Thursday, December 30, 2010

Look who is talking!

Unmesh: “Dude, there are around 1000 people here, but no one seems to be interested in talking like we guys did”.
I laughed and said that I have been wondering the same thing in my new office. Unmesh was my desk partner in my previous company (NS). It was his first day in a new office and he was calling me up in his lunch hour. Actually it was not only Unmesh complaining, but almost everyone who had left NS found the chilling silence a bit more than uncomfortable. My cubicle was probably filled up with the most talkative persons in the company and we did enjoy those years. There were hardly any moments in the last 3-4 years that witnessed a pin drop silence. I have been in the new company for around 3 weeks now and still it is difficult to find people to talk to on completely silly topics. Everyone seems lost in their own world. There is very less work these days. A friend asked me last week about my new job. I told him that one of my uncles would call this a paid honeymoon; but no work, no talk and no net access makes Sudeep a dull and bored boy man youth :P. What I have been doing these days is doing some technical reading, studying people (and their habits/behaviour) sitting nearby (very few pretty girls to check out) and keep checking my clock now and then for calculating how many more hours I need to spend before leaving. I also utilized the free time to recollect funny incidents in the previous company and made a list of people with whom I have worked in the projects over the last 5 years.

I noticed that the average age of employees in NS was around 23-25, so they were chilled out, were happy to go out on a trip, or were not shouldering a lot of responsibilities at home so could fine time to enjoy outside the confines of their houses. There was still a small child somewhere in the grown up body. In the bigger companies like my current one, the average age of employees might be around 32-38. So what we have here are people who spend time slogging at work and want to spend a peaceful weekend with spouse (and children). There is a child in there, but they are convinced that it is too late to go do something crazy. In just three weeks I have seen so many people having a lonely lunch in the cafeteria. In NS if someone sat for a lunch there would be 3-4 people joining him/her just to give company. The employee strength ratio for NS to the new company is 1:1000 in case you are wondering. I used to go to NS on a bike, now I take a bus which takes around 70-80 minutes one way. People have iPods plugged to their ears, some sleep or some bookworm types try reading in spite of the jerks on the road, but no one talks. I met a friend from NS (he had left NS around 2 years back and joined a bigger company) who was a very jolly fellow. This guy had mellowed down so much that I doubted if I was meeting his twin brother. I asked him why he was so serious to which he replied that he had forgotten how to enjoy life along with enjoying the work, and the work culture in the new company had moulded him that way. For a moment I was scared I too will stop talking shit and become a brain-wired-techno geek. I don’t know what that means, but I guess you get the drift. I am trying to adjust myself to this new change. I don’t rule out a possibility of me standing on my desk and dancing so that the serious ones have something to laugh at, but for now I will maintain a silent desk and keep my hopes alive for some chilled out colleague(s) to come by.

I guess changes in life are inevitable; how much we change for good is what would matter finally.

So this was written when I was 3 weeks old in the company. Now six months have passed after the joining date. In the first project there was not much work to do, and then I got my team changed on request. The new team has many members and each one individually handles a project with teams from other companies. I too do the same now so the ‘talk’ factor is still an issue for me as everyone is busy in their own project work. But the situation is not as bleak as it was in the initial days, though I cannot say I have made a friend here for life like I had made many from the previous organization. I hope the New Year brings in many more positive changes for me and for everyone. Wish you a very happy New Year.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010


You can't get unless you give. And you have to give without wanting to get – Theodore H White

Is it selfish to look for a new sweater when one already has three, and is completely aware that a majority of population below the poverty line have nothing to protect themselves from the cold winter? Is it still selfish if the sweater in question is a birthday gift which cannot be refused?
My wife selected many sweaters and sweatshirts for me, but I did not pick up any from them. I had a certain idea for the new one in my mind and couldn’t find a match for it. Still looking for the one which will light up my eyes and make me kneel to ask, “Would you come with me home tonight?”

Can lusting something for oneself without thinking for others be termed as selfish? Will it still be selfish if others are happier than you (and for you) when you get the desired thing? Will it still be termed as selfish that you are unhappy on seeing that others are happy for you?
I am not sure if there would be a new post in the remaining days of this year so wishing everyone a very happy New Year. Enjoy through out the year, don't drink and drive.

Monday, December 27, 2010


I wonder if it is just a mere coincidence that I find the two faces quite similar.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Three Blind Mice

1st mouse:
Eyes open. Brightness. Clarity. Dreams.
Eyes closed. Darkness. Obstacles. Nightmares.

2nd mouse:
Eyes open. Dust. Conjunctivitis. Sleepless nights.
Eyes closed. Clean. Soothing. Deep slumber.

3rd mouse:
Eyes open. Sight. Troubles. Unhappiness.
Eyes closed. Blind. Ignorance. Bliss.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Weather Man

A friend mailed this article about China’s attempts on controlling the weather. So my post will be true one day. Yes, you may kneel down and seek my blessings.
By the way, is there a sweet way to tell someone not to screw up weather and whether?

Fellowship of the ring

It is a strange fate that we should suffer so much fear and doubt over so small a thing. Such a little thing.

The last week was the worst till date. Pushed to the wall, with no option left. After a lot of deliberation, found it to be a small thing which could be weeded out easily. God forgot to create a button for that, but maybe it was deliberate.
Uncannily absurd this might seem, but one of the most poignant things I will be reading when I go through the archives years later.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Life is not just the part before death

When I was a kid I used to go to my mother’s native place every summer holidays. I had lost my paternal grandparents quite early; I do have a faint memory of grandmother, but none of my grandfather. So my maternal grandparents were the ones I was very much attached since childhood. As a kid I was always overjoyed at the prospect of going to their place because it meant being pampered (as the only grandchild that time) by them and also getting to play games with my maternal uncles, who were yet to get married and so had more time for me he he. I used to help grandfather in performing the morning puja and would tell him to bring me a big watermelon while coming back home. While coming from work he really used to bring a huge watermelon even if it meant carrying it and the bicycle along from the market to the home. When I grew up old enough to understand the distance he had to walk with the watermelon I used to tell him not to bring anything, but he still kept on bringing them because he knew my love for watermelons and more than this love it was his love for me.

Later when mom used to tell me the hardships grandfather had faced while growing up I remember crying each time I heard the stories. In his early teens he had lost his father and elder brother, and being the eldest surviving son he had to bear the weight of supporting the rest of the family. They lived in poor times and education was for the privileged class, so he started a menial job in a garment store along with his younger brother. Many times they slept without food in their stomachs, but they were hell bent on following the principle of honesty and never did they stray to a path of earning money illegally. Gradually he set up a tea shop which later started serving
misal-pav* as well. Working hard over many years the brothers set up a full-fledged misal-pav outlet. They did not have (still do not have) any outsider chef/cook to prepare it, but had mastered the art of preparing the misal themselves. The space for the shop was small, but the tasty dish had a long queue throughout the day. Standing near the hot stove the entire day (grandfather worked till he was 69 and his younger brother still works this hard at the age of 70) they used to churn out delicious misal and keep their customers happy.

Honesty and hard work were two important lessons which grandfather always taught his children, grandchildren and anyone who was associated with him. Not only his talks but his entire life was a paradigm of these two principles. Generosity was another virtue for which he used to get bouquets as well as brickbats. With the shop doing well he used to generously donate money to the needy. A poor man was fed well at the shop without asking for money. He used to tell that he had himself experienced going without food for many days, so when in a position to help others one should not turn our backs to them. And he used to say that helping others should come from the heart and not just to please God or someone else. These traits had earned him so much respect and friends from all classes of the society. Around 500 people had turned up at his funeral which had farmers to politicians. I think I have around 200 to 300 ‘friends’ on Facebook and Orkut, and I wonder if even one-tenth of them will show up in mine.

A year ago he had started having problem with his eyesight and a few tests revealed that he had cancer in the second stage and it was spreading rapidly. We consulted a lot of doctors and every doctor dissuaded us from opting for chemotherapy treatment as it would not help and in fact would cause him more pain at this age. On learning about the disease he straightforwardly said that a good lifespan is of 60-65 years so whatever he was living was a bonus life and being satisfied he had no qualms in leaving the world. I have seen a few cancer patients losing their mental balance in the end. Grandfather was calm and composed till his last moment (His younger brother and my mom had a major role though in keeping him calm by talking of all good things in his life and the struggle he faced so far which will guide the next generations to stand tall in failures and not get dejected at any point). On Saturday, my wife and I reached the hospital where he was admitted around 10 days back. He was on a ventilator that day and his tongue was tied to prevent it from blocking the throat. He smiled looking at us and raised his hands to bless us. I remembered the conversation I had with him the previous weekend when I had spoon-fed him in the same hospital room. About an hour later he went in to a coma and passed away the next morning. During the
last day rituals, the dead body is sprinkled with (holy) water from the Ganges and clothes are changed before proceeding to the cremation ground. The priest who was in charge of the rituals pulled grandfather’s arm so mercilessly while changing the clothes that in spite of knowing that he won’t feel it my cousin brother and I asked the priest to do it slowly. The dead body is subjected to so many things in a short span of time that I started wondering if the rituals hurt the deceased person’s family more. I advised a young cousin to remember to care for a person when that person is alive, because repenting for not having done something for them after their death is of no use.

Last month he would have turned 74. I miss him a lot and hope that every young family member grows up to become a good person that my grandfather had envisioned.

* The Wikipedia article is in a very rudimentary form. Better description and images can be found out online.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Desktop Goddess # 16

Ek ajnabee haseena se yuh mulaaqat ho gayi
Phir kya hua yeh na puchho kuch aisi baat ho gayi

Jaaneman jaane jigar hota main shaayar agar
Kehta ghazal teri adaaon par
Maine yeh kaha toh mujhse khafa woh jaane haya ho gayi

Khoobsurat baat yeh chaar pal ka saath yeh
Saari umar mujhko rahega yaad
Main akela tha magar ban gayi woh humsafar
Woh mere saath ho gayi
I still remember the face of the plain-clothes policeman stopping us in that isolated lane of Prabhat Road about 11 years ago. We were three friends travelling on a two wheeler heading to the home of my friend who had a computer and an internet connection. In those days a computer at home was rare to find and an own internet connection was a novelty a very few could afford. It was afternoon time and we had bunked our college lectures to see what our friend had discovered online. Desibaba and a few other sites were a treasure trove for the young testosterone charged males when nudity was only in English movies and pornography had limited access. I think that was the time when we guys had started loving Pamela Anderson. And no it was not just for the boobs, maybe lack of babes. Be it the Baywatch craze to see her running down in the shiny red swimsuit or staying awake till late night to see her in Barb Wire even if the interesting scenes were grayed out by pixels. I think the time when I lost interest in her was after the overdose of her home videos. Also by that time there were so many new models with beautiful faces to fall in love with that Pam lost her charm like a young Hogwarts wizard would without his wand. I had thought I won’t be reading/hearing about her in these years, but seems her name is cropping up everywhere. If you are following me on Twitter you might be aware that a couple of months ago I came across an employee with the name Pamela Anderson. We colleagues joked about the ways the real Pamela Anderson would use to promote the company’s brand image. A week back I was going through a mock-up presentation of a new application being built. It had a screen where the user had to fill in details of his/her family members. One of the enterprising architects of the application had filled in Pamela Anderson in the name field and in the relationship field ‘mother-in-law’ was keyed in. The next screen had a comments section and one of the comments read, “My mother-in-law is cruel”. The newspapers are flooded with Pam’s photos since last 3-4 days as she was getting ready to enter the reality television show Bigg Boss. Can we expect Pam-Ashmit tape? Well these guys can do anything for money, don’t they? It might be seen as a nice move by the channel and producers to boost the show’s TRP, but I would prefer watching KBC.

P.S.: The police officer did not fine us there itself. He took the details of the friend who was riding the 2 wheeler. The friend later got a notice from the court to pay the fine. I wonder where those two guys are now, should find them on Facebook maybe.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Life is a small boat in a pond

An excerpt from Paulo Coelho’s Eleven Minutes:
Today, while we were walking around the lake, along that strange road to Santiago, the man who was with me - a painter, with a life entirely different from mine - threw a pebble into the water. Small circles appeared where the pebble fell, which grew and grew until they touched a duck that happened to be passing and which had nothing to do with the pebble. Instead of being afraid of that unexpected wave, he decided to play with it.

In our lives we encounter many such waves which seem to be unexpected. If we are not disturbed we think they are good not worrying about the source of the pebble, but if they disturb us then we label them as bad and start looking for the source that disturbed the serenity of our pond. We get caught up in incidents for which the sources are unknown or very far from our reach, but some of these incidents cause a huge impact on our lives. A year back when the economic recession had hit the world, we all felt the jolt. For some it might have been minor and for others it could have been major. A huge number of people lost their jobs and in many cases even the hard workers were not spared because the companies had no other option. I knew a guy from my previous company who was one day asked to leave with many others. He was the only earning member of a family of four, which included his old mother, wife and a small kid apart from him. He knew that his mother and wife won’t be able to take in the sudden shock of losing a job, so he never told them about the dismissal. For the next five-six months he followed the same routine which he had been doing – leaving on time for work with a lunch box every morning and returning home about 10 hours later. During the day he would run around to different companies with a copy of his resume to find a new work place. Everywhere he faced rejection because every company was on a retrenchment drive and not in a recruitment mode. He found a small odd job later and once the recession was over he was back with a bang in a new place. He kept the entire thing hidden from his family just to make sure that they were not affected in a negative way. Today this guy is earning much more than what he would have at the previous organization. I also know another guy from the same company who even today is sitting at his home just because he took the dismissal to heart and refused to look for a job or starting up some small business on his own. He finds solace in blaming everyone (from America to his manager) for the loss of his job, but he neither wishes to make corrections nor wants any deviations in his charted course of life. He is simply fortunate that his wife has a job and is currently managing somehow to make ends meet with a recent addition to their family.

In my new organization there is a person who travels in my bus and also was an ex-colleague of a few new colleagues of mine. Nobody, actually nobody talks with this guy. Even in the bus he is avoided and I have seen a couple of times that other people don’t even answer his simple questions. From his ex-colleagues I have learnt that this guy is a ‘foolish’, ‘dumb’, ‘good-for-nothing’ fellow and he should be kicked out of the company. Good vibes take their own time to travel around while bad ones compete with the speed of light. The next thing I heard that his manager had kicked him out of the project and he was ‘on bench’, i.e., out of work for some time. Coming from a small organization which respected every individual’s strengths and weaknesses I was somehow troubled by this thought because I considered that people could be trained to do good work, no matter how difficult the task was. I decided to talk with this guy in the bus and deliberately waited for him to take a seat first. Sitting beside him I casually smiled at him and that was all for us to start a conversation. I avoided telling him that I knew his ex-colleagues, but in fact he mentioned about them after I told him which group I work in. We talked for about 70-80 min of the bus ride and he did most of the talking. To me he seemed to be a simpleton rather than stupid. I believe he still doesn’t know how this world functions with the fierce competition in every discipline. He is definitely a bit slow, but as long he gets an understanding manager who can work on him he will be a good employee. Agreed that who has the time to spend on an under-performing employee with the stiff deadlines to meet and an ever mounting pile of work, but then employees like him will be thrown out without any considerations. I felt that if I had the authority to choose my team members (which I don’t) I would have accepted him in my team. It might have turned out to be a disaster for the project, but it might also have turned out to be the opposite. Today I heard that the allocation manager had called him up and gave him a hint that he might have to look another job. Sad thing is that, call him stupid or in my words simpleton, he did not understand the hint in its literal terms. He thought he was told that he would be ‘on bench’ for another month due to lack of projects. No one (in the management or his ex-colleagues) knows that he is the sole bread winner of his family – old mother, wife and a young daughter – living in a rented apartment in a city which is spiraling upwards everyday in terms of living expenses. I just hope he gets a good superior and his family gets enough strength to ride the waves which might rock their boat for a while.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Bus, ab aur nahi

In the initial days I settled for whichever seat I got in the company bus, but lately I look for the window seat even if it is in the back side, where people get their heads bumped with the roof on every speed breaker. Like almost everyone, I have liked the window seat since childhood days. When I used to accompany my mother on summer visits to our grandparents places (maternal or paternal) I used to kneel on the seat, look out of the window and loved the wind hitting my face and tousling my hair. I would keep on asking mom a lot of questions and she would often hand me tasks which would keep me busy during the 3 or 5 hour journeys. I would be asked to count the number of wells and I would religiously watch and count as the bus raced past the small hamlets and villages. With lesser hair now on the head, I still love the impact of the cold wind and the travel to office and back home is now one of the things I daily look forward to.
My office is around 35-36 km away from my home and depending on the traffic it takes about 80-90 min for a one-way ride. Indrayani River flows near the company and one can see it meander its way across with a few clusters of green patches here and there. There are a few other companies, but mine is the farthest in the area, so from the backside of the company premises one can look far up to the horizon with some agricultural lands on the other side of the river and a range of mountains. The journey back home starts at the company bus point near the gate. There is a small hillock in view from here. It has a single tree on the top and a small temple. The sun setting down behind the hill with the tree and temple in silhouette must be a nice sight (I haven’t seen it yet) I guess. As the bus leaves the companies behind down the pot-holes ridden road it enters a narrow road with fields on both sides of the road dotted with small houses with the typical kaularu roofs. These remind me of my grandfather’s house back in the small village where my father was born. It also reminds me that I have not visited there since a very long time now and uncle has already started pulling down the mud house to build a concrete one there. Many a times the roads here are blocked by the cows and buffaloes which make me think that visiting clients (foreigners) must be thinking that entire India really is a land of ‘cows on roads’.

As the fields begin to disappear small industrial units sector starts coming up. These are the sources of the driving mechanism of our washing machines or the small parts of our cars which we thought were precisely manufactured abroad. When I was completing my engineering last year project in one of the industrial sectors near Pune, I had the privilege to work in such small industries. Passing by this road everyday reminds me of the wonderful time we four guys had working on our project on the lathe and milling machines, running to the wire cutting shop with our designs and welding the parts together to create our assembly. To think that I have to compulsorily call a Systems/IT guy if my company computer has a problem sounds so lame in front of all the little but fabulous work we had in our hands. These industries have a typical Welder needed – 3 or Lathe Operator needed – 2 scribbled on the huge gates which I am sure my project partners will remember seeing and the innumerable (funny) trips with the project guide.
Most of the workers in such small industries come from a very poor background and as soon as this industrial sector comes to an end, one sees abject poverty in the slum area ahead. Open drainage lines overflowing, small huts sticking together, drunkards either lying near the street in the dirt or trying to maintain balance on the way home, little kids straying away from the huts to catch a glimpse of the traffic etc. is visible here. On the left side of the road are small typical railway-quarters styled buildings, which earlier could have been slums (just a guess). There is a tinge of vote bank politics in sight as almost all huts in the slum area have TV satellite dishes fitted and on keen observation some of the dwellers can be seen flaunting latest mobiles; maybe cheaper imitations or the gray market models. Looking at the kids sitting there or playing on the roadside makes me sad and somewhere crops up a feeling inside to do something for them. Even then I know that stepping in that kind of area to help them is impossible for me and that increases my respect for people who work selflessly for such slum dwellers. I make a mental note to buy a few pairs of slippers on my next out of station trip, so that I can give away those to bare footed beggars, especially the kids on railway platforms or in trains. That can be the least thing to start from my side.

Just 5 minutes after the sad feeling starts sinking in, up comes an area which looks exactly the opposite. The bus reaches the Bhakti-Shakti crossroad. The name comes from the historic meeting of King Shivaji and Saint Tukaram. One can see the statues of them if the eyesight goes further than the small merry-go-rounds and hawkers selling seemingly yummy fast food. One vendor cart bears the name ‘Samadhan Bhel’ :-) The lawns near the statues look neatly manicured and many people can be seen enjoying their evening time strolling there. Crossing this road the Nigdi area starts where my eyes start widening a bit. The bungalows on both sides of the roads are a treat to watch. My mother many a times talks about the bungalows in this area and especially the ones which have a well maintained porch with saplings and trees. I am not sure when I can buy her a nice bungalow like this because it seems the people staying here were born with many silver (and golden) spoons or must have struck a pot of gold somewhere. But what I love most in this area are the good roads. I have to applaud PCMC efforts in overhauling the look and maintaining the roads. Pune’s civic authorities need to seriously take some learning from them. A little ahead a new flyover is coming up which will definitely do some good to the traffic flow. As of now the roads leading to the flyover construction work is uneven and disturbs my sleepy co-passengers. The guy sitting on my left is in deep slumber and his head falls on my shoulder. The shoulder senses that the head is of a male and it obeys one of the Newton’s laws and reacts by jerking the head upright. The guy wakes up and I place both hands on the front seat as if the entire bus is recovering from a big jolt. He murmurs a few expletives to the driver and goes back to sleep on the other side this time. I smile and look outside.
The sun is gradually moving towards the horizon. I can see a few birds flying back to their nests. Remember when was the last time you saw birds in formations flying back? I don’t because it was a long, long time ago. Seriously there are not many birds now in the cities. Birds in formations on the golden sky background always make a pretty sight and are always easy to sketch as well he he he. There is a small, dense green patch with a rivulet just before the Aditya Birla Memorial Hospital which could easily pass off as a jungle if the buildings nearby are removed. There are a couple of horses (or mares) grazing in this patch. A little further is the Dange Chowk where a fantastic statue of King Shivaji is seen. He is on a galloping horse and he has his sword drawn and pointed skywards in an attacking pose. I wonder if he would spring to life from that stone and kill all the pseudo-patriots, who are causing more harm to the society under his name. The medium sunlight in the background of the statue gives a surreal touch to it. People are seen spending time with tiny tots playing in the garden surrounding the statue. The traffic starts to build up here as employees from all directions are heading towards the city.

The bus trudges along to meet the Pune-Mumbai highway where people seem to be racing with time. Everyone does that on the highways, right? A few days back I had missed the morning bus and took my bike instead. While returning I had touched 95 kmph mark, my highest till date on Pune roads. The highway is a beautiful sight when one is not driving. The sky is full of soft golden light with the sun tucked neatly in the hills over the horizon. The intermittent high rise buildings and open lands play with the waning sunlight. The things that take away the beauty are the huge hoardings advertising the latest residential complexes on the sidelines of the highway. If I was given the power to change something in the city, I will definitely opt for removing the hoardings and improve the landscape. The Hinjewadi crossroad at Wakad looks like the first corner in a Formula 1 race track bustling with vehicles trying to outdo each other. Luckily there are talks of improving this traffic mess with some much needed diversions. Automobile showrooms dot the highway along with a few educational institutions. Standing out among all these is the Balewadi Stadium and Sports Complex. There is a single wall inside the complex which has 1 to 100 written in squares like the ones seen on the Snakes & Ladders game. Does anyone know what purpose it serves? I have been asking many friends, but failed to get an answer.

I guess it was around 9-10 years back when I had climbed the hillock near the Pashan-Sus road. I was completely unaware of this spot and thought we guys had come very far from the city. A few years back I realized that it was only 10 km away from my home, but the distance earlier seemed more due to lack of proper roads. If you are in Pune you should visit this spot, sit leisurely on the lawn and watch the vehicle lights on the highway race past. An indoor furniture shop attracts my attention here with a hammock kept near the entrance. I remind myself that I still need to buy a few things for our house. Actually the selection is to be done by mom and wife, and these ladies are taking their own time, thus the delay. A friend has booked a new flat nearby and I watch his building grow each day. I had promised to accompany him to check the flat and the weekend visit is still due. The Pashan lake is a wonderful sight in the fading light. The bus driver in the meantime flicks on the bus lights and people start to check their bags as the drop points draw closer. The wind is cool and the thought that home is just 10 minutes away is more soothing.

The bus leaves the highway to take a turn towards Kothrud merging with the traffic from Chandni Chowk. With drop points on every 2 minutes it reaches my area. The mind automatically begins to recognize the area and even when I don’t know the names of the buildings nearby it recognizes the landmarks and knows it is near to the home. I wonder how people (like the ones in army or transferrable government jobs) who travel frequently from one place to other create bonds with the people or the area in which they live for very short time. Familiar faces in the building smile and I smile back or nod a hello. Kids are playing and shouting loudly, but the mind and body are at peace. The 90 minute ride has taken away all the job stress and I look forward to a wonderful evening with my family. I will stop here before you repeat the title of this post :-)

P.S.: All photos are taken from my cell phone camera while in motion, so please bear with the quality.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Drained out!

He: What gift would you like to have next month?
She: Rachel and Tim went to the garden last weekend. I also want to see the factory building.
He: Sorry sweetheart, I don’t think we can afford that trip now. I will still check if we can manage it. You better think of an alternative before next week though.

He remembered this conversation umpteenth time over the last year. He also vividly remembered the tinge of disappointment in her eyes and then the smile on the brave face she put forth. Last year he was not able to arrange the trip because of the financial constraints. This year was a bit different. He smiled. He had managed to arrange the funds this year and he planned to surprise her. A few well timed calls to well placed resources and he had managed to secure the passes to an inside tour of the factory, as everyone called that place. He knew she was going to be delighted. He himself had wished to see the factory since a long time. He tried to remember the last time he had got wet in real water. He was 7 years old then. The planet was not yet colonized by the Mars visitors. He remembered getting drenched in the rain with his younger brother. Everyone used to have a bath every day with water. People used to drink water to quench their thirsts. The thought almost made him feel the water gliding on his lips and his throat ran dry. He took out the factory box and quickly popped a capsule in his mouth. He knew that no amount of capsules could give that satiating feeling the real water used to give. He looked out of the window of his office cabin. Even after standing 133 storeys high up all he could see out were vehicles. He couldn’t even see the sky or the next building through the thick vehicle envelope. Almost 20 years back since the day the global warming had affected Earth in the worst way, Mars inhabitants had swooped down on the planet. The aliens had managed to convince all the countries to allow them to run the Earth system, as if the nations had any other option left with them. The planet now had become an entirely different place to live in. Technologically advanced, but thrown backwards in many other ways. Robots were being used widely in all places. Oxygen and water intakes were turned into translucent green coloured capsules, which had to be bought from the government agencies. Inhalation and exhalation were only terms now. Food was insipid. A solace was that his favourite burger was still available once a week, though the friendly blue eyed waitress was now replaced by a robot with no emotions. Almost everything was under the control of the alien government. Even the white fluffy clouds he had seen in his childhood. The aliens had converted an entire nation land into a water producing industry. Clouds were generated using an advanced cryogenic machine and rains were brought down in the same area on demand. The major part of water was then used to mass produce the capsules and the remaining part went into the cloud generation activity. The government needed funds to run this and so it had separated an area where people could pay a premium price to feel the rain and touch the water. He had heard from Tim about his experience where they went in a garden with real flowers and trees, soaked in the rain and sat for a couple of hours watching the water stream flowing nearby. Tim’s description matched with the agency’s site offering for the tour. He looked at the passes sitting on the desk. He imagined himself and his wife dancing in the rain. He imagined both of them looking skywards with hands outstretched and drops falling on their faces. He saw him embracing his wife and feeling her wet curls on his cheek and then he saw himself kissing her moist lips. The kiss-in-rain, which they had read only in books and seen in some movies retrieved from archives. It was going to come true in a weeks’ time. He couldn’t wait to go home and show her the passes. He pulled up the segway and glided down till the parking lot. Climbing in the passenger seat of his aerial vehicle, he was greeted by the voice of the robot driver. He pushed the Home button and the vehicle joined in the air traffic with a jolt.
His eyes opened up. He was sitting upright in his bed and he was cold with sweat trickling down on his body. His wife flicked on the bedside lamp.
“You alright honey? Dreamt something bad?”
“I guess so.”
She handed him a glass of water from the table. He sipped and felt the water running down his throat. He looked at her. Her golden locks were falling on her bare shoulders.
“I love you. I am sorry I stopped you from getting drenched today. This weekend we will enjoy the rain together.”
“Yes, and we are going to plant a few saplings to avoid global warming eat up this planet.”

P.S.: I was stuck in a traffic jam last year in the rains and had a thought if we could control the rains in future to fall on specific days in specific areas. I had heard about cloud seeding, but my thought was not just brining rainfall when needed/desired but also control the actual one. So I had started with a thought of a couple enjoying artificial rains in a year when rains were controlled by humans, but somehow work and procrastination held the upper hand for an entire year till I read a question in one of Yashita’s recent posts about making the rain fall only in the catchment areas during peak traffic hours. I tried looking up my machine data for the draft I had written earlier, but couldn’t find it so I started again with a blank page and this post came out. Looking at it after completion I know this is definitely not what I had initially in my mind last year, but the thoughts drifted and well, here we are.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Miss Match

One of my best friends is in a confused state these days on his professional scene and I am confused on his personal front. I don’t want to browse through his girlfriend list from the start so cut-short to the one whom he had met in his company. Let us call her X. I had heard about X from him, but had never met her. One day he called me up and said that they had decided to get married and asked me to meet her. 10 minutes into the meeting and I was happy for him because no doubt X was wonderful. Unfortunately X’s parents did not agree and went ahead to marry her off to some super-brainy IT guy. Out of frustration my friend asked his parents to start looking for a girl and he was ready for an arranged marriage. Another friend of mine (D) and I tried a lot to make him understand, but he was firm that he had to get married to forget X. Flawed logic according to me, but he was not in a state to understand. So his mom and aunt started looking for some ‘suitable’ girls and finally zeroed in on Y. My friend met Y 2-3 times and never informed us about this development. We got to know this when he called us to say that he was getting engaged to Y. I was like who is Y? I saw Y for the first time at their engagement and met her after a week or so. Honestly speaking about 15-20 minutes into the conversation and I knew this was a wrong choice. There was not much wrong with Y, but knowing my friend for last 19 years I knew that the pair was a complete mismatch. The engagement was done and the families had started planning for the wedding, so there was not much K and I could do. One month after the engagement my friend calls me up and says he is not sure about Y as a life partner. I knew this was going to come up some day, but never gave a thought what to tell him when it surfaces. We met and discussed his issues; tried to hide Y’s shortcomings and instead highlighted my friend’s mistakes so that he doesn’t call off the wedding. They both started seeing a counselor in some time. His parents used to call me to help him understand. I tried initially, but then at one point K and I agreed that these problems will later come up even after the marriage, so better we supported our friend. Finally after a large hue and cry the families relented and the marriage was called off.

Last week my friend called me up and said he has now proposed marriage to a girl and wants me to meet her. I am completely confused whether I should meet her or not. Since then I am trying to amend my friend’s whimsical ways, but I know it is too late for it. Good suggestions on this matter will be appreciated.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Arabian Nights with one story missing…


Sachin Tendulkar might have his records documented in his own handwriting. I too wanted to. Seems silly when I had thought of a thousand with all supporting facts, and this is what I have now. The blame game begins.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

3 Idiots


What are you doing now?

Are you doing stuff you love or are you pushing yourself to love the stuff you are doing? It is time to find out the correct answer my friend. By the way, Twitter asks you the same question, introspection being the exception there. Follow me or the white rabbit.