Thursday, 1 January 2009

First day of a new year

Today is January 1, 2009. The new year has arrived, and with it comes the hope that this will be a better year than the last one. Hope is what makes the world spin, but under the current circumstances the world over, there is a lot more to worry about than the world spinning or not.
Be that as it may, and I am not going to write a lot on current economic circumstances (gulf news does that dutifully everyday - much to my disgust), I wish that this new year brings peace more than anything else, to all of us.
i did not mean the kind of peace that comes about after an atomic war - just plain simple peace that pervades a contented world.
I know I am asking for too much. But then, I have always asked for too much, and have hoped that I get too much. 

We went out today for a drive to Ai Ain, but took a detour into the desert where sahasraditya, anamika, philomena and myself slid on dunes. Sahasraditya is turning into a riot, and refused to leave the dunes and come back to the car. Somehow we extricated him and got him into the car.
We thought of going to dubai mall, but saw a mile long queue of cars trying to get into the mall. That changed our mind - nothing changes mind like a traffic problem.
Took a huge u trun and headed back home. Then decided that the three of us-Man, woman, and child - will go to Second cup. Riot was with us and he made sure that everything was turned upside down while we had coffee.
headed back home, and I cooked roasted potatoes, and Anamika made soup.
And that is what I am going to have now.

Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Welcome to the Club

Office is a very interesting place. It is like a club, just that they don’t serve snacks while you play cards, but apart from that, the place has all ingredients of a nice, cozy club.

Take for instance the fact that it is air-conditioned. It does not matter who you are and what you do, you get to sit in an air conditioned place. At home you might not even have a half-decent fan, or a properly working cooler (or heater – depending on where you are), but at office, weather can hardly touch you with its vagaries. The temperature is set at 23 degrees, the year round, and you never have to worry how hot or cold it is outside. Like me, you can also grow sensitive exotic plants on your desk, and not worry at all. If you are more like me, you would also tell the office boy to water it everyday. That way, even when you are gone on holidays, you don’t have to worry about them dying. And you know the best part? You don’t have to pay the electricity bills or maid charges. How nice is that?

While you don’t get served snacks, all is not lost though. Till recently, we had copious quantities cola at our disposal – drink as much as you can (Like one of those ‘eat your heart out, and pay only X’ but without the payment clause). With this recession, the first axe by the wise old men has been to stop that supply, but that is not the point here. We have green tea, earl grey, English, and mint tea (if you are lucky) to lay our hands on. Mineral water is a standard, and there used to be biscuits as well (gone in cost cutting for the time being). But I know of offices, where you have selection of juices, milk, colas, fruits, and snacks. Now that comes close to a club, doesn’t it? I mean, in day time if you happen to be in a club, you would order something from among this selection, isn’t it? (Yes I can hear ‘beer’, but let us not get too greedy right now). Again, who you are, what you do, does not matter. All the things are at your disposal.

Let me ask you a question – do you have your personal laptop? How many of us have that? At home, most of us make do with an off-white sack of machinery called a desktop, and that too assembled one. But in office, they provide you with a sleek laptop, replete with mouse and connected to an ‘always on’ internet connection. How nice is that? So you have the world on your fingertips. Access as much as you can, and if you are a little smarter than mongoose, you can also download as much as you can. Write emails, surf the net, read news, movie reviews, follow cricket, and yes, write your blog! And let me remind you, the best thing about it all – it’s free.

Offices resemble clubs in another very important way. You can invite your guests here and entertain them. Let me give you example of one of my colleagues – he is not called the ‘plastic man’ for nothing. He has almost all the credit, debit, airlines, shopping, valet, and loyalty cards that have ever seen the light of the day. I cannot say for sure because I have never peeked inside his bag, but I suspect he carries visiting card diaries stuffed with all the cards as they won’t fit in his wallet by any chance. Where did you think he calls all the sales people to get such cards? I have never been able to get our corner meeting room, because he is perpetually sitting there, filling up forms while some random sales person feasts on tea and biscuits. And because our office is wood-paneled and all, he always gets gold or platinum cards without paying for them. Ambience helps.

And now let me come to best bit in town – the telephone. I don’t think you could get through to any of us in the day time in less than five tries. Not since the time Mr. Edison invented the stuff, has it been used with so much passion. Our fingers have no fingerprints left on them – they are nice, smooth, and are now shiny round on the tips – it happens when you are dialing a lot and doing that incessantly. The constant murmur in office gives it a kind of spiritual aura – like universe being created by the sound of Aum that constantly reverberates in the cosmic creation. The buzz is almost like a soothing hum, that engulfs you as soon as you are inside the office. I must appreciate all my colleagues who seem to be connected to each other by a universal telephonic consciousness – never shouting, or never letting go of the receiver. What a nice place – a place with the ‘buzz’!

And when it is free, it is all the better. The place looks nice with all the suited booted people, it sounds nice with all the buzz everywhere, and it smells nice, with all the smell of different kind of beverages.

It is a club I tell you, it is a club.

Monday, 29 December 2008

A New Plot?

I don’t usually write twice in a day (I save for the next post as that makes my blog look more filled and more regular)

However, I would like to write about my dream here, as succinctly as possible. This is because I dreamt that I got a plot on which to base my book. Sounds very strange, but it is true.

I dreamt that I am being told to write a book that is set in distant future, may be four or five hundred years in the future. The deal is that all of us a controlled by a central group, which makes sure that we are never out of line by injecting us with a ‘vaccination’ that is nothing but a chip in liquid form. Once this chip is vaccinated into us, we are in direct control of the central group or the Order. The whole story takes a turn when my protagonist discovers this truth, and then sets out to destroy the Order.


I am going soft in the head.

But it is a good plot!


120 kmph

Yesterday was one of the better days in my life. I cannot say the best – there are many – but better...yes...definitely.

I went to Abu Dhabi to see Anil. I must admit that I was not in a good mood - as soon as I woke up and saw the paper, I knew I not happy. The front page was splashed with gory scenes of people killed in air attack by Israel on Gaza Strip. That set the tone of the day.

As soon as I reached for the business section – I wish I had not done that. ‘Banks tightening credit further’ greeted my eyes, and I had no intention to go any further on that news, especially with one of my mortgages still undecided.

My mood became as grey as the weather outside. Pulling myself away from the newspaper, I decided that I had had enough. Went for a bath, did my pooja with a heavy heart, and decided that I could not stay home. Called Anil, and set out for the drive.

While driving the mood did not lift, and many thoughts started crossing my mind – to do with the job, investments, moving houses, loans, assets, and many things. You know, bad mood is like a magnet – it starts attracting all bad thoughts and shuns anything that can help you become better. The weather did not improve either.

While all this was happening, I just looked at the car I was driving – an Audi A4. it was not mine, but a replacement car from Anamika’s company. I got the tank full from a gas station close by, and that too was company’s account. I had got this car as a replacement as our car had gone for service – Nasir from Anamika’s company had taken it.

As I looked around me, I realized how easy it is to get bogged down by issues and to forget all the good things that a part and parcel of my life. This car for example – I was driving it without a worry about the fuel or the fact that for many people I know, there is no such facility. When there car goes for service they have to leave it at the service centre, pay for it, hire a car or hope for catching a taxi (yes, the word is ‘hope’ when one talks of getting a taxi in Dubai), pay for all that, and pay for the fuel (of course), and then repeat the whole process when you have to collect your car.

And here I was, driving away to meet Anil, without any hint of inconvenience that comes with giving your car for service. How could I possibly feel bad about life and world around me? Agreed everyone has right to sulk sometimes, but I could hide from the fact that I am in much better position than many! Small things in life also matter, and it is no secret that being mobile is a great hygiene factor.

These thoughts crossed my mind, and the veil of bad mood starting lifting with impressive speed. I noticed, quite poetically, that the sun had started shining, and the world around me took on a sharp, crisp morning hue, replete with vivid colors that come with a crisp morning yet soft morning sun in winters. I could not resist that I was in a much better place than many, and honestly speaking, apart from the fact that I was Anamiks and Sahasraditya (who are in Nagpur), there is nothing greatly wrong with my world, and that God has been and still is kind to me. I had the right to feel a little low to start-up, but definitely not qualify for depressed mood!

Moreover, I have one of my best friends an hour drive away. How many people have that kind of luxury in life? I had a spate of bad mood, and all I had to do was decide to go and meet Anil. How many people can do that? So what was I really complaining about?

The car sped away at 120 (pretty standard on that highway so don’t panic please), tearing through the black road and through the slight mist, and I started feeling a sense of renewed spirit seeping through the ac vents and into me. I did try to suppress the good feeling, but only to test whether or not it was for real. But the answer came back a resounding yes. I did not bother much, and left my bad mood and all the depressing thoughts far behind me.

It is easy to do that at 120 kmph you know.

Thank God.


Footnote: Anil and I saw Ghajini and talked a lot about things in general. The latter was responsible for why it was one of my better days.

Saturday, 27 December 2008

Getting real

Easily one of the most boring days of my life. I could not well ever imagine that I could ever be bored especially doing nothing. I know that sounds strange, but it is true - I have, all my life, never found doing nothing as remotely boring. In fact, on the contrary, I find it greatly invigorating. Quite comforting to know that one has all the time in the world to do all the inane stuff that one wants to do.

Some of the shining examples of my endeavors, in this regard, include sorting out the hard disk of my laptop – you know the usual stuff like sorting out the files, deleting unnecessary stuff, bringing it all together in one place, so that it looks nice and is easy to access. One avocation that I have a go at, (might I say ‘with a vengeance’) is reading news and geopolitical stuff on the internet. I follow current events and issues (of rather flammable type), with quite a vigor. And then there is the issue of mastery of the irrelevant – in which the Internet, and to be more specific- Wikipedia- is my partner in crime. I usually come home from office and before I sleep, almost always read up something on this site. Then there is the issue of repairing stuff (lamps, computer, flower vase) etc. Not to forget my inclination towards things spiritual. I can get on with that for a lot of time, you know.

However, I could not bring myself to do anything of that sort today. It is a kind of surprising that I could be afflicted by this malaise called boredom. I find it rather strange, because I could never fathom what boredom was all about. A look into my past, and you will know why I say this; let me give you some examples.

Back in Dharamshala, one of my favorite pastimes was gazing at the sky - specifically, the clouds. I could sit near the window sill, and in one of my favorite positions (feet on the window sill, pushing the chair just as far back on its two hind legs that it won’t topple backwards), and gently rock myself for hours together, gazing at the bright blue sky, waiting for the clouds to take the shape of my thoughts. I could do that for as much time as possible, for as long as possible, till someone broke my reverie, wanted me to go to the market, or study, or do the homework, or something else. Or when I got a call from friends to play marbles with them, or cricket, or some such thing. I could just sit there, and…well…do nothing.

I liked doing another thing as well. My bed was besides a wall, with a window next to it. I liked putting up my feet on the wall, sprawling them so that my ankles rested on the wall. I used to gently sway my legs, and feel the blood rushing into my head, while looking out at the world (well, for a long time I thought that Dharamshala is the entire world, and if I went beyond the paan shop, I would fall of the edge). It used to give some ethereal kind of comfort resting my legs on the wall, and I would continue to do that till it actually drained the blood off my feet, and I could feel the coldness in my toes. The impulse used to be to bring down the feet, but just at that point, I used to push doing it a little longer still, and when the coldness gave way to a mild pain of sorts, I used to bring down the feet. That surge of comfort was never less than heavenly.

When I had absolutely nothing to do, I used to rearrange my room, sift through my books, stack them nicely on the one shelf that was there on the wall, move the bed and fit the table in way that gave the room a little more character, hung my airgun in as regal a manner as possible (replete with a cycle chain to complete the ‘mean’ look), stick car posters so that other kids could see my unique collection from outside the window, work on table lamp so that it was squeaky clean, or better still paint it in garish red color so that it looked new. 

Back then, I could read anything for hours together. One of the greatest imaginary luxuries was to be able to read a mystery novel, cooped up in the bed, but without having to hold the book in either of my hands. It used to be cold outside and it was almost painful to bear it. I always dreamt of a gadget in which I could somehow string the book, keep it on an angle that made my reading easy, and with the help of some mechanics, have the pages sift by themselves, while I lay fully covered in the cosy territory of my warm bed - with both my hands inside the quilt. It does get quite cold in Dharamshala, and I think this is a very legitimate fantasy to have.

I must add that in my true sense of fairness, I used to keep one hand outside the quilt/comforter for exactly the same number of pages as I would keep the other. 2 pages for the right and 2 pages for the left. You might find it funny or even strange, but I have always imagined my body parts to have their own life and character. I know I know, this has a lot to do with fantasy stories that I read in my early childhood, but I always thought of hands as two people – with their own lives, their own set of freinds and families, and their own stories to tell. So I could never bear doing even the least injustice to either of them - I did not like being partial to my left hand, even when I knew that it was right that did most of the work. Look, I know which hand to reward more in normal circumstances, but winter is a different thing altogether. One has to be magnanimous.

I think the reason I never got bored of anything back then, was because there was an inner world I was always busy with, always intrigued in,  and most of the time absorbed in. I used to dream with my eyes open, and was perpetually lost in doing so, bereft of the reality around me.

I think I have started becoming bored because I have started looking outwards to keep myself busy.

I am getting real. 

Is that good or bad?


Friday, 26 December 2008


I am back. Limelight, shine upon me. Now!

The much awaited return has happened. I have to blame Anamika for that. She is my better half, and better reader still. I am told that I write well and that I should continue writing. I am also told that I am quite funny.

I take that fully in my stride. While one is humble, and would want to shun all kinds of fame, one has to give in to popular demand, and take on roles that require oneself to do that come with fame and popularity, all the while enduring the pain of being in public eye, hiding from paparazzi, living in perpetual limelight, and..alas, becoming famous. What to do, such are the demands of being a (famous) writer.

Having said that, I know that one day writing will become my profession. It is the final escapade that I long for, when all will be paid by the publisher, and my ego gets relentless massage in the act of knowing that scores of people yearn to read my books. What a day will that be!!!

Imagine, all that I write would be lapped up by readers without hesitation. In fact, they'd be queuing up in lines on weekends to get their hands on my latest. My musings will be revered - hotly debated on internet, fan clubs will sprout all over the place, I will be thronged by media, a function here, a function there, cameras blowing out their flashes on me, prizes galore, bank overflowing with royalties...!

And I would be sitting in my porch, atop a hill, overlooking the green valley soaked with the golden afternoon hue of a benign sun. The cool air would pass by, and whisper the song of the mountains in my ear. The clouds would play idly with the sunlight, taking on its redness on the front, while hiding their greyness behind. I would have the august company of my favorite singer, the cricket, but I would not be able to see it – just hear the lovely songs that it comes out with. The mountain tops would recede into the skies – slowly and gradually, and far away in the misty horizon, a star would peep out, marking its attendance.

And I would have no worries sitting there, day after day. Because my books would be selling, and I would be a celebrated author, just getting his usual dose of creativity.

That day would come.

Today's the start.

Tuesday, 22 May 2007

The long and short of 'now'

It has been somewhile that I have published anything here. I can come up with many reasons for that, but the real reason is that I was just not in the mood. Writing for me is usually an intense experience. I mull, I think, I go over a sentence again and again, and just like making a sculpture- I tend to make it a laborious process. Not that I produce materspieces, but I like to make my writings well-rounded and polished - as I said, like a sculptor working on his masterpiece.

Well, today's awakening is dedicated to my dear friend Arun Uday. He works with a swanky company in Mumbai, and is a deal-maker. We exchanged some mails, and I discovered that he blogss quite regularly. I think every 4th day or so.

He writes about what he does. So his blogs are (very justifiably) business oriented, MBA like, and have strong corporate overtones. I think that is superb-next time he needs a job, all he needs to do is send across his blog link to the employers. They'll go flat.

I wonder if I should ever do that with my blog. With the kind of stuff I write here, I would be helping other candidates get selected, and very fast.

Anyway, let me tell you about Mr. Uday. He is easily one of the brainiest people I have met. from Indian Institute of Science, and MBA from Indian School of Business (a qualification that we share). Works now in private equity, and looks corporate.
He was usually found in yellow sweatshirt, and brown baggy corduroys. As it is with brainos, he was duly confused as well. It took him exactly 20 meters walk from the examination hall to realise that he had committed some kind of grave insanity in the exam. Loud 'SHIT!!!!!!!' was usually followed by wild gesticulations, that almost always culminated in hitting his forehead with his hand.

Then, almost as ritual, we'd accompany him to the living room of our apartment, where Vijay (another roomy) and Sai (another one) would rave and rant at him. Vijay would break into hysterical laughter, replete with expletives; Sai would endlessely giggle; and I would wait for Arun to go supine on the sofa set (I think it was a freudian response - Mom! take me unto your fold!), whence he'd take keep on repeating his Mantra - 'How could I do that!!!, Bloody shit!!'
Short of running 10km away (which he once decided) from ISB, he used to calm down and then get stressed about the next day's exam. This was followed by 'guys, I am going to sleep' (usually at 8 pm).
After all this, our man used to get good marks.

Quite a chap, I must say. he also went and bought for himself a biege suit, cream shirt when the going got tough during placements. Now you can see him sporting a black corporate suit on his blog.
Anyway, so after this mail exchanged, I thought I should indulge in some activity. That is why this entry.

Just to add: I have been keeping extremely busy of sorts. I like to spend all my time with my son, who is cynosure of everything for me. Apart from it, office kept me busy, and I was quite stressed about my last golf game, where I screwed up the first nine.
But aced the back ones, with a solid birdie on the 16th Par 4.

I think I will also go Arun's way and create a corporate blog of sorts, and display my corporate feathers in all their resplendent colors.
I will include that in my CV.