Sunday, 18 November 2007

Nomadic Blues

Sometimes, I can't stop myself from envying those who have spent their entire lives in a single city. These residents, who except for perhaps the occasional leisure or business trip, have never lived anywhere else.

However, the residents would surely argue to the contrary. Nomadism has been romanticised for the residents. They look from far at the nomads and marvel. Their dreamy eyes conjure up images of the nomadic fantasy. Their attentive minds search and hold on to the stories of the occasional nomadic visitor. But all these stories, all the fantasy..talk of only one side of the nomadic life.

The stories never talk about the price.

Being a nomad takes its toll. When you are constantly moving from one city to the other, you stop belonging to any city. Every city is a stop-over with no guarantee of you ever returning to it. In every city you try to nurture your life, try to stop. Build up friends, memorise the maps..then suddenly one day you sever all bonds to the city and go away.

New city, new friends, new hangouts...same old routine.

At times you come back to some city you have been to long ago, or perhaps where you were born. And you find, you cannot relate to it anymore. The city is an organism, and it has changed while you were away. So have your circle of known people. The images of the past just add on to your nostalgia and you realise you don't fit anymore.

And you move on. Again.

And then someday, passing through yet another city, you meet a fellow nomad. Over a cup of conversation, you wonder when your travels will end and will they ever.

And you realise, just as every resident wants to be a nomad, every nomad wants to be a resident. All your travels , have been in search of that one idea which you can call your own. The nomad needs an anchor to return to. The anchor maybe a place, maybe a person, maybe anything...but until that anchor is found, the nomad will carry on.

Friday, 16 November 2007

Distant physics

Strangely enough, elementary physical laws creep into my mind when least expected and arbitrarily.

I was wondering about the concept of distance in terms of its impact on relationships, and the first thing that came to my mind was de Broglie's hypothesis of wave particle duality



It is remarkable how distance can be such a boon in a distant relationship and such a curse in a close one...


Tuesday, 2 October 2007

Activities and laziness in a dry state

Hmm..lets admit it...I have been darn lazy. I was supposed to put up my travelogues...which have not and probably would not. Also over the period of past few months, there have been quite a lot of incidents worth mentioning. Yet, when it came to typing them...I have been lazy.
Well, not anymore, ..

Anyways, ever since I have come to Ahmedabad, I have taken up cycling again. Bought a cycle to go to work. And thanks to the support of a few friends, we have even managed to form a cycling club. Every Sunday morning, we go out for a 40-50km cycling trip. It is good fun and my share for the battle against the bulge [which i am hopelessly losing so far].

So I guess I have not been entirely lazy, just typing challenged.

Speaking of battles, we now have an ongoing battle with some pigeons who refuse to vacate the apartment. I dont mind pigeons, but hey, you can't strew your feathers and shit around the house unless you help to clean up. So every day it is a hide and seek going on...they watch out for open windows to sneak in...and as for us[me and my flatmate]...we have developed superior avian evasion skills. Our name can now be aptly quoted in the 'Great Book of Living Scarecrows".

When I am not chasing pigeons or cycling or performing other holistic personal development activities, I have been trying to play the guitar...lets see...

Sunday, 1 July 2007

Exile !!!!

The last two months, I had been on virtual exile,that is to say,I was not online. Well, I did hop in at times to check on my mail from various locations,but those exceptions can be exempted.
And now the exile has creeped into the physical domain.

After quitting my job in April, I had left for a two month retreat. Most of this time was spent traveling the Himalayas in Sikkim, North Bengal and Himachal. The details of my travels , I will be posting soon. Met a lot of friends during my trip...made a lot of friends during my trip.

And now, I am in Ahmedabad-the realm of my physical exile. New city, new way of life...I guess it will take some time before I get the hang of it[if i ever do]. Anyways, my old friend, Malav has been quite a savior in this city. Right from finding me a decent place to stay[a tough call especially if you have long hair and commit sacrilege on a daily basis, that is, have non-veg food] to administering intravenous doses of chicken soup [ I almost died of severe carnivorous deficiency- a deadly disease which affects people who live on non-vegetarian food, when they are plonked in the middle of a vegetarian city where even the pizzas you get are vegetarian].
More on that in the upcoming " Survival Guide for carnivores and omnivores in FodderLand".
Till then..

Wednesday, 18 April 2007

The Spy who Nagged Me

Well, it all happened a few weeks ago. I was in my usual coffee stopover on my way back from office. As I sat there enjoying my coffee and smoke, I met this guy. Well actually, he was sitting there first, busy talking on his phone. I had come later.Finding no vacant tables, I asked him if I could join him. Knowing very well that it would take nothing less than an earthquake to vacate any of the tables in the next couple of hours. I was familiar with the people at the other tables...they were regulars.
Anyways after he got off his phone, that is when it all started. At first he observed me for some time. I had to break the ice. I thanked him. He smiled.

"So what do you do? Are you into music?" he asked.

I replied I am an industrial designer. And went on to explain what it meant.

The next question he asked, caught me completely off guard.
"So what do you think I do?"

Now this was a trick question. How the hell am I supposed to know the profession of a person who I met 10 minutes ago. Hell, I didn't even know his name by that time. And it wasn't as if he was sitting there in some uniform or tell-tale clothing which would offer me some hints. The logical guess would be a BPO executive or a Software Engineer...since these are the most common professionals you come across in India these days. If you just throw a stone...chances are it would hit a person who is either one of these two.

I took the safer guess and said -
"Sotware Engineer?"
[it is always better to try this option...a BPO executive would not mind being called a S/W engineer..but the converse is not true]


He smiled. Shook his head and dared me to try again.

"BPO?"

Same smile.

I was dumb founded. Clearly I was not enjoying this "Guess what I do" game of his. After a hard day's work, the last thing I wanted to do now was speculate on the work profiles of random people. I told him that this game of his was surely beyond my intellectual capabilities.

Triumphant smile. " I work for the military intelligence" he said.

He went on. Went on about how his work involves great danger. How he is supposed to be under cover all the time. How he is responsible for espionage activities in insurgent areas. How his mission is to uncover militants from the general population.How he got shot 13 times in a mission, yet survived. How he was actually a chef by education but ended up as a spy.

The experience left me wondering.."what the fuck?"
I mean imagine being a top secret under cover spy.So what do you do about it...you blow your cover to a person who you have met 15 minutes ago at a coffee joint. Not very intelligent for somebody who works in the Military Intelligence.
Obviously this was a brazen lie. But the way he carried it off till the time he left, even after realising that I was not believing an iota of what he said...is commendable.i am not even sure if he actually was a chef...but he surely did cook up a story.

And I thought I had seen them all.

Gambit

gambit n. An opening in chess in which a minor piece, or pieces, usually a pawn, is offered in exchange for a favorable position.

The past few weeks have been an ordeal. Quite a few intersting events did occur during this period. However the majority of this period had been spent in trying to find answers.

This exhaustive soul searching resulted in me quitting my job last week.

I had been in the dilemma for quite some time...to quit or not to quit [with due pardons to the bard].
On one hand, I was not getting the creative satisfaction I needed to go on...on the other hand being employed by the global leaders of the concerned sector made quitting an uneasy decision. Add to it the fact that this was my first job after college days...hard earned after nightmarish months of unemployment, broken knee caps and assorted personal mishaps...including being chased by the hostel care taker to vacate the premises. The care taker incident had become a regular affair those days...a fact I capitalised on by using his morning visits as a natural alarm clock. Anyways...those were bad days. So naturally the thought of quitting my job was not an easy decision to make.
However, I realised after endless bi-polar moments of hope and despair...that I needed to quit. I do what I do for one reason and one reason only...the satisfaction of creation. Anything that asked me to compromise with this would not make me happy in the long run.

We often confuse pleasure with happiness. The former comes from without...the latter comes from within.

It has been a difficult decision and only time will tell if it is the right one. Above all, it has been heavily influenced by my instinct rather than pure logic. But as one friend of mine once said -
"Sometimes to take a big leap forward, you have to take a few steps backwards.."

Thursday, 8 March 2007

March on

Its surely been a memorable weekend. March looks promising. After months of monotony, during which I grew more and more impatient with my routine life...finally there was a welcome break from the monotony. Life had become predictable...which irked me. Other than few minor aberrations...it was like a repetitive cycle...each day the same.

Anyways, last week was different. Once again I feel alive.

It all started with Utopia on Friday, where Thermal and A Quarter whipped up some mean music. Good music,coupled with good company of old friends and free flowing booze...the night had to be good. At the fag end of the concert, at 2.20 in the morning, me and my friend headed off to Faridabad on his RD 350. Man, what a bike! It will remain one of the best rides I have had in a long time.

The next evening I was back in Delhi with some friends. After a couple of hours, all of us were jamming, aided by the whiskey. We must have made quite a ruckus that night...but thanks to the "Mysterious long haired guy" reputation I enjoy from my neighbours...nobody said anything. Sometimes being a long haired guy really helps.

Well not always though, like the time I was smoking outside my house...and a policeman on his bike stopped to ask me what I was doing there. After our introductions were through, he apologised and said it wasn't actually his mistake...it was mine. I had long hair.
Or the countless times when I have got the undivided attention of Delhi's stud boys. They would zoom past on their bikes...and then they turn.......and the priceless expression on their faces. My close friend, also a long haired guy, has had similar experiences, if not more hilarious ones.

To add to the unexpected turn of events of this weekend, I met an old schoolmate after 13 years. I had never expected to bump into him after 13 years like this in the middle of the road. Meeting him made me quite nostalgic.
Talking about those days,old school, old friends...and of course our old crushes. Damn, I wonder where she is now...my first crush.
Remembered the first time I had seen her...the only short haired girl in the class. I have always had this thing for short haired girls. Needless to say, I fell for her... hook, line and sinker. The first love letter...and the scolding from the teachers which followed. I was 8 then.
Somewhere during my city changing, school changing life I lost track. Wonder if we would recognise each other if we bumped into each other again.

Anyways, its been a fantastic weekend.


Thursday, 1 March 2007

Over a cup of Coffee

Over the past few months, ever since I moved to the new place where I stay now (those who know, know...those who dont...too bad), I have been a regular visitor to the local Cafe Coffee Day every evening on my way back from office.
This cafe happens to be the site of my daily physical exercise in the form of an extremely challenging predatory game called "Get the Table". The rules of this game are pretty simple...to get one of the three prized tables of the outside seating where you can smoke while savouring your cup of coffee. However the game involves extremely complex techniques of looking disinterested, pretending you have better things to do than wait for a coffee table, keeping a keen eye on fellow predators and finally the masterstroke...to walk in and seat yourself in one of the tables as if you were just passing by and saw an empty table. For those who think this is an easy game...try it once. It is not for the faint hearted. I have developed so much patience that I feel I can safely graduate to Zen Buddism now.

It is this patience that sees me through the ordeal of meeting some of the people I encounter there. Well, when you are sitting for hours having coffee, you meet all kinds of people.

Among the various kinds of people whom I have had the fortune/misfortune of meeting, there are two types who are of particular interest. These two types never fail to infuriate me. Everytime I meet them, it is like a test for my beliefs in non-violence.

The first among the types is the ones I call the Evolutionarily-challenged.These are the people who just stopped evolving or rejected the concept of human evolution all together. Their lives are centred around one topic - the other sex. Whenever I meet these men, the conversation is always and always about girls....girls they met,are going around with, would like to meet...and so on. Well, it is natural to be interested in the other sex...but when that becomes an obsession...the only thing you talk about anytime and everytime...that I find a bit retarded. I am NOT INTERESTED. Spare me. You may be the modern incarnation of Don Juan, I dont care.

The second type is the Pseudo-Rocklover. These are the ones who can talk endlessly about how they love rock/metal. They are among the most vocal denouncers of all other genres of music. However, after you talk to them for a while...you realise that their concept of rock music extends to a few popular songs and ends at that. They are not open to other songs other than the popular ones, let alone other genres. ( I once got reprimanding looks from one when I mentioned that I like Blues too).Their list of THE SONGS, invariably contains the following:

1. Summer of Sixty Nine [THE FAVOURITE of most Pseudos]
2. Sweet Child of Mine [or November Rain or any other GNR song]
3. Another Brick in the wall [Floyd it seems is quite a favourite among the Pseudos]

Just when I was being enlightened about true love for rock music from one of them,his mobile rings. And the ringtone...well it is Himesh Reshmiya...surprise..surprise!!

Well, anyways who am I to judge....after all I am uncool. I listen to the blues too.


Sunday, 25 February 2007

Bad luck and a bloodthirsty blonde

Checked mail...got 34 forwarded mails from wellwishing friends who know that I hate forwards.

I guess I have accumulated so much bad luck that for the next seven lifetimes [if there is one], I will be killed by a grand piano falling from the sky. I am sure by forwarding the mail, I could have averted such misfortunes...

Little do they know however, I have far worse things to worry about than bad luck. Take for instance the dead blonde girl without eyes or ears who knows where I stay and has promised to kill me because I did not forward the mail.

Well....that is that...if I venture out..I fall prey to bad luck...if I stay in....the bloodthirsty dead blonde is going to get me.

I guess they are fighting amongst each other[bad luck, blonde zombie] about who gets to kill me. Till they decide...

hypermetropia

Sometimes to have a clear view...we need to look from far away.

Amber light bathes the room, the night silence broken by keyboard taps.
Its been four years now, that I have been staying away and yet I have never been so close before.

Came to this city to study...and the city has never been miserly in teaching me.