Monday, November 28, 2005


Dear Mr. Rana Singh,

No words would be enough to express the bravery of your son Brigadier Ratan Singh. He was involved in the most important operations the army had carried out. He was a fine soldier and believed strongly in the pride of the nation. He single handedly fought with the enemy soldiers to make way for his colleagues which resulted in the capture of eight enemy bunkers. His death is a tremendous loss to the Indian Army. On his sad demise we share the grief with you and your family and pray that his soul may rest in peace.

The Indian Army

Damodar remained emotionless as he typed in the alphabets using the age old typewriter on his desk. The noisy growls made by its yanking cylinder and the echoes of the keys striking on it had already became a part of his life. Currently in his late forties, Damodar joined the Indian Army as a typist when he was twenty three and since then he has been making the obituary notes of the deceased soldiers to their families. From the day he joined his post, he wished he was fired from his job, for a better cause. But he also had to think about his wife and three children back home. And then he stayed with his job.

Damodar finished the letter and took it from the typewriter. That was the seventh one he had typed in for the day. The battle was turning severe at the war-front, the battle between fraternities which once fought in unison for freedom by driving away a common enemy. He took the letter with him and went to the major’s cabin. Now the letter would be sent to an army camp near the decedent’s native place which would then be delivered to his house, in an army vehicle.

Damodar knocked the cabin door for the major to call him in; and he didn’t have to wait for long. Major Ramesh was busy deciding on war strategies. Despite having a huge loss of soldiers, there were orders from the top that the points which were captured by the enemies shall be taken back at any cost.

“The letter is done, sir. The one of Brigadier Ratan Singh.”

“Where is he from?”

“He belongs to the village called Mirzapur, which is about 150 kilometers from here, sir.”

“Oh, so we ourselves can deliver the letter.”

“Yes sir.”

“Oh but we don’t have any soldiers left in our camp now. They all are at the battle front.” With a small pause the major continued. “Damodar, can you go with the driver and deliver this message at his house?”

“Sure sir.”

15 minutes later a jeep arrived in front of the office and Damodar started off towards Mirzapur to deliver the message.

It was a three hour journey. Initially the road was in a bad condition due to the shelling in those areas. Finally they reached Mirzapur. Since the village was pretty small, it wasn’t that difficult for them to find Brigadier Ratan Singh’s house. The driver applied the brakes in front of his house and the vehicle came to a halt unsettling the dust on its sides.

As the sound of the engine gave way to silence, a kid of age somewhere around six ran towards the vehicle from the house.

“Papa came! Papa came!” he was yelling on the top of his voice. On seeing Damodar and the driver and no one else in the jeep, his face swiftly tainted to steadfast disappointment. Still, with a subtle smile he invited the guests in to their house. Meanwhile, hearing his bawl, other children appeared at the patio, followed by a lady in her early forties. In the portico there was an old man who was reclining on a long armchair.

“Namaste Chacha, we are from the army.” Damodar spoke out to the old man, after entering the room. He assumed that the old man was Rana Singh, father of Brigadier Ratan Singh. The eyes of the old man slowly turned towards him in question.

“Chacha, I'm sorry to say this but your son died yesterday in the battle.” Damodar didn’t know how he said that until he completed it. Suddenly, a cry awash with disbelief, sorrow and pain originated from the side of the room. It came from the lady, wife of Brigadier Ratan Singh.

Damodar looked back at the old man. Two drops of tears shone below the eyes of the old man. It fought its way down the cheek. But it didn’t die on its way. The elder children understood the situation. But their eyes manifested that they were shocked as they joined their mother. The smallest one was still at the courtyard. Damodar proceeded towards him to receive a sweet smile from him. He took the letter he had brought with him from his pocket and kept it in the palm of the child. And the child ran towards his mother saying, “Maa, uncle gave this to me!”

Damodar couldn’t stand the situation any further. He thought about the umpteen letters he had typed out since he joined his service. He thought that each one had such a story associated with it. And those thoughts made him disturbed.

Both of them returned to the army camp. On their way back, Damodar was still thinking. And his mind was full of disturbances. Disturbances made by the sounds of a typewriter which kept on resonating inside...

Friday, November 18, 2005

borN iN californiA

Michael Sullivan, the professional assassin, with his elder son, decided for the Road to Perdition, when his wife and younger son were killed by the same mafia he had worked for.

A year back, Viktor Navorski of Eastern Europe was stranded in The Terminal of John F. Kennedy airport for almost a year because his homeland erupted in a fiery coup while he was in air en route to America. According to the airport officials, he was carrying a passport from nowhere.

Chuck Noland who worked for FedEx was Cast Away from the main land subsequent to a plain crash in the sea. He had nothing but faith with him to escape from the remote island.

Joe Fox, owner of Fox Books couldn’t help himself whenever the computer screen said You’ve Got Mail. He didn't know that the mails were from the shop girl, just around the corner.

Captain John H. Miller, the man of courage and leadership, sacrificed his life for Saving Private Ryan.

Jim Lovell’s mission to the moon in Apollo 13 was faced with a few problems. Though the team couldn’t land on the moon, they were able to return safely.

Forrest Gump, all he does turns the best. And it seems, the path to success is being dumb.

Sam Baldwin and his mother-lost-son were Sleepless in Seattle and things changed when his son traveled all alone Trans America to the Empire State building to get a wife for his father.

Allen Bauer had an unthinkable affair with a mermaid whom he met during a voyage through sea in his childhood and years later his life was in a Splash.

Robert Langdon is on his way to crack The Da Vinci Code in March 2006 to unravel the secrets behind the Holy Grail and the descendents of Jesus Christ.

The first Tom Hanks film I saw was Splash, which was aired by Doordarshan long back as a Saturday night movie. I didn’t know that the name of the hero in that film was Tom Hanks then.

No other Hollywood actor would’ve acted in so wide a variety of characters, be it a true murderer in Road to Perdition or the refugee in The Terminal. Tom Hanks does all his characters with such a passion that sometimes I wonder how well he transforms himself and lives in to these characters.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

reminiscenceS anD hopE

I was browsing through some old photographs that i came across this photo. It was taken at Goa, when we toured there during engineering. I don’t remember the name of this beach; people who are more familiar with the beaches there may name it. Three old ladies and two dogs were sitting on a parapet near the beach. Three of us were present there that time and we thought that it would be a nice idea to take a photo of the ladies and the dogs together. But we can’t take the photo just like that right. The suggestion was that my friends will go and sit near them and I will take the photo of the ladies and the dogs, pretending that I am taking the snap of my friends. I gladly took the picture (obviously along with my friends. he... he... I didn't tell them..) and we all were happy; I for a different reason. Later, at the college, this picture became famous as “Three Grandmas and Four Dogs!!”

After engineering, 14 of us went to Mumbai to join the company which recruited us from campus. It was the first time that most of us were going to Mumbai and the two years we spent there were undoubtedly the most beautiful days in our lives. Geo has penned down a few of those memories in his blog.

I am going to that good old Mumbai today night. At Mumbai, we will be having a two day interaction with O&M. Sort of a dream come true as far as I am concerned. Those who know about adMad may know this craze of mine towards advertising. Then to Kolkata for participating in a contest there. Wish me luck people! :-)

Saturday, November 05, 2005

confuseD oF solutionS

We have an internal electronic discussion board (DBabble) here. The following post and replies appeared in one of its Notice Boards yesterday. Thought that it would be worth sharing. Needless to say, one of the replies was mine. Up to you to find out which one was that. ;-p

Q. Might sound strange, but any solutions to stop red ants from attacking your keyboard?

A1. He he he.. wrong Notice Board!
A2. U should probably stop snacking in front of the keyboard.
    AA2. Me not snacking, they have a liking towards the rubber inside.
        AAA2. Spill food stuff all over your room, they will leave the keyboard.
A3. Take a red marker and highlight the following keys, <'D' 'E' 'A' 'D' 'E' 'N' 'D'> or <'F' 'U' 'C' 'K' 'Y' 'O' 'U'>
        AA3. Tried, but two problems. 1) Only one 'E'/'U' on my keyboard. 2) Ants were not able to read such large alphabets.
                AAA3. Look at the 'Insert', 'Home' keys. They have more alphabets and are small.
                AAA3. Or better mark the 'Windows' key.
A4. Draw a Lakshman Rekha around the keyboard or whatever is being attacked.
        AA4. Wow!!! Mythology and Technology going hand in hand!
                AAA4. Or ignorant technology geeks. Lakshman Rekha is a product to ward off ants.
A5. Attack them instead! Attack is the best defence.
A6. Use 'Ant'ibiotics.
A7. Contact the pest control people for fogging the keyboard.
A8. Get a lady Ant and place her somewhere away from the keyboard!
        AA8. How do I know whether the ant I got is a lady ant.
                AAA8. Watch where they go at nite; Get the ones that go to girls' dorms (hostel).
                        AAAA8. Those would be male ants!