Sunday, December 25, 2005

The Last Post?

Hi, this i just to inform you that I wont be writing about life anymore. I mean I would be writing about other topics, maybe, but not about life and its materialism. (But because that is all I have written for a long long time, hence am not too sure how I can continue writing this blog further) Someone just told me that I was basically a non-achiever, who talked about materialism to explain my failure to do anything subsatntial in life. Something like grapes turning sour, infact very sour. He believes I keep writing all this stuff so that people cannot call me a failure, but say something like, "This guy is a stud. He could achieve this, achieve that, but he doesnt want to do that." Even though I dont believe him, I think its my duty to take out this impression from his mind. So I shall stop commenting about people being mater1alistic and all that. And this guy is a super-achiever. He has gone a long long way in life, and is only expected to go further ahead. I respect him for that. But he also has this fetish for everything being neat and clean, well ordered, and is easily able to pass judgement on people based on their appearance. For him, all that glitters is gold, and all that is black is coal. And because I respect this person, I am ready to change myself according to his whims and fantasies.
Well, maybe, I am being too harsh on him, he does not judge people on the basis of their appearance, but he does tend to form a first impression of people, and it becomes hard for him to shake that first impression.
He loves me, and so wants the best for me, and so he wants me to feel bad for the current state of affairs I have landed myself in; but hard as I may try, I have never felt better my entire life. And I believe that is all that matters; but as he feels this is not right, and wants me to change my lifestyle, I am going to change it, not for myself, but for him; so that he feels good. And that means I am trying to go and start achieving things as he has. Because he has always been responsible, practical, well-ordered. neat and confident, while I have always been the opposite. Hence he has the higher ground in this, and I am cannot argue with such a super-achiever. So this might be my last post on the uselessness of life in a long long long time, until I achieve something worthwhile. I dont think that I have achieved little in life. I think I am an achiever of a different kind, but this time I will go and achieve things in a different vein: I shall get some tangible results, produce something materialisic, so that then I can tell him what I really am. And till then i will try looking for alternative topics to write on : Politics, movies, books and

On a separate note: Well do people who have sacrificed their CG and else for hostel affairs deserve something? Why do seniors make it sure to ruin their juniors' lives by making them work so hard for the RCA, GC and a selection of other trophies? Is a hostel's pride even worth it? Do emotions like friendships and love matter in the real world? What is more important, a good resume made up of lies, or a bad resume because you are not clever enough to show all that you have done? Should people who work for hostel only for building their resume, and forget all about it ones their job is done be quantified as studs? Should people who say "I won't participate in this and this anymore, because I already have a lot of this on my resume" deserve any credit for their 'service' to the hostel? And do people who have been working only for the hostel's cause not deserve more? Arent most of these people impractical and foolish, especially since most of it doesnt even matter in the end (read placements, CAT or MS/PhD)? I am seeking answers. If anybody can provide me with the answers, I will only be happy to get back to the Mr. Super-achiever with them.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Of CG and other demons

Another placement season is here. Another season of hope. And despair. Another season of someone ruing the fact that "If my CG was a bit better". It is a thought that is realised a bit too late by most students. And irrespective of all that I might have written earlier, if you are looking for the more materialistic pleasures of life, all you require is a good CG. Like the good old Metallica song, "Nothing Else Matters." With a good CG, a bit of aptitude (now considering you have made it to IIT, this should not be to hard) and smartness (now thats a bit tough, especially if you are one of those good for nothing maggus) nothing can stop you from getting a "good", highly paying job. And no, irrespective of the JEE which filters student (it used to filter students this way, but now apparently it has stopped doing even that) on the basis of their levels of understanding, CG in IIT is more an indicator of your slogging abilities than anything else. While JEE tests your "intelligence" (I wont shy away from use of that word) the exams at IIT are nothing much than testing an ability for rote learning.
The most successful people, they say, are those who are able to change with the times. It means, consequently, that the most successful people are those who dont stick to anything, who are unable to stick to their principles. Surely there are exceptions (and I really respect people who reach the top sticking to their principles) , but thats the general rule and I will stick to it. And are the most successful people also the nicest people? I believe (I just dont think, I believe) that its rarely the case. And the most succesful people are also not the "best" (this refers to being the most talented) people. Success is a combination of many factors, of which luck probably is on the top. I just read one of my most respected seniors (Lets call him B) writing this about another person, one of my better liked juniors (lets call him A) , (and who happens to be one of the best friends of the senior guy) who has just got an offer with one of the top consulting companies, and was close to securing a job in the other big consulting company as well (Forgive me if this sentence has become too complicated) : "If nothing else, there is one quality that I know I possess, and that is being a good judge of people. Yesterday, two of the world's leading consulting firms happened to concur with me." (Hope I am not infringing upon the copyright). And this set me thinking:Does B judge people by how successful people will turn out to be, or do companies choose someone on the basis of how good the person is? The second surely cannot be the case, I think, for otherwise B would have been the foremost candidate for the two companies. And he wasnt even shortlisted, because again, his CG happened to be on the bad side of seven. The former also seemed unlikely, because I cannot imagine someone like B judging people on how successful they are going to be. So I guess he was wrong on that account: The company had not offered A the job because he was a nice guy (not that he is not a nice guy), but because he was the best guy: That he had a pretty good CG. And a fabulous co-curricular record.
Now, coming back to the point, here is what it seems to me: irrespective of whatever crap do companies speak about selecting all-round talents, what they want are people who are ambitious (and their definition of ambitious is just : Having a good CG. You might have plans, and the right ideas, for moon travel, but if your CG is not good enough, you are not ambitious enough). If you dont have it, you might be good enough to crack 100 percentile in DI in CAT, but even then these so called Data Analytics companies wont take you because you dont have a good CGPA.
What exactly does CGPA measure. Nothing more than how much can you be a constant slogger and your ability to be in the good books of your professors. I have been lucky that most of my professors have been pretty good. So my bad CG can mostly be explained by my lack as a slogger. Because I believe myself to be one of the most "intelligent" persons around (As in, I believe myself to be one of the more intellifgent persons on this planet. So if you dont want me, F*** you, Mckinsey!F*** you BCG! And F*** all those companies that make such a big deal about attracting all-round talent!Be honest to yourself, and to the students you come to recruit. And if you are still about attracting "highly ambitious" guys, take my middle finger. Up Yours!! You might be the most presentabler guys around, but neither are you the best, and deifinately not the nicest. And I care only about nice persons, which means I dont care about anyone, because I am also the nicest. Just f*** off! Like the brilliant REM lyrics of Ignoreland,
If they weren't there we would have created them. maybe, it' true,
But I'm resentful all the same. someone's got to take the blame.
I know that this is vitriol. no solution, spleen-venting,
But I feel better having screamed. don't you?
And I feel better as well, already.

Monday, December 19, 2005

The King Of Solitude

He is enjoying the evening
With his many friends;
Suddenly he remembers those days,
Those walks, and her beautiful face;
And now he starts feeling sad,
She left him, when he wanted her so bad,
And while his friends are enjoying jokes, some of them lewd,
Starts crying, the king of Solitude

He is among many people,
but still feels so alone;
"Stop this merry-making", he wants to say
And wants to go back a hundred days;
Friends call out to him,
"enjoy some whisky and gin";
But he refuses, without sounding rude,
sulking is the King Of Solitude

He doesnt want to spoil the party
So he goes out to take a walk;
His friends want him to stay
But he just wants to go away;
To where he can never be,
"She'll repent it later", he thinks;
The thought makes him smile, improves his mood,
Now he is laughing, the king of solitude

He had got it all,
and now he has lost it;
But all that remains in his mad head,
Is her memory, which refuse to fade away.
He is alone, and declared insane,
And then he feels the most pain
All his friends have gone away, left him to suffer
In Solitude, suffers the King Of Solitude

He hasnt yet realised,
that love is the cause of his troubles
And that his friends were for name
When disaster struck, not one of them came
As and when he knows this noble truth,
that love and friendship are for fools
will he be happy to be alone,
In Solitude, will enjoy the king of Solitude

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Of Cricket, Hockey and Football

One of my many ambitions as a six-year old was to represent India in Cricket, Hockey and Football (Six-year olds can be very crazy, you see. My other ambitions included becoming a pilot, winning the Wimbledon, a doctor, an engineer, and the Prime Minister of India. COMBINED, but that is beside the point). I wanted to be a player who could guide India to another World Cup triumph in Cricket and Hockey, and make it a new superpower in the world of football. None of these 'dreams' became reality, ofcourse. Neither have I been able to make it to any of these teams (I havent been even close) and neither has India got back the World Cup in Cricket and Hockey; in football, World Cup qualification is still a distant dream. And now, looking as obscene(obese??) as I have ever done, I am just looking back at those days, when I first encoutered butter. (That is another long story!) Otherwise I could have been the new star on the horizon, and India a major sports power, just like Australia.
These thoughts came back to me because of a statement by Gerd Muller, the highest scorer ever in World Cup Football and the general-secretary (or something of that sort) of Bayern Munich, which was in Calcutta (their U-21 or second side I guess) to participate in the IFA Shield. The statement roughly analysed the three games' status in India. As a lead up to the tournament, Hindustan Times (or was it the Times Of India, you can hardly tell the difference nowadays) published articles of past Bayern Munich greats. This is what he wrote, "I know that football is not as popular in India as cricket, the national sport of India, is..". And then I realised it: Cricket is now considered the national sport of India even by foreigners. We Indians had given up on hockey a long time ago, but it still remains the national sport of India. And I waited the next day, and the day after that, for some apology by the newspaper, giving hockey its due. But none came. What was worse: No one even pointed out this glaring error to the editors of the daily. So it remained, and that day, it got confirmed: Hockey might be the official national sport, but when it comes to cricket, there's "nothing official about it" tagline attached along. For otherwise, how would we explain the massive protests over Ganguly's exclusion from the team; and not a similiar incident when Dhanraj Pillay is excluded even from the list ofprobables. Why dont people start writing blogs after the golden boy of Indian Football, Baichung Bhutia, fails to make it to the Indian team. Why do we shower a godlike status on our cricket stars while failing to recognize even the names of Indian players in other teams. How many of us, for example, can name 3-4 players who played (and won, mind you) in the SAFF Football Cup in Pakistan. (Or well, did you ever come to know that such a tournament was being organised?). And how many of you could name the Hockey team taking part in the Challenger Series, where India finished sixth among six teams (But, they were the world Best Teams).
I dont have anything against Cricket as such, but I was just looking at the coverage three events running simultaneously got on the press and the media, and there it was. Cricket covered 3 out of the 4 pages of the Sports Section, while Hockey got a quarter. (This was the challenger trophy, the best of the best in the World Of Hockey!). And India's football win was just in the Sports titbits section. No doubt, that while six years old in my time wanted to represent India in more than just cricket, now every Tom, Dick and Harry wants to be a Sachin Tendulkar.
The year I was born, cricket was just a blip on the horizon. It was a game that was catching up fast on hockey, but there was a chance for football as well. And then, one fine Summer Afternoon at Lord's, (JUne 25, 1983. I am not very sure about the date..again) it all changed. Kapil's Devils had won the World Cup Cricket, and India lost every other sport. Since then, it has been cricket all over, and because it has matched up so well with the Television boom, is now India's unofficial national sport.
But all is not yet lost for hockey and football. My mother still remembers how she and the entire family stopped eating for a full day when India lost to Pakistan in the Semifinals at Munich in 1972. And I remember, how proud I felt reading about Indian football reaching the semi-finals at Melbourne olympics way back in 1956. When was the last time you felt proud about India beating Pakistan in Hockey? And in football?
All it takes is for IHF and AIFF to remove their old bastions of power (KPS Gill and Priyaranjan Dasmunshi, respectiviely) and make a new start. These two sports need a Reliance World Cup. Or better still, good performances for a start.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Mostly Harmless

(Earth finds just two words in the Hitchhikers' Guide to The Galaxy: Mostly Harmless. It is also the fifth book of the Hitchhiker's "trilogy" in now five parts. So finally I got to know of someone who did not like the Hitchhikers' Series. So, well I modify my last post's to : Till now, I have known only one person who has ........ )
The third part of my Philosophical discourses. The end of the trilogy.
Mostly Harmless. Thats what a lot of people probably think of me. Atleast, thats what I think about a lot of people. Infact all people are mostly harmless. And they are mostly similar too. Irrespective of the differences in colour, religion, caste and creed; people are alike in a lot of ways. If you have read the Merchant Of Venice, (and if you are from the ICSE board, there is a good chance you have) you will remember Shylock's speech about Jews and Chritians. "Hath not a Jew eyes, ears......If you cut us, do we not bleed, and if you stab us, will we not die." (Sorry Mr. Bill, but I could never remember your entire speeches correctly). The speech is a great testimony to the basic similiarities between humans, and the need to eradicate human biases.
Mostly Harmless. Thats what a lot of us are. All of us are, infact. I have interacted with a lot of people over the years, and at the end of it all, I find that noone is purely bad, or purely good. Any man is a mixture of the two. In the end, it all depends on how we want to see a particular person. That is why I think, the saying "First impression is the last impression" is so correct. Once you form an impression of a person, you continue seeing him in that light.
Man had the basic needs: Food, Clothing and Shelter. (Mr. Arun Jaitley shall probably want to add Bijli. Sadak and Paani (BSP) to it), but now he has more. I believe now people work for recognition of their efforts. And the other thing that people really want is respect from other people. And money, and with it, the ensuing power. And the love of the girl they love. It is a combination of all these that spur a person to move forward in life, and go on trying to achieve that. And, satisfaction? Satisfaction is another of those craps invented to explain all the things above, People want the four things above, and name it satsfaction.
And there are various things a man tries to get what he needs. Everyone is good at heart, just the methods might make him seem bad. This is all what Hitler wanted. Or Napolean. Or Genghiz Khan. Or Stalin. Were they good or bad? I'll say they were good. And if they were bad, then so was Churchill, and Roosevelt, or Truman.
I have made a hash of this post. I am disappointed at having written this, but I'll publish this anyway. And then I will brush my teeth. Good Morning and have a great day (Its a Sunday!). Keep Blogging!!!
(On second thoughts, people like Hitler are probably better, because they are honest about what they want. What about me, who doesnot know what I want, or my friends, who will never admit to what I have written here?)

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

So long, and Thanks for all the fish

(For all of you wondering about the title of the post, please read the earlier post before reading further. For those still wondering, please read the hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy as soon as possible. It is a wonderful read).
"The story so far: In the beginning the Universe was created. It has made a lot of people angry, and has been widely critizised as a bad move. " Any novel containing such outrageous sense of humour ought to become an instant favourite with the reader. I still have to come across someone who has read the entire book (it used to be a 'trilogy' in four parts when I read it, but since then, the fifth, Mostly Harmless, has also been added to the list), and hasn't liked it. Its full of some very good crap, and apparently, a lot of people, and I, tend to like some very good crap.
Thinking about Douglas Adams, also reminds me of my very serious falling as an author: that I am horrible at writing humour. Any type of humour, be it sarcasm or slapstick, doesn't come naturally to me. But, I will try it sometime. Till then, I am better off doing what I do here always : writing about love and other issues.
Have recently finished reading two books, both of which have left me thinking about myself and my life. One was called Skinny Legs and All by Tom Robbins, who is one of the top rated American writers, but surprisingly isn't very famous in India. The second book is by Chetan Bhagat, and he has again managed to create a tale around friendship, though this time his novel is a lot darker. Its called One Night@ The Call Centre; and that's exactly what it is, describing an eventful night at a call centre in (wherelse could Bhagat set the scene in?) Gurgaon.
Skinny Legs and All is a masterpiece, because not only is it a fabulous read, but also because it manages to ask some very basic questions about human existence. And whats more, it even tries to answer these questions itself. And even then it manages to keep up a fast pace, and the entire story is told humorously, which makes me appreciate it even more. The book preaches a similiar philosophy to what I had like to teach the world someday : Money is crap, as is religion. Politics and law are just measures introduced to curtail basic human freedom. The book lays stresses, among other things, that humans need to give more attention towards nature, the living, the dead and the non-living. It also points out that individual freedom should be emphasised.
One Night@The Call Centre, on the other hand, is a typical Chetan Bhagat book (if you can actually generalise his genre based on Five Point Someone). Its again about people whose life are in a deep mess, this time though not entirely of their own making. Its about the youth of India, and how do they come up on top against the odds. The book is much more narrower in vision than Skinny Legs and All, but because it talks about people like me, who feel and act much like I do, it strikes a chord. Sometimes I do wonder why am I working so hard for America]s prosperity, but then I realise that any other job will also have almost the same effect; the real benefit will be America's.
Now that I have got my degree (finally!), my family members want me to leave my current job and start looking for greener pastures, basically a job that pays me better and has better value in terms of work experience. But I am in no mood to change for two primarily reasons. One is that even though I need money to sustain my drinking and eating habits over the weekends, I believe I am earning as much as I need. And I am not asking for more. Because I do not beelieve in money in the first place, I think its the most overrated commodity in the world (I am not sure commodity is the right word. Probably Adam Smith will have some objection over its usage). I will only want money when someone who depends on me wants it. But that is in the distant future, and as far as saving for the future goes, I am giving myself time. Also, I am pretty much liking the atmosphere at my office and the people, so presently, I have no plans to shift. The second reason I attribute to the way my parents have brought me up. They have always taught my elder brother and me to appreciate and be grateful for the small things in life that God has given us. And this extends to favours that people extend to us. "Never forget anybody's favour, and never refuse a favour to others.", is what my parents used to tell me. And I am just following that. When I was without the degree, and badly in need for a job to sustain my extravagant lifestyle, my company gave me a lifeline by letting me stay. And how do I return the favour? By telling them that well it has been a great journey, but its been "so long, and thanks for all the fish." I possibly cannot do this. Sometimes, I just wonder how ethical can I get at times. And it makes me feel good. It always pays to have ethics, even though here I am losing money I think.
On a separate note, I heard the Lobo song "Don]t expect me to be your friend." I possibly could not have had understood the meaning before, but now it sums up how I have been feeling the past few months. The lyrics go like, " I love you too much to ever start liking you, so just lets end the story here, I love you too much to ever start liking you, so dont expect me to be your friend." I just hope she will understand this, and possibly come and tell me "So long, and thanks for all the fish. Good-Bye"

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Life, the Universe and Everything

{Apologies to the Late Douglas Adams for using the title from the third book of his five book "trilogy.")
I am supposed to be the most relieved man on earth today. I am like a death penalty convict, been granted special pardon by the President a day before the execution. (This is actually a truer analogy than it seems). After four and a half years of taking Minors and Majors I have finally passed out of the Indian Institute of Technology. And that is a big thing, to finally have a provisional B.Tech from one of the country's premier educational institutions. It was a tough ride all the way, and after having completed this slow and unsteady race (which by the way, I ended .finishing 37 in a class of 45 odd), I should be happy for the fact that I have at last done what I set out to do: get a B.Tech in Electrical Engineering from IIT Delhi. For sometime, in the past month or so, becoming an engineer was all that I cared for. Infact, I had even contemplated suicide if I didnt get a degree. (Now, again, dont pass judgements about me..plzz. I am a lot more psycho than you think. And moreover I believe that suicide requires much more courage than is attributed to it. It is the ultimate surrender, to life itself, and I believe only a courageous person can accept losing).It was a matter of life or death for me. So well, I thought that the day I finally got my degree would actually be the happiest day of my life. Except that, I am not happy. Infact, the realisation that I have finally become an engineer has left me sad. Sad is probably the wrong word, but now this doesnt seem to be affecting me as much as I thought it would. No, not as much as I thought it would, but it hasnt made any difference at all.
I remember reading once "Success is counted sweetest, by those who never succeed", and today the full meaning of these lines cannot escape me. Is it because of this that having finally got the degree I am unable to cherish it as I should have? Or is it something else, something even more philosophical?
Did I ever tell you that I also plan to open my own school of philosophy thought? I guess I have not, but I believe (my this belief, like all my other beliefs, is shared by me alone) that someday I will be able to write a book on philosophy. For that, I dont intend to read any other philosophy, as I want my thought to be original and pure. So well here is the first point of my pholosphical discourses.
Problems are broadly of two levels : 1) Minor and 2) Major. Not getting through a good company, or flunking a course or a semester, are types of minor problems. They hurt, but the wound heals pretty quickly. On the other hand, loving someone who does not love you, or (which I feel is even worse) not loving someone who loves you, are probably the two scenarios when you are hurt the most. In between, there are other things we are wary of: death of your dog, your cat and so on. But being the hopeless romantic that I am, I feel that the two of the above hurt much more than anything else. Also, the minor worries are the ones that seem to eat the majority of your time. Or we try to give our minor problems more time in order to forget our major problems. Time is a great healer, and that is what we rely the most on, in order to lessen the pain from the major problems.
So well, my point is, that when I had got my degree, all my minor problems were over (at that point of time atleast), and because man (I have a habit of generalising things; maybe I should use I) is pessemestic for the most part, he has to worry about his problems, which left me pondering over my major problems. And that made the world seem a much more problematic than it was before. Because you can't do anything about people not loving you, or even about you not loving people. There is only one thing : give it time. You try shutting yourself away from everything, but somehow her memory comes back to haunt you. Again and again. You try to keep it out, but the mere mention of her name is enough to remind you of those days. And make you sad.
So much for my philosophy, probably its because of this, that I felt sad after the degree. Or maybe, there was another reason. More of it in the next post. And sure enough, it will be called "So long, and thanks for all the fish."

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

The Apple Story

[Disclaimer : The Apple Story has nothing to do with the Apple company, and neither Newton, nor with the state of New York.A friend of mine wanted me to write a blog dedicated to him. Here is it, and it is relevant to many people.]
Let me summarize for you a beautiful story. I call it the apple story, and it is a fairly simple tale, just like most beautiful tales. It talks (obviously!) about apples; rotten apples and good apples. The rotten apples, because of their greater weight, are greatly affected by gravity, and hence they fall to the ground. The fresh apples, on the other hand, stay upright, on the highest of branches. When a farmer comes, he sees the fresh apples, higher up on the tree, and realizing the effort taken to get to them, starts eating the rotten apples, while the fresh ones cling to their higher branches. The next time, however when the farmer returns, he knows that the ground below has rotten apples, and this time, he is ready to make up, and so makes that extra effort to get to the fresher apples.
Now, if you treat it just like a story, there is nothing like it. But then, people, like my friend above, cannot appreciate art just for the sake of it. What they want is to draw out parallels from the story into the modern world. And this is how they do it: now this is another long story, so if you did not like the above story, there is an even greater chance you will not like this one.
According to these people, (who in the Modern world, are also referred too by others as losers)the apples in the story actually denotes boys. The rotten apples signifies the bad boys, those with a rotten heart. The fresher apples, denotes people who are good, those living on the higher branches of life. The farmer is the girl, who comes out and reaches for the apples most readily available (the bad boys), and only after they have been victim of the bad boys' malice, do they realise that there exist good guys (read: fresher apples) for them. Hence, these losers say, if you don't find a girlfriend, it is okay, because it means that you are a good guy. (You would have realized that the Losers themselves, a growing class today, belong to this category of good guys).
As for me, I really don't think that the interpretations are correct. For one, what can you say about guys, good guys, who actually are ready to fall to the ground (read: make themselves available for the girls)? Why is it that they are also sometimes rejected by the girls? And not only sometimes, but a lot of times. I believe it happens sometimes because the girl is sometimes unable to match up to the guy's stature, and sometimes because she realizes that the good guy and she is not combatible, which itself makes her sort of evilish (on second thoughts!)
This happened to the Time Table (sorry to call him this, but that is how you will probably remember him as) in Dil Chahta Hai; where he was dumped by Sonali Kulkarni for the Casanova Saif and Salman Khan in Kucch Kucch Hotaa Hai; dumped by the girl he dearly loved, for a man she loved, and who had no feelings for her till his own wife dies.
But there have also been cases where the good man, after all, gets the girl. Not that the other guy is a rascal or anything, but this guy is the one who "actually" wants to see the girl happy. I just saw Deewane Hue Paagal yesterday (by the way..its absolutely necessary for you to watch the film, its a tremendous laugh riot; especially if you see it with your greatest friends). And here too the best guy among the lot gets the girl. Same is the case in Mujhse Shaadi karogee, or There's Something About Mary (on which, incidentally, Deewane Hue Paagal is based). The greatest example could probably be Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam.
So well, my friend, there is still hope for you. And for me. Hope is all it takes.I dedicate this post to all those like us, waiting for something to happen which makes the girls we love realise, we are the best for them. And some girl, the noblest of them all, shall reach up for you. And get you. Till then, like Orkut says, stay beautiful. Stay fresh. On the topmost branches of the apple tree called life.

Friday, November 18, 2005

The Problems of India

This is my first post after more than a fortnight, and the reason is not CAT. It is something else, something I have experienced for only the first time. The reason in Writers Block. I finally came to know about this phenomenon, and I am finally feeling today that I have managed a way out of it. I have been planning to write about the problems plauging India for the past 15 days, and during this period, have tried out different beginnings, and have reached a deadend. Probably this topic is something on which there is plenty to write, and yet, so many things have been written, that there is little left to try. And this has been the main cause of my block. After writing a few lines, the things I wrote seemed so cliche, that I could not write anymore. But now, I guess I am going to start off a new debate about the very essence of India.
The biggest problem facing India is not illiteracy; nor is it over-population. And I wont even accord corruption or sender inequality that dubious honour. Not even communalism or casteism or reservations, for that matter. These are big problems, no doubt, but there is something more that is a bigger problem. Its a problem that plagues every one of us, and it is something that is not talked about in the media; just because the media either actually cannot see it, or because it refuses to accept its existence. I personally believe the second one is the case because this is something highly controversial, and I feel that I am the first one to write about it, which leads me to believe that any "patriotic" Indian would be ready to issue a fatwa like command against me.
The biggest problem facing India is that even after 58 years of independence, and 56 years as a republic, India remains a country consisting of immature people. We still have to grow up as a nation. While we can get very excited about cricket, Information Technology boom, Nuclear tests, Godhra, assassination of Mrs. Indira Gandhi; the same type of agitation is missing when a girl is raped in daylight in the streets of India's most cosmopolitan city, when the city capital is bombed, or when the "paradise on earth" is repeatedly attacked by terrorists. While we have a rising Middle Class enjoying the benefits of outsourcing, eating at McDonalds and drinking at Baristas; we also have a Middle Class that is going down because it is unable to compete with the outside world. While we accept the virtues of globalisation and the emergence of India as a new Superpower, we fail to see where India is lacking. We still dont have capable leaders to lead the country; capable bureaucrats to run it, and proud, patriotic nationals to be its citizens. Patriotism? Surely, I am wrong; atleast here. There is no dearth of patriots in this country. People talk with such passion about India, that you will almost be fooled to believe that they can do their utmost for the country. Take cricket, for instance. Whenever a cricket match is on, one billion prayers rise up in unison for Sachin Tendulkar. But when it comes to actually do something worthwhile for India, and these billion prayers, like me, will come up cropper. I had, and I guess so would most of you, rather pay the policeman Rs. 100 for a traffic violation than get a slip of Rs. 500. And I sense a patriot in all of you. What shallow patriotism!! I still have friends, educated from IIT, like myself, who hold such narrow views on communalism and gender equality, that it puts all thoughts about education and broadening of horizons to rest. The problem with India is that nothing real or concrete is done for India. We have very poor knowledge about India itself. How many of us, for instance, know that the per capita grain production in the country is at its lowest levels since the Bengal Famine of 1941. (Roll your eyes in disbelief, that is what I did, when I heard it, but that is how it is.) Or that, which are the states that face Naxalite trouble or what do the naxalites demand. I doubt anyone reading this blog does. (If you do, do leave a comment. I will like to share it with the others). Everyone wants someone else to lead the charge for bringing about a change in India, and in the end noone does it.
Now, well, I am going to do something even worse : I am going to question the very ethos of India. The name India, just like the term Hindu (from which the term Hindustan branches out), has been derived from Sindhu or Indus, which does not even run in India now. (The small part that does, has been claimed, either by China or Pakistan). And India is a very Anglicized name, triggering memories of the Indus Valley Civilisation around 5000 years ago. And that civisation was hardly Indian, as most of Indian cultures today derive from the Aryans, who ironically, were the destroyers of one of the most peaceful civilisations ever. And most of Indus Valley sites today are in Pakistan now, another irony. The name India refers to is actually Bharat. And Bharat is a very very old concept, running back to atleast 1000 years before Christ. (If there actually was a Bharat, a mythical king who has been said to unite the entire Indian sub-continent under him). And then Bharat broke up, and India for most part, was a region of many states, at war with one other. There were moments of unity sometimes though, when powerful Kings, like the Guptas and the Great Mughals were able to conquer large lands under their control. But, inevitably these empires broke down due to religious forces taking ground.
The concept of India as a nation only grew with the advent of the British rule, who preferred ruling the entire sub-continent as one entity : India. They say the British followed the policy of Divide and Rule, but I guess that was hardly necessary: Indians were always divided. The British rule is notable for creating India more than anything else. (India's two mythologies illustrate the divisons that run deep within the country: One tells of the rift between first cousins, while the other is a story made possible because of one queen's distrust of the other. And when, India got independence, the entire country celebrated the ousting of the British. India was a nation, a model of unity in diversity. Perhaps one of the only nations to have been bounded by alien rule. But since then, the factors of division that allowed the British to rule India are back. It started with the opposition to Hindi in the 1950's and it continues today, with the Naxalite movement in Central and Eastern India, the seccesionist movement in the North East, and terrorism activities in Kashmir. There are regional parties, communal parties, and casteist parties. These parties influence the psyche of the naive Indian, and hence manage to create popularity of their own agenda, which can be summed up thus: to work within the constitution of India, or even outside it, to bring about a peaceful , or violent, and gradual seccesion of their own community, region, caste from the state of India. Maybe today India is falling apart, and some people, within India are responsible for it. Indians have always been culpable, falling to people's words of hatred. (Remember Duryodhana falling prey to Shakuni's words, and Kakeyi heeding Mantara's ill advise?). And what is more : these people succeed. A Bengali in the USA feels closer to a Bangladeshi than a Punjabi, while a Tamil is happier chitchatting with a SriLankan. India as a nation has a long way to go, before it can become a superpower. India has to become a nation first. That accomplished, and nothing can stop India. And for that you, and I, will have to start changing ourselves. Like an old saying goes, a man's first duty is towards his country, then his society, then his family and then towards himself. At the moment, the reverse happens. The moment we accomplish this saying, India will become a nation. And a superpower.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Sweet and Sour Home and Me

I am presently writing this piece from my home in Dharamsala. It is the same place where I plan to settle down after another 10 years in my pursuit to become an author. I have been to Dharamsala after a long time (it has been six months, and even then, I was here with a group of friends; so its my first trip "home" after December last). This is the place where I spent my formative years, the five years from completing my fifth standard till my inter years in Chandigarh; where every afternoon I spent hitting the tennis ball to the wall, where most evenings I spent watching "Krishi Darshan" or "Mere Pind Mere Khet". (yeah Krishi Darshan and Mere Pind Mere got it right...that just sums up how very isolated I was as a child).
I was among the very few children I know who love going to school. And why not, as that was my contact with the outside world. Well I lived in a place which even the satellite cable boom had not been able to pierce, and my only device for entertainment was watching Doordarshan.
That is the kind of isolation you have to face when you stay in the middle of nowhere. Actually, our house was located, not in the middle of nowhere, but in the between two streams. I was even tempted to name the place Mesoptamia, not knowing that the Doaba word in Hindi refers to exactly the same thing.( Finally, though, I didnt have a say in the naming of the house, otherwise I would have had got confused between the two. The house, ironically, hasnt been named yet).
Well I wrote the above piece yesterday, and as I am back today, and dont exactly know how to continue, I shall start something else. I was just wondering as to what levels has narcissism taken control of me (I am sad because of this, and at the same time I am happy, because this is the first time I have managed to spell narcissism correctly). The title of this blog reads me, myself and I; and most of the posts here have had me as the central theme. And guess what, I always thought myself to be among the least self obsessed guys around. Infact I so much hated self obsessed people I even coined the term SOB for them. Now not to be confused with the more popular Son of Bitches, this SOB was an acronym for Self Obsessed Bastards. And now finding myself in that league makes me feel ill and sick, now that the initial euphoria about spelling narcissism correctly has worn off.
But I believe blogging is probably about following your own sense. It is kind of writing a diary, a very personal diary, whom everyone can read, and what you want everyone to read. And I also believe it is because you want people to know you that you want to write. And so there is no point in writing about others. So I am probably not as self obsessed as I think I am. The thought makes me happy again. I am nothing probably. Or I am everything. Or maybe I am just the gin soaked boy (going by my habits though, whisky soaked would probably be a better description). All in all, I am not a SOB. Hence Proved. QED. Happy.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Architect and Satan

Well, the other day I was viewing this documentary called the Real Da Vinci code. This film was basically an evaluation of the facts mentioned in Dan Brown's famous book by the same name. It concluded that the Holy Grail being the lineage of Christ might actually be right, but refuted almost everything else written in the book. But that is not important : for its not to discuss the book that I am writing today. It is actually something else: something that I have thought about right from childhood, and dreams about whom I have had in the past. It is about Satan, and the beliefs of a group of people called Cathas, who lived in France around uptil the thirteenth century. The documentary, while exploring one of the theories for what exactly is the Holy Grail, told about this group of people, who were supposed to have sheltered the documents which revealed that Christ was married to Mary Magdalane, and had a child from her. This supposition was later refuted, for lack of any historic fact, but what they told about Cathas made for some interesting viewing, and a new thought for seeking the meaning of life.
Who exactly were the Cathas? Well they were a group of people, living in Relic County in France till the middle of the thirteenth century, who believed that Satan, and not God, had created the material world. So for them, the material world was bad, something which was to be despised and not enjoyed. Satan wanted man to enjoy this life, so that he could see them suffer in their afterlife, and so Cathas took great care to lead a simple, free of all luxuries. For example, Cathas did not approve of marriage, believing it to be falling to the promises of the material world. Which, just set me wondering, "How did Cathas reproduce then?" Just wondering, but that is not the main point though, and well, it seems that the Cathas had their own Matrix theory some 1000 years before the Matrix movies released. Well, even Hinduism talks about the theory of Karma and Moksha, and the fact that "sab maya hai"explains that life is but an illusion. But even Hinduism believed that God, the supreme being, had created the world, so as to make us realise that all materialistic things have to end, and to seek Moksha, a freedom from the cycles of life.
The Cathas, on the contrary, believe that one who was creator was the bad guy, the Satan, much like the architect in the Matrix. The world around us has been created by Satan so that we actually fail to understand what real life is. But then again comes the question, if we are actually a part of the matrix, then why do we have to get out? Who decided the good and bad. If I am using the computer to write about this topic, am I enjoying the material world? And if I am actually talking about Satan controlling all things around me, havent I broken free of his control? Which again, means that nobody in Satan's control could actually think about him as Satan?
Which now again brings me to the point : Who were the Cathas? And how were they able to break the spell of Satan, which, if they are to believed extends over all of us? I wish I knew. Then you know what I will become : I will be the one, or Neo, though I had prefer keeping my real name. As a piece of Information, the Cathas were destroyed by the Christian crusaders in the Easter of 1253 (not very sure about the year, though). But four priests managed to give them a slip. Maybe their generations will come back, and show us light, and help us break the illusion of the world. Anyways I just hope all this wealth and girlfriend and all is an illusion, because I dont have much of the first (and none of the second), and it is making me very sad. Finding out it doesnt count would be a big relief. So if you have been contacted by people saying that life is illusionary, and they have some solutions, leave me a comment here. And please, no meditation, I want to do something revolutionary. And then we can have Matrix 4,5 and 6. Or maybe I wont do anything, but write a new book, (obviously after my first book, and when I am famous) called Architect and Satan and the Holy Grail, about Satan ruling our lives. Interesting topic, isnt it? Anyways, anything on the Holy Grail sells, (that is the only reason I included Holy Grail in the name) and coming from a Hindu, I can probably be free from any biases. But that shall come later, much later. Till then, keep tuning to this page for more crap. And if you hate it so much that you want to kill the author, please leave me a comment. I shall be glad to leave the Satan's world and enter heaven. Or maybe that is an illusion as well, created to make you see all that you are missing. Satan, you see, doesnt want us to be happy. With this new understanding that heaven is an illusion, I will try to enjoy the materialistic world till anyone tries to kill me.

Friday, October 21, 2005

The Grass is greener on the other side.

One of the best short stories I have ever read is Jeffrey Archer's "The Grass is greener on the other side" (I am not very sure about the name of the story, however I can assure you its from one of his collection of short stories; A Quiver full of arrows.twelve Red herrings or to cut a long story short). To cut a long story short : A beggar sleeps every night outside a big Bank, and every morning, waking up, looks at the guard, and feels that it would be so much better if he could become a guard. The guard, on the other hand, sees the clerk, and feels that a clerk's job is the best. The Clerk wants the accountant's job, the accountant that of the manager, the manager that of the Deputy Chairman, and the Deputy Chairman that of the Chairman himself. And the Chairman has his own set of problems and tensions, and every night, looks at the beggar, sleeping peacefully, and wonders, maybe it would be better if he also could sleep like the beggar did.
Which just brings me to the point, nobody is ever happy or contented in the state that he is. There is always something else that we want, something that we know we are never going to get it, or is it because we know we are not going to get it which makes it that desirable. And unfulfilled desires make us pine and suffer, plunging us deep into sorrow. So,as Gautam Buddha says, the way to end sorrow is to end desires. No desires means no suffering. But is it as simple as that? Doesnt the end of desire imply an end of ambition. And where can a man without ambition go, can he be ever successful? Now again, successful like happiness, is an arbitary concept. It is a state of mind more than anything else. If someone feels that he is successful, then he is, irrespective of what other do or say. So a man can be successful even by cutting short all his ambition.
I think I am being too much idealistic here. In the practical world, none of what I have said probably means anything (pretty much like everything I write here: its all utopian). In real life you have a set of people along with you whose purpose in life is to dissuade you from finding peace and happiness. These people (your family, your friends) tie you down to this materialistic world, where success and happiness and measured by the amount of money you have and by nothing else. I just want to drift away. I am happy the way I am. People tell me a hundred things and I am compelled to listen to them because I cant say no to anybody. Remember Rachel's dialogue in Episode 101 of friends "Father, all my life, its like I have been told by people around me "you are a shoe,a shoe, a shoe." I believe that holds true for all of us. We are characterised not by what we are, but by what people around us want us to be seen as in public. And we, mortal and relationship-abiding as we are, are comfortably able to make it a simple transition without feeling any guilt. We lose our true self, and become part of the general crowd. What we do is not for our own pleasure but for the contentment of our near and dear ones.We
lose our own identity and become part of a worn out crowd.
I am probably contracting myself here, but I feel that desires are not so much a man's creation as it is of the society around him. It is the society which forces a person to have any goals, which compels him to be successful. And well, that success compels him to further success, and as his desires increase so does his sorrow. Eliminate society, make every man an island, and there had be no society. Like Paul Simon says, "And a rock feels no pain, and an island never cries."
But no, I am not the one to go away from society. I am far too social for that. I cant live without my friends and my family, and so I am again one of those parts of the crowd I talked about. But then again is some hope, that you will be able to come out of this cycle, and attain Nirvana. But till then, well, I will listen to some rock music. including Nirvana. Who knows when I am up in office next?

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

I want to be an author

I want to be an author someday. Well, not exactly someday, but before I turn 35. Thats the target I have set myself to write my first book. I have even thought of the first lines: though I havent thought of anything else. How is this :'Then she smiled; he looked into her eyes, and told her the three most beautiful words ever :"I love you." ;then he kissed her; and they lived happily ever after. But this is not the story I am going to tell you. I am going to tell you my story' ? Does it compare with something like :"It was love at first sight" or "What can you say about a 25-year old girl who died." Well, I guess at this point it does not, but probably when I have the whole book ready, you will have a different perspective.
And why exactly do I want to be an author, you might ask. That is a tough one to answer, especially as after reading my blogs, you would have found out that neither do I have a very good vocabulary, nor am I very particular about my grammar. Moreover, I am atrocious at spellings; and get confused (as an example) between friends and freinds: I guess its the first one, but I am never too sure. Well, its not even something I had dreamt of as a child, nor do I have any interesting story which I want the people to read. And neither do I expect to make much money out of writing; for I feel, my books shall be big flops, if ever some stupid publisher decided to publish it, and thats a very big if. And now suddenly you have run out of reasons why somebody would like to become an author.
'"Because it is something that makes me happy", I say. And you laugh. Like you laugh everytime whenever I come up with anything extraordinary. "What is happiness?", you ask me, and I have no clue. "Probably its a state of mind, when everything just feels right", I respond. And you ask again, "Have you experienced happiness before?". I have to admit, no, I havent experienced happiness before. And you hit the final blow, then why run after something you havent experienced. And I realise : maybe happiness is an illusion, created just to make you feel sad. When you have everything, people around you make you realise you are not happy, and you want more, and give up everything to find that more; and then only do you realise everything you had was enough. But its too late then. '
I am content the way I am, unless I see my peers having more than me, and then I feel sad. I want all they have, and when I have that, I want more and so can never find the true happiness that is promised. Maybe this is why I want to be a writer then. Not for finding happiness, but to get out of this cycle. I want to be alone, sitting at my home on the foothills of the Himalyas, shut out from the outside world, and be living on my own. I will write because I will have nothing else to do: there will be no TV's and no mobiles, and all I will have is this computer. And then I will become an author. And writing this I have even figured out a name for my autobiography : " An Island in the Mountain."

Friday, October 14, 2005

Of Passions and Compassions

When sitting and facing the interview panel at IIM interviews, the only question that had me really foxed was when a Professor from IIMB asked me, "So what all are you passionate about?" And I was taken aback. A man is supposed to be passionate about something in his life, and I suddenly realised I wasnt passionate about anything. So I mumbled out something, and as soon as I was speaking it out, I realised that the interviewers had made out that I was lying. And that was the end of it all. I knew right then I wasnt going to make it to IIMB; but more important than that, I realised something else : That my life was pretty empty. There wasnt one thing about which I could say: Yeah, I live my life for this.
And it also occured to me that I was unable to put up 100 % commitment to anything. I put myself into too many things at the same time, and ended up screwing all of them. It felt bad, and it also made me feel incompetent, and I decided to face up to this basic flaw in my character : As to why I couldnt more passionate about things? But maybe its not such a bad thing after all: Passion does have its negative shades as well. Not being passionate about anything means that nothing is so important to me so as to change my life. Which makes me one of the more stable, sane and sensible guys. I can think without any biases around, and can probably handle pressurre situations very well. Thats all should be true; except that it isnt. I am one of the moodiest guys around, upset by the smallest of things; things I dont even consider important enough to think about afterwards.
Maybe it has something to do with the conflict within, but there is something horribly wrong. I dont feel passionate about anything in a positive sense, but all the negative connotations of passion I suffer. I can fight, for example, with my best friend, among other things, about sitting on the front seat of the car. I suffer both ways; and while this time around I probably shall be able to lie more convincingly about what my passions are ( I am preparing my answer : Tennis, crossowords, friends, hostel at one point of time etc etc...all crap but you have to say crap with confidence to get selected in interviews I think). Now again, I am not passionate about getting into IIM's but it shall make me really upset and sad and angry, if I dont get through.
Maybe, just maybe, these are wandering thoughts, but its better to put them on paper. I am trying to rediscover myself throught these blogs and trying to find the real me. Or making people find the real me, because I am too lost at the moment to find anything. And then you hear the Beatles' song : All you need is love. But then, when you need love the most, you least deserve it, and also, you dont get it when you most need it. So if you dont get love when you need it, how do you know love is all you need. It might seem that you need love, but because nobody gets love when he needs it, it makes no sense. So all this is paradoxical. Love might be just an illusion, like life is. Dont know why I just wrote what I did. Another day, I will discover myself, and that day, I shall look back at everything I have written, and start crying, or start laughing, or just remove everything. But till then, I shall keep writing. And you will have to bear with that; unless you stop visiting this page. If you stop, there is no point in writing. But even then, I will keep writing, hoping to discover myself someday.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Anakin Turns Evil...finally

So finally I have done it.Finally I have seen Star Wars Episode III : Revenge of the Sith. And I loved every single moment of the movie, just like I loved every single moment of the other five. Well some parts of the Attack of The Clones were pretty boring, but even then, I liked the complete product as a whole. I had always been fascinated by the Star Wars, having heard and read so much about it in newspaper and television. But I had never expected myself to see the entire series. And today I accomplished the aim of watching all the episodes in Chronoogical order (from the first release : A New Hope to the Revenge of the Sith).
The first Star Wars movie I saw was the Phantom Menace, and I liked it immensely. I especially somehow liked the young Anakin Skywalker, and with no idea who he was or what he was going to become, he became my favourite character of the movie. I loved Obi wan Kanobi as well. Which made me look forward to the Attack of the Clones. And when I got a chance to see it, I dozed off, bored by the romance between Padme and Anakin. Infact, I saw the Star Wars then as just a science- fiction movie with great gadgets, and felt that romance could wait.But then I was so wrong.
And then I took a two year break from Star Wars, when one day this June I suddenly happened to find the Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, on the Hostel Local Area Network (LAN). And the sweet memories of the Phantom Menace were brought back. I watched A New Hope, and the Empire Strikes Back back-to-back. I was falling in love with the entire concept. And the next day, I saw the Return of the Jedi. And I was completely hooked, to this extraordinary story witnessing the triumph of good over evil. And then I saw the Phantom Menace all over again, and could appreciate the Attack of the Clones much more this time around. And then I waited for the Revenge Of the Sith to hit the theatres, and when it did, somehow I missed it. Till today. When Anakin finally succumbed to the evil, I hardly felt any anger towards him. He was just a pawn in the circumstances, and I would probably have done what he did, had I been in his place (how I wish to be a Jedi).
The most defining scene of the movie was when Chancellor Palpatine tells Anakin : "Evil and good are relative. Anybody who has the power desires more of it, and Jedi are no different." And he was right I think. Not absolutely, but good and evil are matters of point of view. Anakin felt he did the right thing because he wanted to bring peace to the entire Empire. And we tend to believe what is taught to us. Had Hitler won the World War II, and ruled the world, probably he would be considered good by the vast majority, while Churchill would be evil. The Siths were like Jedi in every respect, except that they used their powers for their own benefit. And since when has this been considered evil by mankind. Man lives for himself, doesnt he?
Star Wars has been the greatest influence on me, and the greatest story ever told on the cinema : becuase it tells all that makes a man what he is. Anakin's struggle is one that every one of us has to face, and while most of us, like Anakin fall to the easier path, which is "evil", there are also a few who, like Luke Skywalker, Anakin's son, strive to reach the end through the more difficult path, the right path, the "good" path. I think this is why George Lucas told the story the way he did : He first wanted to show a triumph of good over evil, and then wanted to warn us about how evil can take over. And while sometimes evil seems over powering, I believe somehow somewhere the Jedis will return, and hope shall be restored. Maybe there are no Jedis, but a Luke exists in everyone of us, who shall say no to evil, and bring back the good in this world. And the world shall be a much better place to live in. If everyone thought so, we had no fighting and no war. Peace shall prevail all over. And all the people shall live as one.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Of The three L's ..Life Love and Losers...And lots of Crap

Well I had promised you in my last post that I will write about the Losers, and here is it. The story starts off two years back, actually July 2003, when we, a group of six, with nothing to do, started about this group, called the Losers Group. Now this didnt mean actually that we were a bunch of losers (we were, probably, to some extent), but we were definately not winners in the context as we defined a winner.
Now a glossary of terms used in the following text: 1) Winner : (Also called a complete man), a guy who has all of the four basic luxuries in IIT life: a mobile, a computer, a bike or a scooter, and most importantly, a girlfriend. 2) Loser : Someone who didnt have any of it at all.
So well we were the Losers, and none of us had any of the basic luxuries of IIT life. (This is all time bound you see, and believe it or not, two years ago, mobiles were definately a luxury). So what we did to ease ourselves out of the pain of not having the luxuries our batchmates enjoyed. We started to act like complete losers, spending long hours discussing this and that at the place which proclaims itself to be the heart of IITD: Nescafe.
And there was more. All of us had this fetish of wearing yellow (actually only one of us had it, and we just got caught on into it), and we started coming to the Institute wearing bright yellow clothes. Holding hands and what not. Doing skits wearing our dirty yellow uniforms. Life seemed so simple then. And it was. And friends made then are the friends forever. We care about one other more than we care about ourselves. This is the simple life.
I have lost it. The writing style. Probably the more you write the worse you become at it. I am horrible. Not having any thoughts at the moment. And they say love makes the world go around. I say it is hunger and thirst and greed. Or maybe we are programmed. Maybe life is an illusion. Is it? I end up confused again.
Surprisingly, I didnt feel any nostalgia as I took my things out of my hostel. I have shifted to a new place after around 50 months of stay in my hostel. I still havent shifted outrightly, but even then I feel, the entire hostel feeling has gone in one stroke. Is it good or bad? Cannot make out. Confusion. Maybe love can save my life from falling apart. Or maybe it is too late now.

A Blog a day keeps the frustration away

I was just wondering as to why do people write blogs. I started writing it just because everyone else was writing something or the other, and because I had some three four poems I wanted to share, I made my own blog page. But I guess now that blogging has the same effect on you as does drinking. I think it gives you a kind of a high, which is good because when you become a confirmed alcoholic like I have, you stop getting a high from drinks (unless under some very, very specific circumstances).
Now, well as I told you earlier, I am working in a BPO, and as such we have night shifts here. Today is the start of my third night shift and as such I am starting out on a mission today : to write a blog everyday. Now this again is good, as because in all probability, I wont be getting a drink till Friday night, so this is all I will get.
Now well, I am happy today. I mean, kind of happy. Because after a long long long time have I been able to embark upon something which I had promised myself. And that is writing this blog. Actually the promise shall only complete itself on the Friday of this week, but it is good starting on it. 5 Blogs in 5 days. It isnt tough you see, but then I am often afraid of the easy things. Well, you see, I am this (2 hands open wide) bad at fulfilling commitments. I promise a lot to a lot of people, and in the end, end up making a complete fool of myself. You see, I have this side in me which just cant say no to people. So if someone comes up to me and says "Will you do this?" or even "Can you do this?", the answer is a straight forward yes. And then, most of the time, I completely forget about the task, and often stray down the road to MJ (well the places dont exactly matter, they change with time, earlier it used to be Nescafe, or before that the hostel TT Room), to well, enjoy life.
I still remember the Director's farewell to the outgoing students. (I was then supposed to be an outgoing student, but then a couple of bad things happened, and here I am, still a student. Actually, I am a student as well as working in a BPO, but thats a different, and a sad, story. Sometime later, after 6-7 rounds of whisky maybe). Now, here came to me a senior, he was in the Dual Degree, so he was passing out along with me, and told me, that I was required to go up and make a speech on the 4 years of my IIT life. It was supposed to be a thanksgiving speech. He had picked 3 others, including himself, to go and make that speech. I wasnt sure about what to say, but I was sure that words would come out automatically once I went to the dias, with the majority of IIT faculty, and my batchmates there. But then I saw the other three, who were busy rehearsing their speeches. And all my confidence was lost. I was not afraid of public speaking (or singing) when I had come to IIT, but the experience in my first year was so bad, that I had never tried either again. And there I was, on what was supposed to be one of my last days in IIT, making a "sponty" speech. And it was my best speech ever, and the one that beat the other three speeches quite convincingly, not in the language or grammar content, but in the applauds it got from the audience.
I started out as : "I am probably not the right guy to address this gathering, because I am a failure in this system. I am a five point someone. (Laughter). However I believe that what IIT has given me is not the academic fervour, but the best friends, the best faculty and the best facilties for all round development. And if I were to respend the rest of my life here, I would NOT like to change anything, but leave everything as it is, with the same friends, and the same faculty as I have got, and the same GPA (Laugter and applauds)."Later, an alumni from the 1980 batch came out to meet me, and told me he was very happy to hear me speak. I had probably summarised all of us, irrespective of the colleges we study in, wanna say when we leave that college.
I dont know why I quoted that incident. Its probably because I wanted to point out, that if you live life honestly and win friends, people will probably like you a lot more than if you are a self- obsessed "stud". This is true for any society, institution or work place alike. It is probably not all about winning. Sometimes losing can be fun as well. Well, it is frustrating to lose everytime you try, but it sure is fun. And when you start drinking, or start writing blogs, the frustration vanishes, and whon you have is a "joyful" loser. I guess I am one. There are others also I know, but more of it in the next blog. And I prmise myself, and you, that it shall be here tomorrow.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

All things bright and beautiful...

Remember this hymn which formed an integral part of the school assembly? It went something like this : "All things bright and beautiful, all creatures great and small; all things wise and wonderful, the Great God made them all." I still remember it all. It goes on further "Each little flower that opens,each little bird that sings; he made their glowing colours, he made their shining wings."
I always loved this hymn as a child; however as I grew up I realised that what this told us was true, but it wasnt the complete truth. If God created the things bright and beautiful, the same God also created the dull and ugly things, If he made the good creatures, the same God also made the bad creatures. And that is why I think that maybe just maybe there is no God. Because if there were a God he would have assured that life remained beautiful, and that the world was a much better, safer place to live in.
Or is it that God has died, or slept, leaving us to the chance of te earthquakes, and Tsunamis and hurricanes. Or is it the Apocalypse, mentioned in the Bible, the judgement day, or Pralay, the death of everything, as mentioned in the Hindu Mythologies. Because if any of it is true, life is coming to an end, and the gib gnab is about to happen. Or is it?
Is there a God or not? I am not sure. I am I am about most things. Want some whisky to show me some reason in life. Life is useless. A strange Illusion perhaps. Or maybe not.Maybe my next blog should be about Life itself. Right away, after a whisky perhaps.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Straight from the heart...Or Maybe not

I am presently sitting in my office. Time : 0300 hrs on 16th September 2005. And before you start getting any silly ideas in your head about me working my ass off, let me tell you that I am presently working on a night shift, which I expect is something that every person working in a BPO has to experience. Yes I work in a BPO, and like I tell everyone I meet nowadays, a BPO is not necessarily a call centre. Our company deals basically with surveys and their results. Talking about BPO's and outsourcing, I had been an active Kerry supporter (which had more to do with the fact that he was anti- Bush than anything else), and now I wonder what my future would have been had the 21 votes of Ohio shifted to Kerry. Then, I guess, I wouldn't have had got this job in the first place, and wouldn't probably be writing this piece in the first place. But Kerry lost, and rest, as they say, is history.
I was sad and upset when Kerry lost, just like I was 4 years ago when Al Gore had lost due to mal rigging in Florida. And I felt sad, for REM, for Bruce Springsteen,Leonardo Di Caprio and Ben Affleck, people who had actually come out to tell the US citizens that how bad the Bush administration, and in general, the neo cons were for the world at large. And I believed that if a few more hundred valid black voters were registered in the State of Florida, USA would by today, have had 13 years of uninterrupted Democratic government, which in turn would have assured a peaceful, less polarised world.
Now coming to the main point of writing this article, I take my leanings for Democrats as a statement of the confused state of mind that I am in. I consider myself closer in leanings to the rights than to the left. I DON'T believe in social equality, I AM a racist, I AM a supporter and a big fan of Israel, and (even though I take the opposite view just to debate the issue) I think that what happened in Gujarat was probably not too wrong. Add these things up, and what you get is as much a right leaning hardliner as you can get. But when it comes to supporting a candidate, I had much rather vote for the left-of-centre Congress than the right-of- centre BJP. Or I had very much root for Kerry against Bush.
I don't know why does this happen but it does. I sometimes think of myself as a split personality, with two faces. One is the selfish me, the jealous me, the greedy me, the proud me, the rightist leaning me, the neocon me, who believes that I am destined to rule this earth, and which leads me to behave so selfishly which the other me wouldn't even dream of. The other me is how most people see me, or rather how I want them to see me, the selfless me, the innocent me, the modest me, the liberal me, the generous me. It tells me to take it easy and get real "satisfaction" and "happiness" through unselfish acts. Money, or fame, doesn't matter to this me, and it just wants to do what I enjoy. But maybe I enjoy pissing off other people. What does the good me do then? Or maybe I am not sure. Or maybe I am just plain confused.
I don't even know the real me, and I believe that people take me for one of the two faces that they know. So its hard for me to be honest to anybody, as much as I might try. Even I don't know that what I do, why I do it, and what is the outcome. Life, rather much like shit, happens. My thoughts fluctuate between the two extremes and I am never able to control them. When the "bad" me takes over, I get hyper, and am rude to everyone around. It is only when the bad me wanes away that I am able to undo my past actions, but not everything can be undone.
I am Cain, and I am Abel; both the victim and the criminal. I have no instinct, my emotions betray me. I am always speaking the truth, and I am always lying. I am aimless, and I have the ultimate aim.
If you have read so far, I will give you a reward for your perseverance of going through such a piece of life (I probably meant shit here, but for me, its all the same). The two me aren't exactly opposite . They agree on only one thing: They both love the girl I love. But then she doesn't like me, so it is all pretty useless. And then suddenly, they fall apart again: while the good me tells me to let her go, the other wants me to keep knocking at her door, and win her over. I don't know whom to listen to. I am confused. And then there is only the ultimate truth to which I can agree whole heartedly, and the only one I can believe in : I love her.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

For my Friends

The four years I spent
at the nation's premier technological institution
Have been the best of my lives,
A fact I can state with full conviction.

It wouldnt have had been such
if I hadnt found you all
Since the first year, we have been together,
playing tennis, squash and football.

I know I have wasted these four years,
doing nothing much, and with no notable feat,
but if given a chance, these four years,
in this same way I would repeat.

We havent always had the best of times
and I have fought with most of you
but without you I swear,
I would not have managed it through.

This journey wouldnt have been fun,
if you werent there with me,
Then well, IIT would just be
a pretty boring place to be.

These years have been a learning experience
and professors were not the one who taught
U were my real teachers in here
from you guys, I really learnt a lot

You have been my pillars of strength
and to each one of you I could go
with any of my problems, and you were there
to help me and make me come out of my low.

I still get frustrated
when you dont agree with me
but now I understand
without you, how boring life would be.

It has been a pleasure knowing you all,
for all of you have taught me a thing or two,
And best of luck for your future lives,
and wishing you success in whatever you do.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

For my Brother

You have been my inspiration
and I have always looked up to you
At this important crossroad in my life,
I am seeking your advice about what to do

I have always adored and admired you
Even though I am ashamed to admit that
I have tried hard to be like you
But failed to do even that

You have been an ideal son,
and mama-papa have been proud of you
As for me, I have been the reckless one,
Today I realise, a poor second out of the two.

You mean the world to me,
and a nobler person I have never seen.
Without you to guide me,
Where I am today, I could never have been.

I have been mean and rude towards you,
but you have never turned me away.
You have given me all your things to share,
And been a constant guide, come what may.

This blog is written to impress upon you
the fact that I could never ever say,
You are the person I look up to,
and I adore you every single day.

For my Parents

I am often left wondering
why do u still think me to be a child
who knows not what he is doing
with friends who cherish acting wild.

I know I have made mistakes,
but I have only grown wiser,
while earlier I used to be naive and rude to people,
nowadays, I have started to try making myself nicer.

You want me to pay more attention
to my studies, and be the best I can be,
but what I really want from life,
that is what you fail to see.

My elder brother has achieved a lot,
and you want me to emulate him
but please, thats not something I want,
I want to follow my fantasies and whims.

I want to find my calling in life,
and want to do things my own way,
I believe that even though it doesnt seem so right now,
Success shall follow me some day.

I still havent decided what I really want
but I am quiet sure this is not what i want life to bring,
So pushing me down this road,
might make me do some stupid things.

I want to thank you, for being such wonderful parents,
And consider myself lucky, that to you I was born,
But I now think that I am ready to go alone,
and take on life head-on.

I believe that you have cared for me the most,
and that's why you are tensed over my decision,
That all you teachings and values will come to naught,
But believe me, and please show in me some conviction.

Yes, I want to be famous, and rich,
but I believe more important things do exist,
and also what matters most is what people think of you,
and so the following tops my wishlist.

I want to be the catcher in the rye,
to make a difference in people's life,
And when I die, may people remember me as,
"This is the guy who made others live life."

Friday, June 17, 2005

Fifty days of solitude (Internship time)..

Quite unlike the famous book
This is not a fantasy but a real incident
On the training and its fifty days
I would like to add some of my own comments

Of the five hundred and eighteen or so students
Who have just completed their training
It is just a small fractionwho
managed to get PPO's with their meticulous working

To the rest, the layman may ask,
"what did you all do in your companies and labs ?"
To which the expected answer may be,
"We had a well deserved rest, and increased our flab."

Some of us well manage to say,
"Our companies didnt pay us, so we didnt have anyhope."
While others have the excuse,
"We were abroad, had to see the whole of Europe."

But for many of us,
Who are in India and earning too,
why is it that the companies
dont offer us a PPO or two?

Is it because IITians dont like to work?
Or is it, because the time is too less
"Fifty days is very little,
what shall u do here, is anybody's guess"

Are the kind of comments I had to bear
Different Questions like this I had to face
It was a new company and as it turned out
I was the first intern the company had graced

In other colleges, students do training in the final year
Some in the seventh semester and some in eighth
But IITs are different in this regard
And I thought that the other colleges had put in theirthought some weight

So I decided to write a letter
asking the T&P Deptt. to extend the days
So unlike the usual convention
IITD can also follow the other colleges ways

Then I thought a lot about the matter as to what would happen to IIT
if my ideas were taken seriously by men or two
The even semester would become(among other things)poltuless
And in the odd semester, What will become ofRendezvous?

At that very moment I knew
it would be probably much better
If I was to drop this idea
and tear apart the ill fated letter,

And then as I sat within my cubicle
I felt an unending sense of doom
There was no other I knew here
I suddnenly noticed my empty room

There and then I felt
a feeling of intense gratitude
for the T&P section had made me
suffer JUST fifty days of solitude.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Murphy's Law and the Eternal Optimist

If you have read The Alchemist, you 1) would have loved it as a "wonderfully hope creating and opstimistic story." or 2) would have lambasted it terming it to "be hopelessly optimistic and away from life. " or 3) would have remained untouched by it. Read this piece, and you shall probably change your views about the book. If you havent read the Alchemist, read on anyway, and you might want to rush to the nearest book store to buy the book " that has influeced millions of lives." I have only read the book once and it seemed complete sham to me back then. Here was a guy who was actually selling dreams to people (Coelho), and whats more people were actually buying it, as a moralising book. I read it for the storyline, which was interesting.
However a lot of things have happened which have made me change my views about the theories in the book.
The entire book is based on the theory "When you want something badly, the entire universe conspires for you to get it." I always believed the opposite, namely Murphy's Law, which states that "wherever something can go wrong, it will." I still believe the Law, but now I also believe in the opstimistic theory in the Alchemist. Can it be possible, when everything goes wrong, that the Universe is actually helping you? I believe it is. When you want something too badly, you are ready to risk everything you have and go after what you want. And the Universe tries to test you throughout, trying to shake your conviction, trying to break you down, and trying to test you: Murphy's Law is a test that lets the Universe decide the motivated enough. And from there on, the Universe is ready to help you. You have to work for getting whatever you want, otherwise your "badly wanting it " is useless.
If the Universe wasnt helping, could Abraham Lincoln and APJ Abdul Kalam become the presidents of their respective countries? Could Lance Armstrong come back from a battle with cancer to win five Tour de France titles? And why does every movie have a good-triumphs over bad theme? Or why dont the bad forces outnumber the forces thats keeping the world in peace?
It is because the Universe has an order, an order thats made to help everyone.
You might contend this by pointing out, that for every Abe or APJ, there are millions who fail to make it. I know its true, but maybe thats because they werent motivated enough. And they didnt want to win that badly.
I believe that the Universe gives equal opportunities to eeryone, and the number of good things happening to a person is a constant for each person, as is the number of bad things. It just comes down how much can a person take of these opportunities, and not be dissuaded by the failures. And in the end, probably it all doesnt matter: success is defined by a person, so if you get what you aim for, you are successful. The Universe has helped you. If you arent, you just need to want that thing that much more. And work hard to get it as well. Atleast initially. And from there, let Universe take over. I am a pessemist, but deepdown. I believe everyone is an optimist. You just have to believe the Universe and work hard.

Friday, May 27, 2005

For all incoming freshers

This bit is for the guys who are coming in to IIT Delhi after cracking the JEE. Congratulations for successfully clearing one of the toughest examinations in the world. It must have been a tough last two or three years for you and now that your efforts have borne fruit, you must be looking to celebrate this moment with family and friends. Making it through IIT deserves accolades but you must also realise that all of your batchmates in IIT Delhi have done the same. The journey only gets tougher from herein, and I would like to guide you with what all to do at IIT Delhi.

Most of you would have been the best students in your respective schools, but now the level of competition is much higher than what it used to be. So please prepare yourself to be among the "average" or "low CGPA" students. The faster you can make the transition from the relatively easy school phase to the competitive IIT world, the better it would be for your four or five years in IIT Delhi. This is an appeal to also the parents to stop pestering their children now for more marks, they have made it through IIT and I believe IITD itself shall groom them to become successful in life.

As a passing out student, I believe that the past four years have been the best ever in my life. And I am not a nine pointer, but a rather disappointing five point someone. And even though I dont regret anything I did during the past four years, I just wish I had a better CGPA. A good CGPA makes a difference between a job at ITC and Infosys, between a final call from IIM Ahmedabad, and IIM Lucknow. Hence the most important thing while at IIT Delhi is to have a good GPA. A good GPA is anything more than 7.0. Make that mark, and you wont lose out on the companies shortlisting and MS calls.

Having said that, CGPA is not the only aspect of life in IIT Delhi, and I am not advising you in any way to become complete maggus (a term for 24*7*365 sloggers in IIT Delhi). I am asking you to make a balance between the co-curricular activities and your academics. Contrary to popular belief, IITians are not nerds, and there are plenty of scope of all round personality development in IIT Delhi. Try out new sports, participate in the various clubs activities, try catching up on all that you missed while preparing to come in here. And build up enthusiasm for atleast something; for your hostel, for your departmental society, for some club or board, for SPIC MACAY, but please do something that will help youto make a mark in the campus.

Coming to IIT Delhi will in itself ensure you of a bright future. Even if you dont manage a good GPA, it doesnt really matter. If you have the potential(and all of you have it as you have made it through JEE) you are going to be successful, in every possible connotation of the word, soon, somewhere.What really matters is, spending the time in here in a manner that will make people take notice of you. This is where you make a transition from teenagers to adults, and coming in as brilliant brains, I hope you go out as responsible citizens. The best thing about IIT Delhi is that you are never judged by yourCGPA or your extra curricular activities, but by the kind of person you actually are. And believe me, this is the only thing that matters in life. Become worthy of IIT Delhi, by becoming world class human beings.