Sunday, February 27, 2011

Morning madness

The other day I got down at Kalyan station from my express train on my way back home and boarded the 5.26am slow local for CST. Don't know what prompted me to not take a fast train to Thane. But that decision proved out to be good indeed, unaware I was of the entertainment coming up!

As I boarded the train I went to the opposite end knowing that the train would come on platform no.4 in Thane. I was loaded with bags. I kept those bags near the door on the side and was standing near the doorway as usual. As the train passed Dombivli, I heard a familiar question from a man in his mid-50's

Oldie: Diva utrayache?
          [Want to get down at Diva?]
Man: Nahi, Mumbryala!
          [No, at Mumbra]
Oldie: Mag side de na.(arrograntly)
          [The give side (way)]
Man: Thamba zara, Vel aahe. Kopar cha nantar yenar na.
          [Wait a little, time is there. After Kopar only it will come]

And they started arguing. At first it was amusing, but then it started to get monotonous as the man was constantly asking for "side". Suddenly involuntarily I muttered,

Me: Konta side pahije, right ki left?
       [Which side you want, right or left?]

That impromptu remark brought smiles to the lips of people standing around me. Those two were busy fighting oblivious of the comment though. 

Oldie: Ha train kai tuzhya baapacha aahe?
          [Is this train your father's?]
Man: Zasta bolu naka, tumi loka gavatun yeta ani amcha jeev gheta!
         [Dont speak too much, you people come from village to kill us!]

I was pretty pissed by then. 05.30 in the morning and people start fighting like small children fighting for that extra candy. I mean, how can you even get into the mood to argue in the morning when you have some many plans running in your head for the day ahead? I said then audibly, sounding bored :-

Me: Chala khup zala bolun, maar-peet suru kara!
       [Enough of the talking, start the blows now!]

People all around started laughing and there stopped the argument. At-last peace restored!

Friday, February 25, 2011


Fair, bright and white,
I found her sitting to my right,
Some power had those eyes,
She seemed for her age very wise,
Lips as pink as pink could be,
Her speech seemed to set all sorrows free,
Cold at night it was that brought her close to me,
Slept on my lap; she with glee,
As I was just about to flee,
I could hear those moist eyes' plea,
Now for you, that is Aarti, aged three!!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

1.2 billion unanswered prayers!

Come any great sporting event and everyone turns a aficionado, an expert, with people in every nook and corner trying to predict the outcome of the event! Suddenly there is an adrenaline rush and people are pumped -up. Ask any person on the streets the importance of today and he will instantly reply about the inaugural match of Cricket WC 2011 is to be held in Dhaka between India and Bangladesh! Hardly anyone will remember Shivaji Jayanti.

Come any World Cup season you cannot fail to miss the build-up and the hype surrounding it. Months before the actual event, inflation in electronics forgets to rise and there is a sudden drop in the prices of televisions and home theatres as they start self-replicating and automatically jump on to the shelves for sale!

Every other person you meet becomes a statsguru and starts predicting the outcome of the contest with seemingly uncanny surety. Editorials all around are filled with tips for the players as everyone tries their hand at being a team manager. Sports column overflow. The attitudes of my fellow Indians towards our ever "PIECE-LOVING" neighbour seems to have changed. Even the most aggressive person around seems to mellow down and take a emotional backseat. Take for example our very own loving politician Bal Thackeray. He has always been taking a non-PAK stance in mumbai, but now feels bad that he will be missing the Pakis till the final, i.e. if they manage to come all the way. He also added that they must come to Mumbai nevertheless, be recieved with great pomp and be made to stay in their much loved hotel, The Taj Mahal! I just love this man for his unpredictability!!

India had last lifted the coveted cup under the captaincy of perhaps the best all-rounder ever produced in the sub-continent, way back in 1983! The men-in-blue now are riding on real high hopes of 1.2billion Indians and many more around the world. Time for the No.1 test team to become the No.1 in ODI. Let's get going!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Peace NOT p i e c e s!

"We make war that we may live in peace!" This famous quote of Aristotle comes to my mind daily as I read in news of the blasts and killings. Anger, skirmish, battle and war, all these have just two reasons to show their face on earth, difference in language or religion!

What makes a language, a language? The phonetics or the script? Take for instance the sound "Aa", can u distinguish whether it is a Tamil, Malayalam, Hindi or a Bengali "Aa"? The distinguishing factor has always been this script and we humans have always fought over this for god alone knows what! Take the case of our own India, where the states were originally divided on the basis of language for better administrative and communicative purposes. But now they have probably forgotten that they belong to a larger group called India and a even larger group "Humans"! Classic cases of the rifts are the Cauvery water row between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, the Belgaum issue between Karnataka and Maharashtra, the internal rifts in Andra Pradesh and the list is in-exhaustive.

The next thing what we humans clash over is religion. The only religion that existed in prehistoric times was humanity. It was a binary value. Good or Bad, and nothing in between. But somewhere in between things took a turn for the worse. But the irony is that since all the religions in the world ultimately say the same thing, just as in the case of the phonetics we cant say which religion said what in the broader perspective. The paths may be different but the all reach the same place!

The problem in my opinion lies in the fact that we humans sometimes as educated fools are not able to distinguish between the feelings of fondness and fanaticism! Loving a thing is good, fanaticism is fatal. Had Aristotle been alive today he would have written "We make war and we lie in PIECES!"

Here is an anecdote:-
There was once a man reading a book and his child was asking him lot of questions and irritating him. To make his child quiet he took a paper and tore it into pieces. On the paper was the world map. He asked the child to join the pieces of the map and then ask him questions. The child came back in a matter of 5mins and showed him a perfectly joined map. The man was puzzled and asked how he managed to get it right as the child was very young to know the placement of the countries on the map. The child showed his father that on the reverse of the map was a human face, the child has just joined the human face and the world was perfectly assembled!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Game, for life...

"Stop playing games like a kid!", gone are the days when you used to hear the comment as a reaction on finding someone playing games. Gone are the days of Mario, Dave and Contra. The term gaming now is associated with playing on a PSP or computer or a X-Box with highly sophisticated controls and commands.

The games that are developed now by companies like EA, Valve and Blizzard cater to all genres of game lovers from simulation to strategic games to first person shooting. These type of games also come with the option of playing online through a dedicated platform with like minded gamers across the globe with real-time stats! The best known among them are Steam for CS, Garena for Warcraft etc. These gaming servers/ platforms also maintain a forum of their own where they provide troubleshooting service and also discussions for the game play takes place there. The monthly active members on these forums and their servers exceed a million. And more often than not a player is willing to part away with a major chunk of his pocket-money to enjoy special privileges on these servers! When seen most of the games are in the age group of 15-30 years, the youth.

The sites/forums in turn are making money by selling these privileges and by advertisement. The sun is shining brightly and the hardware companies are making hay, big time. Specialised gaming consoles, keyboard and mouse are on every gamers' wish list and u bet, these don't come cheap! Graphic Processing Units(GPU) which were a luxury has now become a necessity. The major brands like Nvidia and Radeon are even willing to sponsor for the tournaments.

These games have always been criticised for being a diversion to the minds of the youth, the pillars of their respective economies Another point drawn flak upon is the amount of obscenity and violence in those games, unsuited for younger gamers! But the point is that these games are not made for them! These games are in my opinion a boon in disguise. These draw the attention of the youth of the nation for anti-social activities at least! These games are played in real time so these require a lot of  hand-eye co-ordination and improves the reflexes of the gamers in turn. The strategy games improves the resource management and improves the analytical ability and makes the mind sharper. Thats why is say, "Game, for life!!"

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Real, yet surreal

She lies in the bed staring at the ceiling, mind drifting miles away, eyes moist! She's been through a lot in the past couple of months. She glances at her mobile, it says 10:07pm. She was out with her friends today, happy and gay with moods in high spirits. But that one thought was enough to push her into nadir! Just a few months ago she was happy, just as every other girl, high on hopes and with big dreams. She wanted to be a web developer after completing her post graduation. She also wanted in her life a prince, a prince who would sweep her off her feet.

On a technical symposium she met this guy through their mutual friend. The meeting was pretty ordinary, just an exchange of greeting in the canteen over some snacks. The symposium was a three day affair and since their city was quite far they were accommodated in the host college itself. Her event ended prematurely and she accompanied her friend and him to the other events. Their friendship gradually grew and by serendipity had dinner together on the final eve and the bond grew. She was impressed by his simplicity and straight forwardness. They exchanged their numbers and bade farewell on the closing ceremony of the symposium.

She called him the following weekend and they spoke for what seemed 10 minutes but the call log said 57mins 13secs. He called her after two days and this became a habit and ended chatting for hours at night. Her hostel friends were amazed at her 'cauz she never spoke to a guy this much leave alone talking at night. One night she gave the phone to one of their mutual friend, her fellow hostel-er and went to talk to her matron. He and her friend ended up taking for about 40mins. When the friend brought back the phone she said in a rough tone that she was not interested in speaking, he probably heard it and cut the call out of anger. Her phone rang again after five mins and his name flashed, the next instant it was on her ears, as though through bodily involuntarily reflex action. As though a response to a stimulus!

He: Why are you upset?
She: Why are you asking me this? am normal. (poker-face-tone)
He: Then why did you say you don't want to speak? That too in a tone never used before?
She: you chatted with her while I was waiting inside the room waiting to speak to you. That too for more than half an hour!
He: So what? She was just going on speaking. Don't you know what kind of chatterbox she is?
She: I don't know, am just pissed. Why did you talk to her for so long? I just told you to say "Hi"!

He sensed the apparent jealousy in her tone. He had been more-than-just-liking her for quite some time now. The metal was hot, the time to strike was now, to give it the desired shape. He was waiting for the right moment, this was it, probably! Taking chances he spoke...

He: I find no reason for you to be pissed. Okay, think, why is it that I give you a call and not her? I've been knowing her for years now. Still I call you. You're special to me, why are you upset? Why the jealousy?

He spoke all this in a single breath and now realised that he probably went overboard. A 20sec silence over the phone. "Jealous?", yes she had heard it right. He 1st reaction was anger but then she was drawn back. Yes I was probably jealous. Why? What reason have I got to be angry? She is...
Her thought process interrupted by his voice.

He: Hellooo, you there?
She: A meek-yes!
He: Speak up!
She: I don't know what to say.
He: Ok listen, I wanted to say this to you in person at the right time, I like you and want you to be more that just a friend. I want to take our friendship to the next level. And by judging your reactions in the last 10mins, I think your sub-conscious says yes. Now what do you say?

She was dumb-struck. Although she liked him she didn't expect this. Her head was whirling as she spoke..

She: I like you, but am confused!
He: Just close your eyes and listen to what your heart has to say. Am on the line.

After a silence for about 70secs

She: Yes.

That was the start of their many days to come as a happy couple. They shared everything. Spoke about everything under the sun, pampered each other and were the best of friends. Until one day a problem rose out of nowhere. A matter very trivial for a couple-much-in-love like them. He was away on an industrial visit to Bangalore and he said that he will come back in two days and speak to her. She insisted on speaking, suddenly his balance ran out. She tried to reach him but could not owing to zero balance while in roaming. He could not recharge.

He comes back after two days and speaks to her. The issue was solved long before he reached but her anger on him refused to subside. They argue and like a dormant volcano blow off on each other. In the spur of the moment she insists on a break-off! He just says okay and keeps the phone down. He calls back after 20mins and asks her if what she spoke was really what she wanted, as he knew that words spoken in anger are seldom what we really mean. But he was wrong this time! She wanted to break-off. He tries to convince her but she refuses to budge, obstinate as usual! He calls her back after two days to the same effect. He calls her best friend and tells her to get to the root of the problem and to convince her. She fights with her best friend also and refuses to speak further on the topic. He calls her after about a month for Pongal/Sankranti wishes but she ignores the call and forgets about it.

But today she saw him in the market. With him was another girl, laughing and smiling, they seemed to have a great time together. He was too engrossed with her to even notice her as she walked past her. He has moved on in life she thought!

Suddenly a faint glow filled the room, catching her attention and bringing her back from miles away. She realised it was the glow of the cell phone that was on silent. She saw the time it was 10:49pm and wondered who is calling her at this  unearthly hour. She picks up the phone to hear a rather familiar hello. In an instant she realises its him

He: Hey its me, How are you?
She: A-nervous-hello!
He: Saw you in the market today, thought of calling you.
She: You saw me? I thought you were very busy with that girl of yours!
He: I saw you long before you could spot me. Just ignored you to check your reactions. Saw you turning back twice to check on me through the mirror of the bike in front of me.
She: Who was that girl?
He: She was my school friend's girl, we were shopping for a gift for his birthday! the jealousy factor still remains huh?
She: What?
He: Nothing, are you still angry with me, I still cant get over you. What do you say. Do you still like me?
She: Idiot, yes.
He: Okay, I call you in the morning. Take rest. Am out with my family.
She: Sure, bye take care!

She keeps the phone down and still cant get over it. Did he really call, was it a dream? She checks the call log. It was really him, it says last call 10:49pm, duration 1min 44secs! Her head was spinning and she thought it would burst now. She had found her prince charming after all. If not anything, now confirmed that it was him, and him only! She was feeling happy that he called and how much he loved her and at the same time angry with her self for the unnecessary mis-understanding she had herself created. Tears rolling down her cheek with a smile on her face, she was being torn between agony and bliss. The feeling was real, yet surreal!

Friday, February 04, 2011


 They say am jinxed,
They see me and always draw flak,
Never I see them; by me clothed,
Is it because am the colour black?

Black is the colour that has always been perceived as inferior and degrading. Very few prefer writing in black ink. People don't wear on auspicious occasions. Black is considered evil and bad while people want to go to white and right!

Black has always been my favourite colour and I did some searching to why people refrain from using it. And came across some of the following findings.

Whenever we say that something bad has happened the colour that comes to our mind is black, e.g. "Black Magic". It is because in our ancient Indian history Anjana/Kajal/Collyrium was used in black magic practiced using Atharvaveda. And since collyrium is black in colour, Black is detested!

Another being that according to Indian astrology the colour black is the colour of Saturn or Shani. And Saturn is presumed to have control over all the negative things that can happen to a person or thing according to Indian tradition and hence the colour avoided. But black is a recommended colour for saturday as Saturn is the deity corresponding it and black pleases it. And since most of the auspicious days do not fall on saturday it eventually became a trend of not wearing black on saturdays.

Black is supposed to pertain to infamy and make the wearer infamous. It is also said that since the burning of a thing leaves behind black residue or the thing is charred, in the same way black is a harbinger of calamity. Also the colour of the deity of the graveyard is always potrayed in black. The colour of buffalo, the vahana of Yama is black! So the general phobia towards Black!

I always believe in science and it has to say that just as white light is a mixture of all the basic colours in the same way darkness is the absence of them. While an object that is white reflects all the colours, an object is black 'cauz it absorbs all the light falling on it; thats it nothing more! And no matter how many people and things go against it, Black has and will always be my favourite colour!