Monday, December 15, 2008

Mumbai meri jaan...

"Have you lost faith in the city, memsahib?” Asked the driver which broke my reverie. "Why do you ask?” 

“With all these attacks and blasts, you must have felt very scared..." 

Little did he know, of what I had been through when the attacks and blasts had occurred. "The city is and shall always remain dear to me, come what may". Hearing this he smiled, and turned up the volume of his radio...

Having elaborately planned my tour to the sub-continent, my parents weren't happy that I was doing this alone. Their fear about my safety wasn't unfounded either, with incidents of harassment of tourists in the Metros being reported frequently. But I realized that with some street-smartness and compliance to the basic Do's and Don’ts while visiting these countries; I could do very well for myself. And enjoy a good trip to India...

My first stop was Mumbai. A pretty easy choice, considering it was the HQ of a dream factory, one could say. A factory that churned out motion pictures by the dozen, which carried with it the hopes and aspirations of those working with it and those to whom it was made for. Although their total disconnect with the portrayal of the Real India is a bit of a bother, it does provide a temporary escape from daily grinds of life for the audience, which is worth their ticket price.

The city's role in the colonial rule of yore and also in larger time frame of Indian history also made it easier. The monuments, the bustling and vibrant city life, the novels which had the city as its premise; just led me to it.

I was staying at the Trident, Oberoi, the preferred hotel among foreign nationals. Many of online travel buddies had nice things to say about it. The wonderful view of the sea among other things. And at the end of a tiring day roaming around the city, you would want to soak in with some comfort ;).

Three days had passed, since I landed in the city, when the sun rose on the 26th Thursday. It was my last day here and i hadn't planned on anything stressful. A visit to the Jehangir art gallery and Mani bhawan followed by an evening saunter by the Juhu beach was on the agenda.

I returned to the hotel by about 6pm and headed straight for the Spa. After having finished my dinner by 8.30pm I headed back to my room to start packing. My flight was at 2.00am. Later I found my diary replete with jottings of the journey. Going through the pictures I had clicked, as and when I mentioned something in the diary, I relived my stay, picture by picture, page by page. 

The Taxis, the Best buses, the Dabbawalas, the chats at Chowpatty, the oi-look-at-the-gori-chori ogle. {Although the attention was unwarranted} was so much fun. One thing about the Mumbaikar is that they never fail to lend a hand or offer a smile to the ones in need. Maybe I was lucky in encountering the good ones…

24 hours had passed since the terrorists had taken us as hostages. Sitting beside me was Vijay, a project leader in an IT solutions company who made a business presentation yesterday, at this very conference hall. Then there was Ahmed to my left, a server who worked in the day shift at one of the restaurants above. The others were scattered across the hall. 

We introduced ourselves to each other, keeping our faces straight, making no expressions whatsoever and keeping our voices to a whisper. 

A good number of foreigners were present in the hall. It took me a while to get a feel of the situation, to know what was happening around me. And the thought, of the anxiety that folks back home would be going through, churned my stomach. 

The terrorists were moving around with sense of purpose. There was a method to their madness. It was evident that a lot of planning and training preceded this operation. Why was I assessing them like a professional team doing an honest job? I had to keep myself sane and positive in these trying times. The smell of the two rotting dead foreigners, was overpowering us.  

We held each others hands and Ahmed lent his shoulder and also kind words of consolation, when I broke down from time to time. Why wouldn’t they understand that this approach led them nowhere? If they really cared about righting the wrongs that their brethren had suffered, weren’t other means available?...

The sounds of staccato fire and grenades blasting shook us now and then. What I later came to know as a NSG counterattack, was making its presence felt. Sheer exhaustion due to hunger and dehydration made me doze of for longer periods of time. Vijay was getting agitated about the state of affairs. That innocent people were caught in something this terrible, for no fault of theirs, irked him. Ahmed tried to console him, but to no avail. I was a mute spectator to the happenings…

Two more foreigners were shot dead on the second day ruthlessly, without remorse. The remaining hostages were too shocked to respond anymore… We were given some water to drink. The thirst remained unquenched… 

Later in the evening a unit of the NSG stormed the hotel. The terrorists agitatedly ordered us to move in to another hall, a floor below. 

What possessed Vijay to do what he did remains a puzzle to me. He took one of the terrorists by surprise, shouting expletives and giving them a punch or two. The other snuffled him out within no time. I screamed out and tried to reach but Ahmed pulled me along with the others. I was too weak to offer resistance. 

The rest of the events are still fuzzy and vague in my memory. Vijay’s death had shocked me enough perhaps, to remain oblivious to my surroundings. The NSG came in, there was a lot of commotion, and there were screams, gunshots, orders being shouted out… Ahmed meanwhile, literally carried me out through a fire exit he had known to exist nearby. 

At the lobby, he made me to stand up and hold my hands up in the air as we exited the hotel. I flopped almost immediately outside the hotel, prompting some people outside to rush in and offer some help… Ahmed was dragged away in another direction perhaps. 

“Everything’s okay. You’ll be fine ma’am”. 
“Ahmed, Where is Ahmed….?”  
“Arrey teekh se pakad (the door shut). Achha Ab chalo jaldi”… 
The ambulance zoomed away…

“How do you feel Miss Jacqueline?”, this from a sprightly officer who seemed to me as a compatriot. 

“Very well, thank you. And you are…”

“John Summers, from the office of the British Deputy High Commission here. I am here to ensure your safety and your safe return back home. We have informed your relatives about your state and have made travel arrangements for you, to leave India as early as tomorrow.”

“Oh that’s very helpful of you to do so.”

“The Travel documents including temporary passport and tickets are here. I believe you lost them all in the unsavory happenings. Please do not miss the flight under any circumstances, for the city is yet to be healed from its wounds.”

“Yes, I will. Mr. John, it would also be of great help if you lent me some local currency.”

“Not for sightseeing or shopping, I presume”. “No, I had to attend to some personal matters, before I leave the city.” 

“Memsahib, this is the house according to the address.” I got down, asking the driver to wait for an hour perhaps. I stopped before opening the gates to Vijay’s house. I took a deep breath and went inside. Namrata, Vijay’s wife broke down inconsolably after I introduced myself. I told her about all the wonderful things he had mentioned about the family and told her to accept what had happened. “You are lucky, aren’t you?” she asked me.  

“There isn’t much difference in the ones dead and the ones who survived, Namrata. The scars might have healed on me, but they will remain inside me. The rage within him made him do what he did. He is more blessed a soul than those who took his life…”

After a tearful partaking and a promise to keep in touch, I headed to Ahmed’s house. He was delighted to see me and asked to me to join them for lunch. I refused politely, but thanked him profusely for saving my life. He asked his daughter to come out and said,” this is the memsahib, I was talking about. You should also achieve something in life and be brave enough to travel to another country on your own.” He laughed much to the chagrin of her and she looked at me suspiciously. “She knows memsahib, that Allah wouldn’t forgive the perpetrators of terror and that they have no religion to call as their own”. “That would be the best thing for her to know.” I replied before I left him.

"Airport, memsahib?", "Airport it is..."

Tough questions remained unanswered in me, Why does the political establishment take the Mumbaikar for granted? For how long will they keep bandying about saying the Mumbai spirit lives on? How could such a breach of security take place at the maritime borders? When will the day come, when the people can lead their lives away from the shadow of terror?   

And this song played in the background, curiously enough…
♫Ai dil hain mushkil, jeena yahan, zara hat ke , zara bach ke, ye hain Bambai meri jaan♫  

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Trichy treat...

Trying to catch some sleep with all the excitement in me and the chuck chuck of the train in the background, i thought of how i got in here...

10 days before the D-day,

"Nakul, you going to Trichy fest?",

"Not decided as of yet, i have labs to miss, you see...",

"Ah, well..."

6 days... 

Amma," you going to Trichy?". "i'm not sure ma, no other 2nd year is willing...."

3 days...

Jose says ,"dude, you gotta tell me if you are coming, right now. It takes time for the names on the waiting list to actually get seats. Wanna go standing all the way? :X ..."

My reverie is broken with," whats the time da?". This from vishy, sleeping on a berth below mine. "2.25am" i reply. "Another hour and a half to get there....."

Received all the customary advice, which ranged from not hanging loose on the door of the coach while in motion, to drinking reverse osmosisified pyuure water, to avoid getting bitten by bed bugs (for which i was equipped with a pair of bedsheets and a pillow (with cover)), to not get into trouble and the sort.

I was very excited since it was the first time for me, venturing out of KaruNadu, alone and especially with college friends. The very thought of an overnight train journey with the fun bunch of quizcorpers made it something to really look forward to...

On the train, and we were literally haggling the passengers around us, so that the whole bunch of us could sit together. The ladies had their seats in the adjacent coach from ours, because of the quota... we finally agreed for a makeshift arrangement with the TC .(who fuming thru his moustache, muttered "what kids i say! , i will make them get down at Salem"...)

Having settled down, the group which consisted of me, Kent, Jose, Ma, Ni, Nanded and Vishy got down to business. Which was the opening of our respective foodie goodies. chakkulis, chapathis, english sandwiches and the like were devoured within no time...This was followed by dumbcharades and activities which involved us in making lots of noise. A stern warning by a passenger which went, "wawawwhat do you think of yuvarselves i say?"( wide eyes and thumbs up), made our entropy zero (almost ;))

Day 1:

After a breezy ride from the station to the insti courtesy the insti bus, some of us were awed to be in the presence of a certain studd quizzer named after a mystical aspect of judaism. The reason being he mispronouncing the director of Godfather. So go figure ;)

Having settled down at our respective hostel rooms, we all decided to take part in some literary activities before the lonewolf quiz. The lack of sleep played a major role, in my dismal performance in the quiz. By dismal i mean writing Hindware for a Thomas crapper question. The crossword workshop after that was great fun. It completely changed my idea of cryptic crosswords. The enthu, with which the students guided us through the tricks and the shady hints to be found in a given clue, floored me. 

The finals of the quizzes at the NIT's and the IITs start at midnight and end up in the wee hours of the morning. The lonewolf was my first midnight final as an audience. So after the cryptic workshop, we caught up on some sleep.

The finals started at around 11pm and we were surprised at the no show of females in the audience. Queer i wondered, considering that a good no. of them had participated in the prelims. We came to know why, the hard way. Minutes after settling down, one of the co-ords brashly asked Ma, Nanded and Paddy to 'get the hell outta here'. Apparently the insti had rules about not allowing girls to roam around beyond 11pm and so there has never been a female audience to quiz finals ever. The sentiment and the intention was understandable, but the way it was said was offending. Ma put some fight, but to no avail. They all stomped out of the auditorium and this left a bad taste among the rest of us.

After 3 rounds we, the bleary eyed, decide to leave after witnessing mystical aspect smash the competition. The long walk back to the hostel, hollering and laughing at 2am, with Jose retelling his funny and heart warming experiences of prev. Trichy visits and with Kent playing music on the loud speakers was unforgettable. :)


Started with me and Ma desperately asking the debate co-ord to include us for the competition. "impassible, i have already turned down many other teams. Don't waste my time i say"said He. We sat down, listening to the impassibly good speakers speaking in broken indian english and doing typical-i-read-Hindu-and-i-am-holier-than-thou expressions, much to our amusement. Later we headed out to the Spent quiz, with my team closely missing out on qualifying. Ma, as usual convinced me to attend a creative writing workshop after the quiz, which was being conducted By Sidin Vadukut

Forgive me for digressing here- a month back, one Saturday afternoon me and Ma were discussing about Indian blogging culture and she mentioned Sidin Vadukut and the post which made him super-duper famous. Read up for the whole story.

And imagine how i felt, when the same Sidin incidentally being an alumnus of NITT, conducted the creative writing workshop. I was overjoyed and Ma chided me for not knowing this earlier. Sidin started off in a very informal vein and entertained us right through with his anecdotes and moments of epiphany. We never sensed the time go by, so much so, that even during a power failure mid-way through his talk, we didn't mind listening to him in the darkness :D. His travails which led him to what he is today, filled us all with hope.

With nothing left to do till the finals of spent and we to loiter around the spacious campus, making a fool of ourselves. The last bit, due to our parodying of Dark Knight by shooting a  kannada version. Boy o boy was it fun!! Casting the current and the prev generation of actors in Kannada industry as the cast for Kari-Nayaka as we put it, made us laugh till we cried. Nanded, Jose and Vishy were a bit miffed at not getting most of the kannada references but joined us in the merriment nonetheless. 

The sun was setting behind us, when we got to know of a power shortage in the campus, to make up for the high wattage Sivamani concert, that was to follow later that night. Feeling lazy to walk all the distance to our hostels, Kent suggested we play rummy. Some of us were apprehensive about the idea, for getting caught by the insti people for shady business was the last thing on our minds. He convinced us nonetheless and we found an abandoned exit to the LHC to start the game. As the game progressed with fortunes swinging rapidly from player to player, the night too advanced with merry abandon. With no street lights, we continued playing the game with cellphone backlights as a source. It was indeed hilarious. My cellphone as usual played the role of providing soothing background music. Kent complimented me after listening to my playlist, by saying "You're the MAN". That's something i'll cherish. ;)


We bid goodbye to him and Ni for they had some work on Sunday. The ladies went back to the hostel with an air of nonchalance around them. Not attending the Spent finals, was hardly on their minds. They were warming up for Tomorrow's India quiz.

The spent final was a repeat show of mystical aspect's dominance. But me and Jose had a great cracking questions from the audience. Pepsi and coke bottles with shady contents were moving around among the audience, i was a bit apprehensive about that ;) 

The long walk back to the hostel-part2 also had the same share of fun, but i missed Kent.

Day 3, a Sunday which had only the India quiz for us to take part in. We had to leave the campus by mid day to reach Bangalore by night. The quiz master shortened the India quiz to a one round event due to lack of time. Questions were good. Missed a few easy ones. Ma's team smashed it almost.

Then we all foolishly waited to participate in a solve-the-mystery contest, which led to chain of events so improbable that we did not reach Bangalore on the same day!

Writing down the clues and watching the sloppy video (credits for the effort though) made us unaware of the fact that it was nearing 1pm and no one had even packed their belongings. Running our way back to the hostel, we discussed the various permutations of routes by which our destination could be reached the same day.

Its 2.30 in the afternoon by the time we check out. We waited for a bus to Trichy central, opposite to the insti. 45minutes later we hoisted ourselves into an overloaded one and it became increasingly clear, that at this rate we had to stop over at one of the towns enroute and take the overnight bus to Bangalore. Getting stranded at 1am in namma ooru and the CM being quoted as "they were being adventurous", lest something happened to us; was the last thing that we wanted. ;)

Having resigned to that fact, we took a bus to Salem after reaching Trichy for it had higher frequencies to our city. The supposedly 3.5 hour journey took 5 hours, but we had music and Ma's books for company so we didnt mind.

All along the journey,

as i savoured the natural beauty,

i noticed some publicity material,

which made the setting ethereal..

I wondered if had stepped into a DMK nadu rather than Tamil nadu. Posters and life size cutouts of the aforesaid party members, lined up till the end of  horizon. Flags and buntings besought their presence. The idea that Tamil politics is more about creating a larger than life image and making sure that you enforce it to the common man, just became concrete in me. Not having exposed myself, to such a robust display of the various poses of politicians, it was indeed funny. By poses i mean, leaders pondering with the tip of the pen resting on their lips, photoshopped ten-headed leaders, hand shaking and hand waving leaders and in each of these cases, they are reinforcing the message to the people that "look, this is ME. And i am in POWER. And i am doing something good for you all" :| . The common man is enamoured.

Vishy interrupted my discussion on this topic with Ma, pointing out that politics is a sensitive issue among the locals and the bus was not an ideal setting for it. After reaching Salem, by 9pm we searched around for a place to eat and we found 3 Saravana Bhavanas within 100mts. Having filled our stomachs in of the swankier ones, we lounged on the steps of an abandoned shop, for we had about an hour and a half to spare. Another round of idle chitchat about local and Karnataka politics, Literature, college and its quirky staff members followed before we took the bus to Bangalore

The company which i had in this trip was akin to cousins or brothers say, people to whom you could open up to without inhibitions. Jose, Vishy, Kent, Ma and the gang were so very easy going and fun loving that you were made to feel comfortable effortlessly. That all of them possessed a great sense of humor just added up to it...

All in all it was a memorable trip...  

More Pics here and Ma's version of the trip in 3 parts  here

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

"Nights are dark, right?" said a pilley. Joker said "And i thought my Jokes were bad"

Thats right. Stop...

What follows is a complete dissection and study of the Dark knight. So no soft warnings as to spoilers/plot give-aways ahead. I expect you to have seen the movie before you proceed to read this post. If you havent done so, do close the window and make an attempt at watching it. 

Now the eligible ones can proceed...

Once in a while, you come across movies which make a lasting impression on your mind. Movies which you can proudly say to the future generations,” I saw this n times you know(twinkle in the eyes). The craze it created…. You should have been there to witness it”. Dark Knight is one such movie. 

After wiping off sweat from my brows caused by the “i-don’t-give-two-hoots-to-my-life” attitude displayed by Bangaloreans on the roads (this while driving back home from Fun cinemas), i settled down for a dissertation on The Dark Knight (for no degree sadly).

The movie starts off with a heist orchestrated by the Joker and we see his arrival with a bang really.( As each of them go down with a bang :D ). The joker stands alone and answers to the query, "what to do you believe in?", with this ” I believe that whatever doesn’t kill you, simply makes you… STRANGER… ” 

And this sets the pace for more such pearls of wisdom from the man himself.

Heath Ledger fascinated me right from the start, with his effortless portrayal of Joker. It’s a psychotic, scary (yet at times funny) character that he had to portray, (unlike his predecessors) which he has fulfilled to perfection. His jokes are laughable given ordinary circumstances but in the sinister scenario that it unfolds, you shiver. Case in point, the scene where Joker dressed up as a nurse says “Hi” to Dent. Brrrrr….

 (to borrow Alfred’s words on Joker) 
“Some men aren't looking for anything logical like money. They can't be bought, bullied, reasoned or negotiated with. Some men just want to WATCH THE WORLD BURN.”

Some memorable quotes by The Joker:
• You know the thing about chaos? It's fair

• Do you want to know why I use a knife? Guns are too quick. You can't savor all of the…little…emotions. You see, in their…last moments, people show you who they really are. So in a way…I knew your friends better than you ever did. [pause] Would you like to know which of them were cowards?

• This is what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object.

• Madness, as you know, is like gravity…all it takes is a little push!

• [to batman] You won't kill me because of some misplaced sense of self-righteousness. And I won't kill you because…you're just too much fun! I think you and I are destined to do this forever.

• You know what I noticed? Nobody panics when things go "according to plan"…even if the plan is horrifying. If tomorrow I told the press that, like, a gang-banger will get shot, or a truck load of soldiers will be blown up, nobody panics, because it's all part of the plan. But when I say that one little old mayor will die…[voice rises hysterically] well, then everyone loses their minds!

• Introduce a little anarchy…upset the established order…and everything becomes chaos. I'm an agent of chaos.

He seeks the best of Gotham city, its true legitimate hero and by bringing him down, he wants to shatter the hopes of the citizens who believed in everything good and hoped for the victory of good over evil.

Aaron Eckhart as Harvey dent is another example of perfect casting. He fits the bill as a robust lawyer fighting to clean the streets of gotham, a character who makes his own luck (with the two-headed coin :) ), he is the legitimate hero of the city. Later as the transformed Two-face, (following the loss of Rachel) he stops believing in morals and leaves everything to chance. In his own words:

“You thought we could be decent men in an indecent time…but you were wrong! The world is cruel. And the only morality in a cruel world is chance. Unbiased, unprejudiced, fair…”

The joker tests Batman, Gordon and Dent in his quest to bring the best of them down. Batman fails, when he refuses to reveal himself; which leads to the loss of innocent lives. Gordon fails, when he does nothing to combat the rampant corruption in the police force, which also leads to the unfortunate death of Rachel Dawes and the destruction of Harvey dent. Both the kidnappings being orchestrated by the mafia and deftly carried out by the very cops that Gordon believed in . Dent survives the test, as he goes to the extent  of acknowledging that he is the Batman,  for the safety of Gotham citizens. The joker is now after Dent, not Batman. 

Regarding the death of Dent there has been voices along the lines of “phooey, why does Nolan take such an effort to show the dent-two face(a prominent villain in the comic series) transformation and then kill him within 45 min?”

Answer: You either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain.

Two-Face according to Nolan isn’t Two-face according to Batman comics. His death and the subsequent Dark knightification* of Batman enables people to still have faith in him(Dent) and what he stood for. Thus in a way defeating what the Joker strived hard to do. 

“This city just showed you that it's full of people ready to believe in good” says batman to Joker when his plans to detonate the two cruises, fail. 

What a fantastic sequence that is. Two cruises, one containing the law abiders and the other containing the most wanted criminals. Each asked to blow the other up. The frustration, introspection and dilemma faced by the passengers is brilliantly shot. None of them want their hands dirty from detonating the bomb. The audience is on the edge, witnessing the happenings , dying to know what happens next, the time ticks on………..

Among the criminals, one of the nasty looking fellows whom you would have actually believed to press the button, eventually throws it out. On the other end one of the good ones, is actually tempted to press the detonator when at the right time, his morality checks him. One can interpret that the bad ones actually deserve to live, contrary to what one normally excepts. That none of them suffer is a different thing altogether. But they do support what batman said above… 

Alfred Pennyworth played by Michael Caine as the avuncular butler is classy and measured just as it should be. Always the one to provide a shoulder to cry on for Batman. A firm believer in Batman and also in the idea that batman has to take decisions, which may involve sacrifices; but are made with good intentions for Gotham. Very wisely he hides, from a beleaguered batman, the fact that Rachel would have loved to marry Harvey instead of him. Burning of Burmese forests story was so apt in putting the Joker situation to a proper perspective.

Abduction of Lau and the chase of a captive Dent make for some good, edge of the seat action sequences. Both technically difficult, but made to look so easy. Hats off to the technical crew handling photography, CGI and the director himself.

Christopher Nolan has handled the batman franchise in very refreshing and mature manner. Mature in the sense that, he has gone beyond portraying batman as a typical wish-i-could-be-him kinda role with fantastic weaponry and jaw-dropping stunts etc. and has also dealt with moral conflicts that the hero suffers from time to time. The villains and the friends/well wishers too are carefully sketched characters rather than being made as just sidekicks. Each one is as inevitable as the other. The narration is also taut considering the fact that it exceeds 2 hours, which rarely happens in Hollywood.

A mention of the brilliant background music score by Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard can’t be forgotten. The music gets into your body, settling into your chest and brings you down to a macabre, dark place**. Fav tracks of mine are Harvey Two-Face, Introduce a Little Anarchy and Why so Serious. Variation of pace as per the plot and brilliant use of instruments are a hallmark of this film’s soundtrack. They never cease to trigger a screening of the movie in my mind’s eye whenever i play it…. Its like being a part of the story and experiencing the emotions yourself.

His movies succeed mainly because it respects the audience. By that I mean, he doesn’t take the audience for granted by dishing out brain dead material. There is lot of attention to detail in all aspects of film making be it editing, background music score, casting, screenplay all of which makes a movie viewer get a wholesome and satisfying experience.

His movies involve the audience. By that I mean, certain parts are left open-ended for the viewer to have his own interpretation. Some parts are unexplained and are taken for granted that the viewer gets it on his own. For ex: We see the various knives of Joker being displayed while he is put into his cell. The hand which examines the knives, picks up the last and does not keep it back. A keen eyed observation will make you realize this. The hand we later came to know, is of the policeman who later gets into, rather pretends to get into, a fisticuff with the Joker. And the Joker victoriously comes out of the cell; placing The knife to his phony friend's throat, demanding a phone call ;) . 

The kidnapping of Dent and Rachel too happens all of a sudden, but we come to know more about it by and by.

Its moments like these which make a dumb viewer like me happy, when I re analyze some aspects of the movie.

The movie succeeds, because it makes the audience to put themselves in the position of various characters and ask themselves as to their reactions given those circumstances. 

All in all it was a great watch and it has a set a new benchmark in handling an existing franchise. This movie has reaffirmed Nolan’s position among the star league of directors…

P.S: Many Thanks to dear friend gaurav (reg no.:1RV07 0-orange-red-brown)***, for having indulged in elaborate discussions with me about the movie and clearing my pilley doubts and also providing his laser sharp insight into the many finer aspects of the plot. 

*dark knightification- "usne kuch nahi kiya(Dent killing officers and other dudes whilst tossing coin), sab kuch maine kiya" by ballebaz (translation mein kripaya 's' akshar ko nikaalein. dhanyavaad ;) ) 

**copy pasted from here   

*** Dont think RV ATNMS has gone bonkers giving resistance color code as reg no. This is simply a prank, as he belongs to EC. Do figure it out :) 

Thursday, August 7, 2008

"#$%^&@* nodkondu oodsu guru"....("*&%$#@!, watch where you are driving...")

Before i begin this post which concerns driving a vehicle, let me seek the divine grace and blessings of his holiness swami boneywasawarriorananda, the omniscient when it comes matters of driving vehicles of 2,3,4....n wheels. My mistake of mentioning the relative motion b/w clutch and accel. in the prev post led to a lot of chiding from his holiness. My sincerest apologies swamiji... ;)

YenPeeEss once said:
"You see there are two kinds of drivers. The perfect ones and the imperfect ones. The former need the latter to really feel they are on the roads. The latter need the former to say to others 'hey at least we make someone proud'. Well they are indispensable to each other, they balance each other, like ying-yang .....(and a Honda activa made an imperfect collision with him)

I was formally inducted to latter's hall of fame last month when i suffered a minor accident. It went like this. I was on my activa traveling somewhere around the speed of 45-46kmph. There were 3 indicas ahead of me in the same straight line. The leader of the pack didn't feel the need at all, to show any sign/signal that he intended to take right turn at the next junction and the stops out of the blue for that purpose. The rest (including me) faithfully crashed in to each like some long last buddies[pile up is the word technically speaking].....

Getting over the excruciating pain of betadine and mercurochrome and the sweet-sour chidings of amma and appa, i did some introspection of the happenings. Non-maintenance of sufficient distance from the car and over speeding( the repair bill of the activa def. hinted at that) were the conclusions.

And all this happened when i had return some documents to the car driving school, for my learner's license. You see i had joined for lessons in car-driving for many reasons. Primary ones emergency situation, the sheer pleasure of it, DL is a great address proof......

In a marriage interview:
Would Be Maava: "what else can the boy do?"
Appa:"well he can drive a car...."
WBM:" very good very good (lord almighty; driver can be fired..... 2 coconuts to you), may we decide on the wedding date?"

Sudarshan, my instructor, was a scraggy, kumkum-in-the-mid-forehead-putting, i-dont-know-when-i-will-explode-kinda and this guy. This was unnerving at first because you except him to flip at any slight mistake while you drive... but as the classes wore on i got adjusted to him. He changed the routes for every class, depending on what i was supposed to learn for the day, so you can imagine his dedication.

'legs on Clutchu-brake while in descent and while encountering obstructions' and 'release the clutch and accelerate simultaneously while changing gears' were among the two things that he used cry himself hoarse with. And the VTU dudess had said that car learning is baaye haath ka khel or something. Well it is so if it is Automatic transmission, otherwise its daaye haath ka khel for the right hander which is very difficult indeed :P. This took a lot of time for my feet to understand, slow learners that they are. They just refused to act as he said, as if they had a mind of their own, so either it would be a sudden release of clutch which would make the car to do a Dhadak-rev act and would invite a "you will ruin this clutch lining by the time this is done" remark from him or a vroooom from the car which would make him say"go easy, dammit". It took a lot of time and i have yet to master it with the gentle Santro Xing of ours. :(

5 classes had passed when dad decided to check out what i had learnt at school. Despite repeated attempts at convincing him otherwise he stuck to his guns. Vokay i said and we went on a short drive. A few hiccups happened initially with the clutch and gears (for i was learning with an old santro which had controls on the other side, which does change clutch length and other crap like that) and i felt this wont turn out be good. But appa was patient as he his with his patients and we continued. And a mishap occured which certainly made the imperfect drivers committee to add a gold frame to my photo in their gallery and a plaque beneath to commemorate my achievements. But in this court of Web 2.0, i will try to justify myself; my honored netizens.

This is the scene of accident, honoured netizens.(pain max to reproduce from MS paint; but i have done my best, do click on the image so as to get a clear picture of it ;) )

index: light blue fat thing -Our xing which is taking the turn.
dark blue lean thing- a to-be-delivered skoda
dark green lean thing- dilapidated scooter
red short fat thing- some stupid car

We were proceeding on the main road honoured netizens when appa told me to take the turn indicated by the lean green arrow. Now since i am at the left most side of the road, it was inevitable that i had to take a wide-ish turn which would result in me being at the center of that road. Now skoda was approaching in his proper lane and before i could avoid him and come to my proper left lane a kirrrk scratch happened to the skoda. I proceeded further to avoid the damn parked scooter and the stupid car and i ended up nudging the scooter.

Your honour, firstly father should not have asked for me to turn in that sharp hair pin turn which was pretty narrow; when he knew that the car is at the helm of a rookie. Secondly, he should have told me earlier about this so that i would have a shifted myself to the right on the main road which would have facilitated a proper entry to the left side of the hair pin. The stupid scooter owner should also know well not to park it on that silly lean road, where there isn't enough place for two large cars to go side by side. It was a split second order by father honouerd netizens and you must understand my predicament. I rest my case. i also propose making that road a one way for for causing no further inconvenience for my fellow rookie drivers. Thank you.....

He took over the car for the journey back home and i felt my confidence melting away in handling a car. Well a few more classes and a comforting advice from sudarshan made me feel a bit better. Slowly but surely i learnt how to handle tough combat situations on roads(which involves freak drivers, fresk pedestrians, freak roads and freak animals) and made myself license worthy.

RTO-West under whose jurisdiction lies RTO rajajinagar had a brain wave one fine day and built a testing track in peenya near the NH-4. Now this is the first and only RTO to have a track as such to test its DL holder wannabes and unlike other RTO tests which involves going round the shopping complex or having the instructor sit beside you controlling the car(Jayanagar dudes are surely lucky), this is really tough. I present to you the famed track.

Note: As you proceed for the bottom to top there is an elevation in the field of 30deg. (say). the inspecting officers are seated at the bottom edge of the pic.

On the 26th of July some 20 members from our driving school collectively left for the track to get our DL. After driving through horrendous traffic on the NH for some 15kms we reached the track at around 10am. Had to wait painfully 2 hours until the other schools finished their turn.

The audience (which included the nail biting drivers and driving school staff) regaled themselves when the others made mistakes while track. "paapa, no license for him", " hey you saw that? dont know why these people come to take test" and remarks to that effect ebbed and flowed.

My turn finally came at a time when the one prev. to me drove up the median and failed the test. Sat down in the car gingerly not knowing whether to touch the speedometer or the steering wheel first and then to the prayer for some prayer thingie. touched both unable to bear the dilemma. Sudarshan was sitting behind me, so no controls from him. This time i was on my own. "one last time nakul, do it well he said". i looked back at him and his eyes said COME ON. That gave me a huge peg of confidence and i started the maruthi 800.

If you enlarge the pic for a clearer view, i started from the bottom left (follow the white arrows) and proceeded anticlockwise, first entering the right most lane and making the big round. As i neared the starting point, i took a left and climbed up the snake turns and went round the circular patch. Then we had to stop where the red thing is and take a reverse into the other part of the V and then moved ahead to join the topmost lane. Then i returned to the starting point and parked the car in the earlier position. No hiccups where the others had in the track, i passed the test smoothly. Good said sudarshan. I walked away...

Then i brought in my two wheeler for i wanted a license for that too. Here the first part of the test is the same i.e the big round anticlockwise. Then we had enter a small [ 1 vehicle at a time] snake track, go around the 8 and come back in the same way we had entered (follow the blue arrows) to finish the test. The main challenge was not to let your feet to touch the ground at any time during the snake track drive or else it was "hehee, no license for that pille".The objective was to test your balance perhaps in tight corners maybe. That too went flawlessly. Later i ran out of the track to call up my mom to break the good news. She was happy.

I finally got my DL for both which i felt was a culmination of the efforts that went in, for learning the car (and also the activa after the accident ;)). With the smart card in hand i look forward to roof topless drives by the beaches in the highways DCH style (and to save maava of his drivers' fee)... ;)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Alai Payuthey

Vokay readers, before you come to any conclusions about the tamizh (recently learnt about the usage of zh :D) title, i felt it is very appropriate to the post since it deals with a restless mind (or so my tamizh macha says)... You better be right about this KK..

The location of the story is our own college of engineering where i have spent a year. Introducing a cast; all of them amateurs...
Hero- Ravi ,
Extras- Naughty classmates of Ravi
Direction- Alai Payuthey

Special thanks- Rains, trees which bring in the cool breeze to the campus and the wonderful koochi koo spots in the college. All of which act as lintels to a relationship.
(pardon me for the civil engg. reference but cant help it, as a VTU dudess put it "dude, the depth of foundation for all your topics in BCE course is very high and unnecessary".)

Ravi was a first year mech junkie and so was Sneha, but a circuit sundari (Elec.&Comm.). The very first day he saw her in the college bus, he knew she was the spark in the spark plug that ignited his adrenaline and set his heart racing.

He then went on a fact finding mission about her. Name, where she lives, how was she in studies etc. Never in his life had he dedicated himself so completely than in this work.

1) She caught the bus at the stop previous to his.( he too would catch it there from now on)
2)Pretty ok in studies(he thanked the "lord of seven hills" for that. He didnt want his ccd sessions to be tuition classes)
3)That she was a northie caused him to call out to the "lord of seven hills" once again.

"He has a fixation with lord venkateswara", you said? Not at all. You see he had an orthodox ajji for his grandmother. You know the 4am rising, mantra patanam doing, tulsi katte rounding kind. And boy was she exacting in these matters of alliance!!

First came color, the girl should be fair (even if she is unfair in other matters) and then belong to the same sub caste let alone caste. It brought some relief to our hero that she had dropped long hair, singing/dancing abilities and varadakshinam albeit grudgingly ...And with all this one mention of north indian beauties to her, you would be a proud spectator of a rendition of the ear clasping , eye closing , "rama rama" chanting scene straight out of any 60's,70's,80's movie of any wood for that matter.

So this was a cause for concern for Ravi for he had been witness to this when the family was involved in finding match for his bro . But those matters were secondary advised his naughty class mates. They prepared him for his first encounter with her.

There is a Kool Korner in campus, a student-friendly (you say "no money uncle , can i give later" and you get a smile as answer), everything-under-the-sun available and a place where you find 50% of college in the 11-11.20am break. She was there and so was he. After much goading from his friends one day, he gingerly went towards her. His Heart beats were audible to him, perspiration and hand shaking...." uh... hehe" ....he was ruining the moment. And after much deliberation he said " any idea as to the last date for paying exam fees?", "well, no..." said our sundari a bit amused and surprised at the whole situation...

He was the butt of the class for the whole day" go ask subject codes next", they said amid guffaws. " But her beauty, those fluttering doe like eyes , aur woh kali kali zulfien(even though interspersed with color color streaks) ... they made me dumb, guys...."

It was the period of his life that he would never forget. Getting groomed for college( spending time in front of the mirror, to the extent of getting some chiding from amma), admiring every little thing abt. her right from the way she put away those strands of hair behind her alphonso mango shaped ear, the way she gently held her books, the wonderous giggle when she was with her girlie gang, giving treats to friends when he thought she smirked at him.........

The rains have their part in any affair be it judaai or non-judaai. One fine day it started raining after college. Ravi trudged his way to the coll. bus, for it wasnt a pleasant day in class. If only he knew what was in store for him...

He threw his bag and sat down, cursing the CAED lecturer when he observed that she wasnt in her seat. He fidgeted for a while, as he had seen her in campus today. what had happened. He frantically looked through the windows, if he could spot her. The bus was filling up. Schumi, the driver settled down on his throne. Where the hell was she???

The engine started revving. He went near schumi and politely told him that a 'friend' had yet to climb the bus. The ever friendly schumi was not in the mood today. 'hmph', he said which meant 3 minutes and i am leaving. 30,60,90...179secs..... Gear shifted from to neutral to first with the simultaneous release and depression of the clutch and accelerator respectively.

Then he saw her...running... he quickly opened the door and held his hand out ddlj style, she too extended hers.... "come on you can do it......"he screamed.... the bus was exiting the gates....

She offered him a seat beside her. He was bloody beyond happy (for the fact that his hair had been perfectly set for the occasion; rain acting as the gel....). His class troubles vanished in an instant. Then she asked him
"why didn't you open the door, when you stood right next to the driver?....".
"Oh well never mind i was thinking about an SRK movie scene and schumi with his shout brought me back to this world, hope you didn't drench too much?"

She giggled, feeling sorry for this fool and his ways. He loved her and he would do just about anything for her. Someone played "And Nothing else matters"on the cellphone loudspeaker, from behind... He closed his eyes trying to soak in the rest of the journey back home....

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

8th mile

Our official college fest 8th mile (which was returning after a 5 year hiatus...) was never an event which caught our imagination. Rumors were abound about fund shortages, bad publicity among local colleges. The scheduling of the events was horrendous to say the least (51 events in 2 days...).Some of the reactions from RVCE dudes...

The snooty Deb Soc dude:" Bah, i dont really care about the fest. But belting NLSIU in Parliamentary Deb. will be nice..."(drools at the thought...)

The Northie hostelite (and forced volunteer) :"Plz buy the fest t-shirt otherwise seniors hame uDaadenge.."

Arbit 9+ pointer:" I would definitely look forward for the two day Robotics workshop (beams at the thought of building a line follower bot)...."

Lost in love macha:" I hope she turns up for the fest..."

Quiz corper to admin: "sir i need projector to conduct the gen quiz"
Admin:" Sell ten fest t-shirts and the projector is yours.."
Qc(to himself):" MC, BC, bloody i will put only peters..."

And somehow enthusiasm rubbed on to the others as the dates of the fest neared.

I enjoyed participating in many of the events and more so being a part of the audience. The events ranged from Ikebana to photography to short movie making to street play...

The fest ended with two concerts. One by world folk fusion music macha raghu dixit (which i missed unfortunately for i was busy beholding the short movie comp.).

The other was by Pravin Godkhindi, a familiar name if you watch Raaga Ranjini on Etv but to the uninitiated he is a second generation flautist in his family and his known for his command on the instrument and also for his pleasant fusion music.

He began the concert with the song Krishna which is also the name of the band. It was in raag Bhoop (mohana in Carnatic). A melodious simple raaga which brought about a sense of peace and goodness in the atmosphere. He later paused for a while to explain to the audience how to shout "Krishna", when the band played the crescendo part of the composition. He was amazed by our co-ordination. Later in an attempt to connect film music with classical raagas he played popular kannada hits composed in the same raga like "naa vaa duva nudiye kannada nudi"

Next he moved to Raag Bhimplas (closely resembles Abheri in Carnatic) where he played hits like,
viraha nuuru nuuru taraha, gaganavu yello, tum hire-Criminal, Banna nanna olavina Banna, Gori tera roop..., Tu cheez badi hai-Mohra among others... and we never knew that these hits were based on something classical like Bhimplas...the rest of the band members gelled beautifully with him; anticipating his variations and sometimes providing their own!!

The last raaga was Mishra pahadi. He first demonstrated his skills with the instrument by playing out the sweet sounds of nature. The birds chirping, ripples of a nearby river.. I don't know about the audience but myself being a music aficionado this rendition certainly transported me to a different world altogether. He then resumed to playing popular hits in the same raga like tere mere hooton se, malgudi theme, Dooni saagali, Tum paas aaye-Kuch kuch hota hain, papa kehta hain, pardesi pardesi jaana nahin-raja hindustani...

He gelled very well with audience and proof is the fact that he made us all to write down the names of the famous tunes he played in a sheet of paper for a small prize in the end...

At the end he asked us all to pursue/listen to classical music now that they got a taste of it. It was a memorable evening. And getting his autograph was an icing on the cake.....

And thus the fest, like the big fat Indian wedding which would somehow transform from chaos on the brink to picture perfect, went to become a great success....

Friday, February 29, 2008

A dear friend lost.....

You were just a sampling when we arrived,
a decade and half ago...
Planted carelessly by the corporation,
in the name of afforestation.
"its too close to the house ", my uncle had said, an advice we didn't heed...

And thus slowly but steadily you grew,
under the tender care of amma and the gardener,
a fellow whose knowledge exceeded that of a seasoned farmer...

Don't you remember that stormy night,
when it rained like it was a sign of an impending doom,

when amma and i very carefully strung a rope to your slender waist and tied it to our balcony, lest you split yourself to two?....

You also grew to take a special place in our hearts,
and also in many others', who themselves (and sometimes their vehicles),
took shelter under you from sunlight and rain..
And not to forget the fauna who were also indebted to you,
the bees, the crows, the pigeons, the squirrels...

The squirrels especially delighted me as they ran up and down your trunks,

playing gleefully as though they didn't have a worry in life,

and in the process they ran away with my gloom and strife...

You were the indicator of seasons, you stripped in fall,

(making it a hell lot difficult for amma and the gardener to clear the leaves ;)...
And then you were a sight to behold in vasantha kaala...
the varied shades of green would have definitely made a lover of nature,
mad with joy...

To the non-school going boys you were but a pole,

which along with the telephone pole nearby,
would give the ideal place to wind their threads and colour them meticulously,
for the upcoming kite season...
and many a time the kites used to get stuck to you,

which was followed by " aunty can we get our kite please"....

Your branches had to pruned once a while, for it was in the verge of snapping,
any of the telephone/cable wires,
What a circus it was to get the job done which involved the cutter sitting in precarious positions,
which always (still don't the reason why), used to make amma feel, what if he slips....

Everybody used to love the breeze you brought about...

You were also the last point where the romeos could drop their juliets (of the nearby women's hostel),

for anywhere closer to the hostel would mean a thorough blasting from the warden...
The delight we used to take in watching the scene unfold from atop our house,

promises to keep in touch and flying kisses exchanged between the couple all under your blessings...

And finally your story took a different turn....

The water bill which until now had not crossed 200/-,

which is normal for a family of three,
arrived one fine day carrying with itself a figure having the digit three,
in its hundred's place...

This was odd, but we let it go...

But a few months later when the three got replaced by five,
we all decided to look into the matter earnestly,

checked for leaks, tried to make our usage efficient but to no avail...

Then it was decided to mark the level of water in the sump to check if it had cracked...

The next day we saw the water hovering 2 feet below the line..

The sump was emptied and was carefully checked for cracks;

when we saw your beautiful roots swaying under breaths almost mocking us...
"I think its a bit too close" uncle had said a decade and a half ago...

Now it would definitely be wrong on our part to accuse you for the mishap,
its like accusing a child for his growth...
But the water had to be utilized by us than for you roots opined the elders...
Appa got into action making phone calls and everything else necessary;
for your demise...

After a fortnight, (which is a limca record opined appa), the municipal dudes arrived...
Armed with machetes and hacksaws...
They set about chopping you from 8am that day,
I couldn't bear the sight and left for college with a heavy heart...
By the time i arrived, they were still on the job with shouts of "jor lagaake aiissa...."
(kannada equivalents to be suitably substituted)...
Amma while providing refreshments for me recounted with anger as to how the neighbours behaved...
" our phone lines, our cable lines, please be careful, we can't bear without it..."
"Why sudha are you getting it cut?, it was of such utility to us..."
As if they cared....
A few hours later the dudes cleared out your parts and you were just reduced to a stump....
I sat on the
pyol and shed silent tears, reminiscing the good old days,
the condition of the fauna...

My sincerest apologies to you and to those who loved you,
for this action was but inevitable...that you were a victim of circumstances...

Sunday, February 24, 2008


Shivu was waiting at the shankarmutt bus stop at 3.15pm on a sunday afternoon. He was lanky 20 year old with cheap clothes on and with a hairstyle to match. He himself loathed these clothes but then as time wore on he got used to it...

His destination was shivajinagar for which he had to wait for the sole route no. 95 bus coming from kamalanagar to take him. Atlast the bus arrived. He got himself a seat pretty easily for it was not the peak hour... he surveyed the crowd and saw an old farmer who carried a load beside him. The bus moved on along with its cantankerous conductor. Shivu flourished his daily pass to the conductor and fell into a reverie (which was triggered by the sight of the old farmer) about the early phase of his life...

He was a sprightly lad from Solur - a village not far from the outskirts of bengaluru... The family consisted of his farmer father, caring mother and the ever advising grandmother. His childhood was fun filled; replete with mischievous incidents which still evokes laughter in the family. His schooling was at the Govt. school nearby which just about managed to teach the village children with the facilities it possessed...

Apart from his mother, he had a special place in his heart for his lovely granny. She used to prepare him wondrous dishes apart from listening to all his school stories with glee and later at night tell him heart warming moral stories which used to put him to sleep... Those were the days of cocooned existence in his own small world. He would run along the lush fields on his off days enjoying to see his father at work, lending a hand now and then and walking back home with a tender coconut in hand...How he had rejoiced his first full grown moustache only to be spanked by his father who seemed to hell bent on getting it removed... And there was Savitri his sweetheart at school.His secret rendezvous with her by the sarayu river were the moments in his life which he felt should have never ended...

"Savitri", he said; startling a few passengers in the bus. " what if i asked her to marry me?"," Marry?! You?!, Begone you presumptuous worm", she might reply, he thought...

Years rolled on and he passed out of his SSlc with a first class which was celebrated with much fanfare in the village. He could still remember the tear filled eyes of his appa telling every other passerby in the street" see my son, he passed his sslc. Can you even dream of such an achievement ?". The future was hazy for shivu. The village couldn't offer any more education to this lad....

The loud noise and the simultaneous clicking of the tongues woke him up as the bus passed Harischandra ghat... he felt sad looking at the dead body and at once remembered a story which the cane wielding history teacher maadayya had told him. Alexander the great wished his arms outstretched with his palms facing skywards on his final journey- to signify that he left everything behind... Shivu was troubled by the metaphysical question that why should the humankind keep accumulating wealth when they had leave it all behind at some point of time... He shied away from racking his brains over such philosophical matters...

His father dared not to suggest his son to follow agriculture for his mother would come up with "why did we make him study at all, then?". His grandma however felt that the fields will make better use of his knowledge than any other occupation. She also felt he shouldn't be sent to the city...

One fine day a distant relative of his father visited him and upon being briefed about shivu's predicament he had one thing to say," Just send him to Bangalore, with his knowledge he will survive in the city.." After hearing grandma's protest regarding the polluted culture and the bad influence of it on shivu, he said," amma the struggle among the evil forces might mould him to be better person than he is today, one day or the other he has face the harsh realities of life, isn't it?". With that argument the entire household was more or less convinced...

Shivu's problem was how to confront savitri on this issue. On the banks of the river with the red setting sun and the murmuring casuarina trees as the background they sat down hand in hand. Not able to open his mouth on the recent developments, he fidgeted. Sensing his discomfort as only women know how to, she made him tell her about the Bangalore trip. She did make a lot of hue and cry about missing him and took a promise from him that he would keep in touch through the snail-mail. A promise which was broken within a few months of his stay in the city...

To say that shivu was overwhelmed was a bit of an understatement when he saw bangalore.. The big roads , the fashionable people, the vehicles, the malls made him to gape at almost everything. He stayed in that distance relatives' son's place and tried desperately for a job. He realised that having studied in kannada medium throughout his life, he would never survive in this city. He wrote letters to both his parents and savitri with the intila excitements as any small kid have on acquiring a new toy...The son made an alternate residential accomodation for shivu unable to bear his wife's taunts on the unnecessary expenditures on account of shivu...

He finally got a job as a PCO operator which didn't require much of a skill. He was bored with the job and began begging for job offers among the many customers who used to frequent the PCO. One fine day a portly man with a scar running thourgh his right cheek asked him to come to shivajinagar, and promised him a lucrative job. That was the first time he climbed 95...

The boss had a soft corner for shivu as he had for other village lads in his gang....The initial assignments for shivu were simple extortions in and around shivajinagar, but after 2 years he had graduated to slaying rival gang members without much of a remorse...

"Cunningham road" shouted the conductor. Shivu was amazed at how he came to be what he is today. "Perhaps, The boss had the uncanny ability of turning my inability to make a living here by ordinary dreams, my frustrations on being without my parents, village and my beloved, into an uncontrolled anger which was needed for the job..." He felt that the boss had taken good care of him and that it was his duty to be at his bidding....

Outside the window he saw a government ad regarding their agricultural measures which consisted of a picture of a happy farmer family standing in a lush green fields.... Shivu fought as hard as he could to hold back his tears as all the memories came rushing to him in full force. he lost the battle...

"Get down brother!! bloody jobless fellows; make our jobs miserable...." shouted the conductor to which shivu got down and wiped his tear soaked face worried if the boss might notice it...

P.S: credits to RKN for "begone you...." and the village setting...

Friday, January 18, 2008

My visit to the municipal office...

You see one of the many benefits that you receive on becoming a major in India are the whole lot of licenses, ID cards in your name; to show the world perhaps that you have truly arrived. One such is the voter ID card. An accessory that allows me to exercise my vote to money hungry nincompoops who know that other than the job that they are doing they would never fit in anywhere in this world given their brains. ok getting to the point, i decided to enroll my name in the new voter list. The CEC on his visit to our state was hopping mad (literally) at the poor state of the election machinery here. So after receiving a thorough spanking from him they (municipal dudes) ran around the city hither and tither enrolling and checking as many people they came across.

I didn't want my name to be lost in this melee. So decided to do it the Right way. I was dressed in sober clothes so as not give an impression that i was of the flashy type (this from my brother who had a harrowing experience on wearing a leather jacket on one such occasion). My mom being a psychology student said that such an impression would make the already lazy workers to make me wait further (bribe appreciation) and all that crap. I followed it religiously albeit having a dilemma if my navy blue shirt might offend him in some way.

I was glad to see fresh printouts stuck at all visible places asking the citizens to enroll their names at the office. I had to approach the revenue officer (whose kannada equivalent was informed to me by my father which i promptly forgot). Finally having done so the officer dismissed me by waving his left hand, on hearing my WARD no. he said " next building".

The next building had 3 floors and having studied modular programming in C, i went in for a top-down approach.(there was no board who was in which floor thus...). At the 3rd floor i saw 4 guys with some 30 other tables empty. An old villager was arguing with one of them regarding some land papers while the 3 others were busy in deciding whether to attend X's marriage or not. "how will the food be?" asks one. "that stingy dude wouldn't have spent much." said the other slurrping on steaming coffee. i stood in front of them and cleared my throat. "wha?" he said apparently very much disturbed to having an interruption on going ons. "sir ward 19", i said with namrata bhaava. "2nd floor ravi" was the answer and he went back to his dicussion.

2nd floor ravi said "1st floor sagar". But sagar was absent. Ok i settled down on a chair of one the many empty desks. "election duty pa ,that's why so many missing" someone said. By that 9year old boy came in to office plate in hand with a glasses of steaming coffee to be distributed to the meager crowd. The workers relished it with aplomb without a care for the outside world whether it was problematic citizens......

I left them alone (feeling a bit drowsy myself) and looked around if sagar arrived. I observed musty files overflowing everywhere. 'Why the hell don't they digitize this?' i thought. i saw a lone HP processor in one of the chambers.The tout who was invisible until now came from nowhere and asked if everything was alright and if i needed any guidance. I thanked him for his innocent concern. Sagar finally stepped in after some time. I ran up to him and repeated my request. To which he first setteled himself into the chair ; arched his arms; peered at me ;scratched his unshaven chin and cleaned his ear vigorously and then "what?". I was unfazed, i repeated my request for the form. "oh, that, oi ramu get that register from that cupboard i say"."oo coffee, good good. tell your owner not to grudge on sugar ok?" this to the coffee bearer. i wait. ramu throws a bundle on sagar's table. "find form 6", he ordered. i rummage through it for a long time and on finally getting i settled down in front of him to fill up the in kannada, the language which i used to write confidently 2.5 years ago and now sparsely in grocery lists.

The tout came from behind again; this time having served a few customers. "Can i help you fill the form sir? it is kannada you see"."Will manage" and glared at him. "strange customer",he muttered under his breath and went away to the more needy ones.

"finished?", sagar asked after tapping on the desk. I submitted the form to him which he promptly threw into a old dilapidated folder."that's it, you can leave". I walked back smirking after completing the first hurdle towards exercising what i consider one of my fundamental duties. ;)


After a lot of persuasion from the android and inspiration from ms.lych gate i have finally decided to blog on my own. The reader can find the blogger's arbit blabber here posted under the name Nakki. By the way the topics below are absolutely random and are definitely not intended to hurt any soul; so if you have any grouse just vent it out on the comment and i shall see what is to be done about it.So ab to picture shuru ho gaya mere dost...