Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Bye Bye Year



I have got only three words: Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

To A Friend

She has always been there for me. Always...whatever has happened, she has stood by me-supporting me, cheering me up, caring for me, and loving me as I am. Never has she tried to change me but has always accepted me just as I am. She is sometimes irritated with my whims and fancies, but seldom has she shown that.

She is bubbling with energy, full of life. For her, life is to be lived to the fullest. No short cuts. She suffers, she toils, she endures pains and heartbreaks. But when she is happy, she is exhilarated, not just for herself, but for each and every friend she knows. Each of her friends' happiness and joys are her own. She is crazy at times, a lot times confused, seldom careless, and always talkative. She is one of my best friends.

It's her birthday today. Here's wishing her a very Happy Birthday! May all your wishes and dreams come true. God bless you!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Kahi Paryayi Vakprachaar

छत्री बंद करणे = छत्री विझवणे

उन्हाचा तडाखा कमी असणे = ऊन हळू असणे

नख कापणे/कापलेली असणे =  नख टकली करणे/असणे

घसरगुंडी = सुई सटक

Anay ne tayaar kelele special words:

Microwave = Cup Gugu (because we warm milk in a cup in the microwave)

Computer = Compit

चमचा = चमचम

चटई = चटक

Friday, December 18, 2009

Friends Who've Come And Friends Who're Gone

Can you count them?

I haven't kept a count. But I always wonder if the overall total always remains the same.

Friends from school who grow with us for ten so years and then are lost once out of the school. By the time we complete our education and start our career, we forget half of them. Then one fine day, you are abroad and someone calls you out. Least expecting to find a friend there, you will find a long-forgotten classmate and memories are rejunivated.

While you get back some friends, you also make new friends. Each friend falls in a particular group. And only a handful transcend these groups. There are generally very few friends who will know each and everything that's happening with you. They are your pillars to lean on in unhappy times. They are the ones you go to for advice, suggestions, and solace. These friends are constant.

You will find newer friends as you progress in your life...college friends, colleagues, trekking friends, club friends, gym friends. As you pass each day, you will meet each one of these and they perform their task to accompany you till you get someone else. It is just like a train, stopping at a station, picking a few people up, taking them to the next station, and dropping them there. All these friends serve their puropse. And that is all they are for. For that matter, even you serve the same purpose for them in their lives.

And in this journey, some friends, perhaps long lost, leave an indelible mark on you. They have affected your life in some way. Whether it is the way they communicated with you, the way they helped in you your first ever job, the way you were comfortable with them, your togetherness, you cherish it all. You still wish that things had not changed between you two and you were still friends. But that can't happen. Because you have to move along as life moves on. If you don't move on, there's a chance that you won't catch the friends who are waiting for you in the future.

Move on, but don't forget to turn around and glance back once in a while!

Cheers to all my "constant" friends and all my friends perhaps long-forgotten, long-lost, or even long-left!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Begging With An Attitude

I was driving the other day and missed the signal because the car ahead of me was not moving. Even after honking, it didn't move. I saw a limping beggar crossing the road ahead of that car and felt ashamed. The car moved on and got the signal. I was not fortunate enough.

I was waiting for the signal to turn green. That's when the disabled beggar came at my window. Initially he thumped on my car door. Then he knocked unceremoniously on my closed window. I saluted him and shook my head. Then without any warning, he closed my right mirror. And the reason...I did not give him anything. He walked away from my car cursing me angrily.

I agree that all these beggars have a very hard life on the streets. Harder than we can even imagine. But does that give them a right to behave rudely with people like us?

We are as much responsible, perhaps. We dehumanise them, insult them, and behave improperly with them. And that is wrong, completely wrong. But what that beggar did to me, was that correct? When we behave with others, we are always supposed to be decent and not be affected by our financial and social background. Why isn't that applicable to others too? Why can't we just behave humanly with everyone?

Perhaps, I am wrong. But what that beggar did to me was completely uncalled for.

Does his "beggar-ness" give him the freedom to behave in whatsoever manner he wants? I doubt.

A very good friend of mine has honoured me by translating this post in Japanese. To read it in Japanese, see http://blog.goo.ne.jp/cprajwal85/e/fe462f2fd439b86d2f2561adbcb7be8c.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

No Conjugal Bliss This

Place: Wedding Hall
Time: 12.52 p.m.
Occasion: Cousin's wedding at some far away place

What's your frame of mind?

The first thought that comes to your head is, when the hell is the buffet going to start? You have probably not had your breakfast in hopes of having a sumptuous lunch, and waiting for the food is as difficult as waiting for your friend to tell you the juiciest gossip. So, you have no option to keep an eye on when the food counters are finally thrown open. With the other eye, you at least pretend that you are interested in listening to all relatives and friends who are gathered around you.

In one corner, you observe a stack of gaddis on which little boys and girls are loitering on. All bacche log are having the time of their life jumping, playing, and rolling about on the gaddis. And you envy them so much!

That's when one of your aunts lands up next to you and fires away the usual questions: how's your job, what's new with you, so when are your wedding bells ringing. You curse the caterers for not having opened the food counters. Then you could have wandered off to get some more of your favourite sabji, if nothing else. But now, you have no escape and you answer the questions as politely as possible.

You casually turn towards the bride and bridegroom and find that they are still engrossed in all the rituals. Most of the elderly people are watching whether the panditji is performing the shaadi rituals correctly. Perhaps they are remembering their own weddings and how scared and tired they were then.

Your attention is caught by the constant flashes from a camera. A group of youngsters, mostly beautifully decked up girls are having their pictures taken. They are mostly the bride's friends who have nothing more to do than wait for her to get done with the rituals and hope that their turn comes soon. Till then they will enjoy themselves fully. A few of them will also be on the lookout for handsome, still-single dudes. These guys are mostly the groom's friends and they too are flaunting themselves openly.

In the meanwhile, a small kid gets hurt in the gaddi-jumping play and bawls loudly for his mother. After a couple of minutes, the mother rushes to the child and takes him away. You are relieved not only because the child found his mother, but also because the bawling stopped.

A group of mostly men in their thirties and forties will be busy discussing the latest happenings. Every one will have an opinion about Obama's Nobel-prize-receiving speech, the Copenhagen summit, Kasab's case, and of course India's latest match.

And suddenly, you will find people thronging to the food counters like bees rushing to flowers and you know that you are finally saved from starvation.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Reasons Why Things Go Wrong

Murphy's Law:
If anything can go wrong, it will.

Gumperson's Law:
The probability of anything happening is in inverse ratio to its desirability.

Simon's Law:
Everything put together falls apart sooner or later.

The Unspeakable Law:
As soon as you mention something...
...if it's good, it goes away.
...if it's bad, it happens.

Hane's Law:
There is no limit to how bad things can get.

Bedfellow's Rule:
The one who snores will fall asleep first.

Ballance's Law of Relativity:
How long a minute is, depends on which side of the bathroom door you're on.

Lemar's Parking Postulate:
If you have to park six blocks away, you will find two new parking spaces right in front of the building entrance.

Bell's Theorem:
When a body is immersed in water, the telephone rings.

Bess's Universal Principles:
1. The telephone will ring when you are outside the door, fumbling for your keys.
2. You will reach it just in time to hear the click of the caller hanging up.

Boob's Law:
You always find something the last place you look.

Law of the Search:
The first place to look for anything is the last place you would expect to find it.

Maryann's Law:
You can always find what you're not looking for.

Lewis's Law:
No matter how long or how hard you shop for an item, after you've bought it, it will be on sale somewhere cheaper.

Richard's Complementary Rules of Ownership:
1. If you keep anything long enough you can throw it away.
2. If you thro anything away, you will need it as soon as it is no longer accessible.

Etorre's Observation:
The other line moves faster.

Worker's Dilemma:
1.No matter how much you do, you'll never do enough.
2. What you don't do is always more important than what you do do.

Aigener's Axiom:
No matter how well you perform your job, a superior will seek to modify the results.

Shapiro's Law of Reward:
The one who does the least work will get the most credit.

Seay's Law:
Nothing ever comes out as planned.

Ringwald's Law of Household Geometry:
Any horizontal surface is soon piled up.

Horowitz's Law:
Whenever you turn on the radio, you hear the last few notes of your favourite song.

Zadra's Law of Biomechanics:
The severity of the itch is inversely proportional to the reach.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Every Second

10.48 in the night and there's still no electricity. All darkness around. The night is alive again. The only difference is, that there is an ear-pressing silence everywhere. With no electricity, the refrigerator is silent. The TV is off. The tubelights, which would usually hum right till midnight are mute.

As I lay on my bed, I think of all things that are happening at the moment in the world around...

At this second, waves are lashing on shores.
...birds are flying.
...people are rushing to their work.
...dogs are barking.
...children are playing and having fun.
...winds are blowing.
...people are talking, fighting, discussing, relaxing, working, smoking, drinking, and what not.
...earth is rotating and revolving.
...water is gushing out in volumes from waterfalls.
...rivers are rushing out to the sea.
...writers are writing, readers are reading.
...people are eating and people are starving.
...trees are cut down and made into furniture.
...lions, tigers, leopards, cheetahs, bears, and other such animals could be hunting for prey.
...people are praying for a better life.
...flocks of sheep grazing out and munching on a content life.
...birds are flying in the open sky and fishes are swimming in the expansive waters.
...time is ticking.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Uplifting Experiences

Ting! The doors open and you hear a cool female voice: "Fourth Floor." People in the corridor rush in just like commuters rushing in to catch the just-arrived local on a platform. And just like a platform that's quickly deserted after the local has left, the corridor is empty.

Cramped inside, you'll barely have space to move. And even if you have, you might feel awkward doing so, ensuring that you don't attract a lot of attention in the closed space. If you see a colleague inside with whom you are not particularly inclined to talk at that moment, you will probably busy yourself in your mobile, watch, papers if you have any in hand, or just pretend that you aren't aware s/he's there with you. If unluckily s/he pings you, you will show your surprise and say a few words to that effect. In reality, you will curse for waiting for the lift and will step out at the next floor even if that wasn't where you wanted to go.

Most of the times, you won't get a ride going up or down when you need it most. That's where nature compensates for your loss of patience and want of exercise. You can almost hear Her say, "Man, you are taking life too easily. Let me put in some obstacles. In any rate, staircases are safer places to move. You'll get more space and can keep moving all the time." You will obviously wait for a long time until one of the cages finally come, typically full. Cursing again, you will run up or down the staircase. And I am 200% sure that the next lift that arrives at your floor is the one that's empty and goes in the direction that you want. But of course, till that time you are halfway up or down your way.

It will so happen that when you wait for a lift for some time, the crowd in the corridor will increase steadily and then when the lift finally arrives, there will be a hustle to catch that blessed cage. Waiters (people waiting for the uplift) will barge in for their emancipation, regardless of their rank, number, or seniority. Youngsters will show their spark of quickness at moving and be right at the end of the cage before you say "May I?" And that's one time again where male-chauvinism is foremost. Ohh, you possibly can't expect men to wait for women, especially pregnant women to catch the elevators. That's old-world gentlemanly behaviour. We are in the modern world now! No one has told them yet that elevation needs high standards.

Finally when you are lucky enough to step in the conveyor, you will get to hear all kinds of conversations. You will get to know the latest score of an ongoing cricket match, lunch plans for the afternoon, movie reviews, critical work issues and their possible solutions, traffic khabar, latest gossip, who's leaving (if you are lucky to have HR folks with your), and even kid-tales if you are (un)lucky enough to get a bunch of working mamas in the lift.

When you go in a lift, remember a few things. First, remember on what floor you are and the floor that you want to go to. Secondly, if you are sleepy, it is better to take the stairs. You will at least shake off your sleep. Because it might just happen that you enter the lift on the fifth floor and keep on pressing the button for the fifth floor when you actually want to reach basement two. If you are lucky, someone will point out: "Madam, yeh fifth floor hi hain!" If you aren't, you might just have to wait for someone else to get in, or till you get back your senses and understand that lifts won't work if you don't make them budge from their floors.

One more thing you ought to watch out for is the direction. It's a universal law that when you are desperately waiting for a lift, the ones going in the opposite direction will all make a stop. None will come that takes you in your direction. Steps are better. They take you up and down at the same time. Staircases also make a healthier option.

Your workplace can be a healthier and curse-free area, if you purposely avoid these iron cages to commute. But then you will also never have such elevating experiences. Ups and downs will always be there. You got to definitely know on which floor you want to get out!

Ting! Ground Floor!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Chintoo Darshan

उठल्या-उठल्या सकाळी
घोष्ट करावी पहिली
उघडावा "सकाळ" आणि वाचावे "चिंटू"

He majha breed vakya. Khatyal, niragas, kadhi-kadhi agau, vratya, lobhas, cute ashi sagli visheshana tyala lavta yetil. Diwasachi survaat majhi Chintoo vachunach hote.

Jevha Chintoo suru jhala tevha kahi tari vegla Marathi madhye asa jhala hota. Halu halu itka chaan misalun gela aplyat ki varshanuvarshanchi olakh ahe asach vatata ata. Mhana ata kiti tari varsha jhali tyala. Tarihi navinya tikun ahe tyat.



Mulancha vishwa, khel, mitra-maitrini, abhyas, navin vastu, bhandana, kadhi tari current affairs, udaharanartha nivadnuka, kinwa, cricket, ashya vividha vishayanvarcha Chintoo vachayla majja yete. Ekhadya diwasacha vachun lahanpani chi athavan yete. Kadhi kadhi, mala pan hech mhanaycha hota asa vatata. Kiti tari vela, amchya gharat asach ghadta asahi vatata. Asach ek Chintoo je amchya gharat baryach veles hota...



Kahi tar itke cute astat ki "Cho cute!" asech udgaar yetat. Hyatlach ek mala awadlela Chintoo ...




Ek ajramar Chintoo mhanje PuLa jevha gele tevha. Ekahi shabda na bolta chatka lavun gela.

Chintoo che Aai-Baba, Pappu, Mini, Baglya, Raju, Neha, Sonu, Sateesh Dada, Joshi Kaku, Aaji-Ajoba hya saglyancha gamti vachayla kharach majja yete. Hats off to Charuhaas Pandit and Prabhakar Wadekar. Hyanchi official website ahe...http://www.chintoo.com/.

Chintoo cha ani majha ajun eka babtit ekmat ahe...ki aamche vadhadiwas phaar usheera yetat. Doghanche hi November madhye yetat ani varsha chya akheris aslyane ajun kiti vel thambaycha asa hota. Aso!

Aaj Chintoo cha vadhadiwas ahe. So, Happy Birthday Chintoo!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

An Eventful Evening

Driving, photography, and fretting about the car...those were the events that made my evening yesterday.


With free time at hand, I thought of visiting some places around the city. The first one I chose was Aga Khan Palace. It is a beautiful place. Built in 1892 and donated to the country in 1969, this palace is more known for the samadhis of Kasturba Gandhi and Mahadev Desai, Gandhiji's personal secretary. Kasturba Gandhi and Mahadev Desai both died here under house arrest.

Just four rooms are open for public in this huge palace. One was occupied by Sarojini Naidu, the other by Mahadev Desai, and the third by Gandhiji and Kasturba. The fourth room is a big hall with paintings, photographs, a sculpture, and some other informative writings, though not enough.

One room holds some things that were used by Bapu that include of all the things forks and spoons. I was amazed. Why did Bapu ever have to use forks? I am shocked and kind of disillusioned too. It has made me think if he really did live in as simple a lifestyle as it was known.

Anyway, the one room that was used by Ba and Bapu can be seen from outside. You cannot enter that room. It is this huge room with Bapu's charkha, and other things, a gaddi, some chairs, and other stuff. A huge bathroom is attached to this room containing a wash basin, a tub, and a western toilet. Really simple living!

The worst part of the rooms is that the paintings, photographs, writings, and other things on display are kept in such a bad condition. Decayed and not cared for, it is shameful that we can't preserve our history proofs in a better way.

The samadhis of Ba and Mahadev Desai are nicely made and lie in tranquility.


Inspite of all the neglect indoors, the grounds are beautiful and well-maintained. Beautiful green lawns, huge, green trees, fountains, and flowers are spread in the ground beautifully. The entrance fee for visiting the Palace are 5 Rupees and I suspect that all those are used to maintain the gardens and not the indoors. I had fun taking pictures in the grounds.

When we returned to the car park, we realised that the battery had run down because I had inadvertently left the lights on. I tried starting it. But it didn't work. Then I tried calling some emergency numbers, but that didn't work out too. Finally the security guards at the Palace helped me start the car by pushing it and starting it. Thanks to them all. I had always seen how cars are restarted when the battery is run down. But that was in movies. I now have a first-hand experience of how it all happens. Of course, I did not jump-start it, because I didn't know how to do it. I shall be able to do it next time, I am sure. I just hope I never have to do it again.

That was how the evening ended.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Godaan

Munshi Premchand...a very respected Hindi and Urdu writer. I came across the translation of his most famous work "Godaan" and I picked it up in sheer curiosity. I was never a great reader of Hindi literature. But I remember having one of his stories to study in school. I picked up the book just to know why it was so famous.

I may not be able to tell a lot about the book. But this book is definitely a good read. The translation, I suppose, could have been better. But I found it entertaining.

Godaan is the story of Horiram, his wife Dhania, son Gobar(dhan), daughters Sona and Rupiya, and other characters in the story, which are quite a number of them. You will meet most of the usual crowd that you will find in a village drama, the local policeman, the sahukars, the pundits, the city-bred folks, the upper-caste and lower-caste people. The novel records Horiram's dream of owning a cow, which is not just the pride of the household, but also considered sacred, the problems he faces, and how society plays an important role in all this.

Horiram's utter poverty, deprived conditions, loans to run the family and household, and social norms that he faces and succumbs to is a major theme in the novel. Loan sharks take away his money, his farm produce, his bulls, his self-respect too. But there's one thing that they just can't take away...his dreams. Horiram is just a representative of the lakhs and crores of farmers who share the same plights. Their world is almost similar to what is shown in the book. And I doubt it has changed much since the book was written in 1936. The socio-economic deprivation of small, poor farmers is, I guess, still the same.

Premchand has very intricately shown a diaspora of themes intertwined with each other. You have the problems Horiram faces due to his loans, the extravagant celebrations at Rai Sahib's place, the city-bred folks and their discussions on politics, money, life, social standards, their hypocrisy, a disruption in social order as high-caste men ensnare low-caste women, life of the city dwellers, marriages, weddings, social festivals, and human emotions all spun in the same tale.

While at one place Horiram's life is dwindling towards ulitmate destruction due to loans, Premchand portrays the exhuberant and lavish life of the city folks who are great talkers of social reform and greater misers who exploit farmers, labourers, and at times, even helpless women. Life at its best and life at its worst...all shades and all walks of life.

I guess at its time, the novel would have been quite forward in its thoughts. It shows a lady doctor, Miss Malti, who has come back from England and who falls in love with a philosopher, Mr. Mehta. In the end they both accept their love for each other but decide not to get married but still stay together and love each other. I think this was an unknown thing at that time...staying together without marrying (although in a city) was not much heard of. Moreover, they might have been ostracised by the society. But Premchand was ahead of his times and had the courage to show this, especially because the lady suggests this option which the philosopher readily accepts.

Premchand also has shown widow-remarriage. Interestingly, Jhunia, who is a widow starts loving Gobar and becomes pregnant. Gobar too loves her truly, but is apprehensive about his mother's reaction. He abandons her at his parents doorstep and flees when he is sure that his mother has taken Jhunia under her wings. Till the end, Jhunia and Gobar are together as husband-wife, yet they are never shown as actually married. I found that amazing.

Matadin, the son of the local pundit ensnares a low-caste chamarin Siliya, impregnates her, and then disowns her when her family force him to eat meat. Siliya really loves Matadin and prefers to raise the child with a quiet determination of loving Matadin forever. She believes that Matadin will come back to her and ultimately he does.

In all this, Premchand shows the hypocrisy of religious men, of men in power, of wealth, of social norms, of principles, of ideals.

Premchand's characters are full of life and three dimensional. Most of the landlords and loan-sharks behave just as they should, just as they have been doing all these generations. And so do the villagers. They come to wish luck for good tidings and thwart the miserables when in dire conditions. That's what everyone does. It's human after all to be there with people when they are going through a good patch and desert them when life turns bad for them. Life's like that!

Dhania is a very strong woman. She is (in)famous for her acrid tongue. She does not take a single abuse, injustice lying down, especially against her own self, or her husband, who is rather a simpleton and god-fearing. She is ready to fight the ridiculous and unjust social laws, yet is held back every time by Horiram. In spite of that, she respects Horiram and supports him. I admire her character especially in two situations...one is when Jhuniya, five-months pregnant, lands at her door. Dhania was aware of Jhunia and Gobar's affair, and had vehemently talked of never letting Jhunia step into the house if Gobar married her. Yet, when she is at the doorstep, Dhania complains initially but ultimately does not turn her out. She welcomes her in house as her own bahu and loves her all the more. She never mistreats Jhunia and showers her love on Jhunia and her son.

The second incident is when Siliya is outcast by the village. Dhania gives shelter to Siliya and allows her to stay at her place fully knowing that the whole village was angry with Siliya. She did not care about the whole world but stood by Siliya although she was a low-caste woman. Dhania's strength, struggles, a modern outlook towards life, pride in her family and kids, heart-wrenching pitiable state, yet her will power make her an outstanding character. I liked her the best in the novel.

When I started the novel, I was only sceptical about it. But slowly I got interested, so much so that I could barely put down the book. When I got up in the morning, I was wondering what all was to happen to Horiram, Dhania, Gobar, Jhuniya, Siliya, Mr. Mehta, Miss Malti, and the other characters.

A social documentary, Godaan is a charismatic tale of Horiram and his life, interlinked with so many others, going through the same hell or heaven at that time. Times have changed. But I guess the society is still the same. The only difference is that Horiram toiled hard to return his loan of Rs. 250. Now farmers have to toil hard to return their loans of Rs. 25000. Sort of déjà vu, isn't it?

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Floored!


Beautiful yellow flowers, a nice cake, gifts, and a handful of lovely friends!!! That was the surprise I got today. It was fantastic! It was delightful! I was so happy. It was a wonderful feeling to see friends come and make my day special! Hats off to all who took efforts to make it such a pleasant, heart-warming, thrilling surprise! Especially after a "duh-" Sunday.

Thank you so much Pallavi, Aparna, Shubhangi, and Revathi. You made my day! Love ya!

Life is good! :)

Sunday, November 8, 2009

If Wishes Were Horses...

...I would be in Seattle right now.
...or in Mahabaleshwar.
...I would have my own house in Shimla or Darjeeling.
...I would have a farmhouse in Konkan.
...I would have a driver sometimes.
...I would have my own room.
...I would be able to write better.
...I would never have to work again.
...it would rain oftener.
..."Zoka" would be reaired. Or at least, I would get the entire series in a DVD set. Check out the title song of that serial here.)
...Patience wouldn't try me so much.
...I wouldn't have had to make this (never-ending) list.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Walking Back To Life

I saw a programme on one of the channels that featured a factory in Jaipur, a factory of the famous Jaipur foot.

A boy of 8-10 years didn't have a leg below the knee. They showed on the programme how they produced a Jaipur foot for him. It was amazing to watch how they made a foot of wood and nylon fibres. The programme informed that the Jaipur foot can be prepared in an hour.

But the best part of the programme was when they put that foot on to the little boy. The moment it was fixed, he started running and my first reaction was clapping and acknowledging the triumph of life over misfortune. It was an exhilarating moment. Something that I won't easily forget. It was wonderful to see the little boy's face illuminated with a big smile.

He had got his life back and it was an awesome feeling to see him walking back to life.

Here's some more information about Jaipur foot: http://www.jaipurfoot.org/

Clicking Away!

Some of my favourite pictures that I clicked...

This one I clicked in the University of Pune. This is a lamp post and I loved framing it with the green background.

I clicked this one on "Tripuri Pournima, " a sacred full-moon night on November 2, 2009.

Taken at Karla. After I saw this photo on a bigger screen did I notice the cobweb. That made it an interesting picture.

 I liked the red and green colours. Nice contrast! And the sharpness of the flower is beautiful.

 This one I liked for the positions of the two trees. Just two trees at either end diagonally in the picture make the frame interesting and characteristic.

 "Terda" Those are the flowers. I don't know the English name for these flowers. But we use them especially in Navratra, so I liked taking their picture.

 I liked this one for the combination of red, blue, and green.

 Loved this one for the little birdie and the timing.

 Liked it for the perspective it offers because of the fence, the playground, and the building.

 Taken from a film camera two years back, I think. I like this one for the vastness of the landscape and the lone farmer in the middle toiling. The arid landscape bring out his efforts in a stark reality.

 I love this one for the inky blue colour of the sky. It is awesome.

 One nice doggy at my place basking in the sun.

 One small lamp in the darkness. I liked this picture that places the lamp so strategically.

That's all that I could find. I think these are enough pics at the moment.

Friday, November 6, 2009

"Preetam Aan Milo"

Have you seen the movie "Angoor"? It is a hilarious movie based on Shakespeare's drama A Comedy of Errors. In Angoor, there is one scene where Sanjeev Kumar tells Deven Varma to sing the song "Preetam Aan Milo" as a code word.

Do you remember different code words that you use? These could be used in daily life as well as in some special occasions.

I remember when we were kids, our parents had to keep us home alone. Our old home then did not have a double door. So, we had some code words. My dad taught me and my sister that it is called "paravalicha shabda." It used to be any simple word. One day, when we were alone at home, he knocked and we actually asked "Paravalicha shabda kay?" He did answer. And when we allowed him in the house, he told us that we shouldn't ask that question. Just ask "who are you?" or a question that is related to the answer. That was my first introduction to a code word.

Have you come across similar code words? I know of people who use code words while talking. For example, some people are given code names which are used while talking in general public. This gives them freedom to talk whatever they want without letting others know of what they are talking. We had named our manager "kawla" for his extra-stringent management. We could talk about him in front of others and have fun at his expense.

"Gondya ala re" was another such code word used by the brave Chapekar brothers to assassinate Charles Walter Rand. There is an excellent film about these Chapekar brothers and the assassination. If you care to read about it, here it is: 22 June 1897.

Can you remember one of the famous code words that we have always heard about? Let me give you a hint...it's an Arabian tale. Can you recall it now? Here's it: Khul Ja Sim Sim. Very famous words!

And all those underworld code words...khoka, peti, ghoda...all have become well-known because of films. Filmwallahs would know these code words. They are usually in contact with the underworld, or so we hear always.

Anyway, so such are code words...fun with words.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Some Things Are Good Old

Some things taste better when they are old rather than when new.

Puranpoli...Majha asa thaam mat ahe ki puranpoli hi masta tupa barobar khavi. Ti dekhil kaal keleli aaj khavi. Kay surmat lagte...ahahaha! Tashich gulachi poli dekhil. Awesome lagte.

Another dish that tastes better when old is "Birada." Mala mahit nahi ki birada he kiti janana mahit asel. Birada he kadvya valancha kartat. Koknatlya lokana sahasa ha prakaar mahit asto. Kadve valanche vividh prakaar banavta yetat. Pan mala tyatla sadha birada hech sarvat awadta. Ani te dekhil kelyachya dusrya diwashi khalla ki kay smacking lagta...slllllrrrrrppppp. Arthat birada he sahasa kelelya diwashich sampta karan jyana awadta, te tar taav martat. Tya mule jar dusrya diwashi milala tar mag tumcha nasheeb joravar ahe asa mhanayla harkat nahi.

Sarva prakarchi "murleli" lonchi jevhadi juni tevhadi changli lagtat. Majhya matanusar ambyachi ani limbachi lonchi sarvat chaan lagtat jast murali ki.

Shrikhanda pan chaan lagta dusrya diwashi. Tyat tumhi toop ghalun kadhi khalla ahe ka? Ekda try kara, masta lagta ekdam. Perhaps tumhala ti chav ruchnaar nahi. Pan toop pan assal gharcha pahije haan, shudhdha gaicha (ashudhdha gaiche kase aste kinwa lagte mahit nahi).

Ani ho, majhya aai ne kelela chicken. Masta lagta dusrya diwashi pan khayla. Tyat jar te thoda dry kela asel ani dusrya diwashi te bread madhye ghalun sandwiches tayaar karun khalle tar mag....aflatoon!

Ajun mala ya kshani tari athavat nahiye. Tumhala athavatay kahi?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Sound Of Night

On a silent winter night, when you are all curled up in your bed, reading a nice book, have you ever heard the night sounds?

The crickets noisy presence is felt and you wonder what is happening on the other side of the world. The other half of the world is enjoying the day and you are about to tuck it in. As you mark the page and keep aside the book, you will hear the night musician at work.

You will hear the night watchmen whistling and keeping the otherwise silent night lively. You will also hear them making a characteristic "thok, thok, thok" sound with their sticks. Then you will hear some rash ruffians driving their stupid, noisy bikes at full speed. Sometimes, you will hear the siren of an ambulance and you will hope that the sick get medical help as soon as possible. You will hear some dogs howling happily into the night and also hear some other dogs replying back. If you stay near a cowshed (as I do, right in the heart of the city,) you will hear the tinkering of the bells and wonder how long the cows will stay awake. You will wonder if they ever stop chewing cud at least while sleeping.

As you get cosier in your bed, you finally realise that you have got to go to work next day and try to sleep. Just as you are about to sleep, you are awoken by the sudden, violent grunt of your old refrigerator. Cursing the icebox, you drift off to sleep again.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Devalatil Ghanta

Devalatli ghanta....konihi yava ani vajvun java. Jagatlya teen prakarchya lokancha devalatlya ghante sarkhe astitva asta. Ek jyana bara nahi, dusre jyana nokri nahi, ani tisre jyancha lagna hot nahiye.

Jyala kirkol bara nasel, udaharanartha sardi-khokla-taap, athava potdukhi, aslya mansala je koni bhetatil te salle deun jatat... "Tumhi asa kara ratri zopatana garam pani pya." "Tya peksha me sangto, tumhi satat garam paani ghya. Tyane tumhala itka lavkar bara vatel mhanun sangu...mala sardi mhanje kay mahitach nahi karan me gele 20 varshan pasun satat garam pani ghet ahe." Ekhadyas khokla jhala asel tar tyala: "Madh-halad kha." "Kho-go chya golya satat theva barobar. Khokla ala ki lagech tondat takaychi." "Aho, majha aika tumhi, jyesthimadh theva barobar. Hi ghya...majhya kade nehemi javal astech. Kasa ahe kona na konala tari upyog hotoch." "Majhi sardi nehemi vapharyane jate. Tumhi pan ghya ho...ashshi jaate ki nahi sardi bagha." "Meeth-panychya gulnya kara, halad ghalun. Ekdam soppa upay."

Ata evhade sagle salle ani upadesh aikun manus thodach gondhalnaare? Bara tyacha doctor cha pan aushadh chalu astach mhana.

Arthat doctor kuthala changla hya var dekhil charcha hote. "Te koprya varche Dr. Dixit phar changle ahet. Tyana dakhavun ghya ekda." "Aho te amuk-tamuk hospital madhle Dr. Kalashetty-nchya hatala changla gun ahe. Tumhi tithech ja." "Aho, allopathy jaun det. Tumhi asa kara ayurvedic kadhe ghya. Phakta donda ghyave lagtil kadhe. Lagech thanthanit tumhi." "Pan kafa var upayukta asa pahije na...tumhi na homeopathy aushadha gheun bagha. Majhya kade eka changlya doctor cha patta ahe. Me sangto kasa jaycha te."

He sarva hoi paryanta, bahuda tya mansacha sardi-khokla-taap bara houn to kamavar jayla lagla asto. Mala dar veli koni ase salle gheun ala ki pratyek sallya barobar ek ghanta asa naad aiku yeto.

Teech goshta nokri nasnarya bicharya lokanchi. Hazaar loka yeun hazaar goshti sangnaar. "Tujha arja de majhya kade. Majhe ek olakhiche ahet, tyanchya kade pathavato." "Apan asa karuyat, ki tujha arja ek mahititli company ahe, tithe pathavu. Tithun bolavla ki mag pagaracha karu vichaar." "Sadhya kasa ahe, milel ti nokri ghe. Jasa jasta anubhav milel tevhada jasta changla." "Halli manasarkhi nokri milna itka durmil jhala ahe ki tadjod karaylach pahije."

Ase anek tarheche "premal" salle miltat. He sarva aike paryanta nokri milnara manus itka vaitagto ki aadhi pasunach tyachya nokrichi kahihi atee nasatana ajun hirmusun jato ani samjayla lagto ki tyala nokri kadhi milnaarach nahi. Bichara.

Ani tumhi jar tisrya prakaraat modat asal tar mag tumchi avastha pharach bikat aste. Jar tumche lagna hot nasel tar pratyek "premal sallagara" la asech vatate ki tumchi kahi tari chook ahe mhanun ajun lagna jhalela nahi. Mag pahila prashna pratyek natevaik/palakanche mitra vichartat to mhanje: "Mag ladu kadhi denaar?" Khara tar ulat prashna asa vicharayla hava ki "Kuthala havay? Dinkacha ki alivacha? Nahi mhanje apan apli aawad sangitlit tar Chitale madhun aanata yeil."

Bara hya prashna varun bhagat nahi tar lagech, "Kay ga, tujha tu tharavla nahis ka ajun?" Eke kali muline athava mulane swatahacha lagna tharavane he karante-panacha lakshan manle jai. Ata jag kiti badalala ahe he hya prashna varun kalel. Bara ha prashna vicharnarya bahutansha lokancha asa samaj asto ki changla mulga athava mulgi hi bajarat bhaji ghetlya sarkhi sahaj milte ani ti milavne hi ateeshay soppi goshta aste. Phakta kaan ani dole ughade thevayche astat.

Aso! Jevha majha me koni pasand nahi kelela asa uttar milta, tevha lagech pudhche anek prashna vicharnya karta hi loka asusaleli astat. "Patrika jamat nahi ka?" "Atee pharach distat tujhya!" "Kay phoren chach mulga hava kay?" "Tuch aadmuthe pana karat asasheel ani mulana nakarat asasheel!" Ase sarva prakarche vichaar aikayla miltat.

Bara ya sarva prashnana kay uttar dyaycha hyacha neet vichaar kara. Karan jar tumhi ya sarva prashnana "Nahi" ase uttar dile, tar mag tumchi kahihi khair nahi. Karan mag reetsar tumchi patrika tyanchya tabyat jate (tumcha kinwa paryayi tumchya palakancha patrike var vishwas asel tar!) Mag he lok tya patrike cha "study" kartat. Ani mag vividha prakarche todge sangtat. "Asa kar Vaidehi, dararoj Rukmini Swayamwar chi pothi vaach mhanje lavkar hoil lagna." "Me tujhi patrika baghitli ahe. Tyatun me tujha bhagyanka kadhala ahe. Ek chota yantra tayar kela ahe. Te eka korya kagdavar lihi ani javal thev. Nehemi upyog hoil. Ani agdich kadhi nirasha aali, tar ek chotasa shlok deto, to 108 vela mhanaycha. Sarva adchani door hotil." "Me ek yaadi keli ahe jya nusar jar tujhi patrika jamli, tar tya sthala barobar kahihi vichaar na karta 'go ahead.' Kahi kaljich nahi mag." Bara nakki 'go ahead' mhanje kay? Jar patrika julnara gadi ha gunda, badmaash asla tari go ahead bara ka! Ya upar ek nikshun sangna asta..."Me je upay sangat ahe, tyane tota nakkich honaar nahi. Jhala tar phaydach hoil." Than, than, than! Ghantancha satat awaaj aiku yet ahe ki nahi?

Evhada sagla houn tumhala sodnaar nahit. Tumha samor sthalanchi raangach mandun thevtil. "Aho Vishakha cha aai, majhya nandechya javayachya bhavacha mitra ahe. Itka chaan mulga ahe. Smart, handsome, jhalach tar changlya IT companit nokri la ahe. Tumchya Vishakha karta ekdam sajesa. Kadhi karaychi bolni sanga!" "Me kay mhanato, tya muli la ho mhanayla kay harkat ahe tula? Disayla bari ahe. Ani mothyancha aadar karte. Jatana saglyana namaskaar karun geli. Halli asha muli kuthe miltat!" "Bahergaon cha mulga baghayla kay harkat ahe? Shevati kay manus mahatvacha. Gaav kay, savay hote." Mhanje khedegavat padla tari chalel. Shivay nokri nasli navin thikani tari tyachi kay parva tyana, mulga ani gharana uttam ahe na! @$%#$#%$

Ani ho, he sarva jhalya nantar mukhya goshta te sangtat mhanje..."He bagh, he lakshat thev ki aayushyat tadjod karne phaar garjecha asta. Ya na tya karnane tadjod karavich lagte. Tyachya shivay chalnaar nahi. Shevati kay jeevanat sukha javasa evhada ani dukha mana evhada. Dukhkha shivay pragati hot nahi." Ata mala sanga, "tadjod" mhanje nakki kay karaycha? Lagna hot nahiye, tar je sthal alay to jara banel asel, daru pine, cigarette odhana vagaire goshti karat asel tari harkat nahi. Lagna hotay na, tadjod kelich pahije! Asa chalel ka? Kinwa gharche agdich asanskrut vatle ani vagayla-bolayla kahi patle nahit, tari dekhil tadjod keli pahije mhanun pudhe jaycha ka? Bara dukhha mhanje nakki kay te hi ekda sanga. Mhanje mag amhi amchi kiti pragati karun ghyaychi he kalel aamhala.

Hya sarvatun phakta ekach hota, ki hya sarva prakarchya upadeshakana karmanuk milte. Aamhi mhanje kiti mahaan, amhala yatle (aushadha, nokri-vyavasay, sthala, ekunat aayushya) kiti kalte, ani amhala tumchi kiti kalji he sarva dakhavun jhale ki tyancha karya sampta.

Tyat jar chukun tyanchya olakhitun tumhala nokri milali athava tumcha lagna jamla, kinwa agdi tyanni sangitlela upay tumhi tumchya rogavar kelat ani bare jhalat, tar mag "Bagha, me sangitla navhata tumcha kaam majhya kadun nakki honaar!" he aajanma aikun ghenyachi manasik tayari theva.

Tumhi jar ajari asal, kinwa nokri chya shodhat asal, athava (Dev karo ani ase na hovo) "lagnalu" asal, tar majha ek premal salla ahe...Krupaya swatahala bhumigat kasa hota yeil hyacha vichaar atta pasunach kara, jenekarun tumhi aslya premal sallagaran kadun aapsook vachu shakal.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Aboard

A ship tossing on the ocean...! She has no destination, no purpose, no control. She moves at the sea's will. One wave pushes it to the shore while another one pushes it out to the sea. There is absolutely nothing that the ship herself can do. She has no control on its present and future. She keeps bobbing up and down as waves lash against her.

On cheerful, lovely, sunny days, she keeps on moving on the vastness of the sea. Chilly winter days do not affect her because she is supposed not to feel anything. The sunrise and sunset make her feel nothing.

She goes where the sea wants her to without knowing where and when. She never knows if she will ever reach a shore and if she does, hardly knows if that's her destination. Up and down she goes without control. As much as she might want to do something, she can't. Because she is not her own master.

She just wishes that someone reaches out to her and helps her control herself. She hopes this happens before she is completely shattered and tattered.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Impressions And Influences

There are some folks in your life that make a profound difference to you. Here are some of the folks who have affected me in some way or the other.

I am not going to name them, but will use their initials. There are a number of reasons for not using their names. I want to keep their names a secret. There will be a kind of mystery to their identity, which will be interesting. Not all about whom I have written may read this and will never come to know that I have included them here. If any one them reads this, and recognises herself or himself, I don't want her or him to feel obliged to thank me or to curse me for whatever I may feel about them. Nor do I want to make them feel embarrassed. I've noted these folks in whichever order, without any reference to their importance to me or influence too.

I'll probably keep this as a running list and update it frequently. Because people themselves change so much that there is something new to learn and write about them all the time.


So here it goes:

MK: Intelligent, smart, and strong. Ready to take on the world on her own terms. She leads life to make a difference and succeeds too. In recent years, her roles have changed and I have been amazed to see the change in her. She is a wonderful lady. We have had our fights and misunderstandings. But it's all forgotten now. I admire her and just as she has been there to support me, I shall always be there to support her whenever she needs me.

AK: This guy has been there always and supported me. Initially, I wasn't too inclined to be good to him. But gradually I learnt that he is a wonderful guy and caring too. I believe in him a lot and know that he will be there to help me if I am in trouble. Our long discussions on all kinds of subjects, discussions on books, movies and computers are what I cherish always.

AK: The youngest addition to this group. I learn new things when I am with him. And it increases my patience too. Feels wonderful to know that someone thinks of you frequently.

RR: A very, very sensitive girl. Her heart's in the right place, though. She is choosy at times and jumpy. Sometimes I just can't understand her point of view. Nevertheless, I respect her views, though I may not agree. She has been one of my biggest support. She can't always know what's right and what's not. And her professional life is always giving her trouble. Yet she goes on with everything with a brave heart. She has been with me during most of my troubled times. I wish her all the luck!

SN: A down-to-earth, nice girl. Keeps a cool mind and a steady heart. We agree on a lot of points and believe in a lot of things together. Yet, there is something which is quite distinctive about her. I have found her to be a bit not-so-serious about things. She won't take as much efforts as required. Ultimately, her priorities have changed. Yet, at one point we still care about each other. I wish she was more frequently in touch.

AK: This is a whimsical, interesting guy. And a complete puzzle to me. But he is sweet, helpful, and has the "I-am-a-guy-and-should-ideally-protect-you" attitude, which I find very funny. And he will show that in even the smallest ways. While interacting with him, I am most of the times speechless. That's because I can't figure out what to say. Very discomforting.

KA: This is an interesting guy. Cynical a lot of times. But has clear thoughts about finance and career. We share a strange camaraderie. We got on the right note in a strange manner. But we hit it on quite well. We have had a lot of discussions and probably fights too. Yet, he's one of the nicest guys I've met. We have had our differences and were not talking for some time. But I am glad that we are on talking terms again. I only wish I get some questions answered from him. But that could be a far-fetched hope. Be that as it may, I wish him nothing but the best.

BH: A close friend who is now long-distant. But even now, we talk a lot. We've had some pretty discussions on a lot of things. He helps me think over some things, praises me a bit too much, and supports my decisions. Thank you for being there.

SD: One of my newest friend and also one of the closest. We have been friends since only some 8-9 months. But we do feel as if we have known each other for a long time. I cherish the wonderful discussions we have over coffee and wada-paav. It's amazing how comfortable we are with each other. We share a lot of things with each other like how I feel about some of my relatives and why I feel so. And he always comforts me when I am distressed because of work or because of other personal problems. Thanks!

RV: Extremely pampered and lazy. Seriously! He has got whatever he wanted at the beck of his call. Yet, he will find some or the other thing to complain about. And he is great talker. He loves talking and does most of the talking when we are together. But he does have a very kind heart. Very sensitive too. When he likes people, he is ready to do anything and everything for them. And I am fortunate enough to be in his good books. He is very good at his work and is ready for hardwork there. Otherwise he is quite the lazy guy. At times he is damn moody and you may not know how to behave with him. Most other times, he is good and makes you laugh with his funny incidents. But he is a big man with a big heart and that's something.

There are also some other people who are worth mentioning, but I really don't have a lot to write about. These are AB, SB, JD, SS, VP, VN, SA, PS, SK, SP, AK, SM. And don't worry, I know whose initials all these are. Won't confuse them. Here's a big thanks to all of these too.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Unknown And Spooky

Ever met a person whom you cannot figure out at all? I know of one. Every time I interact with that person, I learn new things. When I talk to that person, I get lost. I cannot know whether what was said at that moment  is true or if I misunderstood something.

How is it that a person is so mysterious that you can't decipher him/her at all? I can't realise when things are serious or whether everything is just for fun...just not serious! It is weird. I have never felt so lost about any other person. It is quite disconcerting.

Usually, I am pretty good at understanding people. Perhaps, I may not understand a person completely at the first go. But my first impressions are generally correct or at least in the right direction. But with this particular person, I am thrown completely off track. I also feel that whatever h/she tells me, h/she must be behaving completely opposite to that in real life. For every new day, every new situation, h/she must be behaving differently and in contrary ways. There are so many facades that the real face can never be seen. Or perhaps I can never discover the real face.

I guess, that's how people are. Perhaps, I am being too arrogant when I say that I understand others well. I suppose it is just one part of my friend/colleague/relative that is shown to me that I understand perfectly. The one that is unknown to me might be completely different and perhaps spooky.

That might be with me too. I might be behaving differently with different people. The face that I show before people might be different from my other face, the hidden one. And the hidden one could be dangerous. Who knows! We now embark upon the unknown and spooky! One from which there will hardly be any discoveries! Spooky again!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Walk When You Want

Just today, I went for a walk to our local garden. I went a bit late, around 8.45 in the morning! It was very pleasant in the garden. It is a small one with a jogging track, some play area for kids, benches for people to sit, some steps and lawns, and an area where you can exercise.

As I took rounds in the park, I saw some kids playing on the swings. They were happily enjoying themselves without a thought to the world. And their grandparents were sitting close-by chatting with their friends but with an eye on their wards. Suddenly all grandparents started a chant of "Hari Om" loudly. It was very surprising and funny too. I mean, how and when must they have come up with such an idea of chanting "Hari Om" loudly? Didn't they realise that it might sound funny? And what's the use of chanting it out aloud? I mean, how does it help them except gaining attention from the walkers?

There were some Ajjis and Ajobas walking and exercising. One Ajoba was exercising so hard, he was giving all youngsters a run for their money. While I took rounds walking, he was fast-walking with these huge steps and huffing and puffing. He glared at me every time I crossed him while walking. When I finally stopped, he started again with his second round of walking. I was quite frightened for his health. I mean, he really seemed in excellent health. But c'mon, he looked as if he had already crossed 70. Why do you want to over-exert yourself? But of course, he would know better.

This garden has two parts, kind of. One is completely obscured by buildings on one side and a road on the other side. You can get to this part of the garden only after you have crossed the first part. The first part too has the road on one side. But the other side is not completely obscured by buildings and so the sun streams in from the east in the mornings. It is at one particular point where there are two benches to sit, which unfortunately are most of the times in the sun. As I walked, I could see those two benches empty almost all the times, unless someone wanted to get some Vitamin D. The lonely benches sat opposite each other always expectant of visitors and always forlorn.

I completed my rounds and sat in the shade feeling extremely pleased with myself for having actually exercised (though very little) after a long time. The birds were singing, butterflies fluttering around, squirrels scampering around in search of food. I picked up a peepal leaf to remind me of this day. I intend to keep that leaf safe in a nice book.

With a sunny face and happy thoughts, I walked out of the garden. All's well with the world! Life's good!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Quiet Times

There is nothing like a nice cup of coffee and a leisurely talk with your favourite people at midnight! That's what I had yesterday. It was awesome. I visited my sister yesterday and she made cold coffee. It was raining outside and Jijaji, my sister, and I were sipping on our coffees, sitting in the terrace, and discussing on all kinds of subjects. I really feel lucky to get to enjoy such times!

Feels out of this world! Just to enjoy these small things in life is being blessed again and again. On top of that, if it is with people with whom you are most comfortable, then it's the icing on the cake.

Have you ever enjoyed such small joys and in retrospect ever felt thankful that you could do what you did? If you haven't you should really do that. Like sending a greeting card on someone's birthday, or getting a book or any other small thing that you had wanted for a long time...it is just this feeling that you get...that everything is right with the world.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

It's Coming, Slowly

The time's coming slowly when I say farewell to one part of my life. I still am anxious and uncertain. But I have taken the decision.

It is strange to feel that after just 5 days, I will never come back here and chat with friends, work, check mails, have fun, get all tense because of work, (blame others for my mistakes,) work harder, not get the dues and still work harder, learn to know each and everyone of the team, and mostly just be here. It has been so much part of my life. Especially since the last one and half years. I have had no life outside here. It is unnerving, the time I have spent here.

As I clean my desktop, it is with a heavy heart that I realize that I shall miss being here and doing all this!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Support System

I have absolutely no doubt that each one of you must have felt this...more wronged than doing wrong. I have felt that so many times. Each time I get a blow from a "close" person, I always think, why me? What should I have done more to get unconditional support from that person? I can count all those times that I have been let down. Each time that happens, I tend to feel sour and dejected.

It is weird that we take so many things for granted. And one of them is that unreserved backup from our folks. That's where we fall flat on our face. I mean, really, when you give them your whole-hearted support and help, you really can't suppose that you will get back the same! They aren't a mirror, you know!

There's this nice film called 27 Dresses in which Katherine Heigl plays the role of a perpetual bridesmaid. She keeps on ploughing through life in the hope that one day she will get in return what she has been giving out to everyone. Eventually, after all trials and tribulations, she indeed gets what she wants. And she was also whole-heartedly supported by her family as well as all her friends for whom she had been a bridesmaid. Now that's of course downright optimistic. You cannot always have that luck!

Yet, life never gets dull. You get to know all such people and do some good for them. You will sacrifice a valuable thing to help that person. Does sacrifice count? I don't believe so. Once you sacrifice something, it never comes back. It is lost forever. And then when you do not get back something for that little sacrifice, it is lost one more time. You lament about how people change, how they do not help when you really need them. That's when you lose it a third time. Finally, you just console yourself saying that you should keep on doing stuff irrespective of whether that person reciprocates. That's when you lose the essence of the sacrifice for the fourth and final time. It's lost completely and takes away with it your belief in goodness.

You are back to square one, starting things anew. Starting a new order, ready to get disappointed again.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Out Of Book Ramblings

Have you ever felt that your life is happening right out of a book? I feel that sometimes. Sometimes I remember what things have happened with a character and realize that just those things are happening with me. It is downright spooky!

Something happens with you that's just like in a book you recently read. Then you recall what other things have happened with that character and wonder whether those will happen with you too. You are in an "in-between" world. Neither here, nor there. I mean, you are real, leading a real life. But you are also there, in that world, the world of that book. Kind of in a trance. Very weird.

If a single incident is similar to that in a book, you try finding out similar characters, similar situations, and perhaps similar feelings too. Or may be, you try to gauge what your feelings are at the moment the real thing is happening against what you thought about that incident when you were reading the book.

For example, you have read a book in which the protagonist had the misfortune of losing a family member. When a similar situation arises in your life, you are very much involved in the scene before you. But you are also watching the scene unfurl before you from a third person perspective. You would compare how you felt when you read that incident in the book. Perhaps, it is the difference of a third person perspective and a fourth person perspective. When reading a book, you are mildly aware that it is just that...a book. Things happening with the protagonist are just fictional. You are looking at things from a transparent fourth wall. You would probably 'know' that you should feel the sadness rather than actually feel it. But when you are looking at the actual incident in your life, you can feel the sadness. But you also take in all the other things happening around you at that time.

You notice your relative, peaceful in death. All other relatives respecting death and murmuring in low voices. Some discussing the plans for the funeral. Others remembering the once-living beloved. And the kids not sure how to behave with such a tragedy before them. Children looking at the dead relative and wondering how they should react. Should they cry, just watch, avoid the scene and sneak away to an unknown place, console their parents, yet not knowing if they would appear too grown-up if they consoled them, or just laugh out and stay unaffected. And you can see the elderly people looking at the dead thinking when their turn would be. You can see them thinking of that unknown time when they would be lying there, still and untroubled. The shadow of a controlled fear, a fear of the unknown.

And in the midst of all this you remember the poor protagonist in the book and think whether s/he felt the same thing in such a situation. You then ascribe your own thoughts to the protagonist and believe that life is rather frightening to present you with the same situations that were there in the book. An eerie feeling of déjà vu sets in.

But if you are in a happy situation, I doubt if you would remember about a similar situation in a book. What about a neutral situation, neither happy, nor sad, somewhere in between? Just an anxious situation, which makes you think about what you are doing at that moment. You might think how similar it is to a situation in a book. You then are all anticipation of what will happen next.

That's when you realise, life is too good to be true. After all, life takes inspiration from books!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Kahan Se Aaye Badara...

Ghulta Jayein Kajara...

Kiti sundar gana ahe. Mala khup awadta.

Interestingly, at the time I was listening to this song, I heard a great thunder in the heavens above. It was such a nice co-incidence.

That happens so many times. Not with just this song, but also with some other songs. Another song..."Shravanaat Ghananeela Barasala..." Again about rains. Beautiful. Feels so good to feel the same thing around you that you are listening to.

That's the magic of music! Or perhaps of co-incidences!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Kuch Khaas Hain Jindagi Mein

Do you write letters? Not e-mails, letters. I love writing letters. It is a whole new world of writing. It's wonderful to receive a hand-written letter than an e-mail.

A recent new Cadbury's advertisement shows two postmen on a Diwali day looking out at a deserted locality and lamenting the loss of warmth and togetherness even when it's Diwali. I found that advertisement very beautiful. So many things have been shown in such a pleasing, simple way, that it makes you all cheerful.

One hardly ever receives letters these days. I am not talking about the usual bills, magazine subscriptions, or official letters that we receive. I am talking about letters sent by our friends and family members that talk about nothing in general, but when read, leave you full of warmth and satisfaction. We tend to think that our relatives are just a phone call away and so are they. But the charm of a hand-written letter is altogether different.

In the advertisement, it is heartening to see the postmen delivering letters to the various residents. And very cleverly, they post the wrong letters to the wrong people. The residents get letters addressed to their neighbours delivered to them. Of course, it definitely is bad manners to read someone else's letters. But if you ignore that, the effect of those letters is instantaneous.

All residents rush out to deliver the letters to the rightful owners. And a sweet grandma chides the grandpa to not go without some sweets to return the letter. How nice! Even when we visit folks, do we remember to take some gift with us?

So, she brings out a big plate of Cadbury's chocolates. All neighbours have come out to return each other's letters and all enjoy the chocolates! They include the postmen too in their celebrations. It was their simple trick that made people reach out to each other to enjoy the essence of life!

Just goes to show how even such small things can make a huge difference! No one is angry that their letters have been opened but enjoy the moment of togetherness! Love and camaraderie!

One does need to toil harder to be connected in this modern, technology-at-our-fingertips world. Be it writing letters, socialising with our neighbours, or celebrating life together! I figure, we do need to take those efforts to stay in touch! Because, if we connect, we create a new world.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Is It Early Enough?

Some festivals or occassions make their presence felt way before they are actually celebrated. Birthdays is one of them. If it is your friend's, sister's, or mother's birthday, and if you want to give a mighty surprise, you start preparing for it at least two weeks before. The plans to celebrate the birthday, gifts, people to be invited...it all is very exciting.

If it is your birthday, you can't think about anything else since at least a month before. I have that problem always. As soon as my sister's birthday is over in August, I dreamily start thinking about my own birthday. It never seems to come too soon! It's one of those wonderful occassions for me and it always gets over too soon.

Ganpati festival is one of such long expected festivals. At least a month before, you will see the dhol-tasha groups practising, the painters giving finishing touches to the Ganapati idols, and then pandals burgeoning on the city landscape. The ten days are over soon, though and it is rather dull when it is over.

This year, we are still to have the Navratri festival and guess what? People have already started advertising for Diwali. Perhaps for the tourism industry, it is a good time. They need to advertise so that they attract customers for the tours planned in the Diwali holidays. But I am seriously surprised about the number of advertisements about soaps, sweets, chocolates, electronic goods that I can see around that are advertised for Diwali. And we are not even done with Dussehra yet! Perpahs it isn't all new. But I find it extremely surprising.

We used to have Dussehra discounts before we moved on to Diwali bonanzas. Now we are already thinking beyond Dussehra! How strange!

Perhaps after the swine flu scare, everyone is eager for a nice, healthy celebration. I can't blame anyone. What I heard from one of the shopkeepers in Tulshibaug was that business had gone down by 70%. And that was right in the middle of the Ganesh festival, when you can't even think of entering Tulshibaug. Even when I went there for some shopping, I could actually drive into Tulshibaug and park my gadi there and walk in whatever shop I wanted without a thought to how crowded it would be. All shops were deserted.

Diwali is a much awaited festival and I am sure everyone is looking forward to it. I am no exception. I too am looking forward to the dazzling festival. I also hope that the early advertisements increase the much-needed cheer in the air!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Gugus And Dildas

This is my favourite subject: my Ananas! My dearest nephew, Anay! A beautiful child of two years, who has changed our lives forever.

When Anay came in our life, it was not immediately that we could hold him. He was born in Seattle, USA. My sister and brother-in-law were overjoyed. And so were we all. It was only after some time that we realised that we now had a foreigner in our midst.
We all saw him through the webcam and he was such a rolu-polu kid. Big cheeks, big eyes, and fantastic hair. He was blessed with a shock of hair that stuck out on all sides. My sister used to call him a porcupine! He was famous in the hospital in which he was born for his porcupine-ish hair! That's when I nicknamed him Ananas. Ananas in Marathi means pineapple. His hair stuck out just like the leaves of a pineapple. He is such a cutie pie!

So, as we say in Marathi, Anay disa-masa vadhat hota. He made his first plane trip to Atlanta with his mum when he was just two months old. He visited his Kaka-Kaku in Atlanta and celebrated his first Diwali there. We all were eager to see him, hold him, play with him. Our chance came when my sister, Jijaji, and Anay visited India in March 2008. By that time, he could sit. Of course, he could never sit still when we held him. He was up and jumping all the time. He loved doing that.

With a bizarre can't-understand-how-it-passed-so-quickly month, they were back in Seattle. And we were left to our routines.

But as fate would have it, I got a chance to visit my sister in Seattle for eight days. Those were beautiful days. Lovely weather and a lovely place to be in. Seattle is really beautiful. I liked it better than California.

There I played with Anay, had nice talks with my sister, went sight-seeing, and had an awesome time. All days in Seattle, the time I spent with my sister, as well as a beautiful evening with a friend are etched in my mind forever. But what comes to my mind foremost is the beautiful, angelic face of Anay that I saw everyday first in the morning. The moment my eyes opened, I would see him crawling towards me, with a face as fresh as a daisy, ready to take on the world, with the sweetest smile on his face. Even now as I close my eyes, I can see that cute face in my mind's eye. That's the best start-of-the-day energy booster I have ever had!

I was sad to leave Seattle after 8 blissful days. But with a heart full of my nephew, I came back.

And then, my sister and her family moved back to India this year in March. By the time we saw him again, he had already started talking and walking, ohh actually running! But now, we were to have him with us always. He wouldn't be going back in a month again. And that was a wonderful thing.

He got used to the life in India surprisingly quickly. It was a relief for us that he got adjusted so well. His two grandpas, grandmas, aatya, and mavshi (that's me) were all eager to be around him and play with him. We have been damn lucky to have him around.

And as he grows, everyday we get to hear something new about him. He now speaks almost all words that we ask him to. His pronounciation isn't correct all the time. But it sounds so cute and sweet to hear it from him. He has a nice sing-song way of saying things and we have all started using that. He has developed his own words that have no connection to any language. That's his own language, a trademark. In fact, if he had copyrighted it, we would have had to pay him a heavy cost. Because we all use those words now.

Some of his own words are "dilda," "gugu," and "bajaja." A "dilda" is any writing instrument, be it a crayon, pen, pencil, sketch pen. "Gugu" is anything that moves in a circular motion. It could be a fan, a wheel, or a spinning top. "Bajaja" is his word for "Ajoba," which means Gandpa in Marathi.

My sister told that one fine day he woke up and started saying "Dilda, Dilda." That's how he came up with Dilda. He now knows the words pen, pencil. But he still uses Dilda. And we too use Dilda. Anay's grandpa taught him "gar-gar-gar" - the sound that comes from a fan, and he changed it to "Gugu." We have inherited his words in our vocabulary too when we say, "Someone please switch on the Gugu." or "Pass me that Dilda."
Anay's greatest passions are Gugus and Dildas, in that order. He is always searching for Gugus around him. When he comes with us for shopping, he will look at a building and find a ceiling fan on in someone's house visible through the window. He will see the wheels in motion and keeps on repeating "Gugu, Gugu, Gugu." The other day, we were passing by a flour mill. Just the sound of the mill made him turn around and say "Tikde Gugu." Here's Anay's favourite thing: a car. And it has got Gugus.

Similarly, he has an eye for Dildas. He is overjoyed when he gets to use his grandpa's Dildas. We generally try and not hand him a pen. If he is lucky and finds one, his eyes shine and he grabs it saying, "Aaaaah, Dilda!" Then he needs his diary in which he will draw flowers, trees, balls, and what not. Ohh, and by the way, even a ball does Gugu according to him!

I guess, He whispered to Anay, "Son, let Gugus and Dildas be the mantra of your life!" And of course, you can't disobey His orders!
With his inquisitive nature, he is always up to something. His curiosity and independence have given him a personality of his own. He has his whims and fancies. Yet, he is not a naughty child. In fact, when told not to do a certain thing, he says it aloud, "He karu nahi!" and doesn't do it. He really is a sweet child.
Today is his second birthday and I dedicate this post to him! Happy Birthday Anay! May you get everything that you wish for in life! Bless You!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Not Bad!

So, the weekend was...good! Not bad, I can say. I couldn't complete all my chores on Saturday. But I did cook, and it turned out well. I made vegetable biryani. Apart from being a bit dry, it was quite edible. It could have done with some more salt. But otherwise, it was good.

I also went for a nice car drive to Lonavla. It was fun. We (my friend, her husband, and I) went to Lonavla by the old Mumbai-Pune highway (NH-4). The road is good. Despite a weekend, it was not much crowded. It was raining on the way and we had a really smooth drive. Rain pattering on the windows, and we in the car listening to some beautiful Marathi songs! Aah! That really was great fun!

As planned I couldn't stay at home Sunday evening. I had to go out and do some work. But that was necessary! And I got to meet Nanu. All the more fun!

So, in all, it was not a bad weekend! At least, we had no guests invading our house!

Friday, September 4, 2009

A Dream Of A Day!

A hot, sizzling cup of strong coffee giving an irrestible aroma, a favourite book, rain pattering on the window glass, and you lying in your cozy bed. That's a perfect day, isn't it? Or if you are not into reading, your definition of a perfect day would include an exciting, nerve-gritting football or cricket match in the morning, a lip-smacking lunch in your favourite restaurant, and a peaceful afternoon siesta after the heavy lunch.

Whatever your ideas of a perfect day, I am looking forward to a perfect weekend as well. Coming Saturday, I am going to do some household chores in the morning. I am actually looking forward to completing my tasks for the week ahead. Then I shall be free to enjoy my Saturday evening and Sunday.

Saturday evening, I am planning to cook for my family. And I am not going to spill the beans what I am going to cook right away, so that it is not jinxed. And Sunday I am planning for a nice outing!

Keeping my fingers crossed!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

In Vain I Have Written!

"What are your hobbies?" Has anyone asked you that question? How truthfully do you answer? Can you always point out your hobby?

I can't. My standard answer is "I read books, watch movies, listen to music." I am sure this is the answer that everyone has given at least once without exception. I mean, c'mon, you don't go on telling people that what you like best is doing twisted things like ringing someone's bell on a quiet Sunday afternoon and running off, throwing water balloons from behind walls, or even throwing stones at stray dogs.

I always wonder, should hobby be something that you like to do always, or when you find time out of your usual routine? Let's say your hobby is watching movies. Of course, you can't watch movies because you have got to work. But if tomorrow your boss tells you that you don't need to worry about your job and pay and you can continue watching movies, you will do it without a backward glance. Naturally, you will wonder if your boss has gone temporarily mad but will make haste to take advantage of his madness. Unless you hate movies, you will certainly grab this opportunity. So my question pops up again, would watching movies really be your hobby?

So what really is a hobby? Dictionary.com defines 'hobby' as "an activity or interest pursued for pleasure or relaxation and not as a main occupation." Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary has a similar definition: a pursuit outside one's regular occupation engaged in especially for relaxation.

How many of us do something in particular everyday when our work is over for the day? Do you go back home after a very tiring day and take up your hobby? Inspite of being dead tired, do you make it a point to read a few pages, write some lines, or paint, or draw? After having a troublesome day at work, do you look forward to taking out time to go cycling, or playing the piano, or anything that helps you not only relax but also gives you immense satisfaction?

I say this so many times that I love cycling. But do I take out some time for that? Not at all. And what are my reasons? That I come home late, sleep late, and eventually get up late. And why do I come home late? Because I have late night meetings. But do I take efforts to work out a schedule that will give me some time to pursue my "hobby"? Nope! Shame on me!

I guess your hobby is not just a means to provide you relaxation. It is a way to rediscover yourself. To be with yourself and to know yourself better.

And despite writing all this, I won't budge and do something about my hobby! "In vain I have struggled!" Or rather, "In vain I have written!"