again and again for months at end.

After that, there are three instances I have walked into shows on the first day they were released, with no idea about the plot, the movie and the buzz.

Satya - Actually, this one I saw with the Ebot gang. We had gone to Mall road to catch some Govinda flick but the tickets were sold out. We just walked into this movie as this was the only flick available. I remember the unaccustomed silence in the gang as the juggernaut of the plot unrolled and the hushed remark by Rishi at the interval - "Yaar, kya movie hai!"

Dil Chahta Hai - I had just returned from the US and was pretty down after the two-months struggle to land up a job. I was staying with IIT mates whom I really didn't know very well and was very tied up for money and burdened heavily under the kindness of near-strangers. I had gone to this movie, my first in a year, without knowing the cast or anything about the buzz. Boy! Was I surprised! i also remember seeing Lagaan around this time but I had an idea about the buzz.

Shrek - An evening walk at MG Road, notihng to do, let's catch this animation flick at Plaza. And lo! The genre of animation was forever redefined; history was made; unimaginative and stereotyping Disneyfication challenged. I laughed so much that I actually cried.

Just finished watching Shrek 3 What a letdown! Where is the imagination and iconoclasm that made Shrek? Were these really the script writers that gave us the previous two installments?

Sunday, June 03, 2007

The decent thing to do

My cook didn't come on Wednesday and Thursday. On Friday, he came in, with a sprain in his right hand. Apparently, he'd collided with a Splendor and had a, possible, hairline fracture in the hand. I told him not to cook and take a break but he was adamant: he would be cooking for the rest of the households he serves, so why punish me? He even kneaded the flour with the sprained hand. I had gone to sleep in the meantime and just saw him massaging the hand as I closed the door on him.

Needless to say, I feel like a sinner now. I fell for the classic argument of this is what the Smiths and the Jones do and closed my eyes to cruelty.

Indian society is a hierarchy of power and patronage. Dipankar Gupta, prof. sociologist in JNU, argues that the biggest threat to Indian modernity (merit, baseline equality, respect for dignity of otherrs and work) are the rich themselves. Being placed in India is a euphemism for the cheap labor that you can extract from the poor and the patrons that you can find to flout laws for you behlaf. Classic examples would be the Nandas and their BMWs and the pathetic conditions of millions of child servants in "decent" middle-class households.

Sasthi Brata, author of the brilliant autobiography "My god(emphasis on absence of Capital G from my end) died young" also puzzles over the "unconscious hypocricy"(author's own words) of his mother who would be excessively genereous towards relatives but exceptionally cruel to the servants. The reason, the author drily and pithily suggests, for her actions derived from a strange social need for apporbation from people who could and thereby raise her platform and not to waste it on people who couldn't. This reminds me of my own grandmother, remembered sometimes by some as the kindest lady that ever lived; but who strangely brings to memory the scene of her violently caning Mallu, the man servant, for some minor demeanours.

Whenever I have brought to life this daily hypocricy that the middle class practices, I have also been surprised by the surrounding unconsciousness of it and the violent protestations have met my statements.

Hence, I prefer to stay silent and aloof.

This might be the way things work in our country, but that is not an excuse.