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.