Saturday, May 01, 2010

Remembering the rains!


Rains are amazing. They bring respite from the summer heat. The smell of rainwater falling on burning earth is something else. If its a thunderstorm, I sit and count the seconds between a lighting flash and the sound of thunder, thus determining how far the lightning strike was(its something I picked from a Walt Disney Movie – In Search of the Castaways, anyone seen it?)  Sometimes there is a power cut and you are left with nothing to do but listen to splashing drops of rain and the thunder of the lightning. Its a raw form of communication with Mother Nature - where for a brief moment you forget about the post you just liked on facebook, the tea you put on the kettle, the cell-phone you cant find in the darkness – its just you marveling at the lightning across the sky. You feel you rediscovered a part of yourself – something ancient, something raw – even though moments later the feelings gone.

Rains also bring memories of places, of people, of times gone by. Deepanjan Dey has written what I consider a masterpiece titled “Random Rainy Days”. It expresses what many of us feel on Random Rainy Days.

Today was one such Random Rainy Day! After dinner I felt like having a chilled coke so I walked to the nearby store. There was a slight drizzle but the normally crowded street was empty. Deja Vu! I was reminded of the rainy days of Manipal.

It used to rain non stop – remember! Sometimes I would decide to go to Timmy’s for a Keshto and a chai (no not a sutta – i do not smoke). It was difficult to find people who would accompany me in the rains and thus sometimes I went alone. Of course, on the way people would hand over 10 bucks to me to get some sutta. Sometimes they would also hand over an umbrella, not because they cared that much that I would get drenched, but because it was one of those rare moments when they had somebody’s umbrella with them. Whose? Who cares – just get the ciggs will ya?

I would climb the short wall behind 9th block and jump to the other side, carefully making my way to Timmy’s, on the lookout for snakes who perhaps might decide it was lovely weather for an afternoon crawl! Ever since I saw a cobra crawling on the road next to Timmy’s, I was fairly certain I was going to die bitten by a cobra which was hiding below the bench inside Timmy’s shack. Whenever I entered Timmy’s shack, I tried to see whether there were any snakes around. But it was pitch dark and I reconciled myself by thinking that any snakes in the shack would have crawled away the moment Timmy anna would appear from behind the shack shouting “Kaun hai?”. You cannot imagine how terrified I am of snakes! Yet I used to go to Timmy’s every day, overcoming my fears to savor half fries, keshtos, chai and the sight of the valley. That sight was something else when it rained.

Sometimes I would start playing songs like “Raindrops keep falling on my head..” on my comp and others would join in for some good music and good bakar.

During the rains, you also got to better know random people studying with you. Waiting for the rains to get over, you would start reading the notices on the notice boards, even though you had read all of them a couple of hours ago on the way back from lunch. You would find a notice about the fine you had to pay for some random thing or the available rooms in 10th block for your batch and then you would start cursing the college authorities with some random dude you hardly spoke to. Of course, some years later that random dude became a very good friend as both of you were placed in the same company.

I saw this video on facebook today in Mayur Kislaya’s news feed. Its a recent one of the rains in Manipal. Then I went out and was reminded of Manipal and all of you as I soaked some of the drizzle.

Remembering all the MITians and Manipal on this random rainy day! We Rock!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Crying, Life and Loneliness

I think one of God’s gift to human beings is the ability of humans to cry. It gives us the ability to overcome loss, mistakes, failure. Life seems worthless at times and you want to end it. There is so much pain that you cant bear it. Things are the way they are and there is not much you can do to change them. However much you want.

The depression hits a new low when you are unable to move on, because there is nothing to move onto. Sitting alone you get negative thoughts. Even when you are surrounded by people you can be the loneliest person in the room. You wish there was someone who you could talk to, someone who would guide you through the turmoil and darkness. But you realize there is no-one and then you realize there is no one because of the way you are. You have repelled people away from you, staying quiet and lonely all along. And now when you need someone to talk to there are none.

At such instances, your life seems meaningless. This is bad as you feel like ending it. After all something which has no meaning should not exist. And then you cry! And all the body releases hormones which make you feel positive, which give you hope. You feel light and you move on.

Crying is a survival technique as powerful as the anti-bodies in our blood. Too much depression can lead to suicide and the body fights this by crying. So if you are feeling depressed and lonely just cry. And move on! 

Monday, December 22, 2008

Some random song...

Its almost 13 very dusty kilometers from my office back to home. Nowadays I have started listening to my i-pod on the way back. However, there have been times, when with nothing to do, I have tried to come up with a few songs. I find that my mind really works well there is a lot inside for it to say. 

Once I was returning home tired and was flabber-gasted by the dust that was in the air that day. Irritated I came up with the following song. Can't sing it to you, so leave the tune to your imagination.

All around, everywhere.
there's dust in the air.
dust in my eyes, dust in my mouth
dust everywhere, i go north or south.

where's the place
where no dust is found
is it outer space
is it under ground
dust in my eyes, dust in my mouth
dust everywhere, i go north or south.

others in posts to follow...

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Damn The Geeky Sassy!

Yes Damn him!! Thanks to his new found interest in ASP.NET he has ignored us completely . He has forgotten about this blog. He only posts on his tech blog. To hell with him. I am not visiting this blog anymore.

Calm Down Folks!! There are hell lot of things I gotta write about, with the final postcard being one of them. But I am tied up with quite a few things.

But I cannot blame my workload. I gotta blame my time management. So I am trying to have a focussed approach (yeah right!! how many times have we heard that before??) Lets not be very optimistic. But lets be hopeful!

Definetly something before march end. Till then Thanks for Visiting!!


Monday, February 04, 2008

The Final Postcard-On its way!!

We all have been waiting for the final postcard from Shanghai to arrive! WE!!!????

Let me confess! I have been waiting as well to finish off that chapter for quite some time now! Though I could still go on and on about the trip to China, I think it is quite a drag now! So I have begun work on on e final post which will bid adieu to China! Hopefully that will be done by the month end and I could then move on to newer posts. If you are thinking what is keeping me so busy, visit my tech-blog over the next few weeks and you shall know!!

Till the final one arrives.....Cheers and Have fun!!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Postcard from Shanghai-6

Its been a looooooong time coming!! Those are the starting lines of the song with which the Documentary on Woodstock 69 begins. But I am talking about what is supposed to be the final postcard from Shanghai! It has been a long time coming!

Well, the whole China experience was a very memorable one. It was memorable because I made friends there and am still in touch with them. It was memorable because it was the first time that I had been to a foreign country. It was memorable because I was able to finish my task with flying colors.

The Chinese people are very polite. When one weekend the gang in China was going on a trip to Nanjing, we took a fast train to Nanjing. The cleanliness and order in China is something which will amaze people from India. You cannot blame the population for not being able to control things. Of course, you may need to deal with things with an Iron Fist at times, which is really not something which happens in India.

The strangest of things happened. I made a friend who was born on the same day as me, I mean the same birthday and the same year. And that happens to be the day China proclaimed itself as a republic. Also there is a city in China, which has the same name as me. And of all the countries in the world, China happened to be the first one I would visit. Remarkable isn't it?

In college I used to say to my friends that one should live across the world in all the famous cities. I have already lived and experienced New Delhi and Bangalore. I have been quite a few times to Mumbai. I can now also say that I have experienced Shanghai as a city to live and the experience was enriching. I also visited Nanjing.

Things that I remember from the trip is work of course. Then the breakfast at the hotel and the taxi ride to work. The voice and the message you heard when the taxi driver put the meter down. The remarkable taxi drivers themselves. Teppen-Yaki where we used to have lunch everyday, with the cute and courteous waitresses. Boy they had a lovely smile! Nanjing Road and the Bund. Pearl Tower. The electronics market. The railway station at Nanjing. Liz and Kiki and Lily. Johnson and Kevin. Chenggang and Frankie and Joe. The Hymall Store. The Howard Johnson Hotel where I had a haircut for a hundred RMB and where I was staying with the night drinks. Beer at Pushkar's place before I left. Pu Dong Airport. Chinese Music at McDonald's.The calm and order that existed. YSP! The guy who used to work in the night shifts. People whom I trained. Chinese the language which I will learn someday! The Shanghai Skyline!

Pictures say a thousand words so some pictures from China as a slide show. It was one experience and I wish to return there someday. Zhei Jian!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Postcard from Shanghai - 5

So here I was watching a Chinese serial with a cute girl! The characters in the serial were young; a reflection of China maybe! Ding Dong! That must be Mano, and it was!! Boy was i glad to see him. There was a sense of relief earlier in the airplane when I saw fellow Indians, but this time it wasn't just any other Indian. It was my friend from College. I had known him since first year of engineering and he lived with me for a few months when we first came to Bangalore. "Nice to see you Mano!!". He asked me if I had any trouble reaching the hotel and then went on to narrate how he was all alone the first time that he had come and no one was there to pick him up! One part of me was thankful that I had had no trouble but another part thought about the adventure and excitement it would have been had I ventured to reach the hotel all by myself. Mano told me all I needed to know. From how to use the card provided by the company to how to go to the office.

He told me that we would be going to his Service Apartment where Srini was also staying and would be having dinner there. Mano wasn't wearing any sweaters and I asked him if he wasnt feeling cold. He said no and that it was pretty pleasant now and that I would get used to it in a couple of days.We were about to leave and I asked him what documents should I keep with myself. The most important thing was to keep the print out of the address of the hotel and the office which was in Chinese.We locked the room and went down and out of the hotel to catch a taxi. Now back in Bangalore I was used to catching a bus or an auto-rickshaw, popularly called an auto(which is a motorized-tri cycle) and this taxi thing was new for me. Mano explained that the Taxi sign that you see on top, if it is lit then the taxi is available for hire. Just give a hand and they will stop for you. Get in the taxi and show them the print out. Don't try and tell them. No one understands English. Everything is in Chinese. Your hotel is named Howard Johnson. In India that name remains Howard Johnson irrespective of whether you are in Bengal, UP, Tamil Nadu or Karnataka. But in China, Howard Johnson is not called Howard Johnson. It would be called something else. So if you say Howard Johnson Hotel, no one will understand anything.

A taxi slowed down and we got in. Mano said something in Chinese. The driver was not sure so Mano took out his printout and passed it to the driver who took out his specs and nodded in agreement. "OK OK" he said meaning that he knew where we were to go. Shishya mano replied. "What did you just say?", I asked. "Thank You! That's how you say thank you in Chinese! You know Guru-Shishya right! Thank you in Chinese sounds very much like Shishya...though it is not spelled like that!" "Shishya...!!" I repeated."So how do you spell it?" "Xixie.." "X i ..!! X...??" "Yes, thats how you spell it in pinyin. pinyin is how you write Chinese in the roman script!! So you know the sound sa in hindi...the same sound is written as X in pinyin.. We wont have much trouble picking up Chinese as the sounds in Hindi are pretty similar... But the tough part is the pronunciation.. If you pronounce a word incorrectly it might mean something else!!"

"Another you should know is that the Chinese word for Road/Street which is lu.." "Loo..?" "yeah..Lu...see I told him Hong Shu Lu.. meaning .." "Hong Shu Road..", I completed. "Oh ! You mean to say that back in Bangalore, I stay at Airport Loo???" "Haha!! Yeah you got it"

The taxi driver said something in Chinese. Apparently we were already on Hong Shu Lu. Then Mano told him something which contained Hong Shu Lu and another street's name. The driver understood!! "I was telling him that we have to go to the intersection of HongShu Lu with (I dont remember the name of the rd.) We reac that place then take a U turn to the other side where my Apartment is...See there on the other side... that's where I stay ! High Sure.." The taxi reached the intersection or chauraha as we might call it and took a U turn dropping us in front of High Sure All Suites Hotel! HOTEL?? I thought he was staying in a Service Apartment!! Well if you are staying for a long term they provide you the room on lesser charges he explained. They call it a Service Apartment. Well, it sure is pretty luxurious for an apartment!! We entered the lift where Mano swiped his hotel card and then pressed a button. "I can only go to the floor for which I have authorization! Security!!" Wow. Impressive.

We reached and I finally met Srini, recognizing him instantly having seen him at HSC earlier, but not knowing who he was. We sat down and I helped myself with Heineken. Then we chatted about work and all and had a splendid dinner of Rice Sambhar, Potatoes and curd cooked in pure South Indian style! Later, we bid goodbye to Srini and went to Mano's room where we just chatted. Mano told me more about the Chinese language and the office and we just chatted how our friends were in Bangalore and elsewhere! It was getting late and I decided that since I had to reach the office by 8:30 in the morning I should go and sleep! I was tired with all the traveling from India!! Seems odd doesn't it, that the fifth postcard and I am still just 24 hrs into my journey! Well it was only this part and a few other days worth writing about as the rest of the time I was busy with work, which I am sure I don't want to bore you with.

Mano Dropped me and helped me board a taxi! "Dont worry! Just show him the print out and he will do the rest!If any problem just call me!" Wow! To trust a cabbie is not what you do in India, be it Delhi or Bangalore! And here all alone in this Mega City late at night in a place where nobody would understand what I was saying, my friend had said to have complete faith in this cab driver!! It wasnt without substance as I later found out!!

I was back at the hotel in my room trying to get some sleep! More about the days that followed in the coming posts!! Till then Enjoy!!