About plain cheese 'moinee' and CDC class...

Two chaps, during their undergrad days, used to walk all of eight hundred meters to a corner of the campus for a break. One of them used to eat an ostentatious sandwich with one plain slice of cheese, smothered in mayonnaise, in between two really thin slices of bread. The other guy was content with just a tumbler of coffee. What concerned the other guy the most was that the shopkeeper had gotten himself into believing that mayonnaise is always pronounced as mo-ee-nee. Besides, the idea of eating raw eggs (a prime ingredient of mayonnaise) irked the other fellow.
But that was the past. It was a totally different story last evening when the other chap had to have plain cheese and mayonnaise sandwich and cheese omelette for dinner. Suddenly, all the memories came flooding back. Of diverse plans to change world, that were hatched, sitting on the horse shoe bench or lying supine on the soft grass of sky lawns. Be it Criticism of literary work, music or just hard-to-ignore spendthrift habits, they found stuff to discuss, everything ranging from innate to insightful. It is often said that people change with time, but I have this gut feeling, if those two guys were sitting at the same place, eating the same stuff, they might just become two undergrad students ready to change the world. All over again.
An afterthought, plain cheese moinee doesn't taste all that bad after all.

The end of another year...

Another year comes to an end. Nothing much happened. Except that, time and again, my physical resilience was tested and time and again, I failed. Reminds me of a less know top-gun remark by the bald commander, "Son, your ego is writing cheques your body can't cash!"
But all said and done, there were some things to feel nice about. The ability to work twelve hour shifts, whether at night or day was a revelation to me after all the illness. On the workfront, it was a year where I learnt more than I had in the four years in college. I guess they are right when they say college is where you make the grades, you learn when you work.
Then there were three visits home. Quality time spent with my folks, cousin getting married, overall, it was a great year at home too.
The year peaked in the end though, with one visit to Delhi that, I hope, has changed my life forever and another visit to Kolkata that only consolidated the belief that I remain a changed man. Too cryptic, but too personal as well.
By the time the next new year comes, I have this gut feeling, I will be sitting somewhere else, doing something else. But till then, there are no qualms about another year going by.

Travelling on Business

Some observations about travelling on business, especially if its within the country:

1. You don't have to look at the 'total price' line on the air tickets
2. You have no Check-in Luggage
3. There is no need to make the difficult choice between an autorickshaw and a taxi. (A taxi is a natural choice :P)
4. Never bother about finding a Hotel in any city. There is a guest house in every concievable corner of the country.
5. Never bother about long distance calls. They are always taken care of.
6. Never worry about gatepasses as they are always waiting for you at the gates of whichever refinery you visit.
7. In the end, its always fun to be travelling on work.


There have been times when I have tried to think about social issues that face the country and what we could do about them, to think in terms of masses and people below poverty line. How positive change could be brought to their condition. But alas! I have so many real problems (or conjured ones) of my own that I hardly find time to think and talk about them.

I came across this article today about two kids killing off their school mate in style. Real english movie way. Shooting at point blank range. Just that they don't understand the stigma they have brought upon themselves for the rest of their lives.

In our country I think there's a basic need to be strong and resilient in the face of adversity. We have to put to practice some really simple principles of restraint and continued effort to get us what we want and at times what we deserve or what is most rightfully ours. More often than not we have to fight for our rights, and if we decide to kill people for every little trespass, we are done for.

Come to think of it Gandhi's idiology was not too bad at the outset, the only difference in opinion lies in the fact that Gandhi expected the adversary to be softened by continuous non-violent persistence at reaching the goal and the softening would give rise to empathy, in most cases however, its sympathy (if the opponent is too powerful) or just plain irritation (if he is just another one of those sarkari babus) that works. But as long as the ends are reached through reasonably non violent means, I guess I am successful. There are places where sheer force is of no use and others, where sheer force is not even called for. All these situations can be countered by persistence. And in the end, obviously, if there's a need for force, you must have the balls. That's when the guns need to come out, not before. Reminds me of the famous Munnabhai line,

"Jab doosre Gaal pe padh jaaye tab kya karne ka, yeh Bapu ne nahi bataya"

The second day...

Another Review, but this time a true one. Unfortunately we just had a very good reason to view a movie and again, since Beowulf I had stopped believing what a review said about a movie. Hence I walked into Audi 1 of Fun Cinemas in Agra at 9:45 in the night to top off what had, till then, been a rocking day.

Being from Bengal where every kid has a natural affinity for soccer and having spent the first fifteen consious monsoons of my life kicking around a soccer ball in the slush in every position from centre-back to right out, I thought I would enjoy the film. But alas, that was not to be.

It just didn't have the feel of a soccer movie about it. The grounds were small, looked more like the ones we use for six-a-side tournaments than the actual 52 yards. The people involved were lack-lustre and there was almost no eye for detail! Its basically a really sad movie. The dialogues were repetative and the emotions seemed to have been lifted from different situations of different films. The old refrain about a past hero returning to redeem his honour, the battle for survival in a cruel world, the inevitability of shaky decisions...everything seems to be in line with the two other prominent sports movies made in the country, Iqbal and Chak De. But somewhere, the individuality was missing. No game can be won by appealing to the players' self respect only. You have to talk tactic, talk jargon, talk formation and strategy if not to teach people, at least make your viewers think that they are watching football. There was none of that in the movie. The film was definitely filled with a few mistakes and one blunder that came at the fag end and destroyed any shade of positive that could have been taken back from the movie. Have you ever seem a soccer player move up fast along the left flank and centre the ball inches away from the goal-line and then run faster than the ball itself and head it past the goalkeeper into the net?!

It's ridiculous! It's no faux pas, it's a blunder.

Arshad Warsi should stop doing roles like the one he did in Goal if he wants his career to remain on the same curve it has been following since Munnabhai. John Abraham was acceptable as a career concious footballer, but Basu appeared too promiscous. Not that she could do anything about it, it's the script that is to blame. Boman Irani was good as the coach, but even he couldn't work magic with a half-baked script. Everything that was good with the movie seemed to have been eaten away by poor editing, worse dialogue selection and a deplorable Footballing sense.

If I were asked to describe the movie in one sentence I would say, "Its a classic example of a unresearched, poorly edited and hurried attempt to cash in on the sudden craze about sports films and like any product which is a result of skewed objectives, it must fall flat on its face."
The adrenalin was not there, it just did not seem like football. Sorry guys, this one was so not watchable.

That makes it two flops in as many days!

Twice in two days!

I was duped! First by the film critics and again by the film critics, with a little aid from my well meaning friends.
It all started with reading a brilliant review of Beowulf (where, to my disgust at a later stage, Beowulf was likens to the peice of art that is 300 in terms of technique and eye for details!) in the TOI and rushing off to agra on a bike to catch the movie before it was too late. All I got in return was a Hindi dubbing where the king of Denmark welcomes Beowulf with the very Familiar expression, "Haan Beowulf... Aur Batao" (!!!) Since then it was a complete down hill journey. There was only a squirt of blood (which didn't even come close to justifying the word "gory" used more than once in praise of the film) here and there (and to compare that with the scarlet fest in 300 is like comparing red wine with Bloody Mary!). And before I forget, there was the much hyped golden nude scene which wasn't even worth a dry whistle from a fourteen year-old getting his first glance at the female form.
Come to talk about the storyline and you suddenly realize there isn't one. Maybe the dubbing blurred out most it, but even then, transition from one scene to another was more like a random draw of coupons than anything bound by a defined outline.
The characters of Beowulf seemed a watered down version of the hero that was depicted in the British Epic and even the facial expression were really difficult to decode. Fear and Anger seemed to be the same emotion. I had this idea that only human beings can't act, for the first time someone proved to me that even animated characters can be bestowed the same distinction. But then Beowulf was good considering the tragedy that happened the next day.

The Butcher's Son.

He stands at the corner of a tin shed, beside the only wall of the otherwise open shelter where the goats and broilers are kept. He wears a stained lungi. He is not more than twelve and the first strands of a fledling mustache have just started appearing above his upper lip. He does not know his tables, alphabet or even his national anthem.
Yet he is learning his trade well. He catches chicken from the cage with unsure hands but locks their wings with a deft twist of a finger. Once his brother finishes weighing the bird, he transforms. From the adolescent, still unsure of his bearings, he becomes the hardened executioner. Quietly, he twists back the throat of the fidgeting fowl and takes it out of public view by lowering it into a large plastic drum before slitting its throat with a couple of strokes of a blunt knife. The dying bird is dropped into the canister to reach its eventual destiny coloured in its own blood.
The butcher's son cleans his hands, not looking at the bird even once, not bothering about the stains on the wall, but then he takes the apron off and looks at his new spotless lungi. A few red dots appear, quickly spreading out as they are soaked into the fibre. The butcher's son is devastated, it was his new lungi. He couldn't hide his tears, its not everyday that he get a new lungi. He is still a kid, but then, he is the Butcher's Son.

Spotting the difference

Its that time of the year again. The time when we are all supposed to feel happy for some reasons which keep changing with age, location and circumstances. I would not like to indulge in another non-conformist observation of the bengali Phyche, I am just trying to figure out the need to feel happy or or-not-so-happy JUST because its Durga Puja.

Its been five years now since I was home for Durga Puja, I am sure its the same for many other people, but hardly anyone whose travel plans are not hindered by prohibitive flight costs and visa problems. These five years have changed a lot about the way I used to percieve the totality of this festival. I had taken for granted that the ambience will be thick with sound of fire crackers and the air, heavy with smoke of gun powder on the morning of the first day of Navratra as people celebrated the arrival of the Goddess. AsI had seen it happen for eighteen of the twenty three years I have lived. Once out of Bengal, Mahalaya was nothing different from just another day, but even then there were people (Staunch Bengalis, needless to mention) who would get together in a hostel common room on a chilly October morning and take control of the Television after a squirmish arising out of regional sentiments to make sure that the thirty minutes program on the arrival of the Goddess was not missed.

However, even this proposition was lost last year when I woke up to a sunny morning at Bombay to suddenly realize that that was the day when the air was supposed to be thick with gun powder smoke.

The size and scale of celebration of Durga Puja vary with the ambience as well. Somwhere its a modest little celebration for a closed community (Pilani), at places its a wasteful show of wealth and redundancy of the same (Hiranandani Gardens, Mumbai), somewhere its scale is an indicator of the strength of the community (Refinery Nagar, Mathura) and yet somewhere else its just what its meant to be, a festival celebrating the spirit of humanity where we all gather around one place wearing new clothes, taking part simple rituals and sharing the joy being where we belong (my little hamlet, somewhere on the brink of modernization, which I call 'home').

Of life, love and ....sex.

Once again, I am back to praise the bold new face of Indian Cinema. First, Guru, then Nishabdh, followed by Life in a Metro and finally Dil Dosti etc. I had half a mind to not go for the movie after reading the "two and a half review" in TOI in the morning. That coupled with a disastrous AIMCAT ( not that I usually crack them out of shape, but this was one a bit worse than the usually unsatisfactory ones) almost flushed the plans for the movie out of my mind till someone called to inform us that six tickets were already booked. All the way to the Theatre the only things that were going through my mind were cut-off, time-management, math, DI blah blah.

Had to miss lunch to get into the theatre in time... but in the end it was worth the watch.

A glorious flashback to the great college days, of asking weird questions like, "what is life? what is love? why am i doing what I am doing? or Did I always want to do what I am doing or is it just a circumstantial response to the sweeping away of well-laid plans by one swift ruthless stroke of destiny?"

I was back in my world of delusion, trying to figure out the significance of Godot or trying to delve in the confused emotions of and decyphering the cryptic dialogue in Look back in Anger. For people who like a movie that sticks to predetermined format of a screenplay, strong character, weak character, song and dance, don't go for it guys, you might as well watch Jhonny Gaddar and get entertained. This movie is all about gray, there is no head or tail. As Apurv says, "What do you do if the coin just refuses to drop flat on one face?"

This movie is different in a number of ways. The existential crisis of a fresher is beautifully projected in the foreground of a rapidly changing social mosaic where sex is not as much a blasphemy as it was. The search for the meaning of love takes our protagonist to the shady bylanes of the famous GB Road in Delhi. While romancing a schoolgirl (who, true to her school girl logic, believes there's only black and white, no shades of gray) on one hand spending nights together with a common whore he tries to delve in the complexities of love and sex and why each is different in her own way. Imaad Shah has done well in playing the character of a confused yet not cocky youth, to perfection, looking for the meaning of life, even at the risk of sounding like a pseudo intellectual. If there were a stock exchange in tinsel town, I would put my money on this guy. Shreyas is Brilliant as the typical middle class bihari, with an impeccable, "Thok De Ka!" though his accent does slip at places. He's got to do more films like this than stuff like ASMM where his talent is neither fully utilized nor appreciated. Nikita Anand plays the confused wannabe-supermodel well enough, however either due to editing faults or poor selection of dialogue, her character never totally opens up, but then women are always mysterious. The music is hummable and screenplay, commendable. This one's a must watch for people like me, still suffering from the post college blues. And here goes the clarification for those who still think you can take your kids and go watch the movie- DON'T!


I stand at the sideline and look at all the big players, playing and winning at every possible game. I look at their happy faces and try to touch their intangible achievements with the hope that that'll give me the feel that I could never give myself. But there again I fail because there's something God never gave me, the ability to pick up my pieces and make another attempt, the ability to be the proverbial phoenix. I am sorry because I am just another normal human being with big dreams, bigger limitations and mammoth failures to my name. I try not to indulge in self pity and put up a smiling face to the huge wide world. I try to hide that feeling of deficiency with a wry smile scratched across my face. But at times, all the restraint fails and all thats left of the being that is me, is heap of smoldering remains of what started off as a crackling fire. There again, I smile and say, "Its better to burn out than fade away."
I hear people laughing and talking about what he did or she did, what he made and she found. I smile and think about what I could have done and I didn't do. And I sit on this chair, in front of this computer and keep pumping incoherent chains of random thought into the internet.
Thanks to Google, they've made so much space on the net, nobody would deny me my cribbing domain.


Now this is what I call Mud Surfing!

I couldn't take my eyes off this snap when I came across it in The Hindu a couple of days ago. It's a glimpse of the annual cattle Race at Palakkad in Kerala.

Why Gump pipped Shawshank...

4th September was the day when I finally unravelled one of the biggest mysteries of Hollywood. I used to hate this highly acclaimed film called Forrest Gump because it took away all the Oscars from Shawshank Redemption which millions of people, along with me, think, is one of Hollywood's greatest creations. However, there definitely are some reasons why the best film award went to Forrest Gump. Firstly, the movie speaks of hope more forcefully than Shawshank Redemption and hope and faith in the face of physical disability always seems to work better than the hope of a prisoner, however wrongly imprisoned, does. That's the kind of hope that's a little difficult to accept, let alone idealize. That way, I would like to think that the only thing that killed Shawshank is its gory background, the cruelity of prison life, the bare truth. And, everyone know, the bare truth is not so well accepted as the doctored one.
Another thing that pulls an American towards Forrest Gump is the sarcastic take on the image of the American war Hero! The way the american lieutenant thinks its better to be blown up by your own bombers than live on after the war and make a life for yourself, drives the viewer to the wall. I mean, dude! there's some thing beyond all the bloodshed! Forrest Gump is everything that is acceptable to the American Society of 1994. Opposition to war, the heartfelt loss of some of America's JFK, the demystification of Watergate and all of it seen through the life of a cripple who runs due to a miracle, loves due to another, gets on the cover of Fortune magazine due to another one, plays football by chance and lives because he could run. The wayward Jenny gives you the views of the radical American kid with a tortured childhood and with Forrest fathering a physically and mentally excellent kid, it all fits in like clockwork. Something that will inspire one and all. From the peaceseeker to the hippie. From the soldier to the Shrimp Farmer. These kinds of film are made for oscars. I would still maintain, Shawshank deserved an oscar for all the right reasons, its a pity it was released in the same year.
One last observation, say what you may, Tom Hanks couldn't do half of what Morgan Freeman did with the Narration!


Took a detour to Agra on my bike last Sunday. As a part of common practice, Sunday mornings are too scarce to be whiled away on a motor cycle on a moderately busy highway. But with the level of boredom coupled with intense frustration with life in general and job in particular, I decided to make the journey. Only to have a look at something different for a change.
The landscape has got much lusher while we were busy toiling at our piping and erection work. The babul trees lining the highway wore a gleaming, bright green hue along with dense foliage that has sprung forth from all nooks and corners. The fields on either sides of the highway are at different stages of being ploughed and planted, one of the farmers has even built a raw shack with four hovels for support and a thatched roof. Something thats typical of Bengal but hardly ever noticed in UP. Notably, the farming techniques in UP are much advanced than those of Bengal where you could still spot the farmers egging on their bullocks tethered at the end of the tortured plough. UP has taken to mechanical ploughs, harvestors and threshers in a big way. Its a matter of concern when you have a look at the rotary threshers seperating tonnes of grains from chaff in a day in comparison to the meagres 40 bundles of paddy that is thrashed manually by the harvestors on wooden or concrete slabs in my Bengal.
But then, I am prevaricating. The lusher landscape freshens up the mind like no other entertainment. That coupled with the wind blowing hard against the face, forcing the unwilling tear to fly past my sideburn along the unconventional arial route instead of streaming down a stubbled jaw, the fatigue in the elbows and knees from long hours of biking at average speeds of 85 to 90 Kmph bestow a feeling of retribution for all the wrongs done unto myself.
Its good. Good for the soul.

The best and the worst

The last post was followed by a blur of events and activities which happened so fast that there never was enough time to devote to updation of a blog. On another hand there was a lingering feeling confirming my fall from grace in my own eyes. I couldn't bring myself to believe that I was significant enough in the whole huge scheme of things to make my musings matter.
Two trips to Delhi one after another, followed by a Plant Shutdown when I was taught the importance of real hard work, continued illness for more than three weeks, a desperate journey home to get back to acceptable physical shape and mental state before my sister's wedding. Stuff happened, lessons were learnt and ideas were formed.
But that's the past. I am back from home after the longest vacation since June, 2006. I am back at my desk, making estimates, paying bills, calculating pressure and temperature and trying to feel happy and optimistic about a dreary future. Someone told me, an optimist lives longer. My answer was, it only increases the pain. Poor chap decided against counselling me further.
But thats not what I sat down to write today....
Have you ever moved from a state of ecstasy to despair within a couple of seconds? I never knew it could happen in reality till yesterday. I was listening to an old bong song last evening, about how the same colour means different thing to us at different ages. ( red, for example is the colour of a ball when you are 4, the colour of lips when you are 14 and the colour of communism when you are 24). I started laughing out loud and then as the realization dawned I ended up shedding tears like a weeping ninny. Times stolen past my vigilant eyes.I turn 24 next year.


I was sitting at office kicking myself mentally for having started my professional life with the largest business house of the country when I started scribbling something on a sliver of paper lying on my desk... and just so that I don't lose the scribbling I decided to digitize the effort:
"Every person is born with a purpose. No one is free, no one is useless. The moment you understand your purpose you will learn to live. But till then you will be embroiled in the constant existential crisis about one uncomfortable question, WHY ME. Why so much mediocrity after the exposure to abandance of excellence? Why this imporvishment of faculties after the cornucopia of sensual pleasure? Why does my life alone have to roll down hill without a stop? Why do I keep asking "Why me?" every night before I sleep. Why me?
This is called a lack of freedom. This is called being bound to senses. This is why you are not free. You have to learn to live for yourself, without regrets, you have to make decisions that you wouldn't want to blame on anyone else. You have to stop asking for advice. Live for yourself. For a change."

Cardiology = Pump Maintenance

We work with huge devices that run with a roar and lift volumes of fluid to dizzy heights. Large, dangerous machines which have given us the capacity to move the world, the kind that are too huge to imagine unless you stand in front of them and see them work. Life is easy with them.
But think of having to work with such a critical pump when its running continuously. When you are not allowed to stop the machine and still have to remove a snag in it. My engineering sense will call it an impossibility in the beginning and foolishness at a later stage. But thats exactly what a cardiologist does.

Everything that happens to the heart can be compared with the working of a pump in general and a reciprocating pump in particular. Be it surge, pressure drop, cavitation everything can be talked about in terms of a reciprocating pump in every sense. When these people wearing white coats and grim expressions amble along the sterile corridors filled with tense relatives of patients, you realize that even without the grease, spanner and an odd peice of emery paper here and there, these people are very much maintenance engineers. Just that they are involved in the most unenviable task of working with devices they cannot willingly declare "Redundant".

Waiting for the rains...

It hasn't rained yet. Life seems more parched and thirsty than ever before. Physically I am drained beyond recognition and the mind is running around in directions unknown. The plethora of feelings that I used to experience once upon a time have shrunk into an ugly petrified stone. I have nothing of myself left.

Life is hanging on hope. Hope that I will be able to get out of this place in this lifetime. Hope that the tunnel won't be too long after all. Because I still am hanging on to those words,

"Hope is a good thing. Maybe the best thing of all."

Medicine Shop

List of all the medicines I consumed ( and was required to pump into my body through a puncture in my left hand) in the last 10 days:
1. Metronidazole
2. Paracetamol
3. Norflox
4. Avil
5. Dexona
6. A variety of Vitamin Capsules
7. Anti inflamatory Analgesics ( Basically a lot of paracetamol with a little bit of something called iboprofen or something like that!
8. Zinetac
and another three different pills that looks really sad!

And now that I am finally off medication... breathing seems like a gut wrenching exercise!

"What's wrong with you?"

There are some things in life we take for granted. Some of them being society of like minded people, a set of physical and emotional conditions that keep you mind balanced and a definition of happiness.. at times, the sheer absense of sadness is defined as happiness and at times there is something more that we look for... probably this is one time when I am looking for that something extra.
People ask me objective questions like "Why are you sad?"," Why are you cribbing?", " There is nothing wrong in your life, why do you make it sound so bad?". I never answer those questions.
They never adress the problem at hand. If I knew why I was so sad, I would definitely have adressed the situation.
I just don't know. I am depressed for no reason that I can think of, I should be prefectly happy and upbeat, but something just doesn't seem right. Probably I still haven't recovered from the culture shock that I was not prepared for.

Back to the Canvas

I found my motivation! Its time to go back to the empty canvas...

"...Take me out to the pastures and shoot me."

How would you feel when there's absolutely nothing to look forward to when you go home from office tonight? oops! did I say, home ? I didn't mean home, home is what I get to go to only in August (if everything works out well, that is) I go back to my room... to my beloved virus infested laptop and the same spik'n'span clean room with everything in its place.
Sometimes, the absence of anything great or different to do drives me crazy... sometimes its preserves my sanity and sometimes... its just flowing with the current...
There's absolutely nothing to look forward to...there's nothing to look forward to when I come to office and there's nothing to look forward to when I go home. Now I know why people go mad. Because nothing is happening. the gray mist never clears, the mundane reigns supreme in life and the urge to finish it off once and for all gnaws at my bone.
But I persist in my attempt to look for it a little longer, and please don't get me wrong; the presistence if more a result of the lack of conviction in my decisions than the hope of spring boarding back to being alive.

Saalam Saab

There is something different about working in a managerial position in a company which requires a lot of unskilled labour and people who hardly know anything more than earning their hundred bucks at the end of the day. You get a glimpse of the bigger picture of the country known to the world for its kings and elephants and now for its fast expanding cyber tentacles. Please don't confuse me with a typical cybercrazy Neophyte who figured his life cannot go on without a few hours spent in front of a computer tapping into the internet or a nihilist on his way to changing the world order and sweeping the cyber dependence away from our lives altogether.
I am talking about that unskilled rigger whose complete day's work comprises moving pipes. Just moving pipes. starting from the smallest of sizes and progressively moving higher. I am talking of the fitter who's only job is to align pipes and get them ready for welding. I am talking about the welder who creates one joint after another with a bidi break in between.
For these people their Saab is their God, the sole provider for their families. They'll make an extra effort to come and stand in front of you, maybe catch your eye for a fraction of a second and touch side of his plastic safety hat with the tip of his finger to say the customary Salaam and give you an apprehensive smile. And if you happen to smile back, you will get the biggest smile in return. Because for them, its not just a smile, its recognition, its an assurance that the Saab remembers him.
That face is the true face of our country. The face that is eager to please for that handful of foodgrains for his family, the man who works throughout the day pushing pipes.
They are my people and at times, I can't deny the pride I feel being called Saab by these people, because I can swear to God, I cannot do the kind of work they do with such painstaking accuracy and precision.

Deeper down...

I walk back to my room with drooping shoulders after spending eleven and half hours at office doing material estimation like a machine, opening multiple windows in SAP and running half a dozen code searches before ascertaining the availability of little component in a whole huge piping scheme. Life continues mocking me and keeps taking me to the edge every evening while I languish alone in my room with books and magazines opened around me. My eyes refuse to read the newspaper, I truly feel dead, if ever there was any feeling like that.
Even after spending more than 7 hours in the bed under a blanket I am just as tired as I was the previous evening. The fatigue seems to have a cumulative effect on the mind and the body. No effort seems to freshen me up. As I stand under the cold spray for the customary 5 to ten minutes, there is no effect. I just stand there like a corpse propped up with poles. And then I take out a shirt, a pair of trousers and clean socks. As dead as ever I walk off to the mess for a breakfast and finally board someone's car and go to office. I am scared for driving my bike lest I drove it faster than I could control. I have decided to take lifts till I feel more alive again.
Once I am in office, the reticence to talk to people or socialize return. I work as long as I sanely can and then I go insane. The same things go over my head, over and over again. I don't read mails, I don't reply to them, I am just indifferent to people and why shouldn't I be?
Only I am responsible for the mess I am in today and no one can really bring me back to life, therefore where's the point? where's the point in putting up a facade when I am not that good an actor off the stage?
There is no positivity anywhere... there is nothing good happening.
I have started accepting it now, everyday as I walk back to my room with the drooping shoulders, I am dead. truly, dead.


Just when you start taking the wind under your wings for granted, one little jolt grounds you with sudden devastation of getting hit by a sledge hammer. Life is fine as long as you are looking at it within a fixed framework of people, job, salary, expertise and skill. The moment something from the outside probes the walls of the fragile comfort zone you had started building around yourself, the discomfort returns.
The feeling that eats you away from within, leaving behind an empty shell, devoid of a soul; a canister empty of its contents. The contents that have been burned away by circumstances, luck, fear and at times, even misplaced trust and thoughtless ambitions. Groping for the good old past and refusing to accept a dim future, you tread your present like a zombie, confounding every second of a life that would better not be there, since its being wasted anyways. When twenty three years of existence gives you only 3 and a half years worth of memories, there’s absolutely nothing to feel great about. Such a life is a failure.
There will come a time when you’ll not be able to get in touch with your peers because they are much more advanced and socially acceptable than the rustic vagabond that you have made yourself.

But then its too late now, isn’t it. There’s no turning back and you can already see life sporting that mocking grin as the sun rises to herald another day you have to live through to make the journey a day shorter, desperately groping for something to remember, a little conversation, something to remember. Something to take to your grave. Because life, as it is being lived, will not last too long.

As good as it gets...

The last time I saw this movie from beginning to end without moving the mouse to the progress bar was at Sujan and Aney’s Flat, in Bangalore on Deepti’s Computer along with Bhargav and Sikandar. That was the last time we buggers spent some time together before being thrown to corners of two different countries.
But as Andy puts it,
“Hope… is a good thing, maybe the best thing” And I am still hoping that the day will come when all of us will sit around a table and see this movie once again.

This time however I viewed it on Shobhith’s computer in a Hostel room along with Shobhith and Patel. But this time the hope line had receded in the back ground, guess I have already put it into my system…. The fact that hope is probably the best thing.
The lines that caught my attention this time were,
“Some birds just cannot be caged, their wings are too bright”
I hope to fly away someday to a better place, a better neighbourhood… to a better life and not become institutionalized as would be the case if I did hang on for too long.

The one movie that everyone should see: Shawshank Redemption, because “Salvation lies within”.


And then again.... after the fun comes the time of reckoning.
I remember in Class three I had a teacher called Mrs. Gayner who was probably one of the best teachers one could have when he is in third standard. She would let us go and play around and still make sure we never broke those formations we were made to walk around in.
But that is not the point, the subject of this post is something that she had said in the broken hindi with a thick Irish accent,
"Pehle majaa, phir sajaa".
Sometimes things remain with you for eternity, I haven't seen Mrs. Gayner for more than 14 years now, but everytime I think how bad I feel now that I have to work so much after those carefree days in College, I always come up with that one sentence,
"Pehle Majaa, phir sajaa"!

Honeymoon Travails

Disclaimer: Opinions expressed, questions raised and comments made in the following article are completely my own and should not be interpreted to represent the view of anyone related to me.

1. Why would you, (anyone for that matter) want to go on a Honeymoon with a bus full of other couples who are perfect strangers?
2. What kind of people bark and purr on the first night on honeymoon?

3. How often do honeymooning couples from all over the country, across communities travel in the same bus for honeymoon?

4. How does a Gay Indian man differ from a Gay NRI?

5. How does a Bengali woman drape her saree so that it comes off at every half chance?

6.When do superheroes find superheroes to marry?

7. How do you follow a bus on an imported sports bike without being noticed?

And last question....

8. How do you define a totally mindless comedy?

Your answer lies in the heading... go watch the movie and before you set out for the theatre, please extract your brains and leave it well preserved in the house. Exposing it to so much anomaly can take its toll!

Disappointing silence

The woman is brilliant. That is, she's brilliant considering three things, one, She's from the U.S.A, two, She's a newcomer and this is her first silverscreen appearance and three, she's just a kid!

The storyline is non existent. There is no story, as expected though. The whole film rides on the theme. There's nothing much supporting it. The story of a man falling in love with a girl less than a third of his age is too big a first statement for the director to attach something to it in the form of a well thoughtout story line, proper characterization of the supporting actors or even a thoughtful end to the story. Someone has to tell our man that silence is not a great medicine for all circumstances. The same silence that awed the audience in Sarkar seems overused throughout the movie and even thrust on the actors at certain places. Just like you shouldn't typecast an actor, you shouldn't typecast an art, in this case, the art of using silence to higlight emotions... at times it just doesn't fit.

Jiah Khan impresses alright. But the character is essentially flawed. She plays an estraged kid traumatised by the loss of a father and an extramarital relationship her mother is involved in. The fact that her attraction to Vijay could even be a daughterly inclination has been grossly overlooked to give the movie a 'Lolita' angle. It would hae been a more complete portrayal of the situation had that angle been explored in a couple of scenes.

The character of the wife and her brother looked really stiff. Except for the one places where she loses her cool, Vijay's wife is just another suspecting Indian woman who gives up everything for the family and expects the family to give up everything for her, in turn.

And finally, the trauma of a girl when she finds out about her father having an affair with her friend is also underplayed. There could be two reasons for it, either the person playing the role wasn't upto it or the role itself was weakened to highlight 'the other woman'. Eitherways, these are some points which could have been explored more at the expense of the long Nishabdh scenes which were meant for the audience to track the path of Amitabh Bachchan's tears as they roll down his cheek.

There's no point talking about the man himself for he's made a habit of surpassing all his previous performances in every new film he does and whether its weeping for a seperated wife in Baghban or shedding tears for an 18 year older lover in Nishabdh he does it with equal wizardry.

All said and done, Nishabh would have been a great watch had there been a little more shabdh in it.


There was no hangover! I slept like a kid till eight in the morning and since the guys hadn't awakened by eight, I had to sleep for another couple of hours before it was time for the "household" to rise and decide to conquer PVR. Yeah, thats exactly what was decided!
We (thats suhel, Arjun and I) decided on a Goan Lunch at Bernardo's (which turned out to be the best lunch I have had in more than six months. The last time happened to be our farewell lunch at Inchara in Bangalore) and go watch Nishabdh and The Last King of Scotland.
By the time we decide to leave the flat, time was already running out. The lunch was ordered in a hurry and gobbled up in 10 minutes flat.
The other two people would agree that we didn't talk too much while having our lunch, especially after making the error of assuming someone else's lunch to be ours and smirking to ourselves when we figured the truth, while that someone else, rather, the two 'someone' elses considered us to be nothing less than hungry hogs.
Nishabdh couldn't live up to expectations and by interval we were sure that we wanted to watch something else to lift our mood before we went in for Forrest Whitaker's magnum opus.
Therefore, the decision to go in for Honeymoon Travels Private Limited was made and the tickets, procured in a jiffy. I was lined up for my first true movie marathon of my life! (Three Shows starting at 3:40, 5:15 and 8:45 respectively!)
Honeymoon travels wasn't too bad a movie as long as you left your brains at home and sat there to enjoy the mindless comedy, but then again, you would need your brains to appreciate the brilliance of Boman Irani and Shabana Azmi. And if you were planning to get into the theatre for another movie called The Last King of Scotland, you had better run home and get your brains, whatever little bit of it you have.
We walked out of PVR at 11 in the night and I can bet that beside the movies, I probably had the greatest variety of flesh I ever had in one day. Starting with hot and sour fish, Goanese style Chicken cooked in coconut paste and spicy pork, moving on to chicken Hotdog at the theatre and ending the day with half a grilled chicken! Thats a lot of flesh and I can say with full conviction that I enjoyed every last bit of it!
One hell of a Saturday!

A Beginning...

The get away seems to be working perfectly. Imagine how the expectations would shoot when a weekend starts with the teacher's scotch whiskey, two perfect strangers who don't remain strangers the first time they talk. Endless chat sessions about Simon and Garfunkel, Floyd and everything under the sun that we have talked about at lengths in college. Sitting with the tall glasses under a star lit Gurgaon sky, for a moment I thought there are too many other things in life which i am either ignoring or am totally ignorant about... lets hope the next 48 hours help me discover at least something that I might be missing.
A rocking start to what promises to be one of those few remarkable weekends that somehow manage to leave a lasting mark on your life.

Its an ordeal...

to leave the past in the past and move ahead. To accept that the past is all that was and never will be again. To teach the self that how much ever you try to go back to the past, you'll only end up hurting yourself.
To deny the present is a crime, the resist the future is a greater crime... but to yearn for the past is the greatest.
What was there, will always remain, whats there now will move into the "was" account with the setting of the sun and the turning of the wheels and what's still there will silently pass us by to become a part of the "was" while we still try to get back to it and salvage some happy memories...
This'll sound pure gibberish, but its an ordeal all the same.

They Banned Orkut!!!

Finally the penultimate nail in the coffin of my newfound communication enthusiasm was hammered home by the systems administrator. Officially orkut has been banned at Mathura Refinery.
Come to think of it, its a good thing for people like others who spent a lot of time on orkut, but not the honest and sincere officers like me who would indulge in a little harmless flirting every now and then! Maybe its a blessing in disguise.. I'll at least use my net surfing time for more productive causes...
But let this be the commemorative post marking the sudden removal of orkut from my otherwise mundane life.
And I will be totally cut off the day they decide to cut Blogger out... Maybe I should start thinking about an alternate blog already.

Another one of those days...

This again used to be another one of those days when the man suddenly felt how stoic he had been in ignoring this one day with all his might. He never quite had any plans for this day, never had time to see if anything could be done about the fact that he never have time for the day and never thought the reason for not finding time was the simple fact that he never had anyone to spend that time with.

Since the day the knowledge about this brilliantly expensive day was registered in his brain he tried to think about a lot of different ways in which he would like to spend (on) the day, but the only gap that remained was the absence of a human entity to spend the day with him. Slowly the boy grew up into a man, the little bit of hope that still remained in him turned into stark cynicism and the man decided that he had had enough of stupid "western" traditions and that he would join Shiv Sena if he didn't find himself a girlfriend within a certain timeframe.But then, our man wasn't as thoughtless as he thought he was and he finally managed to do neither of the two things he thought he would do. Neither did he join Shiv Sena, nor did he find a girlfriend.

In fact, it was she who found him.

And yet, the story doesn't end here.. whether they lived happily ever after or they just finished off after a tea break still remains to be seen.

Rain drops keep falling on my helmet...

Finally, I could summon enough courage to drive to office on a rainy morning. The glistening higway gave the impression of the typical "slippery" surface that all the moms in the world will ask you to avoid. The trucks and cars drove past me like shooting stars! And the pitter-patter of the raindrops on my helmet reminded me of Simon and Ganfunkel...
Even before I started out on the bike, I had this feeling that I might get terribly drenched even before I was halfway through, but somehow, the "freedom" idea got better of me and the final decision was taken the moment the engine roared to life, the first time I kicked it!
By the time I reached the highway, it had started poring.
The dark, forboding sky overhung like the sulky attendant you find in most of those second grade restaurants. The cars and trucks zooming past me left, right and center didn't increase the comfort level either. The landscape however was a treat for the eyes. The usually greyish leaves on the babul trees lining the sides of the higway wore a rich green hue, as did the shrubbery covering most of the otherwise barren landscape. The kind of thing that makes you wonder, "This place isn't as bad as I though it would be!"
The dripping visor of the helmet, the drenched trousers and same raindrops pricking the uncovered tips of my fingers with the severity of surgical needles somehow made the whole experience worth it...
Raindrops keep fallin' on my head
But that doesn't mean my eyes will soon be turnin' red
Cryin's not for me
'Cause I'm never gonna stop the rain by complainin'
Because I'm free
Nothin's worryin' me
This one's for my little girl.

Another Week...

I know its become more of a rule than exception now. But I came to office on a Sunday yet again. This time however, the work had to be done before I got my sense tickled by the blood sucking contractors again. Therefore, I decided to make the 6 km trip on the highway to office for one good reason, to make preparations to issue as much material as possible to keep my contractors busy.
Then there was the big decision to make... whether to have lunch at Mac'Donald's or drive all the way back to the mess for the Sunday lunch of chicken and steaming rice? (The kind of difficult decisions one is forced to make when there's absolutely nothing important happening in his life!)
The bike made the decision for me. I hadn't been riding it too much and have to clock at least 300 kms before the first service date which happens to be the fifteenth of this month. Therefore, an extra dozen of kilometers were clocked and lunch was consumed at the mess with the usual gay gluttony and an extra bowl of the spicy gravy!
The second half at office was more productive than I had thought it would be and by the time I was satisfied with the day's work it was already past four thirty! Another ride back home, a couple of rounds in the township and a piping hot cup of tea in the windy morose weather punctuated the evening.
Ended up watching American Pie yet again at night and slept off feeling really good :)
A nice Sunday, even though I went to office!

My Country...

My Country...
Words will pollute the sanctity of pictures, click here for more

From Good Morning to Namaste

The metamorphosis of the Missionary School-educated, English bugger continues...
There was a time when we were taught that we have to wish our teachers wherever we saw them, be it the corridors in school or the famous stinky Maach Bajar near the Burnpur Railway Station. There were instances the the fear or awe of a teacher made me forget the time of the day and blabber a poorly articulated "Good Morning" standing under a street light at seven in the evening.
But that was a long time back, by the time I reached college I had perfected the art of wishing anyone who looked like a professor and at times I was even lucky enough to get replies from some of them. I can still remember hearing a faint "Good Morning" from Dr. M Ganesh everytime I met him in the dark corridors of Faculty Division III... But again, these incidents belong to a fast fading past. I am still in the process of getting into my present life.
When I stepped into my present role of an officer in a Nationalised company where every bit of official communication has to happen in Hindi as well as English, the futility of my Proficiency in the Art of Good Morning slowly dawned upon me. Except the handful of people at office who still accept english as a mean of official communication, its really difficult not to feel a bit disillusioned about the fact that the first eighteen years of my life were spent off in learning a foreign custom! All you have to say here to get noticed and nodded at is Namaste, whether its a workman, an officer, a stranger or even the Big Boss.
The sweeper who wipes the floor says "Saab Namaste"and the casual labourer who usually fills my jug from the cooler says, "Namashkar Sir" with the Sir trailing off into silence as if the utterance of one english word scathes his soul.
I guess I am just getting absorbed into the Indian Customs of which I was never a part, and its about time I did.

GURU : A review

GURU is the story of one man who dared to dream, and dream big. Through and through its a celebration of the human ego, the perception of being intensely alive and intensely aware of the fact that we just cannot stop at one point of time and tell ourselves, "this is enough, this is what I had bargained for, nothing more and nothing less", for there is no limit for more.

This is probably the first time that an Indian movie has dared to move away from the beaten track of "love and truth and the ultimate victory of both". The fact that neither love nor truth form an indispensible part of our everyday existence is underlined time and again in GURU. For a change we have been able to bridge the gap between idealism and realism through GURU, and the film is commendable for that bare fact, if nothing else. Another aspect of the film is the sublte yet positive treatment of capitalism. In the present scenario where we can see a steady decline in the communist sentiments all across the world and more so in India, perhaps this emphasis on the ultimate importance of profit could not have been timed better. Munafa is all that matters and thats exactly what has been pointed out. Even though the moral issues have been slightly undermined, I can only recall what Mario Puzo quoted in the beginning of his magnum opus, The Godfather, "Behind every Great fortune, there a Great Crime"- Balzac.

Coming to the film itself, this is definitely the comeback vehicle for Abhishek Bachchan, even though some people claim Sarkar to be the the movie that turned him around, we have to understand that after Yuva this is the first movie where he hasn't shared screen space with his dad and still delivered a powerhouse performance. Definitely the big B's pride is not un called for. In Abhishek's portrayal of Gurubhai, one could see the emergence of one of the most prolific and resourceful actors of the present day. We can only hope that this is just the beginning of a long and entertaining career. Aishwarya Rai is brilliant in her role as the wife of a business tycoon, rising above the normal cravings of a lower middle class woman to fulfill the needs of her dreaming husband. Mithun Chakraborty, Vidhya Balan and Madhavan did their bits convincingly, but every bit of brilliant acting complemented each other and made the experience really enriching. No mention needs be made of Rahman's music. Its brilliant, but then thats routine. His consistency is enviable, though there is a scarcity of humable tunes in this particular album. The cinematography is also crisp and a treat for the eyes.

Though there are traces of movies like The Godfather (Gurubhai keeps making "offers they can't refuse" and keeps talking to "reasonable men"), The Fountainhead (During the final discourse in the courtroom, I couldn't help seeing glimpses of Howard Roark) and A walk to remember (The poignant story of Maddy and Vidya Balan) in GURU, at the end of the day... its a winner in all the departments, bold theme, powerful acting and the Hallmark of Mani Ratnam's Direction.

A must watch.

Bike... Finally!

That's what my Bike looks like... I am really sorry about the background though.