Free Falling

How would it feel to let go and fall? Plummeting down towards the ground, with no rope to hold and no cushion to break the fall. The air rushing up and left and right, pushing your body around as if it were a bag of feathers. How would those few seconds feel, when you know for sure that life as you know it will end? Will you cringe? Will you cry? Will the past flash by your mind or will the mind be too terrified to think about the past and especially the future? Sins from the past- will they haunt the final moments. Could it, otherwise, be a screenplay of happy thoughts and fond memories?

It must be bliss to know that this cycle of physicality will be done with. It must feel like heaven to be weightless and unfettered by the chains of life. Perhaps there will be a prayer said, thanking the heavens for the relief that's rushing towards you. A final sigh and a final phew, just before the wind gets blown out of your lungs for the last time. A crunching, sickening sound and you are a non-entity.

Lest you think otherwise, I ought to mention that I am not feeling suicidal :-). I do have this weird tendency to fantasize about falling down or letting things fall whenever I am looking down from a height. Fortunately I don't have that kind of tolerance for pain, so I will never try free-falling probably not even if it's bungee-jumping.


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crowning glory

Tricked you! The title has nothing to do with anything that I have to say. The truth is I don't have anything to say. I've been working on a couple of posts for a long time, but they don't seem to go anywhere. So, you are sort of stuck with this.

Life's moving along - tumbling, stumbling but moving. I would soon be among the many that travel an hour or more to get to office. I don't intend to drive down. Company-provided transport is the way to go. I was wondering, along with a few colleagues, if the traffic situation might benefit from employees using company transport as opposed to their cars and bikes. If workplaces can streamline their work hours and provide some kind of carrot to make the employees use company transport, it might help. I haven't done enough research to say if there's enough transportation being arranged by companies, but I think there are many that still prefer to drive/ride down by themselves. These are the ones that need to be targeted.

In my opinion, public transport is next to negligible in B'Lore. People wouldn't want to get crushed on my way to work in those dingy looking buses. Neither would people want to hop from bus to bus, in an effort to reach their work-places. Connectivity is a problem. The BMTC needs to clean up its act and get to work. I have seen a remarkable improvement in the last year, with luxury Volvo buses, Ladies' Specials, Pass Buses and even buses that are routed through major medical facilities. It's a good start.

In other news, Tata announced its 1-lakh car. Here's a take on why that is not good news. I tend to agree with the author. With the (lack of) road sense that we possess, I don't want to see every Tom, Dick and Harry driving in a four-wheeled contraption. Call me whatever but I am praying that the car doesn't take off.

That must've bored you to death. I will stop before you run screaming with your hair flying around. I am scared that your hair might get caught in the door jamb and send you sprawling on the floor. I cannot afford a lawsuit. :-D

Have fun, have a merry christmas!! And in case I don't post again, let me wish you all the best year ahead.

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no title

Like a mad man, he screamed at the top of his voice and jumped out of the house. The metal on his belt flashed in the crazy light from the hot sun. He ran and ran. People split to let him pass by. Some of them stood watching him run and wondered what it was that made this man look so happy. His toothy grin and his flaying hair made him look like a crazy bum. His clothes or the lack of them, for he only wore his torn jeans, made people pity him. Yet they were surprised that this poor, wretched creature seemed happy like none other. The man ran into the pier and stood at the edge of the pier. The sea gulls swooped around, looking at him with curiosity. He smelled of something nice that the birds would've liked to feed upon. They circled around for a while and then knowing that this was just another human being the gulls went on their way.

The man shouted something out to the sea. Alas, there was no one around to hear him speak. The sea boiled on without giving him another thought. He might have been speaking in a language that none knew. His monologue with the sea continued until he grew exhausted. He was vexed that nobody cared to know that he was hurt, angry and feeling miserable. The grin on his face was involuntary. He didn't know what else to do with the enormous misery coursing through his veins.

He turned away from the ocean and ran into the road, not waiting for the traffic to stop. He only wished that his death be quick. It wasn't!


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Goa

Yeah, had a mind-blowing birthday in Bangalore and then went to Goa for a vacation.

Four days in Goa later, I was getting a bit fed-up with beaches.. I love the ocean and all that, yet it was too much of the beach I think. The sweltering heat didn't help much either. Thank god, we were in an air-conditioned car when we travelled around Goa.

Goa, to me, was about the awesome food and travelling down the brilliant narrow roads. The roads are very scenic, with trees all over and hilly ups-and-downs. The ocean would make brief appearances and so would the rivers. The roads are also scary. They are pretty narrow and driving around Goa is a pray-that-you-miss affair. The designated driving-guys in my gang did a good job, I should say. I am still alive, aren't I?

We had a map with us for navigation but sometimes just took turns and straights for the heck of it. Thanks to the fact that we weren't looking for a specific travel itinerary, it was quite enjoyable. We usually landed up at some nice place or the other. So that was fine.

The season for Goa was just beginning and so there wasn't a huge crowd, which was good. Our resort was right next to the beach and being a little away from the main Calangute beach, it was a lot less crowded. I wasn't in Goa to party and loved the laid-back days that we had. Also tried our hands at para-gliding and this thing called banana-ride - you are made to sit on a dangerous looking buoy-like contraption, taken into the sea and tumbled into the sea (with a life-jacket on).

We stayed away from some of the Goan stuff that friends from Goa called boorish - the sunset cruises for one. No eating at beach shacks too. The loud, garish music was not to my taste. I guess all of us preferred a more relaxed and calmer setting for food. We skipped the churches too because we weren't in Goa to see sights either.

Goa was fun but a little over-hyped if you ask me. It's unreasonably expensive too, everything is sold at a premium. Prices supposedly double or triple during the peak season, which is between December and January. Like a friend said - "You pay to get sun-burnt in Goa".

Some pictures from the trip, courtesy of Rajesh.

http://pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/raajjesh81/album?.dir=3e6bscd&.src=ph

http://pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/raajjesh81/album?.dir=2282scd&.src=ph


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Just like that...

You must all know, by now, that MSC has retired from F1. Like his many many fans, I am saddened a lot, especially because Schumi went out without this year's championship. Yes, Alonso deserved it and all that, but Schumi did make a huge comeback towards the end of a season. Sad that he did not win the last race either and I couldn't watch it because I was stuck in silly CAS-sed Chennai. Watched the highlights though and man o man, Schumi did prove worthy of his greatness. What a wonderful last drive!!! It doesn't matter what his critics think and it doesn't matter what his opponents think, Schumi was a great racer - the greatest that I've had the privilege to watch. I've cried with the world when he lost, I've celebrated when he won races. Michael, you were a racing god and shall remain one. Etched in our memories. You are the best that ever can be!

In other news, Simon&Schuster announced today Stephen King's newest novel "Lisey's Story". Can't wait to get my hands on the book.

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Rant: Do you follow traffic rules?

The scene: I was waiting at the red to take a U-Turn at the BTM (Jayadeva) Flyover to head towards the Mantri building. It's red and I've my engine killed, enjoying a short break, clearing my head, before heading to work.

Now, people have this really bad habit at this particular signal: As soon as A turns red and B turns green, traffic at C has this urge to break their red. It's weird but that how's people behave.


| | |
| | | |
| | | {B} |
| |___________| |
| |_________________________|

Jayadeva Junction {A}
_________________________
| ______ |
| {C} ( ) |
| | | |
| | | |
| | | |
| | | |



So, while I wait, A turns red, B turns green and C, of course, is still red. This gentleman (details later) starts honking. I point out the red to him. But why should that stop him. "The signal doesn't work", says he before zooming off to take a U-turn, risking an accident in the process. He must've been a real honcho and the 2 minutes that he waits for a red could cost his company (hold on, I will tell u where he works too) a billion dollars. So he zooms off leaving me boiling. When I get a green, I take my U-turn as usual, catch up with Mr. Honcho (I wish I had learnt his name) and ask him "Can't you wait for a b****y red? Aren't you educated? You s** ...". He merely waves me off and drives on. Yes, I agree that arguing was not the way to deal with it, but my temper was ruined and my peace disturbed. With all that going on, I couldn't stop the man and have a sane discussion on traffic rules with a man like that. Imagine my plight when I had to take the elevator with him. Aaarggghhhh!!! The agony of it all.

Why can't we wait at signals? Why can't we be patient and let a vehicle take a turn? Why can't we wait for a stalled vehicle to start or drive around it or help the stalled vehicle? Why do we have to honk and shout at a stalled vehicle? Why can't we cultivate a basic road sense? Are we that hampered by our limited civic sense?

Mr. Honcho drives a golden colored Santro, wears glasses, is thin and tall. He works for Tally in the Commerce@Mantri building on the 2nd floor. I wish I had gotten his name. Oh yes, let him sue me for defamation if he can.

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Firefox 2.0 RC1

Yep, just downloaded it. I have been playing around with the browser. Had to mini-hack some of my favorite plug-ins to work with the new version. Everything works so far and that's good, innit? A little inconvenient but should hold me until the extensions are updated.

Some very nice additions to an awesome browser. Read the What's New section for a rundown. Don't care too much about the visual changes or the web feeds. What I liked are

  • The auto complete feature for search engines. Yep, the search engine plugins can provide auto-complete. It did for Google.
  • built-in spell checker for web forms. it's brilliant and comes spelling suggestions and a add to dictionary feature. How hot is that? Now, your web mail can be spell checked on the go. BTW, I used it during this post.
  • Tabbed browsing improvements. History has a separate "recently closed tabs" list.
  • Built-in phishing protection. That should come in handy.
  • Some more neat features...
On the whole it is neat and I am waiting for 2.0 to be out. Can't wait to see what more they can do.

Do check it out. But beware, this install will overwrite any previous FF installs. Of course, your data will be safe.

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Hair-Raising

For years, I have always sported a really short crop, so short that it always looked like I was recovering from a recent tonsure. To speak the truth, I was scared of my hair. It was harder than coir and more unwieldy than the wildest weed. The barber must have cursed his luck everytime I stepped in for a hair-cut and this was pretty often. A little more than ground-level and there I would be getting my hair cut. I made sure that the hair was cut as short as the scissors could handle - value for money was definitely not the motivation. All this was until about a few months ago, when I stopped by the limelite salon (yes, it's a salon). My hair-stylist (yes, a stylist. I don't pay 200 bucks to call him a barber) cut my hair a little lesser than what I wanted. He didn't actually have to convince me to leave it just a little bit longer, though. Thus, I sported the "medium-length" hair for a while.

The devil, then, took me and I did the unthinkable. My hair "missed" a few appointments, three and a half months worth of them. Millions of gallons of hair gel and conditioner were used up during this period (Alright, that's overtly exaggerated!!). No, I did not want a ponytail. No, I couldn't even carry off the longer-by-a-few-centimeters hair. Nevertheless, I decided to soldier on and ignore the laments of my mom, the mocks of the others, the snigger of my friends and the "is that a new hair-cut?" jokes.

It felt nice to finally feel the wind in my hair. This happened during a train trip back to Bangalore. I was at the door trying to get chennai (no offense please) out of my system with a dose of the moonlit scenery, salty air and Bob Dylan singing "Blowin in the Wind" (No, I am not sure if it was that song but it would've fit in with the scene). There was a nice wind galloping right next to the length of the train. Without much strain, the wind could find my patch of hair and rush through it cutting through them like those guys always seem to do in "Lost". I found it immensely pleasurable to notice that the wind was able to mess with my hair. Yes, it felt nice. Hell, it felt great. So what if I looked weird with all that hair! Ahh, so this is what hair in the wind felt like?

Now that I had experienced the rebellious version of my hair, I was happy to fix up an appointment for my hair. I am back at medium length now. Yes, it still looks weird, but who cares!!

P.S: Don't get the wrong idea from my exaggerated use of the word "long". The word was used in complete relativity. The word "rebellious" was however used in the true sense. My hair is rebellious.


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Do you cook?

That's a de-facto question when people learn that I live alone in a house equipped with a stove, LPG connection and a myriad of utensils. My reply would always be, "Na. Used to cook, then didn't one day and the next and the next...." Truth be told, I rather enjoy the cooking part. What I don't enjoy is the painstaking brutal butchery of the vegetables. If only the veggies come in shapes that are suitable for cooking. Strips of carrot, quartered potatoes, sliced tomatoes, sliced onions. I have heard you can buy pre-cut vegetables, but I didn't bother to learn more about them. The biggest excuse I had to avoid cooking was the fact that I had to cook for one and I did not have a refrigerator to stow away extra portions. I hated the smirk that invariably bejewelled the veggie-wallahs face when I asked for "50gms of onion, 1 (exactly one) chilly, 1 stalk of curry leaves, 100gms of potato and 50gms of tomato". I am sure they found it funny. I didn't.

My cooking experience ranges across a number of 1-month periods. Some excuse or the other would save me from it and there I would be, back at the take-away. What did I make during the 1-month periods? Potato sambar, potato sagu, fried potato, potato stew. Yep, you guessed it. It was almost always a starchy potato meal. Did you guess why? Bingo!! Potatoes are easier to store. No refrigeration required.

So when the new fridge arrived most of my excuses had to be binned. In a way, I was glad that I made the buy. The curries I had to have everyday were killing me with their untasteable flavours. That's one thing I hate about the food here, every flavour tends to come in the way of the other and at the end of the meal all you can taste is a certain numbness of the taste-buds.

Now my kitchen is stocked with extra-virgin olive oil, brined olives, veggies - tomatoes, green peppers, baby corn, potatoes (can't ditch them, can I?), beet-root, salad dressings, cheese (no, I don't love cheese too much), milk (good milk in carton!), frozen fish, tomato puree, penne pasta. Yep, everything you need to whip up a great salad or dish out a nice fish. Not in fist-sized portions anymore!

So do I cook? Yes, I do. I don't know for how much longer, because first-and-foremost I am pretty lazy.


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Pandhikari, Coffee and Peace

That's Coorg for you. Had a wonderful ride to Coorg and back. For ye B'Loreans that head towards Mysore, do try the NICE corridor from Kanakapura Road to somewhere beyond the dreaded Kengeri traffic. That is one marvellous road, smooth asphalt, trimmed in white, stretching and snaking away into the horizon. If I could, I would dedicate this entire post to the NICE corridor. Sadly, I didn't stop to take pictures of the road. I should do it someday. The route we took was B'Lore-NICE-Ranganthittu turn off-Kushal Nagar-Madikeri-Cherumbane-nice resort in a mindblowing location. Yeah, i forget the other places that came and went in between. :)

The entire stretch was quick, smooth and heavenly to ride on. Except for some sections which are being laid afresh and should be done up soon. With a start time of 6:20ish we reached our acco around 11:30ish. And what an awesome place to stay in. It is a resort that is still being developed and once it is completed, I am sure you would want to be there. The view is worth killing for and the 80 acres the resort is on is worth all the money. It's a rain forest in itself. It even has a "canopy walk", that's a wooden bridge suspended really high up and strung from tree to tree. The walkway would extend an amazing 1/2 a kilometer. Yeah, that's right!

It was festival time in Coorg. The rest-after-the-sowing festival. I forget its name. It's kayal-something. Well, it was a time of celebration and every Tom, Dick and his friend Harry was walking lop-sided, thanks to intoxication. The entire town except for the three of us (Sameer, our host Satya and I) was merrily drunk. It was pretty funny. It wasn't even lunch time, mind you.

The afternoon turned out a very adventurous outing for us. First, we saw a 4WD Mahindra use its 4WD. At one really slippery and steep part of the track, the 4WD was outdone and we had to use an additional 5 MP (that's Man-Power) to get it out of the rut.. Dirtied jeans and grinning faces! Then in the evening, we decided to eat pandhicurry by a river. Guess what? We managed to ditch another Mahindra into a hole in the ground. :D And 4MP applied, pulled it out of the hole and on the drive. :) We were drenched in the rain by then and settled down to steaming pandhi-kari inside the jeep with the river looking at us through the windshield (or the other way around, if you please).

It didn't stop there. We had a huge spread of fried chicken, chutta pork (BBQ pork marinated in a lip-smacking, hot green-chilli sauce), pork chops, mutton, roti and tomato curry. The meal was huge, I tell you. Enough to put us to sleep by 9:30.

Next morning, after a hot cuppa tea (thanks to the guy from Darjeeling) we were on our way. This time we tried a different route.

The first leg: Sad-to-leave-it-behind Resort-Somwarpet-Shanivarasanthe was at its usual brilliance. The early morning weather, the negligible traffic and tons-and-tons of twisties after twisties put us in excellent spirit. We were so floating in the air, by then, that the second leg, Shanivarasanthe-HoleNarsipur-Channarayapatna, couldn't dampen our spirits with its negliglible road and the stand-on-the-pegs dunes. Yes, the second leg was a motocross like track. Sameer and I positively love the off-roading and it was no big deal. Not for the weak-hearted though. Avoid this second leg. Instead take Shanivarpet-Sakleshpur-Hassan-Channarayapatna. Longer but a lot more roadly. The third leg was NH48. Fun, fast dear-old NH48. Until you reach Nelamangala though. Once you get there, it's good-bye sweet freedom. Welcome to the chaos of civilisation. The congress rally didn't help one bit. After a fruitless but valiant attempt to get onto the Hebbal flyover, we turned back and took a half-circle around Bangalore on the Ring Road towards Mysore Road. The best decision ever. The RR took us to Kengeri and then we decided to go a very little way down towards Mysore and take the nice NICE road again. And then at 14:00 it was sweet home, some lunch and deep slumber for two hours.

Pictures here: http://www.imagestation.com/album/pictures.html?id=2102279287&mode=invite


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Hilarious Review

Of yet another mushy pot-boiled movie. It's hilarious and goes exactly with how I feel about such movies.

http://greatbong.net/2006/08/20/kabhi-alvida-na-kehna-the-review/

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Blub glug blub

Ah, so there we are. No posts for a long time. No thoughts to pour for a longer time. At the risk of being booed, I say this again - I've been lazy. :) Like always during these inertial states, I wonder about what could have been and what couldn't have been. No, I don't lust after the could've-beens nor do I fear that couldn't-have-beens. I must sound boastful when I claim that success is not of much consequence to me - atleast not in the professional sense of the word. That doesn't mean I don't have material needs and wishes, that doesn't mean that I am completely carefree or careless. It's just that I don't have the inclination to be a part of it. Like most people, remember I said most not all, I always think I don't have enough money but at the same time I value my life and my freedom more than money. I have ignored a number of then very lucrative job offers because I was convinced that the work life would override my personal life. We can't have that, can we? What is the point in toiling the skin off for money that you don't get to enjoy?

errr ok I'll quite blubbing and leave.

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Weird

"What is the best thing to do when you have split with your spouse but you want to work it out?"
This search on www.ask.com brings up my blog as the first search result (before this post). How weird is that!

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Let me rant

Yeah, as a citizen of a supposedly-democratic nation I believe I have the right to rant. Ofcourse, I should take care as to not hurt the religious, cultural, sane or insane sentiments of the others. If my rant includes any domain that the reader may be aligned to or otherwise interested in, please excuse me. I mean no harm. I merely mean to rant. I have the time to do it and I am high on LSB (Light Simple Bore). I would recommend that you don't read the post at all. It probably wouldn't make sense. It probably would turn out to be no post at all. I use the word probably because I have no idea why or what I am posting.

Ah, so you are still reading this deadly concoction. At your own peril, I say, at your own. Nevertheless now that you are with me (on the same page like people like to say), let me see what I have to say. Alright, alright, I will start with the idiot box. I am not glued to the idiot box but I do senselessly surf the channels from the cosy confines of me bean bag. With the quality of television programming what it is, the surf is at insane speeds. Sometimes I surf merely to make a string out of the various sounds booming out of the various stations. Have u tried that? You should, you might find it fun. "Boo Caa Raa Nooo Wat Dash Splash glub blub dub wilp slip plip yeap hi no good every people.." You get the idea, don't you? These television people get one thing right - weekends should be the most boring day on television. It's a good thing, you know. It gets the people off their seat and who knows they might even venture into the sunlight. To get some calcium, like a friend inadvertently quipped the other day.

What's irritable about television - I should've said what's most irritable - is the quality of advertisements. There are some very funny and some very well-made ads, I admit. To counter that people have come up with ingenously ridiculous ads that can irritate you more than a itch can. Take the champi ad for example. For the uninitiated, it's an ad for a hair oil that has now found its way into "Lifestyle and Music Channel" VH1. Yes, you heard it right - on VH1, that glorious soldier that came to redeem us from the other cliched music channels. Anyway it has the charmingly unattractive diya mirza with the squeakiest voice ever. I attribute the squeaky voice to a well oiled voice box that I suspect has been champi-ed with parachute advansed. The pitch of her voice (voice-over?) is very acutely tuned so that the vibrations can travel into your bones, then move up the marrow and reach the brain where the vibrations jelly-up the nerves and the cells on the brain. It's a blissful feeling, I must add, to be knocked out of your mind like that. I wonder what the heck champi means. Does it mean massage? Ahh, now I realise that this was the centerpiece of my rant.

I am quite thankful that I don't suffer from Himesh Is the Devil Syndrome. Before you are lead to believe otherwise, let me state that I hate Himesh's singing like most of you do. Did I hear you say he's ok? Ok, you have the right to your opinion so go ahead and have it. Add some pepper sauce to cover up the staleness though. Getting back to the point, I don't watch MTV or Channel V. For the time, I am safe from HIDS.

I have also been lucky enough to have a proxy that meant no blogspot blocking for me. Yet, I wish to stamp my disapproval on whatever it was that happened. Censorship on any kind is deplorable, especially when it comes from our pure-souled politicians that don't have the golgappas (Thanks, Sushila) to do what they preach.

Had enough? No? Well i did, so adious amigos. Auf Wiedersehen!

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Oyster

Without you,
I am a mere speck in the universe.
You make me feel
Like a pearl in this Oyster's shell.









Image Copyright © 2004 Travel with a Challenge http://www.travelwithachallenge.com/

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Run-in Trip

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Why this?

Why terrorize? Why hurt? Is this the only way to get what you want? Is this the way to garner attention?

It doesn't matter who did it. It doesn't matter what the cause is. It doesn't matter if it is a wily political move. It doesn't matter if it is an attempt to make a scape-goat out of someone. What matters is the grief that has been effected! What matters is the sadness that now envelopes those that have lost so much! What matters is the shatter of lives, resounding and resonating through a city! What matters is the cruelty that we, the intellectual species, are capable of!

God help those that now suffer. God help those that made them suffer.

Utopia, where are you?

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Con at petrol pumps

I am sure most of you must have read/heard about the new trick up the petrol-pump-assistants' sleeve. I had too, but it happened to me nevertheless.

The fact that I have noticed it at four different pumps in B'Lore has me worried. It surely isn't an isolated incident and I am pretty sure it extends outside of B'Lore too.

The trick is to short-change you of fuel.

The players

The pump guy who pumps the fuel - PG
The cash collector who collects the cash - CC
The victim - V

Modus Operandi

V asks for, say, 4 litres of fuel. PG asks V to check zero and proceeds to pump fuel. PG pumps only 1 litre of fuel, pretending that he thought V wanted only a litre. When V clarifies, PG and CC ask him if they can fill in another 3 litres. V says alright. Meanwhile, CC distracts V with silly questions like "are u paying by card or cash?" and other such stuff. Now that V is distracted, PG does not reset the meter and in fact goes slow on the fuel filling, so that by the time V's focus is back the meter shows around 1.25 litres or so. PG fills fuel until it shows 3 litres. do the math and V (well, i was) has just been cheated of a litre. Ofcourse, both PG and CC will claim that the meter was indeed reset.

I noticed it because inspite of the billing guy making attempts to distract me, I looked at the pump counter just in time to smell something fishy. I couldn't prove them wrong and so ended up being fooled.

A similar modus operandi is applied if you ask for 400 rupees worth of fuel. In this case, you'll be cheated of not just a litre but a 100 rupees worth of fuel.


The pumps

It has happened to me at 4 different places.

1) The first was the HP petrol pump on the JP Nagar Ring Road, just before the Delmia circle when you are headed towards Bannerghatta Road. Here I was cheated and learnt my lesson.

2) The next one was the BP just after Kadrenahalli Cross, Banashankari

3) The HP near Woody's just after the ICICI atm signal

4) The BP opposite IBM, near Jalbhavan, on Bannerghatta Road.


What can u do?

1) First and foremost, be alert. Don't take your eyes off the fuel counter. Car owners are probably the most susceptible as I have seen most of them remain inside the car. You are better off getting out of the car. It'll only cost a few seconds more.

2) Fill in lesser quantities.

3) Ask them to set the pump to auto-dispensing mode.

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4 Years and Going On

So as of this saturday (1st July), I have completed four years in the IT industry. Like many other IT workers, I am confused about whether I like it or not. Sometimes I find myself wondering if this is what I want to do. At other times, I think I am doing pretty well so why crib. The problem is not with the industry or the company, it is mostly with me. I am not adventurous enough or courageous enough to try something new. Yes, there are times when I bemuse myself dreaming about an off-the-beaten-track career filled with adventure and a newness. No, I am sure I will never ever do something like that.

Cheers to the four and whatever else is on the way. :)


P.S: My mom had to remind me and my friends that we have managed to complete four years. So our celebrations have been delayed by a week. :) We'll miss the majority that isn't in B'Lore.


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Crucifix

He marvelled at the sunlight, filtering through the dense foliage. He had seen such sights before, yet the glee in his soul was as true as anything can be. He would never bask in the glorious golden shimmer. He would never feel the warmth touch down upon his spine and make the chill shiver away. He was tied, bonded to his anchor and his cocoon, also his crucifix.

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lazing around

Lazing around : The act of conserving energy by reducing movement and effort. :D

The idea, originally, was that we would be in Kerala to welcome the monsoon. Due inspiration was provided by the amazing book, "Chasing the Monsoon", which I have not read yet. We didn't plan to chase the monsoon but to merely be present in Kerala during the monsoon. We weren't even too hung up on the welcoming bit.

The ideal place for us, as most of you would tend to agree, would have been Kovalam. But given the choice of a lake resort, that was surprisingly truly on the banks of a lake, we were hooked to the idea. We decided to head for the KTDC Thanneer Mukkom resort. Thanneer Mukkom is close to Azhapuzha and Kumarakom, part of the backwaters belt. It's a very small village, the resort being the only marker.

We took off in a bus from Neyveli to Ernakulam and reached Ernakulam around 9am. From Ernakulam, after sifting through many conflicting routes from well-meaning people, we took a "transport" bus to Vaikkom. Some appams later, the heat became unbearable and irritating. An auto-wallah took us to the resort, which was about 15kms from Vaikkom and left us 150 bucks poorer.

The resort's location is breath-taking. Like I said before, it's on the banks of a huge lake and it adds to the charm. Actually, the location is the best thing about the resort. The rooms themselves were not too great. For 1250 bucks I guess you can't ask for anything more, given that it is a touristy spot. By afternoon, we were settled into the room and looking forward to the rains and an ayurvedic massage. The massage at 750 bucks did not do wonders. What it did do was give me a good appetite. :)

Did I tell you about the hammock by the lakeside? Well, I grabbed it as soon as I could and went into energy-conservation mode with a book in hand and a gentle breeze flowing in from over the water. Bliss!! Only a low wall stood between me and the water. I peeped out every few minutes to watch the fishermen steering their boats through the hyacinths. The resort also had a jetty and I loitered around close to the water for a long time.

The first half of day two was spent running through Azhapuzha for the return tickets to Bangalore. The situation looked bleak. So we satisfied ourselves with waitlisted train tickets from Ernakulam and went back to laze-around mode. Didn't someone say, "Cross the river when you come upon it." By afternoon we reached Kumarakom using a ferry from a place called Muhamma less than 10kms from ThanneerMukkom. After a lunch that consisted of lobster, we rented a motor boat with strict instructions to stick to the interior canal(s) and leave out the lake, that we already ferried across. Sadly, there are only motorised boats. Even the house boats are motorised. The canal cruise was extremely good.

In case you didn't notice, the rains were nowhere to be seen. Except for a very brief drizzle on day two, there was no hint of the monsoon. We prayed and hoped that the rains would come. But as luck would have it never did come. Either we missed it or we overshot it by a day or two.

On Sunday evening, as the train left Ernakulam, our disappointment was quadrapuled when the sky suddenly grew overcast with huge dark clouds and it rained. I don't know if it was a monsoon shower, but it rained very well and left us feeling more dejected. The rain-gods had mocked us and there was nothing we could do but go back empty-handed. In hindsight, it was a well spent two days, a good break from the monotony.

And there's always another chance.

Pix@Imagestation.

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TAAQ in London

Yes, Thermal And A Quarter are gigging in Scotland and England.... Check them out at MySpace.
All the best guys!! And go rock the world!!!

Tuck in here.

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Mixed Masala

Long time, no thoughts, no post. Yes, I have not given the blog a thought (is that a pun?), for sometime now. This is a mere update post. Updates about whatever fancies me in the next few minutes :)

The rain-gods are (were?)
back in Bangalore. I love this place for that. Signs of excruciating heat and then relief comes pouring down. The nights are cooler nowadays.

The sunday before last, picked up some books from Landmark. Pix. Finished Murakami. Interesting author.
Now, reading The Dark Tower VII. Where will the ka-tet end up?

Culturals happening at work and I, of all people, am involved in a lot of activities. Please don't ask me what. :-D

Ahhh. This reservation thing. I am extremely hurt by whatever is going on. On one hand, we want to present India as an intellectually capable nation. On the other, we deny the intelligent a chance to hone their skills. "Reservations based on caste", says the government and the minister has the guts to claim that India is not yet a modern society. Knock, knock, knock!! Mr. Minister, Do u realize that whatever you are doing now is partly the cause?

Did you read/watch Karan Thapar's interview with the honorable Minister? It is people of this aptitude that run the government. I used to think that the likes of the PM and the Fin Minister can bring this country to the forefront. Now, I stand dismayed. I am horrified.

By the way, we won't just reserve seats in educational institutions. We will also make sure that the incapable and inept that come out these institutions will actually also have jobs waiting for them. I am not casteist. The government is.

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presenting Wander-Clicks!

There! I have done it. I chucked my poor old Samsung CDMA phone. Before u call me cruel, know that the phone was well past it's date and it gave up its ghost due to a fried motherboard. The obituary is on its way. He deserves a well-thought-of goodbye, that is why it's so long in coming.

Anyway let me introduce my new phone - phones, if my bro lets me share the one I bought for him. Ta-da, welcome Mr. Sony Ericsson w800i! Yes, I am a Nokia fan but the really awesome camera on the phone seduced me. The camera has even gotten an auto-focus feature :-O. A cool mp3 player and a 512MB card shipped in the package serve for good timepass. Not a great looker though and the PC software shipped with it sucks.

Now for the other phone. Technically my brother's.
Ladies and gentleman, please welcome the absolutely gorgeous Nokia 6280. I had a tough time convincing myself to take the w800 and not the nokia. It's slick, it has got a large and lucid display. The camera is almost useless but otherwise a beautiful piece of equipment. How I wish I could carry both the phones! :(

Oh yes, if you are wondering about the title of this post, it is to announce my new mobile-pix blog Wander-Clicks. Currently premiering pictures from Dubai courtesy of the SE w800i.

P.S: The pix are not posted on the go. Not yet anyway.

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o white dove

o white dove, basis
of all that is me.
you are untied with me,
free to follow your wish.
then why do you ask of me,
this favour that is not one.
"Let go", you said.
Surely you didn't mean that.
For the mind plays tricks
Keeping you in a haze.
What the hurt mind shows
is not reality, the reflection
of a broken mirror.
The blue sky is not freedom,
the wind is not happiness.
This shoulder you sit on,
Is not heaven.
Yet they are yours to claim,
mementoes of "you".
No, you can't give them up,
Though your delirium thinks
otherwise. No, it's not right,
as the fragmented mind says it is.
Go, if you want to, scout
the horizon for the truth,
The truth that you know,
that the sooty veil hides.
Go now, but fly back to
the shoulder that still awaits
your feathery landing.


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the cry of the dying ember

I lay crumpled, the innards of my soul ripped apart and strewn upon the dusty floor of memory lane. I wish I could curl up and become a child, an embryo and finally nothing. A nothingness that would be blissful.

I am like a yacht at sea, with its sails blown away. There is no drive but the shore is nowhere near and all I can do is let the ripples carry me on. The will to live is negligible but life will go on, uncaring and without stop. The sail might get patched with help from people around me, but until it does life will be a drag, weighed down by the cruelty that fate has chosen to shower.

I cringe at the hate that the world holds and the manipulation of fate. I have been singed by the fire of ignorance and burnt at the pyre of stubbornness. I have been murdered in the name of tradition, with the archaic dagger of division. My destiny has been taken away from me. Not because I didn't try. Not because I didn't crave it. It was taken away and crushed because the universe conspired against it.

It's not the world that is impure, it is not fate that's impure. It is the people that perceive the impurity and bring it into being. More's utopia is just a vision, an untouchable seductress who always shimmers tantalizingly ahead of us. What would happen to Utopia in the cradle of ignorance? Would Utopia be smothered into submission? Submission to the set view that we have made of the world.

I wish it were easier to walk away from everything. I wish it were easier to get up after the fall and limp back to normality.

What do I do when meanings dissolve into falsehood? What do I do when everything I thought life to be becomes an illusion? An illusion that has destroyed the fine mirrors of my past. An illusion that has erased what I am and what I have become. I am now undefined and unconsumed. I am left to redefine and to re-establish my spirit in this teeming world.

P.S: Ignore the relevance of the title


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they are here

It's that time of the year in B'Lore when those lilac-coloured flowers appear on the branches of those trees that bear them. Yeah, you guessed right. I have no clue as to what they are called, or their species or biological family or their gender. All I know is that they are some sort of avenue trees - the politically correct name for trees that have been left to tend for themselves on the sides of the road. These lilacish-coloured flowers carpet the roads in the morning and, though I have not actually seen this, I am sure they would present a very pretty sight early in the morning when the slanted rays at dawn filter through the leaves onto the ground. They are a pretty sight even when the world has awakened to chaos. The wonderful thing is that they seem to be everywhere. They are like the omnipresent song of spring and they manage to bring a smile to my yet-to-awaken face. Every single day.

There are so many such teeny-weeny little things about Bangalore. No wonder I'm so in love with this place.

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the teacher

It wasn't often that someone offered him a word. It had been years since anyone had spoken to him even a few sentences let alone half-hour's worth of them. His lips moved only to talk to the innate silence that was in him. He spoke to the earth, he spoke to the wind. He even spoke to the trees when they caught his fancy. He never wondered why he heard no replies. He never worried that no humans ever wished to talk to him. He liked to be his own companion in conversation. Naturally he had been caught off-guard when the man in the car addressed him out of the blue. He had looked around to be sure that it was indeed him that the man in the car had called out to. He had said, "Sir?", with the little question mark added at the end with an inflection. Sir, indeed!

The man had invited him to have coffee with him at the store across the road. He was dressed in a pair of old blue comfortable jeans and a black tee. Unlike him, the man looked perfectly in place within the coffee shop. In the last thirty minutes, the man had spoken to him and listened to the story of his life with an honest interest. The man had recognised him inspite of the shrivelled skin and the badly nicked bald head. He offered his teacher a place to live, or die when the time came, in peace. He claimed that his teacher had been the first step in his ladder. The first, sure, strong step that now defined his career, his success and his life. It was now time to ensure that this demi-god was at peace and he had come to claim his right to do that.

The teacher stared at the student he couldn't remember. His memories had long before been strangled out of existence. He wondered at the godliness of this man he had once taught. He felt proud of that. He stood up and thanked the man for his respect and his care. He took his cane and made his way out. This conversation would now enable him to sanely live with the silence for a long time to come. That was all he needed in life. That was all he wanted to be thankful for.

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my experiments with the vices - 1

I was out on a mission this saturday, to experience drunkenness. I don't mean to brag but I was hell bent on finding out what it felt like. As luck would have it, a friend's treat was on and nine of us headed to purple haze. I didn't like the ambience of the place, but the rock they played was good enough for my tastes. The scary thing was that inspite of this being my first time, I felt nothing even after 4 shots of scotch. Nothing, almost nothing. I guess I was an alcoholic even before I started to drink. All I felt had to do more with the music than the alcohol. With a dozen heads banging around, I just couldn't resist and got into the neck straining excercise. Now, I don't know about getting drunk but there is nothing that can beat a bit of head-banging to flush out any frustration that's coursing through you. Anyway, time was running out cos the others were already on their last few sips and gulps. I was not going to give up on my mission and as a last ditch effort, I downed a fifth whiskey in a single gulp. That did the trick and I arrived. Not piss drunk but drunk nonetheless. Strangely, except for a bit of haze, it didn't change my perception drastically. None of the lose-all-control things were happening to me. The closest thing I did was to repeat a few gems of unasked for advice a few times. I was either going about it the wrong way or I have way too much alcohol resistance for a beginner.

Footnote: "Why all this?", you ask. To spite myself and my self-righteousness. Until now, as a matter of principle, I stayed away from these vices inspite of there being ample opportunity not to. Now I realise that it is pointless to try and be self-righteous.

P.S: It is entirely my opinion that drinking is a vice and so are many other things.

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shiver

This might be the other, smaller side of http://bijucool.blogspot.com/2005/12/end-of-road.html

She shivered underneath her thin clothes as the moonlight chilled her with its touch. She felt betrayed. She felt unloved. Without an end in sight, she walked along the narrow streets. She wrapped her misery around her shoulders like a silken shawl. There was no reason for him to leave her. She had never given him a reason to. She had always showered him with all the love she could gather in her divided heart. Yes, her heart was divided and he didn't know of the division. Or did he? Was that why he had decided to leave her? But he couldn't have known. She had never given him a chance to know. It was no fault of hers though. She had been a little tipsy from the wine then and it wasn't until two hours later that she realised what had happened. It was too late and she hadn't known the actual consequences at that time. She had come to know of them a lot later, a few weeks before. She had been preparing herself to tell him and to omit a few truths for the benefit of their marriage. It was too late again. He was no longer with her, for her to tell him about the child that now shared her love. The child that was not his, but she didn't intend for him to know this fact.

Her feet moved of their own accord and lead her on. She passed shops that would be bustling come morning, she walked by benches that would see people sitting on them the next day. The streets that she had known for ten years now seemed an alien, abandoned movie setting. The chill tingled her spine and she cringed from the silence around her. She wondered if it would be right for her child to be born loveless and out of wedlock.


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the heart or the head

How many times in life have you come to cross-roads; roads dictated by the heart and the head respectively? It is such a tough decision to make. It is indeed a difficult thing to leave things behind when you don't necessarily have to. Yes, the head worries about how things can be better with change, about how change is important inspite of the risks involved. The heart meanwhile immerses in melancholy cherishing the smallest of things, the smallest of actions. The heart longs for the familiar faces, places and scents. The cubicle you sit in, the telephone that you use, the white board that you never use. The head wonders why you want to be stuck at a place while the whole world rushes past you. While everyone's making better and better futures for themselves, why are you adamant to sit upon something that you might not mean the same thing forever?
The heart says life is to do things you like to do, not things you must do.

I have gone with my heart many a times. I have ofcourse never even thought of repenting any decision that I've made. Whatever I decide, I stand by that. No matter what the consequences. But would the heart be right all the time and in all circumstances?

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RDB - not again?

Yeah, yeah. I finally saw the movie. But don't you worry. I am not gonna do YARORDB! I am sure there are enough well-written reviews, comments and even the plot to keep you busy :) Ok, so you are wondering what the heck this post is about. This post is about a few completely futile thoughts and opinions that occured to me during the movie. Ofcourse, these are opinions that I have formed over the years and as a friend happened to write, "the opinions are mine and I have the right to be wrong".

What if the world had been atleast partly-utopian without such boundaries as countries, culture, et al? What if the world had been such that nations do not have any need for armed forces?
What if the world had no need for wars - personal or otherwise?
What if the words "war" or "arms" or "weapons" had not made it into the dictionary?

I have immense respect for the people who are willing to risk their all to serve their nation. I do not seek to trivialise what they do. I do not wish to question their beliefs. I am only wondering how it would be if they didn't have to lay down their lives for such made-up segmentations as "countries". Call me a traitor, but I for one don't believe in such emotions as 'patriotism' and 'nationalism'. These are emotions that are forced upon us because someone decided it would be a good idea to put down boundaries and slit the world with slithering borders. We have been programmed to rejoice the victories of segments that we belong to, be it in cricket or in war. If we stop to notice it, the segmentation has no limit on its levels at all. On one hand, we celebrate India's victory over Pakistan in cricket. On the other hand, we also segment ourselves into states within India and fight over who owns the water from rivers. You would think we would stop there but no we don't. Within states, we divide ourselves into cities, towns and villages. Into urban and rural segments. Into religions, into languages, into cultures. Into castes within religions. Into dialects within languages. The segmentation is a criss-cross mesh and there are overlaps and underlaps. It is wide, it can be generic, it can be grainy. There seems to be no beginning nor an end. It is a web. A web designed to kill and bruise the world.

Ahhhh, if the world had been different.

BTW, for me RDB did not match the hype. Though the first half was incredibly entertaining, I had other things on my mind that kept me distracted. For one, I tripped when getting to the seat and accidentally clawed through the hair of a woman/girl sitting in the row ahead. I was absolutely flustered and I was convinced she hadn't understood my apology in the din of the movie. I lived in constant fear that she would corner me during the interval and bonk me on the head or something :-(
Woman/Girl, if you read this I am extremely sorry and yes, I will be careful.

YARORDB: Yet Another Review On RDB.


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Mixed Doubles

Double over with laughter. 2 seconds later the seriousness catches up and leaves you thinking. That's Mixed Doubles for you. I first saw Rajat Kapoor in DCH, the cool, sauve uncle. The movie didn't do much for his acting credentials but he was sort of a calming presence in the movie. Any MD is directed by Rajat Kapoor.

The movie deals with a theme that could've been turned into one of Emraan Hashmi flicks. But thankfully Rajat has given the theme a wholly different treatment. The movie is about spouse-swapping. Yeah, that's right.

The movie is made on a canvas of continuous hilarous. The undercurrent of seriousness is thus delivered in a very effective way and settles lazily and comfortably into the mind. We keep hearing about how *such things* happen in various social circles. Numerous magazines write about infidelity, spouse-swapping and everything else to do with sexual orientations/what-not.
IMHO, this is the first time that the subject has been dealt within a practical frame of reference.

People call it sexual liberation. People call it westernization. People call it awakening. The truth is that it is a breakdown. The truth is that something has gone wrong somewhere. The movie portrays this practical side of emotions. It is a natural thing for someone to feel angry and jealous if their partners were as much as to merely flirt with someone, let alone be infidel. If someone does not feel any emotion, then the relationship is probably on the rocks already.

In my opinion, if either one feels a need or desire for experimentation, then it's best to give up on the relationship and split. It's an absolutely ridiculous idea that extra-marital affairs can keep the flame going. It would merely extinguish the current flame and ignite a completely different one.

There is one phrase in the movie that caught my mind, a phrase that I'm sure people would want to use upon me. 'Broad-minded'. Ranvir asks a newspaper vendor for the ads-magazine that has 'broad-minded ads'. If you think about it, that phrase is the whole problem. It's not being narrow-minded to want your partner to be fidel. It's not being narrow-minded to be in a relationship and want to make it work without succumbing to the so-called 'broad-mindedness'. That phrase 'broad-minded' has been twisted into improbably shapes by the awakened social consiousness. It's the ultimate weapon of choice with the *broad-minded* section of people.

The movie's ending (like most gen-x movies?) is abrupt. You leave the cinema-hall a bit confused and wondering about how it would actually have ended - the couple's relationship, that is.

The movie is absolute fun to watch. You can choose to ignore the under-current and you have the perfect recipe for a couple of hours of laughter. Choose to think about the subject and you have a serious subject delivered on the hilarous-express.

On the negative, there are some seriously jarring parts in the movie. The numero uno question amongst these would be, 'How in the world did malathi actually agree to the swap inspite of her being against it?' The movie's answer is that Sunil played a trick on her, but that's an unconvincing answer. If I wanted to, I could probably project the question into the deeper recesses of the human mind and come up with the magic rabbit - 'Their relationship was doomed anyway. And Malathi thought so too.' :-)

Take it or leave it, but if you have even started to think of having an affair on the side then the best thing to do would be split with your partner and go after the affair. And worse, if you are complacent about your partner's affairs, do yourself a favour and get out as soon as you can.

Ofcourse, everything's my narrow-minded opinion :-)



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new on my music horizon

There are some very good singers out there. I swear there are. You just have to look beyond the moronic music that streams out of the telly and bear with them every now and then to uncover that gem. Oh, don't even get me started on the likes of backstreet-speared-careys. Can you even imagine gwen stefani and mariah carey being nominated for record and album of the year? What in the world is happening to the world? God save us all from this mess.

Anyway I've recently become fascinated by a few artists. What is crucial about these folks is that they are artists. They are not pretty boys dressed to kill nor are they almost undressed *divas*. They are artists and they can sing. Don't be surprised if most of them are based in the UK. I came across them when I was there. Okie, I'm not plugging myself. :D

Katie Melua

Yes, she's a jazz and blues singer. She has this silky jazz voice that somehow works its way into you. I liked Norah Jones, but Katie beats her hands-down with her amazing range and the surprising twists she adds to her singing. Her first debut album "Call off the search" is a wonderful collection. Apparently most of the songs are covers but the album easily showcases her many talents. Her second album "Piece by Piece" has one uniquely lyric-ed song "Nine million bicycles". Listen to it and you will know.

Awesome is the closest I can come to describe her. Oh, she is a good looker too :-).

David Gray

His debut album had been in 1993. So he is one of the grand-dads on the music scene. But I hadn't heard of him until recently. His music is simple, with the acoustic guitar bridging it across with a little help from samplers to fill the gap. The lyrics are beautifully written, an excellent
song-writer. It's the simplicity of his songs that attracted me to his music. Nowadays, Gray gets a lot of airtime on VH1 too. This I think is after his first mainstream album "Life in slow motion", which is the first of David's albums to be recorded in a 'full scale' studio environment as opposed to the 'bedroom' sized facilities favoured in the past. .

Jamie Cullum

His music is pop-jazz, a pop-ish rendition of jazz. Not always though. His songs definitely define that he is a jazz-ist first. :) He is a singer, pianist and song-writer and creates eclectic music that has caught on with a wide range of the audience. His looks are typical English shaggy teen. His music is quite refreshing and *different*.

Daniel Powter

VH1 has been playing his "Free Loop" regularly and I quite like that song. With a bit more exploring, I am sure I will come to like his music. It's catchy.

If you have an ear for good music, not technical knowledge about music mind you ;-), I'm sure you'll find these people interesting at the least.

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my beautiful princess

I have always thought that i am not good with kids. I have often watched them play waving with their pudgy little hands, smiling their toothed or toothless or half-toothed smiles. I have watched their eyes focussing in and out of every corner of their rooms. I adore kids. I do. But something always kept me away from them. I did not know how to react to kids. I often worried that I might make a really bad impression on them. The truth is kids often made me insecure. Yes, that's true. Though I wanted to cuddle them or play with them or just sit beside them and watch tv, I never did. I was afraid that the kids might not like me, that I might do something stupid. I have envied people that seemed so naturally gifted with handling kids. They never missed a beat striking up a conversation with children. They never had any difficulty amusing children with their antics. I knew I could do all that but just didn't have the courage to do it.

That's when she came into my life. This wonderful girl nearing two years. She was the daughter of a colleague. I met her when I was in the UK. I don't remember the first time I met her. I'm prone to forgetting a lot of these 'first', second and all other things :). She was an adorable angel. Her smile was so innocent and so endearing. I don't think I did anything more than shake her little hands the first time. On the first trip that we went on together (to Knebworth House), she sat with me in the cab. I pointed out things to her on the road, I kept speaking to her and trying to grasp her baby-talk. I couldn't believe that a kid was right there sitting with me and blissfully chattering like a humming bird. We became friends by the end of that day. Infact, my malayalam was so bad that when I spoke to her we seemed to be in perfect sync. That's what everyone told me :D

Later on, whenever we went on trips she would sit with me most of the time. When we visited her house, she would make me read out books to her. She would have me tell her stories of Nemo, Beauty and the Beast, Cim*b*erella. Sometimes we would read aloud nursery rhymes together. We watched Finding Nemo, BB and Cimberella endless number of times. Whenever the dance scene in BB came up, she would make me dance with her. She, the beauty gliding along the floor, swirling and twirling. I, the clumsy beast trying my best to keep my breath and follow her around the floor. She wouldn't let us stop even when I was breathless and panting. She would guide me through the dance like the princess she was. She was always at the center of my attention and I guess she loved it. When she was done dancing, she would step on my feet and I would have to "feet-carry" her around the house. When she was done with that, I would have to toss her up in the air. Ok, not actually toss but you should get the idea :) Whenever she was around, I always had something or the other to do. When we sat down for dinner, she would always want to eat from my plate. Her mother would have to threaten her to eat the food she was trying to feed her.

I have a lot of anecdotes to do with her. She was a very smart child. Very smart.

One day, a colleague and I ended up at the same restaurant that she and her parents were having dinner. After she finished her meal, she came over to our table and settled down on my lap. When her parents made to leave and asked her if she wanted to come she told them to go on without her but to leave her pram behind. The naughty one knew that her parents wouldn't leave without her so she refused to budge and even egged them on to leave, until her mom came to cajole her with sweet-talk.

Then on another trip her parents revealed to me that she had named me her *friend*. She had only one other *friend* at that time - her uncle. It made me mighty proud. When we teased her enquiring about who her new friend was, she turned away her face blushing. She was the perfectly angelic child at that moment. I wished that I have a child like her when I have to.

Another day, I met her at a restaurant. She sat down on the table facing me and started talking to me in her baby voice. We had quite an animated conversation, though each of us probably talked about an entirely different thing. Suddenly she put her tiny chubby hands on my cheeks and gave me the warmest hug you could possibly imagine with her face resting on my shoulder. She raised her head, her hands still on my cheeks, said something and then gave me another hug, her face resting on my other shoulder this time. I was so overwhelmed with joy. It's an unbelievable feeling to be loved by a child. The hug of a child must be the most beautiful thing in the world. It's a symphony of innocence and honesty which renders it pure beyond comparison.

Here was a child who could put up with me, a child who actually seemed to like me. A child that was now my friend. With her I lost all my inhibitions. With her I knew I was a lot better with kids than I gave myself credit for. With her I could forget everything and be a child. With her there was never a dull moment. Then, I learned that her parents are moving away out of India. I don't know for how long. I wonder if she'll ever remember me. I wonder if I am still her *friend*. Wherever she goes I wish my little princess the best of times and the loveliest of lives.

P.S.: She liked to be called 'princess', 'beautiful', etc. :) Ask her who beauty was she would point at herself. Innocent but smart!!

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incoherent, incomplete, in-watever

Stop reading now!!

He lay on his bed unfettered and undressed. Thirty minutes in the bath tub had a way of bringing over him a sense of serene relaxation. It must have something to do with the warmth of the hot water lapping away at the anxieties that build in over time. When he dipped his head into the water upto his ears, he could hear a wholly different world. A steady background music seemed to play, like the score for a spaceship flying across a sci fi movie. A world from another dimesion sliding past and through the realities of our world. Ofcourse that world must be camouflaged with something watery, which is why you hear the other world only when you come together with the water. The drip-drip of the water amplified into a musical arrangement worthy of a masterpiece. It was one of those things that he enjoyed. There was nothing to beat time in the bath with a book cradled in his hands.

He absolutely loved his life. Not that it was spectacular by the definitions of the everyday world. Just that he loved it, loved it for the peaks and loved it for the troughs. Not that he didn't rage and rave during the falls. Just that he was always satiated by the peaks that necessarily follow dips. He had almost everything a man could want - more than enough money, love, respect and a hold on himself. But what did he hold precious?

Sometimes when he saw the lesser endowed he felt hurt. Beggars begging for alms, children beaten up by fattened restaurant owners, the not-officially poor unfortunates who are expected to hold onto their pride despite the blatant misery, people butchered by misfortune and their mourning relatives. He wondered at the sadness flooding the world and wondered when it would come to sweep him away. He knew the floods are unavoidable. He was ready to accept that but what bothered him most was how he would react. Would he scurry like people who ran from the hurricane on the horizon? Would he scream like a drowning man? Or would he merely let go and be washed away like the stones in a brook?

Life was precious but not enough to lock himself up to live forever. Love was precious but not enough to give up his life. Money was precious but only because he needed things that earthly humans needed. The rare glimpses of the beautiful world was precious but not so much as to make him a nature lover. His freedom was precious but there was no such thing as true freedom. So what was he to hold precious?

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lost and found

He lay on his bed, the brown sheet lying around him in disdain. He lay distorted with his legs splayed and his hands bunched up under the pillow. He watched the darkness ooze out of the walls and embrace him with a stealthy grin. The silence of the night ricocheted off the walls and the ceiling, causing his ear-drums to quiver in anticipation. Time moved past in slow motion. It was so slow that he could see the turbulence the fan blades made as they revolved lazily. The air around him shimmered in the dark like a brilliantly cut diamond. His eyes closed to search for whatever his mind wished to see.

Through the pallid veil of his eyelids, he sensed a beacon light him up. Slowly he opened his eyes, ready to blink if need be, and saw the warm light streaming in through his window. The sun had risen and a new day was born.


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off for a while

While I look ahead to find out where life's going.
While I try to figure out if it is indeed going anywhere.
While I attempt to capture the essence of my destiny.
While I ponder on the illusions that I hallucinate about.
While I wonder how the world works and how fate moulds.
While I contemplate emptiness and what it means.
While I pray that the emptiness skips me.
While I hope the cup is always full.
While I fight the battles that I cannot fight.
While I battle the fate I cannot change.
While I scream blue murder at the whole world.
While I crib, hate and curse everything and myself.
While I dream of utopia.
While I oscillate between reality and the unreal.
While I hallucinate the desired and the undesired unreality.
While I do all this, do not expect a post for a while.
do not ask me any questions.
do not patronise. do not sympathise.
Just let it be!

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back on the road

I haven't had a chance to do some biking for over 6 months. The last trip had been way back in July 2005. Yep, that long. Naturally I was dying to swing my legs across the bike and ride, ride, ride. I posted to the group about a ride in the Jan 7-8 weekend, while I was still in the UK. After not too much deliberation, the destination was tentatively fixed as Kundapura. Subject to change, ofcourse. :-) The excuse: to treat ourselves to the Chicken Ghee Roast at Shetty's Lunch Home. Not that an excuse was actually needed. Two of us were confirmed a long, long time back - Ashok and I. Prashanth and Sampath joined in last week. Glifford needed a bit of convincing and finally agreed to a half-way trip. He decided to ride back to B'Lore on Saturday itself.

Like I said, the route and destination was subject to change and they changed numerous times throughout the trip. :-) In the end, we rode from B'Lore to Hassan to Belur to Shringeri to Agumbe to Someshwar to Kundapura. The ghee roast was on. The Belur temple is amazing. The intricacy of the sculptures awesome. We reached Kundapura around half past eight in the night. Settled down at Shetty's until about 23:30 and then rode to the Maravanthe beach for some moonlit ocean. Woke up late on Sunday. Left Kundapura around 8:30. Caught up with Vignesh at Udupi for breakfast. After that, all we did was ride: Udupi-M'Lore-Sakleshpur-Hassan-B'Lore.

Impressions

It was tiring but of the good kind. The roads stretching ahead for miles brought out a lot in me. It was peaceful. It was exhilirating. It turned off all my thoughts. It helped me think better. The people I swished past added to the feeling of being on top of the world. The kids that waved at me were a joy and when I waved back to them I gave them a bit of innocent joy and it added a little more to my stock of joy. The bewildered villagers made me smile. The world is not that bad after all. There is still a bit of innocence left in it. There is a lot more beauty left in the world. The green trees, the low mountains, the clouds, the ponds and a grey road breaking through like a ribbon.

The curves on the road were an ode to beauty. The way they gently wind made me feel overjoyed. It was exhilirating to take a curve, leaning in and wondering how it would feel to touch the road that sped by. The curves enhanced the magnificence of the things that were around me. Don't ask me how but they do. They seemed so much part of the landscape that it made me shudder to think of them missing.

There is monotony in every ride but I noticed that monotony was not really monotonous. There were subtle differences even in similarity and once I noticed these differences there was no question of being bored of the same thing. It could be a simple dip in the road, a car zooming past, an odd looking tree, a lamp-post or an unused hut.

In the morning, I watched the sun rising up in my rear-view mirror. A golden yellow disc promising much needed warmth. I willed the sun to rise up and take away the cold. Then I realised that I can't control anything. The sun has its own will. It will rise to warm you but of its own accord. The wind will blow but only as it wishes. I decided to let the world be. I didn't have to control anything.

In the evening, I rode into a setting sun. There was a glow all around me, a flaring halo surrounded the world. The glint matched my eyes twinkle with delight. Ah, the dipping of light, the beginning of an unknown darkness, the promise of moonlight and stars. Riding in the dark was a surreal experience. The darkness was split by the searing headlights only to regroup and cover realities again. The beam of light can only displace that much of the blackness. There is darkness left, there is darkness everywhere but the beam gave me hope. The beam seemed an unpenetrable truth. The beam was the path of life.

Then there was the moonlit beach. Silence all around, broken by the crashing of the waves. As I stood there on the beach lit by the moon, washed over by the sound, I wondered how it would feel to be washed away by the ocean. To be taken away like the sand and deposited elsewhere. The ocean must be one of the greatest of God's creations. It can be melancholic. It can make you overjoyed. It can numb you. It can excite you. It can be silent. It can sound musical. A mix of everything. A bouquet of beauty.

The ride back was tiring as usual. The expectation of getting back home, the dread of getting back home. The mind pulled me in two directions. The thought of a familiar bed forcing me to want to go back. The dread of getting back to life wanted to keep me away. The clash of the opposing poles.

Then, unexpectedly, I saw a rainbow. It had been ages since I had seen a rainbow. I guess the rainbow beats the ocean in its beauty. As I rode towards it, it seemed to take on an unimaginable clarity. I stared at it and watched it take shape. Now just a bit on the right. Now a quarter circle. All the while, the colours brightened and the edges grew sharper. With lots of open road to ride on, I had enough time to be fascinated by its strange beauty. The beauty of an illusion. The beauty that was immaterial. I could make out every colour in the world. Every colour that the eye was designed to see. It gave my heart the strength to sing. It gave me the power to relax and banish all signs of tire for later. I almost wept looking at it. I guess I did. It's a strange illusion. To add to all the overwhelming emotions I spotted a second bow, a mere fragment of the other. An illusion of an illusion. I felt like a child when I spotted it. The excitement was uncontrollable. I pointed it out to everyone on the road. Look, a second rainbow. Look at what the world has to offer. Look at it and fill your hearts. Then, I was asked to notice that the bow was a complete half-circle. Oh my god. Was it beautiful? It was beyond that. A lovely arch standing guard over the world. I don't think I have known such insane joy too often. It was a great prize, worth every pain in every muscle. I wanted to hold the rainbow in my hands and kiss it and carry it forever within me.

Then I got back home. To "reality". To "life".

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drinking

The question has always bewildered me - "Why do people like to drink?" Why is that people like alcohol? I am not necessarily talking about those that are addicted but the people that call themselves "social drinkers". What is it about alcohol or intoxication that people like?

I tried it myself. Well, not anything hardcore but what the connoisseurs would call baby-food, wine. Ok, the reasons were not scientific. They were personal.

I didn't find anything worthwhile in the experience. It was no fun at all. All that it did was take away a bit of control over yourself, which in my opinion is absolutely ridiculous to want. Is that what people like? The feeling of powerlessness. The loss of control. Do they need alcohol for that? Nobody has absolute control over anything at any point in time, then why use alcohol for something that we already have.

Or is it a way to forget things for a while? Forget the mundaneness of life and the worries that hang onto our backs. Is that what people want - a temporary suspension of practical life? I find this weird. What is the use when you will wake up back into the same practical life, unchanged. If it is an escape people want, then shouldn't they either be drunk all through life or kill themselves!

I don't believe the excuse of socialising that people give sometimes. If you cannot make friends or conversation when sober, then you just have to live with the fact. Do people actually think that relationships can be built with a platter of intoxication? Nor do I believe the "life is short; must try everything". Don't kid me with that. Nobody's ever gonna try everything in life. In my humble opinion, that mantra is nothing short of bullshit. If they really want to experiment with the psyche and stuff, they should probably do it with stuff like lsd and ecstacy. Now, that would be true experimentation. Why don't people do that?

Is it because people think it's cool and hep? If that is so, then why not smoke. Under similar terms, smoking should be way cooler than drinking. Don't kid me with the second-hand smoke scenario. You can get drunk and kill people faster than through second-hand smoke.

I wish not to judge if drinking is good or evil. I just don't get why people like something that changes them into something they are not. Something that takes away whatever control that they have. Something that ends up damaging lives most times. Something that is a cause of accidents both on the road and in life.

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At that place

Yet again, I find myself at that place where time stands still when you wish it gallops. Monotony settles over the mind like dust in a long-locked home. I see life move around me in slow motion, every detail crisp and yearning recognition. Words seem to have stopped as my grey cells run helter-skelter trying to process the avalanche of unnecessary stimuli. The simplest of things seems to be a himalayan task, the motives questioned for every move that needs to be made. Why do I need to stand up? Why do I need to sit? Why do I have to wake up? Why sleep?

Ahhhh, is it bliss or is it a curse to have so much time on hand and yet not have the choice of using it like you want?

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