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Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Fanboi Diary - ][

The late seventies and the early eighties in the United states. The era of subcultures had just passed by, the hippies by then were confined to the few who roamed around college campuses, smoking weed, preaching love. The punks had their identities diversified and converged themselves into the rock music they played. America and its youth were again getting ready for the mainstream, for the materialist, consumerist culture. Seeds were being sown for the next big revolution, this revolution was similar to all other revolutions except that it did not have an end date or it never will. The revolution was called the personal computer.

Technology then, belonged to the rich. Computers were not personal, they were the symbol of the rich and the affluent. A few technology majors like IBM, which were born in the world war II era still ruled and dictated on how people perceived computers. For the new generation the computers looked outdated and they were still hanging on to the 1950’s. There was this crave for something new in computers, something fresh, something which challenged the confined design principles, something which was a symbol of rebellion, something which had a life and character of its own, and then the Macintosh was born. It challenged everything that the world believed would ever be possible to achieve on a personal computer. Unlike the IBM computers which were DOS driven, and had only command line interfaces (imagine this, to go to My computer you had to type in $cd My computer, to open a file - type your keys, to delete a file - type your keys) The computers came with huge and bounded user manuals.They were way too complex to handle and they acted merely like type writers which had a monitor attached to them.But the Macintosh was different, totally different. It had a graphical user interface for the very first time in a personal computers. Words were now replaced with pictures. It introduced to the world something called the Mouse and interacting with the machine was changed forever(imagine this, now to go to My Computer all you had to do is point to the icon with the image of a computer and click your mouse, that’s it). The first mouse click was nothing but a revolution and the Macintosh brought it to the common man. It challenged the products of the so called giants in every single department, in processing speed, in ability, in design, in price (IBM had priced its computers at 10,000$ while the Mac was under 2000$). More than anything else the Macintosh had a character of its own, in design, in looks and in the interface.  It was the symbol of freshness, of change and of rebellion. For the Macintosh was not the brainchild of a suit and tie wearing engineer who had a degree of computer science at Harvard, but It was that of a college dropout, of a man who was addicted to grass and weed in his early days, of a man whose world was filled with the music of Beethoven and the literature of Russia. It was the Brainchild of Steve Jobs, a stoned hippie who arrived in Benares looking for nirvana. It was the the brainchild of the era which had passed by, it was the brainchild of the countercultures, it was the brain child of defiance. The Macintosh happened when spiritual ecstasy met technology. It was not a project done with the motive of gaining financial momentum but it was the project done with the motive of changing the world. If you observe closely Macintosh was the collective expression of the Hippies, the punk movement, the skin head subculture and the various other counter cultures which challenged the status quo. It was for this reason Apple and Macintosh was accepted(also marketed) to be different. Soon, It slowly garnered a cult following across the world. And it was for this obvious difference in character that the Macintosh till date has not become the mainstream computer of the Mass market, it was not embraced by general public because like the Hippies, like the Punks, like the Skinheads it questioned authority, it represented a change of view, it represented a fundamental difference in thought, it represented liberation. For Apple is not just a company, it is a culture. For notice closely in every apple fan, and you may end up finding a peace loving hippie or an eccentric punk or a violent skinhead.

Think Different campaign was launched in 1997 to reiterate to the world what Apple as a brand stood for, the screen opened with moving images of people in the likes of Albert Einstein, Bob Dylan, Martin Luther King, Muhammad Ali, Alfred Hitchcock and Picasso… a intriguing voice over then recites the below lines,

“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do”.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Fanboi Diary

December, 1983.

Backstage in a little country side auditorium at Cupertino, California. He was standing there in silence. An handsome young man in his late twenties, his eyes were closed and his blonde hair drew some rough brown arcs on his forehead which were marked with other nervous wrinkles. The stage and his audience were just a few feet away, the academy award winning single by Irene Cara was filling in the hall. But, he heard something else, he heard thunderous applause that would travel across the world, across geographies, across time. He heard his heat to beat. His hand was holding a little brown bag which housed a revolution, another little leap for mankind. He was holding his own dream, a dream that he was chasing for more than a decade then. A dream which made him step down from the Himalayas where he was searching for the absolute truth of life, smoking Ganja, growing beard, and singing praise of the Kali. A dream that brought him back to America. A dream that was his destiny. And today he lets the world get on board.The lights were then cut off. The music softened. The hall came to a standstill. He knew his time has come, he knew his name would be called anytime now, the distance between the backstage and the podium was now the distance between today and tomorrow. His name was then called. He opened his eyes.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Steve Jobs.

Standing in the minimalistic podium which was marked only with the apple logo on it. He spoke. Like being mesmerized by an ancient melody, like being made to inhale a very dense perfume, they listened to him. He charmed them. He spoke about the era in which they lived, an era where possibility and access of computing was dictated by IBM. The big brother of the industry and also its monopoly, a big brother which tried to crush all the startups, a big brother which imposed itself on everything related to technology thereby denying growth, preventing innovation. A big brother which kept computers far away from the reach of common man, which blindfolded the world and made the world take the road that it paved, a dangerous road which led to a hopeless cliff. Steve then said “Apple is going to fight IBM”. Apple was then nothing compared to IBM, in manpower, in expertise, in size, in dollar muscle. Apple was just an underdog. Deep under. As people kept guessing, an advertisement was played on the screen.

George Orwell’s dystopian world of 1984 opens on the screen. The information era is controlled by a Big brother who appears on huge telescreens, dictates and keeps the citizens in constant surveillance. The citizens have become void of choice and options, that they blindly follow him. And one day, she runs into the world. Wearing a tank top and bright orange shorts, carrying a huge sledge hammer, she runs in and the army of the big brother chases her. She then dashes into the chamber, approaches the screen hosting the big brother, spins her hammer to build some momentum and finally she lets it go, it travels down and smashes the giant screen, then happens an explosion and a huge flash of light. The Big brother goes in smoke, the hollow grey eyed citizens wake up from their prisonlike slumber to the new brightness and finally a voice over rolls and it says, “On January 24th Apple Computer will introduce Macintosh. And you’ll understand why 1984 won’t be like 1984”.

A month later the brown bag was opened and Macintosh was introduced to the world. The rest as they say - is History.

This happened two years before i was born, and it took another six years for me to meet an Apple computer. It was in my school in the early nineties, in the air cooled computer laboratory, into which we were let in once a month had an Apple Lisa, the predecessor of the Mac. But even then it looked different from the rest of the machines we had at school. It had a graphical user interface, a clear monochrome display which put the other command line interfaces to shame. We were not allowed to touch the Lisa. My eyes were then caught by the rainbow colored Apple logo, and in that early age somewhere in my sub conscious mind. I fell in love with it. It took another ten years to actually work on a Mac. I was at college then and we had a Apple Lab as a part of our main building. It differed from the rest of the campus, it was all done in crystal glass and anyone who entered my college would fall in love with the sight. A glass building filled with 50 odd iMac’s and it was in the main facade of college. I fell in love all over again, we had sessions there as part of our multimedia paper. Finally i logged into a Mac. A childhood dream. But BOOM! it was the first use and i hated the experience, being a hardcore PC user till then, i was heartbroken to know that everything was different, i was shamed to not like it. Everybody was. Time passed, and slowly like learning to play a piano i was learning to work on a Macintosh, it took a while to look beyond the obvious, to understand that a Mac was not different but it is the way computers should be and behave, that the Windows i was using was nothing more than Big brother reborn. I loved everything that made the Mac, from the beautifully done interface, the perfectly spaced Helvetica type facing, the easy to use applications, the streamlined navigation, the tightly coupled hardware and software, the single body design, the simplicity of interaction that happened between the man and the machine. I fell for it, or i was destined to fall for it. I attribute the elegance of Mac for kindling the passion of designing in me. After my fourth semester, in my sem holidays i visited the Apple lab when it used to be empty. Most of the time, i just looked at the empty machine, i did my amateur design work in those Mac’s. And in those beautiful summers when i travelled back home in those sitting in the window seats of empty busses, i would imagine becoming someone different, someone who is a misfit, someone who is a rebel, an underdog who someday will challenge. Then in that age, i did not know that i was associating a brand with my own aspirations and vice-versa. Then in that age, i did not realize that i was slowly turning to become, an Apple fanboi.

and it just began there.

Friday, November 27, 2009

W.

Mapla can you swap with me for next weeks night shift?”. He asked me, and he looked anxious. For he knew I preferred coming in night shifts, he knew I loved the precious solitude i shared with the empty cubicles while working in the midnights, he knew I loved to disappear with a glass of tea into the roads which led me far away from work. He then opened up almost in tears. “Having a function at home next month, we are supposed to do the customary spending for my sisters kid and her in laws keep pushing us for more. Running short of money da, and appa is already broken I somehow have to make up for the rest. I need the night shift allowance. Can you swap?” He looked at me, and he looked anxious. For I knew he was the only earning member of his family, his father has had a neural failure and his sister is married as a helpless house wife. We swapped. While working in night meant peace for me, it meant hard earned money for him. Not just for him, but for a hundreds and thousands of people who are sarcastically branded as the IT crowd, who are termed to have no real purpose or maturity and who are accused to bloat the society with their easy fortunes, it means hard earned money.

My perception of the industry i work for has changed over the times, not that i am going to stand in the frontline and fight for its worth. But I am not going to accuse it randomly. For i have had first hand evidences of its potential to change lives. My once team lead shared, over a drink of whiskey in the sloppy hills of Moonar, that he almost lost his hope for life before he got this job. It was the mid 90’s he was a very average student at college who had an extra load of arrears to carry at the end of each semester, he had a delayed degree, he never got a job and roamed around with drinks and dope and after losing precious years if his early twenties he at last knew he was going no where in life. Someone made him take an software course and then he joined a startup as a programmer for a meager 3000/pm. He worked hard and then harder, he shifted companies, he travelled across continents and finally he, someone who could have ended up as a hopeless suicidal young man, or a rapist, or a suicide bomber destroying lives in the name of God, instead became a man who is deeply respected. Same applies to me, the guy who sits next to me at work. This industry has redefined the old world and parpanaric views of who can be given the opportunity, of who can be successful, it has brought wealth and dreams into very ordinary households, it has empowered a generation to be independent, it has turned many a boys into men, it has not only turned many girls to women but also made young women to stand up and live without dependence. It stands as the gateway to a more self dependent and open minded future. For me? I wonder what would i have done if  i didn't have the smooth transition from  college to work,  for all the rebellious speeches i give, and the assumptions i proclaim- i would have suffered and be shamed. It has personally made life easy for me, just like taking the next step in the staircase, like has been easy. Money flow has never stopped,  I am now able to feed myself,  pay my internet bills, and buy my own perfume and razors every month, it has taken care of my everyday life while i wonder about which Ingmar Bergman movie to download next.

It has been almost two and a half years I started wearing tags and started entering into large buildings embellished with glass facades, I have met the most interesting people in these building. From the guy who could discuss Dostoevsky's literature to the guy who can detail me on how the Nasdaq operates on a daily basis. From the guy who pings me every time our mutual crush comes in a revealing top, to the guy who would call me over a midnight to ask for a shoulder in the rough times. I have earned people. I have outgrown my shell, i have amazed myself. But all these have not brought love for my job. I do not find enough comfort in my place i have chosen in it. I respect the Industry as a whole but not in parts, for i have also met with the most pretentious people on the planet within the same buildings, i have punched walls with the over flowing hate for bosses, i have witnessed the worst inter personnel politics, i witnessed slavery in its most meanest forms, i have seen someone else stealing my work in front of my eye, i have witnessed enough stabbing on the back as it bled but anyway all these are universal. But for most part i am just spiritually un-involved in the work i do,  for most times i have seen myself only as a misfit. Yes, this is not what i wanted to do with my life. I always knew that. That doesn't mean i wanted to study middle English literature and arts in an old European University, or plainly become a bearded hippie look-alike filmmaker, or become a rebel preaching communist values, or someone who wanted to spend rest of his life serving the starving children in West Africa. I always wanted be into the business, of illusions and branding. A different kind of corporate. For i always knew i had more patience and love looking at typefaces and doing designing than looking at the computer generated code and developing modules of software.Anyway.

Sometime in the summer of 2007. I entered the Tidel park for the very first time, it was my first day in the company  and a bunch of us were being officially  inducted. After document signing and hours of lecture by the corporate heads. I knew i was caught in the wrong place, with time i turned really restless and bored. Sometime in the noon the pretty HR girls with their totally made up smiles came in and screamed “IT’S TIME FOR SOME GGGAMEES”. I was like what the fuck?. Some other rebel(?) joined me and we came out for a smoke. We crossed the road and found a tea shop on the road between Tidel and Thiruvanmiyur. The sun was right above us.The traffic was maddening. I had my tea and i  didn’t feel like getting back into the building. I hated the formalities, and the fake wave of happiness and security they bestowed on us. I wanted to be free, get back to my room to my senses, forget the mess and get some real sleep. I walked to catch the train, and got my tickets. Standing on the cemented platform of  the station and waiting for the train i saw Tidel park at a distance, it was glowing in deep blue.

A few minutes later I crossed the road and was walking again into the grand entrance of the big, blue building.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Cries and Whispers

            Cries and Whispers

Where does a tear emerge from? is it from tiny pores of the eye or from the thousand invisible pores of the mind? does it drop off from the shivering body like wind shattering the water on the tree or does it ascend down like rain when the grey clouds of solitude cover the soul? does it seep from the floors of the spirit drenching the mind or does it break the walls of the eye and collide into the being? Where does a tear emerge from? a tear emerges from truth. Yes truth. We cry at the moment of truth, the truth of an intolerable pain, the truth of an unbearable revelation, the truth of an irreparable loss, the truth of an irreversible moment. When left alone in the dark room with just a candle of truth we all cry without being able to handle the brightness of that tiny candle. I am an atheist, but I believe truth is god, crying is a prayer and tears are an offering. And whisper? whisper emerges from our most secret chambers, any whisper is an indulgence with a secret, a whisper is the wind which blows into the keyhole of a guarded room, a whisper hides more than what it reveals. Ingmar Bergman made a movie in 1972 called Cries and Whispers (Viskningar och rop- Swedish) which has become the benchmark of art that cinema is, and for years people have interpreted it with a hundred emotions. My interpretation literally translates Cries and Whispers into Truths and secrets and its infinite possibilities. A behavioural study of the human mind with respect to reality and disguise, a peep inside the well of the dark emotions, relationships, hypocrisies and insecurities. An artist’s impression of the human mind. A tale which takes you a ride into the complexities but teaches more about the path left behind. A fable amidst all its morbidity proposes selfless love as the only virtue to sustain life.

The film opens with Agnes a middle age spinster who is on the verge of death, a disease is slowly eating her insides, causing moments of tremendous pain and agony. She is cared by her two sisters Karin, Maria who have come taking a break from their daily lives to be with their sister. Then there is the fourth women who completes the circle, Anna a long time servant who takes total care of Agnes in her hour of pain.  The story is the exploration of the insides of these four women who live together in a old Swedish manor house. We slowly learn about the human beings they are, for Agnes pain is an everyday suffering she requests comfort in the presence of her sisters, but her sisters Karin and Maria slowly we learn, are women with shallow and pretentious traits. They are physically and mentally distant from each other and except for their sorry faces there is nothing they feel from the heart for the sufferings of Agnes. Karin is in total disgust with others, she has lost the belief in love or touch, she loathes herself and everybody around her in secrecy. Maria too distains herself from her sister but she is very obvious and weak, not able to care for others because of her self-centeredness, she is unable to sympathise for anyone. But the drama of love and care unfolds in between them everyday with Anna being the only true soul in the house who reaches out with the warmth of love. In non linear sequences we slowly learn about these three women who are somehow are the observers of a gradual death. Maria has been infidel to the man who truly loves her and Karin has a painful history of a disturbed childhood and a fruitless married life. Anna a mother who lost her child, lives with the sisters taking care and giving out love. With the plot firmly set, Bergman slowly reveals the human mind which dwells in the constant battle of love and hate. The characters break to tears, not able to handle the pain both physically and mentally. The intrusion of the thinking is so close that we are not able to handle such realities that are usually not discussed or agreed upon. The death finally happens after enough revelations, screams, cries, whispers and pain. The house is closed down and the inmates leave back to their false lives and Anna the only true soul who expected nothing takes only the diary of Agnes which reads or paints the climax where the three sisters are seen happily on a swing on a perfect autumn day. Agnes being comforted by the presence of her loved ones, and looking at the distant green meadows, says “I feel profoundly grateful to my life, which gives me so much." The screen closes as our heads drop down, down enough to look inside ourselves.

This is not a movie, this is an experience. Not entertainment but enlightenment of some kind. It should be watched with the indulgence of someone looking at a piece of art hanging on the walls of an ancient museum. Or like reading a very intense literature. Never before a movie was so intruding, never before it explored the dark state of human condition, at times becoming tough for us to endure it. Bergman chose women as his subjects as the women mind always has deeper kept secrets, there are men in the movie but not as intense as its women. The performances requires the weirdest emotions to be portrayed on screen. In a scene Karin and Maria enter into an confront, Karen reveals how she hated Maria right from her childhood, the most intense scene of the movie. The reactions that Karin gives out after revealing a truth disturbs you than words ever can describe. The movie is set in a house which is filled with blood red walls, carpets, and in a set up which actually replicates the bloody vacuum of the human mind. The vision of the movie is claustrophobic that at times you need some breath. The cinematography captures very very deep close-ups trying to capture every single emotions through the face. The film projects itself into the insides of the eye than the outsides. Later you understand that the film was not even made for you to watch, but it was the work of filmmaker whose vision in life was to capture everything that he believed to be documented. Ingmar Bergman, is a phenomenon who for decades has inspired all those filmmakers who wished to take the art to a greater level, to a more profound and honest level.

For sight the movie looks like a very bleak tale, then you think of Anna the poor servant who knows nothing but simple, straightforward, and selfless love. Not the selfless love that we show to the people around us and the people whom we already love, but the spiritually selfless love on every human. Anna would have cared for Maria and Karen too, because she is made only by love. Anna is the soul of the movie, and she silently proposes love as a remedy to all the misfortunes of the mind. Anna is an ideal image that we don't get to see around, because selfless love on every human is tougher to practice than said. There is this dream sequence where the dead Agnes wakes up and calls for her sisters to hold her hands and give her the warmth, but the sisters refuse and scream at the corpse and run away in disgust. Anna comes to Agnes. Anna makes Agnes sleep on her naked bosoms, giving the sufferer the warmth of the human flesh. The corpse of Agnes is shown lying down on Anna’s breasts in comfort and love. It is in this particular scene we understand the magnificence of the movie, for the movie reveals more than it hides, it cries more than it whispers, for the movie not only locks you down in a room filled with darkness, but also lights a candle.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Bus no.36

The summers of the early 90’s were hotter than what they are today. I still remember those particular days where a women would stand with her little kids under the sun, waiting for a bus which would take them to her native. The women was Mom and her two little kids were Arun and I. I remember them like looking through a framed photograph. The day, the bus stop under the splendid sun, those brown sarees that Amma wore, those bags which travelled with us, the flowered slippers and "irumbu-kai” mayaavi comics that I would have just completed during the travel. I remember them because that is the way that particular day unfolded, summer after summer, year after year.The first day after school closure, we would have travelled from our home in the sub-urbs of Madurai towards my mothers native home in a village distant from Coimbatore. In the last leg of our journey we would stand there in the bus stop, waiting for our bus. Arun and I would make a cushion with our bags, calling names, cursing and fighting. The bus was the only means that we had those days to reach our village. The bus had its own timings, so we had to wait for hours at times. My eyes would have been frozen on the road, looking at the distant vehicles to find our bus in their midst. I would be looking at the name boards from a distance and updating their numbers to Mom. A hundred busses would cross my eyes then 2, 47B, 62, 28, 31A each had their own numbers and their own routes. The bus was my only hope to take me to a place where i loved being. My little village. My escapade of school days. Hours would pass, and sometime in the evening when the sun drops down, I would see the bus at a distance. I would shout “Amma, namma bus ma”. And the moment would come to life. The wait for a bus to arrive has its own share of surprises. As we lift the bags the bus sporting the number 36 would float towards us. When we get in, I would know i am going nowhere else, but home. I would go sit near the windows with a grin which overflows my lips. I would hold those iron rods of the window and sit there like I shared something special with the bus. As if the bus bus belonged to our ancestors, as if the bus was a car that my family never had. For my mom, getting into the bus was like getting into a neighbours house in the village. For she had travelled in it from the day it started visiting her village. It was this bus she would have left her village after marriage.It was in this bus she would have brought me and Arun when we were born. She would sit there in peace as if she was speaking with an old friend. People in the bus would be those she knew from childhood, smiles would be exchanged and greeting be shared. The bus was a part of my village that travelled on roads. I would feel safe in there, and sitting in the lap of mom i could see it travel through the same village roads, the same groves, same cactus grown lands, same moon lit nights, and stopping exactly the same stops every time. We would be the last to alight. I would run down to hug Mama who would be waiting for us, and when i look back the empty bus would honk its good bye and would be slowly fading in sight.

The world was a more closed place then, we all lived like drops floating in the bottom of a glass bottle. There were imaginary walls built around places and we stayed inside the warmth of those walls. I spent my summer inside those walls that were built around my village. And the bus was like a magical dragon which took us through the city. The bus came to the village fives times a day, twice in the morning and night and once in the noon. To catch another bus the people had to walk at least for 3kms. the bus no.36 was the lifeline of the place, from taking people to work, affording distant learning to the village children, bringing raw materials to agriculture, bringing grooms to the possible brides, transporting the aged and the sick, the bus was their only way to keep up with the world. We were not so rich then, we only had our grandpa’s old cycle in our place. So we only had the bus to move around. I still remember every time i came home i would prepare a timetable of the bus timings and stick it in the back covers of my comic books. We left the village once a week. Arun and i would dress at our best and stand with Mama on those sand ridden bus stop by the village temple. Then it had a very silvery white paint with thirukkural written on all the possible curves, there were some happy looking conductors and drivers. We travelled a lot sitting by the window seats, to parks, to temples, to doctors, to hotels, to get seeds to plant, to get chocolates for our birthdays which fell in may, towards distant relatives, to those summer exhibitions, to travel in giant wheels and eat masala pappads, to movies which were a craze for all the three of us. I remember the day when we travelled back from watching Jurassic park, i was excited like hell jumping and making dinosaur movements in the pathways. Telling to people how huge those animals looked and how big and sharp each teeth was. A part of life happened in those journeys. The sense of belonging the bus gives you and takes from you cant be explained. The toughest of journeys happened every year on the last day of summer hols, when we would be reluctantly taken back to Madurai. I cried a big deal then, i would lock myself in a room for hours believing that they may let me stay. I would never want to go back then. I would go hug patti and bleed my heart out to her “naan pogala patti, ill stay here and join the village school” and all those childish cries. But after hours of threatening and pleading I would be standing at the bus stop to catch the last 36. When the bus leaves, in the distance i would see either Patti or Chiti wiping their eyes. I would with a long face, lie on the windows of the bus. The moment I had to get down fro 36 would be the toughest, like all the strings of the holidays were cut down, like i am no more inside the warmth and love, like bidding goodbye to a very dear friend. A huge pain would plunge the heart to see the bus move away from sight, for it would take one more year and one more day under the sun, to see the bus again and to step back into it.

Years of the same cycle passed, I came to the same village to continue my graduation. To a college located in the busiest roads of the city. The first day when i went to college no one came with me, but i took the bus .That day was exciting, to dream of the next phase of your life sitting in the same old bus which has seen you grow up till day. When i got down looking at the huge arch proclaiming the name of the most sought after institution, i stepped down from 36 and it felt like there were hundreds who came with me to drop me at college. Before i left for the stint at hostel, and before i got a bike to roam around, the bus took me to college. To wait for the bus with those single books in hand, to cling at the footboards challenging life and death, to seat three or four school going kids in the lap, to start behaving like a grown up, to get home with a heavy heart after getting my first arrear, to hear a romantic song on the FM playing in the bus and to think of the girls who disturbed sleep then, the windows of the bus opened up to a lot of dreams. The bus was a very part of all those transformations. Then with time i got my own bike and the dependency on the bus became minimal. We have had enough cars and bikes at home then, the bus was only a way of alternate transportation. But, whenever i found a chance to be in the bus, i could see that it gave me the same warmth like when it gave me in my childhood. Now, the bus is no more the life line of the village, but it has not lost its love to the people it still visits the place five times a day, still transporting them in its huge rusted compartment. I have not travelled a big deal across the world. I may or I may not, but a journey i would want to take all my life would be the journey again sitting near the painted steel grills of the bus and looking through the window as the age old breeze scatters around. Through the same windows of 36 i would look at the way the landscape has transformed, the way the little tress have grown in those distant grooves, the way the cactus grown lands have started hosting houses with little children, and in the soothing closeness that the ambience of the bus gives, in my aesthetic loneliness i would be lost in the thought of those thousand little journeys which i had in the bus. Journeys which began in the insides of a little bus, journeys which have ended up becoming the most cherished memories of my lifetime.

PS: Sometime last week when the night slowly opened up to another morning and as the first rays floated around the village, i left the house for work. At a distance from the village i saw the bus. After months i saw the bus again. The driver and conductor should have left for a cup of chai. The bus stood there, empty. I parked my bike nearby and stood there looking at the bus. The same old bus. The same old friend. I didn’t go up to it, but we both kept looking at each other for a long time. A very peaceful moment passed in between us. Then I left, and from a distance i could see the bus slowly fading in sight, honking its way into the village.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

On a nightfall

And the night fell on me, like a woman trying to spread on me with her wild kisses, like being immersed into a dark ocean of stars, like the sky breaking the roof and colliding into my sleep, the night fell on me, and i was awake. I was still lying alone in the gloom, on a cot of wires. Around me the limestone walls which aged a century glowed meekly in the dark. The tiled roofs patterned a series of dark brown lines, hiding in them were a few wooden lizards which usually creak a sound which always fell into my loneliness. Today they were quiet. People were asleep so was the village around. The house was still breathing, and i could feel it on my skin. I reached my hands to a little pot of water beneath my bed. It looked chilled by the breeze that was roaming around the walls. I quenched a thirst that never was, and again I lied down in silence thinking about the dark and moist night that was filling in the room. Yes!, the night is as moist as a tear, the night is as dark as our depths. The day begins from the sky but the night begins from the land. I looked at the floor around me and wondered if the night was slowly seeping from the million invisible pores of the land. I tossed around the wired bed and a beam of brightness fell on my eyelids. It was the moon on the other end. Through a glassed tile in the midst of the sand ones, i could see the moon floating on the sky. Usual sight for me to be waken up to the sight of the moon. We kept looking at each other through the blur of the glass. We had witnessed each other enough that only a silence prevailed to fulfill the distance. The lonely moon floated on the sky as a lonely man floated on his bed. The moon is the perfect symbolism to solitude. It has been there with its precious solitude, dreaming alone in the night when the rest of the universe is still asleep.The moon is not the source of the night like what the sun is to the day. A moon is just a companion to the night, a shepherd who guides the herd of stars into the wilderness of the night. He lets them feed on the night and rests himself on the shadow of tree and dreams as he always does. The night is the habitat of the moon.But the night exists without the moon for the night is not just the absence of light but the uncontrolled glow of the dark. The night is a huge vacuum pot into which we throw our secrets. The night like a faithful guardian has safeguarded the secrets of humanity, the night still has stories about Adam's first kiss.

The night jumps like a blind cat leaping from the edges of the day. While breaking away from work in night shifts, and walking alone into the night, I have seen the night lying down as a tired cat with its blind eyes glowing in the dark. Then a cup of tea would taste more when it is flavoured with a drop of the night. I would stand there on the empty roads far away from work and wonder if night is just a huge dusky bird which keeps flying around the world and the darkness is just a shadow that the birds wing descents on the earth. The night bird with it pulls the strings of time, in its mighty wings it carries the globe around. The night is the invisible dark river which is flowing from the origins of time heading towards the end of eternity. The dark river on whose shores we sleep after we get back roaming in the yellow sands of the day. The light of the day drops from the mammaries of the night, like a cattle feeding on milk the light of the day feeds itself from the darkness of the night. Night is always for the awaken and soon the smell of the night slowly enters my nose and thereby reaching my inbound pores. I look around to see that the moon has left its place. Only darkness prevailed over the glass. In sometime the same glass above my head will host the sun and i would be waking up to the yellow rays. The days are always hosted on top of the nights. Night is not one container of darkness but is made up of million tiny parts which keep floating around us.I lie alone feeling the night. The night slowly crosses over like a music. I become the one acquainted with the night. Like a fountain the night keeps pouring around me in all directions, almost drowning me, then slowly very slowly I close my eyes.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

The "Jatti" thieves

Based on a true story.

Yesterday our village was attacked by the Jatti(underwear) thieves. Before we get into what really happened, who are these Jatti thieves? For the past week or so the villages around Coimbatore are invaded by a bunch of ruthless thieves who are popularly known as the jatti thieves(தி ஜட்டி தீவ்ஸ்). Why are they called the jatti thieves? not cos they steal the branded jattis hanging on the cloth line but cos, when they come for their mission they come wearing only their jattis. Only Jattis? yeah only cut-jattis. They also cover themselves in some kind of greasy and slippery oil so it becomes impossible to catch them by hand.They are a group of four to six men and the number changes according to the mission. People who have seen them report that they were well built, tall, dark and looked like monsters. These ruthless killing machines choose one village for a night. They carry only a very few weapons, a little knife, a rod with sharp nails and a hammer.They enter like cats clad in their dark jattis, they hide in the darkest corners of the village, they choose the lonely house which is located outside the main village and as the the village slowly gets to sleep they emerge from the darkness and break open the doors.They enter without making a noise.They wake you up with their knives, one of them catches hold of the youngest in the house placing a knife in the junction of the head and the chest, the second one collects the mobile phones and breaks them on the floor, the third one takes refuge of the people in the house as the fourth one breaks open the vaults and clutches the jewellery from the women. Finally they lock you in a room and tie your hands and mouth. When they are done, they leave the house locking it from the out and escape into the nearby grooves.It all happens like it was already written. If you play their tune, all you loose would only be your possessions. If at all if you are going to revolt then there will be blood. They have scissored the right ear of a grandma who refused to give away her ear-ring, they have pierced the head of a few with the nail rod, and one has lost his eye as the nail rod hit his face.Casualties? reportedly two till date. Nobody knows who they are.They don't look like locals, people say they speak Hindi and sometimes broken Tamil too. The worth of the stolen has crossed a few million in rupees.Police? Yeah they come after the thieves leave and they leave before the thieves come again!.The commissioner has ordered for a shoot at sight and the police has already informed the villagers to murder the thieves if they are caught.

It was just another Saturday for me.Sitting inside my brown roofed village house, I was lost in the web on my over-heated PC. It was nearing eight in the evening.It was then when my Uncle called me sayin the thieves entered the village next to us. They were hiding inside the toilet of a house when a little girl spotted them, as the girl started shouting they fled the place. The four seasoned thieves were chased by some hundred men but soon they lost track as the thieves singled out and each escaped in a direction.My Uncle said two hundred men from nearly three villages are in search for the thieves in all the grooves around. I said let me know if they are caught and i got back to my work. Hours passed and my Uncle came home, their search had turned futile, but the whole of the village was speaking about the thieves. My uncle was sayin how cruel they were to the people and said most villagers had sweared to kill them if caught.Hours passed, i sat with my Uncle as he was watching Royal challengers trash CSK. His phone rang again a voice shouted "the thieves are hiding in the common marriage hall near the temple". We ran there just to see that the whole village had come to life in the mid-night, hundreds of men with huge and round sticks were running in all the directions. A huge crowd had gathered before the hall which was located at a safe distance from the village. We went there and the search was on, the bushes were cut down, huge lights were brought in. The person who reportedly saw the thieves said, they were standing on the walls wearing only their jattis and as he approached them, they blinded his sight and ran away. Hundreds were searching in places nearby the hall, I never knew there were so many people in my village.I was never a part of the social life of this village, and many were looking at me "who is this guy". I was wondering if i go for a leak removing my trousers and if these guys are gonna sight me with my jattis then im sure they are gonna think im one of the "jatti thief" and they will beat me to death. So i stayed with my uncle and the people i knew. The place was completely scanned and it was decided that it was a rumour that the thieves were in the village, we were starting for our houses and suddenly we heard a few women scream wild somewhere nearby. The crowd rushed there, the women were restlessly shouting that the thieves just ran crossing them. A women said a man was hiding inside the bushes and when she asked he who he was, he pushed her down and ran away. Suddenly people realised the kind of mess that they were into, the brutal thieves are now inside the village and they can do anything to the innocent lives. A wave of tension started spreading across. My Uncle asked me to rush home as the people in my house were already asleep. Yeah people i was asked to be the Man of my home then. I was kind of grinning inside me cos all these are hell new to me. Came home and switched on the lights, made sure that the bushes around were safe, like the cops in hollywood movies i crawled around and spyed in our neighborhood, i started practising some punches in the air, i asked my grandmother to put a thilak on my forehead and say "vetriyoda thirumbivaa raasa". As my grandma searched for a broom i left my house, i knew its gonna be a long night ahead and i took my iPod with me. groups of young men were roaming all over the place each armoured with heavy weapons, there were faces with anger and tension . I should have looked like an asshole to sport an iPod in that crowd, anyways stupidity happens. i joined the crowd which was searching in the directions pointed by the women, teams were built and each was assigned a task. Some young men took the task of roaming around in the bikes, and some searching individual homes. Nobody took me in their teams. They knew i was not a villager.I started roaming around alone, i called my Uncle and he said he was busy somewhere else searching for them. They said the thieves were hiding somewhere in the little village and the search was getting intense. Someone would shout "Hey i saw a thief here" and before the people reach there someone from the other end of the village would call that someone spotted the thief trying to jump a wall. People started circling in and around the village and it became a Tom and Jerry story. I came home to see that my orders were not in place and everyone including my little cousin were standing outside the house.ARGH!, then I kept roaming for sometime, I kept hearing Akon's new album, I knew i was too careless, I knew i din know the seriousness of the situation, i was wondering what if he suddenly emerges from the bushes, he had a knife and a rod but I only had an Ipod and a Motorazr.I was standing in some dark corner and there were no many people around in that street, a man i knew came in his bike. He saw me alone there, he suddenly handed over a huge wooden rod which weight a few extra pounds and said "mapla, inga yaarum illa naan nayaker thatava varasolren neenga intha theruva pathukonga"(there is no one in this street, ill ask nayaker thatha(an old man) to join you, you both take care of this street). I was like are you joking, but i gladly accepted the offer. Soon the old man too joined me, we both were standing in the corners of the street. He had a larger stick, yeah people an old man/young man combo to save the village.

I stood there keeping my face as stern as possible. I knew i would burst into laughter any second. The world is still believing me. I was so cool that the thatha standing near me was annoyed with my carelessness. I was like who is going to come here to this street. And my phone rang!!!. My uncle said "Vicky who is near the 3rd street", i said "myself and the old man,Y?" and my uncle said the sweetest lines ever said, lines that ill never forget all my life "i heard that the thieves are running towards the third street and they are heavily armed". The most intense moment of my life, no people i din piss out there believe me. I was motionless, i said this to the grandpa near me and he started tying his dothi up getting ready for an encounter with the beasts. What am i gonna do now!? I said to myself "No Vicky,Now you are not a software engineer who works with Steve, Matt and Davidson. You are no more the guy who visits the village for sleep and food, you are no more a guest here, you are now a part of this village, you now shoulder the responsibility to safe guard your motherland(yes! my mom was born here), you are a angry young man, you are Rambo, you are the native village warrior, you are the man that the world wants and the man that the world is searching for.Get ready for the toughest night of your life and tonight lets dine in hell". I was all charged up, i folded my shirt till my shoulders, i curved my newly grown moustach. I was like "Vaangada! vaanga! Seriyana ambalaya iruntha vaanga da"(Come thieves come to me, if you are a man and if you have your balls intact, come to me and cross me). They never came! I was waitin there for a few hours and only an old street dog was in sight. They escaped form me, the escaped from a man who was ready for a battle. I called my uncle he said "You FOOL are you still waiting there?, we enquired the people who reportedly saw the thieves and found that all was a RUMOUR, nobody actually saw the thieves, when inquired they all said that someone else had said to them and nobody saw a thief in the village, the thieves had never come to the village, YOU GO TO BED!!" No one had insulted me like this before. Go to bed? FU**! dude i was waiting for a battle. If at all they had crossed my way, if at all they had come near me... i would have looked them in their bloody eyes, i would have roared inside me once and lifted my hands, then something really terrible would have happened in that lonely dark street. The next day The Hindu would have reported "Young lad defeats thieves and saves a village" and Dhina thandhi would have reported "இளைஞர் சாகசம்!!! ஜட்டி திருடர்களுக்கு ஜட்டி கிழிந்தது".(No translation available!)

PS: Jokes apart, the village is still caught in the web of uncertainty. People are expecting that as the thieves never came to our village they may came again anytime. Dedicated police squads are asked to roam around in the villages for a few days now.

PS2: Believe me when my uncle called me to say that the thieves are nearing me, I already had my plans to tackle them. Guess what?? I would have said to him "Hey see no blood, ill give you my iPod and also teach you how to operate it, its worth 5k.You can leave without a hush. GOD PROMISE ill never tell these people the direction in which you ran". Now you all know why i took my iPod with me :)

PS3:(26/May)This post is selected by Blogadda.com as one of the best Indian(!?!) posts of this week, Click the image to view the page.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Pablo Neruda

And you will ask: why doesn't his poetry
speak of dreams and leaves
and the great volcanoes of his native land?

Come and see the blood in the streets.
Come and see
the bloods in the streets.
Come...and see the blood in the streets!

Pablo Neruda (1904-1973)

When a poet is born, the angels in the sky come alive from their dreams, a gush of warm water flows through the springs across the ends of the world, the tree by the river sheds a single leaf which floats in the air for an eternity, a light bulb kept in an old hut fades slowly to darkness, a few fleas keep sucking blood from the wound of the dead, hiding in a dark corner a grown man cries bleeding his heart out, a tint of wild lust is mixed with gallons of love as a woman deeply kisses the man she loves. When a poet is born the world gets ready for him, for he would soon capture in the magic of his lyrics the warmth of the water, the journey of the lonely leaf, the silence of the angels, the pain of the man caught in darkness, the passion of love, the glitter of the tear and the smell of the dark and humid drop of blood.When a poet is born he doesn't come out crying, but he comes out looking at the world with with his indifferent eyes, which will make poems out of the moments of his birth. A poet I believe is never a kid, a boy, a man but, a poet begins and ends as a poet. As if the only reason for his journey is to capture his share of the poems which keep floating like butterflies in the middle of a sunny day. A poet is born to write poems, the poems which are destined for him to write. Poems which are as unique as the waves of lines in the palm. Poetry is art of capturing the world in little canvasses. To put in words the essence of the intense moments, the art of seizing the emotions which flow through the inner walls of the being, the search for truth. Poets are not gay, they share a deeper solitude inside them which pulls them towards the words. I always wished that i may have the vision of a poet, i wished i could share the sight of a poet so i could interpret the world as he does, cos in his vision there is a search for ultimate truth, he looks at the gore of the beautiful and the beauty of what that is despicable.A poet doesn't write for his reader, he writes just to capture the magnificence of the moment, he writes a poem just like a painter immersed in painting a still life art.His poems with equal measures captures the beauty of the first drop of the rain, the last tear for the dead, the purity of the white snow which slowly melts into the mountain river, and the purity of the white liquids which are melted in the hour of making love.

Just like old friends leading you to new ones, S.Ra introduced me to Pablo Neruda, who in-turn introduced me to his poetry which more than just magic of words has become a obsession for war and peace for me. He ignites fire, he throws inside some dust, he drenches with water, he puts a knife in bleeding wounds. When he wrote he did not write to impress me or guide me, he did not write to give false hopes to people or to inspire them, he did not write to teach or to preach, he just wrote.He wrote poetry to explain himself to himself. And that brings him closer to me, i read him knowing that his poems were not written for me, when i read him I and Neruda sit opposite to each other and we discuss the poem. It has not been long since i came in terms with Neruda, say it has just been a few months. Slowly i started collecting his poems, spending my midnights to interpret its meanings. After spending time with him, now i can say he taught me nothing except to accept to life as is it, to cry when you cry. to laugh when you laugh, to let life rule over you.I wonder how gifted are the ones who read in Spanish, the language in which Neruda wrote his poems. Neruda was born in Chile, belonged to every corner street of the world. He roamed around the world in Vietnam, in Lanka, in France in Spain in Italy. The Picasso of poetry was conferred with a Nobel for literature in 1971.

Neruda love for words is evident in the way he plays with them, like the piper driving with him the rats, the words run in the back of Neruda, they drown into his pen and come out as the wet ink filling in the paper. A word reaches its pinnacle of glory when it is written by Neruda. be it the beauty of the phrase "The lemons move down from the tree's planetarium","i want to be my love, alone with a tip of your breast of snow" or the pain of love in the words "Don't leave me alone, the smoke that roams looking for a home will drift into me, choking my lost heart". Neruda had a never ending love for words, which spoke on people, society, life, truth and beauty. But Neruda is celebrated for the poems he wrote on Love. Yes Neruda was a poet of love, most of his poems share with us heavenly peace and the numbing pain of love. For anyone who reads Neruda the beginnings would be his poems on love, his first book twenty love poems and a song of despair is a must read for people who for once knew in their life how is it to love and to be loved. When a man becomes mad about a women, all his insanities are interpreted as poems. Neruda loved women, he praised her, prayed to her and he celebrated and cursed her. Neruda was in love with love. The pure essence of love keeps flowing in all his poems. As S.Ra says young men and women in Chile and across the world still visit his memorial in groups, they stand in crowds on the shore facing his house and recite the poems of love. Neruda was a saint who preached love. In his in numerous sonnets and poems my favourites ones written about love would be Sonnet XVII which in it says "so I love you because I know no other way" and Tonight i can write the saddest lines which in it says "Love is so short, forgetting is so long".

Poetry is nothing but a vision, a state of mind that you share with the poet.My days are getting drifted in the magic of his words, I have almost done with all his poems on love and now slowly moving into his poems on life which range from communism to the struggle for social justice.Lover, political activist, the voice of the common man Neruda has had a number of faces.It is in his poems i find my reasons and my reflections. It is after reading him I found that there is no good or bad poetry any word that emerges from the depth of the soul is poetry. Now i know what to search when i read a poem, what to look at when i glance the life around me.Yes! than beauty, than gloss, than the infinite possibilities of hope, give me truth.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Bangalored again!

Bidding a heartless goodbye to Arun, i started running towards the apartment.I didn't want to miss out on the Coorg trip, i already started dreaming about the trip, the mountains, the mist and the coffee estates! They said they were leaving in minutes i rushed to the room. When i opened the door, I saw a few men lying scattered one looking at the ceiling, the other clad in his brief was scribbling something on the floor and the next few were glued to the evil box. As i walked in the rest joined I looked at them and we all kept starring for a few minutes,then suddenly everyone started laughing out "Dey meesa vechurukaanda".

Me:Shut up! what happened to Coorg?

rest: what Coorg? which Coorg?

Me: assholes u guys just spoilt a beautiful day with my brother, i came running!

rest: illa da we decided two hours back that its not feasible today

Me:Then why did u guys call me 20 mins back

rest: chumma ullulaaaiku.

After sharing mutual abuses for sometime, and after making a feasibility study for a few hours sometime later in the evening someone asked "how many wants to go to Coorg?" 1,2,3,4,5 the hands kept raising. So it was decided that we do a night drive to Coorg, book some resort there for a days stay and get back to Bangalore late time next day. The two red swifts were set and we started the trip, on the car we kept discussing about the Coorg that none of us has been to.I desperately wanted to be in a hill station, to become synonymous with nature. Everyone looked excited. After twisting and turning around Bangalore somehow we reached the the outskirts, and from there we took on Mysore road. The music was loud around us, and it was fun to be a part of that drive. we were midway to Coorg.We stopped at a petrol bunk after some two hours on the road.After the refreshments and before getting into the car for the long drive, someone asked "OK how many wants to get back to Bangalore", 1,2,3,4,5 the same hands rose again and in minutes time we were back on the tracks through which we just travelled. I was not shocked, no not a bit, after all i am with my guys for some 7 years now! Its just the way we are.the trip back remains historically important cos we were LOST. Nobody knew how and we kept following the first car and after some point they said that they too didn't know the route and were following us through the rear view mirror(Yeah we rock at logic!!). It was then i saw the Bangalore opposite to the one i saw in the morning, the dull, dreaded, and lifeless Bangalore. The streets without trees and roads without peace. But the ride was, we spoke everything that men of our age speak in a car journey.Yeah we discussed the socio-economic impacts of the Obama foreign policy and which actress looked better wearing a two-piece.You speak i pull you down, i speak you pull me down. We spoke, we kept on speaking, we laughed, we kept on laughing. We were happy to be lost in Bangalore. We kept looking at the Kannada film posters and someone said

him:Dey whatever i think the kannada people are the best when it comes to loving the fellow humans?

us:how do you say that?

him:What do we do to trans-genders in our states?We insult them in our movies, in our streets, in our tasteless jokes, we treat them as degraded human beings, we make fun of them everywhere we sperate them from our society.

us:Yes but what does that have to do with Kannadigas?

him:There is a lot. You know what kannadigas do? they don't insult the trans-genders in their states, they don't make fun, they don't drive them away instead "They make them hero's in their movies", look at the posters around man what do you call all these creatures as??

yeah we laughed like our ***s popping out.(He was not kidding guys, in whatever industry karnataka goes forward there is an industry where they still compete with apes, "the movie industry"). Finally all roads drove us home, it was late night when we reached home. Dinesh made some forgettable mutta dosais, we had a house-party, and finally i went to sleep after a tired day but as i had turned into an insomniac recently i was wide awake living in my own world and sometime soon the next day had visited us!

>Sitting in the back seat and travelling through the sun-filled city, I saw them. They where caught in the middle of the road, without able to cross the road. An old man and his lady, dressed in dense rural attires these are people i see everyday in my village but they were the first people i saw wearing a dothi in that wide and big city. In the few seconds in which we crossed them, i saw a bewilderment in his eyes.He was holding the women's hand and both had no place to go.That was one of the crowded places in Bangalore, where all the new age men and women of Bangalore spend time together in their weekends, the place where a few international brands were staged, the place for the rich and the niche. Looking at the man and his women out there was like reading a crude poem in the middle of the sun. The city has travelled a long distance away from the common man. How will he interpret the metropolitan which has grown before his eyes, will he be comfortable to walk in there?, will he not feel a bit alien in that "really" alien crowd? I was wondering what made him come to the city, i said to myself that he should have come there from his village to buy jewels for his daughters marriage with a little money and he ended up here or did he come to get seeds for his irrigation?. If he had regretted a bit, or if he was not able to become a part of the place around him, blame globalisation. It was the capital of the village man some time back, but now Bangalore remains the capital of the rich, the new, and the loaded.There is no place for the village man in the streets of the city which has painted itself with pretentive colours. What kind of culture is it when it alienates the fellow citizen?. When i think of Chennai it still has the rural stint heavily in it, people from the villages of Tamilnadu still visit Chennai with the feeling that "its my capital" and Chennai has never disowned them. Chennai has had the heart to accept people. Chennai too has the rich and the niche but the attitude i find with the men and women of chennai is they try to be as local as possible.They are glad to be locals and most dont behave like they just alighted form the last flight from new jersey(i speak from the examples i saw, there may/will be exceptions). In Chennai the more you are local by heart the more you become a part of the place. I personally believe that in the long run there will be only one global culture that everyone on earth will follow, but then I am against creating alienating societies within one society.That saturday in Bangalore, welcomed me to the Bangalore which i wanted to visit, the city where everyone eats with spoon and fork(one guy was eating Paper roast with a fork!), a city where women look manly and men look delicate, a city where you can't find a stationery shop for miles but malls in every corner,a city where people wake up at 11 and go to sleep by 9, a city where the starting cost of a Puma is 3.5k, a city where you can see people fuck in closed cars i almost every corner,a city for the unusual a city where you are not worth if you are not having a girl to roam around with, a city ruled by the excess of money, a city where the sales guy speak better English than the real English men, a city which has disowned its own culture, a city in search of new masks everyday, a city which has never been, a city synonymous with Peter Keating, a city which tries to compete with New York and Paris but loses in competition to *** and ***.

But still i loved the other Bangalore, where people still lived without becoming prey to the artificiality around them, i loved the city for its natural charm and warmth, i loved the city for its trees which made evenings in hot noons, I loved the locals who were gracious hosts and guided us through the strangled roads, i loved the kannada watchman t who opened the doors for our cars without a complain even when we took it out for hundred times a day, i loved everything that connected me to the city. Yeah i did love things there after all we were not screwed, we were just Bangalored!

PS: Man, where are you leaving now? I have not done with the trip yet, did i ever say what we did on saturday after we woke up? Every trip will have a day when the epitome of all the events happen. Yes the was a place that happened to be the unforgettable during our stay and it happened on a saturday night! in this place(hey idiot click here). My heart wants to speak about it but my brain says no! So lemme leave the choice to you, tell me if you still need the last sequel.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Bangalored!

(This is just another personal and ugly rant about my weekend at Bengaluru, reading is at readers risk)

I dumped my issues and bugs at office ran to the bus depot to catch my bus at 10:30. When I got into the huge white bus which was already chilling with AC, i longed for another long journey in the middle of the night, where i can sleep, think and dream. Then i saw him, the stout-bald-decent-gentleman with whom i shared my seat. He smiled at me and i smelled a rat. I settled down on my seat, covering myself with the brown blanket and watching video songs play in the LCD. No ordinary songs, i mean which other travels would have the guts to play a mid-night masala DVD right in the middle of the a bus filled with family crowd. It started with "naaattu saraku" then followed by Mumtaj and a few others, finally the hotness quotient went higher as silk Smitha came in with her iconic "nethu rathiri yamma". As the toddlers in the bus started crying some gentlemen stood up for a fight.The video was stopped, and in the silence that then filled the bus, i knew why i smelled a rat.It was not just a rat, it was a snoring rat. The stout-bald-decent-gentleman was snoring. Yeah I do hate people who snore like pigs, i do hate to be awake when someone keeps buzzing around my ears. I detest them, but on that day i wanted to stay cool. I wanted to change my attitude a bit and stop complaining a lot about people who snore. I stayed abnormally cool.Whenever his snore went high,I smiled at him.I smiled at him just like how Jesus would have smiled at the sheep, I smiled at him just like how a mother would smile at her kid. I almost became his mother. I had no complaints when he fell on my shoulders. I let him sleep over there. Whenever he snored in an alarmingly disturbing volumes i wished i could kiss on his glittering bald head and whisper in his ears "c'mon sleep like a baby". Exactly 6 hours passed. I looked around to see that the whole bus was sleeping, i went out to see that the driver too, was almost sleeping. I was the only one to pay 600bucks and end up with a red eye. When i came back, i found that i could take it no more. I knew i am no Jesus Christ, and i hated that bald asshole for making me sit awake for hours. My face then should have looked liked a pissing volcano. I threw him away with my shoulders every time he fell there, i said nasty things in his ears when he snored. I couldn take the fact that hits two mangoes with one stone 1)he sleeps, and 2)he happily disturbs my sleep. God-damn-it how i hate people who snore!. It was almost five and we had reached the outskirts of Bangalore, the guy near me woke up. He smiled at me and said "Good morning". He smiled at my dreaded face and pulp-red eyes and said "Good morning".I said "get lost you asshole, next time you get into a bus, wear a name tag crying out Warning:I do snore like a pig". You know i didnt say those, I just said "Good morning".He left the seat and i took the window by now, as the bus passed through the out-skirts of Bangalore city, a grin visited my lips. I kept looking at the waking city and in the intervals, I saw the mystery man smiling at me from the large hoardings. Everytime i saw him,he made me smile. With his sculptured physic, his mesmerising smile, his out-of the world hair-do, he was GOD! The local brand ambassador of coke, he was golden-star Ganesh, the most handsome man of karnataka, whose movies outrun even those of SRK, who is the Rajni and Kamal combine of Karnataka, who makes every kannada speaking women go sleepless, who is perfectely flawless except and he looks a bit more manly than Namitha.(Click here to have a look at the golden star). Looking at his face I knew how my trip is going to end up as!. My plans were simple, to spend a day with My brother and spend two more days with my old roomies who had come all the way from Chennai. I knew things will not be as simple. As the bus was nearing my stop, I slept. The driver then had to throw me out at the last drop point at the kalasipalayam depot. Yeah at last i slept for exactly 17 minutes and some 0-60 seconds.

The Auto halted at 17th cross street, Malleswaram. The sight which i saw then still lingers in my eye. The sky was opening up, the first rays of the morning floated above the trees. There were trees all over the road, covering both the ends. The trees blocked the light and below the tree it was still dark. Morning in the sky and still the night prevailed below the trees. Magical! was the only word. Waiting for my brother I slowly started adoring the city which i just traveled through. All the way there were tress, the roads were wide and proportional and the ambiance so peaceful. For the first time i tried shedding my inhibitions and said to myself that I liked Bangalore. I then knew why they called Bangalore a garden city, the whole city reminded me of a neighborhood garden.Arun (My bro) came then and May1:that day was his birthday. We drove back to his house.Wait a sec! it was no house, it reminded me of somethin else. A house built over acres with the porch which can hold some 10 cars. I asked if he lived there, he said the owner lives there and they live in the outhouse. The outhouse was a bit old, but on the way there was trees that were shedding white colored flowers the mist was still floating around and the air still had a tint of chill.Man i envied the place like hell. I was thinkin about the rooms that we lived in Velachery/Perungudi/Sholinganallur. Where you sweat at 5:30 in the morning and where anytime u can glance pigs bathing in the sewage. I went around the house, it was neat. Four fully grown men live there. I was reminded of my rooms in Chennai.Here each had their own bed, own PC, own internet, own dresses and even own inner-wear. ( The sight of ten foul-smelling men sharing the same room, same matress, same dresses, same *** , of whom i was an integral part did flash in my mind). My brothers room was all neat and perfect.There is a difference between men in the verge of getting married and men like us. Being there I knew i was still a boy. After a bath and a chat we left the house for some "brothers-day-out".While leaving the house, my brother introduced me to his house owner. An old man wearing his torn vests, sitting in his wooden chair and mending his pigeon nest.

Him: So where do u work?

Me: CTS.

Him: Oh! good, you last quarter earning were good! So why did u guys back out from the Satyam deal at the last minute?

Me:(What?? did we get into the satyam deal in the first point?, this old man is blabbering) No, we never were a part of the deal.

Him:Nope, your team did propose a bidding of some **, but they backed out finally.(He analysed why backing out was a good option, why he felt the deal was not worth it)

Me:Oh!

Him:So what kind of job u do?

Me:I work for a client called DB.

Him:Oh the information guys,.....( He spoke a looooot, from the history of my client to what is their current stock price, who is their CEO, and where all they have branches in India)

Me:Oh!

Him:So what is work u do for them.

Me:We as a team are responsible for managing and enhancing their severs and applications.

Him:What servers you use?

Me: Unix boxes.

Him:Yes Unix is best when it comes to bulk file transfers, Windows boxes aren't that good.

Me: (WTH???,)

Him:So you do shell scripting in unix right?

Me:(Jesus-christ! what is happening here, what is he gonna ask me do nxt? will he bring out a white paper and ask me write a shell script for him???)

My brother came to my rescue now, i escaped the old-man- who-knows-everything just to hear that he was an IIM-A grad in the sixties. My bro gave me a look which parodied all my MBA dreams. (Eluthi vechuko un diary-la 2012 la naanum oru MBA avendaa... ithu namba koladheivam ekidamma mela sathiyamda! sathiyamda!) Finally we left the place, driving around the city in my Bro's car. He had been there for years now and knows the history/bio-chemistry of every place out there. On the eve of his b'day we visited a temple, we went for a quiet breakfast in a sub-urban restaurant, we roamed around malls, i bought him a book, we spoke-we shared, after long time we both spent time as friends. If you had ever had a brother, the point in which you shed the tags as brothers and become real friends is special. We roamed around like friends, with a lot to share and nothing to hide. He took me to his office, as we entered I saw his security guard saluting.(In the place i work, my security shouts "Hey! you! display your ID card"). The more time i spent in his workplace, the more i felt ashamed about the place i work. It was huge and each had their own bay(I share my PC with 3 others), he had 39 colleagues while I just had some 5000 in my office.(For ppl working in IT: WE SUCK). Again after stealing some stuff from his desk we again left for the city. Hanging around in brigade road and the malls around, having lunch and roaming around I be live that day was one of the best days that we had together. (Arun if you are reading this, I really wished that the day went on!). But, my phone rang speaking on the line was my ex-roomie he shouted "Asshole(Ke**P*** in tamil)!!! Wru???, we are waiting for you here, exactly in 20 minutes we are starting for Coorg, cars are ready... come here sooon!!".In a rush then, Arun drove me to Koramangala. I bid him goodbye and walked towards the room from where we were supposed to leave to Coorg. Without knowing that a surprise awaited there for me!!(I know this the cheapest trick to stop for a sequel, pardon me ;)

coming soon Bangalored! -part II
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