Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Growing UP

Hello everyone,

Remember me? The 'once in a while' blogger. An outsider down south....rings a bell??? Yeah right....I am back after a break to put into words about a brief period of my life which I lived in the recent past.

            Life was great (at least I thought so by painting it colourful). I had just finished my graduation from a premier engineering college (I claim it to be a premier one). I studied Mechanical Engineering and the class had 43 guys (‘khulle saand’) and a solitary gal (‘Mech Rani’). By the time I completed the 4 years of grind, I did manage to land a couple of decent jobs. My parents were over the moon for their li’l kid has grown up. I do not subscribe to that grown up part though (never will, for I believe – “There’s a li’l kid in all of us. The day that kid grows up, you lose the charm of life”). I started to prepare myself to leave the comforts of home and to face the hostile world outside. Movies, video-games, hanging out with pals and of course, most important of them all – ZzZZzzzz!! – They all formed my short preparation for the long battle up ahead (which I am still fighting and winning, or shall I say surviving).


                          *          *           *           *                       

             On a chilly October morning, I landed in Bangalore (Not by flight, but by keeping awake while travelling on the last row of a rusty and rickety bus- back bencher habit dies hard). Upon taking the next bus to my destination in the city, the conductor asked for a cool Rs.120 for 2 tickets – I reconfirmed the amount – not once but twice (probably thrice!) before handing it over to him. I could not quite comprehend, how a city bus can charge so high for a journey that would not allow me to enjoy the A/C for no more than 45 minutes (I had never travelled in a Volvo bus within the city before this incident). That was my first “real life shock” in the new city. I was going to live in one of the most happening cities of the world – BANGALORE. The IT capital of India (and probably the world – at least I thought so, for I had not seen the world). So much so, that this city would give sleepless nights to the likes of the American law makers about the outsourcing issue. WoooHooooo!!!

           Once into the job, it felt like I was on top of the world. I was supposed to design aircrafts. Yeah. You heard me right – DESIGN AIRCRAFTS. Though my knowledge was limited to the vague description of the stress - strain relationship of a mild steel bar under tension ( my engineer friends would know that this is the most basic thing that you are taught in college and a definite question in any job interview), I felt quietly confident. My daily routine changed from “Food-Movies-Games-Food-Movies-Games-Sleep” (before work started) to “Games-Food-Gossip-Games-Gossip-Food-Sleep”. In between though, I underwent a few trainings which were aimed at making me ‘fit’ for the job that I was supposed to perform. If only I could keep my eyes open while attending them.


            Though I must confess that the weekdays were fairly routine affair, it was the weekends that kept me going. Not only was I allowed to sleep and drool till the sun was directly above me, the after dark hours were irresistible. It seemed like I was attending the 9th semester of college with friends who were around me. All these things made me feel, “WOW, Life’s Good”. Other then weekends, everyone loved Fridays. You HAD to attend office on Fridays for its on Fridays that you get to see ‘colours’ in an otherwise ‘black and white’ world. It was one such Friday, we were told that the upcoming weekend would be a working one and that our slog through the week was deemed insufficient and that the slog had to be continued on Saturday as well. Though I was not averse to working on an odd weekend, what worried me was the huge dump of dirty linen that was overflowing out of my laundry bag and painting a very dirty picture of my otherwise well (un)kept room. Wearing the undies inside out was a good gag only in campus day gossips. That definitely could not be done in reality (or could they??) Well I know of men who have been there done that but I won’t reveal them (unless your offer is really unputdownable). Washing clothes was a thing that we all dreaded and it had to be done on every lazy Saturday afternoons...with a working weekend, WHAT NOW??

      I was getting used to life away from the comforts of home. Probably I was growing up....Was I?? Should I??



Friday, May 4, 2012

Travelling ‘cattle class’

              It was a long day....logged in for work at 7am. Had to finish the mandatory 3.5 hrs in office to get my attendance marked. Then I had to rush to B’lore from Mysore to catch the 7pm train from Yeshwanthpur. The prodigal son was returning home after a gap of 6 months....battle scarred yet victorious. I managed to catch the train...just in the nick of time....and finally settled in my comfy side lower berth of the A2 coach. Though a li'l tired, I was high on spirits...for I was going HOME....After an early dinner, I drowsed off. Just when my dream girl was approaching (in my dream of course), a commotion woke me up, a weird cacophony of a male, female and kids voice, all speaking at the same time. I glanced at my watch.....it read 12:05 am.

          As my friends would testify, nothing can actually disturb my sleep...and so given that reputation of mine, I just ignored it all and turned over after pulling the curtains again. Just when I was about to get back to what I do best (sleep that is), a dead weight...probably close to a ton fall on my legs....and it would not move. That woke me up....and I was grumpy. I saw a 40-somthing lady making herself comfortable on my seat, at the cost of my precious sleep. When I peeped out of the curtain, I realised a family of 5 had just boarded the train with waitlisted tickets.

          The men started with area domination, as the armed forces do after reclaiming the land from naxalites. The females did their part by sanitizing the area by sprinkling ‘ganga jal’ (water from the river Ganges-supposed to purify anything and everything). A few drops did fell on me, which I chose to ignore. But hey, I can’t complain....I was being purified. All the single berth holders were cajoled off to other coaches, even if they had done their part of area domination before the melee started at the stroke of midnight. Once the dust settled, came a pot bellied man wearing a dark but dirty coat. You guessed it right. He was the TTE. From the corner of my eyes I caught him make a fellow waitlisted passengers cough off Rs.200 each in lieu of berths.

          Finally the chaos settled and once the lights were switched off. I thanked God for that for I could go back to sleep. I was proved wrong though. I strange pattern of weird noise disturbed me....and it would reach its crescendo every 2minand then get back to normal. It was the lady next door (berth) snoring her way to glory. The gentleman, not to be left behind in this ‘Indian-railway-idol’ show, promptly started to showcase his DJ skills on loudspeaker of his god forbidden Chinese made cell phone. If that was not enough for the night, the song that played was a popular ‘nasal’ number. I was in the middle of a nasal cacophony – snoring and singing all at once.

         The next morning, I woke up to the nuggets of wisdom from the Alpha male of the bunch, explaining how to be roman when in Rome. His analogy was stupendous. He said, because they use coconut oil down south to cook, he would carry with him home made food supplies for the entire duration of his tour. Roman indeed....need I say any more. Suddenly our man took out his cam coder from his bag. Its price tag was still intact though it looked fairly old. He started recording with his pricey but old cam coder, with running commentary. Though it was a bit awkward being in front of the lens, I acted normal. Once the train reached Vishakhapatnam, the compulsive commentator announced to the camcorder and us in general “we are now reaching Vishakhapatnam. This is the capital of Andhra Pradesh” For a moment I could not believe my ears. I could not help myself and told him that Hyderabad and not vizag is AP’s capital. Bang!!!! Came the reply with an air of superlative sanguinity, “u don’t know dear, its Vishakhapatnam now”. WOW....that was it...What could I say....geography re-recorded.

        For GOD SAKE....I was travelling in a train on a valid ticket, in an upper class coach. I was wondering, if u have deaf and dumb as co passengers while travelling by air, this must be the ‘great Indian cattle class’, the term now made famous by a very well respected former minister.

          I thanked God for that was the last leg of the most irritable train journey I had till date. But on the hindsight, it was fun. I still LMAO about it. For if it had not happened, ‘this’ would never had come up. And I sincerely hope Mr. ‘Know it all’ DJ get his facts right next time he is trying to shoot and comment on something.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Kitna badal gaya INSAAN    

     Kitna badal gaya insaan…..I remember hearing this tune on TV….Never once did I realize that it would be applicable to me as well. It struck me while I was working at the Devil’s workshop (read…when I was Idle). 

       As is the case often these days, once I’m done with my office….I browse the net or I become the slave of the Idiot Box. On one such mundane evening, it was the later entertaining me. While flipping through the channels, suddenly I saw ‘THE ROCK’ in one of the channels…..immediately I stopped flipping the channels. The much adored WWE (the then WWF) was on air and the long gone yet not forgotten ‘Rock’  was back…albeit for a guest appearance. WWF used to be such a fad during my school days that I could remember the vital stats of most of the wrestlers ….at times, at the cost of the formula of Benzene/ methyl  alcohol. I used to pick up fight with anyone who dared to say a word about the much revered kings of the ring. I don’t know what Mr. Dwayne Johnson was doing at the WWE, but his antiques certainly brought a smile to my face….it made me ponder how much I have changed, for now I laugh at the theatrics that’s on display on the same show.

        This was not the only instance. There was a time I would not miss a single episode of ‘THE ROADIES’. As much I detested those swearing participants for the amount of filth they poured on TV, I adored the program still. Now that THE ROADIES has grown bigger and probably better, yet I find myself no longer a follower of the program. Though I must admit, I learnt most of those expletives from the show. Wry…isn’t it?


         Further down the memory lane, on Friday & Saturday nights, those so called ‘super hit - fillum’ which were aired on DD, just could not be missed. It looks like yesterday, when I pestered Dad about what’s there to listen so much in the news? And what’s the difference between NDTV and NDTV profit? After all, both were news channels. Now, News is the only thing other than sports, which I see on TV. Guess mai  bhi buddha ho raha hoon.

          Birthday parties during school days were fun. You could be dressed in your best, cut the cake, share it with your buddies who in turn would gift you with so many wonderful b’day presents. Probably this is why, I celebrated my birthday every year, and immediately after all the guests were gone, I would rush to the room where all the gifts were kept to open them up and see my latest possessions. It was so much fun. Well these days, it’s a fun of different kind. At times outright painful and messy. On birthdays, you have to treat all your friends, who in turn would smear you with cake, toothpaste, boot polish and other god forsaken things. And not to forget those birthday bumps on the stroke of midnight, when you can’t even scream at those full blooded kicks to your rear, lest your landlord ousts you the next day on the pretext of being noisy neighbour. Zamana badal gaya mere yaar.

      When I stayed with my parents, I lived in a home. Life was easy….everything I wanted was made available to me on a platter. Yet I was not independent. I would wake up early every day, be it a school day or a holiday. I would have breakfast daily. Read books, play games almost every day and develop myself, in one way or other. I would yearn to be an adult some day and stand on my own feet. Now I am an adult. I can take care of myself and hence, I no longer live in a home. Sadly I stay in a house. Though I am independent and can take my own decision, very often I skip my breakfasts and at times even my lunch. I no longer care to read often and development has taken a back seat. I read only when I have to and I prefer sleeping to playing games. Sochta hoon ki as a kid, kya mai yahi chahta tha?

        Speaking of change, it reminds me of a forwarded message that I received some time back…..It’s so true to the core and thought provoking. Here it goes-
I want to go back in time

When GETTING HIGH meant on a swing,
Not promotions.

When DRINKING Meant Rasna Orange,
Not beer or whiskey.

When Dad was the only HERO,
Not Depp or Tom.

When LOVE was Mom’s hug,
Not the girl / boy-friend’s kiss.

When dad’s shoulder was the HIGHEST PLACE on Earth,
Not your designation.

When your WORST ENEMIES were your siblings,
Not your manager.

When the only thing that could HURT were bleeding knees,
Not the TEARS falling down your cheeks.

When the only thing BROKEN were toys,
Not your little heart.

And when GOOD-BYES meant till tomorrow,
Not for years and years.


       Zamana badal gaya pyaare, purani baat nahi chalti; Change with time or perish, for change is the only thing that is constant. I just hope and wish that these changes are for the betterment of us all and don’t come at the cost of our values and morality. As they say….change is good….and so be it….AMEN.