Little that he knew

Someone knows something about my future that I don't know

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The arrogance of the intellect

Today is just another day of the year. Like all other days it comes once every year but ends up hurting me more than anyone else. It’s a great day for you, I know. But strangely I know quite a few of you are oblivious to what you are doing, why you are doing it and what I really did?

I erred, I accept. I had my opportunity to rectify things and make life as it is. Even my brother warned me of it but I squandered that chance thinking I was right. My sons, my people who trusted me all my life supported me. They told me they will be with me till their last breathe. Did I betray them? Wasn’t I the learned one, the one who mastered knowledge of all three worlds? Wasn’t I the brave one, the one who defeated every living and the dead, the devta, the asura and the human? How could I have faltered? But I did.

I know you won’t like comparisons between me and him. He is your blue eyed boy poster boy or should I call the blue bodied poster boy of yours. Incarnation of some God you revere, gifted archer, dad’s favorite son, brave, noble, educated, loved and respected by family and friends and probably bestowed with every good virtue possible. As for me you have already painted my eyes in black and red, given me a monster like look and made me sound so unreasonable. Trust me when I say I was no different from him. Ok, you can do away with the God’s incarnation part and being blue bodied. I am glad I am not the former and my normal skin color is fine with me. But despite similarities look where we ended up. Today we both are perceived so differently, placed at extreme ends of a spectrum.

The difference as I see today is while his strengths made him look godly, mine made me the devil. But wait a second didn’t tell you we had similar virtues. Then how come this difference? I abducted his wife because I thought it was the right thing to do. I took my people to complete destruction because I thought if that be the end then so be it. I thought I was thinking right. Wasn’t I the learned one? With benefit of hindsight I find a simple logic behind my mistake. If you believe whatever you think is right, then what ever you think becomes right. From preserver of the right and the wrong one starts defining what’s right and what’s wrong. In my definition I was right and I believed in my definition because I was the learned one.

So today when you burn my effigy remember, remember there is no difference between me and him. We are two extremes of spectrum imbibed deep within you. It’s simple a choice which side of the spectrum your burn and which side of it you keep.

Friday, April 16, 2010

The world is run by average people

Like Geet of Jab We Met, I can say I never missed a flight. Well, a couple of weeks ago I almost did. With little or no time in hand I had to ask the taxiwala to rush. It’s generally difficult to say anything good about them but this time he deserved thanks. Trivia: Do you know the guy who wears a white dress actually drives his own vehicle and the one in khaki is running it on lease. Do you know these guys intentionally take long breaks because they earn quite a handful and just don't feel like working beyond a point? Lucky!!

Well, I reached the airport on time and headed straight for the check in. Only recently the Mumbai airport donned its new Avaatar. Hats off to the thousand odd who make it work well. Now don't start cribbing about delays. One should always be grateful for these people who manage the day to day affairs. Starting from the guy who checks in my luggage to the one tears a part of my boarding pass, I see hundreds of people working tirelessly to make my journey safe. Aviation is such a big industry these days. They even have a lounge in the airport. Amazing!! Have you wondered who these people are? I don't know how much are they paid, but they make life much simpler. Remove any one of them from there and air travel experience changes.

Why just the airport people, what about the main crew. As my bus slowly neared the plane I had a peak at the pilot. Those guys are rare commodity these days. So many airline companies so few new pilots. You get filthy rich by being one. Exciting job I say. You get paid for playing with big toys. Surely, this pilot wasn't intelligent enough to make a new plane, but is gifted with instincts and trained to handle this toy of his with care. He is often helped by the ATC. Select group of people who mostly work on algorithms to make air travel safe. Starting from sleeping pilots to volcano ash these guys deal with everything.

As I entered the plane, the air hostesses smiled at me and tried hard not to give the “I don't care” look. Her job isn’t that bad. I have heard of so many stories of customer misbehavior and so on. But give me a break; it’s there with all professions. The flight took off with some initial turbulence forcing me to cling on to my hand rest. Not that they can save me, just a normal reaction I guess and all this while my air hostess was having a nice little laugh with her colleagues on a subject I had no clue off. It looked evident they are having a good time at work.

Soon the flight executive announced it was time for refreshments. I was hungry. Someone woke early in the morning to make these sandwiches, someone packed these forks, and someone put it all together. I leave aside the debate related to taste, but seriously speaking volumes are huge. Hospitality industry is another such industry that is growing big. It being reaped by many and many more are trying to cash in.

So, one small 3 hour journey and I meet so many people, at different income level, at different strata in the society. These people were probably not the brightest as kids. I just ask is their life worse than the so called intelligent species. I ask do they have more problems than the perceived well to do ones.

A few days ago I meet a worried mom, not worried that her child scored less but more because of growing rate of suicides among such students. I meet a girl who scores fairly well in her studies, but was worried at the alarming level of news flows on suicides that keep coming to her. "Mere yahan to do tapak gaye".

Is this sane? I feel like being in front of those kids just before the jump off. I feel like telling them that the world is run by average people, their dreams, their desires and their hopes. These people don't create anything. Forget history books, even their neighbors’ don't remember them. Generally they get represented by a number like India has x million middle class people or 20 million died in World War 2. There work is all but mundane. What never gets reported is that there are people who change this to something fulfilling. A taxi driver who helps someone reach his destination early, a support staff at the airport who runs carrying his client's luggage so as to help him catch his flight, a pilot who deftly manages to land a plane without any of its engines working and an air hostess who keeps on assuring an old lady that she will get her a wheelchair once the plane lands in Kolkata. May be scoring more in exams leads to a life with better amenities but it doesn't guarantee a fulfilling one. I wish I could now say the same to many who are on the verge of break down.

Monday, September 21, 2009

what am I doing in Mumbai?

Imagine a place where
  1. Travelling is fun
    1. You can drive
    2. You can drive at 60 km/h at 8 pm in the night
    3. You can drive at 100 km/h after 10
  2. House hold expenses are low
    1. You can live a 2 story house and pay only 15k per month
    2. You'll never require an A/C and hence electricity bill always be low
    3. 1 unit in an auto will be charged at Rs 7
  3. General ambiance resembles that of human civilization
    1. The probability of finding human/other animal crap while taking a walk will be almost zero
    2. The city will be full of trees
    3. The place is less sweaty and a foul smell that gives you constant head ache will be missing
  4. Entertainment options are similar
    1. You'll find fame and inox
    2. Most movies, even rare ones get released on time
    3. Among restaurants you'll find Mainland China, All stir fry Not just Jazz by the bay and host of local ones which, mind you, are good.
  5. Outdoor options aplenty
    1. Centre to host of weekend getaways
    2. You'll enjoy the Maharashtra Monsoon the most
Apart from my job, what exactly keeps me from shifting to this place. If my firm shifts location to this lovely city would I happily shift. Probably not.

May be I am simply lazy.

Friday, July 10, 2009

My name is red

Saturday night. Scene at any of the hundreds of lounges that have populated the city. Young people, in groups, as couples, lone wolves, throng these pubs, discs or what ever you call them, to draw curtains on the week that just passed by. I am one of them. I have been there. Not that often, not much at all in the past 2 years in Mumbai. The occasion wasn't special. Just a phone call from a dear friend, to join him and a few others at this place where music good, food is good and there is space to dance too. With nothing much to do, the reply was obvious.

It wasn't that special a night. The Vodka with orange juice and chicken starter tasted much the same. Sometimes its good that you know there won't be any surprises. As in market parlance, in places like these, downside is protected. You will have some fun, at least. It may not be a night to remember, but frankly that isn't the aim either.

So here we were, sitting in the couch, through with our 3rd round of drinks, more than 2 hours spent and little or no discussion due to the loud noise described as good music before. The place started getting crowded and it was sometime at this point that they entered. Both with grey hair, age past 50s for sure and dressed to kill. Aunt in red spaghetti top, white 3 quarters, red sandals and a red hand bag. Uncle in very light blue Denim trousers, bright red t shirt and guess what, white shoes with red stripes.

They came here to dance and that's what they started doing within 2 minutes of their entry. They were completely into each other. Unlike us, they were not bothered about either the music or DJ's ability. They danced for each other, looked into each other, made all kinds of facials gestures and above all gave a damn for what others were thinking. They were communicating with each other. They were there for each other. Not only did they stood out because of their dress, but also the life they had in them.

We left sometime later coz we had all the fun we could have there. Someone for sure had more fun than us.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The curious case of West Bengal

Who would have guessed that Congress would win more than 200 seats, Sensex would double in months and above all our own KKR will win a match and then making it 2 in a row.

10 years ago, same time of the year, people were discussing rot in test cricket inflicted by one dayers, Congress was on the verge of extiction, sensex was languishing at a level which now would reflect Behenji as Prime Minister and I was in my second year engineering in Serampore, West Bengal. Life on the banks of river Ganges was fun and eventful. One event that made our life hell was the elections of 1999. Our college was made vote counting centre and that meant 2 weeks of unscheduled holidays. It was in this elections that the BJP made a historic win after losing the vote of confidence by just 1 vote. As for Bengal it was the same old story.

Most of us came back to college with a heavy heart. Jyoti Basu had just pulled a master stroke, he retired and asked Budhdhdev to take over. I remember how much we hated the Left Front. We all knew then that in 2 years we have travel to distant land in search of jobs. Not that I hated it but many realized they won't be able to do it. Language problems, family issues or simply a desire stay back, you call it what you want but for these set of people there was simply no option to stay back. WB's industrial scenario was dead.

Our only hope was trinamool congress coming back. But with Buddha in CM's seat the equation changed. In no time people liked Buddha's idea's, his forward looking statements. CPM went on to win the 2001 and 2006 state elections and also the 2004 Lok sabha polls where our didi won just 1 seat. In these 10 years I started liking Buddha and let me tell you frankly, there were many more like me. Hate the Left, love Buddha.

But look at him now. His efforts for industrialization has fallen flat. He developed the infrastructure of the state but couldn't do much for the 21 years of misrule by his predecessor. Now every one claims he was responsible for CPM's failure.

Strange isn't it. When the state government did nothing people voted them to power. When it tried to change, the opposition created a stir and now is on the way to power.

Does people of Bengal love their backwardness, unemployment and horrible infrastructure?

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Back to old ways again

I have been living in Prabhadevi for the past one month or more. Living alone for the first time since landing in Mumbai, dinner has been a constant source of annoyance. Keep a maid who would come and cook, but wait I don't have a fridge. New ones are expensive and used ones not available near my place or I don't know where they are to be found.

So one day its a Subway, next day its China valley, then Galaxy or its the Thali for 45 bucks at a restaurant called Manoj. Now the last one would have been a better choice only if they changed the menu. Lunch or dinner, its always the same. All 7 days of the week and probably all of the 5 odd weeks I have stayed here. Roti immersed in Ghee, chana masala, mashed potatoes, sambhar dal...... So I got this idea. Dabba le le. Come on, it's not that expensive. But problems again... time. No clue when they would deliver. And the food, greasy, too much in quantity and top of it tasteless. Trying to provide restaurant like food at doorsteps, you achieve neither.

Yesterday, I selected the last of all the ideas I had. There is this restaurant near my house where I see all the taxi walas and probably daily wage earners eat. At 30 bucks they provide you a rice plate. 2 roti, dal , 2 sabjis and raita. I loved it. The sabjis change every day. The rotis are made in front of you and are devoid of ghee. I say again I loved it. Mind it its not what u are thinking. The restaurant is cleaner than most I have seen. So here comes home cooked food for me, right amount, amazing price, good taste and in a clean place.

I remember this restaurant called Mashir hotel, in Serampore. During my college days we used to go there when we couldn't take the hostel food any more. Some lady started the restaurant 20 years ago to manage her finances after her husband died. She served the community of Serampore with home cooked food, in a fresh clean environment and at dirt cheap prices. I hope this new restaurant of mine doesn't disappoint me in future.

Sunday, March 15, 2009


In the movie Before Sunset, there is this interesting conversation about Celine's experience in Poland which then was still under the communist rule. Celine lets Jesse know that she hated her stay in Warsaw because of her dislike of communist ideology but felt she was more imaginative and creative during her stay given the absolute lack of outside influence. No hoardings. No Advertisements.

I shifted to my new apts some 6 weeks ago and now live all by myslef. Still no TV. Just got this Internet connection which goes on and off. In these 6 weeks MTV roadies started, 5 one day games happened, Pakistan is in the boil again and we have our own election. I hear Khamta Banerjee of Bengal, Sleeping Gowda from Bglr and Miss UP Behen Mayawati are in news..... I miss them all.

I bought 4 books last year. I read a few 100 pages and had left them all.... I have already completed those 4 books. That's how I got over bore doom post office hours. Today I was in crossword again looking for some more..........