Sunday, December 10, 2006

Amsterdam Airport, Two Days Ago

Most of these airports abroad look the same to me. Everybody says they are nice, which they are, but they are all the same, and if you've seen one, you've probably seen them all. If you want an adventure, come to the Hyderabad airport, or as somebody I know said, the Hyderabad cowshed.

I am just sitting in one of these lounges, half listening to the announcements being made about people whose luggage will be offloaded if they don't rush to their Gates. Some people are biting into their breakfast and I am wondering if I should take the trouble as well. Will I need to change currency, I wonder. Couple of Indian families around with small kids who take turns in raising up the decibel levels in the otherwise quiet setting. Now and then a pretty woman passes by and I look up and stare.

My flight until now has been kind of OK. Watched a decent movie called 'Invincible' about Vincent Papole, a football star in the 1980s. I like these sports related movies- they tend to get repetitive after a point but its a genre which I can comfortably go back to.

Pretty Woman.

Ok, also listened to the new album of John Mayer. The info tab said the songs were now more mature from his earlier album but they are just slower. A second time listening might help, but no instantaneous gratification. Aren't we all looking for that?

Old Man with pot belly.

I have also been reading a book 'Many Lives, Many Masters' by Dr. Brian Weiss where he's talking about his experiences about helping a patient who came to him for psychiatric help. Under hypnotic regression she talks about her past lives- 86 of them according to her, and Weiss tries to convince the reader that reincarnation as a concept may not be mumbo jumbo after all.

Of course reincarnation is a oft beaten subject in Hindu philosophy and Bollywood movies, where at least the former I am not well versed with, unfortunately. I think this book might just be the catalyst that I needed to do a bit more reading into the Bhagavad Gitas, Upanishads and the like. Quite ironical it would be, if I started reading Hindu literature when I have left the country.

Big Black Man.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Going Away

I should be travelling out of the country in the near future on a new assignment and spending considerable time away. Work has been uncharacteristically heavy these last couple of months trying to smooth-manage this transition. First to go was the gym as I gave up my regular visits and worried about looking like a famine stricken landless laborer. Next to go were the guitar classes. This withdrawal was tougher but required. I know enough now to venture out on my own and that’s the only way I will progress. Reading and jogging suffered as well but I managed the half marathon anyway reasoning that my perfect training schedule would never executed and I might as well get on with it. Reading became slower than it already was. I hope Amartya Sen doesn’t feel insulted. Dada, last chapter left. Promise, will finish it today. As for blogging, well, you guys be the judge.

Anyways, warm underwear and guitar case has been bought and I am all set, well almost. There are people to meet, good-byes to be said and things to worry about.

But life goes on.

Yesterday, attended a Shiamak Davar dance show where a close relative was performing. The show was a culmination of the classes that the SD academy conducted in the city for the last two months. It was fun, especially watching the juniors and kids in the age group of 4-6 dance. Mention must be made of one cool four-year-old who sat down on the stage and refused to move a muscle till the music stopped. If I were his dad, I would have been so proud. So many people dance and earn a living. It must be a different life.

Apologize for this brief post, but I have made a promise to Amartya Sen.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Two Hours and Forty Minutes

I almost wasn’t allowed to run the half marathon. Five minutes before the run, this official comes up to me and says the number on my chest is meant for the 10 K run and not the half marathon. A small flare up, getting hold of an organizer, letting them know that I hadn’t come to the venue to run in some stupid 10 K run. Having them find an alternate chest number and safety pins (Mom had stitched my previous number) before the countdown for the run started.

The run was extremely enjoyable if you leave out the last couple of kms., which were a test of the mind as my legs were pleading me to slow down and walk. But that was one of the two things I had resolved not to do. The other was to look back.

The weather was wonderful, nay, charitable. A harsh sun later in the morning could have seeped out my last resolve, who knows. The old city of Hyderabad is enchanting. It’s a pity that one can hardly notice it in the daily chaos of the traffic. I got a rare opportunity to go around the Charminar on near empty roads and take in the sights. It was also fun watching the motor vehicles wait for a long, long time at busy intersections, as we runners trudged our way slowly over their roads. I felt a lot of bad vibes.

The race got extremely irritating at around the 15 km mark when we started sharing the track with the 10 K runners whose run had started an hour later. As every Tom, Dick, Harry and Jane overtook me in every direction, I wanted to shout out, "Hey Bozos, show some respect! I am running the half!". But they wouldn’t have cared and it didn’t matter any way. I just put my head down and kept running.

My thanks to the volunteers, who handed out the water to me during the run. It kept me going. 0641-My chest number. They even gave me a certificate notwithstanding the fact that the guy who finished first could have done the run twice over in my time.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Keane- Can't Stop Now

I noticed tonight that the world has been turning
While I've been stuck here dithering around
Well I know I said I'd wait around till you need me
But I have to go, I hate to let you down

But I can't stop now
I've got troubles of my own
Cause I'm short on time
I'm lonely
And I'm too tired to talk

I noticed tonight that the world has been turning
While I've been stuck here withering away
Well I know I said I wouldn't leave you behind
But I have to go, it breaks my heart to say

That I can't stop now
I've got troubles of my own
Cause I'm short on time
I'm lonely
And I'm too tired to talk

No one back home
I've got troubles of my own
And I can't slow down
For no one in town

And I can't stop now
And I can't slow down
For no one in town
And I can't stop now
For no one

The motion keeps my heart running
The motion keeps my heart running
The motion keeps my heart running
The motion keeps my heart running

Sunday, November 12, 2006


Last Saturday I embarked on a trip to Srisailam with a group of friends and covered 475 kms. within 36 hrs. Three cars started from different parts of the city and met in Mehdipatnam at 7 AM where we rearranged ourselves into preferred groups within cars and started off. It was my first long drive and I was quite looking forward to it for quite sometime. Though the Santro is not really an ideal highway vehicle, Jenny still managed to hit 120 km/hr for decent stretches of the way.

I am planning to run the Hyderabad half marathon on the 26th of this month. My registration’s done and the acknowledgement is safely in my wallet. Yesterday was my last long run as preparation for the half marathon. Ran 16 kms from my home all the way to my office in Gachibowli. It gave me enough confidence to think that I will be able to complete the run with the extra five kms. as well. I was slower in my run than I thought I would be, though in my defence, I must say that a lot of the course was uphill. Anyway, I am mentally prepared to run for three hours if needed. I will run 10 kms. next weekend and I should be all set for the D day.

Our first stop was at a petrol bunk outside the city, as one of the ladies wanted to use the washroom. The rest of us fooled around with our cameras taking pictures of groggy companions who were complaining about their lost sleep on a Saturday morning. At around 8.30 AM we made our next stop near a dhaba. Tea was ordered and sandwiches- vegetable, cheese, and potato- were unfurled and hungrily eaten. Another half-hours till our next stop at an embankment and we were definitely in the country now.

I had only five hours of sleep the previous night, not the best preparation. And on top of that, forgot to fill my pockets with dry fruit, which I had planned to eat while running. Left home at 6.50 AM and trotted out. It was two weeks since I had a good run. I had planned to run while in Srisailam but that hadn’t materialized. Without a significant warm up, the first few kms. were not comfortable but I expected the run to ease out which it did. Running on city roads is not the most pleasant experience. In the morning, you cannot avoid the view of people relieving themselves on the roadsides. I could have run in the park like I usually do but wanted to run on unfamiliar terrain to prepare myself. Found myself in traffic in Krishna Nagar with trucks parked all over but hit Jubilee Hills soon and it was better.

Once we took a left to hit the road leading towards Srisailam, roads became better and driving, a pleasure. It’s a hilly area around Hyderabad and there were quite a few hillocks with huge weather-beaten rocks making for a good view. Onwards, we hit fields on either side, the sun came up and smiled on us quite benevolently. I noticed a lot of beautiful yellow flowers along the way on either side. My window was down just enough to allow the pleasant cool breeze to whisper its way around my ears while sister changed the CDs as they ran out of songs to play. I have a good collection, in my opinion, mostly English though.

Jubilee Hills is a good place to run if you don’t mind the uphill terrain which slows you down. Roads are cleaner befitting a posh neighborhood. I wasn’t worried about my speed yesterday, just wanted to run all the way without having to stop or walk or break down. There was a chill in the air, just how it should be in November. Turned into the main road leading to Madhapur and it was downhill for sometime and I was really enjoying the run now. I was breathing well and there was good rhythm halfway into the run. Then suddenly I had to stop to hold a trolley of rusks and biscuits which was coming down the slope towards me while its owner was relieving himself on the side of the road.

Srisailam is at an altitude and pretty soon we were climbing winding roads up hills. Srisailam also boasts of a very well managed Tiger reserve, which is not open to wildlife tourism but you do drive through the dense forests on either side with adventurous monkeys frequenting the roads being spoilt by the nuts thrown for them by passers by. Pretty soon we were making frequent stops to gather the beautiful view of tree lined hills below us into our respective cameras. Soon we were going downhill heading towards the dam built on the Krishna. The Srisailam dam is an impressive sight, an oasis of man’s significant effort though dwarfed by nature’s own astounding architecture all around it.

Madhapur is Hyderabad’s IT destination. The sun was up now but thankfully behind me. It started getting tougher around the 11-km mark when I hit Kothaguda junction as the calf muscles started complaining about the uphill route which continued all the way till the company gate. The last 500m was quite tough as the eyes had started watering, it being two hrs. and some more of running without any liquid replenishment. But I was happy that I made it.

From the dam it’s again uphill all the way till you reach Srisailam town, which is a quaint little place. We had rooms booked in advance. There’s a ropeway, and some boating. I had taken my guitar along and there was drinking that night as well. The drive back was faster with fewer stops.

I paid 130 bucks for the auto ride back.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Happy Birthday

My 28th birthday was pretty eventful. Birthdays are generally another of those things about which I don’t lose much sleep over. Yes, there are some people whose birthdays I can’t (afford to) forget but I can count them in the fingers of my right hand. There’s nothing that I have against it. I think it’s a charming practice and all that and it gives us another reason to get in touch with people who were, are, or we wish were an important part of our lives. But when push comes to shove, I always seem to have other things on my mind. Like that day, when I had to get a haircut, or when I had take Jenny to the service station.

Due to such bad behavior, I could generally count the number of people who remember my b’day and take the trouble to let me know that they did with the help of half of my fingers of my left hand, give or take a half. But we live in a networked world now. Orkut reminds the 77 people that I am connected to on its website about my birthday from 15 days in advance. My company, which has the details of my date of birth, announces its privy knowledge gleefully to the 1000 people within my business unit. Yahoo! Groups is obviously not left far behind.

As a result I was quite flattered with the number of messages, emails and smses which found their way into my various inboxes and thanked all of them. There were also at least two cakes, which had my name on it. One of them also had some of my face on it. I think I acquit myself rather well those couple of days, without resorting to my usual frowning countenance at being fussed over. I am 28 now, remember. Even irksome chimpanzees pick up certain social skills in this time.

Anyway, I was in Chennai that day. Went jogging on the Marina in the morning (There’s a half marathon in Hyderabad later this month. Let’ s see.) In the evening, treated myself to ‘Lage Raho Munnabhai’ after I am sure the whole world had already watched it. I liked it, I guess, but I had higher expectations. Personally, I don’t think it’s a patch on ‘Munnabhai MBBS’. The characters were etched out a lot better in the original. At least I felt about it that way.

Other memories of my birthdays-

Age 7-Dad delivering a biscuit tin (he worked in a company, which made biscuits) to my school. Most birthday kids generally brought toffees to distribute to their classmates. Dad thought it was a great idea. It would make me stand out and all that. Of course I was mortified for the same reason.

Age 12- Lunch at Gaylord, Connaught place in Delhi. My sister and I got two choices for our birthday celebrations. I always chose the lunch. She would throw the party.

Age 18- Bumps at midnight at ISBT in New Delhi. A motley group of college students going home and a moment of indiscretion.

Age 24- A disc in Juhu, Bombay. Bunch of management trainees. I had money in the bank and knew how to jive.

29thOctober. In case you missed it this year.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Happy Diwali

My 16 km drive to office in the morning is generally the better part of my day. I leave early between 7.30-7.45 and generally manage to beat the traffic and instead of hitting Madhapur, the IT district of Hyderabad, I prefer the Jubilee Hills-Filmnagar route. It’s a longer route, but there are no traffic lights after the Jubilee Hills Checkpost till I reach office. I love the view when I drive Jenny down from Jubilee Hills to hit the highway below where she then touches 100 kmph. Nowadays am listening to Maroon 5.

Of course sometimes I do get stuck in Jubilee Hills behind one of those school buses, which hog the road. Some of the better international schools are in the area. But also along the road, there are a bunch of less fortunate kids in white shirts and blue shorts who study in a govt. school trudging all the way from Jubilee Hills down to their school below. Some of them ask for a lift and I oblige.

Couple of days ago, as I stopped for a couple of them, the smaller of the two kept pulling the door and in the process I couldn’t open the door from within. I frantically kept trying to signal him to leave the door so that I could open the door but he wouldn’t budge. Cars lined up behind me and I could begin to hear their impatient honks over my Blaupunkt speakers. I gestured angrily, his face fell and he started walking away, puzzled and confused. I finally opened the door called him back and they both clambered in, one each in front and back. I heaved a sigh of relief and pressed on the accelerator.

The ride was silent. I asked them something but they didn’t seem to hear. They got off on the turn into the national highway.

“Thank you Uncle!”

Shit, I turn 28 in another nine days.

On my way back that day at the J Hills traffic lights, saw another kid around the same age trying to sell ear cleaning buds to the car in front of me. His sales pitch was unsuccessful and I instinctively rolled up my power windows as he started to make his way towards me. But he suddenly stopped in his tracks, his face lit up and he picked up what looked like a fallen coin from the road. Almost immediately a slightly taller half naked thin kid with a pretty obvious skin disease came to him and claimed the coin gesturing something to what seemed to me like a hole in the pocket of his oversized, dirty shorts. The smaller kid seemed to be convinced of the other kid’s explanation and handed over the coin. Out of nowhere from the darkness of the divider on the road, a ragged middle aged man with unkept hair and beard who had apparently been watching the whole thing joined them both and demanded what was going on. The second kid’s explanation obviously didn’t cut any ice with him and he forced the coin out of his hand and pushed him away with some choice words in his vocabulary. The kid went away crying, but not without shouting something at the man in return. The man gestured the first kid to continue selling and disappeared back into his resting place on the divider.

The lights went green as he started coming towards me. I sped past him and avoided looking at his face.

“Fuck! Fuck!”

And oh, Happy Diwali.

Sunday, October 08, 2006


There is 12 game Chess World Championship Match happening in Elista between Vladimir Kramnik and Veselin Topalov. It’s been the most entertaining affair. A small synopsis for all you guys who don’t have much of an interest in Chess but are still reading this-

1. After 4 rounds, Vladimir Kramnik the lesser-rated player of the two leads 3-1 with two wins and two draws from 4 games.

2. Topalov’s team then submits a protest based on video evidence saying that Kramnik visits the bathroom around 50 times during the game, insinuating that he is cheating and demand the following
 That both the private bathrooms attached to the players restrooms be sealed
 That a common bathroom be made available for both players.
 That an attendant accompany both players inside the bathroom
 That all video footage relating to visits made to the bathroom be made publicly available to both teams and the media.
 They also say that Topalov will also not shake hands with Kramnik (Am not sure till now whether that’s because of his cheating or his lack of hygiene)
 If the above conditions were not met, they threaten to abandon the match.

3. The appeals committee hurriedly convenes and says the following
 That the number of visits to the bathroom made by Kramnik have been exaggerated by the Topalov team but are nevertheless unusual and
 Both private bathrooms will be sealed
 A common bathroom will be made available for use by both players
 Considering respect for privacy, an attendant will not accompany the players nor will any video footage be made available public from the toilet premises.

4. The Kramnik team then protests and says the following-
 That playing conditions were agreed to within the contract and they cannot be broken midway through the match.
 Security checks are done before and after every game of the player’s facilities and hence Topalov’s allegations are hence baseless, insulting and cowardly.
 That Kramnik likes to walk during his games and uses the space of the bathroom area for walking.
 That the appeals committee through their decision has exposed their incompetence and bias towards Topalov and hence should be sacked.
 That as per terms of the contract, his use of a private toilet be restored.
 If the above conditions were not met, he threatens to abandon the match.

5. The fifth game starts. While Topalov is at the table, Kramnik is waiting in his restroom for his toilet, which has been sealed, to be opened. He loses the game on time and Topalov is awarded the game by forfeit. The score stands at 3-2. Obviously, they didn’t shake hands.

6. The World Chess community steps in. It’s a public relations disaster for Topalov and the Appeals committee as Grandmasters around the world and the chess loving public and press support Kramnik’s position and flay the decision of the Appeals committee.

7. FIDE, the governing chess body steps in.
 They sack the members of the appeals committee.
 Restore use of private bathrooms to the players.
 But insist that the score will stand at 3-2 as per the forfeiture.

8. Kramnik plays the sixth game under protest but in the ‘larger interest of the game’. The game ends in a draw. So does the next game. Score stands at 4-3 for Kramnik.

9. Topalov’s manager does a press release where he says that 75% of Kramnik’s moves in the first four games matches with the first choice of a leading chess software, Fritz. Kramnik’s team rubbishes the claim and says that Topalov’s manager knows nothing of chess.

10. Past greats like Karpov and Korchnoi ask Kramnik to abandon the match. One of the members of the sacked appeals committee explains that the signed contract promised both players use of a restroom ‘and’ a toilet and not a restroom ‘with’ a toilet.

11. Kramnik loses the next two games. The score now stands at 4-5 for Topalov after nine games. Three more remain to be played.

Personally, I feel that Topalov is a much better player and a deserving world champ. His dynamic playing style has reinvigorated the chess scene like nothing else since Kasparov retired. But I feel sorry for Kramnik as he has been done in, a bit. I hope Topalov wins by a wide margin so that the result of the forfeited game is not called into question.

Oh yes, they have been shaking hands.

Update: Kramnik has won the 10th game. Score now at 5-5.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Tagged by Rael

Eight things about me. That’s the tag. As tags go, it’s a pretty stupid one since my whole blog is about me, me, me anyway. And why eight?! That’s seven too many if you ask me for one post. But many memories involving Rael are stupid as well, but dazed and memorable nevertheless, so I shall take the plunge. Plus nowadays I am doing a lot of this, talking about myself that is.

Number 1. I have a nice small scar on my forehead. A few years ago, it would have been hardly noticeable, covered as it was by a generous presence of my protein enriched locks. But bad genes and time have together connived to make its presence felt so here’s the story behind it. Twenty four years ago…(appropriate music and the screen disappearing in bubbles-Cut to new scene in B&W-)

…I was four years old, obviously. What was not obvious to many was that I harbored secret ambitions of emerging as the fastest man on earth in four years time and give fitting company to the Payyoli express. To this end, in the spring of 1983, I had taken to running from the balcony of our Lajpat Nagar house to the other end of our abode as crucial part of my rigorous training program. My aim was to run faster than the speed of sound. I remember I used to shout before I ran and stop at the other end and check if I could still hear my war cry. Except on one of these runs, I forgot to stop and hit the wall.


So when somebody uses the expression “feels like am banging my head against the wall”, I say, “Yeah, I know what that feels like…”.

Number 2. I have flown a plane. An engineless biplane, actually. Did about 20 exhilarating flights ten years ago at the BITS flying club. Another hundred and I could have earned a flying license. But as I seemed to go higher, my grades went lower and lower till my parents cut the funding. Rael, you can back me up on this claim. By the way, why did you stop flying?

Number 3. I had a couple of months to myself before I joined my first job when I learnt to jive and wrote GMAT. My 97 percentile score will expire this year. As for jiving, well, blogging about it seems to be the only way to gain mileage from it.

Number 4. I have never voted in my life. I am quite ashamed of it. I don’t have a voters ID as yet, traveling around as I have been almost every year since I turned 18. I know that’s no excuse but I wish we could one day vote via sms like we choose our Indian Idols.

Number 5. Okay, this is just in. I skid and fell off my sister’s scooty today morning on my way to the Marina Beach for my much awaited run. Now am at home nursing multiple bruises, an anti tetanus injection and a very bruised ego.

Number 6. I believe in fate. Sometimes it’s a good thing, I take life as it comes, stay cool most of the time and am rarely ruffled by situations. Sometimes its not, because I tend to follow the car in front of me when am lost, hoping it will lead me to my destination. I can so totally identify with those three men on camels who followed that star. I mean, people call them wise now, don’t they?

Number 7. I am not a foodie. I hardly ever eat between meals and really kind of eat to live. But I want to put on weight. Now you know am an MBA.

Number 8. I wrote and composed my first and probably my last song sometime last week. It’s here if you want to see it, which you shouldn’t. But if you do, I should tell you that it still needs a title and a verse. Don’t ask me for the lyrics, am quite ashamed of their pithiness.

I tag Aravind, Kurur, The One

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Neutralization of Fear

What was Man’s first big discovery? No, not the wheel, that came much later. Fire? No, that wasn’t a discovery, fire existed by itself, Man didn’t have to discover it. But, you are close, it has something to do with fire. It was when Man discovered that he could control fire and use it for his own needs and he was no longer afraid of it. That’s called neutralization of fear.

It’s when you choose to do something irrespective of the outcome. The outcome may mean loss, pain and heartbreak but you still go ahead and do it because you are happy doing it and you couldn’t care less about the result.

What is trust? Is it from within or without? When you trust someone, who is more important in that decision? You, or that someone? Would you trust a robber, a murderer, a rapist, or your ex-wife?

Have you neutralized your fear yet?

I am reminded of a scene from one of the serials on TV some time back when a lawyer who’s representing a rape victim tells her,

“I don’t know whether going on the stand is a good or bad idea, whether we’ll win or lose, but I know for certain that you won’t regret it.”

They lose the case but she doesn’t regret it. (“I am glad I spoke out”)

I am glad I spoke out.

P.S. One should give the devil his due. Parts of this post are extracts from a talk given by a guy called Shiva on Sat during an outbound training program.

P.P.S. I still haven’t gotten around to hosting my audio files as yet. Luckily, I still have a Silk Route song to share this week here. C’mon, forgive the video quality and neutralize your fear!

Sunday, September 17, 2006


I like my own space. Always have. Since as far back as I can remember, I have been kind of a private person. Nobody in their right mind would describe me as outgoing, talkative, gregarious etc. I would count myself lucky if they think I am social. Six years of hostel life and three years in a sales role meant that I can initiate, hold and even impress when necessary in a conversation but at heart, like I said before, I like my own space.

Most of the stuff which I do, outside of work, be it running, blogging, playing my guitar, online chess, reading is obviously, done in isolation. I even go to the movies alone. Many people find that weird. Some give me ‘what a loser’ looks but I love going to a good movie on my own terms, my day, my time and not having to make polite conversation at intermittent periods. And don’t get me started on the popcorn. So, you would have guessed by now that I haven’t been able to hold down a relationship for any significant period of time.

If you are scratching your head about where this entire thing came from, two things have kind of precipitated this outpouring of self-analysis. One is, of course, discussions of matrimony at home, which till now I have been able to present a straight bat to. Simply put, arranged marriage terrifies me. I even remember distinctly a dream on this subject awhile back, which can only be described as a nightmare. It’s not that I feel I would be unhappy in a marriage. But it would so easy for me to be indifferent. I would just find my own space in that relationship and keep it out of bounds like I do so often with many. And that would be so unfair to the partner. I know you are probably thinking that it’s no big deal and anyway one doesn’t need share everything in a marriage and a private space circle is perfectly fine. The problem is, in my case, that circle could be a pretty big one.

You are probably still shaking your head, more so if you are already in a steady relationship and going all ‘Been there, done that’. To you I present my second reason, which is the REAL reason for writing this post. I don’t know if I mentioned before, but sis has recently moved jobs and joined us at Hyderabad. Which is not a problem at all (most of the time) since am used to having her around, having grown up together and all that, and she is unmindful of my little eccentricities. So while my room has been left untouched, she does have to use the computer, which is there in my room, and she has placed a small ‘Shrek Donkey’ soft toy on top of the monitor.
Which is quite irritating and believe me, and that’s an understatement. I punched it away the first time but it found its way back and I had to hear an earful of how I was being ‘extremely silly’. Even right now, the stupid thing is looking down at me, baring its eight (yes, I counted) huge disproportionate teeth in a grin, if one could call it that, its tilted head nodding continuously due to the fan in my room. I tried a profile position but that’s actually quite scary. And the ‘ass’ position (pun unintended) makes me a bit queasy.

All in all, it’s highly distracting, the Shrek Donkey is. Writing blog posts and surfing the net at home are taking longer than usual as I keep glancing at it and returning its glare every five seconds. I could keep it aside and keep it back up when am finished with my work on the computer but even I think that that’s quite abnormal. I have now starting thinking of it as a test. If I can live with that stupid Donkey staring down at me maybe I will emerge from this experience a better man. Everything happens for a reason doesn’t it.

You see the problem now, don’t you?

P.S. This time, here’s a dazed and confused attempt at a Beatles number. The video is screwed up more than usual due to the fact that I used unregistered software to convert to a Div file. I promise links to a pure audio file from the next post. And, of course, as usual, view or listen at your own risk.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Pregnant and Sick

The Bai who works at our home is pregnant. There is nothing remarkable about her. I see her if at all, only on weekends. She comes in, does the dishes, cleans the floor and leaves without making her presence felt. I don’t think I have heard her speak.

A few days back, we had gone out to dinner at Muppidi’s to celebrate a small occasion. After we had eaten more than we should have and less than we had ordered, the topic suddenly changed to Bai’s. I remarked how the one’s in Bombay now carry mobile phones and are on the speed dials of my friends. My sister remarked about how she was used to be woken up and given bed tea by her counterpoint in Chennai. And Mum remarked how she had seen our current Bai scrape out rice from the bottom of the vessel kept for cleaning and carry it home. At that moment the waiter interrupted and I signed the overpriced cheque.

We decided to pack the generous leftovers from that dinner. Not that it made me feel any better.

Oh, and I won the Chess tournament I played in last weekend and promptly fell sick the next day. The good thing about falling sick is that one finally gets around to doing sub optimal stuff that one wouldn’t normally do but should. So I read a few chapters of Sen’s ‘The Argumentative Indian’ and was surprised that it was quite readable and not as academically obtuse as I feared it would be. I also wrote a crappy, Sick Poem when I was feeling particularly, er, crappy.

Sick Poem

I am sick today
Feeling under the weather
But not so bad
As I was yesterday
Or the day before.

Tomorrow I will be all right
And go to office as usual.
Check my email
Attend meetings
And conference calls.

I am sick today
And stayed at home.
No, no, it’s not what you think
It’s a public holiday;
Ganesh Chaturthi is today.

I lay in bed
And read all day.
My mp3 player’s conked off
While my internet connection
Needs renewal.

I am sick today
But I will be
Better tomorrow.

P.S. And continuing on our Guitar Torture series here’s a D&C attempt at that evergreen song from QSQT.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Wishes and Curses

I have never been big on religion. Though in the same breath I must admit I have never been NOT big on religion as well. I prefer not to have an opinion on the issue. I don’t think much about it. If rarely I am pushed into a corner, in true D&C tradition, I weasel my way out through a vague and diplomatic answer or one, which would help me to change the subject pretty quickly. Thankfully my parents never made a big deal out of it. They took me to the usual tour of temples when I was a kid, introduced me to Ramayana, Mahabharata and Amar Chitra Kathas and left me to my own devices to figure it out for myself.

I am looking to move into a new rented apartment. Preferably one which is a little bigger than the current one, has an address which doesn’t need further explanation and also which wouldn’t leak through its windows in the rainy season, thank you very much. Went and looked at one in Banjara Hills, loved it but found that it was at least three grand over my budget.

Festivals nowadays come and go and I hardly notice them. If it weren’t for the pandals put up and the heavier than usual traffic snarls on the way back from office I swear I would have had no idea it was Ganesh Chaturthi season. Mum made the traditional sweets a few mornings ago and called me in to the kitchen where she has her own personal little God space where the Ganesha held prime of place that day.

“Pray”, she commanded.

Like I mentioned earlier, in such situations, the practical side of D&C comes to the fore and recognizes that obeisance is the fastest way out.

“Say your Ganesha prayers.”

A few things like the National Anthem, Vande Mataram (flavor of the month, when will they remix it?) and Ganesha prayers, one doesn’t tend to forget when they are drilled into your impressionable little brain. I chanted them quite expertly.

“You should say them more often.”

I mentioned that I say them all the time when no one is listening.

Anyway, time for payback.

“Oh God, give me more money!”, I said aloud as I did my final bow lying flat on the ground, the modular kitchen in that Banjara Hills apartment still fresh in my mind.

Mum clucked disapprovingly. She decided to overrule my wish.

“No God, give him strength of mind.”

“NO, NO, NO!”, I bawled, “I want money! Money, Money, Money!” Fists beating on the floor now. “I don’t want any strength of mind, give me money!”

“Shush! Don’t say such things. It might come true” (she was referring selectively to my not wanting the strength of mind thing).

And you know what, I’ve become really forgetful this week. I forgot my mobile at office, which led to me leaving my company ID card at a PCO booth. Forgot to pay my credit card bills within the due date and today returned home without my gym clothes. All these things normally happen once a year, like those festivals, actually. It’s quite a coincidence then that they all happened in the same week.

Oh Elephant God! Take your curse back!

P.S. And continuing on our guitar education here’s a D&C attempt on a song from the movie, ‘Gangster’. View at your own risk.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

The 'I' Tag, they call it.

Well, somebody finally tagged me. Solved one problem that I was facing, writing a post, that is. Anyway, here it is.

I am thinking about how this post will look like when I am finished with it.

I said “Do you really need so much water to cook rice?” five minutes ago.

I want to go for a long drive.

I wish there was more peace in this world, this terrorism stuff troubles me, seriously.

I miss travelling to new places.

I hear little. Am mostly preoccupied with my own thoughts, dazed and confused though they may be.

I wonder how things, which do not directly concern them, do not affect people.

I regret nothing, actually. I honestly think I’ve had my share of luck and good fortune.

I am DazedandConfused, obviously.

I dance passably, I guess. I can jive a bit and used to be able to do a capable cha cha and waltz at some point of time.

I sing while playing the guitar. Right now they both sound equally bad. At least one of them should definitely improve sooner or later.

I cry whenever I want to.

I am not going to Tag you, don’t worry, so read on, this is almost done.

I write rarely, mostly I just type. I sign sometimes. Fuck it, it’s not like I had a great handwriting anyways.

I confuse you hopefully, that’s the whole idea anyway, being cryptic and mysterious. Don’t think am doing a good job of it, though.

I need to put on 10 kilos, OK, at least 7. I currently weigh 63 kgs.

I should be less self-critical and smile more at people.

I finish whatever I start. I am never “Well Begun and Half Done”. It’s not such a good thing all the time, actually.

I Tag, whoever leaves a comment to this post. You always have a choice, buddy.

P.S. Shit! So you’re still reading. Well the thing is, I’ve been working on my guitar skills for the past 3 months now and have gathered enough gumption finally to broadcast myself. Be warned, it don’t look pretty and it don’t sound pretty but here’s a D&C attempt at a Beatles number for what its worth.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Dazed at the Railway Station

I have been participating in chess selections over the past few days to represent my company in some corporate tournament starting from next weekend. I lost my first game due to a horrible blunder in a winning position but won the rest to coast through. My second to last game was a very pretty win from the black side of a Sicilian Najdorf. I thought I would try annotating it with the help of Fritz and post it, so worked till 3 AM last night but found that I couldn’t upload the screenshots. Shit! Any ideas how I can upload screenshots pasted on MS Word to the blog? I can’t simply copy and paste the screenshot; that doesn’t work.

A call from Mum woke me up at 6.30 AM saying her train was expected to arrive at 7.30 AM and not 8.30 as informed earlier. So in a more dazed and confused state than usual, rushed to the station to find that the train was delayed due to a fire in Chennai Express, another train coming in from Chennai. And that’s the train in which I usually book her tickets when she travels on weekdays. It reaches an hour earlier and allows me to reach office on time as well. Thankfully there were no casualties on the train, though five bogies were gutted from all reports.

As the scheduled arrival time kept getting postponed every 15 minutes, I just hung around the inquiry counter and watched the fun. The girls at the counter with the mike were getting increasingly irritated with the repeated queries on Train Arrivals/Departures from a horde of people.

“Vishaka expected at 9.15, we’ll announce the platform number.”

“All local trains have been cancelled. Take the bus!”

“Charminar is delayed. No idea about the time as yet. We’ll announce it.”

“Why do you ask the same question every 5 minutes? Go stand far away and don’t come near this counter!!”

“Why are you standing here? I’ve already answered your query. Go away!”

It was real funny. The train was eventually three hours late.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Faded Friendships

“Quiet, deep, emotionally complex and intensely private, you are not a person who is easy to get to know and understand. You are extremely sensitive but disinclined to show it, and you allow only a special few into your inner world. Like a wary animal, you are cautious and mistrustful of those you do not know until you "sniff them out". You are very, very instinctive and intuitive. You usually have a strong, immediate gut reaction to people, even though you may be unable to clearly articulate why you feel as you do. Your feelings and perceptions go deeper than words…”

It’s a bit scary to find out that somebody could know you so well if they are aware of your date, time and place of birth. What’s even scarier is that somebody has probably written some sort of a program for it, since the above extract is from one of those astrology websites. Before you start pointing accusing fingers at me, let me clarify that I received this in my email and was not the perpetrator of this act.

We moved from Delhi to Chennai in 1994 and I promptly decided that keeping in touch with my old friends was too much trouble (one had to write letters then, STD was too expensive) and looked forward to making new friends. But I was 15 and the age of innocence was already over. I found that I was too late to register for the IIT coaching classes that the rest of my class in school was already into. Though I was a Tamilian, I could neither read, write or pronounce the language properly leave alone knowing the nuances of ‘Madras’ Tamil. Not that I didn’t make friends, many in fact, that I am in touch with till date but I did belatedly realise that childhood friends are precious and not something to be thrown away. Like S.

I knew S for barely more than a year during my last year in school in Delhi. We were in different sections but took the same bus to school and back from adjacent bus stops. What started as chatter to while away the time in the bus extended to joint study sessions, exchanging notes, bicycle trips to the Rajouri Garden Market and discussions on adult movies, girls and of course, teachers. He was a jovial, fun and an intelligent kid. I remember his dad used to drop us at the exam center during the Xth board exams in his car. He scored more than me, by the way.

Anyway, we moved soon after but not before I had taken his postal address along with stated intentions of keeping in touch, which I never did. Even years later, I would feel guilty about not having kept in touch with my friends in Delhi. It wasn’t their fault, you see, since they never knew my coordinates. I hadn’t even communicated that across to them. So I had given up all hope of hearing from or about them for the rest of my life.

Until of course I came across Orkut.

Now Orkut is a pretty neat concept. You should try it if you haven’t already. But tracking down my friends was still not easy. I found an online school community and looked over the 250 odd members but didn’t see anybody I remembered. Random searches for S and other friends on Orkut didn’t lead anywhere. But on one of those last ditch random search efforts, I found P who also was in the same section as S and could possibly direct me to him. P called back and we spoke for close to a half-hour at the end of which I did manage to note down S’s email. He’s now been married for the last 3 years, P had said.

I emailed S immediately and his reply was prompt, though brief.

“D&C, you are right. I do not recall you. But we can meet sometime. S”

I laughed out loud.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Water, Water, Everywhere

You know those Hindi movies of the 80s and early 90s where our main protagonist was mostly from a disadvantaged background? And how those movies used to spend close to half-hour of a good movie torturing us with some child actors in dubbed voices? Well, if you are with me till here, can you imagine those movie scenes where it used to rain and our poor Hero’s family would tremble in the cold as their hut leaked with water from all over? Imagine lightning effects and our Hero’s younger sister (there’s always a younger sister, silly) shouting “Bhaiyya!” and hugging big brother. Or do you remember seeing an ad recently on TV where they showed a family opening umbrellas and putting on raincoats as they went INTO their house, because their roof was leaking?

My flat is inundated with water. Ah, you say, now I see the purpose of the first paragraph in this post. Thankfully, the roof isn’t leaking, as yet, that honor is left to my office (more on that later). Rainwater is wading in from the cracks in the old window frames of the house. I am sure the ants and other organisms with whom I share the floor of the flat must be thinking that a Tsunami is upon them. Mum has been diligently trying to dry the floor since yesterday. I asked her why she was bothering with it (“Lets just wear chappals, we anyway sleep on the bed and the water isn’t going to come up to that level”). She gave me a look, which made me feel like a pet that had just peed on the floor of the house. It didn’t help when I suggested that we spread the carpet on the wet floor so that I could sit on my leather beanbag which was now perched on my bed. After some time, she gave up, when in spite of her efforts she could see no perceptible improvement in the condition of the floor and took the easy way out. Which is, to blame me, of course.

“Even when we were in Delhi, (that’s a span from 26 to 14 years ago), I ‘ve never lived in a house, which leaked like this one”, she said, as she sat in the chair next to me and pulled the small table from under my feet and plonked her own feet on top of it.

You may think it’s a harmless statement. But, its loaded. First point to note is that it was I who selected and rented this place while obviously my point of view was never asked for when we were in Delhi. Second point to note, me lord (don’t tell me you don’t remember those court scenes in those movies that I was talking about) was that even when we were poor (when compared to say, now) we stayed in better houses, at least they never leaked.

If you think this is funny (at least I do), come to my office, it just gets better.

As you enter the lobby on my floor, you will be greeted by a row of 6 buckets of different pastel colors, green, blue and pink being predominant among them preventing the leak from the roof wetting the floor. Yesterday, I even saw a red colored 50-liter drum where the leak was little more earnest than the other typical ones. That drum reminded me back to the Delhi days when we used to fill in our water needs for the day in a similar looking drum. Running water was scarce then and available for only an hour or so in that DDA flat, I remember.

Coming back to office, even the bloody elevators are leaking from the vents. I mean, there am I waiting, along with a female colleague, for the elevator doors to open when we are greeted with our own private monsoon enclosure. We are both taken aback, obviously (I think I even heard a small exclamation from her which sounded like, “ohowro!?!”) As I gingerly lead the way in, we inspect the leaking vent, the wet floor of the elevator and, you guessed it, the pink bucket between both of us, which was half full and struggling to catch the drops which fell out of its reach. They need more buckets in there, I thought, as I escaped out of the elevator when it reached my floor. But then there wouldn’t be much of a place to stand around. That would be funny. Only a bunch of buckets going up and down in the elevators the whole day filling themselves up with water.

This rain is also causing havoc on my weekly 9 km. run on Saturdays. I ‘ve been thinking about running the Bangalore Half Marathon, that’s 21 kms, on Sep 17th. That’s only 42 days away. How am I going to train in this weather?

Rain, Rain, Go Away!

Dad, who used to have a joke for every occasion, asked us when we were kids,

“Why is the letter ‘T’ like an island?!”

As we looked at him with blank stares, he would exclaim,

“Because its in the middle of W-A-T-E-R!”

And laugh.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Rambling On...

My head is blank. No ideas for a post whatsoever, so I am just going to ramble on here.

I could always write a whole new post on my run yesterday, but trust me, you don’t want to hear about it.

Everybody who listens to western rock n roll goes through a Beatles phase. So have I. But I have kind of rediscovered them since their songs can be so completely played on an acoustic guitar. I can play Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ (very simple chords) and spent most of the whole day yesterday working out and practicing ‘Hey Jude’. It’s a beautiful song. I especially love this line-

“For well you know that it’s a fool, who plays it cool, by making his life, a little colder.”

The chords are not simple though. Quite a few suspended and seventh chords, which I haven’t used earlier, plus I don’t think I have nailed down the strumming pattern as well. Some more work is needed there.

Yesterday played a few games on A much better interface than the new irritating one yahoo has come up with.

64 squares, 32 pieces. 6 Strings, 12 frets. But what an ocean of knowledge they both conceal!

Attended a ‘Planning and Prioritizing’ workshop at work this week. It started half hour late.

Went bowling with friends on Friday. Did much better than expected, in fact I topped the group. Okay, I admit, there were three girls in the group who I think had hardly bowled before.

Nowadays, ‘Aastha’ channel runs quite frequently at home since Mum has discovered Baba Ramdev on TV. I am generally a skeptical bastard when it comes to any hint of Babas and Sadhus but this guy definitely has something going for him. I can surely say one thing for him. He knows how to engage a live audience and it doesn’t make for bad TV at all. Even I watched this channel for 15 minutes running which hasn’t happened since the football world cup got over.

Talking of channels, I get more and more disgusted with the news channels with every passing day. These guys won’t stop at anything to grab eyeballs. And everybody knows that fear grabs attention like nothing else (except sleaze, of course). Make people afraid and you could have them by the balls glued to your channel. So two women who drove up to near the PM’s residence became prime time news. A security review for cricketers meant that Tendulkar and Dravid could be assassinated in the near future. And what a tamasha was made of the kid who was stuck in some drain. ‘Human Drama’, as Rajdeep Sardesai kept repeating like an interactive voice response system.

It’s a beautiful Sunday morning. Am going to listen to some more of Beatles. Read a book. Eat lunch and take a nap. Go out shopping in the evening.

Have a nice day.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

My Best Run Till Date

A friend told me recently that most of my posts are about my guitar or similar stupid things. As policy, I don’t blog about my workplace. And in my weekends when I blog, that’s where my quality time goes- into my guitar or my weekly Saturday run. The Raghuram Rajan book is taking forever to finish. I will think twice before I buy a book on International Financial Markets again. There are hardly any good movies running. There’s the Shabana Azmi- Javed Akhtar play but another friend forwarded a review of it, which has dissuaded me from investing 500 bucks and some petroleum into the effort. My idea of doing some meaningful social work on weekends is still just that. An idea. Which leaves me nothing else to blog about right now except my run yesterday.

For newcomers to this blog, I run 9.5 kms. every Saturday evening. That’s 11 semicircular rounds of the Krishna Kant Park which I take 62 minutes for- my best time till yesterday.

I have been trying to shave of 2 minutes of my best time for forever now. Which means a little over ten seconds per round. Doesn’t sound like much but take my word for it, not easy. This time, I thought I would target the first six rounds in half-hour and leave the second half-hour to finish the last five, an attack-the-course-from-the-outset strategy.

It is 6.27 P.M when I start. Conditions are kind of blustery with moderate to heavy winds and heavy cloud cover. I start at a steadier clip than usual and make an effort to maintain an uncomfortable breathing pattern till my stomach starts knotting up, when I ease up on the pace a bit. That was the third round.

It starts raining on the fourth. Not heavy, only a drizzle, but of course, it doesn’t help. I curse and debate on whether I should give up the run but decide to continue till it gets much worse. I am the only one left running on the course apart from a couple of other intrepid walkers as the rest scurry for cover under the various snacks counters inside the park. On my fifth, the drizzle gets a bit heavier but I imagine all those people huddled together under the cover looking at a tall lad in a bright green T-shirt running in the rain. The thought only makes me run harder.

Running in the rain is tough. First of all, it adds weight as water sticks to your clothes and hair and every gm of weight matters when you are running for time. Then, rain on my glasses. I try to wipe them off with the back of my hand and make it worse. Water in my eyebrows and eyelashes. Poke my forefinger behind my glasses and wipe them off. That’s better.

The rain eases off on the sixth and I haven’t dared to look at my time till now. Push harder till the end of the round and look at it as I make the turn. 23 minutes! This is beyond all expectations. I almost jump in between my run. I am now damn sure I will make my best time today. I suddenly doubt whether I have overcounted. But no, I trace back my rounds in my mind and am sure that I have completed six, not four. The exhilaration of it makes me able to continue at the same steady clip when I could so easily have relaxed a bit on my pace and attained the goal.

On my seventh and eighth rounds I start to wonder at the cause of my achievement. Was it the wind, the rain, or the fact that I had run only six fast-untimed rounds last week giving my legs some much-needed rest? Was it the new blood in my body after I had donated some blood last week? Was it the couple of Pranayam exercises that I had done during the week briefly, watching that Ramdev Baba on TV?

On the tenth, all the lights in the park go off. As I run harder than ever on the last round in pitch darkness, I am conscious of only myself and the sound of my heavy breathing. I touch the gate and look at the time. 7.03 PM! 36 minutes! Wow, what’s the Olympic time?

But that’s D&C thinking. I know that my watch has conked off.

I am too tired and frustrated to find someone and get the time. Not reliable anyway. As I walk my usual half round to cool down, I notice the park is almost empty what with the rain and the pitch darkness. I trudge back to the gate walking on the footpaths through the lovely gardens which are within the running track. I pay the parking fee and as I am backing out Jenny, I can’t help asking the parking attendant for the time.

It’s 7.35 PM. I am sure it was my best run. Though I will never know by how much.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Cutting My Losses

It’s been a kind of better than your average bored-as-hell week, personally. For one, last weekend, a couple of friends and I decided to make a movie (small documentary rather) for a competition. The movie eventually didn’t make it to a final completion status, what with us unexpectedly getting shitloads of work. It was a huge disappointment for me personally because I was really enthused about the whole thing. We had finished taking all the shots that we needed, the screenplay was all done and ready and we just had to edit and put it all together along with the background score when we ran out of time. Quite frustrating, really.

But it was great fun while it lasted. I had a great time conceptualizing the whole movie, filming and writing the screenplay. Some day, yes, some day. And, thanks to A, I finally figured out how to film using my DigiCam. It’s a big thing with me coz am not a gadget person. My relationship with machines generally is that of mutual distrust. I mean, it was only thanks to A again last weekend when I realised that Jenny (my car) did indeed have parking lights, you know, by which I can make both her taillights blink on and off, that one. I have owned her for almost two years now. Yeah, yeah am an engineer and all that, whatever.

So it was a REALLY big deal when this week I changed a punctured tyre all by myself! Huge, huge event. It took me close to an hour almost, but I did it, yes! (Hands punching the air, fists beating chest and all that) I was kind of confident doing it this time since, when the last time it happened, more than a year back, I had assisted an assistant from a mechanic’s shop who was barely taller than my knee and couldn’t have been older than 10 years old. He was quite capable and I remember giving him a generous tip.

Also more fun was had on Friday when I had an opportunity to host an event. It’s been some time since I had a mike in my hand and made an audience laugh at my silly humor and sillier repartees or get enthusiastic about the inane quiz trivia, prizes and all that. It’s a high everytime though and brought back some pleasant memories as well.

Friday, July 14, 2006

On 7/11, as the channels are calling it

My internet connection’s been acting up again and so all my blog posts are dying a slow death in my head. But even if I am the last person on the planet to blog about this terrible tragedy, blog I must else what’s the difference between D&C and me? Can’t allow both of us to suffer from the same feeling of numbness and helplessness, now can I?

But I can’t write. And I know that I promised some time back that I won’t be posting lyrics again, but when one doesn’t have words; surely borrowing a song is not so bad?

Inside Us All

When I'm all alone
And no one else is there
Waiting by the phone
To remind me
I'm still here
When shadows paint the scenes
Where spotlights used to fall
And I'm left wondering
Is it really worth it all?

There's a peace inside us all
Let it be your friend
It will help you carry on In the end
There's a peace inside us all

Life can hold you down
When you're not looking up
Can't you hear the sounds?
Hearts beating out loud
Although the names change
Inside we're all the same
Why can't we tear down these walls?
To show the scars we're covering

There's a peace inside us all
Let it be your friend
It will help you carry on In the end
There's a peace inside us all

There's a peace
Oh there's a peace inside us all
Let it be... Oh, I said let it be, let it be your friend
There's a peace inside us all
Let it be your friend
It will help you carry on In the End
There's a peace inside us all
There's a peace, inside us all, Inside us all
Let it be, Let it be, Let it be,
Let it be, Let it be, Let it be,
Let it be, Let it be your friend.

Artist: Creed

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Khoon Chala

(This post was written a couple of days ago, but because of the stupid Internet connection, posting it today)

Donated blood today. My first time. No, not that I hadn’t had opportunities before. I remember Red Cross blood donation camps held on campus during both my engineering and B-school days and there was at least one during my previous jobs that I had easy access to, like this one. But I think I always found some convenient excuse or the other. It, somehow was a blind spot with me. Am glad that I got it out of the way.

"Are you taking any medicines?" the lady in the white coat, hopefully a doctor, asks me.

"No", I mumble, sitting down.

"Have you had your lunch?"

I look up sharply, trying to note any sarcasm in the voice or face, instinctively. I have heard more than my fair share of a sarcastic "Kyon, Khana nahi khaya kya?" over the years, less, recently though. That’s because I tend to carry around a pretty tired or bored expression most of the time, even though the state of my mind may be far from such a plight. It’s put me in a quandary before, me resulting in having to reiterate that no, I find the person very interesting or the conversation quite stimulating. Of course, sometimes I don’t bother to lie.

But there was no sarcasm here. If possible, she seemed to have a more bored and tired expression herself than I would put on if I were forced to watch say, Krrish. I was almost tempted to ask her in turn if she had had her lunch. Purely out of concern, of course. I am never sarcastic. And I never lie, honest. What, c’mon, get that smirk off your face! Anyway, I stuck around to check if she asked the same questions to a bright young colleague next in line. It’s crazy what D&C makes me do sometimes.

I am sure you don’t want to hear about all the blood and gore which followed a la a Quentin Tarantino movie. Suffice it to say that it was serious enough to warrant me a free biscuit and a 100-ml juice in a tetra-pack, which I sipped quite conscientiously. I didn’t even check the expiry date.

Anyway, a good deed done for the day. I hope it helps someone in need, and doesn’t expire, in a comfortable refrigerator, like the rest of me is.

I also remember thinking today when I was a little undecided about the whole thing that, hey, at least I can blog about this blood donation thing, if nothing else. And I wonder now, like I have on a couple of occasions before, whether, it is I who write this blog (about my life), or if it’s the other way around.

Whatever, I guess as long as both of us are the better for it, I don’t give a damn. Do you, D&C?

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Leaking Roof at Office...

...means buckets on the floor. Funny, ain't it?

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Amazing June

The weather’s been amazing. I never thought Hyderabad would be such a windy city. June has just ended and I think it has been the most pleasant June I have spent in my life, weather-wise. Yes, that includes a June spent in Bangalore also, two years ago. There’s not been much rain though the black clouds seem to be omnipresent. The gusts of wind, which blow in through the windows, and doors of my home, one would think there was a sea somewhere nearby. The wind comes in from all directions almost like a playful child. It finds the only door or window, which is unlatched and proceeds to play its pranks on it causing them to cry out with loud thuds and groans. Even the ones, which are latched down, are not spared as they are made to screech out on their hinges. From my fifth floor window I see some water which has collected on the neighboring terrace. The way the water is being dispersed in all directions in small ripples, as if a helicopter has just taken off.

It was on such a windy evening this Friday night where I was looking for a ‘Share’ Auto to cover the final 3 km to reach my home and catch the Germany-Argentina match. There was none to be found from the usual place, only lots of traffic policemen. These autos obviously break the law, the way they stuff 6 people in an auto meant for three. But I don’t mind (though I wouldn’t mind either way). It’s a bit uncomfortable, but cheap. I guess its also potentially dangerous and I don’t really mind the crackdown in concept but it still left me to solve an inconvenient problem of how to get home that night. I was debating whether to get on a bus, which was going in the direction I wanted to go and was wondering whether the overcrowding rule shouldn’t be applied to buses as well. In which case cracking down on these Autos isn’t going to solve the problem when I noticed middle aged man on a Bajaj Chetak looking at me from a few feet away.

He said something.

“What?” I asked.

“Do you want a lift?”

I was sitting behind him before I remembered to say thanks.

“Where are you from? You are native of which place?” he asked as he drove trying to balance both of us.

A strange first question to a person you are giving a ride to.

“And where are you going?”

That’s better. I told him.

“Oh, so we are birds of the same feather! I live there as well.”


I thanked Mr. Shastri, native of Hyderabad, when I got down.

It’s started raining now, and by the way, Germany are going to win the World Cup.

Monday, June 26, 2006

It's Lunchtime!

Every day at 11.55 AM, I get a mail in my inbox from Rohan, one of my friends at work, a one liner.

"Lunch at noon sharp. See you there."

This mail is marked to about 5-6 people within our campus working in three different buildings, kind of testament to how social an activity lunch/dinner is to us Indians. Its as much about food as it is about meaningful/meaningless conversation. Some time ago I heard Yitzy mention in his blog (he is an expatriate who till recently was working in Chennai) about how surprised he was with the frequency of the question, "Had lunch?" or "Had dinner?" that he faced in India. It’s a question that would be considered a tad too nosey in other parts of the world but it’s a conversation starter with us Indians.

And so I make my way to the food court around 12 noon sharp on some days, even though am not hungry by that time, just for the company and to beat the rush hour. Yes, a consequence of the fast growth that software companies like mine contend with, the traffic at the food court is not unlike the one at the Ameerpet Cross in Hyderabad. So if you want to breathe quality oxygen and speak normally to be heard, you will either eat when you are not hungry or eat late, when all the good dishes of the day are spent. That is of course if you are not among the lucky one’s who bring their own food. Otherwise it’s hard work.

First, there’s the long line to pay for the coupons for the lunch. As we all head off in different directions to get our choice of meal for the day, we face the long line to get the food. Then begins the onerous task of finding a suitable place for 4-5 people in the free-for-all melee out there. Miraculously, you see a clean table with 7 places up for grabs with only a pretty young thing occupying a seat. As you courageously beat off competition not unlike Joe Cole running down the left flank and think for the umpteenth time that you are in the wrong profession, you find four mobiles and two hankies awaiting their food.

"Sorry, places are taken", she smiles as her pretty friends with their plates swamp around me and rescue her from my baleful gaze.

"We still have one place here, though" she smiles again. This time I notice her eyes.

My phone rings. It’s Rohan. I personally think that talking on the phone while holding a full meal of rice, couple of chapathis, dal, subjis, salad, fryums, curd and other assorted goodies is more dangerous than driving and talking but like they say, necessity is the mother of invention.

"Where are you?" he says. "We are on the third table in the fifth row next to the Mini- Meals section."

They say there are moments in a man’s life when he has to make critical choices. Those are the times when opportunity knocks on the door and the intrepid travelers of the journey called life catch it with both their hands and don’t let go. I can proudly say that till date I have never been much of a traveler (Does this answer your question Rohan, which you asked a couple of posts ago?)

Conversation during lunch is of course as varied and rich in quality as you could expect from a bunch of engineer plus MBAs working in a software company. Okay, you want me to spell it out for you, highly varied and filled with ignorance, but that’s the way we are, okay? Having a meal in peace is of course out of the question, as you cannot ignore the cacophony that a thousand people and their plates make around you. The management does their bit by providing background music through shrill speakers that none of us have been able to figure out the location of. Its not unnatural to find one of my colleagues go,

"Hey, that’s a Hindi song yaar, I thought they were playing Telegu!"

By the time, the last of us finish the meal, there are already more engineers and consultants hovering around our table like hungry vultures. It’s still not over. There’s one more line to dump the remains of the meal and the plates away and another at the wash basins. Now this is funny. Obviously we being in the high tech industry appreciate high tech stuff but I would personally like to shit on the guy who invented those infra-red taps. You stick your hand beneath them and hope that they are in good humor. You give up and remove your hands and they pour their stuff. You stick them back in, with more patience this time, only to find the tap cough out some spittle that leaks through your fingers by the time you can bring it to your mouth. Makes you look stupid, really they do.

Okay, back to work.

P.S. Man, did you watch Holland vs. Portugal? Whew, what a game!

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Staring, Looking, and Defense Mechanisms

Yeah, Yeah, we men do that to pretty women. And of course, age is no bar. If you say that at a certain age man does give up looking, I would say that that’s probably because he can’t, look that is, due to his cataract or whatever. We lean out of car windows, turn our heads precariously while driving our bikes, look up instantaneously when she enters the room or gets on the bus, that’s our sixth sense. Of course, some of us do it surreptitiously (the nice guys, or wimps, depending on your outlook) while some do it blatantly (the Romeos or creeps, again, depending on your outlook). Women do it too but that’s a completely different activity, they ‘check you out’. There’s a fine difference, they tell me. You tell me.

Of course, I’ve looked. But since I can remember, I also derive a strange satisfaction by looking at people when they are looking. It’s almost a double satisfaction of being in control and at the same time catching someone else unawares, unknown to him. It’s also a bit funny, sometimes, to see a vacant expression, a jaw drop. So when I see a random Ms. Pretty Woman enter the room, after a quick look myself, my eyes automatically scan the room and go, gotcha, gotcha, gotcha, gotcha and gotcha! Strange but true.

And so I admire the women who take it so nonchalantly in their stride. Outwardly, at least she appears to be so calm, all those men and their attentions so oblivious to her, as she walks across to wherever she wanted to go, while so many hearts skip beats. Maybe they are used to it and develop a defense mechanism over the years. I can’t really believe that somebody would actually like being stared at, or maybe I could, now that I think about it, but whatever.

Like I said, I am in complete admiration of such women and their forbearance. Because I hate attention myself. In my UKG report card of Don Bosco School in Delhi, which I happened to discover while I was rummaging through some of my old papers a few weeks ago, I noticed a comment, which my class teacher had written, “____ waits for his turn”. Yup, that’s me. Now don’t get me wrong. I have done enough presentations, speeches, elocution contests, hosting events, lecturing and motivating teams than I care to remember. I am talking about unwanted attention or the kind of attention, which I am not prepared for.

Since my guitar classes are on Mondays and Wednesdays after office hours, I take my car out on those days really early, and hide the guitar in its black cover under the shadows of my desk (Can’t keep it in the car, since it gets hot inside, which is not healthy for the guitar). Keep my bag so that it covers the fretboard, and pull my chair so that nobody can see the body of the thing. Escaping in the evening without somebody noticing the guitar is tougher. I am sure people are just curious and genuinely interested, but you know, me being me, I always assume the worst. Eventually a typical conversation occurs with his/her thoughts (as per my dazed and confused mind) and mine laid bare for you here.

“Hey, Hey, what’s this, a guitar?”
(What the @$&*)

(What did you think it was, my four year old son?!)

“Wow! So do you play the guitar and all?”
(Doesn’t he have any work to do?)

“Yes, a little bit”.
(No, I just carry it along to look cool)

“You know, I always wanted to learn the guitar myself”.
(If this dork can, it can’t be too tough)

“Really, you should you know, its not too difficult.”
(Yeah right, Eric Clapton with a pot belly)

“I know, I know, but too much work, man, no time. Am just leaving early today to catch Brazil playing.”

“Brazil? But that match was yesterday!”

Anyway, you get the drift.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

My Bum Hurts

Couple of days back there was an office party at ‘Ocean Park’, a sad aspirant to the ‘Water Kingdoms’ of the world. But since am a sucker for any sort of adventure sports (read my first post, for instance) or thrill rides, took all the plunges, rides and dips that were on offer both of the aquatic and non-aquatic kind. Actually I was surprised that my bum seemed to be the only part in my anatomy which complained the next day. Looks like all those hours at the gym and the park are paying off, finally.

A few things were different. First of all, I looked better naked than I ever have in a long time, at least the time that I can remember. Of course the sense was heightened due to many of my colleagues trying to draw in their breaths in an effort to keep their paunches out of sight. But, this time my enthusiasm was more muted. I mean, I am 28, and this wasn’t like I was going sky diving or rock climbing or something. The patchy facilities at the place didn’t help the feeling either. The finishing was non existent, the machinery looked dangerously old and rusted, washrooms were dinghy and leaky and the attendants and supervisory staff looked bored as hell. Almost as if they wished somebody would break their neck and brighten up their day.

Of course, what didn’t change were the funny moments. A colleague of mine whose name translated into English means "Fearless" refused to go on any rides and no, it wasn’t because he believed there were aliens in the water. I would always advise to-be parents to go for neutral names please. Another, when dumped into a 4 ft deep tank after a high and spiraling downward slide was convinced that he would drown in it. We watched him for a minute as he tried his best to drown, flailing his arms, legs and other parts of his body in his desperate bid not to die a virgin. Finally when I lost patience, I gave him my hand and asked him to just stand up. And then one more landed in the tank and seemed to look around desperately for something.

"I am looking for my spectacles, they’ve fallen off", he explained, still looking intently into the water.

After we finally controlled our laughter, we told him he still had them on.

Even me, at the end of a slide didn’t realise my specs were off (I keep them on since I have a high –4.0 power and I don’t like to miss the view of the thrill ride). It was only when my colleagues shouted it out that I realised something was stuck under my feet.

And then of course there was the wave pool. It was fun till it got too crowded with naked male bodies. And when people started getting under and between people’s legs and overturning them in the water, I knew I had to find a more solitary space somewhere. Of course I was eventually required to participate in the ceremonial dunking that everyone got but what the heck. There was also a rain dance, you guessed it, again, lots of naked male bodies shaking their booty, but it actually rained and it was kind of fun.

On our way back, there was Antaakshari on the bus. Wasn’t quick with the song responses myself but could sing along with most of the songs and did, it’s been some time. And there was Scotch at the dinner party, which capped an end to an above average day.

In other news, shaved about two minutes off my weekly run in the park today. Finally, today did 11 rounds (9 km) of the park in little over an hour and felt really good at the end of it. I am amazed everytime I run about how much a mental thing it is, running. DazedandConfused comes up with all the usual excuses and more:

There! Your shoelaces have come off, that’s a sign!
C’mon, isn’t it too hot today?! (It was actually, my feet were burning through my soles for most of the run, till the sun went down)
The T-shirt’s too tight!
Enough, man! You can do eleven next week, c’mon!
Look, he’s overtaken you! What’s the point of running so slowly, you might as well stop! (The guy who overtook me wearing a shirt and trousers ran short bursts. I saw him sitting on all the benches on the track during the course of my run)

At such times there’s nothing else to do but say to oneself, "I’ve done it before and I shall do it again, and what’s more, I’ll go one up!"

Apart from this, the one serious impediment was when a huge frog almost hopped onto my tracks and I almost tripped trying to avoid stomping on it. Next time you try that Mr. Frog, you will be squished. Finally, nearing the end of the eleventh, it wasn’t the feet but the head, which was giving the protest signs as it, seemed to loll a bit from side to side as if threatening to fall off my neck. But if you know the trick that I use to finish the run, never fails to bring a broad smile to my face, and clears all the furrows from my forehead.

But my bum still hurts.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Mondays and Wednesdays

Are now my favorite days of the week. Coz those are the days when I have my guitar classes. I think am in love with my guitar. Right now, I am in that beautiful stage, you know, like when you just meet that wonderful girl who kind of fancies you as well, and you go out on dates and get to know each other and also end having a whale of a time together. The more you get to know her, the more you believe that she is the woman of your dreams. I know I will eventually hit a creative roadblock on my guitar sooner or later but till then I shall attempt to make you all jealous of my beautiful relationship.

It’s a pity though that I can’t really write much about it. I mean its so much easier to blog about a good book that one has just read or a thoughtful movie one has recently seen. How do I write about the fact that suddenly some old Hindi songs are back on my favorites list since those are the ones I have learnt to play chords of? How do I write about the joy I feel when I see myself effortlessly shifting between Bm and G chords in a single beat interval which a few weeks back seemed an impossible task? How do I write about the exhilaration and pride I felt today when Naveen (that’s the instructor) jammed with me on a song today, him playing the lead and me, the rhythm which went off so much better than I expected? And about the sense of achievement and satisfaction when I worked out the chord sequence of another song by myself?
I could always put up the lyrics of those songs which I can play, along with their chords but I’ve been getting so much flak over posting songs from the few people who grace this blog with their presence, that I have given up on that one. Ah well, podcasts at some future date, maybe.

Mum is extremely unhappy about the callused state of my fingers of my left hand, an outcome of my incessant playing, but then I tell her in my most pompous voice, “These are the hands of the guitarist!” She finds it funny and laughs.

Because of all this strumming, I have not been able to give as much attention to the World Cup and the Test Match as I would have liked. I didn’t watch even a single match of the French Open, not even the Federer-Nadal final (*cringing as I write this*, how could you do this, D&C??) I have only managed to catch some news while I dunk my food down. But since the reservation issue was called off, nothing else has actually held my attention. The channels did try their best, Rajdeep Sardesai interviewing Raakhi Sawant as part of some special feature and India TV discussing how the cocaine guy spoke to his model girlfriend for 394 seconds. Sheeesh! Crap TV and bubbly channels. Somebody save me.

The book on International Financial Markets also lies neglected by the bedside. I could always finish the poetry book that’s pending but you see, being the method person that I am, I have to finish the Raghuram Rajan book before Vikram Seth’s ‘coz I started reading the former earlier.

And well, of course, can’t really blog about THAT, at least here, well anywhere in fact, and definitely not now, maybe later, a lot later.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Guitarmania and Tunnels

Warning: An extremely self-indulgent post, read at your own risk.

So now I have been going to guitar classes two days a week about 6 weeks now. For my earlier post on my guitar story, read this.

Well, obviously then, it didn’t work out for me. I mean, how could I have learnt to play the guitar when I was 12, at a time when I didn’t love music, enough. I mean, I know friends and cousins who were forced into learning classical music since the age of 5 but thankfully my parents spared me that. And the discovery of the kind of music I love has been a bit like a discovery of self, dazed and confused, all the way.

I listened to what was around me initially, then listened to stuff to fit in, then listened to stuff to stand out, and then listened to stuff, which I didn’t get. Nowadays I listen to only the stuff that I enjoy, but it’s a kind of a hash of all those stuff I listened to over the years, kind of a … dazedandconfused collection.

Coming back to the guitar, its debuted right at the top in terms of my non-work pursuits right now. I still sound terrible but better than almost everyone else in my class, kind of how India’s fastest 100m runner or our best football player would feel, I think. I have no doubt that I will be good enough to play rhythm in any amateur band 3 months from now, unless I lose a hand or two. Its not an empty boast you know, coz when I tend to focus on something, most times I get it done. They call it tunnel vision, I think. When I am in this metaphorical tunnel of my creation, after a while, I forget whether I actually enjoy what I am doing or not. It is no longer a question to be evaluated, a decision to be pondered, that time has gone by like a wayside railway station where you didn’t get off. Now I would do it because I have to, there would be no other choice. And getting into a tunnel is not easy for me either. It is generally preceded by months of struggle within the labyrinths of my own mind but surprisingly the final decision is as sudden as pressing a switch.

Right now apart from the guitarmania, am in a few other tunnels and among them are,

Hitting the Gym at least 3-4 times a week.
Running 8-8.5 kms. every Saturday.
Blogging at least two posts a week.
Reading a good book or two every month.

As you can see, none of them relate to my professional life and career. Sometimes I worry about that fact and those are bad days. But then I think, maybe am not ready for that tunnel just yet.

Meanwhile let me just try and perfect playing the F# relative family of chords.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

My Mumbai Visit

Bombay never fails to depress me. The beautiful women, swanky cars, high rises, the manic efficiency of day to day life somehow only tend to highlight the slums and squalor of the city which my eye cannot ignore as I am driven in its taxis and autorickshaws. The beggar children, who come up to you at every traffic signal with their trained sales pitch, if you can call it that. The city is ruthless. I am constantly amazed with how people somehow seem to not notice all that is around them, perhaps its easier to ignore. It’s almost as if everyone has invisible walls around them. Of course, what could they do? What would I do in their place?

I understand, it’s a situation borne out of necessity and not of choice. I guess there are just too many people in Mumbai than she can hold. Didn’t the Shiv Sena say something about ‘Mumbai for Mumbaikars’ or something like that? The wrong answer, but definitely, the right problem.

That’s about Mumbai, but as people, Mumbaikars are the bunch that I admire the most. I think it’s the most visitor friendly metro in India if you exclude the taxis, which run from the airport. Professionalism and discipline seems to run across the length and breadth of the city. One lingering image from this visit was the traffic policemen standing at every major cross-section on the weekend, intently watching the traffic for offenders. Medium height, spectacles, moustache, clean white shirts, khakhi trousers and the constable’s cap, notebook in hand, bike nearby. I remarked to a friend that they all of them even managed to look the same. Mumbai doesn’t deserve its citizens, just like Delhi-ites don’t deserve their city (BOCTAOE).

Watched ‘Inside Man’ at one of the theatres in South Mumbai. I think it should be essential viewing for all English movie buffs so that they could realise that its not just our Bollywood directors who manage to screw up really bad. Went to Crosswords on Sunday. Some nice titles available but overall, a bit of a downer for a guy used to the ‘Landmarks’ in Chennai. Plus they had only two measly titles on Chess available. Unforgivable. Did pick up my first book on poetry, ‘Mappings’, by Vikram Seth and so here’s one poem from the book.

Quaking Bridge
So here I am again by Quaking Bridge,
Standing a moment by the water’s edge,
Hearing the water’s roar as it churns past
The ancient brewery; and I am cast
Back to December when by Quaking Bridge
I stood a moment by the water’s edge
And heard the water’s turbulence, and knew
That since no more remained that I could do
And since to think of pain itself is pain,
I should forget and not walk here again
And hear the water under Quaking Bridge
And stand in thought beside the water’s edge,
And I am here again; but why delay?
Think, and walk on, and think: but walk away.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Sab Bhula Ke

Teri khamoshion mein woh baatein hain chupee
Mujh kau choo laitee hein woh har aah joh yun niklee

Namee joh aankhon mein thee
Khulee woh baatein sabhee

Sab bhula ke phir bhee chala mein
Duniya kee rasmein bhula ke
Mujh ko joh himmat milee
Meri dil mein barhtee rahee

Mein bhee in aansoon mein dooba hoon kitney din
Khud sai keh sakoon ga jiya hoon teray bin

Khushee joh baaton mein thee
Khulee woh baatein sabhee

Sab bhula ke phir bhee chala mein
Duniya kee rasmein bhula kai
Mujh ko joh himmat milee
Meri dil mein barhtee rahee

Namee joh aankhon mein thee
Namee joh aankhon mein thee

Khulee woh baatein sabhee

Sab bhula ke phir bhee chala mein
Duniya kee rasmein bhula ke
Mujh ko joh himmat milee
Meri dil mein barhtee rahee

Artist: Call
Album: Jilawatan

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

My Chennai Visit

Yes, yes, I know I have been missing from this blog (though whether I have been missed is the more important question, in my opinion) but that’s because I was in Chennai, dear reader, didn’t you know? Well, I am not going to bore you with a detailed chronological account of my Chennai visit but will restrict myself to the highlights, as I seem to do with cricket nowadays.

Friday, 6.45 AM: Jogged on the road next to the Elliots beach for an hour. Hadn’t planned on doing that, but when I got up in the morning and saw that the night rain had left behind a blanket of coolness in the air, I just couldn’t resist it and went out in my Lee Coopers since I hadn’t brought my Reeboks along. It was a good run, my first long one on a tar surface. And though it was cool, it was still pretty humid and by the time I returned home by around 8.15, I was drenched down to my socks.

Friday, 6 PM: Caught up with an old BITSian friend after almost six years. We discussed the travails of getting married as easily as we might have discussed a sadistic professor or a boring course eight years ago. Some things don’t change but some have.

Friday, 8 PM: Sis came down and I offered to finance any shopping requirements. So we went to four shops, looked at 203 tops, 77 skirts and 52 other items of female clothing and I, surprisingly, had a good time. She finally settled on a grotesque looking metal ring, which covered half of her finger and vaguely blamed me for necessitating her to buy a new wardrobe to go with that ring. Mom had a small heart attack when I mentioned I had bought her a ring, she had visions of a diamond or two slipping out of my wallet, but I assured her that it cost only Rs. 135.

Saturday, 10.30 AM: Visit to Burma Bazaar, Parrys Corner, along with couple of cousins and one of their hubbies to shop for cheap pirated CDs. Bought about 8 CDs each having at least 3 movies on them for 500 bucks. If the CDs work like they are supposed to, it’s quite a bargain, me thinks. Some good old westerns, war movies and Hitchcocks in that bunch. Don’t know when I’ll get to watch them though. It’s been some time since I have kept my home theatre busy, its getting wasted, bit like me.

Saturday, 5 PM: Went to TVK Nagar, where lots of our stuff is packed and stored in that house over there. Spent a couple of hours rummaging through my cartons and old papers looking for a short story that I written when I was 14, titled, “The Boy with the Gun” (*smile at the thought*). Couldn’t find it and was extremely disappointed but chanced upon some of my old school report cards from the time I was five years old, patted myself on the back quite a few times as I went through my scores and the comments from my teachers. Laughed a few loud evil laughs when I went through my sisters’. Was lucky she wasn’t around.

Saturday, 11 PM: Went for nice long late night stroll on the beach. Stared at the black expanse spewing out those white reams for quite some time, as the silent salty wind ruffled my hair. Then spoke to a friend on the phone for more than an hour. When I reached home, I realised I had forgotten my sis’ Scooty at the beach and went all the way back to get it.

Sunday, 9 AM: Being the function day, it was quite hectic. Took some photographs with my new camera till the time I was given charge of the family Camcorder which occupied me for a good couple of hours more. There’s some hidden potential a la Nagesh Kukunoor waiting to be discovered, I think.

Sunday, 11 AM: TV Sankarnarayanan, one of the leading names in the Carnatic music circles who also happened to be a friend of my uncle’s turned up for the function and decided to sing and give his blessings to my cousin, attending whose ‘upanayanam’(sacred thread ceremony) was the main objective of my visit. I do not understand classical music but his clear voice sang a song, which seemed to me full of sorrow, hope and joy. And when he invoked the blessings of the gods and my aunt who had passed away many years ago, my uncle and many relatives of mine had tears in their eyes. Yes, I got it on tape.

Sunday, 3 PM: Rounded up three of my cousins hubbies, borrowed my uncle’s Honda City and went looking for some cold beer in town. Since there wasn’t much time before I left, we settled on some warm beer from one of the regular wine shops, went to the beach, rolled up the windows and drank. Cribbed about Sehwag’s form, Bangalore’s infrastructure problems and the reservation issue.

P.S. The worst part of the whole visit was my Air Deccan flight at 2100 hrs. from Hyd to Chennai. The air inside the plane was stale and stinked. Another half-hour and I would have puked. I will never take that flight again.