Friday, May 26, 2006

Mom and Me

By the way, here's another one of my all time favorite pic. That's me Mommy teaching the dude to walk.
P.S. Notice the stuff in the show-cases behind? Those are the toys I played with and I still have ALL of them. :D

Nobody's perfect.

Nobody's perfect.
I'm nobody
You've surely read this on a T-shirt before. And if you haven't... well, now you've read it anyway.
I have no idea where this quote popped into my head from. And yet somehow, it kicked off a toy-train of thoughts in my mind:
Of course, the quote makes sense. It's not about being conceited; just a witty expression of confidence.
But at a deeper level...
Of course, every individual is different, and so, nobody is like me. So, how could I ever call someone 'perfect' ? There could be 'good', 'nice' or 'awesome' people, but not 'perfect'.
Obviously. I'm me. Nobody can predict 'me', nobody can be 'me'. And, as far as I'm concerned, I'm PERFECT. Of course there are blemishes in me, but that is precisely what makes the perfect me. :D
Know what is funny about the human mind? It can think a hell of a lot of rubbish stuff in very very little time. For example? The enitre semi-philosophical debate took place in my chotu sa dimaag within a grand total of 60 seconds of waking up today morning.
And then? I thought to myself "Abbe dhakkan, savere savere aur kuch kaam nahin hai kya? Chal chal, kaam pe chal...

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Indian on the Moon

It is not everytime that I laugh when someone refers to the Reservation issue, but just couldn't help myself when I read this:

Manmohan Singh to Bush – We are sending Indians to the moon next year.

Bush – Wow! How Many?

Manmohan Singh - 100

25 - OBC
25 - SC
20 - ST
5 - Handicapped
5 - Sports Persons
5 - Terrorist Affected
5 - Kashmiri Migrants
9 - Politicians.........

and if possible 1 – Astronnaut

Monday, May 22, 2006

Express yourself

I haven't yet expressed what I feel about the reservation issue on this blog. Today, I intend to break the silence, and I promise I'll write again about the issue.
But today, it is about the mail that I received. Of course, many of you must have been receiving mails that contain requests to go join a a protest march, a candle demonstration, mails with pics of protesting students, SMSes telling you how many people have been protesting, how many have been on a fast unto death, how many fainted and how many have been tortured by the police. However, the mail that I received today was a bit different. It just contained a link, and all it takes for one to get enraged is to read the entire interview of Arjun Singh by Karan Thapar.
Here is the link.
Personally, these were the interesting moments:
"Karan Thapar: Do you personally also, as Minister of Human Resource Development , believe that reservations is the right and proper way to help the OBCs?
Arjun Singh: Certainly, that is one of the most important ways to do it.
Karan Thapar: The right way?
Arjun Singh: Also the right way.
Karan Thapar: In which case, lets ask a few basic questions; we are talking about the reservations for the OBCs in particular. Do you know what percentage of the Indian population is OBC? Mandal puts it at 52 per cent, the National Sample Survey Organisation at 32 per cent, the National Family and Health Survey at 29.8 per cent, which is the correct figure?
Arjun Singh: I think that should be decided by people who are more knowledgeable. But the point is that the OBCs form a fairly sizeable percentage of our population."
Herein, one sees the complete ignorance of the minister. But wait, he goofs up further by immediately following up with this...
"Karan Thapar: No doubt, but the reason why it is important to know 'what percentage' they form is that if you are going to have reservations for them, then you must know what percentage of the population they are, otherwise you don't know whether they are already adequately catered in higher educational institutions or not.
Arjun Singh: That is obvious - they are not.
Karan Thapar: Why is it obvious?
Arjun Singh: Obvious because it is something which we all see."
Duh ?!! Dude, is it precise answers like these that made you the minister for Human Resource Development of this great country?
"Karan Thapar: Minister, it is not just in terms of 'need' that your critics question the decision to have reservation for OBCs in higher education. More importantly, they question whether reservations themselves are efficacious and can work.
For example, a study done by the IITs themselves shows that 50 per cent of the IIT seats for the SCs and STs remain vacant and for the remaining 50 per cent, 25 per cent are the candidates, who even after six years fail to get their degrees. So, clearly, in their case, reservations are not working.
Arjun Singh: I would only say that on this issue, it would not be correct to go by all these figures that have been paraded.
Karan Thapar: You mean the IIT figures themselves could be dubious?
Arjun Singh: Not dubious, but I think that is not the last word."
And obviously, you would like to have the last word on everything, won't you?
Look how the respected minister is cornered when someone he cannot refute, is quoted:
"Karan Thapar: Let me quote to you Jawaharlal Nehru, a man whom you personally admire enormously. On the 27th of June 1961 wrote to the Chief Ministers of the day as follows: I dislike any kind of reservations. If we go in for any kind of reservations on communal and caste basis, we will swamp the bright and able people and remain second rate or third rate. The moment we encourage the second rate, we are lost. And then he adds pointedly: This way lies not only folly, but also disaster. What do you say to Jawaharlal Nehru today?
Arjun Singh: Jawaharlal Nehru was a great man in his own right and not only me, but everyone in India accept his view.
Karan Thapar: But you are just about to ignore his advice.
Arjun Singh: No. Are you aware that it was Jawaharlal Nehru who introduced the first ammendment regarding OBCs?
Karan Thapar: Yes, and I am talking about Jawaharlal Nehru in 1961, when clearly he had changed his position, he said - I dislike any kind of reservations.
Arjun Singh: I don't think one could take Panditji's position at any point of time and then overlook what he had himself initiated."
I really do urge you, dear reader, to go through the entire interview.
And let me also tell you what I feel as a young Indian after having read what has been written in the newspapers, after listening and seeing what has been shown on the TV, and most importantly, after having spoken to students who've actively campaigned on the streets of Mumbai against the stupidity of it all...
I feel proud of fellow Indians who've decided not to sit back and allow party politics and feudal decisions to affect the lives of millions of youngsters. At least, they've had the satisfaction of doing more than just blogging on the subject.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

A flute for the summer

Yesterday was a special treat.
Another friend from Calcutta landed up in Mumbai. And the simplest escape that we 3 friends had in the evening was to go to the Juhu Beach, barely 10 minutes away from my house. So, go to the beach we did.
Of all the wonderful things that could've happened to me at the beach, I happened to buy a flute!!
Now, I've never had anything to do with any musical instrument ever. I've always been fascinated by the piano and the violin, but couldn't ever manage to find the time to go to music classes. And neither am I a novice flautist, let alone an expert one.
So, I well and truly surprised myself with the force with which I convinced my friend that I should pay 60 rupees to purchase a piece of bamboo with 6 holes in it. Sheesh !!
And what did I do with it?? Played nonsensical tunes all the while we were on the beach, while we were walking on the road, while we were waiting for the coffee to arrive at Barista (ok, I 'played' the flute as softly as I could) and also while my friends tried to prepare a midnight snack back at the house. Finally, my friends could take it no more and the budding Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia had his flute snatched away from him at 4 in the morning; to his utter annoyment, may I add.
Well, the story doesn't end there.
I was all alone at home today as one friend was already on a flight back to Calcutta and the other had gone off to meet his relatives. So, I decided to catch up on my summer project work. And, at the end of a good 2 hours of staring non-stop at the laptop, I just collapsed on my bed.
I had kept my eyes closed as they were feeling strained after all the comp. work. I was wondering what I could do to keep myself busy. Reading a newspaper or an e-book was out of the question, and so was solving a Sudoku. And then...voila !! It hit me.
Why not play the flute?
So, I played the flute for a good 1 hour, trying different notes and different finger combinations. Although I didn't manage to bring myself anywhere near the standards of the revered Pt. Chaurasia, I'm sure even he would've smiled had he seen my persistence to keep playing tune after nonsensical tune.
Boy, is my next roommate at the hostel in trouble, or what?

Thursday, May 18, 2006

A thoughtful walk

"I really need to walk alone."
He took off his sneakers, rolled up his jeans and stood up straight, looking towards the sea. With a deep breath, he strolled towards the dark waters.
Once near the water's edge, he looked down at his feet. They weren't an old man's feet. In fact, they were the feet of a person well into his youth. All right, the feet had done some heavy-duty walking... there were cuts and scratches here and there, calm reminders of the time when little droplets of blood had left a stinging sensation at those very places.
He smiled to himself at those memories.
After all, he hadn't been alone at those endeavors, had he? He was one of the many merry men who'd set out on their difficult task armed with nothing but youthful laughter.
But this wasn't a night when he wanted to ruminate about those rustic hours of boyhood, spent walking in the wet villages of rural West Bengal. No. Tonight was a night for contemplation at the future that lay ahead.
"Can it really be true?", he wondered. "Am I really the master of my destiny? Can I ACTUALLY achieve whatever I wish to achieve, provided I put everything into it?"
Turning left, he started the long walk.
The walking figure was in itself like a statue in movement. A young, powerful and proud physique, the lithe movement of the muscles of his legs reminded the onlookers of the gracious moves of a young lion. His long, neat hair playfully waved in the wind that was blowing in from the sea. His head was bowed down, and his eyes were caught in a fixed stare the ground below his feet.
A wave came crashing towards him. He paused. Slowly, he looked up towards the sea.
"What does the sea remind me of? What does this dark sky tell me? Why do these waves, crashing towards me, leave me with a sense of peace and calm although they are little more in themselves than a din of water droplets going wild?"
Mozart!! That's what the crashing waves reminded him of... Mozart! Why? Even Beethoven for that matter. The great masters. Their work, their tireless dedication, which through their tireless efforts turned work into joy... Yes indeed. That is what the waves and the sea on a dark, moon-less night reminded him of. Ah! What joy it must be to be consumed in work, to feel your work living and breathing in the pulse of your very body. It must be sublime. It takes great pains, blood, sweat and tears to achieve that one moment... that one moment when you step back, weary and tired, to look at your creation. From nothing, from the very basic materials provided by nature, you've created something beautiful. And even though to the world your work might just seem an inanimate object, for you, it is your baby, your creation, a reminder of your victory over the elements.
Wait. Hadn't he read something similar somewhere? But of course. The Fountainhead. Howard Roark definitely knew his stuff. And so did Dominique. Of course, he had his own differences with the author, but that could rest for now.
"Papa papa. I want a Coke!" The shrill young voice of a 5 year old brought our hero out of his reverie.
And he turned around.
He had not only turned a 180 degrees literally, but figuratively as well. In place of the dark empty spaces of the wide open sea, there was now the light of a thousand tubelights. There was noise everywhere. Peddlers selling their wares; children crying; car horns honking.
Or should he turn towards this world? Surely, he loved all the material comforts?
And not that his demands were great. All he wanted was a comfortable house for his parents, enough money to buy his sweetheart gifts, cash enough to go to the movies with friends and not bother about the inflated price of popcorn and soft-drinks at the swanky new multiplex. And for heavens' sake, could he have more balance on his cell-phone pre-paid card?
Mammon smiled at him from every nook and corner where the thousand tubelights spread their bright white light. People swished away in their glitzy Fords and Honda Citys, not to mention the occassional Mercedez that always managed to get a pedestrian to look longingly at the car for a fleeting few seconds.
He shook his head, smiled and looked down at the sand again.
"So, Mr. Master-of-your-own-Destiny? Which will it be?" he asked himself, almost as if asking a child his preference between a candy and a drink of lemonade. "Will it be the darkness, or shall there be light?"
...and he continued walking on the beach, leaving footprints on the wet sand; some of which were erased by the occassional wave which managed to reach them, and the rest of his footprints were all too visible in the dry sand in the light of a thousand electric tubelights.

Monday, May 15, 2006

For the record v 2.01

Ok..saying that this was simply version 2 would've been good enough.. but for a guy who quit science at the class 10 level after mistakenly drawing an amoeba instead of a baby cockroach, "THESE TECHNICAL GUYS ARE CRAZY...." *points repeatedly to his head with the sound 'Tap! Tap! Tap!'*
I thought that these tech. guys must add all their .01/.02/.03/.00000632343 to the updates of their softwares just to confuse 'Commerce babuas' like yours truly.
But, the point is....did you notice anything in particular??
Yep. I'm referring to the "THESE TECHNICAL GUYS ARE CRAZY..." ('Tap! Tap! Tap!') Straight out of Obelix's dictionary.
Have completed the following since my last announcement:
1. The Complete Asterix series (well, 29 comic books, to be precise) *Yippeeee !!!!!!*
2. After The Funeral - Agatha Christie
By Toutatis !! I'm enjoying myself....

Friday, May 12, 2006

Sick !! Sick !! Sick !!

...and even pathetic, for that matter.
I spent the better part of the morning today for a friend to fly in from Calcutta at the Santacruz Airport. Thank you, Air ghante bhooke pet khadaa rehna padaa. But that wasn't what got me feeling miserable.
I spent a good 1 hour standing next to this Bengali fellow. He too seemed to be waiting for someone arriving by the same flight.
Okay, point number 1: Friends/relatives/well-wishers/people in 'close contact' with folks who stink should very seriously present a dozen bottles of deodorant to the guy, alongwith photocopy of pages of the Oxford English Dictionary which contain the definitions of 'stink', 'perspiration' and 'deodorant'.
People who still refuse to use the deo, should be appointed in the defence ministry to torture captured millitants. A few of these guys in the Defence arsenal and Indian should be free from millitant related activities till Axe/Rexona/Hugo Boss/Others make an effect on the 'smelly souls'.
Point Number 2: I HATE LECHERS All that the guy did was lech at ALL the girls he could set his sights on. The disgusting manner in which he kept looking at the various air-hostesses / teenage girls who'd come to see off their dads to the airport / (and the most disgusting part) young mothers who were travelling with their kids, made me feel Sick !! Sick !! Sick !!
What's worse, I couldn't do a thing about it !! And this infuriated me even more. It was only a few days ago that Sunshine had blogged about a similar shameful incident in the Calcutta Metro...and yet, the 'yuck' scene was being acted out right in front of my eyes...and there I was, standing helplessly.
I mean, what could I have done ??
I wanted to blog a bit more about myself a bit more clearly...but am too filled with RAGE right now to write anything further

Saturday, May 06, 2006

For the record

I'm so addicted to blogger that I'm using it as a notepad now...

Hence, I just wanted to jot down the e-books that I've read in the past 3 weeks.

Here goes:

1. A Quiver full of Arrows - Jeffrey Archer
2. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - J. K. Rowling
3. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - J. K. Rowling
4. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - J. K. Rowling
5. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - J. K. Rowling
6. Deception Point - Dan Brown
7. And Then There Were None - Agatha Christie
8. 4:50 from Paddington - Agatha Christie

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Yeh hai Mumbai meri jaan

Life in Mumbai can be extremely interesting, if only one keeps his eyes and ears open. So, while the happiness of sipping a piping hot Caramel Cappuccino here at the Reliance WebWorld lasts (anyway, it is only going to last till the time the guy from Java Green comes over and asks me to pay for the coffee), let me recount two observations I've made in this wonderful city..
Snapshot no. 1
I remember this time, not so long ago, when I was walking past a couple of buildings in Calcutta, when a Bengali maid-servant came out of a building and asked this guy squatting on the footpath, "Nobeen koi ?" (Where's Navin?)
Man: Ekhono aashe ni...keno ? (He hasn't come yet...why?)
Maid: Kiiiiiiiii!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Ekhono aashe ni ??? Amaarke bole chilo je missed call dile neeche aashe jaabe. Ekhon amaar cell-e missed call pelaam, kintu o ekhono ekhaane nei.. (What !!!!!!! He isn't here yet??? He'd told me to come down once he gave me a missed call. I just got his missed call on my cell, but he isn't here yet...)
What gave me quite a turn apart from the romantic liaisons of the maid-servants of Calcutta was that the maid servant had a cell phone whereas the poor friend accompanying me on that beautiful evening walk didn't have one. With a pained countenance that only said "Wait till I tell Dad about this", she continued silently. That was when I knew India had gone hi-tech.
But Mumbai always proves that it is a step ahead.
Pasted on a number of trees along Juhu: Maid servant?? Call 93xxx xxxxx
Not bad for a country where less than 40 per cent of the country's total area is covered by mobile networks, and fewer than 8 in every 100 Indians use mobiles, compared with China's 30 per cent.
Snapshot no. 2
Having worked briefly as a freelance journalist for The Statesman, Kolkata, it is always easy to act high-nosed and frown at tabloids. However, my late-night work/Asterix-reading/Sudoku sessions ensure that I end up waking very late the next day and hence, don't feel like even venturing out to buy the regular newspaper, let alone glance at a tabloid.
But what gives me the opportunity to sneak a peek at what the tabloids are publishing are my nightly cheese masala-dosa sojourns. I prefer going down to the 'thela-wala' below my house and getting a parcel back home. And thanks to the ban of plastic packets, the dosa-wala stuffs the lip-smacking dosas into old newspapers, usually tabloids. These make for interesting reading while having dinner (well, there's precious little to do when you're having a solitary dinner).
I took the easy way out last time and frowned at a front-page tabloid story about how a television star's pet dog had bitten the neighbour's dog and how furious the neighbour was that the television star had not apologised. Smirk smirk. Reminded me of another tabloid story that my colleague at the office had read out about how a young actress was gifted a dog by her boyfriend. The story had gone into details of the duration of the relationship of the starlet, the gifts that she'd received on V-day this year and how oohhhhh---shooo---coochiiiiee-koooo it was for the boyfriend to gift her a dog. ("Ek ladke ne ek ladki ko kutta diya aur woh story ho gaya," my colleague told me with a snort, ending his heavily loaded statement.)
But just last-night I was delighted to read a good piece of journalism where a journalist recounted how a local politician had murdered a cable TV operator in Dombivili and had been told by the court not to enter Thane till the time the court gave its ruling. Yet, the politician had been spotted at the wedding of a magistrate's son (the journalist had managed photographic evidence). I felt proud of the journalist who'd written the story and also for the editor who dared to publish the story. Perhaps, tabloids aren't that bad after all.
Chalo, I'll be off to work again. Let's see if I can slip past unnoticed.....DAMN !! There's that Java Green guy. *Sigh* Where's my 50 ka note ?