Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Guest Post

A few days back, actually a few weeks by now, I was going through a four month period of writer's block. So one day I felt bad for this blog of mine and wanted something up here before it faded completely from everyone's memories. So one day while chatting with this friend of mine, I asked him to write something, absolutely anything for my blog. Knowing him I was sure it will definitely be worth a read even if the content was zilch. I am sorry for the delay in publishing this post. But its a good read even now (though the then-relevant cricketing examples might appear a little untimely now). Over to Abhishek.


The other day I was bragging to Mr. Banerjee that I quite fancy myself as a writer these days. Well, "basically" I was bull-shitting him, but then he has asked me to write something, anything,... so here I go. The proof of the pudding is in its eating, or in this case the proof of the writing is in its reading. So unsuspecting readers - read on, you really don't know what's coming your way!(Do I??)

Serendipity is a beautiful word. The WordWeb dictionary which is stored in my laptop defines it as - Good luck in making unexpected and fortunate discoveries. I also really like the film by the same name, not least because Kate Beckinsale is in it, but really you can watch it. I mean if you are "serious" enough to read this stuff, then the film is a classic.But coming back to serendipity, all of us get this feeling. Take me for example. You are going back home from school one day and you come across a beautiful girl who just happenned to have won the inter-school debate the previous day. She is super smart, razor sharp with a killer smile and has an aloofness that makes her seem to belong to a different planet(satellite in fact!, right Suhel - its a technical term so one has to be careful) And your life is never the same again. It isn't quite the same again, but not in the way you are imagining at the moment. Or say you are scrutinising advances and come across a big contingent liability.(In simple speak that is a big deal for a professional auditor like me.) Or take this more weird example. You are 15 years old and about to sit on a ropeway(A conveyance that transports passengers or freight in carriers suspended from cables and supported by a series of towers). These are individual chairs with a single iron bar in front of your seat to lock you. You get up on one of them, very excited. 30 seconds later you realise that the iron bar is missing in front of YOUR chair and you are in BIG trouble. This is an example of an unexpected discovery, but hardly a fortunate one. But as you somehow manage to hold out through the 15 minute journey knowing fully well that a just a strong breeze and its "Good Night and Good Luck"(Hey GC I put this one for you man, you know I love you), you suddenly discover your inner courage, your survival instincts take over and basically you live to fight another day because you want to. And this discovery in the face of adversity is also another form of SERENDIPITY. (At least my version)

And finally since the Pakis are kicking our butts so hard these days, here is a serendipity story from across the border. The legend Imran Khan is at home and opens his TV set to watch a match featuring the Indian and Pakistani domestic champs. He sees a young guy bowling on a flat pitch getting hammerred by the likes of Kirti Azad(yes that is Mr. Silly Point) and Raman Lamba( and he got killed one day fielding at Silly Point). He sees something in the kid, goes over to the stadium watches him... and within days the guy is playing for Pakistan. The kid was Waqar Younis and the rest, as Mr. Banerjee would say with great flourish, is history.

I really can't write any more on one word and without having any good reason for doing so. I hope I have written bad enough not to be invited to write again. Also any complains for a total and absolute waste of your precious time are to be directed to Mr. Suhel Banerjee only. This misadventure is in his blog and is his baby.But just for the sake of it, I am Abhishek, signing off, wishing you all the best.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Basically Nothing

DISCLAIMER: This post is/will be of no value, interest or use to anyone living or dead. Any resemblance of this post to anyone's life is purely logical and understandable.

The fact that you are still reading this post signifies that we are connected by one common chord, boredom or joblessness. The following persons and events are to be blamed for this post seeing the light of day (rather tube light in a cyber cafe) :

1. My room mate's sudden dinner plans with another friend, leaving me alone in the process.

2. The television showing the most inane and imbecile commercials, music videos and programmes.

3. Hanif Kureshi. His book Intimacy was a good read for a few pages, but then I realised that I was not in the mood for such depressing tales.

4. My addiction for which I am not undergoing any rehab. Net addiction that is.

So now that you know there will be nothing of substance in the next few lines, maybe even paragraphs I thank you for reading so far, wish you a better time visiting other's homes or blogs, whichever you prefer and finally apologise for wasting some of your valuable time.

Tra la la la..........la la la la......Tra la la la la

Okay so you just won't go? For some unknown reason you think the productivity/quality of my jobless time is better than yours. I am assuming you have plotted the various factors on all sorts of economics graphs and then come to this conclusion. I remember Ricardo's theory of international trade for oen. Most probably it was about comparative analysis. And if I am not wrong, then the fact that you are still here means that you think exchanging some of your productive time for a lot of my time otherwise is worth it. Well, that alone will keep me in high spirits for the next one week to come.

Okay so let me tell you about this cyber cafe. Actually visiting one after ages. I have been to cyber cafes in quite a few cities of India by now and this one seems to be no different. The stuffy garage turned into a 'cafe' with pigeon hole cubicles having some ancient computers. The noticable changes from my lats tryst with these places will be the broadband connection, which is actually fast and the little webcam sitting atop my monitor. There are school children loitering around while their elder brothers are surfing the net for results of exams which will be out only next week. There is the omnipresent avuncular gentleman engrossed in a chat with the 'tech-wiz' cyber owner. Their story is about how wonderful a life uncle's daughter is leading in some nondescript US city/town and the cyber owner is trying his level best to help uncle send and receive mails to and from his daughter.

Most of the letters on my keyboard are illegible due to wear and tear and maybe some slimy hands, wet with sweat and grime and god knows what. There are a couple of fans running at the optimum electricity saving speed and the tube light is flickering every now and then, only to get back to life after a little caress by the cyber owner.

Anyway time for me to grab a quick dinner. Thanks for dropping by. Please make yourself comfortbale here, I will be back tomorrow morning, from my comfortable office machine.

Kitna hua bhaiaya?? Tees rupae? Kya bol rahe ho?.........

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Of Mothers and Sons

They did not know much about her. Folklore had it that she was there even before the old post office was built and some said she actually saw the great wars and the rail lines laid in front of her. Nobody was much interested to know too much either. It was actually an embarrassing situation, as they had all gathered to mourn her death, without the usual stories about how she had been nice to some of them at some point of time. They wouldn't have come either had it not been for the old lady's son, he was the most talked about person in the entire village, because he was the one who had made is big in life and had brought all sorts of innovations like electricity, water taps, telephone, television and the latest, which many of them were yet to understand, something called the internet.

So they waited for the son to arrive. The rumors doing the rounds at one time was that she loved her son beyond imagination, and singlehandedly she brought her up to become the legend that he became. It was not easy or 'in' to be a single mother during those times, but she seemed to make a good job of it. But after a point the more they heard about how big the son was becoming, the less they started seeing or hearing her. It didn't bother anyone as it was not she but her son who made a difference to their lives. They did not know what would please the son more, themselves performing the last rites or whether the son would like to pay his respects to his mother. The elders after much consideration decided that it was best to wait for him to come and then proceed according to his wishes.

The sunlight reflecting from the sea of white clothes was blinding and the sun rays were in no forgiving mood either. The lady was there in the portico of her old house, wrapped in white. Some sacred leaves over her eyes, and an expression of failure and agony writ large over her face. Probably she was having some problems with her son over the last few days, they presumed.

The swank new car swerved and swivelled and finally hit the last stretch of dirt tracks toward the old lady's house. It screeched to a halt and the son emerged from the car as the actor's with shades do in the movies that are screened in the theatre built by the son. He did not notice the crowd but went straight towards the center of the porch, where his mother was placed on a bed covered in white cloth. Some of them noticed a slight twitch of the face. They passed on this apparently amusing piece of information to the others and very soon all eyes were on the clean shaven, square jawed face.

Then it happened abruptly. He broke down. He cried. He howled. He screamed in agony. The son that the village had come to know was gone. He was a totally different man now. When he took off his shades, the look in his eyes sent shivers down all the spines present there. It was that of complete loss. Such helplessness nobody had ever seen.

We could not believe our eyes. Technology, mother nature's son, lost the will to live. Like a madman he went around showing an old photo album to everyone, photos of his younger days, the days with when he was under the protection of his mother. We saw pictures of a younger mother nature, lush green and spread all over the world. We saw how two stones rubbed against each other gave birth to the son, technology. We saw his younger pictures, in the shape of a wheel and copper and iron tools, with proud mother nature looking at her son. He grew real fast and real big. We saw the beautiful mother grow old in those pictures, she was evacuated from all places and indirectly it was because of her son. We saw how the son built the greatest empire ever seen, and how the mother was taken for granted and ignored. Finally there were images of mass destruction, green house effect, overflowing oceans, airplanes smashing into high rise buildings and mother nature only made for a silent spectator in the backgrounds.

He shut the album pleaded with us to help him. He is now left motherless and we are the one's who can actually look after him and provide him direction. Mother nature will always be there to bless her favourite son from wherever she is, but we are the one's who will actually have to help him take the right steps.

P.S: Just before I wrote this, I got a ping on gtalk from my sister.

"Dadai, I have a short story writing competition in school tomorrow. Topic is 'Nature and Man'. You will be to complete it in an hour, right?" !!!

Monday, February 13, 2006

Smells Like Love, Or Something Like That

Somehow Valentine's Day never fails in rekindling my first love. Taken for granted, forgotten, abused, false-promises made, V-Day is a time for old flames and as I write I am getting those same old feelings. It has happened since I was in the 9th standard, and now I'm happy to see that 14th Feb has the same effect on this working professional. No matter how hard I try forgetting, this time of the year I can't help but WRITE. And St. Valentine's Day has served two purposes for years now. First bring us, me and writing, back together, no matter how far we might have moved and how estranged the relationship has become. Secondly I call it the maturity-meter, comparing the previous years or the one's before with the latest ones always throw up the changes in the way of thinking that crop up from one V-Day to another.

Sad part is that every year, including this one, I want to start the article with a major change, by believing in the efficacy of the day, but it seems I haven't succeeded in convincing myself one bit about it one bit. Anyway 07,08 and years after that will also have middle of February and maybe one day I will be enlightened about the importance of the day.

Valentine's Day means one thing for a majority of the people and hundreds of other things for the remaining minority. For me its a celebration of commercialism, branding and marketing. Feb 14 was no different for the average Indian from Feb 13 or Feb 15 (unless it happens it be his/her b'day) till the merchant of love, Yash Chopra used his favourite salesman, Shahrukh Khan in a movie called Dil To Pagal Hai in late 1997. Watching the movie in a gangtok theatre, the 14 year-old me was clueless about this 'heart balloon day'. In fact in those boring 'days' Independence Day and Republic Day were the only notable one's besides one's birthday. So now the nation of close to a billion came to know that there is this one day when you are supposed to love and express your love. Hadn't one 'semi-naked fakir' (Ref: Winston Churchill) taught us the same thing about a century ago? Ofcourse not, he wanted too much. He wanted all year long, no balloons, no cards and no one-upmanship in love either. Besides he went way over the top by asking for peace. Please bapuji, give us a break.

Compare an over-demanding, cranky, fashion 'un'conscious old man with the perfectly suited top-level executives of Multi-Nationals and even better looking actors and actresses. Whom would you believe? Ofocurse the latter. They are the one's who will lead you on in every aspect of life, including love.

And all along you thought that missing someone, holding hands, a kiss, a hug was love? How simplistic you tend to make love. Don't you see that these are things we all can do and do everyday. Love is no easy game, said the executives. We pricked up our ears. And they said

"So listen, you can love as much as you want all year, but the amount of love you show on the fourteenth day of February is what is the real thing. Do you really think that any self-respecting lover can let someone else go away with all the glory? Love is eternal, love is divine, love is about giving selflessly......"

Someone nervously said, "but sir, do I need to show my love on this particular day and is buying gifts necessary?"

The corporate head honchos glared at him. "So you are getting mercenary thoughts even when we are discussing an issue like Love??"

He meekly surrendered.

So since then it has been decided that on the 14th day of February, every year we shall celebrate our love for all things commercial and this day also marks the beginning of the emotion of love entering the market and working according to the laws of demand and supply and demonstration effect and other irrefutable laws of economics.

Thanks to all of you who helped in giving us this free commodity in a brand new product form, repackaged and redesigned, Come lets celebrate the commercialisation of Love.