Tuesday, May 31, 2005

keralA beckonS

It's been 58 days and 7 hours that I am in Hyderabad. Three more days (exactly 79 hours) and I am gonna say good-bye to this city, rather, the twin-cities (Hyderabad-Secunderabad are together called twin cities).

The monsoon is predicted to hit Kerala coast on June 7th. I always welcomed her except for the last three years. What will she think if I'm not gonna be there a fourth time? Btw, don't tell her that I'm planning to give her a surprise this time by reaching Kerala on June 5th. ;-)

I still remember the first time I reached Kerala after joining my job. It was three years back and after a gap of (just) four months. The moment Netravati Express (He connects Mumbai and Thiruvananthapuram through Konkan) entered Kerala border I was awake. It was 6 in the morning. The sun was just out in the open from his daily hide-and-seek game. I was very much delighted to see the good old coconut trees, the green rivers and the green fields after a short time period (Not short for me that time). Why is everything green in Kerala?

To reach Thiruvananthapuram I had to travel 14 hours through Kerala. And these were some of the few hours in my life that went like a rocket, which I badly wanted to go slowly.

Even though I liked train journey during childhood, the Indian Railways have given me enough reasons to be afraid of it. One of the incurable cases of Traino-phobia! I want to change that. And this is after two long years that I'm going to Kerala by train.

Now here is something that I have noticed during those travels to Kerala. You would be using all your sense organs while you travel through Kerala, which make you feel that you are in Kerala.

Confusing, eeh? Ok lemme explain.

Kozhikode-Aluva (Halwa) and I'm sure there is water in your mouth.

Don't tell me that the greenery of Bekal fort was never a treat for your eyes. How about the backwaters of Alappuzha? And those lush green fields of Palakkad?

When the train stops at a railway station in Kerala, "Chaya Chayeee", "Puttum Kadalem", "Appom Mottem"! I always wanted to hear those again and again.

Well, no other sense organ will tell you that you have reached Kochi ;-) No offense meant. This is a dialogue in a Malayalam film. But to a lesser extent, Yeah!

When the gentle cold breeze, which carries the essence of Kerala, pat you on your back, and takes away all the worries from your mind.

Thus, using all your senses, you feel Kerala; you reach Kerala. No other place in this world can be proud of such a thing.

Yes! Kerala beckons.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

i hatE traffiC jamS

“Ameerpet, SR Nagar”

I yelled at the guy who was patiently standing near his rickshaw and helped myself in to its innards.

The three-wheeler set a relaxed start with a few noisy growls and crawled towards the main road. Through the side of a new-looking fly over, it reached the main road.

Life has been easy since I made a strategic alliance with Prabhat, my colleague, in terms of sharing of his flat, which eventually extended to the sharing of his bike. His house became a place to rest my head and his bike a place to rest my... Today unfortunately he was blessed with a client visit that I had to depend on this odd looking vehicle for my way home.

A lady in pinkish red top and light blue jeans rode past in a two-wheeler. Utilizing a single second stole from her cautious driving; she turned to let off a sympathetic look at the crawling rick and me who was sitting inside. Then she geared her bike ahead.

There has to be a traffic jam today, The Nostradamus in me woke up! (Actually, even he doesn't require any special power for this, considering the daily traffic jams at this hour of the day). Yes!! There it was! Eventually we three (me, the rick and the rick driver) became a part of the jam. Vehicles behind us started crying loudly as if the traffic jam doesn’t exist in front of them.

To my surprise, I saw the pinkish red top with light blue jeans on my right. The owner of them was looking to the front in different dynamic angles, exactly like a crow, for a way ahead. She was beautiful; I never hesitated in admiring beauty ;-)

Vehicles inched ahead. And she moved along with the rick. It was at one such pit-stop that her bike fooled her. It turned off! Even after her repeated efforts, it refused to start. I was watching all these from the side. She pulled the bike to the side of the road and came towards the rick and said.

“Hi, are you going through Ameerpet? My vehicle got a problem. Can you give me a lift?”

Now that was so unexpected. Without saying anything, I moved aside to give her some space. The jam seems to have come to an end. And I was sitting in the rick with this beautiful lady.

“So what do you do?” she asked.

“I’m studying”

“You are a student?” I saw the same sympathetic look once again.

“Yup, I’m doing my internship here at Hyderabad”, I continued, “By the way, what’s your name and what do you do?”

“Oh, I’m sorry, I’m Maya, I work for a software company here. And you?”

“My name is Hari, I stay in SR Nagar with my friend.”

“Cool! I also stay at SR Nagar. 4th block. So where are you from?”

“I am basically from Trivandrum, Kerala, but out for a while now. Currently at Ahmedabad. How about you?”

“I am from Ludhiana, Punjab”

“Oh, great, actually I like that place...”
... ... ...
... ... ...

And the conversation continued for a while, as we knew each other better. Maya was at Hyderabad because her job brought her there. Her's was a four-member nuclear family. Only she was outside the state. It’s been 5 months that she was here.

The conversation covered a lot many topics like the traffic problems of Hyderabad, Hyderabadi Biriyani being not good as expected, the ultra modern shopping malls of Hyderabad, the summer heat (water, water!!); with always herself leading the discussion. It is interesting to be a listener, I thankfully remembered the Spoken Communications Prof.

“So how do you spend you weekends here?”, She asked.

“That’s a problem yaar, The Sun Almighty ensures that I won’t go outside day time. Evenings, as for pubs, I need to get a girl”

“Yeah, that is something I hate here. So how about going to a pub this weekend?”

Whatt?? That was so unexpected of her.

“Sure”, I replied. We should never kick off chances.

I started enjoying the conversation that the rick came to a sudden stop. Even though I by-hearted Newton’s third law long back in school days and should’ve guessed there would be an after effect, I couldn’t take a precaution and my head hit hardly on the iron beam in the rickshaw.

“My head!” and I turned towards her. But she was not there. What happened? I looked around. The traffic jam was still on and the pinkish red top with light blue jeans and the bike was still at my right. Rubbing off the pain, I recalled. I slept late yesterday!

Friday, May 20, 2005

jithU rockeD todaY

jithu had a presentation on his summer project in front of the company executives. the presentation along with the discussion went on for an hour! at the end jithu got loads of appreciation. and jithu was able to keep the standards of his institue high. :-)

The Fallen

I don't know anything,
But I was destined to do.
And I did the best I could.

The gentle breeze was making its way through the fallen leaves. It's the same as it was twenty years ago, except that it neither carried the charm nor the warmth once it had. And to feel the warmth, neither were there the two souls...

The big tree, which stands beside the river, had also lost the charm. At times, more often nowadays, its spirit remembers its forlorn past with hesitation. The moments, which made it realize how helpless a living thing it was, and how it would have been if things were different. One of the rare cases where the limits set by nature unravels its disadvantages. And the tree engrossed itself into its memories.

The spring had started singing and it was at its peak that I saw the young lady and the young man approaching my shadow. They were roaming around me for the last few days and I paid the least attention to them, since I was more interested in the song of birds in my hands, the stream near by and the breeze which passes by.

Don't know when their moments turned mine. And it happened that I equally engaged in their happiness the similar way I was engaged in the nature around me. I never saw their faces, but their gestures. I never listened to their voice, but their feelings. I never felt their intimation but their love.

Many a times I wished I could speak so that I would be able to tell them how good a pair they were and how better they understood each other. Spring changed, summer came, and the nature set into a languid mood, but the love between them grew stronger. Their meetings became more frequent and more passionate. And I was happy that I was able to give them my shadow in the burning sun.

One day they didn't come. I don't know why, and there wasn't that passion in their eyes when they came the next day. Something might've happened between them. They said something and left the scene immediately. But I saw the feeling of each other's need in their eyes. Without looking back they left the place. Round the corner, I saw the lady staying long and trying to return, but never did she put a step further and only moved back. The man came after sometime but he didn't find the lady.

I looked at the heavens, if you had given me the ability to speak I would've said them these and stopped them from being separated. But what could I do other than saying these to myself. As if to console me, drops from the heaven fell down. It started raining indicating the inception of rainy season. It didn't stop, as if to drench out my feelings. I was starting to console.

Morning. The rain had just stopped its reign. The river was flooded and each and every stream, each and every leaf of mine, and seemingly, the entire world was contributing to its anger. It was while looking at it that I saw the lady coming near me. She didn't show any feelings of sorrow and looked confident. She sat near me and for the first time ever, looked at me. Then she rose and walked towards the river and continued her way into its depths. Unable to move or act or even do something, I watched the whole thing helplessly.

Early morning next day, I heard someone's footsteps, approaching me. It was the same young man. I wanted to say all the things to him and console him. He sat on my protruded roots and looked at me, again, for the first time ever. Tears started flowing from his eyes as he stands up. He pulled some rope out of his pocket and threw it to one of my branches. I realized his intention and badly wanted to stop him from that. But what could I do other than watching his body slowly becoming motionless in my arms.

I don't know anything. But what all things I did; I was destined to do. And I think I did the best I could. May be at the end of my life, I would meet them somewhere in the heavens. It's been twenty years. And there isn't a single day that I didn't think about them. And I don't know how long it will continue. Trees are made to suffer from pain for centuries.

A droplet was forming out of its leaves, which became big enough to fall down. It fell down and en-route, after hitting somewhere, split into two and fell on the land, beside the tree. Two small clouds of dust sprang up and continued its way upwards...

Friday, May 13, 2005

Summer Rain

At first it was one at a time. Then it doubled; tripled. And eventually changed into a multitude of droplets coming from the skies above; as if attempting a suicidal down pour. Hitting hard on the dry summer terrain, they first generated an unwelcome cloud of dust creeping up from the ground. The dust was brought down by the droplets that followed, generating a pleasant smell from the soil. Soil also has smell and it needs the rain to bring it out.

The road has taken a bath after a long time and afresh she stood. Vehicles roaring through the wet road created endless colored lines on it varying from red to yellow. And the rain drops which hit on the roofs of vehicles created a secondary rain-fall springing in odd directions. People were in a hurry, trying to reach their houses as early as possible.

Looking at the weeping sky, the young little mouse that stayed near the city drainage duct wondered whether he would be able to fill his stomach. He was feeling hungry. As usual he looked towards the sky, but couldn’t find that big piece of butter up above the sky and the umpteen white ants fighting themselves to grab it. It was all dark, as if some one had killed the entire ants using a fire-torch and took away the piece of butter. Didn’t know how many times he looked at those ants with jealousy. They ate the butter piece there by making its size smaller and smaller and finally finished the entire meal. Later someone put a new piece there. Had I got that, I never would have to hunt down my prey, that too in the night, he thought.

With a gentle lazy yawn, he stepped out from his den. Head out and there he felt his whiskers going down due to a heavy raindrop that got attracted to his whiskers during its fall. The four-legged, swirled his head and refrained from going out for a dinner. With eagerness in his eyes, he looked outside, through the door. As usual the city road was flooded with traffic and as usual people were running here and there. He used to wonder what they were up to. What were they searching for? High funda things, he thought, and started off with a night dream.

pluckkk!! There came this sound which kicked him out of his dream. There was a small ceramic piece that lied in front of his house which broke down with great sound when a bus ran over it. Blaming the bus he turned around and saw a man with gray hair pushing a tricycle loaded with a flat glass sheet on a wooden panel as support. Glass was something he hated a lot. Once he got a crush with a lady mouse he found near a big building. Expressing love, he tried to kiss her and realized that it was nothing but his own reflection in the glass window of that building. To hell with glass! What would have others thought about me! And that day onwards he had always kept himself away from glass. Many a times this glass prevented him from walking off with chunks of cakes from shops also.

He saw the bus trying to overtake the tricycle. But instead of a smooth take over, the bus hit on the outward corner of the wooden pane and the opposite corner hit on the stop light of a car parked by the side of the road and broke the red glass into pieces. It all happened very quickly.

Hearing the sound of the breaking glass, the driver came out from the car. He saw the old man, who couldn’t even realize what had happened, standing by the side of the car with his tricycle and staring at the broken light. He caught hold of the old man and started scolding him for the damage done. The old man’s eyes were yelling that he didn’t know what has happened? The mouse was amazed about the way things happened. He saw the old man joining his palms in front of the driver. He saw another rain taking shape in the eyes of the old man.

Now the little mouse understood the situation. Humans had a particular thing which they put in their pockets and also in strong cupboards. It was made out of the same substance which was found in the garbage bin near his house. They called it some money or so. And the poor man had to give that to the car driver to escape from the situation. Oh that is pathetic, he thought. It was not the old man’s mistake anyways. The car driver forced the old man to park the tricycle by the side of the road. He took him to an auto rickshaw and the three-wheeler went away with them. Where did it go? The mouse wondered.

Somehow he was feeling pity for the old man. He was sure that the old man was going to suffer. He felt sad about the situation and badly wanted to explain the car driver what has actually happened and thus save the old man, but... There had always been a communication gap between rats and humans. To hell with glass, he thought, it is always associated with problems. He was not feeling hunger any more...

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

the refreshment which didn't relieve me!

It was turning out to be a normal day of my life and as usual, worthless to be stored in memory, that I decided to wind up my work for the day. I left my office, pushed myself into an auto rickshaw and reached SR Nagar where my flat was. For small refreshment I got into a nearby snacks bar. Two Egg-puffs and a Mirinda should do it for the time being, I thought, and gave the order, with due remembrance of the local baker for the delicious puffs and the MNC for the Mirinda. With the puffs in my hand I silently ushered myself to the corner of the snacks stall to enjoy my meal.

Two minutes passed and I saw a man approaching the snack stall with three children who were hardly 3 feet tall. Seeing the partially filled table where I was sitting, they came to my place and the man seated those children near me and left for a nearby shop. I noticed those kids watching me eating but continued with my food as if I have not seen them. I finished eating the first puff and placed the plastic plate on the table to start with my second bite.

After sometime I felt people who were sitting around staring at me and I looked at them to find out what really was happening. Their looks guided me to my own table where I had put the paper plate. The children were picking bits and pieces from the plate and eating it! I couldn’t believe my eyes for sometime. I never expected that such a thing would happen. For sometime I was doing a situational analysis in my mind as to how to handle the situation.

I asked them whether they would like to have puffs and in reply the three delivered a smile, which I later realized was due to the language barrier I possessed. I didn’t know Telugu! I looked around for a helping hand, at least the bearer, so that I can order some puffs for them. And what will the man who brought them think when he comes to know that I had bought them food. Stranger in a strange land!

Suddenly the three took off from their chairs and headed towards the door. Yes the man was coming back. And to my relief a group of college students substituted their place. The children didn’t appear to be from the lower class of society. But still I don’t understand how these happened. And at the end, the worthless day turned out to be an eventful day. But i didnt feel myself refreshed...

Friday, May 06, 2005

randoM noteS on a coldeN januarY nighT

night-outs usually are unexpected and rare, but when you are in iimA, it's a part of your life. well said some tuchcha (a colloquial term for your just seniors in iimA) that your day at iimA starts in the night. but when you are in a really good mood to write something on a night out and you got mS worD then forget looking behind...

it's already 3 in the morning and is too cold outside with temperature somewhere around 10 degrees. the warmth of my blanket lying on my bed is calling me. but i have to go miles (can also be read as pages, in the case material) before i sleep. mS. V and mS. S are lying patiently on my bed waiting for me to come. i used to sleep with them. sometimes i rest my head on V's lap else S's and embrace the other one. truly royal eh? well, i have only two of them as my pillows ;-)

time immemorial i have this habit of naming my belongings. i remember the names of the hens we had, as 'automatiC', 'mullaN', 'somaN' (because this one had a beard and during childhood i had observed that almost all people with the name 'somaN' had beards and hence gave the same name to that hen!!! three cheers to my observation skills), the cow named 'tinkU' etc. but to be frank, this is the first time i have ventured into naming a non-living thing like a pillow. giving them the names of ladies will give me sort of a dubious pleasure as well, right ;-). needless to mention, V and S are variables and i assign them values according to my wish ;-)...

the organizationaL theorY and desigN text book lying on my table is bit unhappy today. i know the reason... the malicious act i have done today is going to give permanent scars on his body for ever... he wont be feeling himself that handsome after these marks... after a long time, today i read a chapter and made a few underlines on the text... "forgive me my dear, i have no other choice... look at the case materials, they are the ugliest then..."

"creeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeemmmm!!!!" whozzat??? oh no, its my alarm crying for my cuddle... she is programmed to do this act everyday at 8am... which means its 8am.. oh! man i have classes at 9am. come on!! stop dreaming!! wake up!! you were sleeping for the past 8 hours and is enuff!! if i didn't reach the class by 9am, the prof. shall lock the class room from inside... and here i go from my bed, from my blanket, pushing V and S apart...