Flavor of Handwriting



When I say that I write, I lie. It has been a long time that I “wrote” something good- mostly, I type. Like most people around me, I have moved from ‘pen & paper’ to computer. The keyboard is supposedly a wonderful substitute- all characters in the exact place as you used them the previous day. Once you get used to it, it’s a cakewalk; it lets you finish your work on time. When it comes to work (and by “work”, I mean serious office work that would require you to avoid spelling and grammatical mistakes), the computer does an incredibly accurate job. But, consider the case when you want to write a letter to your loved one. Do you want to be grammatically correct or express the right feelings?
When I request a leave, I write to my manager- “I am planning to go on vacation from 23rd of December, 2011 to 2nd January, 2012.” And blah, blah.
Would I write the same way if I had to write to my mother that I was coming home during Christmas? No. None of us would. I would write- “Maaaaaa, good news! I’m coming homeeee on christmas! loooong vacation to spend with Baba and you!! Will return after celebrating new year with you very excited !!” 
I can see the difference. In the second case, the word processor I am using has drawn squiggly lines of different colors on at least five different words (a couple for deliberate spelling mistakes, one for incorrect capitalization, one because Bill Gates doesn’t call her mother “Maa” and one for an extra space!). Forget the fact that my smile looks nowhere close to the smiley that’s drawn here.
The personal flavor that goes into handwritten material is irreplaceable. Time was when I was very proud of my handwriting. I practiced calligraphy- on letters to grandparents, on notebooks while taking class notes, during examinations on answer-scripts. It was like my signature. So was it for many others. But no good thing stays in place unless cared for; so it withered because of insufficient use.
Words will fail me if I seek to explain how emotions are conveyed through the flowing ink or the sharpened graphite; how the way we hold the pen or the pencil between our fingers determines our handwriting; how the changing color of the exhausting ink and the blunting head of the pencil exudes the flow of time; how carefully written words in the beginning which deteriorate to illegible symbols toward the end of an examination paper beg for a few more minutes from the teacher; how strikethroughs reach out to the reader, whispering into his/her ears to bear with his/her lack of vocabulary; how differently spaced words, differently spaced letters in a word and differently spaced lines in a paragraph reflect our state of mind; how a reader reads “sophisticated” and then struggles to read the same word in another part of the same paragraph because the “s” looks different there.
In fact, there have been futile attempts to replicate handwritten words by introducing myriad fonts and even strikethroughs. But who said that strikethroughs could only be horizontal lines? Dirty that I was (now? don’t ask embarrassing questions, please), I used to roll my pen over and over again, making spirals and circles to hide an incorrect word behind- literally- a bush! That “bush” not only loomed large on the face of an otherwise neat paper but also left its impression on to the next page. I have seen images from Tagore’s work where he used his creative genius to draw pictures of leaves and animals to get rid of an “unsuitable” word in a piece! (P.S: The above image is taken from one such Tagore manuscript) Ah, today’s word processors delete those words for ever, thanks to delete and backspace keys! Our computer memories in gigabytes and terabytes do not have space for our deleted words! Sigh!



Birthday!




(8 yr old: Maa&Baba wish at 6 AM, 8 candles on the cake in the evening;
20 yr old: Friends wish at midnight, Maa&Baba at 6AM, a candle shaped as “20” on a cake in the evening;
24 yr old: Fewer friends wish at midnight, Maa&Baba still wish at 6AM, don’t like cakes anymore)

There was a time-
When birthdays meant balloons,
Colorful dresses, candles and boons;
Distributing chocolates in school,
Receiving gifts in wrappers uber-cool!
When birthdays meant family outings,
If they fell on holidays;
Picnics and playful mornings,
Delicious delicacies post noon,
Payesh by Maa in a teaspoon,
Snacks and games with friends,
Evenings which now feel like blue moon!

There was a time-
When birthdays meant waking up in the morning
To “Happy Birthday” wishes, Maa’s and Baba’s kisses;
Expensive one-minute STD calls from relatives
“For the birthday-boy, best wishes!”
When breakfast to dinner was gluttony
Life was as perfect as symphony.

There was another time-
When birthdays meant GPLs
Friends dragged you out of your bed
At midnight- cruel smiles on each face
While carrying you to virtually a deathbed!
In the midst of this laughter and noise,
Attending calls from forgotten friends.
Face smeared with cakes,
As sounds of- “Treat! Treat!”
Reverberated from the campus lakes.

Times have changed-
Birthdays moved from the small room
To the world outside,
From family, relatives to friends,
And now to "non-friends"
From home-made food to college-gate vendors
And now to posh restaurants,
From games to GPLs and treats
And now to refined silence;
From cards to phone-calls and SMSes
And now to the cyberspace.
Over the years, one thing hasn’t changed-
The sense of joy of having born
In to this beautiful world,
Isn’t it an achievement in itself?


Deceived into sleep




Yearning for a holiday
Which I always promised myself,
“You deserve to get it someday!”
(Or is it every day?!)
Forced my eyes wide open
Rubbing incessantly with fingers frozen,
Looked outside through the glass window
From the cozy comforts of my bed
Oh, news! ’looks cloudy outside
Low visibility and promises of shower
Which means- no terrible classes to bear
No boring lectures to hear.
Thus I slept-
Back to the dream where kites flew high;
Two hours later, when I woke up-
Had it already rained?
Yawning, I got off the bed with a leap
But walking to the window, half-asleep
With many a slow short stride
Slid it open wide-
Surprised to find no sign of water,
Nowhere on the road, no splash in the gutter,
Looked at the sky above
Clearly devoid of clouds
What was it that deceived me
Into believing the sky was cloudy
When I hadn’t even looked at it?
It must’ve been the window
With its blue glass!

At the payment counter



There’s nothing called a free lunch in this world. Literally. The meal at my office costs me forty rupees- a subsidized amount, they say. This is India- so we waste paper and pay by cash. I had the exact change today. At different points in my life, I have been surrounded by people who would not give you the balance (i.e. when the person has it) even in exchange for his/her life! (Exaggerated? Reconsider!) Now, when someone actually doesn’t have the change, there is nothing more panicky than to be in a situation where (s)he is asked to pay fifty-three bucks for a burger and (s)he has in the wallet only five-hundred rupee notes, fresh out of the ATM. (S)he would curse the taxation system for the price of the burger culminating into such an incredibly absurd figure. Such a situation is not uncommon; I have seen frowning helpless faces at both ends- the buyer and the seller. Thankfully, I wasn’t in this position today: as I said, for a change, I had change today.
Now that should have made both the guy at the counter (to be read henceforth as “G@C) and me happy (the former should have been elated, in fact). But I handed over a couple of twenty-rupee notes: one impeccable, as if fresh out of the mint and the other tattered, hoping to sneak past a couple of more hands…somehow.
Oh boy, you should have seen the expression of the G@C; it was a mixed response for sure. I had deliberately kept the “old” note underneath the “good” note while handing them over. Obviously, he is an expert when it comes to handling notes- he slid one note over the other and instantly found what was hiding beneath.
G@C gave me a look which clearly said-“Man, I do this every day- you cannot deceive me” but smiled. I must say- he is a courteous gentleman!
He held the “old” note and gently said, “Sir, ye note change kar di jiye”
I knew I had two more twenty-rupee notes (now you know who would die for change) in my wallet which would pass on as “average”. I was sure they were acceptable. I took them out and before handing them over, asked him to return both the notes. He was startled. I saw it in his eyes- he didn’t want to part with the “good” fresh currency note. He only wanted to exchange the “old” note for an “average” one.
What happened next- whether he accepted my offer or kept the earlier notes- is another story. But what would you have done?
Are you willing to part with the “good” because it comes with the “not-so-good”? Or do you want to settle with the safe bet: the “average”?

The last half hour



(My sleep, assuming the next morning is ‘working’, is divided, on most days, into two unequal halves- the first usually sound six-and-a-half hour and the last eventful full of sounds half hour before waking up; this piece is a tribute to the second half)

Bathed in the rays of the virgin sun
Oh, wait- Poetic lies!
There must be sun somewhere
But doesn’t it care to sneak in,
On a tranquil winter dawn.

A thin blanket pacifies the raw breeze
That takes shelter in my room;
Ah, I always forget to shut the window
Before I go to sleep.
But I have been woken up
By distant horns on roads,
Blarings of senile engines
And occassional screeching tires
Brushing past the wind
With a whooshing sound.

Then I pick up the cellphone
Lying leisurely beside my pillow;
And as I try to look at the time
It asks for the pattern password
Such a turn-off
In those blessed moments of ‘half-sleep’.
As trembling fingers vie
To get the pattern right,
Digital figures glow-
Oh, there’s still twenty minutes of sleep.

Turning from one side to the other
Restlessly crawling-
Won’t I get up for pranayama,
As I promised Baba?
Five more minutes of sleep- without bother.
There’s something more disturbing-
Ah, the dripping sound
Incessantly invading my thoughts
From the bathroom-
Again I forgot the plumber
Wish I’d saved his number!

With every passing minute
All these sounds turn scary as hell
Louder than ever;
The horns, the tires, the crows, the water
And finally the ‘music’.
I promise to myself-
I’ll never let me hate that beautiful song
Because it’s the morning alarm!

Erring orchestra



The orchestra before the city czars
So elegantly arranged with guitars
Keyboards, percussion and brass
By the master who conducts the class.

Melody flows into the audience like a boon
When suddenly the piano goes out of tune
The music is no longer a serene lagoon.

Listeners wake up from a sweet dream
As if to a loud scream
The master has to decide before it’s late
How to bring all instruments in unison
To help complete their slumber-
Sensational, sound and with passion.

The Price Tag






There is a price tag attached to every item of clothing so elegantly hanging in this outlet. This tag is to be borne by the cloth until the time someone decides to buy it. This dress badly wants to grace the body of some beautiful girl. But, no one is buying it. The price is too high for some and despite desperately being in love with the dress, cannot afford it. There are other shoppers in the same outlet to whom the dress is too “cheap”- they would rather prefer some international brand and thus decide against spending on it.

Now, this dress and this tag are tethered for a long time and they are so integral to each other. Without the dress, the tag is useless. The dress can of course do without the tag but- consider a case where the tag is replaced by some other tag; the dress might in fact end up being sold to someone else for whom it wasn’t meant.

Despite the tag being so important to the dress, it always wants to get rid of the tag…..

Reality and dreams


Aching body wastes away on bed
From last night’s sleep
As it merges into the day ahead.

Dreams never let me get up,
My body clinging to them
Wishing for a magic final lap gallop.

They always said-“Dream, dream”
They didn’t tell me to wake up
And get behind the wheel.


From the mind of a wounded …




How does it feel when your hands have just been run over by a truck? It’s like dwelling in a weird world between pain and numbness. But you don’t know yet if your hands are safe. You’re too afraid to look at them. You fear they are mutilated- probably blood is oozing out relentlessly, turning the white bed-sheet pink. And you’re trying to look from the corner of your blurring eyes if it actually is what you think!

Now, this is what you told the “truth-seekers”- You remember having seen the truck approaching you. You stood still smiling because you thought it would stop- you thought it belonged to a very good friend. But it hit you hard, leaving you in a stupor. You still don’t know if it was your friend. You know, in any case, that he resembled your friend greatly but that you’d by no means want to believe that it was your friend.

So what is it that makes you sad? Is it the fact that you are in a state of distress and a friend is the reason? Is it because despite knowing for sure that he was your friend, you stood there, wanting to be crushed under the wheels of his truck because you had once wronged him and his benevolence reminded you even more of your pathetic actions, and you just wanted an excuse to end the friendship to get rid of being bled internally every day?

The point is: Whoever is wrong, whatever aggrieves you- you have injured your hands.

Durga Puja and Bengalis


What is it about Durga Puja and Bengalis?- So many have asked me this question and without a doubt, they were all non-Bengalis. Well, because you cannot explain to them in a sentence the importance of this festival in the life of a Bengali, I respond with lame lines as-“It’s the greatest festival in Bengal”. Not that it is incorrect; that might make you to think that Durga Puja is Bengal’s Christmas or Diwali or Id. Again, I am not the right person to compare from an unbiased point as to which festival is “greater”, if any at all, as I will be tempted to sing in favor of the autumnal celebrations in Bengal where I have grown up and share special sentiments with.

Speaking (writing actually) of Durga Puja makes me nostalgic because Durga Puja is all about homecoming. Referring to mythology, the Puja is celebrated when Maa Durga visits her home with her family. That in no way should make you think that during this festival, women return to their parent’s home, although that still remains an open choice. In fact, this festival is about togetherness and spending quality time with family and friends. This festival thus assumes greater importance for those staying away from their home. Although every homecoming is equally welcoming and refreshing, if the son/daughter doesn’t visit the family during the Durga Puja, it is extremely painful for both the parties because the very spirit of festivity is done away with and the festival becomes just another formality.

Wait is another important element. Bengalis wait for these four days in constant anticipation the entire year. So, it’s not just a four-day festival. The preparation phase is extremely important in setting up the mood for the gala annual event. It all starts with collecting the clay for the idol. It takes months to carve out an idol to perfection. Thousands of idols are created for installing them in pandals all over the state and outside. The real enthusiasm begins with the painting of the eyes of the idol on the day of the Mahalaya. Traditionally, the artists observe fast before painting the eyes of the Goddess. The non-artists, like us, wake up at 4 in the morning to listen to the Mahalaya chant in radio or television. And this is probably the only time of the year youngsters do not resent about their parents waking them up so early. I don’t remember having missed the early morning chant over radio or the dramatic rendition on television during my stay in Bengal.

If I said that the real enthusiasm starts with Mahalaya, it is only with respect to the religious part of the Puja. Actually, it all begins with buying of new clothes. Irrespective of whether you are rich or poor, whether you already have clothes that would suffice the next three years, whether you earn or not- you visit the crowded stores to get a new dress- not necessarily for yourself but for your family and relatives. And in turn, you get many. As a child, I remember comparing the count of dresses acquired during the Pujas with friends. Do not faint if I say that the count ranged anywhere between 7 to 17! (This is no exaggeration)

Another inseparable part of pre-Durga Puja shopping is definitely magazines. Publishers in Bengal do not miss this opportunity and each one of them vouches for the best collection of novels, poems, short stories, comics and what not! Teenagers and adults have their own choice of magazines and books but reputed authors and publishers ensure to treat readers of all ages with the best Sharodshankhya or Pujobarshiki during the festive season.

Finally, arriving at the actual celebrations- pandals are set up and there’s a good bit of rivalry as to which para’s (locality) pandal looks the best. Club members toil hard day and night before the event and during it to ensure that their pandal draws a huge crowd. In recent years, “themed” Pujas have been in a rage. One has seen pandals based on a potpourri of interests ranging from the ancient Harappan civilization to dictator Saddam Hussain, from Bengal’s all-season favorite Tagore to cricket, from cinemas to religions, from music to basically anything under the Sun. One would definitely be taken aback by the incredible ideas which go on to the making of the pandals. If you go out to see what goes in to their making- be prepared to find leaves, fruits, glasses, plastic, jute, paper, bamboo, gold, bangles, clay-cups- and this list keeps growing each year.

People flock with friends and family, untiringly hopping from one pandal to another all day and all night (no kidding!). Your ears will be used to the sound of the dhak (drum). Believe me, this part of the year, drum becomes more important than music CDs.  Chaos is so integral to this activity and still no one needs to manage it. It’s the only time you’ll find people smiling in long queues. Important part is- this has got little to do with religion. Atheists and non-atheists gather for a treat with equal enthusiasm. Religion, caste and economic status take a backstage as they walk in crowded roads, awe-struck by the themed lightings all along the road, hand in hand. No wonder this festival is being deemed as the largest outdoor art festival in the world.


Pandal-hopping in Durga Puja would be incomplete without street foods. I don’t remember a day when I didn’t stuff my stomach with rolls, kebabs, pakoras, phuchhkas from those unhygienic stalls. But trust me, you won’t fall ill during the Pujas- the Goddess doesn’t allow you to! A gourmet or a gourmand?- that’s the big question but most Bengalis are- either of the two. Intertwined with all these and an inseparable part of the celebration is the adda- the gathering with friends over snacks to discuss about anything and everything- opinionated that Bengalis are!

Dashami is the last day of the celebrations when the idol is immersed. This marks the return of Maa from her father’s home to that of her husband’s. People (don’t be surprised to see more women than men) of all ages dance all along the walk from the pandal to the river-ghat, accompanying the Goddess and her children, chanting hymns in their name. The immersion is followed by hugs among contemporaries, touching the feet of elders and distributing sweets.

It’s one time of the year when we assemble to bow down before the might of the feminine in a greatly patriarchal societal structure. The spirit of this festival transcends all boundaries in the life of all Bengalis across the globe. It’s that time of the year when your heart yearns to meet that old friend who you fought with at school, the old teacher who kept you standing all through the lunch-break, the old town or the city roads you treaded to rise to the stature that you are today. Durga Puja is all about being united with the past for a few days and waiting for the next year’s celebrations with higher hopes:
“Aschhe Bochhor abar hobe” (It’ll happen again next year)
And what time could have better suited the event than when the sky is clear, sunny but not hot, cold but not shivering, half past the year but in spirit like a New Year.

The fruit-seller



An old man in tattered clothes
Sells fruits in a handcart;
A dim oil lamp aids his aging eyes
While the town is brightly lit.

A few minutes, and there is darkness-
People around him are annoyed
By frequent power-cuts.
For the brief interval
Before the town is illuminated again
With generators and inverters,
Who bears the only light in the town?
The old man in tattered clothes.

White





Sorting the clothes that’d to be washed,
Stumbled upon that shirt
I have been wearing
For the last two days;
I couldn’t believe it was
Still immaculately white.

How did it manage not to
Gather dirt from the world around?
Wonder if I could’ve remained
White like the day I saw light.



The man with the gun



The death of Ali had left his family in a shock that evening. Ali’s wife Aara and his three children were stupefied. All four of them sat in the corner of a room with Ali’s body lying right in front of them. Tears trickled down Aara’s cheeks as neighbors tried to console her; the children were too young to realize the kind of loss that had befallen upon them.
Ali was a peace-loving religious family-man. Dear reader, you could easily be deceived if you judged their life by the size of their shack. The happiness inside the hut would surely have made even steel magnates jealous. Ali was like a thread that tied the family together - each member being a pearl bead. And someone decided to pull that thread out, leaving behind the beads which fell apart. You never know who that “someone” is, when you are in Kashmir.
Aara knew that she wouldn’t be able to sustain the family long enough. Two of the three children were in high-school and the youngest one Ahmad would get admitted next spring. But as Ali would have put it- ‘Allah had different intentions.’ Aara knew that education was not affordable after Ali’s demise. Forget schooling, even feeding them long enough would be quite a task even if Aara decided to sell all their household items. She thought for the next few nights. And then- one night, she decided she would ‘choose’, no matter what- a decision had to be taken.
Next morning, a man found Ahmad lying in the courtyard of the local mosque and decided to give him a ‘new life’. That very day, before dawn, Aara and his two kids boarded the first bus to the town, deserting their village forever, hoping for a ‘new life’. They all got it.
Twenty-one years later, in a busy railway station (as busy as it could get in a mofussil town), a young man carried with him a gun and enough powder to trigger the death of all commuters. He was waiting to detonate the bomb at the arrival of the morning train. Amongst several passengers, there was a family waiting for the same train- a newly-wed couple was leaving for the city- and the bride’s mother was there to see them off.
Then whistling aloud arrived the train….And then the flames….
This blast made news in the front page of every newspaper next morning, accompanied by gruesome images of human figures. Dads all over the country read them like horror stories to their children. The story of Aara and the couple also found place in the newspaper.
Roll back twenty-one years- there was no story about a lost kid from the same family, Ahmad.

Regrets of a Watch




Tick-tocking on your wrist
All day all night,
Whether or not you care to glance at me;
Rarely smiling, often upset,
Sometimes angry-
Even as you switched
From Indian to Swiss.
You forgot it was my heart that ticked, not me-
You owned me, but not my heart,
My heart is time; you never had it.

Scar



Cover-page of my newly bought magazine,
Left folded overnight-
Developed a scar on its face,
Right through the centre, diagonally.
In the morning, as I tried to unfold,
And remove the mark,
It vehemently refused –
Flung back to its folded state.
A lesson for me-
Not on elastic properties of matter;
But on scars on character
Of those who’ve long been ignored.

Speckle



Shaving before the mirror,
With the stroke of the razor,
I discovered that the mirror
From age, had developed spots;
Which I tried to remove-
Scratched them hard with my index
Until, tired, I let go.
Tried a different reflector,
The patches were still there-
And I instantly knew
Where they actually belonged.

Current Affairs



The recent wake of events following the protests from the likes of Anna Hazare has at least given this country some food for thought. We were so used to the "yeh India hai...yahan kaam aise hi hota hai" attitude before an old man decided to unleash the sword against a mighty Government of the mighty Democracy called India.
As I say all these, I am not fully convinced as to whether such protests will rock the men in power, whether ‘hunger strike’ is a warranted means of protest and if it will serve its purpose whatsoever. We might, as has always been the case, find another 16 or 20 days of fast followed by severe degradation in Anna’s health. This fast will eventually, most likely, end with promises on part of the Government to "consider" his proposal and persuasions from the influential lot. While the men in power would dismiss his actions as a septuagenarian’s whims, oppositions, taking this as an opportunity as good as a wild card entry to power, would fuel the protest by all possible means.
People are taking to the streets in support of the old man who reaffirmed my faith in Gandhi, to say the least. I always had the idea that it was because of Gandhi that our independence got delayed- that his ‘cowardly’ stance gave the English an edge over the violent protesters like Netaji and Bhagat Singh. Of course, I haven’t seen Gandhi and all my negative notions about the revered man in khadi developed from the movies I watched and the stories I heard from people who hadn’t seen Gandhi either.
As I sit in my room writing “just for time-pass" and you reading this for no better reason, there are men and women of all ages shouting for their favorite Anna to emerge victorious. Of course, as an Indian, I am fully dissatisfied with the current state of affairs in the country and want a break from having to feed them under the table.
Recently, I got my driving license done without taking the driving test- no wonder the count of road accidents in India is soaring like mercury in Delhi in the month of May! As an "educated" individual of a developing country, how do you feel I should have acted?-
I should have gone on leave from my office to see the long queue at the RTO office, then gotten shoved by ten more powerful men out of the queue, begged for a place in the same line behind 20 'intruders' to find that it was time for 'lunch' when my turn came- although the watch showed 3 PM because the ‘breakfast’ break was taken at 12 noon, again because the lackadaisical officials came in at 11 in the morning- and all this pain just to submit the form. Similar stories follow for-no-reason rounds for which I fight with my manager to earn few more leaves and his wrath!
Instead, I chose the easier way- pay a handsome amount to an "insider" who in turn got my license done without me taking the test, simply in exchange of a few phone calls for which the company I work for pays.
Exaggerated, isn’t it? But you know for sure, to what extent.
Still, I am happy that things are changing- I had to pay more because the "agent" said it was now extremely difficult to get the driving license done in the wrong way! (They’ve started following road rules)
After saying all this, all I will do is peek out of my balcony to see people chanting in support of Anna and return to Facebooking, read the "ten facts you didn’t know about Anna Hazare and Jan Lokpal Bill" without "like"-ing it, post status messages on my wall that would attract a few likes and least possibly arouse patriotic sentiments for a few seconds.
As we have been enjoying the fruit of independence since 1947 without caring to step up to do anything at all for the country except for blaming the same people we elect, I once again hope to enjoy the fruit of the rebellion that is taking shape, if it at all succeeds. This country might change, thanks to Anna et al- but how will people like me ever change?

Monsoon Ruminations…




Pensive, I stand by the glass window
Catching the afternoon shower
The same way I used to, before;
Except, now, I cannot-
In fear of being tagged insane,
Open the window,
Let the water soak my face,
Let rain smash hard upon my shut eyes. 


Pensive, I stand by the glass window
Musing over the fate of the greenery
That lay before tall brick walls;
Cows and buffalos- not rain-intolerant
But over the years, learnt from men
That they had to run for shade in rain.


Pensive, I stand by the glass window
Watching a man and a woman
Run for cover,
Sharing an umbrella-
Which I bet they would have let go
Had I not been watching.

Masked eyes…



As I walked down the crowded street
Intoxicated in drunken revelry;
As I brushed past men and women
All in masks that hid their eyes,
‘Cause that was part of the ritual-
They all gave me a smile
And I, invariably, reciprocating
Underneath my mask;
But smiles gave me a shudder
As I never knew what their eyes spoke.

Suddenly something overcame me
Powering me with courage
That surprised me;
Made me unmask myself
And then pull the mask off one of them.
He stopped smiling-
So did all others as I engaged in the rampage;
The wrath in their beautiful eyes
So long hidden, was exposed.
They tried to cover up in shame
As if they swarmed in the nude,
But I was relieved and they, astonished-
When I smiled back!

Decision Pending….



I won’t preach you on how important ‘right decisions’ are, at the right time. Right decisions, I know (and so do you), can change the entire course of a person’s life, someone else’s life or even an organization.  Forget right, I have rarely managed to just decide on anything.
My parents were always worried when I was a child. When they took me out to buy clothes, I could not decide on the color- I always let them decide. I couldn’t decide on a gift for a friend’s birthday. I couldn’t even decide on the flavor of ice-cream they wanted to buy me. As I grew up, there were more decisions to be made- mostly concerning studies and career. Whether they were right decisions or not remains to be seen…..but usually, it takes me so long to settle on that I am left with only one option, which is not always the best for me.
In college, while I hung out in some restaurant with friends, I never decided what I should eat- I always relied on someone else to order and then repeating it- “Make that two” or “I’ll have the same”. Of course, there were exceptions. When it was my turn to treat them, life was simpler- there usually were limited choices with the budget I decided! And then, I always had “benevolent” friends who knew how to optimally use my money on that day.
Four years in college studying almost nothing and understanding even less didn’t leave me with much choice as to what to do next. But every time parents, relatives and teachers complain that I should be pursuing higher studies, I am usually left perplexed, caught between two choices- two roads- between which I need to decide before it’s too late.
After writing all this, I was actually contemplating whether to post it! Now, you say, was it a right decision or did it turn out to be an object of derision? This time you’ve gotta decide!

What’s in a name?


I guess I have them trapped… I mean, all who have been desperately seeking some information about a process in telecommunication with the same name as my blog- all who typed “Idle mode connectivity” on Google and were led to this page.
Blogger stats tell me that the list of countries from where my blog has been visited is as follows:
India, US, Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Sweden, Poland, Albania, Latvia, Germany, Israel (in no particular order)
Of course some page-views make sense including the ones from Sweden which physically is my office in India! There are others that amuse me and make me believe that there were people who might have overlooked the URL. I’m particularly amused by the name of Poland as I am under the impression that one of my trainers in telecom who hailed from Poland might as well have landed onto this page (If he really did, there couldn’t have been a better coincidence). As part of the consequence of your natural inclination to trust in Google and go for the first result, you might have hit this page. You might have made a fool of yourself- stop cursing me! Lesson learnt: Check the URL before you click; names are misleading (though I never meant to have increased hits in this way).
But who cares? I am happy to have such a wide spectrum of visitors.
It’s high time you expand your knowledge in telecommunication….so, keep visiting!

The Race



Brushing past me, like a thunder,
Went someone familiar;
I thought- Was it a blunder
To let him overtake me?
Damn, I had to be on last gear!

As he overtook me, he gave me a nudge,
But woke me up;
And developed in me a grudge,
That stirred me up!

I tried hard to catch up,
But the faster I ran, the more he paced up.
I kept running , sweating
Until the Sun shone before my eyes
When I realized what I was chasing!

Reunion at Ranikhet...


Rani, you were lonely,
Silence was your charm-
Resting comfortably,
In Himalaya’s arm.

Then came a group of boys,
Exhausted from work or study-
Yet full of noise,
I admire this synergy.

They met for silly gossip,
And feast;
To worship Friendship,
To say the least.

Rani’s face lightened up like that of a fawn,
As they made merry and said- “Cheers!”
But when they were about to be gone,
She drenched them in tears,
Wishing- they came back,
Again, after years!

Two Minutes…



Have you waited for five minutes to travel two minutes? Sure you have! For an elevator. The first thing you do is to look whether “the button” is pressed. I’ve seen some fools waiting for the elevator only to realize that it wasn’t pressed, when someone else arrives and does it for him.

First you wait for the elevator to come and pick you up from the ground floor. After several minutes of staring at the display for the floor number, when you get bored and look at people around you and look back at the display, you find that the elevator is still on the topmost floor. Indignant, you’ll find some people constantly pressing the button in a desperate attempt to bring it down to them faster.

Finally when the much-awaited machine does land, you’ll see lots of people already gathered around you. Nothing wrong with that… but they don’t maintain a queue in this country. So you wait longer while others shove you out of your way into the ‘lift’. And all the waiting goes in vain, unless there’s another ‘lift’ to pick you up.

So when your elevator comes in and there are people getting out of it, there will almost always be people who will block their way and delay the process. When you finally make your way and look at the glowing buttons, you might find your destination floor button already pressed, you might need to press it yourself or in a crowded elevator, you might have to ask someone else to press it for you. (The lift-man is an endangered species these days)

Just when the sliding door is about to close, there comes a bag in between- and the door reopens. All the inmates get irritated unless the bag belongs to a beautiful lady! If you’re unlucky, you might find an old man (or a woe-man). You might find a lean person trying to get in but the elevator refuses to move, signaling “overweight” and the lean man has to leave, cursing himself and wanting to visit the gym more often. When the elevator finally begins its upward journey, you’re slightly relieved. But if you are in a hurry, you’ll find one person getting down at every floor lower than yours. You will want to kill the obese lady getting down on the 1st floor!

The journey can be exciting only if you have “interesting” people around or if you have the eyes to see them. The first few minutes- you spend evaluating the attire of your co-passengers. Some people always manage to get mobile network inside an elevator- I never do! They keep calling their beloved ones, sending and receiving SMSes from them. You will possibly find some people talking amongst themselves like they’ve met after several years- while others stare at them or smile imperceptibly at their PJs. If you manage to end up standing beside a lady, your olfactory system will be filled by aroma(?) from excessive make-up. Meanwhile, if you’re blocking the way of the people trying to get out of the lift from behind you, you’ll be flooded with “Excuse Me” requests from gentlemen and ladies, and pushes and shoves from the crude ones. But tell you what- both are equally irritating, if you’re in a hurry! And finally, you end up doing the same when it’s your turn to get out of the closed room. Once you’re outside, the first thing you enjoy is fresh air which you unknowingly craved for during an eventful 120-second sojourn.