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.