Monday, May 31, 2010

Published by the MAG!

The MAG, A Magazine for all Generations, has been kind enough to publish a few of my writings, here. If you like what you read in my blog, please go over and let me know what you think.

You may also like to participate in the short story competition that the MAG is conducting.(Last date: 30 June, 2010)

You can follow The MAG on Twitter at @themagdotin.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Things I didn't know about Twitter ...

1. If a person has protected his tweets, and I do not follow him, I will not see his tweet even if he mentions me.

2. To get a direct link to a tweet, click on the time below each tweet (eg: "about 11 hours ago").

3. To see which tweet has been responded to, click on the "in reply to" link below each tweet.

4. If you want to know whether a person follows you, one method (among others) is to visit his/her profile and see if you can Direct Message him/her. If s/he is not following you, the DM option will not be available in the list.

5. Rogue applications that you may have unknowingly given access to need to be removed from the Settings - Connections to avoid untoward incidents.

Also read:
Are you a Twitter addict?

New to Twitter? 

Monday, May 24, 2010

Nothing has changed

They still come in late, each having their own time, style and pattern of entry...

They still switch on the PCs and go off to have their first tea of the day...

They still take their bottles and fill them with water to keep by their seats...

They still gather around the tea machine and gossip, abandoning all sense of time...

They still drift outside with their mobiles and lose themselves in conversation...

They still go out for walks around Ground Zero after lunch...

The water that flows under the bridge isn't the same. Yet everything appears to be: the shape, colour, texture. It just flows...

The tide is out. Who knows when it will rise again.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Autos and seatbelts

Every time I visit Kerala, some one or the other reminds me to fasten my seatbelt in the car otherwise 'the traffic cops would be on you in no time' - this being a comparatively recent law in the State. This, considering the fact that there are still ancient cars on the road that do not have anything that closely resembles seat belts.

But that is far from the point.
Pray, why does no one ever think of enforcing seat-belts for autos? No, before you dismiss the suggestion with a smirk and a wave of your hand, do listen to my tale.

Last week I had an opportunity to travel from M.G.Road to Koramangala in an auto rickshaw, bumping and bouncing over the road, the driver not glancing back once to ensure his passenger was safe in her seat. In fact, I am thankful that when he reached the destination, I was still perched in his vehicle to pay him for his services, for I had clung to the bar behind his seat for dear life.

I shudder to think what would have happened had that bar not existed in the auto. I would have blown away (yes, I said 'blown away') through the wide open doors of the auto and vanished into the oblivion they call Bangalore Traffic.

Hence the thought, why aren't there any seatbelts in autos? If any of you have a clue, do share.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Terror and Punishment

The verdict is out.
The man is guilty and he will be hanged.

The day the news broke out, a lot of relieved and smiling faces appeared on TV, claiming that Justice has won. That their efforts finally bore fruit. That the Nation is erupting in pride over the victory of Good over Evil. That the trial the World was keenly observing was finally at its culmination. That we have sent out a strong message that we will not tolerate terrorism on any account.

As if any sensible citizen of India would want to speak against the verdict.
As if the world - except Indians across it and a few media-watchers here and there - cared.
As if there was any doubt of this verdict being as it turned out to be: Was there ever any likelihood of the Court deciding to let Kasab go, despite his clear hand in the tragic events referred to as 26/11? If that happened, would the Judiciary of India survive the outcome?

There isn't much emotion left in us to get to our feet, applaud and say "Bravo!" Had this verdict come a month or two after 26/11, it would have been a different matter altogether.

Yet, the fact remains that we did the best we could under the circumstances. We caught the worm - for a worm he is, and nothing more, in the vast machinery of terrorism - and we protected it against the hungry birds we feared would snatch it, till it was time to squeeze it dead.

Perhaps never before has an entire nation, irrespective of the differences that divide its people or their political inclinations (that says a great deal), come together to praise the decision to end a man's life, without any pretensions of 'humanitarian' consideration. No one would take sides with vermin, anyway.

The message that we 'sent' to the outfits that nurtured him, returned undelivered. The trial happened behind their backs - because they had turned their backs on it. For them it was but a mug of salty water getting purged from the Ocean. There was sufficient - if not more - quantity left to carry the legacy forward. That one mug of water currently residing in the Indian jail was no extraordinary one. Indian Government need not have spent so much money on its protection. No one would have bothered to hijack a plane for its release back to the Ocean.

Kasab - and the rest of them - landed on our shores knowing that he'll be killed, probably in the most undesirable curcumstances. Yet they donned their best suits, trimmed their hair and bid their lives good-bye before taking up arms for the 'cause'. They must have been rigorously trained to overcome the fear of Death under even the most terrifying situations - to brave their hearts when all they wanted to do was to scamper away.

Not one of the ten terrorists of that fateful day were known to lose their nerve or heard to squeal at any time during the 60 hours of battle. What were they made of??

So, if one of them who had the misfortune to be caught alive comes to know that he will be hanged, do you think he is going to even wince? He probably is getting a better death than his comrades-in-arms: No one even knows their names, whereas 'Kasab' has become a household name, he might even find his way into history books (complete with the now-famous photograph). The nation can rejoice for all he cares.

No wonder the trial, the verdict, the execution, everything seemed like a farce, a drama that happened behind the curtains, which only the actors and their friends saw evolve, and an occasional sound escaped through the loudspeakers to reach the ears of the audience outside, who wasn't very interested anyway.

Guess what. The way I see it, when he is finally hanged to death, I suspect he is going to die like a hero.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Thematic Photographic - Spring has Sprung

The theme for this week's Thematic Photographic, hosted by Carmi at The Written Inc, is "Spring has Sprung."

Posting a few pictures taken from our trip to Yelagiri Hills, off Bangalore-Chennai highway.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

A Quest. A Vision.

The boy was picking marbles, standing knee-deep in the water. He seemed to be seeking something in particular. He would pick one marble, peer at it and, not satisfied, discard it.

The air was noisy. Morning birds chasing their worms, wind mercilessly rustling leaves, a distant roar of a hungry animal - there was quite a lively din. The boy, focussed as he was in his quest, did not pause to listen to the Sounds of Nature.

His destination was the snow-capped peak at the distance, to which he would gaze longingly, whenever Defeat threatened to overwhelm him. He had to finish picking the marbles from the river before he could attempt the Mountain. He knew that the ones he was seeking lay towards the middle of the river, but he preferred to stay clear of the eddies and the whirls.

A bright-eyed doe had stopped by the riverside to watch him. She did not return after quenching her thirst, as her friends did. She would edge closer, and step back in alarm when he splashed the water with a rejected marble.

He stopped a moment to observe the fish that were swimming upstream. Their perseverance amazed him; nevertheless he fought to suppress the tinge of envy that was deafening him. But they were fish, and he was not. Their purpose was not his, and they were bound to reach their goals way ahead of him.

He bent down to his work again, shaking his head to ward off the ill effects of loneliness.

He would eye the friendly doe now and then, talk to her sometimes. She would vanish for a while apparently to satisfy her appetite, and then reappear, and walk alongside him as he moved up the river. He knew she would not follow forever, some day or the other she would stop when it was no longer possible for her to accompany him.

He would have to go on from there, alone.

The Marbles... the Mountain... the Quest... They were all for him to conquer.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Precious Moments

- My 4-year old and I sit in the balcony in the early morning, watching the clouds make patterns in the sky, the little birds hopping around flowers, squirrels wandering over the walls...

- My 4-year old fell from the bed one night, and I pulled him back, only to hear a low chuckle and a sweet little voice saying with an impish twinkle in his eyes, "Taale veenu!" (I fell down)...

- Watching my parents narrate stories from my childhood to my son, their eyes full of love, the way mine fills with when I speak about my son...