May 27, 2008

Parting Shot

This is going to be the last post on this blog.
No, I neither doubt my writing ability nor cry over my lack of inspiration. This is just the end of a chapter in my life.
I started blogging because I loved the freedom it gave me to express my thoughts, hopes, opinions, but now, the feeling is more like despair - I feel I have lost the capacity to be open, free and express what I actually want without worrying who read it, who didn't.

Of course my fiction blog (Two A Day) will remain active as long as an idea or two keeps cropping up.
I am delighted with my decision because I know I am doing the right thing.
I am not deleting this space (although I feel guilty about contributing to the e-waste) simply because of the comment space that connected me to some wonderful bloggers out there.

So, to those few tenacious readers who still take the trouble of visiting this site, I bid adieu - heartfelt thanks for all the affection.

Apr 22, 2008

The Dairy Ghost

I dream of Curd. Yogurt. Buttermilk. Butter. Milk.
And they can be categorized as dreams (the meaningless, useless ones without any clues to hidden treasures or something equally fanciful) or full-fledged nightmares.

Category I – I see myself getting into this beautiful house, huge and well lit. The lights are bright and has this milky-white, typical dreamlike quality. The furniture is white, the bed – ah, the humongous bed is covered with sparkling white sheet. The pillows appear so full, fluffy and light: just like freshly made butter. I see the house is full of people and I am supposed to cook a large, tasty meal. (Yet another horror story from my repository that gets dealt separately in other dreams) All I can find, in that ridiculously large kitchen, is milk. Bucketfuls. Now how the hell is one supposed to cook delicacies with milk and milk alone?
I panic. I choke. I wake up.

Category II – I am walking towards the ocean. And the ocean is made up of buttermilk. I can see huge blobs of butter floating like giant icebergs. I get a nauseating feeling; I want to run back home. But the waves come crashing. I get flung into the ocean. I didn’t find Lord Vishnu anywhere nearby to save me (the breaker of my sleep – probably somewhere in his own dreamland, snoring)
I panic. I choke. I wake up.

For the past two weeks I have been haunted by the Dairy Ghost, if I can call it that. Just when my eye-lids are drooping with promise of a dreamless, deep sleep and a hopeful fresh beginning, a mad thought creeps in – of having to wake up at hours that I dread. At a time when I am sure even the birds are having dreamless, deep sleep, the milkman gets us milk.

Cow’s, buffalo’s or donkey’s milk - who the hell cares? Can he not come at a saner time and ring the bell only once? The nonexistent fat in the milk is definitely not going to kill me, I know. It is the doorbell that will give me a massive heart attack one of these days. I wonder if it is the Devil himself dressing up as the persistent milkman, making sure I don’t get my share of white clouds, bards and halos.
On second thoughts, I don’t think I need those white clouds. Those light, fluffy white clouds. Reminds me of…

Mar 25, 2008

Mooning over Millennium city..

Jazzy, isn’t it? This is how the ‘millennium city’ looked on the full moon night from my terrace.
I have realized how lonely Rapunzel must have felt in her tower; in my case, the lovely large terrace being the only saving grace. And I can’t even sing.
Not doing absolutely anything is becoming a routine here. I feel my muscles are slowly getting used to this. Warning: If this post sounds a little crummy, you should know – I am just checking if my fingers are working.

Well, I admit I am exaggerating but I am not at fault; Gurgaon is doing this to me. A brand new place: Ideally I should get excited about knowing, seeing and exploring things around. However, the initial vibes I get from this place can be called as, at best, mixed.

I cannot really go out anywhere, without any help. Of course it is not like Potter has stopped me from going anywhere; he would love it if I ventured out – on my own, without hoping and waiting for him to escort me around. Poor fella is stuck in office with neck deep work. For once, I would love to swap places. The season has not yet been the reason to avoid going out – it is still pleasant, thank God.
The real story behind this self imposed imprisonment is quite simple actually - there is no public transportation. No autos, no buses.
Yes, I know for those who have already been here, it’s no big surprise, but come on, I am entitled to be appalled by this. The other day, I had to had to go to the market (there are no shops nearby within the radius of one km, and I don’t live in a jungle) and I had to get into this cycle rickshaw.
One can only imagine how embarrassing it can be when one has to do it the first time. During the entire journey, I felt as if people on the street were staring at me as if I was the spectacle. But if one were to ask Potter, he would chuckle and say no such things occur – there are usually no people walking on the street, either they vroom and zoom in fancy cars or taking cycle rickshaws just like you, which makes them and you equal.
Finally when I reached the destination I sighed in relief, just wanting to jump out of the rickshaw – but the seat is designed by a retired acrobat, and there is a noble intention behind such design. It is to ensure people like me remember their former glory, give them the respect due and not take risks of jumping to end up somewhere near the pedals, all knotted.

How I miss all those small little general stores, the Food World, the dry cleaners! and most importantly, the eateries – all those little Darshini outlets… I don’t want idli dosas no, but something, anything as long as they are nearby? Funny thing is when I was in Bangalore, I did not visit them often; it now feels like they were the heritage sites that I missed out while being on a historical tour.

Oh, I don’t know, I really can’t rant and rave about this place since I have not yet explored it completely. But, yes, the malls – well, they are a different story altogether.

Feb 21, 2008


The last post from this system, from this location, from this office! Sigh....

As expected, getting out of this organization was in not the usual "will miss you my workstation, laptop, my tea cup, (or ocassionally) a colleague" drama style, but the last few pangs of separation pain are slowly making their presence felt.

Feb 8, 2008

A cut above the rest

Have you ever been compared to Shah Rukh Khan? What’s the big deal – you’d think. After all, there is nothing extraordinary about him: looks or otherwise.
But if you were a girl, who is not his sister/relative or, do not have any similarities in any manner, then it is quite unusual.
I had the misfortune of having such dubious distinction recently. Nope, it is not my looks either, excuse me. The blame completely goes to my hairstylist.
Just Imagine, I spend almost a fortune to get a nice, wavy haircut (well, at least that’s what I thought) from a trendy, upmarket salon and come home to flaunt it in front of my aunt. And I get to hear this: ‘Hey, you look just like SRK; he has the same hair cut in Pepsi ad!’
Oh, by the way, if one wants to disagree on the ‘extraordinariness’ (rather, lack of it) and start an argument regarding SRK, we can do it in another post.
But for now, where do I go to get another stylist?

Feb 4, 2008

Wicked Magic

As I lay in bed, I saw the sunlight filtering into the room through wide windows – slowly at first, like a hesitant bride stepping into the house. Their warmth slowly seeped into my body.
How easily they bring out the best out of every soul! Even those million atoms in the air that act coy and stay invisible, cannot resist their attraction; a slow dance ensues.
The beams appear tender and fresh, yet strong enough to cleanse the terror of a nightmare.
They are enthusiastic - only they have the permission from millions of sleepyheads world over to enter the bedroom unceremoniously and wake them up from their sweet slumber.
They bounce off the dull walls and brighten up their lives. Like an excited pup, they wander all over the house, bringing a smile on the face.
I let out a sigh of content.
They reassured me that world at large is still safe and filled me with a fresh bout of optimism to look forward to the day ahead.

This morning I looked out of the window and found dirty gray clouds. I thought about the missing sunshine and felt all the more lost.

Jan 25, 2008

An unusual method

It had always bothered me. The irritant in question is an advertisement on TV about a soap brand called ‘Nature Power’ by some RKN group. It shows two women discussing about the ‘best’ method to buy soap (where one model actually says – ‘by watching advertisements!’) and you see a third one popping up from nowhere, providing unsolicited advice after committing the offense of eavesdropping. The ad in itself is extremely lousy; a half-hearted, amateurish effort. What caught my attention was some ‘TFM factor being more than 76%’ or some such info the models provided; apparently soaps above 76% are supposed to be very good. And this seems to be criterion for recommending this soap to random strangers in the store.

At one point the camera zooms in on the product cover and the inscribed word ‘TFM’ with the percentage is displayed. At no point of time in this entire ad, does anybody bother explaining what this percentage or the acronym means. I expected at least one of the characters to bat her eyelids and ask ‘What is this TFM?’ like they show in many other advertisements – the usual, obvious leading question used to introduce a concept. No such luck here. They even show the fair maidens getting impressed by this mystery jargon they neither have any clue about nor care to get clarified.

I googled out TFM and found the details and it’s evident from the information on net that TFM is a fairly common term used when it comes to quality of soaps. However, I did not know about this and I am sure, there are millions others who wouldn’t know either.

The advertisement, per se, is not worth a glance but it definitely would have made a difference if I was told upfront what this ‘TFM’ was all about.
Or, may be not – only because it gave such an incomplete message, this ad stuck to my mind. And, that is a pretty roundabout way of making people remember a brand isn’t it?

Jan 23, 2008

Technology Glitches

I am not so proud of my incapability in understanding technology. But I dont have to worry too much. I guess I am not so unique in this category and that makes me happy. Considering I am working for an IT company, (though my professional background has no connection to IT whatsoever) I should at least pretend to understand the latest gadgets, the facilities that information technology has made feasible. Recently, a friend of mine had a catchy tune in her mobile which I wanted transferred to mine. She asked if I had Bluetooth in my mobile. I don’t claim to be knowledgeable about Bluetooth, but I have at least heard of the name, and the wonders it does to people in transferring pictures and songs from PC to mobile, vice versa and similar other options. I said I didn’t have it in my phone. She gave me that saintly smile which translated to you-dunce-are-you-for-real type. I had a brainwave just then – I asked her:
“Could you transfer it to Potter’s mobile? He sure has Bluetooth”
“Yeah, sure”
“Ok, I will give you his number; send it to him right now”
“Okay… but, where is he?”
“Where else, in his office”
At this point, she looked up and I swear, what I saw was horror in her eyes. She then struggled to keep a straight face, and slowly said “the mobile has to be within a range of a hundred meters to transfer any data”
And all I could do was smile back at her, thinking “a thousand apologies*

( *a reference to a dialogue by a Punjabi character in the serial ‘Mind Your Language’ whenever he made a stupid mistake; something I had always found quite silly)

Jan 8, 2008

Hope Floats

Imagine being provoked, tested and pushed almost to the point of tearing my hair out, by a man on New Year’s Eve.
By a man who does not even exist.
I mean by a fictitious character. I was not drunk, no not all. But then, it happened to me for real. I never thought Andy Dufresne was going to get into my thoughts the way he did.
I am talking about the same Andy Dufresne, the unbelievably positive hero of ‘Shawshank Redemption,’ one of the greatest Hollywood movies ever made, according to me. I have seen the movie – twice. It indeed had a great impact on me then and continues to be one of my favourites. But, this is not that Andy Dufresne.
I happened to chance upon Stephen King’s book ‘Different Seasons’ containing four novellas and the first story in the book was ‘Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption.’
I knew the story well, yet, I was curious about the differences that crop up when books are made to movies. There were minor ones I agree. To his credit, the director has maintained a tight grip on the storyline in the movie.
But, the story in print is like a lip smacking dessert. Every sentence was an absolute delight. And the fact that I could hear Morgan Freeman’s voice narrating the entire drama while I read the book stands as a testimony to the effectiveness of the movie in translating to such powerful script and visuals on screen.
In case one is wondering, this is not what bothered me.
I experienced a peculiar sensation while reading this tale. Some kind of inner tumult going on parallelly. I felt as if I was hypnotized. Later, I forgot about it as the vacation drew to an end.
Recently I was caught unawares by changes in the weather and, on one of those nights as I lay in the bed, slightly feverish and unable to sleep, it came back to me again. I can’t really put a finger on what it was, but it could be roughly translated as a provocation – to detach myself from self and stand as an external party observing my own thought process, my hopes, desires, beliefs and my pessimism. To question the path that is developing in my life on its own, to challenge it and dare to chart it out according to my wish. It was as if Andy Dufresne was making fun of me – his silent laughter innocently mocking my feeble attempts at making decisions, all the while worrying about the possibility of falling flat on my face. Of me trying to be safe and not rock the boat.
Of course, I chided myself: I was just getting carried away by the wonderful optimism of a story – something that is not real.
But then, that strange word stuck in my mind: Institutionalized.
I liked the way the word was used. How convenient it was to describe the way the prisoners felt! However, it exactly describes what we have turned out to be – outside a prison, living in a progressive community and free, yet, institutionalized. By the society that chains us with moral obligations, responsibilities and unrealistic expectations. Expectations that have no business to be there in the first place.
But I cannot waste time trying to question and change the way it works; I’d rather change things for me. I still have the freedom of choice between what is expected and what I want to do. It does not matter if the act of choosing is near impossible.
May be I was plain high on the feel-good factor of the fiction or, may be I was delirious; I had not been keeping well. What else would explain such thoughts bouncing off my head at 2 a.m. in the morning?
Still, somewhere in a small corner of my heart, I dared to hope that a small conflict created in the mind today could later snowball to a strong change to become a better me.
After all it took about twenty seven years, according to the book, for Andy Dufresne to dig a tunnel in the prison wall with a rock hammer.