Thursday, September 17, 2009

After all that happiness, what am I really missing at TISS??

-Bad people. Rude ones in particular.

-Bad teachers. Arrogant and ‘oppressive’ ones in particular.

-Ragging! I got so used to it in engineering.

-Cricket! I hate ‘em for not giving me hostel.

-Ugly girls. All here look decent.

-Long power cuts ending up in long guitar sessions.

-Dirty talks about sex, particularly those that subjugate women. They were so enlightening that they are still helping me for my group research!

-Bad English! I just loved it.

-And especially ‘my mother’! Encroaching on my freedom space! I feel so liberated here. I’ll feel like an inmate when I’ll go home!

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Smell. Rediscovered.

What do you expect to smell when you walk out of your place to start your day, my people? Or the question can be asked this way, “what do you smell when you start your day?”

I think I can guess some of the answers.

Flowers? Those ‘divine’ incense sticks? :P Brown bread from the bakery? That lady’s hair in your building’s lift? Desi baghaar from your neighbour’s house?

Every time I start my day on Mondays and Tuesdays, when I go out for my field work, I get myself prepared to smell a few things. I’ll list them in the sequence of events that result in my encounter with them.

1. Walk out of the building. Smell the left over wet waste by the Municipality people.

2. Take an auto to Govandi station. Feel the smell from the slaughter house nearby.

3. Enter the galli to the platform number 2. Smell the stale snacks.

4. Stand on the platform number 1. Smell the eatables at the IRCTC stall ‘dominated’ by Wada pau!

5. ‘Try’ to get on the train to CST. Smell a zillion body odours.

Before mentioning the next event, I must tell you people that I LOVE the Tantra t-shirts for their sarcasm. And I strongly believe in them. One of them said, “Indian Railways- Bringing people closer”. I can feel the closeness every time I get on a train to CST in the morning. Now, there are different types of ‘closenesses’ that you can be a part of. You will be enlightened in the following notes.

6. Be a part of Indian Railways' "Bringing People Closer" campaign.Smell Navratna tel’ from apne bhai log!

Research statement that is bubbling up for long now:

Navratna tel is the largest selling hair oil among young, skinny and busy men that commute in locals to CST on the harbour line!

7. If it’s your day, have armpits on your face- smell them. You don't have a choice.

Yeah. I know, I sound yucky at times!

8. Get down at the ‘task station’. You are out of vacuum now. Smell oxygen. Yes, it has a smell.

9. Go to slums for field work. Smell garbage again.

at times, hear the tales of people getting numb to those odours. Get shocked.

10. Eat and have tea with budding politicians. Smell food.

11. Come back to the room. Wash your face. Smell some dettol.

Sleep. Smell peace. :)

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Wow! Never ever felt like this before! I was always into questioning everything but I didn't know that I could be so vocal about it. This place offers me the freedom to cross all the levels of being uncomfortable and making myself and other people think. I have unlearned some of the basics that I considered to be so normal!

I don't form a strong opinion about people anymore.

I don't absolutely hate or love somebody anymore.

I consider violence justified and inevitable.

I speak things like "Every man is a potential rapist" to my research group without hesitating!

I don’t give a fuck what people think about me.

I write things like this on my blog.

I walk away from a conversation with a risk of looking rude.

I speak things on people's face!

I consider that people always have time.

I remain serious continuously for hours!

I think.

I think beyond the full stops of my statements. I don’t just stop at my opinions. I gather the courage to look out of my window where the answers to my questions are.

I love. Yes, I love this place. And I love this phase.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Aife hi foch foch ke pareshani fi thi. . .

It’s a cool Sunday afternoon and I’m feeling too sleepy to make sense here. It’s just the love of writing stuff and the fact that I’m not able to recall events for my field work reports that has kept me alive and awake right now!

This one thought just comes into my head that in the last two and a half months of this new life at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, which are the events that have had the potential to shake the cells in my brain that compel me for action? If I just 'try' and stress myself, the first one would be watching 'India Untouched', a documentary on the abhorrent caste system of, for and by our country. It moved me to the extent that I realized how hollow and directionless life I’ve led till now. And that there are more dimensions to my ignorance. There are things that I have turned a blind face to. I came to know that what I see and what people in my social circle have tried to present in front of me is exactly what the makers of these abhorrent systems wanted. the happiness and the change we think has arrived is only amongst a certain number of people; the only thing I was glad about is that miraculously, the human inside me has managed to stay alive and keep those 'anaesthetists' away who wanted to kill him with an overdose!

The second would be the interactive lecture by Dr. Ashish on social work and its objectives. It told me how easy and how difficult it is to change things. And also the fact that you shouldn't always try to change them. He asked us to really try and work into our own homes and places and change things if we wanted to change them at all. He called us one of the most powerful people in the country. He said that everybody is powerful. But not all of them know about the fact. This reminds me of a ramanek (my roommate) joke about himself in which he says that, hum hanuman ki tarah hain, apni shakti ka hume andazaa nahin hai!

While writing this note I’m feeling that I should stay away from numbers and mentioning my preferences as much as possible. Numbers help people to develop, to know about how good or bad things are. Our state does the same; it hides all the numbers it fears.

Recently we came to know about an incident when one of our faculty members, Shamim Modi, a tribal activist was brutally attacked at her place by the building's watchman. We had the privilege to listen to her when the college organised a public meeting and a press conference to demand justice for her. She had 118 stitches on her body but her head and heart demonstrated turbulent life as she spoke to us. She spoke about the activism she is involved in and what it demands. I find myself fortunate that I can at least dream of reaching out to people she is reaching because of the course I have chosen.

Though there's a lot of emotion and motivation out here, it raises inside me a fear of getting used to it like I do to everything else.

But I still hope that some of the things will fall in place and this spark will stay alive . . . and there's one thing that I very strongly hope for. That I would get more of such moments to reflect this bit . . . :)

Monday, July 27, 2009

Field work, Day 1. . .

I think if I start writing my daily experience honestly, the start will always sound clichéd. Because the first line will always be, “Like every instance, I reached late!”

The Day 1 of my field work was no different. It’s just that I wasn’t the only one responsible for it! My roommate was the one who searched for his ‘half socks’ and ‘formal shoes’ for ten minutes. But with a cool teacher and a too nice to be angry partner (subject to change, courtesy- my ‘punctuality’), I didn’t face any ‘you-will-never-be-a-successful-man’ looks!

I have a bit inside my head to write about the nexus of corruption I could smell today, but I will write about that someday when I am angry! The only reason is that I don’t want to sound euphemistic.

I saw a lot of things that I saw after a fairly long time. Because of the fact that I’m in the company of highly groomed men and women since the last one and a half month, I loved the company of apni public. It’s funny that I was noting them on the last page of my field work notebook! Without commenting on them much I would just give you the list.

1. Huge red Bindis.
The last time I saw them in such great abundance was in ST buses (aka Laal Dabba) a year back!

2. Green Bangles with a golden one in each hand!
They remind me of my Nani!

3. Trapezoidal moustaches. :P
Go and study some geometry to get the joke!

4. The sudden happiness by just the info that there’s gonna be an event!
People get easily ready to get together if they know they can eat together. The whole tension about the threat to existence of a federation that has 490 CBO’s (community based organisations) working with it was into heaven the very moment every nice uncle and aunty there came to know about the get-together!

5. Men with huge tummies!
A lot of them in just 4000 square foot of space!

Every time I travel in a Mumbai local and I am unable to stop myself from hanging out of the train, I find bringing about a behavioural change into people at a mass level close to impossible. Or maybe I am a human being with very less control over his brain!
I hope that I will enjoy writing my actual reports the way I do writing things like this!
Pray for me, brother!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Krupa and I generally sit together in the classes which are generally boring or say too much to keep our concentration focused at the topic. . . One fine day, ( like many fine days) I took up sketching for my brain's sake. . .I tried to draw something really funny, it turned out to be a mixture of Johnny Bravo, Popeye and a face, the only face that I can draw since my childhood. it turned out well, so I asked krupa to have a look. I knew she was gonna have more than a look over it. She wrote my name over the creature and laughed.
My creative rights and copyrights were stolen. So, I took up the pen, wrote krupa on the top of the page and started drawing a creature with a bulged stomach! I drew a couple of ribbons over its head to make it feminine. I was actually trying to draw a zoo zoo. . I don't know what hit this girl beside me, the next visible objects I could see were blank pages with marks of human atrocities on it! She actually tore the page off! My masterpiece was into pieces!
Shattered and broke, I wanted to use physical power, but the thought of the old man with a bamboo stick and round glasses struck me! And I chose a ‘differently violent’ way to revenge!

This poem is dedicated to the consequential state of affairs in the class and is an anthem of protest against the freakishness!

टूटी हुई लकीरों से रहे थे हम कुछ जोड़,
ज़माने ने दिए हमारे सारे अरमां तोड़. . .
हमारी नवीन कोशिशों का तुने न दरकार किया,

बनाया था एक funny sketch,
उसे भी तुने फाड़ दिया!!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Today, I'm in a mood for display!

You might be wondering what’s this avoidable, not-so-trendy vehicle doing here?? Well, it’s here because I consider it a three-wheel wonder and the most amazing public vehicle designed yet. You may not give it a damn unless it gets stuck in the traffic and you are kicked out of an important class with the most exuberant ‘get-out’ command possible!
Well, moving on, the Indian auto rickshaw is something that can easily demonstrate some very fine nuances of India’s so called ‘aam aadmi’. TV host Sajid Khan once said, “When the hand made portrait of a bollywood actor or actress reaches the mud-guard of the rickshaws, you can say that he is popular now.” Don’t you feel it’s true? 50% of the rickshaw mud-guards sported Hritik Roshan’s ‘biceps-angle’ portraits after KNPH, Shahrukh and Aishwarya also made it there but Salman Khan and Himesh Reshammiya are the all time favorites!
Taking a step forward from bollywood, in India one doesn’t need to check out the internet to find out the number of religions followed in a particular area. Rickshaws speak them all. I could somehow notice that the rickshaws in the Pani-gate area had golden or green colored stickers on their windshields that said, “Khwaja Garib Nawaz (K.G.N)”, while those around the RTO office had some Punjabi religious names. Obviously with the 33 crore deities, Hindu windshields are visible all across the city making it impossible to mention their names! Surprisingly, the railway station territory shows some secularism and the mutual co-operation between rickshawalas there is readily evident. Isn’t it amazing?
Now, there’s this funny and familiar rudeness of people in the business. Once I asked a rickshawala, “Why do you people always charge only one rupee greater than the meter reading whether it is Rs.10 or Rs.100?” I expected a technical answer. But all I got in a reply was something like this, “I won’t bloody mind if you want to pay me more.” Two others surrounding him grinned at me. I got out of there as soon as I could!
By the way; watching women argue with the rickshawalas for fare money worth ‘prime numbers less than 5’ is even more enjoyable! You can make a ‘high TRPs yielding’ reality show out of it!
Rickshaws drive me crazy for numerous other reasons. I’ve never seen a Moto GP biker or an F-1 racer sway his vehicle like an audacious rickshawala does in the jam-packed Raopura (a locality in Baroda) streets! A rickshaw can boast of the smallest turning radius compared to any other public vehicle. I mean, a U-turn isn’t a big deal; full marks for the degree of freedom. Indian rickshaws have the music-systems and woofers of the level only next to those installed by ‘MTV Pimp my ride’! Well, the only difference is, instead of Snoop Dogg, you’ll have to listen to ‘Himesh bhai’.
There’s one more thing about Indian rickshaws that leaves me absolutely bewildered. From outside, they seem to be good enough to just accommodate, let me think, two ‘skinny’ Punjabis or three ‘healthy’ Gujjus at most. But believe me, I have been one of those 10 people successfully present inside! Limousine makers, can you boast of a higher occupant capacity?? Hmm…. Did you ask, “What about safety?” Well, if the rickshawala is a satisfied and stable man, you are safe. But if he’s a Dhoom fan and is ready to take on the world when it comes to winning the road race, all you can do is as under.
Trust the God on your rickshaw’s windshield, fix your hairstyle in the looking glass from two different angles and reach your destination saving ten bucks back home! Mom will be happy for sure! SALAAM RICKSHAW!!!

For some new readers!


The newspaper reports celebrating the spirit of the country and the television reporters talking about the ‘cheerful co-existence’ of the am janta never caught my mind or even my ears, for that matter. But today, a journey in the general compartment of a not-so-express train after a long time, gave me a striking experience of the same. With ‘Slumdog’ spinning into my head while witnessing all the hulla-gulla of the Indian General Compartment, I figured out why I find the British movie so Indian. More importantly, I figured out the reason why it is successful in the small centers as well.
The lean blind beggar asking for alms, a 10-year old girl singing hits from 'Gadar', people running their businesses on the mobile phone-it was all there! Some instances were very common, like a 60 year old lady, with 40 Kgs of luggage with her kept fighting ‘verbally’ for a seat with a man in his 50's who had three children less than 5 years of age, two of them spilled saliva out of their mouth.
But some were unique. A man was successfully selling baby-size tumblers made of PVC with tiny twinkling lights meant for feeding infants. I was exhilarated! The salesman was shouting-"Your kid isn't fond of milk? Are you tired of using toys to get a glass of milk inside him? I HAVE THE SOLUTION!" “Sab dekha hoga, sab liya hoga, par aisa nahi liya hoga!”
I wanted to say, “I agree, man!" The same man had a pencil with similar twinkling lights. The product was titled, 'Shaka laka boom boom'! It was surprising to find that even TV shows are used for marketing items in trains! Anything can be popular in India!
The most entertaining part was yet to come. I had a privilege to watch two 15 year old girls singing old sad melodies. Singing in trains isn't an exciting prospect to look forward to, but their USP’s were the dholak and ghunghrus that they were carrying as the equipment! The girl on dholak had tied the ghunghrus on her right hand to provide the synchronicity! Though they sang in the familiar shrilled voice that all the train-singers are blessed with, I could still read most of the people inside moving their lips to the loud dholak beats and the jangling ghunghrus! They generated more revenue than the solo performer who earlier performed with a couple of small flat wooden cubes. They accepted money only in multiples of 5's and 10's! For singing in a train, that's quite a handsome range to deal with!
I kept making friends, receiving smiles and frowns all through my odyssey! At one time, there were at least 8 wadapao vendors, 5 carrying the cold-drinks tub and 10 vendors selling fruits, bhel, tobacco, tea and water! Add to that the beggars, singers, other salesmen and finally the passengers; all peacefully getting along.
After watching a whole civilization present inside the compartment and only one 'verbal' fight at the end of it, I was more than convinced that the spirit of the am janta that we listen about may be a part of the media histrionics is but a reality for sure. A reality, because of which our nation exists, co-exists, sustains, grows and celebrates! Jai Ho!

From the diary

You come to Mumbai and you get to see all the dirtiest possible places at the first glance-Kids shitting out in the open, heaps of black smelly garbage overshadowing the reflected white light from the glassy skyscrapers, the sides of the local trains ‘naturally’ painted red by the tobacco lovers, advertisements of the desi aphrodisiacs and all the things that are oversufficient to fill you with disgust.
Despite all of that, the amazing speed of life at display, the vulnerability evident at every step you take here, the amount of inspiration that this city offers and the crowd it attracts ceaselessly, always makes me feel for Mumbai.
It is difficult to swallow the fact that I will belong to this place for at least the next two years. But one thing I'm sure about is, that I will find much more than is visible at the first glance from inside a train.

About the absence

I think I should write an apology note for myself before writing any blog posts! Though I have been out of touch with internet connectivity for quite some time as per the standards I had set, i should've managed to keep coming here.
Well, if I speak hundred percent of truth about how happy I am, I would use some words here which WILL project me as a child. But anyway, that’s what the reality is. And in the midst of such heavyweights here, who either have a question or a jargon for every point discussed in the class, I’m ACTUALLY feeling that I’m just a kid.
But yes, the happiness quotient is crossing all the previous levels . . .
Who would have imagined that a fun loving, almost adolescent, technically not well versed guy with an amazing capacity to sound unsure about everything he comes across will land into TISS? Not even myself.
The first day in college was a historic occasion in my already romanticised life! Out of nowhere I have managed to sneak through the interview and so I am very eager to greet the next part of the adventure! Hope that I do well over these two years ... May the romanticism never die. . .
I have met some really good people here. I don't know if their goodness will last forever but I'm sure they'll teach me a lot of things! Get to you in detail. . .

Sunday, June 21, 2009

वाह! आज मैंने ब्लागस्पाट पर हिन्दी की खोज की है! तो सोचा की क्यूँ न थोड़ा सर खुजलाया जाए! वैसे हिन्दी लिखना इतना मजेदार होगा मैंने सोचा नहीं था! अब मैं पक्का उन सब लोगों को हिन्दी पढने के लिए मजबूर करूँगा जो कमज़ोर व्याकरण का बहाना मार कर हिन्दी से दूर भागते हैं!
सो फेल्लास, हैप्पी रीडिंग! :P

Thursday, June 04, 2009


I studied a bit about mechanical objects at a stage in my life. Automobiles were one of them. So whenever I see a different vehicle, I kind of observe it. I am not very good at identifying the nuances of the functional peculiarities but I do understand a bit of the things that even the blind can see, as they sometimes put up pretty rudely in Hindi!

I live in Baroda, a city that was struck by communal violence a few years back. And the area where I live is just a stone’s throw away from the ‘epicenter’. I didn’t know that I’d use the term for anything except the quakes. Whenever I return from a refreshing session of table tennis early morning or from a late night meeting with friends, I prefer to take the other route which comes through a place called ‘Pani Gate’. Now this is the spot that became friends with burning tires and shattered pieces of broken glass for quite some time. Even today, on that very monument sort of structure, somewhere amidst the spit marks of red beetle juice -the favorite graffiti of the tobacco addict- I see black patches reminding me of the color of destruction and inhuman atrocities.

Sometimes, during my ‘staring-at-the-walls’ moments, I think about the wall-less, but ‘bollywoodish’ child that must have grown up watching all this real life action. I think about the vehicles that he would have graduated to. He must have started with a cradle; obviously not the one with eye-catching toys made of PVC fighting for space over a multicolored iron bar but the cradle actually being a swing, tied between two bamboo sticks or between other things the poor can discover for amusing their children. By the way, if you don’t consider the cradle a vehicle, you would never find the chauffeur so nice to you in your entire lifetime!

I don’t think he would’ve had good times watching other vehicles. I mean, what would’ve he learnt from old bicycles with twisted paddles or from hand-driven Lorries or from overcrowded auto rickshaws running on ‘personally clinically treated’ fuel or from all sort of awkward vehicles carrying things that doesn’t interest him??

But like every bollywoodish kid, he must’ve been an action movie fan. He’d be loving those police vans which would come every once in a while, wake everyone up on the street with the screeching sound of their tires and red revolving light on the top and take all the bad men away in rusty shackles. I’m not really fond of violence, but somehow, it fascinates me. And so whenever I return from a refreshing session of table tennis or from a late night meting with friends, I feel very close to that kid. I feel like that curious kid every time I spot that ‘Riot-Control Vehicle’ at Pani Gate.
The only major difference between a police van and that Riot Control Vehicle is the color. It is colored silver. Quite a strange choice to fight the ‘black’, isn’t it?? I hope it always manages to calm down the saffron and the green as well. And I hope that it doesn’t favor one of them either.

Well, when that kid would’ve seen a grill all around the windows on that moving giant, he must’ve thought- why had the maker put small little holes on those grills? And like the way I learn things by observing, he would have found that gun barrels come out of them occasionally when all the good people he knows in the neighborhood and elsewhere, go crazy. And when the ‘silver’ strikes gold, a few of the crazy people go crazier and then finally die. The people behind the grills listen to something on their heavy, black colored telephones, utter a few bad words, pray to their respective Gods and then either fire a few bullets or drive away uttering some more bad words.

I liked watching special purpose vehicles in the kind of Hollywood movies I used to watch earlier. I wish that the purpose for the vehicle that I am talking about didn’t exist. But there’s something that I would like to mention. One of my good friends told me that thing when I said that there shouldn’t be weapons and wars on earth. He said, “Some of the things were here when man took this planet. They will always be.”

When I started noticing vehicles, I had a wish. A wish to own an SUV which would suffice my love for being adventurous at times. A few years later I realized that like all the fat people in the world, it drinks too much and runs millimeters. So, I changed my mind and started thinking about a vehicle that wouldn’t murder my mother earth much and would suffice that love. I haven’t found any that fascinated me the same way.

A few of them still catch my senses and give me something to think about during my ‘staring-at-the-wall’ moments. I still have a corner for the SUV’s. But now I drop my lower jaw only when I see something like the government’s RCV. The other route to my house has become a regular one. It keeps the curious kid inside me alive. Very alive.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Some motivation for the lazy!

Being a creature blessed with extraordinary laziness and one having an ability to be indifferent to it is awesome. There's a plethora of things that you can do. You can sit at one place and enjoy watching -the walls, the spiders if any, the spider's dilemma to choose between the delicious house fly and the good-looking mosquito, those soft, semi-transparent lizards setting world records for tongue speed(beating all the frogs on earth :P). You can think about your neighboring country’s nuclear weapon arsenal and world peace at the same time, you can watch cookery shows on television, you can feel like a retired man chilling out with ice-cream bowls everyday and what not? Yes, there’s a strange fun in being at one place! You can feel like the Buddha- stable and focused! Don’t you think it takes some focus to observe organisms like that? :P
If you find these things a bit non-involving for the body, I can also suggest you some tangible stuff. When you are at one place, you can learn the art of building belly-fat! Feel blessed to be not moving. Assume danger in any motion. Just sit there. Lie there! Just keep working your fingers around your waist and feel the fluffy, spongy stuff! Why does everyone always think of muscles? After all, fat is also a ‘biological’ element. We respect anything related with that adjective, don't we! Who knows; some day being fat may become fashionable! You will need the experience then!
People say that one should look for opportunities every time. So, I took this opportunity to guide all of you there to just looooooooove your laziness! To not feel guilty about the ‘sit-and-do-nothing’ phases in life! I do have more ideas but I can’t share all of them together. Sparing some of them for laziness’ sake!

Monday, May 11, 2009

I love this virtual world...that's it...

Friday, May 08, 2009

TISS trip Part 2


I have the memories of every journey etched into my brain and heart. The reason is simple- I have had very few journeys in life! No one lets me out of the house to spend money to watch the world!
I remember a journey for the people I meet and the pictures I take. Though I didn’t get much of a chance to name a picture folder of the same name as this write up is, I met some really good people. The list begins with-

Some IIM-A pass-out

The species are so sparse that I feel like finding God when I come across one! The credit of making them Gods also goes to the management entrance coaching centers like the one I had joined! I directly know only two people who have made it to any of the ‘centers of excellence’! :P
The ‘Devi’ -as I should call her after knowing the tag she carries-had come to get her sister’s documents verified. She justified a Prateek sir statement that an IIM-A student will never look or behave like one. A very nice and subtle person; she gave me company at the reception lounge for a good twenty minutes, in which she educated me about the falling returns on investment at the IIM’s and fantastic levels of the same at TISS. Like my mother loves it when someone praises her household appliances or furniture or the God’s corner or her Saree or the design of her home or her children or her cooked meals-it’d be better if I stop here-her statement about TISS made me happy. :P
I repeated an idiotic mistake that I’ve been committing way too often now. After talking to her for so long and about so many things, I forgot to ask her name!
So, I’ll remember her as ‘some IIM-A pass out’. . .


I love to change my accent with people. And I love speaking Hindi in the North Indian accent. A bit of Haryanvi touch, some intentional rudeness and lots of fun; I enjoy that. Akshay was the perfect ‘banda’ for a team. All the fears of having boring room partners were gone! He told me about the time he had spent in the IMA and the sad end of it. During that discussion, I mentioned that I had gained 11 kilograms in the past 11 months. This has been the only achievement in the past one year for me. In the last three years, this is the first person who has come close to me in terms of weight fluctuation. My earlier record is losing 6 kilograms in 20 days (Courtesy- a twenty-day training in Mumbai!). He said that he had lost 10 kilograms in 2 months. No wonder our jawaans commit suicides!
We cracked jokes, discovered the mutual love for food, made fun of a lot of people and had to get into some serious, ‘unavoidable’ appreciation of femininity. We finally celebrated the event of getting a flat by singing ‘Pardesi’, the Dev D song, in an auto, loudly! The pick of the meeting was when I lent him my belt when he was clumsily moving around for the process! Akshay, you should thank my extra pounds, buddy, that have rendered the belts obsolete for me now!


She told me that she would call me when she reaches the campus. Somehow, she didn’t. When she came and sat one chair away from me and asked for my bank challan to copy some trivial details of the fees, I came to know that she is the one whose call I had been expecting since morning. As far as the popular wisdom about Delhi university crowd goes, I was expecting her to be speaking in a pretending accent and someone like they say in incorrect English as ‘proudy’! Ha-ha! But she turned out to be a very sweet girl who seemed to quite sane as well. Actually, after some time with her, she seemed like a potential ‘she-will-write-your-assignment-for-you’ girl.
I hope you don’t change your mind after reading this, Aashima!

Aashima’s dad

In life, you meet some people who shape the way you think or act. I don’t know if it is premature to say that uncle has joined my list, I certainly feel so. I loved the very first gesture he offered. At lunch time, we headed towards the dining hall to pacify all the relevant organisms in our tummies. When we took out our wallets to buy the coupons, he stopped us and ‘sponsored’ the lunch. I love people who offer food for free!
Well, the reason for his influence over me wasn’t this gesture though. It was the one that followed. After everyone had analyzed the food, its quantity and quality, some conversations began.
His first question was to all of us. He asked us our respective reasons for joining TISS. The ghosts of interview nightmares were back! I stayed silent. After facing it a zillion times in the past one year, I have almost ‘fallen in hatred’ with the word ‘why’!
Before uncle began his story, a couple of guys mentioned their reasons which sounded like crammed answers. I guess the discussion lasted for around forty minutes, which passed away like forty seconds because of the depth and seriousness of the things he was talking about.
He bestowed over us all the ‘gyaan’ about how national highways were not suitable for Indian rural demographic, the neglect of environment in most of the government projects, the great grand implementation problem with Indian schemes, two failed projects in UP- one power plant worth 19 crores supposed to run on garbage (that lasted only two days!) and a national highway that is worth 9.5 crores which is a testimony of mindless plan-making of the engineers working on the project. The road was supposed to have different divisions for pedestrians and cyclists and vehicles. It finally had them but the sad part is that the cyclists and pedestrians are allotted the upward slope of the road which renders it impossible for them to use it, resulting in the ‘Indian khichdi’ on roads there! Out of his dissatisfaction with them he declared the engineers from IIT’s and the managers from IIM’s (I don’t know if the IIM guys join governmental organizations :P) as the most unintelligent people in the country! The only way to bring about a change in the system is by being a part of it, he said.
I loved it when he said that he demanded for registering an FIR against a minister (I don’t remember the name)-who had continuously neglected the environment in all the new projects his government undertook- in a meeting also attended by Ms. Sheila Dikshit and a few other leaders. No one present there in the hall could take any action against him after he justified his statements. I wish I was this brave.
All in all, it was a fantastic feeling after I met him. He was one of the kinds of people I desire to spend time with. His words, “Tata institute of social sciences will be spending so much money on you. You need to be clear about what you want to do for the society and for the people” kept buzzing my head all through the journey back home. I wonder why Aashima didn’t believe me when I said that her dad was rocking! I hope you do believe me now, Aashima… :)

Ms. Kanchan Kamle

Amazingly polite, at least through the entire first interaction, Ms. Kamle seemed to be a completely no-issues lady. She is the owner of the flat that we have booked for resting our bums when we will be released off our leash by our college. After she showed us the flat, she served us ‘kokam ka sharbat’ which was tastier than it looked from outside the glass. The slight sour taste gave it my extra point over all the regular sweet sharbats.
When we showed interest in the flat, she asked us to follow a few ‘simple’ conditions which were mandatory to get it. They were-
1. Thou shalt not bring in girls here for an overnight stay.
2. Thou shalt not drink or smoke.
3. Thou shalt maintain dignity in the society
4. Thou shalt pay the deposits in advance.
I loved the innocence with which she said all that.Actually, she was bothered because of her earlier experience with the girls who stayed there last year. She told us about their ‘modern and sophisticated’ lifestyle and we assured her of a ‘rural lifestyle’ that we aren’t going to follow!
See you, aunty!


There were a few other people whom I met that day. A guy from Manipur who promised that he’d teach me to play the guitar; Abhishek, a guy from Assam who had an amazing ability of talking about things that didn’t interest me; Dharmendra, who was tooooooo nice; Atul, who had a cute smile and a lovely UP accent and a couple of 'kakas', the species I love!

One person who needs a special mention here is a man in the academic section who had a nice South Indian accent but had an awesome ability of sounding rude! At times, I like people who are rude. I love being nice to them! After he went through my engineering mark sheets, he asked me ‘WHY’ I wanted to do social work. Even after a few dozen statements of mental clarity from my side-which is quite miraculous-he kept repeating that, “You will repent your decision! You will repent your decision!”
May his soul rest in peace!

It is impossible to term the return journey, 'happy 'as my phone had run out of charge and so I couldn't enjoy any music for 11 hours.I ran out of mumbai on the same day considering the killing heat there. But looking at my two-day freedom ending in just one day, I decided to celebrate it with some komdi. I got a lot of chicken-tandoori packed and had it with two bottles of coke at a dhaba! Wow! Life can sometimes offer you a lot in just 35 1/2 hours. . .

Thursday, May 07, 2009

TISS trip Part 1

The start
Complying with my self set illustrious standards, I left for the private bus office late. Though it was fine according to the standards the buswalas have set and I reached there well in time, I got a good bashing on the phone from dad! When will my parents grow up to know this world??
In the one-minute walk from the office to the place where the bus was parked, I sang a song, whistled a tune and felt an unusual sense of happiness. I’m still trying to figure out the reason. It must have been a mixture of the two day long freedom from home and immobility that I was going to get, the excitement of formally confirming my admission into TISS and the fact that I’m single!

The baraat
I got the bus after 15 minutes and within another 10 minutes; it was in the outskirts of the city where there is a long row of marriage halls which are ‘pompously’ responsible for regularly creating a scene when people noisily attempt clearing the traffic up. As the bus crawled through that street, a strong smell of cheap perfume rushed into my nostrils from the dancing men and women and band members in the baraats!
The band played a hit tribal song that I have heard in three states-Maharashtra, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh. It said, Amu kaka baba na porya re,gondaliyo kheladu, which means that we are all paternal brothers and sisters and we are going to play tribal games. This song had a music lesson for me. The simple you keep the tune and lyrics of the song, the popular it'll become! I peeped out of the window oscillating my head (almost banging it) in the vertical direction to join the crowd! A couple of men acknowledged the gesture!

The experiment
After half a dozen failed attempts to sleep, I finally reached Vashi in the morning at 5.45 am! I took a train to Gowandi and brushed my teeth at the station using the ‘drinking water’. I wanted to see if anyone shouted at me. No one did. Who cares about public property in our country, anyway? My faith in my people was reassured! They love mutual co-existence and personal freedom.

The roaming

I reached at the all-green campus in the morning at 6.30. I was fortunate that it was open and the watchmen were awake and co-operative! When asked that where I should resort for morning duties, I was told to check out the gents hostel. I met a guy with a Nepalese accent who tried to explain me how difficult it is to get into the hostel because of the stringent rules. Ten minutes later, the watchman allowed me to use the hostel for anything I wanted; making a mockery of the guy’s image building attempt! After taking a heavy breakfast at the dining hall, I was convinced that I won’t curse the mess staff here! There was so much healthy stuff to eat! After a two hour long wait, there were some humans visible in the campus.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

pretty faces

i still wanna love pretty faces
atleast a few more
but don't wish to have feelings
permanent and sure

some of my tears are
for some other grief
i had enough of their pain
when i let them have all my cure!

i want to live for the 'me'
however lonely my heart may get
i'll get a crowd around this me
to make me things forget...

want to reclaim a few moments
want to look beyond my door
want to breathe some real air
want to make the best assured!

i'd been crawling a lot
my veins urge for a need to run
will find some other pursuit in life
than finding a lot of fun!

i don't have a plan to run away from love
don't think i'll run after it too
won't tell anyone here
all i need is you!

i still wanna love pretty faces
c'mon a few more
but won't have a feeling
permanent and sure...

Sunday, May 03, 2009

kitty party

I generally have nothing to do these days...Citing this opportunity, my mother ordered me to organize a kitty party for her yesterday! Man, despite knowing that I am bad at practical handling of mechanical devices-irrelevant of the four years I learned to do that- I would have agreed for repairing my two-wheeler myself! But arranging a kitty party?? I hate myself for being nice to people all the time!
I had committed it. so I had to do it! They say that good managers focus on the larger issues, the key problems first. So, I tried to enlist them. In this case the main problem was to make ten aunties play some games peacefully! Woah! This meant that I will be a game designer as well. Pushpesh b, I outplayed you in this! So I designed a couple of them based on some blurred memories that I had of going into the parties with mom! The games had to be chosen taking into consideration all possible aunty ‘terms’ and at least half a dozen psychological ‘conditions’!
1. None of the aunties should feel insulted in case they don’t know any of the answers! Keep the questions moderate! (The first game was a GK quiz!)
2. No game should involve sharing of any prop. As the word written in bold letters isn’t in their dictionary!
3. The prize must be something that is useful in household chores and must be a cheap item so as to avoid envious looks within them!
4. There should be separate prizes for both the games. At least two of the aunties will go back blessing the organizers!
5. The games should be of short duration. The aunties should not start demanding for snacks half way!
6. The games should be such that the children accompanying their mothers shouldn’t be able to help them! (I had to choose the GK quiz in the end anyway!)
Phew!!! Lot of thinking, man!
Next was the choice of snacks. They had to be good, hot and in abundance! Mom extended all my estimations about the number of samosas and quantity of farsan needed to be served!
Actually if you take care of the second arrangement properly, aunties don’t care about the other things happening in the party!
Finally, everything was done with ease and my mother received some compliments. And I received a headache! To recover from the smiles that I had to fake for almost an hour, I listened to some Metallica!
When there was a tie between two aunties in the GK quiz, I gave both of them a mathematical question to solve! I was scared. What if none of them could do it?? But beacauseI kept it related to shopping and discounts, one of them got the answer correct and got the prize! All the aunties complained that they had lost touch with Math and other GK after they got married. Surprisingly, all of them could answer the mythology related questions I had kept because of mom’s recommendation. One of the aunties said, “Hamari line change ho gayi hai abhi! Ab yahi answers de payenge hum!” I laughed, but at the same time I felt sorry for them. Even I would be pissed off if I fail to answer a sports related question after some years in a party!
Well, my mother showered me with samosas and all the leftovers for a reward. I pray to the almighty that he keep away guys from year long unemployment and 'being-nice-all-the-time' syndromes!
By the way, at the end of the day (aha, some poetry!)
By the way, at the end of the day, it gave me a first hand experience of event management. The kitty party made up for all the event organizing opportunities that I missed or avoided in college!

God bless you, aunties! Muaah!!!

Friday, May 01, 2009

For Sowmya ma'am

People who know me say that it takes a cardiac arrest triggering news to wake me out of my sleep! I just don’t get moved by a place or thing or a person anymore! After all the analyses that my brain carries out, I zero down to a conclusion that nothing is impossible. And that people have a strong influence of their surroundings, friends, situations and education. And so I shouldn’t be impressed or feel inferior by unusual or brave acts. Despite all this trivial stuff that revolves my head, a few people cause a strong influence on my life and behavior. I never admit that I’m someone’s fan in front of the world like this. But today, I will definitely do that. This post is for one such person, Sowmya Nagarajan.
She is so special that I find all the words to describe her clichéd. She carries so much of gyaan and energy accompanied with her ‘exclusive exuberance’; I have almost forgotten that she was my English faculty at PT once! I know that there will be grammatical errors, a few dozen punctuation mistakes in this post and in all my posts, ma’am! But it’s not your fault! I never completed the grammar primer, or the language primer! I tried ‘my’ best though! :) God knows how I have made it to TISS!
Her best quality is her sense of humor. As far as I know the world, females can only ‘dream’ to be as humorous and whacky; men may give it a try! :) Mere college me aj tak koi aisi ladki kyun nahin ayi!!! She has raised the expectations I can have from a female!! Ma’am, you should actually ‘coach’ some girls under you, make them sowmya-like and then send them in different parts of the country to propagate sowmyaism! (In case you aren’t planning to get the art patented later:)) Bohot logo ka bhala ho jayega! Guys will worship your idols!
If someone wants to know how to stay happy, screw all the gurus! Go to sowmya nagarajan! Watch her, listen to her; she is better than all of them! There’s no wonder if some day I find her books becoming bestsellers!
I can keep on writing this as long as I wish to but I’m sure I am going to write some more of these for you, ma’am! Thank you for all the wisdom and help and motivation and what not; may you get your Francisco D'Anconia! I don’t know who he is, nahin to main baat karva deta:)!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Finally, I have a blog!

Hey fellas, it's the same cat and mouse game. They say good people blog. Intelligent people blog. Those who are fond of writing, blog. Phew.............Will anyone let this cornered, confused and an underprivileged graduate operating on a GPRS connection breathe?? Conquering all of them, I have finally made it here!
BTW, it feels good to be blogging. At least there's a sense of contentment that someone's listening to you! I would be using this to explore the unvisited corners of my hyperactive brain, which despite being a short and stout fellow desires to win the 'brainolympics' high jump gold medal!
Under the influence of a heavy, high-fat, indian meal; fighting with my afternoon sleep-a result of the one year long unemployment-I am leaving it here. All the best to me!