Friday, July 27, 2007

Epithets and Learnings

Yesterday, after a pretty long time I was in an introspetive mood. And I just started listing down some of the adjectives that I have collected over the years.

1. Self-proclaimed movie aficionado
I hardly make proclamations except about love, and that too, sometimes erroneously!
2. Self-proclaimed cricket expert
A big FO to modesty, I DO understand cricket. Or am I just been presumptuous, again ?
3. Elitist
Yes. Cheers to capitalism.
4. Left-leaning intellectual
5. Opinionated sonofabitch
Former, yes; latter - leave my mum out of this please!

Quite a decent list I should say, considering I have just about completed 30% of my life. Phew ! 30 percent ! So, what have I learnt?

1. Talk less and listen more
Its funny, post engineering days and pre-MBA days, I had lost my words. And had successfully unconsciously implemented this strategy. And it did pay dividends. But
then MBA happened. And it made me a little more educated and slightly more optimistic. And miraculously enough I found the words. And I am not sure whether I should be happy or sad about it.

2. 23 years wasted
All, or should I say, nearly all that I had learnt in the first 23 years of my life, I had to unlearn. The process was quick and was made unbearably easy by a whole lot of incidents, some which has made me write this post, some which has made me tougher but most importantly some which has taken me out of me. Good or Bad? Verdict still awaited.

3. Tomorrow always comes
Irrespective of what happens, tomorrow always comes in to say 'hello'. Sometimes, even when I did not want to see tomorrow, just wanted to shut my eyes and sleep, even then, my eyes would open to a tomorrow staring me on the face asking me to don the gloves for one last time for a battle against time. I have won, I guess. Would I have felt any different if I had lost?

4. I will always be a spectator
Because I lack talent to make it, because as my father put it succinctly one day a lot many days back that I am hopelessly mediocre, because I lack courage, because I have always been hypocritical, because there are still a lot of 'becauses'!

Yeh Mahalon, Yeh Takhton, Yeh Taajon Ki Duniya
Yeh Insaan Ke Dushman, Samajon Ki Duniya
Yeh Daulat Ke Bhooke, Rawajon Ki Duniya
Yeh Duniya Agar Mil Bhi Jaaye, To Kya Hai ?
- Sahir Ludhianvi-SD Burman-Mohd. Rafi(Pyasa,1959)

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


I am yet to get my hands on Harry's latest tryst with destiny which is his final one and I do know how its gonna end. And I am NOT complaining and neither did I have this irresistible urge to know whether he dies or lives. I like Rowling's characters a lot. Its one of the best books written in some time, thanks to her this dying art has received some interest.

But what's the fuss?

It is phenomenal - this utter madness, utter fanaticism about its launch. Even, 20th century's most celebrated writer Salman Rushdie never faced such mass hsyteria. Neither did Stephen King or Michael Crichton, whose movie rights are sold even before they have penned one single line of their next bestseller. And I am not even bringing Tagore and William into this.

The funny part is that it cuts across the colour of skin, across media, across spectrums, across everything. And more often than not, the repurcussions are negative than positive. Consider the following cases:

1. Diana's death
A woman who has nothing to show for, except her multi-billion dollar boyfriends, whose only claim to fame was that she loved children (show me one lady who does not!) and who had nothing to do with any 'common man' dies while trying to flee with her companion. And the entire bastion of modern civilization comes to a standstill with all whos-who attending the farewell. Never before have we seen such useless, brazen show of wealth and irrationality and maybe hypocrisy?

2. Rajkumar dies
Karnataka's best actor ever died - of perfectly natural causes. Shops were looted, businesses forced to shut down, scuffles with policemen for a glimpse of the dead body - total mayhem for a week in a city which is the face of a resurgent India. Professionally he might have been excellent and his death to be definitely mourned because of his unparalleled contribution to Kannada films, but are we so naive as not to separate a screen image of an actor with his personal life?

3. MGR's death
24 people committed suicide because he died. Our obsession of portraying ordinary mortals as our messiah of hope, of catapulting them to altars destined for the supreme has gone to such a level that the casualty has been the most basic ability of humans. To think.

4. Harry Potter's (death)
People stood in queues for three days to get their first copy! One of my friend, who is a Potter-fan, said "Its a part of growing up!". It is perfectly fine to be inquisitive about the book but 'what' 'growing up' ? Growing up essentially implies an ability to separate propaganda from facts, to look at things rationally as the way they are, to channelize impulse on things which are of some value.

I, of course, understand your basic right of attributing value according to your own choices in life but I cannot understand you attributing it to your inquisitiveness getting the better of you for a character which is fictitious, in a world which is fictitious and something that would only let you know what happens to him and which would have no consequence on anybody's life after you have turned the last page.

Isn't that a trifle ridiculous?

To quote a professor of mine, "A book is a book is a book!" Nothing more, nothing less. And one more "Get a grip!"

Monday, July 09, 2007

Wanderlust to Wonderland

A house by the edge of a cliff overlooking a vast expanse of a bright clear blue ocean, a stretch of lushy green grass in the front porch, a hammock between two banyan trees, a cuckoo making its presence felt intermittently, a great wife and at least five great children - if I can make this happen, then maybe, just maybe, I might one day be able to look up to my father eye to eye and tell him that finally I have done something worthwhile, that I have not just earned more money than him by doing half his work with half his ingenuity.

Mornings would be spent flirting casually with the fragrance of nearby tulip gardens, jogging with Sushmita Sen and then I would saunter in to the tennis court next door to 'play' a game with Rafa on clay. And beat him.

Since it would sap me of all my energy, a refereshing cup of freshly brewed Darjeeling tea would be next on the cards with Khaled Hosseini listening to how he can magically weave a story with so much emotion, so much intensity without actually having lived through any of it.

Back home an hour later, would spend time with my family, Kishore and Lata being played on the background, kids asking a hundred myriad questions and I sometimes glancing at the laptop in front advising different heads of state on how to run their governments and some fortune 10 companies on how to effectively market their products!

A short nap post lunch and the afternoon session would be spent playing Michael Holding and Dennis Lillee on a grassy Sabina-ish wicket and then bowling gentle outswingers to Vivian. Thereafter, a post match session with Sunny on how to play the straight-drive really straight and with Abdul on how to bowl the googly.

The evening would start with attending a live rendition by Abida Parveen followed by a jugalbandi by Amjad Ali and Zakir Hussain. Over coffee, I would discuss with Yash Chopra how he has lost his mind and how he epitomizes a case in point where excellence leads to utter mediocrity and finally to unfortunate oblivion.

Dinner would be a chicken barbeque on the grass beneath the open star-studded glittering night with sparkling special effects by the fireflies with Harry Belafonte and Pete Segger humming along.

Post dinner, we would lie down on the hammock and gaze away at the brilliance that the universe has to offer and be assured in the tranquil thought of our incredible insignificance in the scheme of things which we have no idea about, drenched in the satisfaction that possibly through love we might have transcended some of the barriers and compelled life to let us into some of its most treasured secrets.