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.