Thursday, July 29, 2010


Devoid of flesh, skin and bones,
Constituted wholly of imagination and creativity,
The words that flow from a pen,
Form mythical figures on a plain sheet.
Whatever the theme rises,
The poet impeccably furnishes,
With his wide, vast permeability.
He absorbs what he seeks,
The student in him playfully reasons,
While the scholar in him dictates,
The unfound, unexpressed truths,
Of nature, Lord and human civilizations.
The picturesque scene before him,
Canvassed by his own paraphernalia,
The buoyancy in his words portray,
A zeal embedded on his grotesque nature,
But his heart of gold,
Is the real architect of archaic poems.
                                                       - Skv.

Monday, July 19, 2010

God's own children...

     “Come up, O lions, and shake off the delusion that you are sheep; you are souls immortal, spirits free, blest and eternal; ye are not matter, ye are not bodies; matter is your servant, not you the servant of matter.“

     "22nd is a bus strike," my two year old niece echoes. Welcome to God's own country, where cows graze on the road (the potholes provide abundance of green grass), 24 hartals in 6 months and new governments every five years. Generally when people in other parts of India plan for weekend getaways, my own malluland prepares itself for a hartal (Defining Harthal, "It is mass protest often involving a total shutdown of workplaces, offices, shops, courts of law as a form of civil disobedience"). While the whole world seems to surge ahead, Keralites are enjoying life at a pace of their own.

     Every year visitors from within and outside India flock in to various corners of the state. Be it the clean beaches, rejuvenating Ayurvedic treatment, wildlife in Wayanad or the famed backwaters of Allapuzha - the scope for Industry is high. With 100% Literacy and one of the best education systems in the country (Someone once remarked that if someone threw a stone into Kerala, it would either hit a Doctor or an Engineer - most probably a politician) the state should have been a paradise for Industries. But the farce of the whole matter begins with this:
     Swami Vivekananda (considered to be one of the greatest thinkers of modern times) remarked that Kerala was an Asylum, lunatic Asylum. There is reason enough to believe that he was shunned by a large segment of the population, but Vivekananda was an honourable man (any similarity to excerpts from Mark Anthony's speech is pure coincidence).
     When we were kids, we would play musical chairs. The whole bunch would keep walking around chairs aligned in a straight line. When the music stopped, we would grab hold of the closest chair. Something similar what happens to the governing body in Kerala. For five years, we hear the opposition hollering out allegations. The ruling party brings about propagandas. Any project takes (at the min) 11 years to complete. Time enough for the party to come back to power. In the end, the voter bank is stupefied and we have another five years of tantrums and dirty politics.
     Industries don't make it because of the rebellious nature of the labour laws. If that isn't bad enough, we have Harthals every fortnight. And such days bring the complete state to a standstill. Roads are blocked, offices are closed and buses are pelted with stones. Quite regularly, a few are burnt down as well. The sales of poultry and alcohol rocket sky high. Ironically the reasons for the harthals are quite amazing. It didn't rain on time didn't come on time, (On the destined day of the harthal, it rained pretty heavily), unable to contain swine flu in the state, petrol prices have gone up in the country, blah.. blah... blah... And does it change when the opposition comes into power?? Ahem.
     A documentary by BBC News revealed alarming stats. Kerala is India’s tippler country. It has the highest per capita consumption – over eight litres (1.76 gallons) per person a year – in the nation, overtaking traditionally hard-drinking states like Punjab and Haryana. Also, in a strange twist of taste, rum and brandy are the preferred drink in Kerala in a country where whisky outsells every other liquor. Alcohol helps in giving Kerala’s economy a good high – shockingly, more than 40% of revenues for its annual budget come from booze. Talk about being sober.
     A state-run monopoly sells alcohol. The curiously-named Kerala State Beverages Corporation (KSBC) runs 337 liquor shops, open seven days a week. Each shop caters on average to an astonishing 80,000 clients. This fiscal year the KSBC is expected to sell $1bn (£0.6bn) of alcohol in a state of 30 million people, up from $12m when it took over the retail business in 1984. Kerala is generally considered to be a state that lacks in discipline. But the orderliness and discipline outside the wine shops are totally amazing. People align themselves in queue and wait for their turn.
     So the style of living in God’s own country is pretty simple. Eat, sleep, drink and be merry! Work?? Harthals don't allow us to...

Monday, July 12, 2010

Why I love my trips home..

     "Each blade of grass has its spot on earth whence it draws its life, its strength; and so is man rooted to the land from which he draws his faith together with his life." ~ Joseph Conrad

     And, if that isn't enough, there's always a plan B...

John Denver - Country Roads .mp3
Found at bee mp3 search engine

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Travelling Times: 2009 - 2010

Click Here     "I wanted a perfect ending. Now I've learned, the hard way, that some poems don't rhyme, and some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next."
Summer '09: Life was in turmoil. The bell of desperation seemed to ring continously. I had to find a way out of the warm and cozy environment in Aditi. It seemed to be so good that at times it would strangle me. Everything went along well except for the prospects of a bright future. Hobson's choice was simple. Stay and enjoy life. Or move ahead, struggle and grow. A twenty four year old hardly has any baggage in life. Pack up and leave. I had made mistakes before. And some of those mistakes had pushed me far ahead than the right decisions. My dad always told me that every opportunity was worth a try.
     I didn't predict one thing though. The weather in Bangalore had softened me and so landing in Delhi, in the middle of summer, was terrible. The three "F's" (no, not the modern ones) - Fright, Fight or Flight kept popping in my head. I wasn't frightened, so the choice was between taking a flight home and staying on. I didn't want to quit too soon. The Ego in me sang to me, louder  than before (A well-wisher had informed me before hand that Delhi might not be the best place for me. I had turned him down and desperately wanted to prove him wrong). Our battles for pride often leave us wounded, and that was my first lesson in the last one year.
     Aditi had pampered me with affection, to the extent that I could have my way with things. "Know your weaknesses, Demonstrate your strength." I had learnt that mantra before. A temper on a short fuse has always been a bane. I had to refrain from blowing off my top. It did help that I interacted with a limited set of people. My efforts were to hone my skills as a professional, making friends were secondary. I spent a larger part of my time reading and re-discovering myself. Somewhere along the busy life that I had lead, my creative side had taken a step back.
     Delhi provided me a new lease of life, a whiff of fresh air. I didn't travel much, the weekends were spent at the multiplexes or in the midst of my books. The weather got worse and every day was a nightmare. More than once, the temptation to leave hovered in my mind. Every single time I was distracted and the thought passed on. Something seemed to hold me back, and it paid off well later on.
     Whenever life is at its darkest, there's always a light that shines for us. I had always dreamt of going to the US and when the opportunity beckoned, I was awestruck. I had thought too soon. Fate was in the mood, tossing me harder at the wall. The summer was replaced by a bitter winter in WA. It rained incessantly and the chilling cold was harsh. There were bigger challenges on the career front. I lost the battles, but I won the war. A part of my decision seemed to pay off. When I got back, my only thought was to learn as much as I could. It wasn't about the hurdles anymore. Every hurdle seemed to be a new gateway of opportunity.
     Today, I stand on the edge of another goodbye. Another sun sets, and a new dawn (SRK's Don-2) will rise. In the last year, times have changed. The English cricket team finally won something. M F Hussein was exiled. No one takes responsibility of terrorist attacks. Australia has a woman PM,  Michael Jackson was murdered passed away, we pay more taxes, and Tiger Woods has gone further than the 18-hole courses. Even Federer gets beaten by amateurs. Times have changed. The spoilt brat in me seems to be a distant reflection. Life will never be the same again. I'll never be the same.

       "Oh, I don't know that. Let me tell you what I do know. Every day I come by to pick you up. And we go out we have a few drinks and a few laughs, and it's great. But you know what the best part of my day is? It's for about ten seconds from when I pull up to the curb to when I get to your door. Because I think maybe I'll get up there and I'll knock on the door and you won't be there. No goodbye, no see you later, no nothin'. Just left. I don't know much, but I know that."

Sunday, July 4, 2010

One for the Masses...

     “Fame is a vapor, popularity an accident, and riches take wings. Only one thing endures and that is character.” - Horace Greeley.
     Long back I had promised myself that when my blogs would be consistent, I would post one regarding an Indian cricketer. We hate him; yes it’s pretty clear that we despise his attitude and arrogance. And the saying, “Pride comes before a fall” hardly seems to affect him because it provides the attention he seeks. Yet, every single time India plays a test match, he’s one of the forerunners for a 3-pronged pace attack. Introducing India’s bad boy cricketer (hold on, it’s not Yuvraj Singh), Kerala’s lone representative on the world stage (most mallus disregard and disown him), Shantakumaran S……. (last name hidden not due to copyright infringements, rather unsure about the most recent way to spell it). With an approach towards the bowling crease that reminisces of Alan Donald, a straight seam release of the cricket cherry that would make most experts drool, and a consistency in pace, Sreesanth has it all. Well, not exactly. Sans a level-headed maturity and common sense, that might eventually lead him to the ranks of a certain Shoaib Akhtar or a forgotten Dominic Cork (Symo doesn’t fit the list because he went fishing while I was preparing it).
     It’s true that Sree’s a born entertainer, the kind that sparks a viewer interest beyond the technicalities of the game. He brings in an additional dimension to the boring nature of test matches, (no room for hypocrisy) once we’re though with Sehwag’s pyrotechnics. It has it all to make a Karan Johar blockbuster, dance (he’s pretty good on his feet), drama and even wee bit of action (Bhaji let the hand do the talking). And to add to it, he’s plain stupid and proud of it. In a way, it’s been effective since it not only distracts him but the opposition as well. And the success speaks for itself in his record on minefields in South Africa and West Indies, even on a dead wicket against Sri Lanka in Kanpur last year (usually that’s an opportunity for Mahela to add to his double hundreds). It does look like Sree would be a horrible investment banker once he’s done with his cricketing career, with all that match fees docked due to bad behavior. It doesn’t help him that the ICC tends to be harsh towards cricketers from the sub-continent. I’m for one who feels that his outbursts aren’t far off from the Aussie and English gamesmanship, commonly known as “sledging.”
     But he’s achieved his immortality in Kerala’s sporting history right next to the Payyoli Express, P T Usha (God, I can imagine the grimace on her face) having made it to the Indian team. He’s still touted to be one of the top Indian fast bowlers if he manages to keep his antics in check and his fitness as well. Sree’s the beacon of light for the darkness that had enclosed Kerala’s cricketers, having proven that the gateways to being an international cricketer are within grasps of talented players. I remember an interview on a local channel with one of Kerala’s famed IPS officers. The officer felt that it wasn’t fitness concerns that marauded Sreesanth’s ability, rather the ability to handle mental stress. Sree was quick to retort that if the officer was able to produce another International cricketer from Kerala, his views would be justified.
     The fact remains that the media does not stay too far from what he does on and off the field. As for antics, Ganguly’s bare-chested jig from the balcony at Lord’s and Prasad’s animated gesture at the quarter finals of the World Cup in ’96 draws comparisons with Sree’s tryst with Nel. And it was no small deal, carting an angry fast bowler over the sightscreens for a six. It epitomized the spirit within him, a sight of Don Quixote flaying the windmills.
P.S: In the English-language media, Sreesanth's full name has been the source of some confusion. He has been variously referred to as "Sree Sreesanth", "Sri Sreesanth", "Shantha Sreesanth", and "Shanthakumaran Sreesanth". He has also stated in the past that he wished to be known as "Sree Santh".

Friday, July 2, 2010

Rendezvous with the past.... (Bees saal baad)

Walking down the old road,
Those trees, those pebbles,
Reminds me of something bygone,
Lost in the winds, forever.

The mind goes for a ride,
Into the wilderness of memories,
Leaving desires incomplete,
Astray, but never forgotten.

Humming the aged melody,
Down from memory lane,
Never the way it was,
But memorable all along.

I’d live up to my promises,
Serve others till the end,
But, walking down the old road,
Reminds me of something bygone,
Lost in the winds, forever.