Thursday, December 18, 2008

The trinket trader

His voice floated over the heated sand as I meandered through the jolly fair,

"Ive got red and yellow and orange and blue, Ive got beads and crystals in the deepest hues"; he said of his colorful wares.

My eyes took in the glass baubles, they seemed to set up a mighty hurray, a celebration of life and a careless reflection of the Sun's jaunty rays

Then I saw a stone in the clamor of colors, it sat there still in peace, it needed not to show borrowed shine, coz it knew what burned within.

"Name the price of this little stone";said I and the merchant gave a wary glance, and once more looked at me,

"A dying friend bequeathed it to me, but I have no use for stones of grey, a trinket trader like me..
You can take the rock if you keep it safe, and are you sure you wont buy a crystal bee?"

He who sells pretty glass things can tell not gems from stone;
and that is how I came to own a fiery diamond, of inestimable value for none

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Notes on life...

There is more to life than work

There is also more to life than love

For most people love is a sense of peace and security, atleast most married people

The one true love might take a lifetime of waiting, but it damn well is worth the wait

There are things to do during the wait, like make money, see the world, and humor friends

There are things to do, during see the world, humor friends, and remember family

The one true love might not necessarily feel the same about you

Sometimes its better not to know why you feel the way you do, knowing the reason might just ruin you

Let go of love if it wants to go, dont let go of friends

Friday, November 07, 2008


Headlines for today : In the wake of the Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena's hate campaign against north Indians and non-Marathis, the Supreme Court on Thursday struck a patriotic note by saying that "all of us are Indians" and there is no difference between people coming from various regions.

Im glad of this patriotism, better late than never. We need it. After all we are Indians. Lets do away with tags like castes, creeds, regions, hindus, muslims, christians, minorities(whatever that means), majorities(and woteva that means 2), females, males, tribals. Lets have common rules for everyone. Like maharashtrians should work hard and compete. Like I heard some people shout, Its the survival of the fittest. Or is it?

Wish I was standing in the engineering line in this era. No reservations for navy, army, dalits, OBCs, minorites(again). No college level reservations for Gujuratis(in Maharashtra, trust me, our college had reservations)!! No city centric struggles. Allow full access to everyone to all MBA colleges in Maharashtra through CET instead of just 5% of outsiders. We are Indian. Period.

Lets all talk in Hindi in Chennai(we are all Indians, remember), and lets donate land for the good of the state you have been staying in for more than 10 years, instead of a homeland(AB babyyyyyy). Whats a homeland in a country full of Indians??

And while we're at it, lets allow people to roam about with guns in their hands and wave them at the police(who needs em anyway), but ofcourse dont hurt 'em, lets give 'em the benefit of the doubt.

Note: The author hates violence, be it from MNS or whoever, but she also hates hypocrisy. She has no political bias, except that she's one of those few unfortunate majorities, for whom no one will ever fight, she's too far from ever being a reserved category(unless I add an e to my surname), too far from owning and donating land, and has to listen to too many people griping about how badly crowded and unsafe bombay has become and how narrow minded maharashtrians are 'coz they are anti migration into bombay in the same breath.


I think "The Devil wears Prada" is at least close to being called "Fashion", unlike the actual Fashion movie. The Fashion movie is nothing about the way the fashion industry works, the way business is done and undone, the non glamorous employees of the glamour world.

Instead it's about one woman's success, what she does, willfully, without the demonized male parties asking her to, and the tag line says, you have to give up more than just your morals. It implies unwillingly. But it's not unwillingly. The protagonist dumps her boyfriend, and starts smoking. She dumps her baby and starts sniffing white powders. Really now!!

Maybe this movie should have been called Models. Or even Showstopper. The movie goes on and on about Priyanka and Kangana vying for the show stopper spot, and no other model is ever shown to be jealous about it, except these two. Another problem is too many characters. It gets really disconnected. Like the photographer guy is given two tiny scenes in the movie. What for? The movie breaks apart with such meaningless additions.

Unfortunately, everyone has acted damn well, which makes the waste of talent in a disastrous movie, more pronounced. Like the last scenes where Priyanka walks out as a showstopper (again) with tears in her eyes, but a haughty face, and eyes that tell the world, "I'm still one up on you".

Or the tortured, slave of habit and abuse, Kangana (they should reduce the volume when she speaks though, I almost went deaf; and also give her diction lessons maybe). Or Sameer Soni, who makes his preferences evident, oh so subtly.

This movie is not at all true to its subject. It's an over the top dramatized movie. These stories can happen to anyone who gets really successful, fashion industry or not.

I'd rather see a movie on how the Panache guy got to where he was. How he arm twisted all the designers to almost own their souls. Or how the established designers keep up appearances or quell talented budding designers. Anything but the overused stereotypical characters like the bollywood designer that cater to the masses to get a few cheap laughs.

Some final thoughts - I wouldn't have killed the movie, if Madhur Bhandarkar hadn't made it. It was not research. Anyone story writer could come up with a story like that, without actually knowing anything of the Fashion industry. I think in the end, he too couldn't really give away the real dirty and grimy secrets of a closely associated industry, and used a rehashed money making formula; instead of an eye opener.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Patience was not new to him. Over 20 years, the main part of his job profile was waiting, without losing his temper. He could do that, wait for hours and hours before he was called upon, and still not appear grouchy or dissatisfied. No one ever fired him, he quit, and he was in demand, he knew his stuff well. Never voiced his opinion, never spoke unless spoken to, never pried, and never ever gossiped. He was even impeccably clean, and had perfected conversational English, nothing fancy, just enough to know what they wanted him to do.But this time…he quelled his growing irritation, as a sharp knock on his window broke into his reverie. He glared as her assistant opened the door for her, and smiled as he bade her a nice evening. He waited, with long years of discipline, as she got in, smiled at him and told him to drive home. He didn’t smile back, just stared stolidly ahead, as if he could wish her away, and as she settled down, started the car.

As he drove down the road, his mind automatically went back to the day the guy in the suit hired him. He was happy with the pay, the employer seemed clean of shady dealings, and he had a decent family, all hunky dory, until he reported to work the next day. He was aghast at whose beck and call he had to wait. The employer’s wife. He didn’t have anything against driving women to their childrens' schools and shopping malls as per the employer’s requests. But to drive a woman to work?
He glanced in the mirror, and saw her staring out of the window. He hated her, hated that she made more money than he did, hated it that her employees treated her with respect. After all, she was a woman. His father, in his tipsy confiding moods, had always told him that women needed to be put in their place. They should cook, bear children, keep the house clean, and the husband happy. He had duly tamed his wife, not that she needed taming that is. His friends made fun of him, for being at the beck and call of a woman. He wondered about the culture of her parents, and the spinelessness of her husband, for letting her earn money. In his village, a woman working meant the family was disgraced. He had been employed by the rich of the city, and their women never earned, but this family…His mind drifted to the plan his friends had jokingly made. He wondered if he could one day just drive off with her, she slept through most of the journey anyways. Kidnap. Seemed like a heavy word, he prided in being loyal. But now, he was 45, he needed money, after he could no longer drive. He had loaned his savings to his son, and something told him he wasn’t going to see that money again. His shoulders straightened as he thought of how much her wimp of a husband would pay for her, what he would do with the money, maybe buy his mistress a gold bangle, and get his wife a saree. And save the rest for his old age. He wasn’t a criminal, he reasoned, but this woman deserved it, for being uncultured, and distasteful of her position in society, for shamelessly working with other men. Would treat her right, for all the jesting that he had to suffer, he'd even humiliate her...scornfully he smiled. Each day he was more convinced he would be taking what was rightfully his, that he’d do his bit towards men by showing her, her rightful place; and that the ransom would only be his payment for the service of mankind.She didn’t notice his shoulders slump with resignation, as the guard opened the gate for them, and he pulled into the driveway.
She didn’t know that he was depressed that he had spent one more day with violent thoughts snapping at his heels, begging for fruition. But then they had checked his records, he was very trustworthy, her husband had promised her.

Note: blended ingredients: True story + my musings on the power of thought + musings on crime against women.
In the true story the driver wasnt morally challenged, just sexist.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

The Charioteer..1

He knew the time had come, as he stopped the graceful flight of the dark horses with a single flick of the wrist.

He was but a bystander to the greatest battle that would ever be fought, for centuries to come, and he smiled as he thought of how it all came to this, the symbolic war of black against white. It took a lot of doing, a lot of goading, some of it with his help, to bring the goodness finally in resounding strength against the dark warlords.

But he was just a Charioteer, a friend of the warriors, as chosen by those who knew His worth. He smiled at the recollection of how easily the evil prince had fallen for his simple offer; he could take the Charioteer or his army. No match, the prince’s wit against His. With a look of utter disbelief, at how easy the offer was, the evil prince settled for the army, something He had counted on. The truth was, his clan were fierce warriors, and anyone with His army, could strike terror in all the parallel worlds, just by the twang of their mighty bows.

On the other hand, the exiled princes, he wasn’t sure, how they would react, for he went with the same offer to them. But none of them wavered, none of them flinched, when the eldest asked for Him, to be on their side, it didn’t matter, that He had promised not to touch a single weapon of destruction. With humility, and reverence, they requested Him to stay the war with them; the side of the just; and He happily agreed, knowing now, that they had passed His final test.

The war bugles were blown; an eerie silence had covered the battle field, the stench of anticipation touching everyone with long cold burning fingers, the weapons ready to be infused with their own life, breathed in with the skilful hands of their masters. It felt like an illusion, just moments before the thundering hooves had pierced the sky like a double edged dagger, the elephants had stomped in impatience on the scent of blood to come; and the royal chariots had rolled with pride into the vast battlefield.

To be continued...

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

the man who blogged too much...

Big B blogs....wonder why, but the bigger wonder is that I was curious enough to check it out, maybe out of sympathy for a fellow blogger, or maybe out of nothing else to do. though it might say something about my life situation right now, lets not digress.

So the man there are millions of people who hang on to his every word, for whom he is everything that signifies super stardom. One would expect a certain amount of restraint, or a certain amount of dignity, or even diplomacy. But no, he responds to vitriolic pieces, with more acid than can be generated in the ankleshwar factories.

Now here is a man, who wields enough power to make atleast 40% of the indian population save water, car pool , and recycle. But he chooses to respond as to why Aishwarya's dress was crumpled at Cannes, a response to a comment made by a certain "I- lost - that -flair -for -writing" De. Or doesnt he know that noone reads her articles any more? Makes me wonder why people become so insecure, the more they achieve. Is it a certain sense of fatality associated with giddy heights of success, is it fear of losing adulation, power, or more morbidly, life?

Or does the use of power one yields, for tackling real issues, make one feel weak and used? Or is it just disinterest for things other than self gratification? Hmm, maybe mr Amar Singh might be able to shed some borrowed light...

Monday, March 03, 2008

Ola Lisboa !! - Portugal Visit Part 1

So I'm in Lisbon, Portugal. And the experience till now has been amazing, atleast as far as the city is concerned.
For starters old Lisbon is the most utterly romantic city I've ever seen yet. the narrow cobbled paths, the roadside cafes where you can just stare into the mist covering the city, and the colorful buildings lining the narrow streets, makes you want to hungrily absorb in as much as your eyes can take.
Considering that I have office on weekdays, I've taken to touring on the weekends.
What I've seen till now:

Old Lisbon from the top of a tram -
This was the first weekend, where we got out of the hotel, a little nervous and confused, coz conversing in this city is the most difficult part of any sight seeing. Everything is invariably in portuguese, and so once we got onto the bus, we didn't have a clue as to where to get down. the streets are spotted with figurines and gates bang in the middle of the streets, and somehow, they still look so in place.
Lisbon's architecture is a striking clash of the old world and new, the small one-vehicle-at-a-time streets pour out into huge roads, spotted with modern hotels and designer shops alongside cute little pastelarias(pastry shops).
This tour was an architectural revelation and an awesome one at that!!!

Sintra -
This is a little outside Lisbon. Next week, I ventured out, alone to Sintra, a 45 minutes train journey from Lisbon (Train station - Rossio). Armed with 'Lonely Planet ' which J gave me(God bless him) before I came here, and due to my expertise in dumb charades(!) I reached, quite safely, to Estefania.
You can climb up to the castles, or just take the tourist buses that take you around upwards to the castles and ruins that dot Sintra. As soon as the bus starts on the winding road up, you get the feeling of entering Cinderella land. The landscape is a mixture of the wild and the cultured, the pretty and the kitsch.
It's dotted by sprawling parks amidst wilderness. Unfortunately for me, due to some misguided advice, I reached pretty late. So I could visit just one site, that is the Palacio Nacional da Pena.
This is a sprawling and I guess the biggest park of Sintra, the peak of which holds the weirdly beautiful Palace, in pale yellow, pink and lavender turrets.

The most striking thing of the palace is the combination of architectures which you get to see here. Every room is full of art pieces, apparently , because of the fear of open spaces, during the 16th centuries. The rooms are hoarded with art like Messian porcelain furniture, a wall of unfinishe nudes(Dom Carlos I), Ferdinand designed China, Papier mache furniture and glass top holders, Indian and Arabic art, and so on.
In short, this palace looks like the perfect place of pleasure and sin, which is surprising, because the Palace is a reconverted Convent. This is the kind of place which takes you back into an era of high passions, kings and queens, and princesses in ball gowns.
After 3 hours, I had to drag myself out, so that I reached back on time. I hope to go again to Sintra to see the rest of the sites, and this time Im going early and trekking to the top !!

To be continued...

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Environmental Products

Save the environment!! I have been scouring endless sites to find something that I can really buy and reduce the burden on our fast crumbling planet.

All I could lay my hands on were products which were:

1. Too bulky and oversized for a small place like mine (Solar, wind items)
2. Too expensive (Again solar cookers)
3. Too self involved, like this never ending range of herbal skin products, which I don't see how are going to save the earth
4. Irrelevant and environmentally damaging products like wooden toys which would have involved a bit of tree cutting I assume
5. Recycled Paper - good, but its not only very expensive to be substituted for paper, but also very shabbily bound and too unwieldy

And then the environmentalists crying hoarse about global warming wonder why we are not going green and behaving like deaf mutts. Consider all the countries which are really damaging this pretty green earth...hell, consider India...
With a majority of the population struggling for a one time meal, you can't expect them to buy recycled paper for their morning roadside business, or a solar cooker to cook yesterday's leftovers from some restaurant.
So where does that leave us? What other options do we have here?
Maybe tell people to buy lesser cars? Well, for all those egoistic I've-newly-found-wealth IT industry show offs, it's a hard argument to push down their throats. Or in cities like Pune, with a rotten public transport system, I'd rather go anywhere by auto than a bus.

My main aim of the rant being, if any change has to take place, the alternatives should be cheaper, faster, and better than the smoke and toxic spewing instruments we have. They also need smarter marketing than just saying they are environmentally friendly, because even though that sounds like a moral compulsion, people are expert at arguing against compunctions.

After all, the argument of a dying world doesn't click in the brain as fast as anything related to money and convenience does.

PS: Both my homes are now totally bulb free. We've gone in for the CFLs which reduce harmful CO2 emissions. They are expensive but more than make up for the initial cost by having a really long life and also come with a year's warranty. I personally also prefer the white light of the CFLs to the bright yellow blobs.
For more information:

Wednesday, January 02, 2008


2007 just ended, well 2 days back...
In keeping with the tradition, we planned a careful menu, for just the 5 of us, 5 1/2 considering my niece too :)
I got to be head chef this year, and also chose the we spent the morning on 31st buying exotic(read expensive) ingredients, and afternoon onwards to make sure everything including the house, was in order.
As usual, the wine department was with A, while a break from always, I was delegating instead of being the helping hand in the food. So I was extra nervous as to how it would all turn out.
We had a simple menu of greek salad, spinach and cheese pie, and penne arabiata, with the grand finale of a heavily loaded chocolate cake.
The wine was white, Centerra, something A had picked up in Singapore. Wine glasses set, cutlery laid out, and the food, after a few corrections and recorrections to each item's taste(with 3 women tasting it, there's bound to be confusion!), everything rolled out perfect and the wine kept flowing until the last cake crumb. Damn tired after all the cooking, especially Mom and R, but was worth it.
We got our biggest compliment from the smallest member of our family, when she refused to eat her rice, and kept pointing to the pie and pasta. Hmm, she loved did we.. :)

PS: Had a scary thought when the clock struck 12. I just realised I don't remember much of anything worthwhile that I did last year. Maybe an indication of how fast time flies. Some months just merge into one another, and it hits you after a while, that the best part of life was wasted in a blur you don't even remember.