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.