December 11, 2009

Unanswered Questions

It's funny that I like to do things when I know exactly what little I can get. It's even more funnier that when I don't know what I will get, I still get on to do it and I get what I don't really expect. I know that I know a little of this world and by far I've been a pawn that has been ably supported. What lies ahead is question meant for strategists, forecasters, planners and the likes. Funnily enough, I like to be classified among them even though I'm at best a speculator. I seek answers all the time. I'm generally not really happy with things happening around or the way they happen or the way they are portrayed. I've little authority over the proceedings but I can obviously fight with myself for not being able to change or at least reason it out. The cliched peace of mind has been lacking perennially. With just few months of study remaining, I got to find more of what I can. Library is the place to be and books are the things to aid. Society and all of the existential trash will continue to haunt. History is not meant for archaeologists only but for everyone who treads on the same ground. Pure capitalism leads to pure hedonism, something that should be abstained from. After all, we're only ordinary men. Like fishes in a bowl, trying to jump to a bigger bowl and why? That's another question.

December 10, 2009

Shades of Life

Long train journeys force you to think, either by lack of any excitement nearby or the sight of meadows, hills, rural people etc. make you philosophical. I recently made a two thousand six hundred thirty eight kilometers long journey from an idyllic Malyali town to the plains of Bihar. It wasn’t most stimulating of the journeys but I met an interesting set of people who led different kind of lifestyles and had few things in common. I also got to read a few captivating books like Curfewed Night by Basharat Peer. It was the first-hand account of the dreaded life in Kashmir by a Muslim and it wasn’t about the politics, partition, historical blunders or the best solution; it was about a common man’s life in the badlands of Kashmir, a rather simple life. If I think about what causes diversity in life across the globe, there are lot more things than history and geography only. Think about life of few people down here:

-A Muslim navy officer posted at INS Dronacharya, who hails from West Bengal and likes to read and do orkutting
-A newly married lady from Bihar, who is bored in Cochin and wants to come back to her native place with her young son so that she can enjoy her time (PS: leaving husband behind)
-An old Mallu lady who lives with her family and doesn’t travel much or know about the world
-A normal middleclass self-indulgent youth who is in army and continues to bask in the glory
-A 2 yr old kid who is fed properly, likes to jump around and considers everything a toy
-An educated self-centered semi-urban youth concerned with his career, life ahead and goes by his own interpretations of things
-A hardworking semi-literate guy who works in a big city and sends his earnings to his family in the village
-A 17 year old rich and beautiful estrogen-filled girl who parties around and changes boyfriend(s) before expiry date
-A little playful Rajasthani girl who leads a nomadic life
-An educated working man with a settled family and job and likes to criticize politics and western culture
-A gossipmonger housewife who likes to assert power over her husband and children
-A person who does a fraud and runs away with lot of money to a different place
-A person living on mountains, who drinks water from the running stream nearby

There are plenty and may be you can identify yourself with some of them. I met the first five mentioned above, on the same train and sixth being myself. If I were born in Kashmir, I would be used to drinking Kahwa, getting frisked at every few steps, being tormented by security and hearing stories of people dying around or forced to either by militants or the not-so-well-known barbarism of Indian army. If I were an Eskimo, I would probably be concerned about extreme winter and storage of food. If I were a Guitarist, I would probably be concerned with making new music.

There are varying degrees of association with different things in life. It is not just a matter of personal preference. Probably most important factor is the way we are brought up. A kid brought up in extremely conservative environment may turn out to be same or just the opposite. A kid who goes to a posh school will have different ideology than a simple small town kid. A chic girl who is used to being the centre of attraction is more likely to develop a superfluous attitude than a simpler unassuming counterpart. Family, Friends and Companions are the initial platforms where one starts to crawl, but eventually all that knowledge gets drowned in the world and the remains are what the individual chooses to retain. Politics affect one in a great way or else Bengalis and Malyalis wouldn’t be associated with communism. A pure capitalist would be a rather brutal result-oriented individual than a socialist who would seek equality in various aspects. A class topper would have different group dynamics than a talkative rule-defying kid at the backbench. I am glad I wasn’t born in a poor Nigerian family, an illiterate family in Afghanistan or among the hoodlums of Rio De Janeiro. The effect of society has been variegated on different individuals. Not all was chosen by an individual, and that’s what sets one apart, right from the beginning.

August 14, 2009

Random Morning Post

5:31 AM, August 14!

I have no fixed time of sleeping, waking up, studying, eating... I just love this unbridled schedule! Once I pass out of this place, I would lose this freedom and become more organized. May be that's better, may be that's not. Stomach-aches are so irritating.

5 days to go and I'll be done with this trimester. I won't plan ahead, there is so much to do at the moment.

July 17, 2009

The Invisible Barriers

You refers to someone who is normal and sufficiently social. We is a set of such people.

You go around and you meet people, hundreds of them, all unique in their own special way. You like some, you don't like some and most of them fall in the gray zone. Still you are with the set of people that you've chosen whether its friends, partners, shopkeepers whatever. Do we actually choose the people we want to be with or it is just a matter of chance? Remember the first day you went to school. You sat with someone and shared your lunch. You became friends with them because you knew them since they were kids, but you didn't get to choose them. You didn't get to choose your parents and siblings but still you're happy and consider yourself lucky. You won a game of chance. Understandably, you didn't control much of these proceedings. Let's move further. You grow a sane head on your shoulders. You're in college now, lets say, a residential college. You land up in a hostel and meet the other people around you. You like them and roam around with them. What if, you landed in some other hostel with different set of people? You will still like them and roam around with them. But which case is better, former or latter? Real life samples are definitely not normally distributed. You're a victim of chance. You tend to like the surroundings, which is arguably the best thing to do. What else can you do? Go around and test all possible samples of people and choose the best fit for yourself? Too much of unwarranted work to do. Imagine yourself standing in a lift with a capacity of 8 people, imagine it's full. What do you do? Keep your head down and pretend to be composed individual who's happy with himself. You keep looking at the lift panel from the corner of your eyes and when you've to leave, you leave with a bit of formalities that you probably taught yourself. This isn't limited to lift, you've started doing it in all spheres of life. You have developed invisible barriers. You don't talk without a reason and when there is a reason you talk a lot. If you can't talk even when you've a reason, you're labeled as a dork, a loner or whatever. When did you develop these invisible barriers, which percolated to all facets of your personality? May be you developed those invisible barriers because you stayed with people who had them always. But you didn't choose them, you were just a victim of chance. The invisible barriers is just a scar then. You couldn't go out of your comfort zone, you never tried to meet people that you may like. You were told that a path exists, its safe and it will take you to success. You followed that path. You're not a fool to devise a new way in the wilderness. You never kept yourself alone because you don't like it that way. You stayed with people that were around you, the ones that you didn't choose, the ones you got by chance. You're expecting a conclusion here because you don't do anything without expectations, without a reason. You don't laugh without a reason rather you laugh at those who laugh without a reason. You work for yourself, for your folks and take pride in that. Probably you're doing all right things. You're happy. You've an active social life. You learn lessons from life and become stronger. You make those invisible barriers a part of your life and you don't choose. You take whatever is bestowed upon you. You've chosen the easy way out, you're smart. You'll never go into the wild.

June 16, 2009

Leaving Behind

I generally don't like to hear to womens' talk but sometimes I just have to. It's not boring always. I was in a cramped up office last month for an internship. It was a govt. company with big files, red tapism and creeping slowness in every process. There were ladies working there for last 25-30 yrs and on the verge of retirement. They talked about everything but mostly it was centered around their kids, career and office life. They wondered how work at office will progress once they are gone. They picked each of the new guys and speculated how they will mature and take care of things that they used to do. They talked about their kids' studies, college and activities. They were worried about their daughters' marriage and contemplated if love marriage is really a good option. All the while I was pretending to work on computer with my ears all open. I hate to admit that I enjoyed doing that. Peeking into someone's life always gets me curious.

We all are leaving things behind. I hardly have few things in my life that I had five years ago. My hobbies(tv channels, fruits, games etc etc), idiosyncrasies, thoughts,attitude all have been altered to some extent. The people I talk to, spend time with or see around are all "new". I have forgotten and been forgotten by friends, acquaintances and relatives. I have done things which I wouldn't have liked to do. I am running a race from somewhere to somewhere, changing directions on certain outcomes which I do not control. I have changed address 14 times in last 9 years and I'm sick of it. I'm leaving myself behind. I wish to settle down somewhere sometime soon. I went home for 5 days and wanted to stay there longer. You miss so much in hostel- food, care, attention, discipline, comforts, festivals, celebrations and solace. I can say this after spending almost last 9 years in hostel at the prime of my youth. I wish things, I ought to make it happen.

Finally, the concept of weekends is history. The timetable is such that there are 2-4 classes everyday but the good thing is that it distributes the load. I moved to a new room at the ground floor and got bitten by an unidentified insect which caused random swellings that moved from finger to finger to stomach to neck to lips. That was a fun sickness to have!

February 17, 2009


I was tagged by Monica(although on facebook). I must honour a tag as it gives me an opportunity to update my blog. I'm supposed to tag 25 people henceforth but I don't want to burden people during recessions times (another lame recession joke). If you like, please go ahead and accept the tag.

To begin with,

1. I hate to talk about myself. :-)

2. I don’t know how to spit.

3. Speed comes naturally to me.

4. I can listen to the same song over and over again. Often, there is one song that is stuck in my mind.

5. I love to attend rock concerts.

6. I eat a lot (disproportionate to my structure).

7. I love standing in balcony and watching the traffic. The speeding cars, the lone walker, the people, the vroom sound and the randomness of vehicles thrill me.

8. There are an awful lot of things in my to-do list always and it keeps growing.

9. I enjoy the take-off of flight. It’s so enthralling.

10. I don’t do well in exams. If I correct a MCQ answer, I would mark the wrong one.

11. I am INTP – Introverted iNtuitive Thinking Perceiving as per MBTI.

12. A 65 kb file disturbed me a lot.

13. I love to take pictures. Also, I don’t like myself being photographed.

14. I smoke so less that I don’t qualify as a smoker.

15. The most riveting years this decade for me have been 2002 and 2006.

16. I love standing at the edge of the train door and tilting out a little. The feel of a speeding train, the katar-katar sound, the passing landscape, the continuous flow of thoughts, the setting sun and everything related to it is just amazing.

17. I am not too adept at tying shoelaces.

18. I spend a lot of time on facebook.

19. The last page of my notebook is full of all kinds of sh!t.

20. A late night talk on phone is a great thing to do.

21. A late night coffee and walk is another great thing to do.

22. I always look forward to next trek or trip.

23. I don’t enjoy parties much. But I like meeting people there.

24. I often hurt people but I’m first to say sorry.

25. I don’t like to wait for anything or anyone.

February 2, 2009


Caged in glass walls, he was hopping from one end to the other. They paid him and he got poorer. He was seeking solace, to pass his days, unperturbed in a silent shell created by himself, for himself. It is not exactly the unbridled freedom one hopes for, there isn't any as we all have history and future to deal with. He hasn't got any company as he walks on a path where there are many companions. The contradictions rule the roost. A ray of light which gave immense ephemeral pleasure disappeared at once. It had to someday, you can't keep on playing with fire forever without burning your hands. Days pass by and he ticks away the moments that make a dull day while trying hard not to be disillusioned. There are so many flickering things around and they all look the same. There are so many ramifications and he doesn't know if they all converge. He treads on his path like a sheep in the flock.

January 16, 2009

The Four Good Guys

Once upon a time, there were four good guys. They were intelligent, strong, full of passion and had dreams in their eyes. They thought they had clear objectives when they passed out as management graduates. It was the time to revel in their achievements and to throw hats in the air as a sign of their esteemed success. They passed out and promised to make it big in life and stay in touch, just like when they were staying at the same floor of the hostel. Rahul, Kumaresh, Pallav and Shivam cherished their times together and went on in their lives. Summers, rains, winters, autumn, work, office, malls, movies, girlfriends, wives, cars, football, kids, building house, hopes, desires, greed… time flew. Life took different course for the four good guys. There is randomness in everything that’s real. Is there a square? Can two sides be of same length till infinite points of decimal, or is there an exact 90.000… degrees that can be drawn? These are just the models by which we see a simplistic view of randomness that exists around. Life throws random things at us. The four guys were no exceptions but they were strong, strong enough to face any eventuality that might challenge them. It was a quest for money or material, fame or glory, love or happiness, satisfaction or what? They had little idea what they actually wanted and with the mad rush around they didn’t sit down to think. Was that a real mistake? Only time can tell.

Rahul was a simple guy who was worked hard. He knew how to derive little pleasures of life which people either ignore in their bigger pursuits or consider them to too petty to be cherished. He finished his education and went ahead to work in a big firm in Mumbai. He was open and accommodating and so he didn’t find it much difficult to cope with corporate culture and likes of that. He worked hard as he always did and stepped up the ladder at a convenient pace without stretching too much. He wasn’t exhausted or burnt down by his own expectations which were always kept at an obtainable level. He returned back from office at 8 PM and spent in company of friends or computer games until he got married. Is marriage a big deal? Well, yes for some people. Some people don’t compromise on what they think is the single largest factor that decides life and the course of it. Some are too picky and have exact constraints to be fulfilled. Some are just not really bothered about it and play it cool. Rahul probably himself didn’t know what category he falls into, but as he was open and candid he didn’t find it too difficult to settle down. Everyone wished him and he rode on his path steadily. Often he called up Pallav, Shivam or Kumaresh to know how he is doing. How is his wife? And children? Did you go somewhere for a trip? New car? Remember the hostel parties? The discussions were in short sentences and then to monosyllables and often ended with a bye and a promise to meet. All were busy and had their own problems, who will talk at length and where’s the time to meet? But those thoughts never surfaced, they were hidden deep down. Time flew, kids were born and they grew up. Rahul had a kind of life - 10 hours job, fat salary, a good wife, school going kids, social status, circle, gadgets, quite some time to pursue hobbies, yearly trips, hopes, desires… He was leading what the author calls White Life.

Kumaresh, are you still a geek? How’s your son? Pallav wondered when he had a talk with Kumaresh after 3 years, one fine Sunday in 2021. Kumaresh whisked away his question with a laugh and told him about a new technology or product that he is involved in at work. Kumaresh worked in a big firm after his graduation and loved to deal with technical things. He gladly accepted when his firm decided to send him to US for 5 years on a mission-critical project, although he wondered why just five years? He enjoyed his work and the the kind of life he was leading. Never a relentless speaker, he knew how to self-contain and work was never a big worry for him. He was pushed for marriage and he reluctantly married and started a new chapter. His life went smoothly, with occasional events of family happiness and outings and a great satisfaction in terms of personal interest. He made big bucks, became very rich but it didn’t had any significant effect on him. His family-wife and kids were happy and he was as calm and composed as ever. He had a kind of life where he worked 13 hours a day, earned tremendous money, lived in luxury, pursued his interests and all that may be at a little expense of personal life? He wasn’t the most romantic person around and his family often wished if he had a bit more of time for them. He had small refreshing talks with his other three hostel friends and he was a big man, leading what the author calls Blue Life.

Pallav never had a silent mind- one thing or the other was always turning topsy-turvy in his grey chambers. He had a philosophical outlook and preferred to stay content. It wasn’t difficult for him to adjust in the new found corporate life after graduating. He was curious- he learnt new things and being a hard worker, it was almost a cakewalk for him to do good continuously. But he wondered why to do all this? What is that I am going to achieve after all this? He was peaceful and his curiosity took him to new places. He evaluated his life and seeks answers for his questions. Is there a soul-mate? What is next for me to achieve? Seeking an objective view of life, he pondered while he worked and as always, time flew. He got married and settled happily. He didn’t run after big money but he kept the work and life balanced just at a point which always left him in bewildered- a little this side or that side? Leisure has a cost, if I work more, I will earn more and I will keep my family and myself in comfort but ultimately ended up doing otherwise. He enjoyed his evenings and waited for them the whole day. Office work was easy for him and he was popular and progressed at an easy pace. He kept the balance which was important for him and valued his time off the shelf. Kids grew and he was content looking at them. His thoughts never kept him idle and he had a kind of life where he still had a lot to do, sufficient money, great loving family, nice job where he wasn’t bogged down, thoughts and hopes and a little concern about future, a seemingly decent balance, maybe? He was leading what the author calls Green Life.

Shivam was a dynamic guy and good at almost whatever he did. He was enthusiastic and never shied away from responsibilities. Probably, that’s why he achieved so much success after he graduated. He put his best efforts at work and reaped the benefits straight away. He got good job, made good progress, earned a lot and moved on in life without worrying or thinking too much about issues on which he didn’t exercise much control. He was practical and focused and soon after he married and started the new life. Again as it was said, he never worried about the finesse but went on doing things which were to be done at the given time. Somehow down the line, he became puzzled about life. He started remembering those good old days when he was a good sportsman and wondered why he can’t do it now. He realized the burden on his work responsibilities, clients, files and likes of that. He wanted to know if he had taken the right decisions until now. But who knows? The real mistake which was hidden until now has suddenly surfaced, maybe for all four of them equally. He, just like his other three friends, still enjoys the five-star hotels, the luxury and benefits but wants to achieve more- not just in terms of money but also in personal life. A good family life and wonderful kids is what he has at this time, 2024 AD and he is bullish about the further prospects. He couldn’t be brought down by difficulties and he loves to fight on. He has a kind of life which is full of dynamism, may be frequent travels, luxuries of all sorts, big money, contacts, big house, a happy satisfied family life, desire to do more, and the ambition that doesn’t die down. He often enjoys his small phone chats with Pallav, Rahul and Kumaresh and remembers the convocation day and how different people went on different tracks. He stays happy with his kind of life which the author calls Red Life.

It’s 2024 AD and the story doesn’t end here.

PS- The characters mentioned are author’s figment of imagination. It is just the imagination not the perception necessarily. The author himself is a friend of these guys and shared the same hostel, once upon a time. White, Blue, Green, Red or something else, is there any answer to this?