Monday, December 31, 2007


And so its another new year. The usual New Year wishes of "prosperity", "may your dreams come true", "new goals", "new hopes", "happiness", etc gets passed from one to another, to mark the occasion and celebrate and cheer.

But I guess I have become cynical. Whatever's gonna happen is gonna happen anyway, and the above wishes just remain on paper as wishes. India won the 20-20 World Cup in 2007 and I hadnt even dreamt about it and it gave utmost happiness. But in the same year, I lost my maternal grandparents in a tragic car accident which caused a permanent blackhole. There were lots of things which I hoped for in 2007 but didnt happen and there were lots of good things that happened which I hadnt expected.

Goals, hopes, prosperity, achievements, dreams.....yeah, yeah. Heavy words.

Alright, lets turn the page for this new chapter. And see what its going to offer. More importantly, what I am going to do in it!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

An Indian Queue

To a great possible extent, the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam authorities have ensured that queue is structured and have maintained steel barricades for miles together. This, in effect, metaphorically speaking, is like having the dog on the leash.

However, at certain places, this structured queue is not constructed, plainly because of the lack of such expected population. Even so, there are times when the human queue extends the constructed structured queue.

I don’t think I will be wrong when I say that we Indians in India are pathetic when it comes to following an unmanned queue. Even though this seems to be a generalized statement, the actual culprit is only roughly about 20% of the actual Indian population. I have spent considerable time in the United States to further generalize that people in US (including Indians) are so well-mannered and well cultured that they really do not need any leash to handle human or vehicular traffic on their own.

I mean, there we are standing in the queue to obtain the darshan of the most coveted Hindu lord. One would think we are standing in the queue out of devotion, of piety, and upholding the much-talked-about “rich Indian tradition and culture.” But when I saw the people jostling, hustling, bustling, knocking people down, stampeding, jumping queues with an impish grin, looking for short-cuts, shouting unnecessarily, it hardly looked as if we in the queue were upholding any of India’s culture or mannerisms. If anything, this has become our culture, of knocking brethren down to one’s own glorification.

But, surely, that is no glorification? Deep within one’s heart, isn’t it clear that jumping queues is a bad thing to do?! And that too in Tirumala?! Aren’t we in Tirumala to cure ourselves of the bad things we did in the first place?! We might be religious, but are we cultured, well-mannered?

The queue seems more like a marathon. With TTD’s agonizing system of bottling and penting up people in boxes of human cage, and also in queues, the whole thing goes even more awry. It is common knowledge that anything which is pent up, like the spray of a soda bottle, surges out like volcanic lava. So, when such a bottled neck is opened, there is nothing but an absolute commotion and stampede. The mass of humanity, the old and the middle-aged, the teens and the babies, all merge together as if we are creating a nuclear fusion! The stinking sweat and the massive rude crowd lessen the iota of devotion, chastity and spirituality that one actually goes to Tirumala for.

But I guess the queue in TTD is just a simile for age-old world-famous Indian traffic woes. The way people honk till you get deaf, the way people make you blind by never dimming on a 2-way road with no median and the way they make you scream at them and show your clenched fists with set teeth! All in the name of rushing ahead, of overtaking, of occupying space before you do, of not waiting, and in short, of uncivilized behavior.

Often I had stood in vehicular queues in US, such as a busy intersection of 4-way crossroad which was unmanned and had no traffic lights. Vehicles are lined up on all the 4 roads to a great extent and there is no one to guide who should go and who should stop. Naturally, the common sense prevails, but more importantly, the culture stands out. Vehicles which have come first, go first. But more significantly, vehicles which haven’t come first, give way for the vehicles which came before them. There is not a single honk. It is an automated system of civilized behavior. It is even a pleasure to be a part of it, of contributing to the naturally man-made synchrony without a maestro. Nobody needs to be taught this nor can this be taught. It should be imbibed and enacted to perfection.

When such a system prevails, when such common sense prevails, when there is no need for a traffic policeman with a baton to leash the neck, that is when a nation can be called "cultured" and "civilized". Probably, even "developed".

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Navaratna's Navaratnas - II

...contd from Part-I.

One must get creative about living.

One must dream about what one wants out of life.

There is nothing wrong to demand more out of life.

It really does not matter what in life brings it to you - if it is what you want.

Our meaning in life is both personal and communal.

Nothing is a waste if the experience is used wisely.

Remember that no one is against you; it is their system that is speaking.

We find great solace in attributing meaning to life's events; Man's obsession for reason.

The departed near and dear ones will always live with you in your thoughts, actions and ideas.

"Must See" - I

I have been getting quite a lot of requests to suggest some "Must See" movies. I have been fortunate enough to have seen some good movies over the last 3 years which I myself brand as "Must See". So I thought I might as well start a chain, and share the names as and when I see. This is the first of the series:

1. These are strictly my personal recommendations and personal choice. Just dont want to encourage any debate on personal likings.
2. Currently very few Hindi movies fall in this category. Hence restricted myself to just list down English ones for now.

Schindler's list
The Italian job
Rat race
To be or not to be
The Shawshank redemption
The Terminal
The English patient
Enemy at the gates
The shape of things
Road to perdition
Requiem of a dream
Pulp fiction
Reservoir dogs
City of god (cidade de deus)
The green mile
Last of the Mohicans
The patriot
Clockwork orange
Cinderella man
Patch Adams
21 grams
A few good men
The constant gardner
Rabbit-proof fence
Good fellas
Gods must be crazy - I
Gods must be crazy - II
Men of honor
The usual suspects
Hotel Rwanda
Before sunset
Before sunrise
Blood Diamonds
October sky
Amores Perros (Love’s a bitch)
Lock, stock and 2 smoking barrels
Glory Road
Courage under fire
The Bourne Identity
The Bourne Supremacy
The Bourne Ultimatum
Pirates of the Caribbean
The Mask of Zorro
An Inconvenient Truth

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


This snap was taken by my uncle in the hotel room he stayed in Riyadh for a short duration. My uncle had a habit to listen to Harikathaamruthasaara (Divine story of God: through chanting) - stored in the laptop - every morning.

Every time he switched on the chanting, a pigeon came and sat near the window (visible in the middle of the snap). It always stayed for the entire duration of the chanting, and as soon as the chanting got done, it flew away.

Fascinating, isnt it?

Thursday, December 13, 2007

60 Tonnes on my name!

~Thanks to Janet (and of course the sponsors), over 500 trees were planted in and around Koramangala this weekend.
~Yours truly contributed to absorption of 60 tonnes of CO2.
~"If we do not take action now, there will be no ice in Arctic by 2013 summer" (TOI Dec 13th)
~Came across these sites to battle global warming. An excellent initiative by a city that is always united in its approach. Be it hours after a terrorist attack. Or to make this world a better place.
~As I read recently in an open source software's readme doc: "If you like this software, I suggest donate generously to the betterment of the society. The world doesn't have to be a bad place." How simply and succinctly put!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

No one's fault, yet...

There were 3 seats in the bus when I boarded. First one in the middle of the bus, the empty seat being in between the aisle and the window; Second one being almost at the end, again between the aisle and the window; And the third one at the very last. The second one seemed good because the aisle and window passengers were relatively slim compared to the first. Nothing much to choose between the first and the third in terms of space except that third was bumpier due to its geographical position in the bus but had more leg space.

So when I saw the first empty seat, I rejected it because of the heftiness of the passengers on the aisle and window seats. I proceeded to the second one, which seemed to be the best. But as I neared, I realized that somebody had put a bag there. Which meant the seat was reserved by someone, who had perhaps just gone out to get some air. When I had already come thus far, I decided to forego the first seat and opted for the last seat, and risk the bumps with extended leg space.

Within a few minutes of me having occupied the last seat, 2 members boarded the bus. The first member saw two empty seats now, and, like me, decided for the second one and moved towards it. Meanwhile, the second member who had boarded, seeing that the first person forewent the first seat and was going for the second seat, had no choice but to squash down in the first seat.

Now, when the first member came towards the apparently empty second seat, like me, saw the reserved bag, and realized that there was no seat here. But unlike me, she didn’t have any other seat. And she realized to her horror, that the seat which she had just foregone also was now occupied. Which meant, there were no seats for her to sit on in the entire bus, although there was actually, in effect, one seat when she had initially boarded the bus which ideally should have belonged to her! She was left with no choice but to alight and choose another bus where perhaps she would get a seat.

Considering the situation, and the plight of the victim, one couldn’t blame the victim because the victim was just trying to get the best seat; one couldn’t blame the person who had reserved the seat because such a scenario couldn’t have been foreseen; one couldn’t blame the second person who boarded the bus for having taken the first seat because, for all practical purposes, the first person gave up this seat to go for something else which the second person doesn’t know that its reserved and first person didn’t get it eventually! Clearly, no one’s at fault, and yet, there was a victim in the whole scheme of the things.

Does this imply that the first opportunity you get, you should grab? Does this imply that the person who alighted, got a better opportunity later, going with the axiom of ‘All for good’?

It wasn’t too difficult for me to appreciate the bigger simile in life.

Finding Yourself

When you find yourself
In some far off place,
And it causes you
To rethink some things.
You start to sense
That slowly you’re becoming someone else
And then you find yourself.

When you make new friends
In a brand new town,
And you start to think
About settling down,
The things that would have been lost on you
Are now clear as a bell.
And you find yourself
That’s when you find yourself.

Well you go through life
So sure of where you’re heading,
And you wind up lost
And it’s the best thing that could happen.
‘Cause sometimes when you lose your way
It’s really just as well.
‘Cause you find yourself;
That when you find yourself.

When you meet the one
You’ve been waiting for,
And she’s everything
That you want and more,
You look at her
And you finally start
To live for someone else.
And then you find yourself;
That’s when you find yourself.

We go through life
So sure of where we’re heading,
And then we wind up lost
And it’s the best thing that could happen.
Sometimes when you lose your way
It’s really just as well.
Because you find yourself;
Yeah that’s when you find yourself.

Such a beautiful lyrics. From the movie Cars.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Remembering "Eyebrows"...



Elaine: What, you don't think she's beautiful?
Jerry: I don't know, what's with the eyebrows?
Elaine: You know, women kill for eyebrows like that. Do you know that? I mean women pluck their real eyebrows out of their head, one by one, until they're bald, Jerry. Bald above the eyes! And then they paint in these eyebrows to look like that.


George: What does she look like?
Jerry: She's good looking.
George: How good looking?
Jerry: Very good looking.
George: Really good looking?
Jerry: Really very good looking.
George: What about the body, what kind of body?
Jerry: Good body, nice body.
George: How nice?
Jerry: Nice.
George: Just nice?
Jerry: Pretty nice.
George: Really good?
Jerry: Really very nice and good.
George: What about personality?
Jerry: Good personality. Funny. Bright.
George: Smarter than me? I don't want anyone smarter than me.
Jerry: How could she be smarter than you?
George: What kind of hair?
Jerry: You know, long dark hair.
George: Flowing?
Jerry: Flowing?
George: Is it flowing? I like flowing, cascading hair. Thick lustrous hair isvery important to me. (scratching his balding hair!)
Jerry: 'Thick lustrous hair is very important to me,' is that what you said?
George: What about the skin? I need a good cheek, I like a good cheek.
Jerry: She's got a fine cheek.
George: Is there a pinkish hue?
Jerry: A pinkish hue?
George: Yes, a rosy glow.
Jerry: There's a hue. She's got great eyebrows, women kill to have her eyebrows.
George: Who cares about eyebrows?


Closing monologue.

Have you ever fixed anybody up? Why do we do it? Why? You thought they would have a good time. And a little power trip for you, isn't it? Now, you're playing god. Of course god was the first person to fix people up. He fixed up Adam and Eve. You know, I'm sure he said to Adam, "She's nice. She's very free about her body, doesn't really wear that much. She was going out with a snake, I think that's over though."


Here is the complete script for all episodes of Seinfeld. As Shady rightly put it, Friends is like Basic Java; Seinfeld is like Advanced Java!!

Remembering "Life backwards"...

"The most unfair thing about life is the way it ends. I mean, life is tough. It takes up a lot of your time. What do you get at the end of it? A death. What's that, a bonus?!? I think the life cycle is all backwards. You should die first, get it out of the way. Then you go live in an old age home. You get kicked out for being too healthy, go collect your pension, then, when you start work, you get a gold watch on your first day. You work forty years until you are young enough to enjoy your retirement.You drink alcohol, you party and you get ready for high school. You go to primary school,you become a kid, you play, you have no responsibilities. You become a little baby. You go back, you spend your last 9 months floating with luxuries like central heating, spa, room service on tap. Then you finish off as an orgasm!! Amen!"

Popularised as George Costanza's take on life in Seinfeld. One of the best unforgettable quotes I have ever read...

Sunday, December 02, 2007

The Worst Weekend...

The never-ending cough...
The confines of the workspace...
The feeling of being almost on top...
Yet never succeeding...

The blackness in the clouds...
The animosity in the air...
The heaviness in the heart...
The pathless future...

The unfinished food...
The after- (or is it mid-) dinner walk...
The pitying yet never failing Orion and Centaurus...
The sleepness night...

The lost smiles...
The 24x2 silence...

The walk in the noon...
The contemplation amidst the greenery...

And then, the silver lining...
The light at the end of the tunnel...
The lightness of the heart...
The sweet smell of freedom...

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Full Moon

There is nothing more beautiful than a full moon...

Photo Courtesy: Swati Pathak, 24th Nov'2007 at Agram army camp