Friday, February 22, 2013


You would have been in college now.

Nineteen would have been a good age to be.

But it wasn't to be be, was it?

And why is it that only I remember this day?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


You would have been 18 today.

Ready to vote.

Ready to drive.

Ready to take on the world...

But perhaps you another time, another world.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Would you have been 17 today?

Would I have felt younger?

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Death, be proud.

When someone dear is dying, sleep flees the night before the event that will not pass.

After she passes away, and the mind overcomes numbed fatigue, you fall into the most peaceful, Kaliphos-induced, trance-like sleep.

And, when you awake the next morning, it is as though the mind has purged itself of all the tension, the despair, the dread.

You awake, recharged. Invigorated. And remind yourself that life is to be spent living; not worrying or dying.

It is almost as though death gives new life to life itself.

Forget Donne: Death, be proud.

Thursday, January 28, 2010


From tomorrow, emerges today.
From darkness, light.
From death, life.
And, from pain, pleasure.

Sunday, September 06, 2009


I am son.

I am father.

Brother. Uncle. Nephew.


Lover. Former lover.

Spurned lover.

Lover-in-waiting (eternally?).

I am haste. And patience personified.

I am friend. And foe.

Shishya. And guru.

Boss. And beer-sharing colleague.

I am jester. Shoulder. Weeper, too.

Agony, I am. And ecstasy too.

I am all this. And more.

But I am not me.

Am I?

Sunday, February 22, 2009

15 Today

He would've been 15 today... and stressed about things like Class 10 exams. Is he better off not being in this world of ours any longer? I'd like to know when I meet him, wherever he is... I'm sorry but the day did get me down.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

My apologies...

Don't think I'll ever be able to write like this even though the thoughts match completely :-(

Under a Certain Little Star
(sometimes titled 'Under One Small Star' in some translations)
by Wislawa Szymborska
Translated by Joanna Trzeciak

My apologies to chance for calling it necessity.
My apologies to necessity in case I'm mistaken.
Don't be angry, happiness, that I take you for my own.
May the dead forgive me that their memory's but a flicker.
My apologies to time for the quantity of world overlooked per second.
My apologies to an old love for treating a new one as the first.
Forgive me, far-off wars, for carrying my flowers home.
Forgive me, open wounds, for pricking my finger.
My apologies for the minuet record, to those calling out from the abyss.
My apologies to those in train stations for sleeping soundly at five in the morning.
Pardon me, hounded hope, for laughing sometimes.
Pardon me, deserts, for not rushing in with a spoonful of water.
And you, O hawk, the same bird for years in the same cage,
staring, motionless, always at the same spot,
absolve me even if you happen to be stuffed.
My apologies to the tree felled for four table legs.
My apologies to large questions for small answers.
Truth, do not pay me too much attention.
Solemnity, be magnanimous toward me.
Bear with me, O mystery of being, for pulling threads from your veil.
Soul, don't blame me that I've got you so seldom.
My apologies to everything that I can't be everywhere.
My apologies to all for not knowing how to be every man and woman.
I know that as long as I live nothing can excuse me,
since I am my own obstacle.
Do not hold it against me, O speech, that I borrow weighty words,
and then labor to make them light

If you like this, you'll probably love these...

Tuesday, January 06, 2009


By Gulzar... also available translated into brilliant English by Pavan K. Varma

मेरे कपडों में टंगा है तेरा खुशरंग लिबास
घर पे धोता हूँ मैं हर बार उसे, और सुखा के फिर से,
अपने हाथों से उसे इस्त्री करता हूँ मगर,
इस्त्री करने से जाती नहीं शिकनें (creases) उसकी,
और धोने से गिले-शिकवों के चकतें (blotches) नहीं मिटते!

ज़िन्दगी किस क़दर आसां होती
रिश्ते गर होते लिबास -
और (हम) बदल लेते कमीजों की तरह!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Layoff Time

Overheard in an office cafeteria yesterday: "Good to see you!"

Overheard in the same cafeteria today: "Good to still see you!"

Monday, December 01, 2008

Angry Young Man 2.0

Now, if you really want to meet an angry young man, you'll find him here.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

I want my India back!

By I.M. Indian

Unlike most Indians who had a ringside view of the terror attack on the night of the 26th, I was asleep. I awoke only the next morning to see The Times of India and haven’t slept since then. You’ll call me mad! But the fact is, I watched the 9pm headlines and then part of a movie and slept unusually early on Tuesday night, awoke at 4 am as I usually do and tossed around in the dark before lapsing into a fitful sleep again… a disturbing pattern that recurs every night. I didn’t switch on the TV or log on to any website at that unearthly hour. So I remained unaware that my favourite city was under siege.

Over the last few days, almost voyeur-like, I’ve watched news channels scoring television rating points over each other. And interspersing their live reality shows with unreal advertising breaks – it’s like rushing someone to hospital and pausing for a cigarette break on the way. If it was terror uninterrupted, it certainly wasn’t news uninterrupted. So, the media made some quick money out of a nation’s misery. But what’s new?

I watched politicians start the blame-game. And police martyrs cremated. But it was all happening to people I didn’t know. I was upset and angry until Sabina’s news came through. As though that wasn’t bad enough, Rohinton Maloo’s name appeared in a crawler on some channel. Not the same Rohinton, I convinced myself. In vain. It was the very same full-of-beans Parsi… and I was close to losing two lovely people. Did they know each other at all, I wondered, as they lay trapped in two different hotels? After all, there was so much in common between them – both were in the media, fun-loving, feisty and ever ready to help people in need. Why did it have to be them?

Today, at Sabina’s funeral, I watched a Chief Minister give her sound byte to one of the several news channels bang inside the crematorium. And I was asked by an electrician, holding one of the camera cables, “Who died?”

I could’ve answered, “Sabina.” Instead I looked at him and said “You. And I. And our India.”

Mr Politician, I want my India back.

Over every successive election, you’ve taken it away from me in painful instalments. And now I want it back.

I want back the country the Mahatma died for. The country my parents made their home when they fled across the border in 1947. The India I chose to live in and work for. And pay taxes to. Don’t make me give up on India, Mr Politician. Because you’ve had your chance and you’ve botched it up. Big time. You can’t give me back Sabina and Rohinton and all the others who died needlessly. Nor can you take away my memories of farewells at Café Leopold, of coffee at The Taj and dinner at the Oberoi. But you can give me back my India without raping it any more.

You’ve allowed terrorists to infiltrate our borders when other countries have succeeded in sealing theirs. Has USA had another 9/11? Has the UK seen any other bomb blasts after the Tube was attacked? Has Israel allowed its people to be killed again after Munich? Has China ever seen a terrorist? Why, then, are we regular target practice to assassins without a heart? Is it because we have so many Indians that we don’t care? Or is it because our elected representatives care only for themselves?

Come on, Ms Gandhi, Mr Singh, Mr Advani, Mr Patil and Mr Thackeray! You’ve built your future and that of your progenies by systematically destroying ours. So, give me back my India.

I watched a father, a daughter, a son, a brother, a mother weep today. But I felt no sadness. Strangely, no tears. Just anger and shame that I have allowed my India to be held ransom like this.

All the way back from the funeral, I asked myself: is this the country I want my children to grow up in? Like so many others, should I abandon it and migrate to America or England, Singapore or even neutral, peaceful Switzerland? And it made me even angrier that I was being forced to think this because you, Mr Politician, chose to play your petty games while a larger war was being unleashed. So, give me back my India.

Give it to me now. Allow me and a billion others to defend themselves because you are incapable of it. Give me the India we set out to be; not what you are making it to be. Today, I am angry. Tomorrow I will be uncontrollable and will rebel. Your Z-category security will stand aside and allow you to be publicly lynched because you feel that what happened in Mumbai was “only a small incident”. You forget that the same shoulders that carried the corpses of their relatives and friends and colleagues will one day stand like a phalanx and prevent you from going any further. Don’t make this the start of your end.

Don’t tempt an angry Indian, Mr Politican. Another set of rulers tried it and failed a century ago. We’ll do it again – only this time, the enemy lies within.

I don’t want Pakistan being blamed. Or USA being pleaded with to exert pressure. I want you to give me back my India.

Because you are not India.

I am India. And I will be. In spite of you.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Two P(J)s

What did one beeraholic ask another?

To pee or not to pee...

And what did one bald man ask another?

Toupee or not toupee...

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Triumph of Evil

Ever since I can recall, every story I’ve heard, every book I read and every play and every film was about the triumph of Good over Evil.

Think about it. It’s the oldest, most-clichéd plot in the world. And continues to be spewed out. Orally, on papyrus, in print, celluloid, MS Word, whatever. Kalidas did it. Enid Blyton followed. Lee Falk, Ian Fleming, Ms Rowling, Javed Akhtar…

Even old Bill the Bard. Though he did make a feeble attempt in Mark Antony's speech after the assassination of Julius Caesar:

“The evil that men do lives after them;
The good is oft interred with their bones;”

But, eventually, even the playwright played to the galleries and allowed Good to triumph. Why is it that everyone follows the same safe path? Is it fear of rejection driven by commercial compulsion that compels literary works to pander to a populist, consuming class? Or is it an innate inability to accept that eventually it’s Evil that finally triumphs? And I’m not referring to the “…bad girls go places” line of thinking; even though it may be true :-)

Go back to every contest that’s been crafted on paper or stage or film where a hero faces a villain. And flash your well-conditioned mind back in a disruptive state to compare the characters in each of these works. While mothers will extol the virtues of Ram to little boys, it is actually the ten-headed Ravana who captures mindspace. As a character, Ram is as flat as a six-month old bottle of Kingfisher sold in a seedy Gurgaon booze shop. Ravana’s my man any day. So is Rastapopulous and Lady Macbeth and the villains of all the James Bond films… 007 is predictable, his enemies are wonderfully imaginative and surprisingly fiendish. Think of Darth Vader versus Luke Skywalker, the Clown versus Batman, Gabbar Singh and Vijay… why is it that we remember nuances, dialogues and faces of all these villains long after the chocolate-box heroes have faded away?

Is it because Good is uni-dimensional? It will always do the right thing and be sickeningly appealing in a pre-formulated manner. Good cannot do anything out of the ordinary, away from the predictable. The moment it breaks the pattern and the cliché, Good seems to cross over to the dark side.

And Evil is everything that good cannot be. Unpredictable. Deviously creative. It defies logic and follows no set path. Every villain is different from the rest; all comic-book heroes do the same old trick – and even end up wearing underpants outside their pants!

If, after all this effort to tell the world that Good is what triumphs, how come we remember the villains better? Why is it that the world talks so much about The Clown in Dark Knight and not Batman?

In fiction, Good may be victorious. In the mind, Evil wins.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

A Woman's Words

I've never been particularly fond of her.

At best, she came across as a harridan. At worst, she paled under the shadow of her more (in)famous hubby first; and then in comparison to his wide-mouthed, more attractive intern.

Then she decided to come into her own and ended up giving Mr Obama a run for his online-acquired money. She lost her party's nomination narrowly but, instead of retreating and licking her wounds, came right back fighting again. Only, this time, the target was someone else and she was on Obama's side.

Grudgingly, I began to change my opinion of the would-be first woman president of the US of A.

Yesterday (or was it the day before in another time zone) she wowed America with what must be a speechwriter's potential prize-winner. Read it or watch it (in three parts unfortunately). And soak in every word that's winning hearts and votes.

Either way, Hillary Clinton's moved up in my esteem. And in many others' I guess.

If only she'd become Obama's running mate... would've been interesting to see the shadow-play then.

Does Mr McCain have anything to say, I wonder?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Me, Myself and i

For all those obsessed with a misplaced sense of self-importance, check out Caroline Winter in NYT...

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Dog Flight

Okay, so the BMC is ready to dish out Rs 1000 for every pothole you spot in Bombay!

I've just landed in my favourite city and haven't spotted a single pothole... aren't there any between the airport and Chowpatty? Or am I so used to the craters of Gurgaon that Bombay seems like a dream-run?

Talking of runaways...Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport (mouthful!) opened India's longest runway today with a dog chasing its shadow down the asphalt... spotted it on a news channel; can't find it online.

Wonder what would happen to dogs that chase cars and finally catch up... what would they do next? Lift a leg and wet a tyre, I guess.


Teach not Cheat

If only we could Teach India not to Cheat India...

Monday, August 18, 2008


There's been so much written about Dark Knight that I'm  glad I didn't read a single word about it till today and that I finally managed to see the film yesterday... almost alone.

I'm also glad I heeded the advice of a young designer who shared the movie off his pen drive but cautioned me not to watch it on the MacBook until I'd seen it in the movie hall first. Was he right!

How I wish Ramesh Sippy would see the film along with his Vijay and see what one can do with a double-headed coin all through the film.

And what if Gabbar had met the Joker (may both their angry souls rest in peace)?

I was warned that this was a dark, depressing film and that I shouldn't take it too seriously (its tagline is 'Why so serious?'). True, it's depressing but in an alluring kind of way... like the little boy lost in the world of comics and superheroes, I too need that willing suspension of disbelief as long as one doesn't try to imitate the winged wonder and defy gravity... bruises and pain are the only result of "what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object (The Joker)." 

And if there are superheroes we need and superheroes we deserve, it's going to be tough choosing between the two. Just as it is with friends in real life.

What's good about the Nolan duo is that they've crafted a tight plot and turned it into a gripping masterpiece that's a hit in every which way. And so Batman meets James Bond meets Darth Vader (almost).

There are also plenty of reviews that'll show up when you search but this one is insightful and doesn't show up on Google yet. Read it only after you've seen the film.

As for me, I'm going to see it again (also because of Morgan Freeman). And will try and "endure" this world as Bruce Wayne's butler Alfred (Michael Caine) put it... no point giving up just yet. There are a few jokers yet to be dispensed with.

By the way, almost allegorically, I think the real dark knight is Aaron Eckhart, the D.A. And the real hero is the one who's the villain.

Perhaps that's what makes this film almost tormenting in its hangover...

Sunday, August 17, 2008


Perhaps it's my paranoia of getting drowned in a swimming pool, or maybe it's the sheer awe of watching a superhuman re-create Adidas' 'Impossible is Nothing' theme in real life... either way Michael Phelps has lit a spark somewhere on this lazy Sunday morning.

As he stroked his way to win his eighth Olympic gold medal (the number's lucky for the non-Chinese as well!) with yet another world-record less than a couple of hours ago, the glory of a quartet winning a relay was overshadowed by this one man who is now being called Phenomenal Phelps.

Some of us watched water catch fire as it happened today. In other worlds still asleep, people may have missed out on this feat. And even if they were up and about, there is little chance of them having caught the action - in at least one so-called developed world that I know, some people have no access to daily newspapers and certainly no television set. The only way someone can afford to stay in touch with the world is either a radio (yes, it still works!) or the free Internet.

Enter YouTube... much abused for copyright violations from publishers in Belgium to the music mafia in India - and everyone in between. But what we tend to miss is the service YouTube delivers at moments like these... if the Olympics is all about bringing the world together in one triumphant spirit, the money-making machine that TV companies have become is in clear contrast. For all those who missed the freestyle swimming relay finals this morning, they'll catch glimpses of it on news bulletins for sure. But if you really want to relive the breathtaking win, if you want to replay it at will and have inspiration delivered on demand, only YouTube will have the full spectacle online soon (it isn't up yet - I just checked) as some kind soul rips it off TV and uploads it.

Criminal? Perhaps to the legal boffins.

But to many of us, YouTube is equal to YouSpirit. Always.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

After 40

A couple of Saturdays ago, I dropped in to meet a former colleague and still a dear (but not very near) friend who'd emerged from a separation with a well-known actress and had suffered a near-fatal heart attack. Fortunately, he survived. Not easy at the age if 41, I'm told...

While there are several stories about this gentle lad in his copywriting days in Calcutta, there's even more hilarious stuff about another mutual friend and fellow-writer who also happened to be there that evening.

He's the kind of guy who flashed his PAN card when he asked for the bill at a restaurant. Or - and this is true - mixed up his pregnant wife and dog's stool samples while sending them to separate laboratories.

He's bright but absent-minded. Yet, pithy enough to come up with this classic: "Till we're 40, we ask 'Who am I?'; after 40, we ask 'EMI?'"


Kabhi Kabhi A...

Jaane tu ya jaane na isn't quite the film it could've been. So, the less said about it, the better - though I must admit that when I saw it on a pirated VCD, it felt good. A nice timepass.

Later, it sank home that all I'd liked was just one song not only because it is very hummable but because, like all songs, it has associations with people, places, memories... all of them very far away right now.

So what if nostalgia is a thing of the past... Kabhi kabhi Aditi is right here, right now. And makes every day worth living...


Ever since I vacationed in Beijing and Shanghai last October, I've been waiting for China's coming-out party at the Olympics. And, while much is being written about how they faked a lot of the razzmatazz, the fact is they're out to show they can do this better than anyone else. In fact, London is struggling to complete its Olympics Village for the 2012 Games because of a paucity of funds and might as well consider outsourcing the entire Games to China!

Juxtapose this with the rest of the world - India included - reeling under rising oil prices. While the Arabs seems to have all of us by the short and curlies, Thomas Friedman finds solace in what Denmark does... what's this got to do with China? Read till the very end, my dears...

(Am reproducing an essay he wrote in the International Herald Tribune on August 10. But you can also read it on their site.)

Flush with energy

By Thomas L. Friedman

COPENHAGEN : The Arctic Hotel in Ilulissat, Greenland , is a charming little place on the West Coast, but no one would ever confuse it for a Four Seasons - maybe a One Seasons. But when my wife and I walked back to our room after dinner the other night and turned down our dim hallway, the hall light went on. It was triggered by an energy-saving motion detector. Our toilet even had two different flushing powers depending on - how do I say this delicately - what exactly you're flushing. A two-gear toilet! I've never found any of this at an American hotel. Oh, if only we could be as energy efficient as Greenland !

A day later, I flew back to Denmark . After appointments here in Copenhagen , I was riding in a car back to my hotel at the 6 p.m. rush

hour. And boy, you knew it was rush hour because 50 percent of the traffic in every intersection was bicycles. That is roughly the percentage of Danes who use two-wheelers to go to and from work or school every day here. If I lived in a city that had dedicated bike lanes everywhere, including one to the airport, I'd go to work that way, too. It means less traffic, less pollution and less obesity.

What was most impressive about this day, though, was that it was raining. No matter. The Danes simply donned rain jackets and pants for biking.

Unlike America , Denmark , which was so badly hammered by the 1973 Arab oil embargo that it banned all Sunday driving for a while, responded to that crisis in such a sustained, focused and systematic way that today it is energy independent. (And it didn't happen by Danish politicians making their people stupid by telling them the solution was more offshore drilling.)

What was the trick? To be sure, Denmark is much smaller than us and was lucky to discover some oil in the North Sea . But despite that,

Danes imposed on themselves a set of gasoline taxes, CO2 taxes and building-and- appliance efficiency standards that allowed them to grow their economy and gave birth to a Danish clean-power industry that is one of the most competitive in the world today. Denmark today gets nearly 20 percent of its electricity from wind. America ? About 1 percent.

And did Danes suffer from their government shaping the market with energy taxes to stimulate innovations in clean power? In one word, said Connie Hedegaard, Denmark 's minister of climate and energy: "No." It just forced them to innovate more - like the way Danes recycle waste heat from their coal-fired power plants and use it for home heating and hot water, or the way they incinerate their trash in central stations to provide home heating.

There is little whining here about Denmark having $10-a-gallon gasoline because of high energy taxes. The shaping of the market with

high energy standards and taxes on fossil fuels by the Danish government has actually had "a positive impact on job creation," added

Hedegaard. "For example, the wind industry - it was nothing in the 1970s. Today, one-third of all terrestrial wind turbines in the world

come from Denmark ." In the last 10 years, Denmark 's exports of energy efficiency products have tripled. Energy technology exports rose 8 percent in 2007 to more than $10.5 billion in 2006, compared with a 2 percent rise in 2007 for Danish exports as a whole.

"It is one of our fastest-growing export areas," said Hedegaard.

It is one reason that unemployment in Denmark today is 1.6 percent. In 1973, said Hedegaard, "we got 99 percent of our energy from the Middle East . Today it is zero."

Frankly, when you compare how America has responded to the 1973 oil shock and how Denmark has responded, we look pathetic.

"I have observed that in all other countries, including in America , people are complaining about how prices of [gasoline] are going up,"

Denmark 's prime minister, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, told me.

"The cure is not to reduce the price, but, on the contrary, to raise it even higher to break our addiction to oil. We are going to introduce a new tax reform in the direction of even higher taxation on energy and the revenue generated on that will be used to cut taxes on personal income - so we will improve incentives to work and improve incentives to save energy and develop renewable energy."

Because it was smart taxes and incentives that spurred Danish energy companies to innovate, Ditlev Engel, the president of Vestas -

Denmark's and the world's biggest wind turbine company - told me that he simply can't understand how the U.S. Congress could have just failed to extend the production tax credits for wind development in America.

Why should you care?

"We've had 35 new competitors coming out of China in the last 18 months," said Engel, "and not one out of the U.S."

Friday, August 15, 2008

Rani to Rani

Once upon a time we had Chamko Rani in Saath Saath.

Then we got Billo Rani in Omkara.

The girl next door has morphed into a hot item number.

Polar opposites they were... or are. As actresses and as characters.

Bollywood's come a long way, lady.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Punjabi Dictionary

This one is from my Sindhi brother for all you Punjabi lovers...enjwoy!

A is for Aiscream
~ And it needs no further axplanation, my dear!

B is for Backside ~ And it has nothing to do with the rear. It is an instruction to go to the rear of building or block, shop or whatever it may be.

C is for Cloney ~ and is not the process for replicating of the sheep, nor is the first name of it George. It is merely the area whare people live e.g. ‘Defance Cloney’.

E is for Expanditure ~ arbitary spanding of the money.

F is for Fackade ~ and even though it is the sound of a bad word, it is actually just the front of the building (with ‘backside’ being its rear).

G is for Gaddi ~ and the way a Punjabi can speeden his ‘gaddi’ puts any F1 driver to the shame. (If the Grand Prix does come to Dalhi, there is no way Hamilton, Alonso or Kimi can overtake the Balvinder, Jasvinder or
Sukhvinder’s taxi.)

H is for ‘Ho Jayega Ji’ ~ and the moment you hear of that, you have to be vary careful because you can be rest sure it is jast not going to happen.

I is for Intzaar ~ and to know more about it, please to see P.

J is for Jutt ~ which is what the every Punjabi seems to be.

K is for Khanna, Khurana, etc ~ Punjabi equivalent of the Joneses (e.g. ‘Keeping up with the Khuranas, ji’)

L is for Loin ~ who is the king of the jungle.

M is for ‘Mrooti’ ~ the car that an entire generation of Punjabis grew up with.

N is for ‘No Problem Ji.’ ~ To find out how that is working, please to see H.

O is for Oye ~ which can be surprise (Oyye!), greeting (Oyy!), anger (OYY!) or pain (Oy oy oy!).

P is for Panj Mint ~ and no matter how near (1 km) or far (100 km) a Punjabi is from you, he always says he will reach in ‘panj mint’.

Q is for Queue ~ the word that jast does not axist in Punjabi vocabulary.

R is for Riks ~ the Punjabi is always prepared to take one, even if odds are all aganst him.

S is for Sweetie, Sunny, Simmi and Sonu ~ all of the who seem to own half the cars in Dalhi. (The other half by their Pappas - like as ‘Sweetie de Pappe di Gaddi’).

T is for the official bird of the Punjab ~ Tandoori Chickkan.

U is whan you lose your sax appeal and become ~ ‘Unkel-ji’

V is for VIP phone numbers ~ @ Rs 15 lakh is the bare minimum.

W is for Whan ~ as in ‘Whan are you coming, ji?’

X is for the many ax-rated words ~ that flow quite freely in all the Punjabi conversations.

Y is for ‘You nonsense’ ~ when axtreme anger replaces the vocabulary in any
shouting between Punjabis.

Z is for Zindgi ~ which finally avry Punjabi knows how to live to the fullast.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Me who?

George Clooney...

Michael Douglas....

Richard Gere....

Someday when I'm old - older actually - I'd like to be like one of them.

And then when I'm really old... Morgan Freeman.

Will I ever be me?

Who's me, I ask?

Update on August 18: if not Morgan Freeman, then Sean Connery.

Friday, August 08, 2008


Overheard on Radio Mirchi this morning: 8.8.08 is supposed to be a lucky day because of the number 8... evidently some people believe it to be true; others may not.

China evidently does: why else would it launch itself at 8 pm on 8th August 2008? The opening ceremony of the Olympic Games is more than just a sports spectacle; it's the coming-out party of an entire nation.

Today could also be the day when people end one life and start another... like the Tibetans, for instance, who protested and hoped they'd make it to centre-stage (and they did for a while, at least).

Ironical then, when one is reminded of the Buddhist saying: "What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly."

Go for Gold...China and Tibet and whoever else is charging off the blocks of life!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

The Last Lecture

On this date, in 2002, I went in for my second surgery to remove a stubborn, ruptured appendix. Not too many people remember this but I was reminded of it yesterday by one who does. It was a surgery that could've killed me but I survived and went on to have some of the best few years of my life after that.

Today, in the mail, I got to know of Randy Pausch. He was a professor of computer science, human-computer interaction and design at Carnegie Mellon. A terminal pancreatic cancer patient, Randy decided on June 26 this year (my birthday, incidentally) that he was stopping all treatment. A month later, yesterday, he died in faraway Virginia, USA. 

I hadn't even heard of the man but if you see this recording of his last lecture in September 2007 at Carnegie Mellon, it'll tell you more about life than about death.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Packing for a Vacation

We spend a lot of time planning what we should pack and carry when we go on vacations.
If only we spent as much time figuring out what to leave behind...

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


I've lost friends along the way.

And I've seen friends lose their way.

If only a map-app like this existed for the meandering madness we live through every day...

Monday, June 09, 2008

Harvard Potter

Confessional as it may sound, I've not read a single word churned out by Ms Rowling.

Harry Potter movies I've watched. Glasses I've bought (and worn). His magic has fascinated me and, contradictory as it may seem, I've stayed away from the books only so that I don't become part of the herd that devours every title as soon as it's published.

Then, I find this in, of all places, Harvard.

And the spell is cast... the books must be read, I suppose. even if they're not, this itself is worth every word. Even when it's read over and over again.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Seductive Music

Paul Irish is a Bostonian. He's also a geek who digs music and "brings to you an eclectic menagerie of aural pleasures. I scout out music you've never heard and deliver only the finest. Expect music curiously different, yet simply enjoyable."

Check out his brilliantly-named blog and you'll realise why some people get a high by just listening to music. Awesome music, at that!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Wine, Women and ?

Have been planning to write on a cocktail but need a few of it before the keypad's hit.

Meanwhile, try a glass of wine Neruda-style. And lose yourself in its seductive power.

But before you start to take life - or love - too seriously, try this.


Tuesday, June 03, 2008


Thanks to a friend's email...
It isn't often that a website comes up with typos like these but when they do, it's worth archiving... the headline in this article on a child of Indian origin winning a spelling bee has a spelling error in its headline! Ironical but comical as well...and even after 24 hours, Rediff hadn't corrected it. By the time you read this, they may have; hence, the screen-grab.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Seven Pedias

Many moons ago, a friend and I thought of a Wikipedia-like site with one specific yet universal benefit. Someday, we'll create it too.

Meanwhile, there are these:
  1. Chickipedia
  2. Lostpedia
  3. Uncyclopedia
  4. Wookieepedia
  5. Dickipedia
  6. Dealipedia
  7. Congresspedia
Any favourites anyone?

Five People

There are days when you'd like the past to be best forgotten, the present rushed through and you wish the future wouldn't really arrive (or, at least, arrive with some clarity).

On days like these, thankfully there are people to look forward to.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Camel and the Sphinx

I 'd first read this in my college days and while I remember every word, I could never recall who actually wrote it. Googling hasn't helped either. But enjoy it anyway...

The sexual urge of the camel is greater than anyone thinks
And can only be gratified fully by going to bed with the Sphinx.
But the Sphinx's magnificent orifice
Is choked by the sands of the Nile.
Hence the hump on the back of the camel
And the Sphinx's inscrutable smile!

Shakespeare's Omelette

To beat or not to beat... that is the eggsact question.

Chholey Manchurian

Ever tried chholey and fried rice?

Or paneer with noodles?

And a rossogolla for dessert thereafter... no bread or naan... it's a BYOB (Bring Your Own Bread) place.

China meets Punjab meets Bengal occasionally in the lunch room of my workplace.

We're truly glocal.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Google Death

Don McLean makes an iPod come alive early in the morning:

Which then takes the wandering mind to Gharonda:

And from there to John Donne.

The question is: will Google ever be able to make these actually-not-so-random connections when you search for 'death' and end up with about 581,000,000' results of which the first is this, according to which I will die in 2019?

Am I over-obsessed with death? Worry not folks 'cause as Donne wrote: '...death, thou shalt die.'

Monday, May 26, 2008

Rainy Days

A couple of weeks ago, Delhi (and Gurgaon) was reeling at 42 Celcius. A few duststorms later, the temperature had been reversed to 24.

A while ago, the skies darkened and the rains have come down almost as though the monsoons have arrived. The only problem is that this part of India doesn't really get any rain so the folks here aren't quite sure what they should do with Mummy Nature's bounty. The roads are flooded within a few minutes, cycles and scooters have been abandoned as riders scurry for cover, women on their way to work in autos have been drenched to the bone and are wondering which parts of their otherwise well-covered anatomy are now visible to the unashamedly- staring Jat...

On rare Monday mornings like this, there are only a few things one should indulge in.

Get hold of some brinjal and besan, add a few chillies and some salt; heat up lots of mustard oil and fry enough pakoras to keep you going for the next few hours. Combo this with piping hot masala chai and you have the perfect nibble-sip-nibble rhythm in place.

If that's too much to do, just toast some bread, spread dollops of butter that'll melt through and drip on to your cold fingers... the chai, though, has to be there.

I could spend hours watching the leaves get bathed and turn from dusty brown to glistening green as fat drops come down by the litre; Kishore Kumar would play in the background and I'd do nothing but daydream... nothing, though, will quite make up for the warmth I could get from curling up to someone who's either too far away or too distant to care.

The winds will blow the clouds away and, finally, the traffic jams will ease up enough to let office-goers get to work. The morning will get swallowed by the madness of another Monday and the rain won't quite return. Even if it does, it won't be the same. There is an unforgettable smell of parched earth that floats up when the first showers hit the ground... the second shower will never do the same.

So, for the sake of the sinful stomach, let me too get down to work.

Rain, rain, go away; come again another day!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Beer and Baldness

Why is it that men lose hair at almost the same time that they gain weight around their middle?

Why does beer lead to a pot-belly? Whereas stale beer is supposed to be a great hair conditioner?

I can either drink the beer and watch it go straight to the centre of my body... or I can let it go stale and use it to get some of my hair back.

Belly and baldness...Why does one always have to choose?

Monday, May 19, 2008

Women's Names

Why do most Hindu women's names end with a vowel?

I may have stumbled on this and have thought a lot... but don't have an answer.

If you know, please to tell.

Saturday, May 17, 2008


Kolkata Knight Riders played Mumbai Indians in the latter's home-ground last evening. And lost.

I missed Kolkata achieving the dubious distinction of the IPL series' lowest score because I was playing another match in Delhi on a slippery wicket... and not quite winning that either.

On the way back from Delhi to Gurgaon, caught in traffic, the skies suddenly opened up and let loose a shower which, inexplicably, took me back to Amby Valley where I was last year in a conference during the monsoons.

An old college friend, still in Calcutta, sms-ed to invite me to her son's thread ceremony; I called her back and heard her rant about how meaningless the whole affair was in this day and age. I agreed but had to tell her that she needed to do this not for herself or her son but because we often do things to please others... she wasn't quite convinced. And it doesn't look like I'll make it to Calcutta for the feast she's organising :-(

The call reminded me of another classmate, now in Bangalore, whose birthday it also was yesterday... her phone though went unanswered. I had found her after years on a bookshelf at Crosswords in Kemps Corner, Mumbai - but that's another post.

At home, an old friend again from Calcutta - now living in Mumbai and staying over for the night - was waiting.

When I did get home finally, no one wanted to watch Mumbai thrash Kolkata. Were we being parochial or just prioritising the few hours we had to spend catching up on each others' lives?

We finally yakked till midnight with Jack Daniels for company and figured that Saurav, Sachin and Shoaib were just not worth it.

Is there a point to this post? Doesn't look like it but Calcutta's always worth rambling about.

Thursday, May 15, 2008


A few minutes ago, a colleague (and part-time mentor) who goes by the self-styled nickname of 'Servant Leader' called after ages.

Having discussed whatever we had to on the work front, he then asked if I was happy.

My response is classified information but I couldn't help recalling an old JWT commercial from a previous life:

There's more of these classics if you search YouTube for Hamlet Cigars.

Watch them. Don't smoke though.


Wednesday, May 14, 2008


"The problem with beauty is that it's like being born rich and getting poorer" said Joan Collins.

The problem with YouTube, though, is that it allows Madonna at 50 to look like 20; and makes most women wonder why life is so unfair to them!

Of the close-to 17 million ogles this video had got at this time, how many of them would have been envious? How many women's popping eyeballs? How many men clutching theirs?

How does a woman (like Rekha, for instance) reconcile herself to the fact that, no matter what she does, beauty will be lost? Or, that fighting weight-gain may be a losing battle...