Monday, March 14, 2011

D Day Sans One

So, tomorrow is the stupid test.. And as usual, I am all at sea. The people around have studied quite a bit, and even taking help from them is not too feasible, considering the fact that it is an electronically administered test, with question numbers and answer choices changing at random in different sets...

Guess I should just give the diaries a rest and concentrate on the studies. But a couple of facts worth being placed on record. Firstly, Manish is in Delhi, so even if I flunk the test and have to go back, there will be one more good thing to look forward to, or rather at least one good thing to look forward to. Secondly, the people senior to me did not come for the course, so I am stuck as the course senior. Stupid responsibilities and no power. Thirdly, the day per se was a mass of briefings, briefings and more briefings, designed to only jumble up whatever clarity existed in our minds about the stupid test... But then, I hear my books calling out for me, so I should better heed their call... Wish me luck, please...

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Coimbatore: The First Sunday

After having had enough of adventures to last me the entire month, if not the year, in the first half of Saturday, the only adventurous part of Saturday evening was a glorious capitulation by India in the cricket World Cup. But to be truthful, it was an exciting match which livened up the evening..

The night was uneventful, and it was a gloriously sunny though warm Sunday waiting for me. That, and as I later discovered, two clogged drains of my bathroom. If your bathroom drains are clogged completely, it makes bathing and washing slightly difficult, as I had the reason to rediscover this morning.  Anyways, after somehow going through with my morning rituals and ablutions, I managed to make my way to the dining hall just in time for the waiters to give me one dosa before closing shop, with me sitting there and hoping they would get me some more... Finally realisation dawned and I decided to gather the remains of my dignity and come out with a sarcastic 'thank you' to the closed kitchen door.

There seems to be some theory gaining ground in my mind that realisations are like budhu fish of Cannanore, in that they come in waves. So, as a proof, another realisation came to me that I needed a haircut in order to look well groomed and smart, as my seniors would like me to. The natural course of action would be to head to the nearest barber shop, as that is what any prudent person would do. Now I do not know too many people who swear by my prudence, but I decided to follow the prudent course. Leg it to the nearest barber shop I did. Only to find it closed. After a few inquiries I was told that the shop opens only at 4:30 pm. Somewhat surprising I did find it but then the barber is also entitled to his eccentricities, so I did not pursue the matter further. I decided to make a heave ho for the next nearest barber shop. And I do not think it would surprise anyone to know that I found that closed too, with the info that it will open only after 6 pm. Would it be too much to say that Coimbatore surprises me?

And the third and as yet final wave of realisations to hit me on this bright Sunday was the fact that I should study. Correction, I need to study. Another correction, I better study if I have to have any semblence of a remotely fighting chance of trying to get away with a scrape at the passing marks of the entrance test of the course I am supposed to undertake on Tuesday. So, on that note I am off. Not to study but for lunch. For obviously, time is an illusion and lunch time, doubly so.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Coimbatore Diaries: Arrival

So, the hallowed day of March the 12th, 2011 finally arrived and almost saw me getting drunk in the bar... I mean, just before midnight I managed to yank myself free of temptations and come back to my room for a nice good small sleep of three and some change hours before I was to set course for Coimbatore... The place where my stay might range from a few days to a month, depending on how i perform in a stupid test I have to take in a couple of days. But we will cross the bridge once we reach it.

So, at the predesignated, though unholy, time of 5 am, yours truly was all decked up and ready with his bags packed, waiting for the vehicle to take him to the IGI airport. The vehicle promptly arrived at 5:10, and what a sight it was.. It could put the best limos of Las Vegas to shame- a vintage 80's model Mahindra classic jeep, whose sound could make a whooping cough appear positively calming and soothing to the ears.

Anyways, we set course. I asked the driver if he knew the way, and he said he was sure of the way. Being a naturally trusting (!) person, I shut my big mouth up so as not to offend the hallowed driver any more. All went smooth till we reached about a third of the way, except for the fact that I was running around half an hour behind time because it was against the dignity of the venerable vehicle to move at more than 40 kmph. Then we had the first adventure of the day. The clutch cable of the vehicle (shame be on me to call it a mere vehicle) broke. Luckily we were in fourth gear, and God willing we could have made it to the airport maintaining 40 kmph hopefully in time to catch the flight, albeit a la DDLJ train.

God, as it would be seen, was not willing. The driver, more confident of his knowledge of the Delhi road maze than Arjuna would have been of crossing one layer of the Chakra Vyuha, confessed to me that he was lost. And as luck would have it, our v. vehicle also stopped in the middle of some complicated aerobatic maneuver the driver was trying to perform. A million prayer and incantations to the 84 crore odd Gods and Goddesses later, the v. vehicle decided to start again but only in the second gear this time. Now was time for some desperate measures. I closed my eyes, took a deep breath and told the driver to stop the v. vehicle at the next red light. The driver looked at me with more horror than you would look at your neighbours if you all of a sudden realise that you were in the august company of Jack the Ripper, Mary Antoniette, Adolf Hitler and George W Bush (sorry Mr Blair, you still have some way to go to reach there). I had to spell it out for him that I knew it involved stopping the v. vehicle again. Reluctantly, he agreed and did as I asked.

Finally I got hold of a cab of some BPO who agreed to take me to the airport, only after telling him that my best friend was from the same place as him in Bihar, and also greasing his palms with a laughing Gandhi printed on one side of a cracking Rs 1000 bill (btw that taxi fare from this place to the airport was Rs200, but there was no taxi around, of course).

Usain Bolt would have been proud of the dashes (and dots) i made to catch the flight, but catch it I finally did. The rest of the journey was uneventful, or so I thought when I reached the sweltering heat of Coimbatore airport. Got a cab easily enough and reached the place I was supposed to stay. Now, being one of the more senior guys around, they had (have!) given me the furthest room from the hub center of the activities. Normally, I would rather like than dislike the distance, but to complicate the issue the distance is more vertical than horizontal, and in a further twist in the tale the lift was out of order. So, I had to lug up all my 35 kg plus of luggage up some 6 flights of stairs, and then drag it the horizontal distance too!!

Finally, I reached my room, hoping to have a refreshing cup of tea before I took a bath and settled down. This brought a smile to my lips as I had brought along one of my souvenirs from USA, a coffee mug from Chicago, for this very purpose. But as I opened the bag, I saw the mug was in four different pieces of different shapes and sizes...

And it is not yet nine hours since I left the cosy comfort of my room!!! If the rest of the time is gonna be a fraction as eventful, I am in for one hell of a time... But that as they say is not history, so it will be posted here as and when it happens...

Thanks, if anyone reads this, for a listening ear...

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Of Flags And Flagrantly (Funny?) Fundamental Failures...

I know this post is a bit behind the times, but I do feel behind the times right now.

It is behind the times because it is about proposed plans of Ms Sushma Swaraj and company from BJP Inc to hoist the national flag at Lal Chowk in Srinagar on 26 Jan.

But before I put forth my views, let me make one thing clear. I think BJP is a bag full of stinking donkey excreta, and so is the Congress. I do not think either of them is worthy of my attention, forget about following or affiliation.

Coming to the reason for this diatribe, I was following the story of the B people trying to hoist the flag in Srinagar, and the C (and the NC) people stopping them from doing so. I was following this story, and getting disgusted. My point is, as a free citizen of India, I should be allowed to exercise my constitutionally guaranteed right of hoisting my national flag at any place inside the country, unless specifically delineated out of bounds in the Constitution.

Now, coming to the rationale behind not allowing the flag hoisting. It was said that this is sheer political opportunism, to which I may or may not subscribe but that is, in my views, inconsequential. It was said that this is a law and order disaster in the making, what with the valley just about limping back to normalcy after months of boiling rage. Again, I may or may not agree, but for argument's sake, let us concede this point.

Does the threat of an imminent law and order breakdown allow the government to withdraw the fundamental rights of a citizen? I agree that the citizen in question may not be following his fundamental duties but this does not mean that the government, as the executor and guarantor of the individual's fundamental rights, has the authority to take the easy way out in carrying out its own duty of maintaining law and order by crushing remorselessly the rights of the individual.

A case which comes to mind is that of Rev Terry Jones from Florida, USA who wanted to burn copies of the Holy Qu'ran on 11 Sept 2010. It was stupid, almost entire US agreed. It was dangerous for the troops deployed in the East, entire US agreed. But there was no government intervention except in an advisory capacity. There was no move to forcefully stop him from doing so, even in the face of international pressure.

I am not a fan of USA and its policies. But I do admire its sincerity in upholding the fundamental rights of its citizens. And I do admire its media, or at least sections of it, for presenting the news in an unbiased manner.

After all this, I am left wondering when, if ever, will we mature as a nation and realise the importance of our rights and their inviolability.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Half Remarkable Question

I was sitting. And pondering. And that is not a good situation for me to be in, for in such a case I begin thinking of things I have no control over, no means of changing.

But today, Lady Luck was smiling on me, or so it would seem. Cos I chanced upon something that would do all the thinking for me, and let me just drown in it and go off to a comfortable stupor. So, I am sharing it here. Ladies and gentlemen, presenting before you the Incredible String Band.

Who moved the black castle
Who moved the white queen
When Gimmel and Daleth where standing between?
Out of the evening growing a veil

Pining for the pine woods that ached for the sail

There's something forgotten I want you to know
The freckles of rain are telling me so
O it's the old forgotten question
What is that we are part of?
What is it that we are?

And an elephant madness has covered the sun
The judge and the juries they play for the fun
They've torn up the roses and washed all the soap
And the martyr who marries them dares not elope
O it's the never realised question

O long O long e're yet my eyes
Braved the gates enormous fire
And the body folded 'round me
And the person in me grew

The flower and its petal
The root and its grasp
The earth and its bigness
The breath and its gasp
The mind and its motion
The foot and its move
The life and its pattern
The heart and its love
O it's the half-remarkable question. 

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Shades of Deep Purple

Is there a black or a white? Or are there only shades of gray?

What we see all around us, the myriad colours- of nature, of humanity- are they black or white too? And what about our relationships? We try and see so many colours in them, but do they really exist in those many colours?

Okay, to shorten it out, there are in my belief, no blacks, no whites, no shades of deep purple or any other colour. I think the world is a blend of various shades of gray. But the transition of a person from one end of the grayscale to the other, over a period of time, is what fascinates me the most.

The only pure white in this world of gray for an agnostic like me would be the God, by whose mercy there still exist a few who do not change their shade of gray. They turn out to be the ones you choose as your eye soothing, hart warming shades.

So, which shade of gray are you?