Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Fortune Teller: Chapter I

     “Roots is a study of continuities, of consequences, of how people perpetuate themselves, how each generation helps to doom, or helps to liberate, the coming one.”

    The bureaucrat finished his speech. His ideals seemed to have struck a chord somewhere. She switched off the television set and walked over to the open balcony. The skies were clear; the meteorological department had predicted a ten percent chance for showers. In the distance, the lights of the Eiffel tower had an eerie glow. “Why had they named it as the iron lady?” she pondered. Does love eventually leave people stone-hearted?
     Paris, the city of dreams, had always been her favorite destination. It evoked a mixed bag of reactions – old friends, conquered dreams and forgotten promises. The date had passed, passed a decade ago.
     She had fallen asleep. The first rays of dawn brought her to her senses. She vaguely recalled her thoughts from the previous night. The wine had probably got her thinking. Drinking wasn’t an addiction, although she enjoyed good red wine. She chided herself for not restricting to more than a couple of glasses. Rummaging through her pile, she picked up an old book. The covers were dusty. Though she had managed to keep the termite off, the book seemed to have caught up with old age. “Time doesn’t spare books either”, she murmured. Each time she opened the book, her mind had wandered off to the past. She read the covers for the umpteenth time, “This book is an act of love, and it is this which makes it haunting.”
    They had named her Venus. Venus, the Roman goddess of love and beauty. Ironic that those feelings seemed to stay adrift of her, always. Her gaze fell upon the open book A message was scribbled on the third page, the date was signed as May 2nd 2007. The book had been a birthday gift. A gift from an acquaintance; he was more a stranger then. Initially he had struck her as arrogant, selfish and proud. And in due course, she had expected him to end up as another misanthropist, adding to the original list of narrow-minded peers.
    Over the next couple of years, they had bonded well. The contrast in personalities hardly seemed to have an effect; he was ruthless, she was a bundle of emotion. Nevertheless, she could depend on him during her bouts of fury and loneliness. He was one of the very few who could bear the brunt of her rage.
    They had not met each other barring a couple of occasions. But they spoke frequently and discussed topics pertaining to their lives. She found him intelligent on the subjects they touched upon, and he considered her an earnest student. Time had moved them apart, set them apart on their quests. She had rebelled against the orthodox traits in the family and pursued her passion. It had been hard, but she spent her energy wisely. She had concentrated only on the goal ahead of her and ended up on its summit. The recognition that heralded a professional dancer was incomparable. But all that sacrifices that she made, never ending. She had promised to take him to Paris; promised to read that book. Promises were plenty. Sadly, not all of them were meant to be kept. (to be contd)

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Story begins

     For a long time now, the concept of a story has been engulfing me. If it would increase reader interest, like the unfinished 7 PM soaps that run for a couple of years, I’d be more than happy to oblige. As of now, central protagonist is a reader – a young, smart intellectual. Let’s assume she’s a lady (they increase viewer interest, they always do – hard to imagine Jack surviving the Titanic debacle and doing a flashback!).  My blog’s open to comments, criticism, chocolates, gifts and flowers. So wait with bated breath (please please) while I hope to get it started over this weekend. This would be the apt time with three long weekends coming up, and not much work to do during the week. I’ve decided to name the story – Back to the Roots.

Disclaimer: The story is in a way related to the book inset.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Unique Identification D

“Never put off until tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow.” – Mark Twain.

     One of the other reasons why I’ve refrained from blogging is because every topic is clich├ęd. I’m active on twitter and give vent to my fury on a daily basis (please note: this has nothing to do with my joblessness). Apart from the spitting, splitting and spatting (verb introduced after the Kalmadi-Dishit duel), we’ve had the jokes about Chuck Norris and Rajnikanth (surprising that MS word doesn’t take Rajnikanth, there’s a joke right there), how well we’ve conducted the CWG; used a 40cr hot air balloon to depress the taxpayer’s money, and then cover the depression in the stadium with 80 truckloads of sand. Anyways, I’ve decided that we quickly need the UIDs in place. And it’s not because Junior AB implemented a strategy to avoid racism (remember the racism ad from Idea). Mr. Nilekani decided that Infosys would get hold of a large project (they’re used to tagging goods in Walmart stores using POS apps; time to tag humans).

     Something really funny happened earlier this week. A friend of mine and a client contact share the same name (like Nikolai Gogol). Let’s name the first one as ID4256 and the second one as ID7935. I had to fix up a meeting with 7935 for 2 PM. But since my phone generally displays names and “haste makes waste”, I reached at the scheduled time and called 4256. 4256 was bewildered as much as I was when she walked up to the reception and didn’t see me. I was at 7935’s location out to meet 7935, right? So then I called 7935 and she was shocked. Because in the morning I had actually spoken to 4256. It was a total embarrassment because my manager happened to come along with me. Would the Unique IDs solve the problem of my stupidity? If it does, what an idea sirji!

P.S: It's strange how we've moved from Instant coffee and 2-min noodles to Google Instant. In the future we might end up with Instant babies as well...

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Quarter Life Crisis

Prologue: The quarter-life crisis is a term applied to the period of life immediately following the major changes of adolescence, usually ranging from the early twenties to the early thirties. The term is named by analogy with mid-life crisis......
     A friend of mine once stated that it would be wonderful if we could work hard enough to be millionaires by the time we're 30, or else start working at 30. Initially I thought it didn't make sense at all. If you're a 24 year old guy in India and not working, its a serious crime. Everyone looks down upon you like a piece of dirt (girls have an easier option! get married early or share the same fate). So where do I stand?
    My crisis doesn't involve insecurity, unemployment or loneliness. I do realise the fact that googling myself doesn't set the search engines on fire. But I stand a better chance than most others. Kunnath Valappil Sajeesh is as unique as a dodo, or maybe a brontosaurus (one of the reasons why I use my full legal name nowadays). Just a couple of highly inflammable comments targeted at some superstar would provide impetus to hash-tags at social networking sites (SRK would not work, he's stooped to the level where he call himself an "inglorious B******" to make it to the news).
     I've been working for 4 long years (to make it sound longer, 48 months would be a better usage) and can't imagine working for the next 20 years. 20 years would be 240 months. If i saved 10k every month that would be 24,00,000 when I retire. 24 lakhs in 2030. Hmm. That wouldn't be enough for me to fulfill my dreams (currently on the list is a Ferrari, yacht, couple of islands, and a private jet).
     The best way to make myself famous and rich would be a career in politics. But I'm hardened by self-imposed principles and that wouldn't allow a colourful future. It might be like a Boom-Boom Afridi knock. Right up there and back in a flash. The alternatives include publishing a book. Hard luck buddy! The minimum qualification includes an MBA from a phoren (read foreign) university or at least an IIM-A, B, C or the likes. I like my current job, (never know when your boss might feel like reading your blog) in fact I totally love it ;). But I don't think I could do it for the rest of my life. My quandary continues.
     I turned 26 over the last weekend and completed the first quarter of my life. It was like one of those annual business review meetings. The first quarter is always the one where the work just starts. The next two might make all the difference (if I live upto the end of the 3rd one that is). The best part of being on the other side of 25 is that I don't feel old. Rather the people around me don't make me feel old. Most of them talk about the 70's and 80's where the youth had to struggle (Humbug! I struggle on a day-to-day basis to make it through Bangalore traffic). I don't have a notable paunch (emphasis on notable) and can run faster than most 20 year-olds (I get to choose my opponents). I don't smoke but can't claim that my lungs are clean (with all the passive smoke I inhale). My birthrights allow me to drink without judging the counter-effects of Alcohol (my malluness remember). I also found a way to conquer the mid-life crisis. On Google. Something that my ancestors can never claim they've done. :D
P.S: “In the best of times, our days are numbered anyway. So it would be a crime against nature for any generation to take the world crisis so solemnly, that it put off enjoying those things for which we were designed in the 1st place: the opportunity to do good work, to enjoy friends, to fall in love, to hit a ball, and to bounce a baby.”

Friday, October 1, 2010

National awards for shameless acts

“As societies grow decadent, the language grows decadent, too. Words are used to disguise, not to illuminate, action: you liberate a city by destroying it. Words are to confuse, so that at election time people will solemnly vote against their own interests.” ~ Gore Vidal.
The earliest memory that I have of our famed judiciary is the statue of a blind lady with a set of scales in her hand (they kept showing it in Hindi movies during the scenes of rape or injustice in the 80’s and 90’s). The modern day picture is a little brighter; in fact the lady is no longer blind and the scales are weighed in favour of the money on them. Someone once commented that newspapers and media always seem to have enough content to cover up their daily schedule. My humble, immature thought process feels that it requires immaculate talent to filter out the honorable (pun intended) antics of our prized stallions (read fat, greedy gluttons disguised in the form of politicians, law (en)forcers and the likes).
     When 26/11 stuck India with a venomous blow, I felt proud to be an Indian. Not because of what happened to us, but the way we reacted to it. The nation came together and we consoled each other. We had our share of losses; India didn’t seem to be the favored destination for foreign nationals anymore (The Aussies always crib and their kiwi counterparts share the same bloodline). India’s ability to stand up against the forces of terrorism was all that was counted for. And for that one moment I felt that the slogans of “Incredible India” and “India shining” would hold stead as much as the promised economic growth (our predicted GDP’s are like the required run rate that the India cricket team faces while chasing).
But that’s where we screwed up. We caught one of the terrorists red-handed, (can’t figure out why we kept him alive) spent Rs. 35 crores on his security and now the idiot claims bouts of forgetfulness. Not to forget the fact that we’ve decided to hang him after all, and his lawyer has decided to be a part of the next series of Big Boss. But the story is not complete. Latest reports suggest that human rights activists don’t want him to be executed, and our Ghajini has filed an appeal against his sentence. Maybe he might act in a couple of movies (after all he’s just 23, and wouldn’t need training on how to hold a gun) over the next decade, do a Munna or a Bhai and get away with it. God forbid he doesn’t get into a TZP or Pa role and win a national award. The next thing you know, we might call him Padmashree Kasab. The latest joke doing the rounds is “n+1” ways of getting an Indian civilian award (n being constant and equal to 1, either pay for it or else do something no one else has done before). The icing on the cake would be Mr. K’s interview with RSardesai or Bdutta where our protagonist would break down into tears and ask the public to forgive him. He would be granted a full pardon and Indian citizenship. The solution to the whole problem should have been done earlier; damn the human rights activists, tie him up and let the public pelt stones.
So before that Saga ended, we had another hero move up the ranks. Another K, K for Kalmadi and K for Kommon wealth. How thought provoking! At least this guy has the nerve not to break down or admit his mistakes. The prospect of stepping down from his current position is not even a possibility. And with tax-payers funding his projects, he has no reason to complain. He could always pass the buck that the rains in Delhi were unexpected, and the reason why we needed those expensive rolls of tissues (you know, the $89/roll ones). Some think that the hygienic conditions were bad only to get back at the countries that racially abused us (The English did that for 400 years and the Aussies have been doing it for the last year). If we can’t beat you fair and square, we’re going to give you shit, loads of it. Here again, the tissues could be of use.
There’s one issue remaining. It took 18 years and a few thousands killed before we figured out the primary solution of splitting something. Give everyone their share and get done with it. And reason with a 1000 pages of legal jargon. Hype the media to be quiet about the whole matter and by not discussing about it, to discuss about it (the news presenter in one of the regional channels repeated the same statement a dozen times, “we’ve been asked not to discuss about it and would conform to it”). So we all had half a day off (the luckier ones had the whole day off) and nothing else. Both fronts are off to the next level of justice and the tug-of-war continues. The majority is neither interested nor bothered about the outcome of the issue. One thing’s for sure, if Gods existed in those locations, there’s every chance they are not going back there. People in glasshouses don’t throw stones at others, and most of us are yet to realize that.

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
~ The Four Quartets

Disclaimer: This is solely my opinion and if you don’t like it, don’t read my blog.

P.S: Vote for me. I’d like to replace Kommon wealth Kalmadi as head of the Olympic committee.