Thursday, June 25, 2009

People we met......

The funny thing about living here on earth is you meet people you had not expected to meet in most unlikely places. They may have left in your life vivid footprints that will not fade with time. Some of those footprints you would have wished to erase. But as waves of time try to wash away them again and again you will find them still etched in your heart. In play of life these people comes in unexpectedly in different scenes. We wonder who is the script writer of this play!


Well this story is about friend from schooldays. I was there in this new school. I joined there in fourth standard and it was entirely a new place, new people, new culture. I was flabbergasted seeing the enormity of the situation I was in.
In the school where I had done my 3rd was a gorgeous country side (mini town at least). The only dress code enforced was white shirt and maroon trousers. It didn’t matter if the shirt was tucked in or if you were in your chappals. Only dishonorable thing to do was talking to girls. Believe it or not I don’t remember if I did well in my school. Hence I am sorry to say I don’t remember if I was a bright student or just an average kid.
The new school was in a new place altogether. I went and sat in a corner. I didn’t have the guts to say hello to guys sitting around. I had a terrible nightmare of spending my life there with no one to talk to. During the break I was looking around and saw a calendar on the wall. I started studying it giving the impression that I had many important appointments coming up. Suddenly I heard my name called from behind. I thought ‘Hey who knows me here’. I was startled to find a friend from previous school. I didn’t know that he was here. He introduced me to the protagonist of my story……

This guy was really good looking with thick hair, a kind of husky voice, very very athletic. In here I am going to call him Fahim. He turned out to be someone really eager to help someone in need.
After a long time I was able to overcome my out of place feeling because of him. Well guys he has put a bit effort to make me feel comfortable. He always had a star image there and to be in his company was a great privilege.
In those days there were no mobile phones, just the land line. As I was not of much use to any one, nobody used to call me. So when once my dad said that I have got a call I was quite surprised. It was Fahim. The first phone call you get always has a special place in your life.
In that school some people used to bring snacks for breaks, some didn’t. He started a policy of sharing the snacks among us friends. And that too in a quite way rather than giving an impression that he was doing a saintly, sacrifice act. These acts of kindness , although small, have always stayed fresh in my mind and always has been an inspiration.


Just like movies our life has got its share of disappointments. During those days I was very principled during exams. I considered copying as very big sin (although I changed my opinions after my 8th). I was not class first or anything but out of some 30 students I always managed to get a rank less than 10. Anyways, I always did better than Fahim.
As I have mentioned I considered sharing the answers during exams a big sin. But there were teachers who encouraged this kind of sharing. It had been two years since I joined the school. Once during an exam I looked up to see him madly gesticulating at me. I understood what the matter was. Like a typical geek I pretend not having noticed. His expressions got desperate. I could see that from corner of my eyes. I finished the exam gratified that I stood by my principles. I was also ashamed to look at him
For the next exam I came with more preparations.
There is a common scenario seen from 1st standard to our degrees- during the last minutes we would have learned more than what we did in days. I finished my last minute mugging when the teacher started asking, imploring, threatening and finally pleading us to keep our bags outside. As I moved out my dear friend Fahim came up with a long rubber band and stuck a sweet blow in my butts. His face was twisted with anger and he mumbled something which I couldn’t get clearly because it drowned in pain. During the exams half my mind was thinking about this. After exams I ran home thinking more blows ere on their way. After this knowingly or unknowingly we drifted apart.


I shifted the school after 8th. I entered my 11th. 11th and 12th are years of hectic preparation for entrance exams. During tense moments I used to reminiscence my happy go lucky days. I wondered if I will ever see any of them from my happy days again.
One day, sitting in a cramped tuition class I heard that familiar name. I was quite stunned to see him. A sea of emotions went through me. Fahim had become more slim, clean shaven and was spotting braces. I waited for two days if he would recognize me. When I went and asked if he had recognized me, he said he had a suspicion. So it was a happy and unexpected reunion. We shared what happened in our lives. He too had left the school soon after I did.

Life went on....
During my college days Museum became my favorite hangout. The best thing about Museum is you run into people unexpectedly. Museum always had a sense of thrill for me. You may get lucky running into budding romances. The perplexed and pleading expressions in their faces used to give me a secret pleasure.
Once I saw him sitting there. He had started to grow a beard. The expression on his face spoke of distress he was going through. He opened up to me without much invitation. He told me of the bad company and circumstances he got into. The supplementary papers were piling up. I tried to give him some encouragement. Well, I am not so good in that. But I still hope it gave him at least a glimmer of hope. It was not the Fahim I had known. He was always jovial guy and I couldn’t believe he got himself into a bad situation.


I got into this f****ing company, into this f****ing job. We friends from similar situation used to get together and shared our sad stories. One day I was thinking of this guy. What would have happened to him. One day as I was finishing my walk in Museum here he is again. He grew a bit bulky , jovial as usual. He has some papers to clear still. But he has got much hope and belief in himself. He was doing a Red Hat course. He spiced up his dialogues with ‘AlHamdillullahs’ and ‘Masha Allahs’ and ‘Inshah Allahs’. He found his strength in almighty at last. We promised to keep in touch. But has not till now............

So I am wondering…when will I meet him again…in which scene?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Bold and Beautiful.....Hats off to a master craftsman

State Annual Film awards has been announced yet again. A relative new comer has been nominated the best mallu actress. A relief came into my mind. At last a female acting power house from Kerala has come after a long time. But I was soon to be saddened. My friend went for the movie. I learnt that the performance was nothing but fountains of tears and acting resembling lunacy.
This is not an isolated incident. This phenomenon has been repeating for the past few years. The good movie goers will be sitting down to analyze what is missing. Many will be rubbishing Dileep for marrying Manju Warrier. Many will be lamenting the erosion of mallu’s movie tastes.
Once, here in our own little Kerala there was a great director, Padmarajan. To me he is one of the best in the world. He revolutionized Malayalam industry with his path breaking movies. Standing within the budgetary constraints of Malayalam films he set a benchmark for rest of them.

One of his greatest piece of work is ‘Thoovana Thumpikal’. It had two female characters- Radha and Clara and one male character- Jayadevan(JD). Radha and Clara are two women that comes into life of JD. They come somewhat simultaneously and due to strange circumstances. They know existence of each other in his life although they haven’t met each other.
But the attitude and reaction that each of them show towards their situation is amazing. In today’s cinema we would have seen both the actresses shedding bucket loads of tears plus the mothers, in laws, etc. The protagonist would have been shown as a villain for cheating these innocent girls.
Padmarajan showed the courage to give character and strength to his female characters.
JD asks her if he can marry her because it was him who led her to the cursed life of a call girl. Clara could have escaped from her life by marrying him. But she runs away quietly after asking him to marry Radha.She is shown as bold and ambitious character who chooses the call girl profession to escape from her rotten life. But she shows intelligence when she runs away from the pimp refusing to be ruled by him.
JD is broken man. In to this broken life Radha enters. Radha on hearing about Clara from JD takes a sensible and bold stand. He asks him only to meet her after telling her. We do not see any tears or anger from Radha.
Two beautiful moments which I saw in this movie-
Radha on learning that JD has gone to meet Clara, asks him to promise her that he won’t do so again. JD says he can’t. Radha tells him that ‘Give me a promise, you can break it without my knowledge’.
JD takes him to a registrar and asks her to marry him, when she delays the marriage arrangements. She tells him if she ever signs a marriage register it would be beside his name. ‘But I don’t want to do it now. Not in this way.’

Radha comes into his life silently, without much noise, but strongly. She takes bold decisions when it matters and is understanding towards JD’s predicament.
We don’t see any of these characters showing any masculine strength. Standing with in their feminine charms and grace they show the true strength of womanhood. But still they don’t play second fiddle to male character and asserts themselves independently.
Has our directors failed to understand the essential strength and capablity of a woman?

Friday, June 19, 2009

Three stories

Here goes three stories I heard at different points of life:
Story No 1:
There is a small boy living with his Mom. He was a good guy, doesn’t make much fuss about anything. But he has got only one problem. He always asks Mom ‘Where is God? What is he looking like?’. Mom tries to explain but fails to convince him.
One day he tells Mom that he wants to go out and search for God. Surprisingly his Mom does not stop him. She says ‘Go ahead son. Let me prepare you the food you will need on the way’.
So he sets out with a packet of lunch. He searches all over the village, asks around but doesn’t find God. By the evening he reaches the next village. It is almost getting dark. He feels the wetness of meal in his hand and starts feeling hungry. He sits down to eat. He sees an old lady sitting near by. She is slightly stooped with wrinkles all over her face. She was visibly tired. He goes to her and asks ‘Grandma, are you hungry? I have got something to eat’. She is visible grateful and they both sit down and share their meal.
He goes back home and tells Mom ‘Mom, I found out God. But God is not the person we expected to be. God lives in the next village. God is an old woman, seemingly 80 years of age. She is a bit stooped, has wrinkles all over and looks tired’.
The old woman goes home and tells her children ‘I saw God today, children. He is different from what I pictured him to be. He is a small boy, just looks like a 6 year old. He is a sweet little kid and lives in the next village.’

Story No.2:
A boy was looking into the window display of a shoe store. His cloth is in tatters. He probably must be from a poor background. A lady sees him looking into the store. She takes him to the store and buys the shoes for him. He is so happy.
He asks the lady ‘Madam, are you God?’
She replies ‘No dear, am just his daughter’
‘I guessed so, that you are one of his relative’

Story No3:
This is a couple of scenes from one of my all time favorites: ‘Anbe Sivam’.
Kamal Hassan is a atheist. Madhavan is a spoilt brat brought up in luxury. They argue with each other on communism, existence of God. Their train gets delayed. They learn that another train overturned on the way. They go to the place and sees that it is a big casuality. Madhavan is afraid of blood and the sight revolts him. He feels like retching. He has got a rare blood group- AB+ve. Suddenly a nurse goes around asking for some willing donor from AB+ve fpr a small boy. Kamal persuades him. He is too afraid. But seeing the plight of little boy and decides to donate his blood. After that he buys a ball for that boy. But the boy dies on the way of shifting him to a better hospital.
Madhavan asks Kamal if he believes in God.
‘Which is your God?’
Kamal replies ’You are my God.’
Madhavan, ‘Me…how?’
‘Because you were willing to give your blood to a dying boy you didn’t know. You brought a ball for him to play with.’

So everyone is there any point in going in search of God? Can you see him in those around you?


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Hail the Fourth Estate

One headline in Outlook caught my eyes ‘Dhoni’s honeymoon with media is over’. Wow!!! Our super cool captain is going to be at the receiving end of media. The mighty fourth estate has decided to go on war because he refused to speak with media. So the media notched up all absurd sounding news and one billion eagerly lapped it up (well, at least they were supposed to). Analyst after analyst came into the television to evaluate the unity of team. During our usual chit chat my friend was wondering if these former players turned cricketing experts had played the way they are suggesting now, India would have won a couple of world cups more.

Please don’t think I am going to attack media for all the morale eroding reports that came out. Hey, after all Dhoni & Co. enjoyed stupendous appreciation, fan following, endorsement, money thanks to the benevolent media competing with each other to project them up. In that case I would say media has all the right to bring these guys down too.
Let me be simple and direct ‘Who rules us, the one billion Indians?’ Let me put it in a different way ‘Who controls our thought process?’. It is not the government anyways. Is it any ideology? Come on we forsook it long ago (if we had any). To be frank we Indians no longer have any control our thought process. It is dictated by what we see in TV, what we read in paper (if we read at all), etc.
Media has successfully eroded and is still eroding the part of brain we used for reasoning. Do we reason with ourselves when we read or hear anything? Visual and print media does the functions that should have been done by our brains. Do we spend a moment with ourselves to retrospect our beliefs?
Indians got too much engrossed in making a living and lost the important characteristics of prioritizing. Just like the way we started preferring junk food over healthy ones we started preferring junk news over the healthy ones. 90 out of 100 newspapers and TV fill our mind with information we do not need. So the real issues get ignored and we wait eagerly to know who is having affair with whom, who is wearing what… As a result crooks and inefficient people gets elected, in the name of development the country gets looted. Because they know we fools will elect them again if they have a good media image. Money can give them that.
As Dhoni becomes favorite punching boy for our media, we have a contrasting character who is now hailed as the new messiah. It is none other than Rahul Gandhi. Until the election results came out every one of his actions was treated with sarcasm. He was the favorite joke in town. When his controversial Eaton certificate came out he was labeled as a dumbo (as if all the others in parliament used to get better grades) . His strategies where ridiculed.
Now look where he is now. Just after the results are out he is anointed as the king in waiting. Manmohan as a makeshift solution. His tactics were hailed. His team praised. He is the new visionary leader of India.
Only thing that is left for me to know is when our hallowed media will reverse their fortunes. Until India starts winning the next tournament? Until Congress performs badly in UP?
Let’s wait and watch……

Monday, June 15, 2009

Lonely hearts

The million dollar question is what made me take blogging. Well since childhood I loved writing. I fancied myself as a writer. But it is years later that I decided that I have to do something that makes sense and then thought ‘why not blog’. Now you will ask me why this thinking happened years later. Well it is because of the life I have got myself into.
Long endless hours trying to impress upon everyone around that I am working hard. Well this is a dilemma faced by many softies around the world.
Life of a softie can be really funny at times. At times you feel that you are a rabbit. Your manager offers you a carrot and makes you work like a donkey. Whether you get the carrot or not if you are a institutionalized rabbit you end up believing that you got two carrots. And the funniest part is that manager will end up eating the carrot for the work you done.
I donno if any one who reads this will ever understand that. Let me assure you won’t unless you are a softie in my position.
Try understanding this Software industry is a bad, mad, sad world churning out badder, madder and sadist rabbits. So when I was trying to make sense out of this senseless world , I decided to become a blogger.
Well friends, over here meek need not inherit the kingdom. But yes meek can get screwed.
Well these are not pearls of wisdom that I invented. All the likeminded softies think the same.
I have got likeminded softie friends working in different parts of India. Most of them in Bangalore.
We guys have a common frustration. Frustration shared by many likeminded guys who came from middle class families and who studied in some miscellaneous colleges.
We rejoice when we get recruited into some multinational companies in our tender young ages and that too in some metro city. But as soon as we land up there we find all the horrendous looking guys going around with real hot girls. We realize that in any shopping malls we are the only ones who are single and eager to mingle.
Realization dawns suddenly that we lead an incomplete life and we need a better half to fill the void. We decide to set out for seducing the pretty ones. As expected seduction starts from the top of ladder I,e the hottest one. Undoubtedly we getw rebuffed. My dears the principle here is the hotter, the harder the rebuff. So we climb down the ladder. Process gets repeated and then climbs further down.
He may ultimately end up with a girl equally desperate or he may go around spreading the gossips of colorful night life of all girls who dumped him.
Why am I saying all this? I happen to read a short story of Kushwant Singh ‘The Red Tie’. Even after some decades our story has not changed.

The protagonist is a darling to all ladies and source of envy for their husbands. He is allegedly expert in seducing. He is the life of all parties enlivening it with his heroics. Once in a party he shows the people his red tie with a smudge on it. He asks them if they know where he got the tie from. They don’t. He says it is from a lady whom he seduced. It is her husband’s. He wonders aloud ‘what lie would she have told her husband?’ and laughs.

Now KSingh tells the reality in his own sarcastic humor. The hero is a sad guy in reality. He has not been successful in even having a girlfriend all his life despite his good looks and hard work. He carries around condoms in his wallet in case he gets successful (hey are we that desperate?). but all those condoms lie unused. He goes home from work in a train. One day he gets into a compartment on the way home. It was an empty one. He neatly folds his tie and hangs it on his goods rack keeps his suitcases on the rack and goes to the lavatory. There through the lavatory window he sees a woman in opposite train going the opposite direction.(Both were on platform). She stares at him impassively chewing her paan. With all the courage he can muster he winks at her. The opposite train starts moving. He hears a braking sound followed by swearing sounds. In his wild dreams he sees her rushing to him. At last he was becoming successful in seducing someone. Slowly with a thumping heart he gets out of lavatory. His compartment is still empty. But this time his suitcase and wallet is gone too. Paan juice was dripping down from his tie. But now he is happy that someone had taken his condom even if unknowingly.

About Me

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Shakespeare,Da Vinci, Benjamin Franklin and Lincoln never saw a movie,heard a radio or looked at TV. They had loneliness and knew what to do with it. Thay were not afraid of being lonely because they knew that was when the creative mood in them would work.