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Sunday, December 26, 2010

गीत नया गाता हूँ

बचपन से ही मेरी राजनीति मैं काफी रूचि रही है। ९० के दशक मैं भारतीय राजनीति मैं खासे उलटफेर हुए, परन्तु उनमे से सबसे रोचक क्षण तब आया जब अटलजी ने प्रधानमंत्री का पद संभाला। बचपन में मैंने एक दिन पुस्तकालय से एक किताब उठायी, अटलजी की जीवनी जो रोचक भी थी, और काफी कुछ सिखाती थी। मुझे उनकी कवितायेँ पढना भी काफी पसंद आया। उनके बारे में समाचार पत्र में पढना, दूरदर्शन पर उन्हें सुनना काफी अच्छा लगा करता था।

अब जब में उन दिनों को वापिस देखता हू, तो पाता हूँ की राजनीति से सारा रस ही छीन गया हैं। परिवारवाद और घोटालो से घिरी यह राजनीति में उन अच्छे वाद-विवादों, रस भरी कविताओं, अच्छे वक्ताओ, और इमानदार लोगो की खासी कमी है। ऐसा नहीं की उन दिनों स्त्थिथि कुछ बेहतर थी, परन्तु अटलजी जब तक इसका हिस्सा थे, तब तक एक उम्मीद थी, और भरोसा भी था। अटलजी का राजनीति से दूर होना, मेरे और मेरे कई मित्रो का इस विषय से रूचि खोने का भी कारण बना।

२५ दिसम्बर को अटलजी ने अपना ८६वा जनादीन मनाया। मैं उनकी लम्बी आयु की कामना करता हूँ, और उम्मीद करता हूँ की भविष्य मैं हमें उन जैसे कुछ निर्विवाद, भरोसेमंद और प्यारे नेता मिले। अभी मैंने उनकी किताब मेरी ५१ कवितायेँ पढ़ रहा हूँ, सोचा मेरी पसंदीदा कविता के साथ इस लेख का अंत करू,

टूटे हुए तारो से फूटे वासंती स्वर,
पत्थर की छाती से उग आया नव अन्जौर,
झरे सब पीले पट,
कोयल की कुहुक रात
प्राची में अरुणिमा की रेख देख पाता हूँ।
गीत नया गाता हूँ।

टूटे हुए सपने की सुने कौन सिसकी?
अंतर को चीर व्यथा पलकों पर ठिठकी।
हार नहीं मानूंगा,
रार नहीं ठानूंगा,
काल के कपाल पर लिखता-मिटाता हूँ।
गीत नया गाता हूँ।

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Remembering Her

As everyday I reached the school gates on a cold winter morning in Korba. The rush of students, tens of buses (the one which stood out was always the Coal India township buses, white covered with layers of Coal dust), kids with their hair well-oiled, the sight of green blazers all over (a few scholar ones-red and blue), and the pink lady-birds and the black MTBs which had become so popular on those days welcomed me. As always Dutta bhaiya was on top of his voice, screaming on the gates and always giving that awesome smile when I entered the gates. That day I had not entered, I was standing at the front-gate with few of my friends, a green FIAT halted near the gates. Her green fiat is something which I distinctly remember, just like her red-shawl (which wa snever to be missed during winters), her commanding voice, and her accent which was very unique and just stays on with us. She got off the car and said, "Deshpande, clean your blazer properly before you come", and she walked away.

I was a four year old when I appeared for an admissions interview to DPS Korba, I vaguely remember a young handsome Thapar Sir (very little imagery, but I think its mostly constructed from the conversations I had with her) accompanied by her. She was the in-charge of junior sections and the interview was held at the Pragati Nagar campus. I was asked about my favorite cartoon character and I had danced all over the place like HE-MAN, and the panel had a nice laugh. I was given chocolates and an entry to DPS Korba- 8810 it was.

I met her last in 2004, she had lost a lot of weight, well that was the only thing which had changed, she looked the same, her eyes were still as expressive as always. She had made coffee and as she was talking about her new home at SADA and the change from the Yamuna Vihar home she suddenly mentioned, "Nowadays you don't watch He-Man, they don't show it anymore I believe?".

She was like that, she would recall the tiniest bits which would have happened, and bring them back to conversations. It was strange that despite being for my entire life in school I never got a chance to be her student. But I was fortunate it happened during my last year in school, Class 12th, it was just a coincidence that it was her last year too at the school. And as expected she was awesome, it was fun attending her classes, her voice modulations as she went through the English Literature stuff was brilliant, I vaguely remember the details, but it was a great feeling.

And in that year came a forgettable day, where for the first time she became so angry at us (I don't remember what had happened), she made the entire section stand and then she went and started punching back, this was not like her, she had become very angry with the behavior of few students in my section. Then as she finished the first column of benches, she came to one student and then she stopped (I believe it was Shameek or Swapnil) and then she cried. She then apologized for her actions, but conveyed how bad she had felt about the entire thing. Our entire class was not able to face her directly for a few days to come after that.

She was strict, but she was much more loving than that. Her touch was extremely special, she knew everyone's family in and out. Once in a while she would catch hold of me and ask me about home, about how my sis is finding the place, and am I enjoying my studies. She kept a tab on my studies as well that of 1000s others. I remember in Junior school Shameek used to be her favorite (or at-least that is what we presumed) and everyone wanted to be good in front of her. But she was never biased, she loved every student and really cared for us through all those years.

Also few things which I have memories of are that of her speech during Annual Function (she used to present an update of Junior school), she leading the assembly in case B Singh sir was absent (or later our other Principals), her screaming out for Kalpana Didi and Dashrath Bhaiya (that was actually funny, both of them were always scared when they reached her), her annual trip to U.S. and stories from her trip during assembly (I remember her talking about Yellow Stone national park, and Disneyland).

The last I had a really long conversation with her was in Dec, 2001. I was along with my family on a trip to South India and met her on Raipur airport. She was on the same flight with us to Mumbai (from where she was supposed to catch an international flight to Qatar maybe) and I took a seat next to her. This was my first flight ever, the first time I ever sat in a plane and I was lucky enough to experience my first flight with her. She talked about her trips, the years passed by in Korba, about her family in U.S. and a lot of other things. Even that was winter and she was wrapped in a red shawl.

I sometimes feel that over the years I should have tried to connect back with her, I think I called her once in 2006, to tell her my engineering was done and I would be joining job at Bangalore. Be it the meetups with school friends, or teacher's day or sometimes just like that, I would remember her and think that I should contact her. But I didn't do it for a few years, something which I would always regret.

We would all remember her, always...

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Wedding Bells!!!

This weekend came with a strange feeling, its not that I haven't attended a few weddings offlate, but this one was different. I have spent a considerable part of my life with him, those childhood days, stupid teenage discussions, my weird spin bowling and his super quick pacers, and just staying next to each other for so many years. And then we moved to different places, but those letters (one of which almost got me into superbig shit at school), STD calls, mobile calls, mails, and then reuniting properly after so many years at Gurgaon last year.

I don't think I will ever think about stupid concepts which have been introduced to the friendship lingo off-late with him, like having personal space, having a connect or a disconnect, the need to meet each other every other week, or to discuss the same old crap, it just stays simple and nice as it always was.

And I was nervous, I don't know why, but from the time he climbed the ghodi I suddenly had this feeling of how much things have changed, he is getting married, we have grown up, things have started changing. And even during the wedding when I was with him, we just needed a couple of words to convey whatever is going on, I hope it stays so nice and uncomplicated with everyone around me. The period between the jaimala and phere was full of nostalgia, lot of thoughts, tonnes of pineapple juice and mega tonnes of awesome Indori food.

And by the time it ended, I had realized maybe its time to change gears, maybe not marriage, but something which as we discussed brings isthirtha to life.

I don't know, with so many people around me getting married, how much more will I think, maybe Feb'11 in Kerala would be another such affair, I am clueless about the changes happening around me, maybe its the age for change, maybe its just that one desires a break from the routine, or maybe its just the way wedding bells have been ringing all around which makes me think. I meet a few people around me and I feel there life is changing, the topics of discussion are changing, and they are changing for the good. They have moved a couple of steps ahead in life, I am as always on the same page.

Whatever it is, its a fascinating and a happy period for me and my loved ones, and I hope it stays forever happy.

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Death of Longer format

Watching the current India-NZ series made me think a bit. Gone are the awesome days of test cricket when there was a patient build up to the innings, each ball was played on its merit and there was a healthy competition between bat and ball. God, Dravid and Laxman are probably the last generation in World Cricket who can play the classical game the way it was played. So what has changed apart from the ho-hullah of T20 cricket, the flatness of the pitch, short grounds and lesser number of test matches due to jam packed T20 seasons.

I feel test cricket's biggest change has been the role of opening batsman. Where a Gavaskar or a Boycott labored for the entire morning session without a helmet to take the shine off the new ball, the likes of Sehwag, Smith, Gayle hit it all across the park to take the shine off the new ball. Opening batsman of the past were patient enough to see the new ball off, and pass on the responsibility to the middle order to accumulate the runs. Not that they were not scoring runs, but they usually used to stick around, anchoring the innings. A modern day Test opener wants to unsettle the opposition by thrashing him all around the park, then let the captain spread the field and then accumulate singles. They are fearless (given all the modern day equipment, and the lack of awesome fast bowlers). They want quick runs, so that there isn't much pressure on the middle order.

If we look at it both had similar intentions, but the way of achieving it was different.

Now think about how life has changed around you. Well the pitch has changed, there are lot of opportunities, life is faster now. You want to a good opening in life. Everyone wants quick success. Ask any MBA who has recently passed out and they will say, well I will work till I am 40, and then become a consultant, or work with NGO or do something on my own. Till then I want to earn. Everyone wants quick bucks, quick success. Everyone is secure financially, still they want more of it, and maybe few years from now give their children an awesome playschool so that he /she can enter a good school. Be it career, relationships, friendships, everyone wants to keep things short and uncomplicated.

Think of the previous generation, they used to labor it for years for getting things in place and give their next generation a better life. They would face the balls coming their way with courage despite much cover, lesser security, play off the new ball and then pass on the innings to their children to take it forward. It was all so courageous but brilliantly simple and happy.

And I think in between these two generations separating the Test Cricket generation and the T20 generation, we are stuck, the One Day generation- confused and unsure about our existence!

Monday, November 15, 2010

[SCM]: Baigun Bhaja

[My fascination with Bong food goes back to my good old childhood days, where Durga Puja and Navratri used to be my favorite festival. Khichdi at Durga Puja has no match, and the amazing chutney served with it, ahaa. Also my pados ki aunty used to make amazing fish for me. My liking for bong food has been well documented earlier. This recipe is dedicated to kharagpuriya bong at whose home I made this last week, the to be bong bahu who will eat a fish-head during her wedding, and my poor friend who spends nights in shady bengal hotels traveling on thelas, eats jhal mudi and sells tide:). And haan to the Amdavadi Bahu who loves cooking :)]

Baigun Bhaja (Serves 3)

  • Big Fat Brinjal (One or two, depends how hungry you are, please check for small pores in the Brinjal, if they are there be careful, isme keeda lag jaata hai kai baar]
  • Mustard Oil or Sarso ka Tel (extremely high on calories, superb on taste, if you don't have this, please don't try this dish)
  • Ginger-Garlic Paste
  • Turmeric and Red Chillies powder

Wash the Brinjal (they use the max pesticides on poor Brinjal, wash it properly, and then wipe it with a dry cloth). Cut it into slices, slices shouldn't be wafer thin, nor they should be very thick. Medium thickness slices. Cut them but don't leave them for long, Brinjal has Iron in it, so like Apple, it oxidizes and turns dark. Its very high on Vitamins and Iron, but don't worry, we will kill it all :).

Take a bowl, put 2 Tb Spoons of Ginger-Garlic paste in it. Add a tea spoon of mustard oil, half tea spoon of turmeric and hald tea spoon of chillies powder. Mix it well. Remember its not like pakode ka batter, it shouldn't be too much, you just need to put that masala on the slices.

Take a pan, heat it, put mustard oil in it. Remember less oil and Brinjal might burn, or turn dry, a nice bhaja is always soaked with oil. Put the Brinjal slices in the bowl with paste in it, coat it evenly and shallow fry it in the pan.

While frying notice the sides, they will turn crisp, the center soft and yellow, fry evenly on both sides. Don't fry it too much, otherwise it will be too oily, just the right amount. The center should taste like oily bharta, and you know its done.

Goes well with Khichdi, simple Daal-Rice and even as a starter with alcohol. Yes after a long time I have found new company for alcohol :)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

[SCM]: Desi's Mashy Mayo Wich and Thakela Sunrise

[Through Simple Cooking for MBAs or SCM I want to share a bit of whatever I try out in kitchen, you can ping my roomie, it tastes decent :), and its easy to make. For all my friends, living on those lonely sales stints, or sitting in distant plants, girls who always have wanted to cook but then finally don't, guys who think they can cook if they make maggi, those who are bored of their cooks, or thinking of throwing a home party, you can try a few out. Didn't take any pics today, will put them up next time around.]

Desi's Mashy Mayo Wich (serves 3)


  • Vegetables: 3 Potatoes, 2 Tomatoes (1 tomato diced, 1 sliced), 1 Onion (diced), 2 green chillies (finely chopped)
  • Brown / White bread: 9 Slices
  • 1 Tea spoon oil (use Saffola, good for heart, and would help increase my friend's sales)
  • Butter / Amul Lite (based on what mood you are in, nothing tastes like Butter, but I think Lite is Ok)
  • Masala: Jeera whole (1 tea spoon), Red Chilli powder, Chat Masala, Salt, Pepper
  • Mayonnaise (take the veggie one, its tastier, there is healthy option available too, fat-free one in stores, made of mostly milk solids)

Boil the potatoes (wash them, put them in a cooker, now handling a cooker totally depends on you, my cooker is awesome, and I am comfortable with its setting, Apeksha's cooker behaves differently, totally your call. For me I sink them around 3-4th in water, put 6-7 whistles as I want to mash them, Jeera-Aloo would require 4-5 whistles). Then mash them.

Heat a bit of oil in pan, now crack Jeera in it. Now Jeera cracks earlier than Rai (mustard does) so don't heat it too much or you risk burning the Jeera. Best way is to heat it, then sim the gas a bit, then add couple of Jeera seeds, if it cracks put the rest.

The sugandh / khushboo / fragrance which follows is better than your Chanel's and Boss's. Its mahaan (most prominent places where you find the smell, Jeera rice, Dal Fry made with Jeera ghee and aloo jeera).

Put in the mash potatoes, mix chat masala and red chillies powder. Slightly heat it and mix it well. Take it off the flame, add diced tomatoes and onions. Cool it a bit (the sandwich mix is ready). Put salt and pepper to taste (remember you have added Chat Masala which has tonnes of Salt, so be careful while adding salt)

Heating the bread is not a simple act, there are multiple variations to how you can do it. The most boring is the videshi method of putting it in a toaster or microwave. Boring!!!

Best is the desi tarika, put them in a pan / tawa, put Lite / Butter, let it slightly melt add Jeera powder in Butter (you can add Red Chillies Powder too), put the Bread on Top, nicely butter it with Amul Lite (remember not that many calories, you can add your bit:)) and heat it. Let it be nicely brown (slightly soft or crunchy, whichever way you like it).

For the wich to be ready now, keep a slice of heated bread on a plate, put the potato as one of the layers. Close it with a slice, put mayo on it. If you are cal-conscious use a knife to spread it, otherwise use a spoon :). Remember even this has salt (so keep this in mind while using salt earlier). Now put the tomato slices on this layer and close it.

Its a fact that Sandwiches cut diagonally taste better than stand alone or beech se cut sandwiches.

Btw it's ready, eat it :). You can add cucumber to it, might go well. Goes well with Thakela Sunrise.

Thakela Sunrise (Serves 3)

  • 350 ml Minute Maid Pulpy Orange
  • Ice Cubes 12
  • 5 Tea Spoons Glucon D (preferably Orange flavor)
  • Bacardi White Rum (90 ml) (depends if you want a mocktail or a cocktail)
The objective of this drink is to energize you on a boring day, and its amazingly refreshing. A sunrise for the thakela :)

Remember cocktails are all about measures, you won't get the right feel if the measures are not right.


Mix it, if you have a cocktail mixer, shake it. And its ready.

Let me know if you try something out, in case you don't be happy to know that your friend keeps on trying things out :)

Monday, November 08, 2010

Main meebo hoon... hurts. Its so strong, so bright, so yellow. And he closed the eyes. He tried again.

Ufff...too much. I will wait.

He was sitting, he had opened his eyes for the first time and found it difficult to just keep it like them. The sun was just too strong for him.

He opened them again, it was beautiful, it was all green now, all that was yellow had turned into a deep orange hanging somewhere on top. He felt happy. He tried to stand, he fell. He couldn't stand, his legs were just too weak. But he sat there, he felt comfortable in the greens around him. He was sitting next to two white long rods, on the other ends he saw some beautiful colors dancing around, blue, red, pink, black, lots of colors. A little later they all went away, and it started turning black, the beautiful orange amongst the blue was gone. He was scared and he closed his eyes again.

He woke again, too tired, his throat was dry, he needed something, he tried to stand again and this time he stood, and stood there for sometime. He started moving away from the pole and he fell. He tried again and it worked this time. He was walking.

He started walking, he saw a spray in the middle of the green, he went towards it, a bit of that went into his mouth. He felt good. He had more of it, and he felt even better. He felt he was ready to move. All this time he was missing something, he didn't know what, but he was missing something for sure.

There was a pool of that liquid created on the ground, and the sun was shining brightly on top of it. And he saw someone in it. He was scared, so he walked away, and so did the someone. He realized that it was him, he had seen himself for the first time, pale, four legs, weak, two ears which stood up, and slightly yellow as that light which he had first seen. But not that bright.

He started walking towards the end of the grass, there were green trees on top he crossed a sort of a mound and heard a few screechy sounds..."bow, bow, eeeeeeee...." suddenly a similar voice burst out of him, maybe they were the ones he was looking for, they were the ones missing. He started running towards the sound. He saw two of them much larger than him being dragged into a wooden box, and there two more, exactly looking like him being dragged into a wooden box by two tall brown people. They were shouting, but they moved inside a blue big box which whizzed away on the clean grey roads.

It all seemed grey, maybe he knew who they were, but maybe he will never know them, and he didn't know who he was, all that he saw was grey in front of him and he felt a growing heat under his feet so he started walking. He found trees around him and on his left he found a path which was white he moved onto it.

It was nice and cool there, there large white and cream colored structures on both his sides, and pavement which was fitted with white and brick red tiles, on the three way he took a right and walked. There were tow large buildings on both his sides and he saw green again in front of him, he jumped there again and he closed his eyes.

" Dekh dekh, waha amisha aur uska boyfriend hai, arre unhone dekh liya, bhaago"

This noise woke him up, it was dark already and there bright lights all over him. The trees were hardly visible, he saw three guys running from there, and then he saw two people sitting on bench, one with long beautiful hair and the second, a tall guy. Both of them were very close.

He thought he will walk so he started going ahead on the pavement and took a right, he thought he again came back on the greys, he was tired and weak again, so he slept.

Thuck. He woke up.

It was bright again and someone had thrown a yellow long something at him, it smelled good, he licked it, he felt a nice sensation in his mouth he saw lot of beautiful bright colored people walking around. On top they were black and light brown, below they were of multiple colors, as he had seen earlier on the greens. People with long hair, people with short, both distinctly different.

He was still missing something.

And then he started walking along with them, he was not scared, but all of sudden he thought were they the same people who had taken those who were similar along. As he was thinking someone threw things at him, he felt a pain and they started making loud sounds, he was scared. But then he felt something on his back. It was that thing which was missing, it was the touch of someone who cared.

He looked at her, he felt amazing, she was so nice. He started walking with her, and kept walking. And then she picked him up and took him to a huge hall. It was huge and bright and there lot of brightly colored people. One of them in blue with shiny black hair came and sat next to her and asked "Who's this?". She told " He's nice na, think of a name". The guy told "Meebo".

"Meebo!!!". He smiled and felt happy, he knew what he had missed, he had seen all colors and smelled beautiful things and tasted some nice stuff, but he had missed the sense of being with someone who cared. And he had finally got it.

He looked at both of them, they were looking in front now, and she gently patted her back. He finally knew who he was.

"Main Meebo hoon..."

Saturday, October 30, 2010

The SemiPali Adventure

Mondays were always like this, f**king boring, although I am not allowed use the F word as I am still in class VIth, it brings out the haaawww from you. So we have a Maths test tomorrow, I don't know what happened to my school and they kept this routine of a weekly test, Kendriya Vidyalaya is so good they have a unit test, need to study once a month, we need to do it four times a month, although thanks to Gregorian, we sometimes have it five times a month.

Mr Sharma, we secretly call him DK and laugh behind his back, is different from the rest, just this year they started telling us that other than numbers you can also play with a,b,c in Maths, hey but this guy is new, maybe he doesn't know Maths at all, otherwise confusing English with Maths is a mistake, atleast something which I would never do. He calls this new thing Algebra, sounds like a Arabic Zebra, but my friends say that if you do this you get very good marks later in boards, and anyway everyone says you have to be good in Maths, they are the only test copies my father is interested in seeing, luckily for me I end up scoring good marks in this.

So I have a Maths test tomorrow, and I can't get the hang of it, these f**king (a,b,c)'s, so let me roam around a bit. Maybe Kartik would be studying too, let me bug him, he studies a lot anyway all the time. Kartik lives on the last home of my row, in township we have rows of houses, we even have gali rivalry, people from our row cross into other rows mostly to play cricket, pitthul and kabbadi and racetrip as we don't have enough boys of our age group here, all are people from Tiny Cottage, those red dress wearing, nose wiping, small looking kids.

I shouted Kartik's name standing at his house gate, it may not sound civilized but this is the way we do our things, and he comes out in his trademark wide-assed shorts and a baniyan. By the way Kartik quite wide-assed, literally i.e., people had that observation when he rides his cycle, both the cheeks spread out like a vada-pav. Infact most of our brain works during that time only, we think better when we are on our cycles, we talk about girls in different way nowadays too while riding the cycle, things are changing.

"So, how is the preparation, bore laga raha hai"
"Yes Pattu, but I still have lots of course pending"
"Hmm..., lets roam around a bit, get fresh and come back, you and Sunny always talk about that place right, with a small river and a bridge nearby"
"Oh haan, yes that one, lets go there "
"Now? You must be out of your mind its around 10kms, no point today, we can go tomorrow"
"Na na, today chal yaar, this algebra anyway doesn’t make any sense"
"Ok, let me get ready then". So Kartik puts on his trousers, wears a rough looking checked shirt, I am wearing a trouser too with some T-shirt. Trousers are in nowadays, my cousins from cities talk about something called a jeans but we don’t like that much, trousers make you look older than your age, and also its much better than half pants, we are in sixth now, so we are anyway allowed to wear trousers, it feels great, also with so many hirsute male legs around, it is a welcome move.

So we pick up Sunny from his home and progress on our cycles to SemiPali, Sunny by the way is another of my classmate, I don't interact with him much but Kartik so transitive ways I too, he is a good footballer and is creating a buzz on the township cricket scene too nowadays. SemiPali is a small village next to JamniPali, our township is located in village Jamnipali although it can be noway called a village with beautiful gardens, club, great homes, shopping centres and clubs around.

Sunny talks about Semipali on the way, about how Kartik and he has been to the area before, how they found out that place, how one of his chachaji sat on a grave and had a cigarette.


Yes he said, he told the river had a graveyard nearby, which was rumoured to be extremely old, and its closed now that means no more new burials there, but for me it came as surprise, recently they started Zee Horror show on television which I find very scary and anyway I am very afraid of ghosts and spirits and similar stories. The first episode was killer with the head of Archana Puran Singh served on a plate by a butler, although Butler reminds me of the sweet Butler from Ducktales, wonder what his name is though?

We ride on this kaccha road outside our township, all Chattisgarh roads are kaccha mostly, and you just have to get out of the township to ride on any of them. As we continue on the road, we find a theatre on the way.

"Hey, have been here saw Jurrasic Park here, what is it playing now"

Some dirty stuff, people say its known as Porn or something, its not good for kids and newspapers and posters advertise it as above 18 stuff, I don't know how being 18 qualifies you to see a movie, although the poster here doesn’t have any good hero-heroine also, who will watch it anyway. Also it seems Jurrasic Park is the only under 18 movie ever played in this theatre, because that’s the only one I saw here with Meenal (chronologically my oldest friend, about her sometime later).

As we start moving ahead the small shops and business owners give way to lush wide paddy fields (quite a common thing in Chattisgarh) and half chopped teak woods in the way. This area is mostly red-soiled, you can conclude that in two ways- the ghadas made here are Red in Color and during Autumns when the leaves dry and shed off, they all get a reddish tinge on them from dust. They look simply amazing, even the Trees turn Red. Certainly not RedWood though, read in Britannica that they are found in USA. Right now though my Hercules MTB is getting a Red Tinge, lucky Kartik and Sunny, they have a Red Bike.

As we moved ahead all three of us were pretty excited, both of them talked about the beauty of the place, while I was wondering how I could have missed this place. The road was sparsely populated, just a few cycles once in a while and even a tractor once. The slightly tiring long legs on the BiCycle keep moving though, crawling towards the destination.

On the way you see small children playing, women moving around with Water in Brass Pots and men sitting and chatting, its almost 5:00 PM and everyone is back from fields. One thing about Chattisgarhi Women though, their skin is has this amazing shine, it shines as though tonnes of Coconut Oil has been poured on it, and when they carry the Brass Pots on their heads, the sheen and the contrast makes the whole imagery brilliant. That Dark Shining Skin reflects confidence and their hardworking character, which I find missing in people from township. I was seeing this movie Shaukeen the other day where even Utpal Dutt was appreciative of Chattisgarhi women, but in a not so goody way. Generally he is good but that time he wasn’t, he was a bit dirty.

“Aha, so here we are”

“Pahuch gaye” shouted Kartik while getting off from his Bike in a superb fashion which was possible for only Kartik to do. Jumping off and continue running, it was funny but took a lot of practice. He also had many other tricks up his sleeves on a bicycle of which I had tried at least half, and almost all of them had resulted in a fall, and Dettol being pured over me.

It was beautiful. It was like well, lets see, a bridge, a leftward turn down a dusty lane, a small river, making the nice kal-kal sound. Smell of wet mud, aha, now thats something.

“And, there is the kabristan” shouted Sunny. How the hell does one see that in between the scenic beauty. Anyway we rolled our cycle down the lane next to the bridge, took it to the river and gave it wash. It was shining, the sun was about to set and there was a beautiful orange light all around us, the cycles were shining too, although the shine was nothing compared to the skin of those beautiful Chattisgarhi women.

And it was all so nice, we sat there, and it was all so nice, before...

He was a silhouette, a sort of a shadow, a lean figure, short in height, he just kept walking, he came from the side of the kabristan. I don’t know what the others were thinking, I thought he was a ghost, a spirit, or something on those lines. He limped slightly, and then he came near Sunny’s cycle, a mid-heighted reddish bike, picked it up and kept walking. He didn't utter a word, we shouted chased him, but we were so scared, we couldn’t do a thing, it was so weird.

And he went away, and I sat there, scared and stunned, and suddenly I realised that Kartik and Sunny were running behind him and they were gone.How the hell did they have the guts to chase him. I felt slightly ashamed, or maybe weird that I didn't support them. All I could manage to do, is cry.

Yes, I cried!

And I picked up my bicycle and started going back towards the township, the roads were empty and dark, there was hardly any street lighting on the way back. I felt ashamed that maybe I just left my friends on their own, or I felt that I cheated them, or I was just lost.

Yes, I was lost!

I was just going back, I found a drunk fellow on the way back, and there were no Chattisgarhi women with that awesome shining skin. I was crying and cycling back, running away from my first slightly super-natural adventure.

It was an hour and then I saw light, ya, Mohan talkies was here and I had reached the edge of the township and once I entered I cycled back to my home.

I had reached, somehow!

I just ran to my room and sat on my greenish teak wood study table. I couldn’t concentrate, nor did I have the courage to goto Kartik’s home and ask about him.I was scared, and I wanted to read.

I somehow tried to sleep later at night and just saw the same figure before me. I ran to the bathroom and saw him standing there again. It was so so bad.

Morning finally came.I possibly had my first night out and somehow cycle to the college. I crossed Kartik, we didn’t say anything and rushed away to the test hall. I couldn’t see Sunny around, but later realised he sits in another exam hall. I couldn’t concentrate, nor could Kartik, I just wanted it to end.

And it ended, and we met, and I asked?

“How was the test?”

Kartik told “ It was Ok!”.We met Sunny sometime later, he said “Hi” and moved on.

What about the kabristan guy? What about the cycle? What about Semipali again? What about Maths test? How did you come back and how?

The day ended and I just wanted to go back and sleep, I stepped out into the cycle stand and saw Sunny riding his red cycle. I wondered what had happened. Maybe I shouldn’t discuss this, maybe I was too sleepy!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Scooter ki Sawari

Scene 1: I was behind him, on 4th gear but always afraid to go a bit faster, my foot always flirting with the foot brake, and then something strange happened. Bhippu was sitting behind him, and he the fearless Jubhash riding his bottle green some plain looking bajaj turned back, and said namaste. All this while the scooter kept speeding ahead of me.

Scene 2: We were standing at our regular adda, doing bakbak, and the girl passed. The girl on the pink ladybird (well there were so many of them during those days), and Jubhash again went mad, he picked up Seepak's awesome hulky looking cream LML and went behind her, I don't know why but he went behind her. His best buddy Taanu accompanied him.

He came back after 10 minutes, and then something strange happened, he stopped the scooter, and raised his hand, the clutch came out and he gave it to Seepak. He drove it for half a km without a clutch in place!!!

Scene 3: He told me to release the clutch dheere dheere, and move the accelerator up at the same pace. Unlike making him run while learning the bicycle this was much much relaxing, and I learnt it in one day. He told me about his first scooter, a Vijay Super (made by UP government factory to capitalized on the growing demand and limited supply by Bajaj) which was bought by my dadaji.

Putting it on stand and locking the scooter took maximum time to learn.

Scene 4: Me and him and his Jijaji's scooter. It was a very pale looking Bajaj, well past its prime, but we roamed around the empty roads of Gandhinagar on that, eating paratha shaak, sipping Trupti lassi and Gh-0 soda on the way back. All my bank work, taking people to Civil hospital, going to R-World, everything was done on that. It just went on and on, and I think finally it died a silent death, although much used it was, and it had a painful life. I wish we had treated it in a better way.

Scene 5: I entered from the Kaveri Vihar end, parked the scooter there, and my friend used to enter from the Yamuna Vihar end, parking the scooter there, I always used to take aloo-pyaaz in the end, he used to buy it first. Subzi market in the township was the place where one realized the true power of a scooter. It was so easy to carry tonnes of it near your feet, and you can always show a thenga to bike guy on the Tuesday and Friday, days when weekly subzi market was there.

Scene 6: It was my birthday, and it was bhoko's birthday. Guys from NTPC were brilliant, they drove scooters, guys from MPEB had one thing in common, everyone drove Sunny, that plastic bag covering a m-80 which used to be present back in 90s. Tiddu thought he would drive bhoko's Sunny and thrashed it to an electric pole.

And then some one took a condom (one gifted to us on our 16th birthday!!!), blew it, and put it behind someone's scooter, and they drove it away, wonder what happened next!!!

Scene 7: Both of us went for back to back movies to R-World, it was strange and very rainy day and we were walking back. When we reached the highway, there was no auto, no tempo, no truck giving lift. We walked to the corner of the road to take a leak, I still remember the scene, lightening, empty roads, and everything very very wet. So both of us started emptying our tankers near a set of empty drums. He finished and started walking, I was about to and then something strange happened, someone screamed from within that pile of drums,

"Kaun hai be, bhaag jaao"

And he started running, and I followed holding my loose jeans, and we kept running and running (it was my first interaction with the supernatural and it literally took my pants off). We stopped after some 10-15 minutes and it was still raining loads. And then came a guy on scooter and offered both of us a lift. Was he a god, trying to save us from the evil?

10 minutes later the scooter stopped, he asked us to push it, it didn't work. We checked the tank and the petrol was over. No point now. Then he laughed and laughed. And then he and his Scooter started and whoosh he went. Both of us were scared, but we walked the next 8-9 KM and somehow managed to reach the beautiful DAIICT.

The post title is inspired from the Sudarshan classic Cycle ki Sawari. They were just my experiences with scooter, the best vehicle I have driven till date, adventures, racing, supernatural etc. etc.

Hope you guys would have had many?

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Katti and the Art of Bicycle Maintenance

That thumb, the stupid angutha, the one which appears on Thums Up bottles and nowadays keeps fiddling with blackberry, goes near the incisors and gets itself a bite, and Katti is what is said post that. After every small or big fight katti was our way of expressing disgust, frustration and anger towards a dear friend. And then the friends stopped talking, started giving each other dirty looks, talked through some common friend, start going to different locations during lunch break, get in different teams while playing cricket, started sitting in different rows. But then that was the age of innocence, pyaarapan, so few days later one of them would always come and make up. It was all so nice, there was so much fun in katti. It also had other variations like Khi-Mi, and inti-minti, all similar in nature, but with different actions. Even Munnabhai came up with a differently named Jhappi for resolving issues, but he underlying concept was that of Katti.

Today during a brilliant discussion on bicycle repairing we again discovered that bit of innocence, the tricks behind chain chadhana, the action which was required for filling air into the tyres, "puncture banwana", the bhudak bhudak sound which came when the cycle repair guy used to dip the punctured tube in water, the rubber patch which he use to shine and polish and then stick it with a red adhesive, all for Rs 2.5-3.5. There was a simple and cost-effective solution for every bicycle worry and it was fun getting it repaired. Bicycle maintenance taught me that solving problems can be fun, lot of fun.

Now when people fight, it is not as simple as the good old katti, it is much more complicated, or they make it unnecessarily complicated. Bachpan was certainly better, plus we had a fun-filled way to repair fights. Katti was our tool of relationship maintenance.

The tool is out of stock now, and they have stopped manufacturing it. I hope they start making it again and even grown ups start using it.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Brand or Fad

Nokia as India's most trusted brand... naah [Brand Equity Survey]. I mean my last 3 phones have been Nokia and I just love them still I don't feel for they simply didn't deserve the numero-uno position in the survey, given the awesome ground players like Micromax and co have covered. Rest of the top 10 are made by the usual list of Lever products along with the red and white toothpaste, the awesome smelling antiseptic (smelled its Chinese version at Apeksha's home, disappointing, doesn't smell the same) and everyone's favorite biscuit brand.

Some years back at DA-IICT we were debating the difference between a Brand and a Fad. Pumped up from the success of Rang De Basanti and the awesome Legend of Bhagat Singh songs my roomie always wanted to be a rebel, maar daalo he said, anti-establishment had become. I came up with this point on Bhagat Singh being a fad, something which didn't last, and Gandhiji being a Brand. As per Nitin Paranjpe, CEO, HUL successful brands deliver timeless values, build on them and resonate not just with the immediate needs of consumer but with their larger aspirations.

Now think of Bhagat Singh, yes he indeed was a hero and he did satisfy the immediate need of the masses, but he or his means were not enough to sustain it over a time and fit into the larger picture of achieving independence.

Gandhiji lived his life with masses and delivered trust over a sustained period of time (even after his death) and the core values remained the same non-violence, tolerance and respect for everyone. He became much more than a brand, he became a way of life.

So is Nokia a Gandhiji and Micromax a Bhagat Singh? No, these things are not comparable but yes these brands can learn a lesson or two from personalities and how they managed themselves. Nokia can't all of a sudden come up with a blast of weird low cost dual/ quadra sim phones, and Micromax can't come up with the awesome quality which Nokia offers.Gandhiji would have never taken up violence of any form, and Bhagat Singh would have never had the tolerance to tackle the beating of British officers with a smile. But now these brands are trying to find a middle ground, Nokia planning to come up with multi-sim phones and Micromax offering great service through its network.

Whatever be it, no one wants a rebel around, just think of it, what would be better, a Nokia coming out of your pocket, or a Micromax!

[Note: It might sound loose, if one has to analyze Nokia, one has to look at a zillion other pressures the company is facing across the globe, I just mentioned a small situation which had stuck on for a few days]

Friday, August 27, 2010

Fake it till you make it

Sometime in mind 90's I was sitting in my school auditorium with friends waiting for the swamiji to come. He used to come every year and used to interact with us. I don't recall his name, but his face is so clearly etched in my memory, it had tonnes of happiness sprinkled all over it, and he seemed content with everything. In fact when I read Hesse's Siddhartha years later I was reminded of him.

Mamaji of one of my batchmates in school, Swamiji had left his family and a well-paid job as a Chemical Engineer (he studied at Jadavpur University, so many awesome engineers in the country came from there in the mid 70's, ask a bong and their heart still beats for the place) to join Ramakrishna mission (around the same time DD showed the movie on Swami Vivekananda, in which Paramahamsa was beautifully played by Mithunda, and I also read some literature by both the teacher and disciple).

That day Swamiji talked on the topic, of Fake it till you make it. He discussed it in the context of shedding away inhibitions, developing confidence and all. I don't remember exactly what he talked but that phrase just stuck on. And I came across it again during the ethics course at SP, when we were discussing Geeta.

You imitate something which you can't do naturally, and slowly it becomes a habit and you are in a comfort zone with it. Like lets say one asks me to talk less for some days, even if I am uncomfortable doing it, slowly faking the habit can actually lead to me adapting and enjoying the change.

Travel through the markets and you always see these distortions. Obviously many don't observe it, but look closely and one is sure to find packs of well known brands Fair and Lively, Luk, Colgote, Bora Plus, Ankor swtiches, Paracheet, Detol and so many more. The market for counterfeit/fake/me-too (products which look and feel the same as original, many a times come from Registered companies, the visual elements are same but the names are slightly different) products in India is huge and continues to grow at a similar speed if not more as the real products are growing.

I remember having this discussion with Sagar, KK and our Professor of Consumer Behavior (one of the best courses I did in the second year) on me-too brands and why does someone buy it. Well in most cases the prices are similar (for the retailer though the me-too brands offer heavy discounting), but the Indian consumer just goes for the colours and visual elements mostly. Like if he visits a small shop and asks for a toothpaste and receives something which is a red colored tube with white font over it and the symbols appear somewhat relevant he doesn't event think. Same for a cream and a pink and white tube. Although we think its as practice prevalent in smaller towns and villages, how many of us actually check/inspect the products we buy? I even consider the main competitor of Glucon-D launched by a top FMCG company in the country to be a me-too, the visual elements are copied, and only after a court ruling they managed to get the family pic and the font changed (both of them so symbolic of the Glucon-D pack).

If the appearance is mostly similar, you can actually push through the fake ones, and the original ones despite all their efforts are at loss. But in the long term does it work out for small players, or they just make some money and maybe will switch businesses or disappear over a period of time?

In the past couple of years I discovered another huge market with a high penetration of fakes in the system, that of people. Although this is a much more complex market, its extremely difficult to identify fakes. Past couple of year I found many people who were experts in the art of faking, being a different person than what you are with many people, turnaround and not necessarily think the same about so many. Be best friends in front of the world and then crib about them behind their backs. You found them all over, from fighting on organizing events, to fighting over the best jobs. Even the hugs at final farewell parties, the singing together of Puraani Jeans / Yaaro Dosti songs (with so many people as if you are actually going to be in touch with even 10% of them over the next year). Talking bullshit about people in hostels and liking them on Facebook pics. So many things, so many instances. But its not bad, its just the way one is.

And there were few who tried to be honest and conveyed whatever they thought about the person in front of them and mostly landed into trouble. But those who faked had a much better time, they didn't fall into unnecessary jhamelas. Again not bad, but its just the way one is.

Couple of them I knew very closely were what we called experts in faking, they had the ability to change the way they behaved with different sets of people and sometimes just kill the real feeling, brilliant they were! The visual elements were mostly same, so was the outer appearance, but the product was not the original one.

So is faking worth it? I don't know about that but certainly being honest is surely not worth it.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Simplicity and Chaos

From the time is was a Rs. 6 green fatty-boxed luxury, tothe Rs. 10 yellow slim box regularity, Frooti has been one of my favorite brands. Why do I love it? No it's not the usual nostalgia I associate with so many things; it's just because of its simplicity. There have been many changes to it with times: the fat green box (Rs. 6) to green long boxed Yo! Frooti (Rs.8) to Rs. 10 yellow boxed one (it spiked to Rs. 12 one summer, evoking concerns from fans like me). But Frooti's soul remains same, being Mango. At core it's the same simple mango drink, and its packaging might change, or the price, but its soul (read positioning) remains just the same.Super Shimplu! (For SP marketing junta, recall one of Ashita mam's classes,when Pooja and Nitika gave this presentation, I was super excited and we had a nice discussion on Frooti). Frooti has become a routine for me, I don't care much, I just pick it up, I know it's my Frooti, and it always will be.

Then there is always the other extreme. Remember Liril, the superb refreshing lime soap (the la lalalalalaa lalalala laaa classic ad featuring Karen Lunel created byAlyque Padamsee is still so refreshing). But Liril somehow became confusing.It used to be my favorite soap, but they tried out too many things. They came up with what I recall as India's first shower gel, different variants to core Liril (blue Liril) and finally disappeared. And then it came back, in a disappointing way as Liril 2000- aloe vera soap with an element of freshness.It felt like Ekta Kapoor took it from Unilever, performed a plastic surgery using another actor known as Levers 2000 and re-introduced the character. It was disappointing for a true Liril fan. The simplicity of freshness was replaced with chaos, and finally what emerged was something without its soul in place. Maybe a lot of people won't relate to it, but a true Liril fan would just know it. But what power does a consumer hold, finally it was Liril who wanted to change, did they really care for a loyal consumer? But still sometimes I buy it and try to look for my old Liril, maybe I will find it.

One tends to fall for simplicity, it's always comforting,and it gives you peace of mind. You get a sense of oneness with it, simple things click, they are long lasting and consistent with what your mind desires.Be it simple things or simple people, life is much better with them around.

And chaos is disturbing, trying out too many things,thinking about too many things, and trying to hide your simplicity with randomness. One might try to change a lot, feel a lot different, but a person who knows, would always spot the difference and then try to disassociate from chaos. But chaos has its own fans, and they are very different from those few who desire simplicity.

What happens to the entity under change, what is its identity now? Well it's for them to change, it's their choice and person who knows the entity so well should also respect the change, whether it works for them or not. Still one tries to reach out for the simplicity which is still there, but hidden.

I would always desire simplicity, and for things which move away from it, I will hope for them to be simple again.

[I messaged Shaik and Dolu to find out a few brands which have had a chaotic rise, they couldn't come up with anything major, stupid they are :), but I super miss having FMCG discussions with both of them. The discussion featured Dolu- the marketing guy, Shaik- the sales and distribution expert, Desi- the fact, figures and insights guy and harsh- the listener. Well all this is a bit unrelated to the post.]

A bit more from earlier times on simple things,

Hrishikesh Mukherjee - Simple movies, Simple life (

Who Enjoys It? ( (This one written somewhere mid SP days)

Simple Things again...(

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Block 83

When you leave school for college, a million things run in your mind, staying away from your family for the first time, the kind of people you will end up meeting in college, who will be your roommate, will the newly earned freedom be at the cost of something etc etc.

Cut back to 2002 when a few innocent souls stepped in dusty sec-7 of Gandhinagar, a Colonel with shiny bald head and a glowing moustache showing us the not so impressive facility, and curly haired friendly gujju guy showing us our rooms. We were nervous, most of us were accompanied by our parents who were equally concerned if not more.

So I entered the wing on the 2nd floor, very jarjarr apartments, seemed like they will break down soon, decently sized one room apartments with wooden cupboards and loads of dust. First thing which most of us bought there were plastic buckets. My room mate was Kamsi Vrishna but he had moved out to some PG in Sec-2 looking at the hostel condition with Dagar Sas. So I was alone in the room.

In front of us used to lived Kayur with pea-cockish hairstyle, always stuck onto the metal seat, his roomie Panabesh, sainik school import, reminded me initially a lot of the lafoots in townships :), front door had Ghaitanya and Saveen (famously known as Charra later on). Other inmates were Copolla a distant relative of the francis ford coppola khaandaan and an extremely religious guy in the first year , so was his roomie Gaibhav Vupta.

Then there was my awesome roomie Sajeev, oily haired bespectacled simpleton from Vizag on his way to be a changed man (four years down the line...kaafi change :)), who escaped from the neighboring wing as his room mate was an abusive chap. He came in and we both got the honour of being each other's roomies for the next four years.

Then there was a quite room, of Jrateek and Pandheer, mostly busy educating themselves I assume, quite simple I was the least interested in padhai in the block.

But then there were few whom were brainwashed by me, Jaran Kaine with his beautiful legs, Sajjwal Ungal with his already faded Pepe jeans (asking our hotel supervisor for happening places in gandhinagar), a self proclaimed rock music bhakt Krinal and Jineet Vain with his shaggy doo like walk and ability to call da as ra.

Frequent visitors included Sabhishek who used to dance his hear out in the wing with Saveen ( and our neighboring old uncle almost had an heart attack due to the hulla), LKP for aalasya, Grasoon at times, Nand, the 82 block gang including gex suru tonu, mhinav abhishra, Kakshat etc. Also we had a lot of visitors in Panabesh's room which included Jarun Vain, and all.

Just thought would remember all of them today, lost contact with many of them, but awesome days they were.


Plum cakes, those brilliant ones which Anthony uncle used to bring to our house on Christmas when I was a kid, mostly all of us had it during Christmas season in all parts of the country. The dark brown ones filled with fruits & nuts, and marmalade like orange peels, these things are simply awesome. The best part about plum cakes are those mishy-mashy fruit bits and marmalade, they just stand out for me and create that plum-esh effect. Those bits and pieces are soaked in brandy or rum, and they just absorb its flavour, its some kind of a taste which you can only associate with a plum cake. It takes time to make one, you must keep the fruit pieces soaked for a couple of days before you can create the bestest plum cake (it can't be like the instant one, with hide and seek biscuits crushed and mixed with Eno, that only our super awesome brilliant Gujarati genius lady can manage).

Relationships too take time to mature, initially you need to soak them in the right kind of brandy and let it be, and slowly it will absorb all the good things around. Then you need to bake it at the right temperature and then scrub off all the unnecessary burnt portion. But what would stand out is the taste of those early days, soaked in the brandy of love, friendship and all the good time you spent together. And those days will define how life would taste in the future.

Plum-esh is just a start my friends :) and sorry there is no short-cut Eno recipe for the perfect plum cake, there never can be one :).

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Well Left

Gone are the awesome days of test cricket, when Dravid just used to leave it on its way, even God did it but Dravid was much more elegant in leaving the cricket ball. Commentators always used to say he had an exact idea where his off stump is, a supreme bowler like Glenn McGrath would be hovering around that line but Dravid was extremely sure when to leave it and when to play (followed by an extremely elegant nod of the head, which became a trademark of sorts and something very well imitated by couple of school friends). No doubt he was extremely successful when it came to playing abroad when there were just fast bowlers all over us.But leaving the ball is an art, when it comes to you, you just want to hit it, it requires a lot of patience to leave it and just let it be on its own. Sometimes I felt its the batsman who love ball more than a bowler does, they want it see clearly, slowly they start feeling it and it appears bigger and better to them and aaah, that sexy sound and feel which comes when they hit it.

And then there is the stupid thing called, what they have always called it, life! A lot of things come your way, you just don't want to leave them, because leaving them requires a lot of courage, you are not sure how you are placed, you just don't know where your footing is, and where your off stump lies. Plus we are not patient as Dravid is, we tend to hurry up and nick it on the way at times. And a brush with the ball is mostly a wicket, rarely we would be dropped. You just want to hit at things which doesn't usually happen, and then you finally hit one and aaah, that sexy sound and feel comes from life's willow. Happiness follows, and you are rewarded for leaving things which were not meant for you.

So just try leaving a few things on on the way, don't worry a lot about things you leave behind, there is always a wicketkeeper to take care of them.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

it waSP

Remember talcum power, packed in those nice Cuticura boxes and pink Ponds dabbas. Throughout the year we just loved to sprinkle tonnes of it, for many mothers it was a medium to shower tonnes of affection on their kids, for many people it was their only experience of make-up, for many a fairness product. It was a remedy for rashes, itching and unnecessary sweating and the nycil dabbas to kill the deadly ghamori during summer. Another usage was of using it instead of boric acid as a carrom board smoothie :)

A Ponds ka pink dabba used to be a common fare in our regular grocery shopping, but now visit any supermarket and the shelfspace for it is almost gone. Visit someone's house and observe the products in their bathroom ( I do this frequently, tells you a lot about the person, recently I took someone's case when I found them stocking rival company's products :)), it has disappeared. Clearly the days of talcum power are over, and we have moved onto newer things such as deos, perfumes, fairness creams, summer cooling lotions, itch guards...

Remember SP, we just loved to be there, few of us hated to be there :), but it was something which kept us busy, super-occupied and surrounded by few awesome people. Unlike undergrad, not everyone was awesome in everyone's eye, but everyone had found the awesomeness in a bunch of people. People laughed, partied, cried, conspired :), did loads of bakwaas, but they were never lonely, they always had few people to fall on to. And we were used to it, it became too much a part of our system.

But then we have moved on to our jobs in different locations, and few of always feel like they should go back to SP ( I don't want to ), they just miss the SP routine so much. The feeling of being among people all the time is lost, now one comes back home (or some lonesome hotels in few cases) and tries to do the same things but with lesser loved ones around. Clearly, we should realize the days of SP are over, we should look out for newer options to keep ourselves occupied and happy.

[Note: People might argue with the actual sales figures of Talcum powder, this is just my perception :), rest of it stems from a few discussions with dost log over past couple of weeks]

Friday, August 13, 2010

Lonely Nuts

Consider a pack peanuts, crunchy roasted salted ones, the kind of which are awesome with alcohol, or the kind of which come from Bharuch in Gujarat, not very dry but the slightly greasy types without the chilkas.

And then open the pack, divide them in a few parts and send them to Mumbai rains, Jaipur's market, Delhi's shopkeeper lanes and coaching centres, Howrah's gullies, Pune's garages and the sort of places where the really shiny good quality peanuts wanted to end up.

Peanuts are comfortable, mostly their future is secure, just that it seems these peanuts have lost their crunchiness. They get soggy is Mumbai/Calcutta's humidity maybe, or develop a powdery coating in the Delhi/Jaipur's heat or get too greasy in Pune garages.

And then there are few of these lonely nuts, who have ended up in places like Bareilly, I mean maybe they show that they don't care, they have always shown that they don't care but even these nuts would lose their shine soon.

And some had the courage to go far far away, to U.S. and they too seem to have lost out on their munchability index.

Work, money, comfortable life, tough life, lonely life, losing awesomeness, developing tan, talking too much, not talking at all, having fights, making new friends, losing friends, losing heart, losing faith, losing patience, losing weight, gaining weight, drinking, drinking alone, stopped drinking, work is good, work is bad, work is the same...

Nuts have gone nuts!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Desi Ud

Its been a long time since I wrote about a movie. But Udaan is something which certainly deserves a "writing".

Udaan reminded me of a zillion things, although I am always nostalgic about one thing or another, Udaan certainly brought a lot of those memories in picture. Few striking memories were of Banu and Jubhash's adventures at Mohan talkies with Bhishra sir (names changed to hide identities); me and my friends visiting chattan (we could view chimneys from there, sitting in peace, and that was a place few friends actually tried out chimney smoking too :)); just roaming around the township with its beautiful gardens, well manicured lawns, nice big houses with garden and jhoola; doing stupid kaands in school; a self-destructed diary with good amount of writings and many more. Lot of things which stay in my conscious but I generally don't talk about also came up. But every thing in a good sense.

Like Rohan even I am confused, and so are most of us, but the age is different. At Rohan's age one had the chance to take a decision, we are past that, its mostly too late for anything radical now.

About the movie, I just loved it from scene to scene, Rohan's performance, his kid bro and that of chacha Ram Kapoor. But what I really liked was Ronit Roy's anger puffed stern looks, I always thought of him as a successful businessman with a hit romantic (Jaan Tere Naam, awesome songs) and then a big TV star (Mihir 2, I am cutoff with TV post Mihir 1, so didn't really know about his acting that much), but never knew he could come up with such a brilliant one.
The setting of the movie is pretty authentic, take apart my nostalgia, it really is real, and then there is the end which was good again. My favorite song from the movie is Azaadiyan, but I really love all the songs and they just keep playing on my playlist all day long.

Another development with the movie is that few of my friends came to know about me watching this movie alone. Alone and You they said. Few inquired about my tabiyat, few about my mental state, few asked that am I happy with work or not, I just said maybe I have grown older :). Well I should say that it isn't that boring to watch a movie alone, just that you cant finish the PopCorn alone (I certainly can't). Too much of a shock for my new shauk of watching movies alone!

Its late at night now, and I am working, felt sleepy so thought would write this down in the break. That day when I ran off for this movie I was stuck, mind wasn't working the right way, the movie helped me be fresh, feel positive and super happy sorts after a long time. I felt a connect with Rohan and the settings, quite simply I felt there was just too much of me in the movie.

About writing, have lost a few, have thrown away a few, now considering should I be more serious about them? Lets see, quite a simple trigger I received during the movie.

And I think its time to get back to work again, too much of sitting and working nowadays and too much eating too, I think I will become MotuMaster soon :).

But I should be lighter, otherwise people won't raise their fingers when someone says "Desi Ud" in the cult-game "Chidiya-Ud", surely time for me to fly.

Right now, it would be back to work and then some sleep.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Simple Things again...

Its awesome, the feel of having simply cooked jeera fused daal & chawal after a week of nonsense eating. Pizzas, subway, manglorean style chicken gravy, dosas, chinese stuff, ice cream and a bit of C2H5OH. But nothing gave me as much satisfaction like today.

Simple things, like cleaning up my closet, washing clothes, reading a book, cooking food, having a nice simple chat with my friend yesterday night are always the stuff which keeps me going, still I wonder why I run away from it.

Simplicity from work to food to other things in life, is the way to go. [Ref: Hrishida movies :)]

For the past year or so my association with things simple were with something else, although in a different form, that simplicity has gone, now I need to be back to what simplicity originally meant to me.

And hope all things simple which I like will fall in place too.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Left Behind Part 2

Down there, next to the hot fish plate and shiny gravels, she just lies there, she belonged to someone stupid, someone ever so simple, disturbed, but happy at times, someone who always loved the smaller nuances of life, someone who cherished the company of people being around, someone had been changing recently, someone who had changed forever.

Between those blue shiny covers, and the plastic bound ringlets, were 200 pages, around 180 off of them inked with someone's thoughts. Someone knew that he is going to have a few missing ones in his life soon, and he was prepared for it, the blue notebook was his way out, of keeping all of them together with him forever.

A a half eaten pack of jalebis & some other rotten food is on the same track & is close by the blue notebook, she is unphased by the million flies which surround the neighboring jalebis, & she is still buzzing with a million stories which was part of someone's life till a few days back.

Not long back was someone confused, now he had sort of realized what his mind was upto & he knew its going to be difficult as few missing ones dominated the blue notebook, much more than others, & some of them might permanently go missing, despite how hard he tried.

But loosing them was his mistake maybe, why did he throw the blue notebook off and left her behind.

Blue notebook feels sad for someone, & is happy that she was left behind, not long back when someone hardly used to sleep and used to be stressed out, he used to read her at times, and used to poke her sometimes pen, but then after going out of the place, someone never left the blue notebook alone. Blue notebook was always tired as someone never left her alone, and continuously browsed through the memories of the missing ones. He felt a jolt of happiness at times, but notebook mostly saw a sad face, which she wanted to run away from. She feels ok now on the track, even if she is in the middle of nowhere.

As for someone, he has lost his track & hopes that he finds his direction again. Although he won't mind being lost too.

[Left Behind Part 1 was on something else... but I really like that post]

Monday, July 05, 2010

Bachpan ka Hawww, Bani Jawani Ki awww...

Remember when we were kids and,

  • Someone fired an abuse like the dreaded S Word
  • Someone's pant dropped by mistake
  • Someone choked up after going on stage

Or when we were even smaller kids,

  • Someone wetted/soiled their pants
  • Someone forgot the multiplication table of 6

we all used to say Hawww...followed by a handsome serving of shame shame, and even pappi shame.

But as kids become older, and become much more mature, and much more facebook-ish, they found newer avenues and awww... came into being

Awww... for me and a few others is the most irritating expression ever invented, it smells, sounds & looks very artificial. My first tryst with awww... came during the much forgettable days at vyapaar school, where ever pic on facebook was celebrated as an event of great victory & awww-ness.

Then there were always those awww... girls, or awww... sisters as someone called them a few days back, they connected with a bond which ran through their cheeks, all the pics were loaded on facebook, cheek to cheek, neck slightly tilted, and a firey grin to top it up, and then followed up with a zillion aww-full comments. I think this is something which runs across all the b-schools as I have recently noticed.

Awww moments are not only female centric, they can be a male phenomenon as well, where supposedly cute n hot girls click pics with sincere and honest guys (our yearbook describes everyone in the batch like that), and then people post the same aww-some comments.

Some people like it, some dont, I certainly don't, its sometimes like the screeching sound of thermocol, or that of fingernails on blackboard for me, but everyone is free to use whatever they want to, people might the same about my pet MAHAAN, so its ok.

I am just trying to point out a trend, that's it...awww...kay.

p.s.: name is inspired from a famous writing which shows quite a lot on the wall paintings from Gwalior en route to Delhi on Indian Railways :)

Monday, June 21, 2010

Being Chintu

Its strange. Its strange because I never wanted it this way. But after SP it sort of became quite prevalent, especially among few around me. Self discovery is some call it, LMA is something which we used to call it earlier (Leave Me Alone). Even I succumbed to it at times.

I am too much a people people person, something which have been re-emphasized with my second entry in Mumbai, and it has just taken me a week to realize that I am in between a set of awesome people, some people who resonate with my areas of interest (56873 on last count)…

So there is the lonely state, and the people people state, and I obviously prefer the latter, the kind I have been for most of my life.

But this time around there is a Chintu state I have to deal with. Chintu is short for Chintan, the mode in which I enter nowadays, mostly when I am alone, or sometimes even between striking some awesome conversations something puts me into Chintu orbit. I just shut down and get into my chintu mood.

I want to be just the people people kind again, Mumbai part-2 offers an opportunity to achieve that with a set of good nice people around & few old ones who are simply too awesome, but some things just keep moving me to being chintu.

So what are the other options I have, maybe nothing as of now, but time will make things easier I believe. The only thing I know is I don’t want to be chintu, I just want to be like the old times again, pattu are you hearing?

Monday, May 10, 2010

Sorry to say but they surely are...

During Hero Cup I liked them but Sachin ended them in that historic over;1996 I was fascinated by them: by Jonty, by Cronje, by Donald, but Lara did them; 1999 they were surely the best, and I cried with millions others when Klusner was run out, Steve Waugh did them; 2003 they were the home side lead by the brilliant pollock, but Duckworth Lewis did them; 2007 they did themselves limping out in semis; T20-1 they played awesome but didnt qualify after loosing to Indians and for the first time I stopped supporting them, I started believing what they were labeled as was true, 2009 and 2010 the pakistanis helped us to prove that the South African Cricket team is well and truly:


Me and many like me have stopped loving South African Cricket

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Story of Indian Railway Cutlet

Have you ever noticed Bhartiya Railway- “Aapki Sewa main” (In Your Service) written in small circles on the berths in railway coaches. For me the service by Bhartiya Railway is represented by the quintessential Railway breakfast, Cutlets ?

Those small patties, covered with bread crumbs, deep fried, cut in various shapes (circular in west, heart shaped in east, other shapes which I have seen include a rhombus, small squares etc.) are part of the morning happenings of any train journey. After seeing (or smelling) the great railway toilets in morning (usually flooded, soiled and you know what all) & a quick brushing of teeth along with junta, many a times with finger (as one forgets the brush?) the smell of these cutlets is the first welcome thing which invigorates all senses, especially "the smell" which ends all smells. The smell of railway cutlets is unique, much unique than that of soil after first rains, or that of Chanel no.5 . Any other smell which comes closer is that of railway window railings, purely metallic and very very unique.

These cutlets are mostly made of potatoes with a few seasonal veggies, mostly peas, carrots etc. Although the best ones always have that bit of beetroot in them, they always have. They are the mostly nicely packed item which Indian Railways provide, well wrapped in the aluminum foils, in fact there is a bit of sogginess prior to the crispiness of these cutlets due to the foils which adds to the taste. They always serve two cutlets with bread butter (2 slices only, never ever more than that). I always make a sort of a sandwich out of the first and the second one I just get lost in its taste. One can’t forget the contribution of Sauce here (enriched with Kaddus ?) this tomato ketchup is always packed in those small plastic sachets, bright red in colour, it always adds to the flavour of cutlets.

Cutlets taste best with the watery coffee (which is much better than the watery tea). Although if one gets tea of the quality of Chaudhry Chai waala (near nandurbar station, en route Ahmedabad to Nagpur) one shouldn’t miss that.

Cutlets compete with Omelets in morning, and from the look on the faces of people who buy omelets one knows who wins ?. Cutlets also get an enhanced version in Rajdhani or Shatabdi where they are accompanied with fried green peas or a bit of French fries at times. But the basic taste remains the same.

I just hope I keep traveling, enjoying my journeys on Indian Railway and keep enjoying the wonderful moments it brings along.

Long Live the Indian Railway Cutlet, one of the best breakfasts in the country…