Sunday, December 05, 2010


I like to look at seconds passing away one by one, the tick tock of the wall/desk clock or the changing digits of a digital watch. It is like stopping and watching the time move.
I sometimes stare at the second's needle, or 'hand' as it is generally called, and see if it points exactly to the designated marks on the clock meant for each second. Sometimes it goes out of sync but within the complete round it catches up and becomes in sync with the marks again.
The hour, minute needle are called hands of a clock maybe because their position indicate values of hour and minute of the day. They remind me of traffic policeman showing proper directions to the traffic flow. The hour and minute hand can be like human hands, thick & short means slower and thin & long means faster. The very thin & long seconds hand can work like a tail, always wagging.
The common design of a clock has the hands which move in a circular fashion through the numbers 1 to 12 that have been arranged in a circle. In fact many people can tell the time by just looking at the position of the hands even if the numbers were removed, which is what some clock makers exploit to come up with innovative and stylish designs.
As a kid I couldn't understand why we kept those pointy needles moving in circles with numbers from 1 to 12 arranged in a circle, on walls and on the dressing table. I did know it is useful and shows time but it was only after my father taught me that one has to multiply every number by 5 to get the minutes, I understood how to look at a clock. In those days I like digital watch/clock better only because I didn't have to do the multiplication with 5 but I think in few months time I got accustomed with the clock with hands as well.
The numbers in a clock are arranged in a circle, so every hand crosses every number many times, i.e., same time happens everyday or twice a day. Metaphorically speaking, time always returns. It moves in circles, hence it feels like it's giving us second chances. Maybe it is because earth rotates on its axis which is a circular motion, so day and night cycle happens.

P.S. - Even a stopped clock/watch shows correct time twice a day, one can't do anything about that time, but still one can claim its not completely useless!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Wikileaks and the Whistle Blower

The Wikileaks are all over the news. People are talking about it, its a sensation, something that has never happened before. But it has now. Does that mean this was the right time for it to happen? Is any time right for leaking confidential government information?
Suppose a person who doesn't know about surgery is shown a team of surgeons performing operation on a person. This person may freak out looking at the blood covered organs and flesh, thinking they're killing that person, while in reality they're trying to save that person. They may or may not succeed but they're trying. Wikileaks is showing such a person the confidential transactions that haven't reached a consensus or conclusion and may be ambiguous. It is a surgical operation that has been exposed to the wise and the otherwise people and it may have unexpected repercussions. Yes, damage might be done, but how honest has the US government, or for that matter, any government ever be? The bigger question, does a government have to be transparent to people who may not understand the situation, or some secrecy keep the situation in control and things running smoothly?
The only saving grace is that wikileaks has been well organized and information is being released in a well planned manner. The whistle blower has successfully shown the finger to the US government even if the government is able to curb the whole wikileaks thing completely at this moment. And now the whistle blower will pay the price, and his punishment is being decided, about which the authorities are still undecided.
The most crucial question we must ask ourselves now is that why has secrecy or deception become such a crucial component for smooth functioning of anything these days? Is it because technology makes it easier to keep track of people, events, information flow that some things have to be deliberately hidden or are we growing more paranoid and distrustful every passing day?
The US government has been keeping tabs on everything that's going on in the world, they want to be a part of everything! Why do they have to be such a control freak? They play their "white man's burden" game with fine subtlety that many don't notice. I hope the whistle blower has taught them a lesson that being self-proclaimed leaders of the world, they should know better and be more transparent. So much for diplomacy!

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Facebook comment

Abhishek is delighted to see her comment on his facebook status. He promptly replies to her comment. Little conversation happens, pleasantries are exchanged, ending in Abhishek's comment to which he expects her reply. He waits in anticipation, switching to the facebook tab every few minutes. After a few hours, at 4 am, he realizes she won't reply.
"Ah, screw it! I should have known better. I mean, why do I behave this way? Why should I expect a comment from her? Okay, she responded to few of my comments, but that's common courtesy, right?" Taking a deep breath, "Alright, from now on, I won't behave like an ass and waste my time on these silly online conversations."

Next morning, he gives himself the same peptalk. He opens facebook first thing, due to habit.
He sees her comment below his comment from previous night. Few comments are exchanged, ending in Abhishek's comment to which he expects her reply. He waits in anticipation...

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Same Pinch

Meeting an old childhood friend feels so lovely!
Me: "Hey buddy, how've you been?"
Friend: "I've been good. How've you been?"
Me: "I've been good! Same Pinch."

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Future is gonna be better than the present

I'm a passive being, lazy by nature. Hence, since my childhood I've capitalized on my observational skills and limited my active involvement. My observational skills grew with me, but without proper experience, active involvement, all one ends up having are assumptions, some work well, many don't. One of the assumption, though based on similar observations I made over many occasions, isn't reliable but has been immensely useful to me.
I never realized I had been following this one rule all my life till now: "Future is gonna be better than the present". Patience came easy to me, and with all that pessimist exterior to dissipate my fear, I always felt optimist within, but the best  part is that it was quite encouraging that there are no limits to imagination and dreams.
As a kid I used to fear many things, like deep water, heights, being on a speeding vehicle, eating curd, syringes, ghosts, strangers, being on a stage etc. But none of the grown ups I knew had any of my fear, which made me assume that as one grows up, things get better, that one becomes stronger and overcomes such fears. So, my fears didn't bother me much and with time, I grew over most of them!

We all want to believe that future is gonna be better than the present, but sometimes even the wisest person has doubts. One looks forward to holidays, exciting projects, meeting someone one likes but probably not a monotonous or highly stressful lifestyle with almost no interest in one's work or vocation, or turmoil relationship. Sometimes getting up for school used to be difficult and I'm sure for most of us getting up for work everyday is quite an effort. Future can't always be better than the present, but the thought itself can be powerful enough to make it happen. Starting the day with a happy thought, a strong resolution to make things better or experiencing something new, a perpetual willingness to welcome tomorrow into ones life will make every day a life experience.

I have always had this image in my mind, of myself when I'd be an adult. Sure I'm not quite like my imaginary future self as of now, which can only mean one thing, that there's still room for growth. And when you dream of better life, better self, your inclination moves you towards that future.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

We need space

Yesterday night while walking to my room, I realized that I was the only one moving. The trees (even the leaves were still), the shrubs, the street, the street lights, everything was still. Later while walking across the area outside the canteen, I saw empty chairs and tables, and knew that somebody must have been sitting there till few hours ago. It came to my mind that places empty at night are occupied at some time during the day, and vice versa.

We people need space to live, to move around, to get together and spend time together. Same is the case with animals. As humans, we have specific place for specific purpose and it makes things convenient and easy to live.
Imagine living like a tree, stuck at one place, everything you need is supplied to you but you can't move, in fact you don't have to move because there is no reason to move! This is different from being captured in a cage because the person/animal/bird in a cage does move around in the enclosed space available.
Sometimes huge space is liked as in case of a big bungalow, but the same is detested in case one has to walk some distance to do some work or get some work done. Little space such as my room works great for me, except for doing exercises.

Many animals mark their territories, be it for hunting or living. We do the same, we have a fixed residence, a definite route to workplace and back, few other places one visits etc. Different kind of spaces mean different to us. For me, being in open space like a football field after a long time feels liberating, being in a closed space like one's room feels comforting.

Genghis Khan raided and plundered many lands and their wealth. The notion has always been that once the land is captured, anything on it belongs to the conqueror. The interesting thing here is that a person can keep his land or his property on the land that may belong to someone else only by paying something in return for his ownership!

"How much land does a man require" by Leo Tolstoy, a must read in this context.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Name : In Daily Life

Most often the first sentence a person learns while learning a language is "My name is Abhishek" or "I am Abhishek" which I experienced while doing an introductory course on Basic Japanese. While meeting new people, we give them our name while introducing ourselves, and they call us by our name.
A person's name is supposed to reflect his/her personality, but often we see that's not the case. The process of naming a baby is quite an interesting activity. The birth date, time, place etc. and various other factors are taken into consideration and astrology is applied.

Interestingly, I've seen people calling their pets with the name to which they respond to the best. Sometimes, that works in case of a new born baby as well!!

Name defines a location, or a place. We learn routes in a big city by keeping in mind the (name of) landmarks on the way. Even the directions have name: north, east, left, right etc. One goes out to meet friends and decide to meet at a specific place, like CCD, McD, Dominos (names of eating places) etc. at some common location in the city, say, city center or hitech city (name of locations in a city).

The important thing to notice is that names originate from the language the people use to communicate. We don't use numbers or images as names, but words that can be easily spoken, heard, written and read.

Each and everything we see around us has a name, hence we can interact and associate with it. Without names, writers would fail at writing stories/articles, remembering things would be a difficult and tedious task, and would eventually lead to chaos.
P.S. - Sometimes when I hear name of someone close to me, and that name doesn't refer to that person, then at least for a moment, my mind thinks about that person! For my brain, name is like a pointer to the persona and memories of that person.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Take a break: Technology Matrix

I have 32 tabs opened in Chrome, I am listening to UK Top 40 singles in my VLC playlist, I am connected to about 30 people at the moment through gtalk, some person is downloading something from my PC through Strong DC++ at this moment.
These days we try to pack our day with work (which we must do), fun (which we do to relax and enjoy life), socializing (meeting new people, mostly for the purpose of increasing our contacts list!) etc.
"Comforts" may be the reason for all the advancements in technology, but the hidden agenda, as I see it, is challenging the supremacy of time. From ENIAC to iPhone, it has all been consistent and hard efforts put by many of the best brains in the world. Better quality, faster processing, many things packed into a device that can sit on one's palm, all this and much more. We get a lot more work done in lesser time, yet spend most of the rest of the time using these technologies, be it for entertainment or communication. We forward stupid chain e-mails, write silly SMSs to each other, chat online for hours instead of meeting even once a week! We fill all the time saved due to these wonderful technologies using these technologies only! We, indeed, are in a matrix world and we don't even realize it.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Right and Wrong

As bizarre as it may seem, with the increase in my age and wisdom, it has become more difficult to separate right from wrong, good from bad.
As a kid, one follows a certain set of rules, or guidelines that defines goodness or righteousness. As one grows old and one's vision broadens (if one keeps an open mind), then one can observe the layers of truth often hidden to a kid's vision. And further one delves into the truth, more difficulty increases in classifying something as right or wrong.
One can see this as a classification problem! Sometimes, dealing with many or all the parameters of truth makes our brain, the classifier, give an output after a lot of processing, but as a child, one deals with only a few parameters which makes it easy to classify good from bad, right from wrong.

Monday, July 19, 2010

It sucks, right?

Friend: Here, have this toffee, mango flavor.
Me: Nah, no thanks!
Friend breaks it into half and offers the half to me. I take it on his insistence. I put it into my mouth.
The moment I get its taste:
Friend: It sucks, right?

Saturday, June 19, 2010


Remember the lunches and dinners at Hogwarts? Magically, Dumbledore made the food appear in huge utensils, and after the stipulated time, Dumbledore made the remaining food disappear. Ah, if only this could be done in reality!
In my college, NBH mess and Yuktahaar follow the rule that every person who has a meal there must wash his/her own plate. I find this as a helpful rule because, firstly people will have lesser leftovers in their plate and secondly, if they dispose their own leftovers and in the process look at the waste container, they'll feel disgusted and leave less leftover!
But eating in NBH/Yuktahaar isn't the reason I learnt to leave a clean plate after every meal. I just did, can't remember since when though. In my childhood, I used to leave leftovers many times and also disposed off my own leftovers and didn't really mind doing it. Since my second year I have considerably reduced food wastage and not because of any startling/shocking facts I might have read, I just did. And believe me when I say this, leaving a clean plate is quite satisfying.
Leftovers almost always happen, but leftovers in one's plate is under our control. Personally, I keep in mind the amount of food I eat everytime and take care not to take more than that in my plate and if I miscalculate, I stuff myself with the extra food! :D This helps me leave a clean plate everytime and hence maintain this habit. Perhaps, that's why I've been able to finish Hyderabadi Chicken Biriyani or Dominoes medium Cheese Burst everytime !!

P.S. - When I stayed at home, I relished the after party leftovers, especially chicken dish(es) or some other tasty dish(es), and almost everytime wished some leftovers be left because they were so tasty !! :D
P.S. - We must inculcate the good habit of finishing everything on our plate. Money may be able to buy food, but it can’t grow food, nor can it substitute the hard work of thousands of farmers. Wasting food is not a sin, its a blunder!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Objects and People

Today when my friend and I left for lab after dinner, my friend asked me to wait while he got the umbrella from his room. I remarked, "It'd be fun getting drenched in the rain, why get an umbrella?"

He replied, "Since we are two people, we won't completely escape the rain, so you may get drenched as well."

"Then why use the umbrella at all?"

"Let the umbrella do the work its made for. Its been lying there in my room for so many months doing nothing!"

The last line in this conversation effectively brings out the point I wish to make here. In my opinion, 'We sometimes tend to treat an object like a person.'
So often I've observed myself talking to objects, as in, saying 'sorry' to some object after bumping into it, or smiling at my shoes or bucket, calling my laptop as "hey buddy", or exclaiming "there you are" after finding my lost pair of specs after hours of search, etc. It does sound crazy but living alone in a small room for long hours does that to a person sometimes! So many times and I'm sure all of us would have kissed an object that's either favorite or very dear to us!

Humans have this tendency to sometimes personify things around them. Fairy tales and cartoon movies are the result of such a personification.
Remember, "mirror mirror on the wall, who's the prettiest of all?" That's fairy tale you'd say, but looking at a mirror, don't you wonder about your looks and smile/wink at a mirror when in jolly mood. Your interaction might be with yourself, but mirror is like a go-between and receives a part of that interaction.

The converse is easier to understand, i.e., 'We sometimes tend to treat a person like an object.'
Overburdening others, and sometimes oneself, with work is equivalent to treating oneself like an object! A personal computer can run for days on electricity, but no amount of food/drinks can make a human work efficiently for days! Most importantly, we need sleep, and also some breaks occasionally. We certainly tend to treat people subordinate to us as objects on various occasions.

I often give any object (eg: my mobile phone charger) that I own to another person, when its not in use by me, so that he/she could use it in the meantime. I assume that wear and tear due to more use is negligible and hence that object is being used instead of remaining idle. Doing the same to a subordinate is exploitation! :P

Treating an object with respect is what I find akin to treating an object like a person. And treating a person without due respect is treating that person like an object!

Animals fall in between humans and objects, so treating an animal as human and treating an animal as an object, both the cases exist!

P.S. - This post certainly reminds me of "Toy Story" !!
P.S. - Reminds me of those days when hitting TV on the side(s) used to make it work again! Now this is treating an object like a person! :P :D

Friday, May 21, 2010

Damage can't be undone

This is my belief that damage done can't be reversed or undone. Crying over spilled milk is useless.
Imagine an event E with two actors, A and B. A did some damage to B. Sometime later in the timeline, B decides to payback and does some damage to A to feel better. Now, damage done by A to B can never be same as damage done by B to A because of different circumstances. "An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind."
Forgiveness doesn't help either. People take advantage of such attitude. Striking back is definitely better strategy but then, its as good as useless once the damage is done...! We try to find a solution, a way around it, but it stays, it always stays even if the wounds are healed, the pain is gone...
Some bad damage had been done to Maoists, i.e., tribals living in naxalbari and other regions by the government officials. Now, who cares for tribals? Do you? But then sudden switch from being indifferent to hating those people... is that really justified? We read some news one day and conclude the people or organization doing the damage are the bad ones.
The case of Maoists is not the same as terrorists (based on religion). Terrorists are blind, Maoists are victim of circumstances and they're fighting back now, making other innocent people victim of circumstances like them. This makes punishing Maoists inevitable but doesn't justify hating them. They're following a very fundamental law of nature: response to stimuli.
Any animal scares me at first because I can't talk to it or make sign languages to establish some kind of communication. The hosts, in case of a dog, always told me, "he doesn't bite, just stroke him, or let him sniff around and he'll leave." Well, why would the dog do anything to me unless I, or some other human have done some damage to the dog? I've heard similar stories about snakes, and perhaps this applies to every living species.
The series of killings from either side must be stopped asap. If not, more people would be subjected to, what I'd call, series of unfortunate events.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Speling Mistake

You're reading an article. Each next line keeps your interest afloat. You're excited about the content you've read and eager to read more. Out of nowhere, your smooth ride hits a bumpy speed breaker... spelling mistake!
'Dictation' part of the English language period was the scariest part to me. Teacher spoke out the words, and we had to write them down and then submit it to her for correction. I always wished that 'dictation' never happen, but now that I recall I do remember that I also wished I get all the spellings correct. Perhaps that's what keeps me from making spelling mistakes and catching one if it exists. Perhaps that's what pisses me off when I see one.
On my second visit to Salarjung museum, I had a startling revelation. I found spelling mistakes in many labels, especially in the halls displaying cutleries, and weapons. A few errors may creep in, but they were more than few.
Funny thing about spelling mistakes: Not all arrangements of wrong spellings would bother you, only few, as per my personal experience. Especially the ones which look silly. Writing a diary as dairy changes the whole meaning, or field written as feild. Such spelling mistakes can be missed so its not a bother... but writing habit as habbit can be identified and irritating to a person who reads rather slowly and can pick up such mistakes or to someone who reads fast and has a keen eye.
Typos, which is a byproduct of writing through keyboards, aren't a serious issue while casual chatting or exchanging information, but in final draft for a paper or article to be submitted for publication can really bring down the image of the piece of writing. I have seen spelling mistakes in some well written research papers.

P.S. - Wouldn't it bother you if your name's misspelt in some certificate that's given to you?

Monday, April 26, 2010

Polo, the mint with a hole

I love polo. I still remember the ad which shows minty air being blown through the hole in a piece of Polo. Mint always helps to refresh and improve one's breath. Sometimes I've popped a polo into my mouth instead of brushing my teeth!
Because of my decent polo consumption, my parents thought I really like polo. I do but whenever I went home on vacation from college, my parents took care to get me a pack with around 24 polo packs. I mean, I loved having polo everyday to class, pop one or two after lunch and dinner. But when I ran out of my polo supply I felt something missing in my life. I missed popping a polo or two in my mouth after a meal.
So, after that when the next time I got the big pack of polos, I didn't feel like having them but had to finish them. The good thing was, I started sharing polo because I had lost interest in it. Others always smiled and accept a polo or two. I can safely say polo has been one of the reasons that has made me realize the happiness one gets by sharing one's stuff with others!

P.S. - Polo is best in its original mint flavor. I tried orange and paan flavor, they sucked !!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Chick, one way or the other

P: I turned non-veg yesterday.
Me: Why, what happened?
P: I promised myself I'll make a girlfriend by yesterday, but I couldn't. She didn't agree.
Me: So?
P: So, I had butter chicken. Chick, one way or the other.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

No more space

"Hey stop staring at me! I feel guilty. I don't have any more space to accommodate you. I could have stuffed you  somehow but you're not that tasty!"
He looks up from his dinner plate, and keeps it for washing.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Path of my life

One of my dulla friends (B.Tech + MS by research dual degree program student at IIIT-Hyd) told me about a year ago that the fifth year in college will help us think and plan our life ahead and I think I might have finally decided on what to do with my life !! I'm really excited!
Yes, first and foremost, I'll take all the efforts humanly possible to get enough work done towards MS, get the degree and get out. The uncertainty usually starts then.
Do a job to earn livelihood? Yes, for next one and a half year. Then appear for CAT, get into IIM-A, get a degree in MBA, specialization in Marketing. No, its not the pay package, the knowledge/skills I'd learn, perhaps, but there's one more very good thing about a B-school. Network of alumni and batchmates, perhaps.
I'll then work for a year using the skills learnt in the B-school. I'll then appear for civil services exam, become an IAS officer and serve my country for 10 years.
This would be the end of phase 1.
I'd save enough money and go to Hollywood, become a voice-over artist, work in some sitcoms, and perhaps become a scriptwriter in the process. With fame and money, I'll return to my motherland, and join a medical college, study MBBS, become MD, DM and serve in a village for few years. I hope I have covered all the sought after degree programs in India!
This would be the end of phase 2.
By this time I should have turned 65. I'll then start my own company.
Oh, I forgot about LAW. :( I'll read law whenever I'll get time in the last 40 years.
Finally I'll settle down in my hometown and write an autobiography, which would be a bestseller, making me the best selling author. Hence I'll fulfill my childhood dream!
I missed out on song writing, music composing, cooking, martial arts... life's so short. :'(
And I might also apply to Guinness Book of World Records.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Funny SMSs

The thing about funny SMSs is, there are too many of them.
My sister, since last one month (using unlimited SMS scheme), has been sending me all the funny SMSs in the world. And they are good. Believe me, even the lame, pathetic PJs are good. I've requested my sister a few times to stop sending me those SMSs but she says she has limited memory on her mobile so wants me to store them. And I keep all those SMSs now on my mobile.
Every morning I wake up with the sound of her incoming SMS buzzing in my mobile, even before the alarm I set in my mobile could ring. My day starts with reading her SMSs. I read her SMSs on my way to bathroom, on my way to breakfast, on my way to lab... and before I sleep. Its interesting to note at this point that because of all the lovely funny SMSs pouring in, I don't feel like watching sitcom episodes anymore.
Traffic generated by my sister's SMS is so very much that advertisements and various vodafone schemes SMSs now seems to come so very rarely. Moreover any personal SMS amidst these funny SMSs sometimes feels really good, a fresh breath of relief.
Funny SMSs, either circulated or created by teenagers does show their innovation intellect. Its amazing, really. And most of the times the topic is, "exams". Exams bother them a lot! Its a part of being a teenager... later one stops making jokes of exams because its not funny anymore!
The point where it isn't funny anymore is, when you get a serious SMS or SMS with a moral in it, and you expect it to make you laugh and you may even laugh, as a reflex and then realize that you were not supposed to laugh! Now, that's funny!!

P.S. - Thank you sis, for sending such funny SMSs. Please take some time out for other things in life as well. :-)
P.S. - After SMSs, gtalk/facebook/twitter status updates is where people showcase their creativity! :D

Friday, March 19, 2010

The "don't" decision

At every moment, we reject many possibilities to select one. Our mind processes a lot of information and based on experience, decides on the next thing to do, or next step to take. Before making a decision, however small, we think of all the possibilities that would arise if we 'do' and possibilities that would arise if we 'don't'. Finally we 'do' the thing.
Have you not been a bit curious to know what would happen or how things would be different if you 'did' the 'don't' instead of the 'do'? Owing to personal bad experience or other's stories or facts, we tend to arrive at the safest or most profitable 'do'.
I have the tendency to think of various possibilities if I had done the 'don't'. Most of the time and most of the possibilities are false, mainly because of my presumptions which are, most of the times, incorrect. I have read this or heard this from some source that infinite parallel universes exist and each universe is created because of each decision we make. Our universe is made of all the 'do' decisions. Other universes might be made of either some 'do' and 'don't' decisions or all the 'don't' decisions. By not doing the 'don't', we reject being in that other parallel universe created by that 'don't' decision. Can too much brooding over the consequences of 'don't' make me jump to that universe and back, as in give me some superpower to jump between universes !!
I once read a book from the series, "Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys, Be a detective mystery stories" in which the reader could either choose to read Nancy Drew's part or Hardy Boys' part of the investigation. Because I didn't want to miss any of the investigations, I kept tabs (my fingers, and later few bookmarks) at each of those pages where I had to decide between Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys. After reaching a dead end or end of the investigation, I backtracked and read the other stories. It was similar to traversing all the nodes of a tree (the data structure in computer science) in preorder fashion.
Its like the game in which a person has to choose between two or more doors. The person decides on one door, and other doors are shown as to what he lost by not choosing the other doors. In life, the other doors are never opened. We make a decision, we enter that one door and can never walk back. Later we're again faced by some number of doors, out of which we select one door and walk in, never to walk back.

Monday, March 08, 2010

She called me

I saw her number flash on my mobile screen as the ringing tone filled the empty dim lighted corridor of my office. I decided to ignore it.
After 9 rings:
"Hi Mandy, how're you? I just called to..."
"Please Shruti, this is not a good time. I'm kind of in the middle of something."
"I know you don't want to talk to me, but please listen to me. I just wanted to..."
"You've always been so persistent. God! I felt so stifled when we were together. Everything had to be about you! Last few months have been so liberating."
"But I can't help it Mandy, this is who I am. I can't change now."
"Oh sure, but I could, isn't it? Mandy don't do this, Mandy do that, Mandy this..."

After fifteen minutes:
At the other end of the corridor, I saw silhouette of Mr. Mehta waving at me. I looked at my watch.
"Listen Shruti, I don't have time to listen to you crying over the phone. Please could you not do this. I am seriously in the middle of something right now."
I disconnect the call.
"Gosh! I wish she was here. Why do I still miss her? Bitch!" I spoke to myself in low voice as I hurried to the grand hall in the office campus.
"Mandeep, where had you been? Everybody is waiting!"
"Yes Mehta ji, I'm really sorry. Was attending an important call."
As I entered the grand hall, I saw everyone dressed up and a banner that read "Happy Birthday Sirjee". I heard my mobile beep an incoming message signal which was drowned under the "Happy Birthday" song which everybody started singing.
The message was from Shruti.
"Happy Birthday Mandy."

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Happy Holi

Holi has following salient features:
1. Everybody looks quite the same, i.e., easily unrecognizable.
2. You can play with water, colors, mud etc. and others would be happy about it, unlike those toddler days.
3. You could deface/dirty anyone and that person won't really mind!
(bura naa maano, holi hai OR Don't mind, its Holi)
and many more...

For all my btech years, I happily avoided Holi celebrations in IIIT-H campus. But today when Ninja and Shashank came to take me for Holi celebrations, I couldn't really refuse. This would be my last year in college, my last holi as a college student so I decided to celebrate it for once. And it was fun. I now wonder how much fun it would have been if I had celebrated it with all my batchmates during the last four years. But, as they say, better late than never.
Shashank had asked me to prepare for the worst, i.e., wear an old t-shirt and that vest may not be worn. I changed into the t-shirt of the felicity my batch organized. And my dear juniors and friends tore my t-shirt, and then the vest I wore inside it. But it was fun getting one's t-shirt ripped and torn off. I felt more into the mood of Holi after that!
The mud party wasn't as bad as I had imagined. Nitin, Shashank, Abhinav and others put me in the puddle of mud water, then put mud and water on me, rolled me over the mud. With the mud party, I had officially celebrated my first Holi in IIIT-H!
I did avoid dipping into the tumbler of colorful dirty water, and used the hose pipe for direct water supply from a big water reservoir.

Just a passing thought: Holi and Halloween are similar in some ways... they sound similar, in Halloween people wear costumes and mask their face, in Holi people wear color on their clothes and mask their face with colors. Also, people are generally unrecognizable in both.

P.S. - Today before Holi celebrations, for the first time I solved some of many clues in crossword puzzle with Sashidhar.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The first time you meet someone

"One never gets a second chance to make the first impression."
Till a few years ago I used to believe that my first impressions are rarely good. I've stopped bothering about my first impression and the burden now entirely lies on the other person to think of my first impression as a pleasant one or a weird one.
To get over a one month long writer's block, today I decided to write about my friends, starting from the moment and the reason we met. That made me realize the importance of that first moment when you meet someone, especially when he/she becomes an integral part of your life, and in some ways changes/defines your life.
Perhaps its in human nature, a part of nature's law itself, that one remembers the start, some peak points and the end (if reached). And in all that, for me, the start or the first time is the most important.
A simple activity will show you the importance of the first time you meet someone. This is an experiment that may make you feel sad. If you've lost someone in your family/friends group or if you haven't met any of your family member/friend for a very long time and are not likely to meet him/her in near future, did you not, for once, think of the first time you had met that person. The feeling of nostalgia takes over and you recall the first time you met that person and the reason your lives met, the first laugh you shared, the first awkward moment you had, the first thing you did together or some other incident that cemented your relation at the level to where it was when you last met that person. This works for close acquaintances, and pets as well.
Its like walking on a road, alone or with that person, then halting and looking back at the first point on the road when you met that person.

Kabir Das ji once said, "Meet everyone with a smile on your face, you never know which one turns out to be God."
He was right. Just that the way I see it, God in this case would be the person who becomes an integral part of your life and changes it for good. Hence, "Meet everyone with a smile on your face, you never know which one turns out to become an integral part (or love) of your life."

Thursday, January 14, 2010


Remember the moment from Munnabhai MBBS when Munna (Sanjay Dutt) gives a jaadu ki jhappi to the janitor of the hospital to thank him for all the sincere work he did everyday?

These days I'm reading How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. The second chapter talks about appreciating people for their good work and efforts. A few days ago, while reading that part of the chapter, I heard the cleaners cleaning the floor of my corridor. I opened the door and looked out. A cleaner went by and asked, "Kaisa hai? (how is it?)" indicating the floor.
I responded, "Accha hai, accha hai. (Its good, its good)"
I realized that instead of him asking for appreciation, I should have given him and others the appreciation they deserve.

We meet people in the following profession on a regular basis: Barber, tailor, cobbler, sweeper, garbageman, milkman etc. We pay them, they give us service and that is where it all ends. Imagine walking up and down a market place and not being able to locate a barber, a tailor, or a cobbler when you need them the most!
What I believe is that because people in such professions don't earn much, we tend to overlook their contribution to our society, to us. We forget how important they are. Let me be honest here, same treatment is given to a compounder against a doctor, a salesman against an MBA graduate, a mechanic against an engineer, a teacher against a professor. Every person is important, so is their work.

Before joining college, I had the pleasure of service from an Army jawaan (soldier) assigned to my father to run errands and do odd jobs. I have always been thankful for their help (we have a better name for them, helper), but never appreciated them which means myself being grateful has no significance if I can't convey it!

We must, therefore, appreciate our colleagues for the hard work and time, appreciate our parents for all they've done for us, appreciate a performer who, even for a moment, entertained us, appreciate ourselves for doing something new, something different and/or something useful, and finally appreciate God/Nature for the goodness that lies within us.

P.S. 1 - Presence of people doing odd jobs, "small" work etc. in our lives are like vitamins and minerals for the human body.

P.S. 2 - Try cleaning, stitching, hair-cutting, running errands and such tasks. Its fun!

P.S. 3 - Like Teacher's day, father's day, mother's day, children's day, valentine's day... one should have a day to appreciate the contribution of those whose presence may not be felt but absence certainly hurts!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

National Anthem

Isn't it a little upsetting or annoying to stand in attention before every movie in a multiplex for the National Anthem? Well, you may not but then you certainly don't want scorns from others in the hall. It does upset me till before the National Anthem tune is played, but while it plays, I feel like a school kid again, standing with pride, singing the anthem. What changed? Nothing. Because National Anthem would work, even after everything else fails.
During my younger days, while standing in the morning assembly I used to look around sometimes and see every person standing still in attention and singing the National Anthem. It amused me, and amazed me at the same time.
I doubt if anyone really understands the National Anthem. But well, who cares? It works, and if something works, we Indians generally don't bother finding the reason! :D
'Saare Jahaan Se Accha', by Mohammad Iqbal, may not be our National Anthem, but it does bring the same feeling of oneness that warms our hearts.

P.S. - Jana Gana Mana is much more suited as our National Anthem, I feel but can't really decide why... is it because of the content, or the structure, or the "Jaya he jaya he jaya he,
Jaya jaya jaya jaya he!" thing in the end... your ideas are welcome. :) (I feel lazy so didn't read about the possible reason, which I'm sure many have thought about).

Sunday, January 10, 2010


Personally I think an identity is a conflict of two personas, one being the current persona and other being the persona one wants to become. If the two persona be the same, then no conflict arises.

Is it the way one looks, or speaks, is it one's demeanor or one's actions?
Is it all of the characteristics taken together or only few which are more prominent?
Is it the uniqueness of those characteristics or the similarity with some other known person?
I don't know, but maybe that's how it is supposed to be.

"It is not who you are underneath, but what you do that defines you", Rachel says to Bruce in Batman Begins. Of course later she realizes that there's more to identity than just actions!

I met a friend after about 8 and a half years and I realized that although she had changed in some aspects, some things about her didn't change, those things which I think defines her.

In Agantuk (The Stranger), a film by Satyajit Ray, the husband is skeptical about the uncle of his wife whom they have never met. Later the uncle himself confronts the husband, who seems to be convinced by looking at the passport about the identity of the uncle. Uncle argues that a passport could be fake as well, so is there a foolproof way of testing/judging a person's identity?

In the Christopher Nolan's directed Batman movies, I found Bruce contradicting himself.
In Batman Begins, Bruce talks about using a symbol as an identity for justice, to correct the situation in Gotham because a person could be bought or destroyed but a symbol couldn't be.
In The Dark Knight, Bruce feels that a person like DA Harvey Dent, a real person would give people hope and make them feel secure, rather than a masked vigilante and his symbol.The only reason that resolves this conflict could be that Joker, who was Batman's rival in The Dark Knight was again, not a person but a symbol, a symbol of joker, which stood for chaos and randomness.

P.S. - Geminis are said to have dual personas, as in they tend to contradict themselves often.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Quarter life crisis

Himanshu told me a lot about our lives in 10th class, especially my weird behavior. I thought I was the only one who remembered my childhood, but clearly he could recall it much more vividly.
During the course of conversation I realized that the reason I acted strange is because my brain can not think straight when I'm uncomfortable, and I was (am still) uncomfortable among people (also called social anxiety).
My strange/weird behavior is surely my response to my discomfort. As a kid, I can now recall holding my schoolbag or water-bottle close to me. I used to keep to myself during lunch breaks unless and until someone came to me and talked to me. I guess many would find that rude, which I realized in time, but all I could do is look at others chat, or play, but couldn't move my legs to walk upto them. I gave up after a few attempts and it became my habit. And till date, walking upto a person (who is not a friend) and starting a conversation is one of my biggest achievements for the day.
Strangely true, it never bothered me when people called me names, because I saw it as an opportunity to interact with them in some way. In college, it bothered me because I never saw myself as a 'scientist', but rather as a slacker and a lazy person. Today I realize that 'scientist' also holds true in my case for some good reason and the people who believe in calling me so have their reasons triggered by some of my strange behavior in response to my discomfort among people.
The interesting part is, I myself don't know when I would feel uncomfortable. I have felt comfortable talking to strangers sometimes, and utterly uncomfortable among a large group of all my friends!
There has always been an image in my mind, an image of a future me, but I have never been able to meet him in mirror. Some pieces of the image are still missing, the vital ones. If I were a teenager I'd have felt that things would be better when I grow up, but they never got better because I gave up after a few shots.
This is the quarter-life crisis I face. The mundane problems like unemployment or low paying job, no girlfriend etc. have lost their significance in my life. All my attempts are now towards completing that image, which would complete me as a person I would like to live.