Saturday, June 28, 2008

Perfect start to the weekend

Rainy Saturday afternoon giving way to a cool evening breeze... rum and Coke in hand... and watching the first James Bond film 'Dr. No' for the umpteenth time.

A perfect start to a long awaited weekend break !!

Thursday, June 26, 2008


I came across the following passage while reading 'They Came to Baghdad' by Agatha Christie. I found the idea quite fascinating.

"That is as Allah decrees. It is in his hands."

"Inshallah," the other repeated.

For a moment he longed intensely to be a man of Eastern and not Western blood. Not to worry over the chances of success or of failure, not to calculate again and again the hazards, repeatedly asking himself if he had planned wisely and with forethought. To throw responsibility on the All Merciful, the All Wise. Inshallah, I shall succeed!


A couple of days after reading this, Motee and I also struck up a similar conversation. We generally agreed that perhaps human beings are better off at times leaving it all in the hands of an almighty power, even if there actually is none. Just the belief that there is someone there up above who is keeping a watch out for you is a peaceful thought.

And as if that weren't enough, I came across this on Ridhi's blog.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Reclaim your life

After a truly amazing weekend, I happened to be at the new Bangalore airport yesterday. My friend and I decided that a quick cup of coffee before she took her flight was a good idea. Settling down on a chair, I reflected on the beauty of the evening when I, as I am wont to, noticed two kids.

These fellas were seated on a baggage trolley and were grinning from ear to ear as their father pushed the trolley around. The mother followed a short distance behind, a faint smile on her face. The li'l chaps had their hands in the air and were shouting with glee, unmindful of the happy audience around them.

I paused and thought to myself that perhaps this is the reason why we must keep meeting kids...keep observing kids: they remind us of the simple joys of life and how we ourselves once were. They remind us of how little it takes to have a great little it takes to reclaim your life.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Issues with Time

I was speaking to a friend yesterday and conversation generally revolved around how our lives have changed (she is a friend from college days) and how the nature of things which demand our attention have changed over time.

Earlier, life was all about attending college, tuitions, some work (at dad's office) and meeting up with friends.

Somewhere down the line, things have gotten slightly more complicated.
Me being me, I started categorising the various 'lives' that we need to lead. These could primarily be broken-up into five categories:

1. Work life

This portion, obviously, starts dominating a majority of our hours that we are awake for (in some cases, also our sleeping hours; in fact, I have been regularly dreaming about work the last couple of months). We slowly gravitate towards becoming the major bread-earning member of the family and phrases such as 'CTC', 'in-hand salary' and the works start being repeated. Hushed conversations about people switching jobs and who is in who's good books are also part of the daily rigmarole.

2. Social life

Weekends (and hurriedly organised week-night dinners) are for friends. These occassions keep us in touch with 'the good ol' days' stories and also stop the grapevine from dying a natural death. Stories abound of corporate snakes-and-ladders here too.

3. Love life / Married life

Not everybody is stupid: some stay single. The other group, however, needs to spend some time attending to 'sweetheart' issues as well. As relationships mature, the following cascade of comments make an appearance:
"We need to spend quality time together in order to know where we're going" --> "Where ARE we going????" --> "We need to spend more time together with the family"

4. Family life

We also need to keep our parents happy. No matter how different we've grown up to become since the time they held our hands and taught us how to walk, we need to be there and understand their needs in their ageing years. Which means that we need to spend more time with them than we were previously bluffing ourselves into believing. Clearly, they should be getting very good quality attention time, even if the amount of time gets sacrificed because of work-related issues.

5. Personal life

~exhales loudly~

And if we can finally find time out for ourselves, only then can we do some amount of introspection and think in what direction OUR lives are really going. Only then can we ask ourselves those niggling, uncomfortable questions that we know we have been putting away. Or even if nothing else, this is the only time when we have nobody, and I repeat, NOBODY around us and can then hope to R-E-L-A-X in every sense of the word. Ironically, although this is the time we need in order to do well in our other aspects of our life, THIS is the one which we keep postponing all the time.

Don't believe me? Ok, try this. When was the last time you sat down in a chair or lay down on a bed and:

a. did NOT have the TV on
b. did NOT have a song playing on the radio / laptop / computer
c. were NOT thinking about the slow speed of the movie you were downloading
d. were NOT waiting for a phone call which you dreaded or which you just wanted to get through with
e. were NOT making a mental list of things that you wanted to do/buy

When was the last time you just breathed in deeply and with a contented smile said to yourself "Ok! I have lots of things happening around me...some good...others not so good... but all in all, I think I'm doing the best I can...and if not, here's how I plan to do the best that I can..." and then proceed to have a meaningful conversation with the one person who matters the most in your life....YOU !!!

When was the last time ???

Author's suggestion: Start writing a diary, my friend, and find some time for yourself.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Beating melancholy

I don't know what captured my spirit today afternoon but I started feeling very melancholic. If there were one dialogue that suited me well (as it has suited me perfectly many times), it was Antonio's opening words from 'The Merchant of Venice': In sooth I know not what why I am so sad.

There's one thing that I do most often when I'm feeling a little low.

I buy books.

Most people I know have often heard this story. It is a story which I'm pretty proud of. It dates back to the time when I was in college and had a job which paid me a princely salary of 3,000 rupees a month. One fine day, I was in a similar mood and I dragged my good friend Ravi to College Street. We spent the entire day browsing through bookstores, carefully peering into musty second-hand books, squatting at road-side stalls which sold books we wouldn't have found in any organized retail book stores, had our lunch at road-side dhabas and yes, we had coffee at the Indian Coffee House. Anyway, by the time we two returned home, we both held a carton full of books in each of our hands (that's four cartons of books; for those readers who are either bad at basic mathematics or have been too confused by my style of writing). All in all, we'd spent Rs. 18,000 on a combination of new and second-hand books.

Finding myself in a similar mood today, I switched off my cell after office and left for the Landmark Store at Forum. These are what help me beat my melancholic mood:

1. No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy
2. Alexander: Book One - Child of a Dream by Valerio Massimo Manfredi
3. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
4. Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri
5. The McKinsey Way by Ethan M. Rasiel
6. Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


I left my house early for work today morning. On my way, I spotted something which I thought I'd share here.
At the corner milk shop, four school-kids, none of them more than 7-8 years old, had lined up and were slowly counting coins to buy their packets of flavoured milk. All the kids had a school-bag on their back and looked smart in their white shirt and blue shorts. One or two of them were so small that they were peering over the short display window.
The shop-owner, a good 6-ft tall and with a bushy moustache, towered over the kids and smiled down at them and their efforts of getting the number of coins right. A moment later, he bent down to help the youngest of them since the child could not hold all the coins in his palm. The little kid looked at the shop-owner with wide-eyed amazement at how easily he could count the coins and do the math in his head, all at the same time.
I shook my head and with a smile, continued my walk to office.

Friday, June 06, 2008


Schools make me nervous. Everything about schools make me nervous.

What is there not to be nervous about? The playground with kids running about reminds me of the time I would run around a playground carefully, lest I got my clothes dirty. Quiet corridors remind me of classes in progress. The harsh ring of the bell reminds me of 'tiffin breaks', both the official and unofficial ones (the latter being between classes).

I went to a school day before yesterday on a work-related activity. The brothers in their white robes, quietly shuffling through the hallways and keeping a keen eyes on the classes in progress, made me nervous.

Let me just say that I heaved a sigh of relief when I wasn't pulled up for not having a decent hair-cut and not having polished my shoes that morning.

Monday, June 02, 2008

IPL + Indy = Super Sunday

The IPL is over, the Rajasthan Royals have won and a day later, here I am eating an apple and wondering what to write.

Couple of things. Don't hate me for not being regular on this blog. I know you aren't too regular either, but then what the hell, it's my blog.

Second, I saw the second innings of the IPL final (don't be so eager to strangle me... give me a moment.. there's a perfectly simple reason for missing the first innings) and completely enjoyed it.

By the way, I'm a huge fan of Warne, and have been awestruck by the manner in which he has captained the Rajasthan Royals team. In fact, yesterday afternoon, I was all rooting for them. But having seen the way in which Dhoni and his band of merry yellow men went about defending that seemingly low total of 163, I feel that yesterday Dhoni was the better captain. It all went down to the last ball and you must give credit where it's due, i.e. to the Chennai Super Kings. Had the Rajasthan Royals been fielding second, I would've perhaps been more in favour of Warne, but as of now, Mr. Dhoni, I thought you were the better captain yesterday. Just bad luck that:

a) Raina couldn't hold on to the catch of Yusuf Pathan when he was on 13 (Pathan, obviously, went on to make a quick-fire 56 and winning the Man of the Match award); and

b) Balaji couldn't do a Joginder Sharma.

But no complaints. All said and done, the IPL has been a source of much entertainment (cricket + cheerleaders combined) and yesterday we were witness to a battle between the two best teams of the tournament.

Finally, the reason why I missed the first innings.

I went to see 'Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of Crystal Skull'. I'd heard there were negative reviews about the film but trust me folks, this is one helluva enjoyable film. I loved it !! Indiana Jones is back...and how !! There was just the right amount of action, fun and romance in the film (In fact, today morning I commented to a friend that the film was almost like a blockbuster Hindi film minus the song and dance sequences).

Go watch it. It is AWESOME !!