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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Poets of the Fall

No, I’m not calling myself that! Although, it does sound like an apt title, that’s bound to bloat my already inflated ego to astronomical proportions. Patience pays. If you keep reading, you will eventually figure out the meaning of the title.


Well, it seems blogging runs in the family. I just chanced upon my brother’s blog. Being much more geeky (or brainy, if you want it that way) than me, he split his blog into two – a guitar/music blog and a math blog. (Since mathematics is a rather touchy topic, we shall desist from discussing it here, ok?)


Anyway, so this chap was educated at an IIT – THE best institute for technical education in India, he is obviously a superbrain (or the other way round, if it pleases you). Actually, I’d like to believe that I’m no dud either, but ahem… I’m ‘not quite the brightest star in the galaxy',’ let’s say.


To cut a long story (of my brain’s processing power versus my brother’s) short, he reviewed a song by one of my favourite bands – Poets of the Fall (POTF). I simply love the poetic flow of the lyrics, the nice guitaring, and the overall feel of the music. I’m no techie and talk of blended genres, guitar chords, ‘grungy’ themes and deep meanings drawn from videos/lyrics just bounces off me.


But, the review of one of my favourite songs – Carnival of Rust that I read on his blog was pretty impressive. I won’t dwell much on it because I simply can’t. So, I suggest you read it for yourself here.


Meanwhile, I can utilise my core competency (please excuse the XLRI HR lingo) which consists primarily of CCP (cut-copy-paste). Simply put, I’m pasting a snippet of the lyrics to the song here, check it out too.


Come feed the rain
'Cos I'm thirsty for your love,
Dancing underneath the skies of lust
Yeah feed the rain
'Cos without your love
My life ain't nothing but this carnival of rust

P.S. Do try and listen to other stuff by Poets of the Fall (I don’t like saying POTF, so I type out the entire name) like ‘Late Goodbye’ or ‘Locking up the Sun’.

Long Ago…


Long ago, somewhere far away,

beneath the sky, a kindly blue,

we walked together, hand-in-hand,

dreaming away, just me and you.


Long ago, somewhere far away,

on days painted in lovely hue,

we spent evenings coated in bliss,

relishing the taste of love that was true.


Long ago, somewhere far away,

there’s a place, now vanished from view,

where the pieces of broken hearts lie,

some belong to me, some belong to you.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Desolate Thoughts


Flightless emotions,

trapped in a cage.

Struggling for freedom,

crying out in rage.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Earth Hour

I wanted to be a part of the Earth Hour yesterday. But, I had to attend dinner at a VIP’s house, where more lights than necessary were switched on. So, I could not participate.


However, I’ve resolved to do my part by ensuring that each day is Earth day, and each hour is Earth hour, by switching off all unnecessary electrical appliances around me.


I think if all of us resolve to do so, we would surely conserve huge amounts of power, and do a little bit towards the environment.


What say?

Saturday, March 28, 2009


All hell breaks loose tomorrow. That dreaded four-letter word is set to make a return into my hitherto safe and delightful world. EXAM! How, I hate that word!!


So, for the next one week, life will be tougher than usual. And after that god-awful week, I’ll be off for my internship at Microsoft. Yay!


Meanwhile, the results for this year’s admissions are out, and a new bunch of enthusiastic juniors has begun to seek ‘gyaan’ and advice for pursuits both academic and non-academic. It is a strange feeling to realise that an year has rushed by and exactly a year ago, I was one of those who were asking seniors all kinds of queries.


The wheel does come full circle, eh?


Also, the seniors have their convocation today, and by tomorrow most of them will be gone. That’s a slightly unnerving thought. The folks who helped us through a lot of stuff over the last year will no longer be there to turn to, in times of crisis.


I guess it’s our job to be ‘seniors’ now.





Friday, March 27, 2009

A Christmas Carol

I know! I know! This is March, and Christmas is still too far away. Then why am I writing about Christmas carols? Well, it is because a story shared by a friend made me remember a story that I had heard once.


It was a dark and gloomy winter night. He was alone at that lonely place he called home. It was supposed to be Christmas but there was no gaiety in his heart. The two friends he shared an apartment with were out of station for some work and would be returning sometime later, and here he was, burning with fever, with no food and medicines in the house.


With great difficulty, he summoned up his last reserves of strength, and decided to fetch a strip of Crocin and something to eat from the market. His lethargic feet carried him towards the centre-table, where the car keys were. With a sigh and a great effort, he picked up the keys and made his way towards the car park, stopping by at regular intervals to catch his breath.


He tried cranking the engine multiple times, but to no avail. The motor, which normally purred into life at the first turn of the key in the ignition, wheezed and coughed like an old lady. He tried to curse, but no words escaped his dried lips. On the umpteenth try, the motor finally struggled into life. He cautiously reversed the car out of the car park, and drove towards the market.


The world was a hazy blur and he was driving more by instinct, than by direction. A few minutes later, he felt the car was slewing a bit to the left side. He stopped to investigate, and found to his utter dismay that he had a flat tyre.


Despite having high fever and being battered by the icy fingers of the cold wind, he managed to pull out the jack, and remove the spare tyre from the boot. However, completely sapped of energy, he sat on the kerbside. Cars drove past him without bothering to stop. Some of them slowed down, but no one stopped. He tried calling his flatmates, but they were still nearly an hour away.


What a wonderful way to spend Christmas! Alone and frozen in the fog, by the side of the road, with no one to turn to for help. He remembered all those times when he’d been a good Samaritan and stopped by to help those folks who seemed like they needed it. Well, where were the Samaritans now?


In these dangerous times, a chap with dishevelled hair and three days of stubble, would probably look more like a robber or a highwayman than a decent person in need of help. Probably, that’s why people slowed down, but didn’t stop.


After god knows how many minutes spent in the cold, finally a car pulled up just behind his incapacitated vehicle. A big, burly old man got out and asked, “Looks like you have a flat tyre, son. Let me keep the lights on, so that you can change tyres without darkness.” After thanking the kind man, our hero got down on his knees and attempted to loosen the nuts holding the wheel in place. However, he must have been making really heavy weather of it, because the man said, “Move over son, let me give you a hand.”


To his horror, the man who was dressed immaculately in a nicely tailored suit that could have been an Armani knelt in the mud and took the spanner from his hand. He obviously protested, “No sir, please… you’ll ruin your suit sir… I‘ll do it myself, but please….”


The man refused to listen to him, and removed the wheel deftly. He replaced it with the spare tyre, and had the car ready to go within no time. He did not seem even remotely bothered by the fact that his expensive suit was ruined with grime all over. A stray spot of mud peeked out from his neatly-ironed white shirt too. Our hero was almost tearful with gratitude. He told the kind man, “Thank you so much sir. I am terribly sorry about your suit. Thank you so very much. Please leave me your card, and I’ll contact you for sure.”


The man merely smiled, waved off his protests, and drove off after telling him, “Don’t worry, son. I could be living on the North Pole, for all you know. If you want to thank me, just don’t break this circle, son. Never miss the chance to help someone. That’s more than thanks enough.”


A few minutes later, when his flatmates arrived, they found him unusually quiet and lost. They asked him about the tyre, and who changed it, and he whispered, “Santa Claus.”


He’s a big, burly old man with a kind, grandfatherly expression. He has a booming laugh and radiates cheer. He doesn’t ride a sleigh or have reindeer. But, ever since that Christmas day, I believe in Santa Claus. And yes, I’ve never broken that chain. I hope you won’t either.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Ant farm!


Looks like an ant farm, but it’s the Indian city of Jodhpur, in the state of Rajasthan. I was just going through an old album (from 2006), and found this picture. There’s an old fort called Mehrangarh fort, at the highest point in the city.


Presumably, it was built to give the fort guards advance warning of the approach of any invaders and prepare themselves suitably.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009



                                                                  No shattering sounds,

                                                                  no fragments to see.

No answered prayers,

just an unheeded plea.


A heart, broken,

yearning for your touch.

Wishing for your smile,

loving you too much.


No tears shed,

no cries heard.

Heavy oppressive silence,

not a spoken word.


A heart lies broken,

haunted by its past.

Battered by its present,

bitter to its last.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

‘Withering’ Heights…

I planted roses in the desert,
but the sands lay grey and still.
I watched them fade away, helpless,
dying away against my will.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Slipping away


I held my love tight,

gripping it in my hand,

but it slipped out quietly,

like loose grains of sand…

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Shattered Sunset…


The sunset shattered on the sea,

and its fragments hurt my eyes,

Broken myriad pieces of warmth,

fallen from the fiery skies.



*This is a poem written long, long ago. Somehow, I can’t get its words out of my head.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Balancing Act…

She was a tightrope walker at a circus. Her job description did not contain any of the fancy, frilly words that we use, to describe jobs. No, there was no ‘competitive advantage’ that she hankered after; there was no ‘blue ocean strategies’ that she applied, and there were no ‘performance metrics’ as such for her.


Her life began in a dank, dreary tent, in one corner of the circus. The circus, travelled to various cities, but her wretched home stayed almost the same.


She had a simple job. All she had to do, once she stepped onto the rope could be summed up in two words – Stay Alive. She had to use her skills and a bit of luck to ensure that she did not plummet 50 feet below, to almost certain death.


There were people who would come to see the show, just in the hope of watching her fall to her death. After all, what could be less exciting than watching someone negotiate a 100 foot journey across a rope, step by step. One does need some excitement, something different, you know.


How did she feel about the entire thing, one might ask. One can’t actually say, because she never shared it with anyone. People thought she was aloof and snooty. But, she had a totally different perception. From the heights of her job, on the rare occasions that she did look down on, she caught the glint of expectation, the anticipation of the crowd, waiting for her to fall. Perhaps, she enjoyed those few minutes, when she could look down upon the people who normally looked down upon her.


She just couldn’t bring herself to talk to them. Some of them were nice, but the others, she mistrusted.


Sometimes, in moments of extreme despair, she wondered what it would be like, to just let go, and watch herself fall freely to the hard earth. But she’d quickly put that thought out of her mind. After all, there were responsibilities she had to fulfill; duties she couldn’t shirk.


One fateful day, she had a faint premonition buzzing in her ears. She knew that the day would be significant somehow, in her insignificant, inconsequential life. But, she did not know how. She went about her chores, with anticipation in her heart.


Once she got to her stall in the circus, looking dazzling in her jumpsuit with sequined beads and glitter, she saw Him. It was as if she’d been hit by a thunderbolt. In her disturbed, nightmarish dreams, He had been the one who had rescued her from the clutches of the witch; He had been the one who had come riding on his white horse and saved her from the dragon. He was the handsome prince she had dreamed of, all her pitiful life.


“It’s time for your act! Get here, quickly!!” yelled her supervisor. With a weary sigh, and a last, wistfully longing look at him, she walked to the ladder that would take her above the ruthless, cruel world to a world where nothing else mattered.


With her usual confidence, she took her balancing pole, and positioned herself on the rope. Sure as a mountain goat, she stepped forward and reached the middle of the rope. The crowd applauded. This was her cue to stop, and pretend to wobble a bit to gain some ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’. She did the needful, and the predictable reaction from the crowd arose.


As she watched from the corner of her eye, she caught his gaze. He was looking up at her, mouth agape, tension writ large on his face. She tried moving forward, but she couldn’t tear her gaze away from his face. And then, the inevitable happened. She tripped, and lost her footing!


In slow motion, her petite body described an arc through the air, even as the foolish crowd, believing it to be another part of the act, whistled and clapped till they realised that it was no act – she was falling, with nothing but the packed earth to break her fall.


Still enveloped in that aura of surrealism, she felt herself fall slowly… as the crowd’s expression changed from disbelief to panic. Strangely, she felt no panic at all. The only thing she was conscious of before she hit the ground, was gazing into those limpid pools, that showed concern, consternation… and love?


People ran helter-skelter like headless chickens, some yelling for help, some running away from the ‘distasteful’ sight. Within seconds, the ‘scene’ bore a deserted look, except for His presence… and hers.... He grimaced and looked at the prostrate body, shook his head, and wiping a spot of blood from his expensive Rolex, walked away…


… leaving a hue of red warmth spreading from the cold body that lay there…


All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.


*I’m not normally in favour of writing un-original stuff here, but this verse is relevant today, in more ways than one. How? Why? Do not ask, for ‘a light from the shadows shall spring’.


Wait for that light…

Saturday, March 14, 2009

REDS Rule!!

I had to bunk two classes and risk missing a surprise exam, but club loyalty is club loyalty. I just HAD to watch the match, in my Red jersey.


The atmosphere at Old Trafford itself (the venue of the match) could not have been more tense. There were hardcore fans gathered in the common room, in eager anticipation, waiting to watch their favourite teams battle it out. There was eager anticipation writ large on every face, when the match kicked off.


After 23 minutes, we were chasing the game already! The goalkeeper, Reina, accidentally fouled Ji-Sung Park, to give Manchester United a penalty kick. And that vile creature, C. Ronaldo, just doesn’t miss those.


1-0 to United! The Man Utd supporters leapt around in joy, while we shook our heads in disbelief.

But, only five minutes later, it was the opposite, as our best striker, Torres, (nicknamed El Nino) scored a peach of a goal. 1-1, the score, and the temperature of the game upped a few notches.

Things seemed to have settled down a bit, with both teams finding it difficult to break down each other’s defences, despite boasting of world-class attacking players in their line-ups. When, in one of the increasingly threatening Liverpool attacks, our talismanic captain, Steven Gerrard was fouled by Patrice Evra. The ref awarded a penalty, and we were delirious, because Gerrard just doesn’t miss from that range. He duly delivered, and we went into half-time, rapturous.

Woeful United must have got a major dressing down during the half from their manager, because they looked less like headless chicken running around, and tried showing some purpose. But then, the Liverpool defence was not in a particularly charitable mood, and refused to give Rooney and Co. any chances.


Their wily old manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, brought on 3 substitutes to change the pace of the game, and get that elusive goal. However, one of the defenders most terrorised by Liverpool, Nemanja Vidic, eventually lost his nerve, and ended up bringing Gerrard down, just outside the box. Free kick to Liverpool, and an early shower for Vidic, who was promptly sent off by the referee.


Our recent buy, Fabio Aurelio, the left-footed free-kick specialist curled a ball into the corner, with the United players looking on in disbelief. 3-1 to Liverpool, with barely 15 minutes left!

Then on, the result was pretty much a foregone conclusion. United tried pushing players forward, in the hope of nicking a couple of goals, but the move backfired. There were large, open spaces at the back, for the Liverpool attackers to get through, and late in the game, almost towards the end, the substitute, Dossena scored, with a sublime finish. 4-1 to Liverpool!

By then, a despondent United had all but given up, and the game ended shortly. They slunk away with their tails between their legs, while our folks celebrated. It was a massive humiliation for a team that had been greeted by calls of ‘Champions of England, Champions of Europe, Champions of the World’ and a greatly satisfying win for us.


In hindsight, perhaps United’s aging manager should have given more thought to the game, than making pre-match comments. And maybe, Rooney should’ve kept his mouth shut, instead of making ‘I hate Liverpool’ statements. Or maybe, he should’ve let his game do the talking.


A 4-1 mauling of a team that calls itself a ‘Champion’ is awesome! Of course, irrespective of what they achieve in the future, we’ll always be at hand to remind themselves of this game.


You’ll never walk alone!!

Clash of the Titans

Two of the biggies of English football clash today, with the winner of the match having a decent chance of winning the League Title in May.


It’s Liverpool versus Manchester United!!


Sadly enough, I have a class at 6 pm and the match begins at 6.15 pm. Hence, considering the priorities, I shall probably have to bunk it. But, the gears in the mind are still turning, and any efforts to push them in the right direction will be appreciated…


Time to hit the gym now… so, further details about some guardian angels will be provided later…


Come on, Liverpool!! Come on, Gerrard!! Come on, Torres!!


Friday, March 13, 2009

“UNHOLI” Thoughts

It’s a mad, mad world. There’s obviously no denying that. But, the other 364/365 days pale into insignificance when compared to Holi, the Hindu festival of colours.


The festival has its origins in Hindu mythology. Lord Krishna, a Hindu god, was rather dark, whereas his consort, Radha was very fair. Hence, the god suffered from an inferiority complex, and complained to his mother. The doting mother promptly applied some colour to Radha’s face, to mask her fairness.


(Incidentally, that seems to be the first recorded case of racial discrimination ever. And you thought it was a recent phenomenon, huh?)


Well, there is a whole plethora of other reasons, behind the celebration of Holi. If your’re really keen, you can read more by clicking here. (Although, if you ask me, one shouldn’t really need so many reasons for celebrating a festival. Just celebrate, duh!!)


In earlier times, it used to be a festival that involved the use of colours made from crushed flowers, tree barks, and other such stuff. However, it is a festival that has kept up with modern times. Human ingenuity has lent it an all-new flavour. Now, eggs, coal tar, mud, chemical colours, beer, soft drinks, ink, and what not is applied to others, in the name of ‘celebration.’


In fact, in parts of India, the celebrations are even more unique. The menfolk sing lewd songs, and the women drive them away by beating them up with sticks. The men attempt to shield themselves, and continue singing. (Wow, are the moral police who protest against Valentine’s Day aware of this?)


Plus, people partake of a drink called ‘bhaang’ made from the leaves of the cannabis plant.


The part of India that I’m in – XLRI, Jamshedpur, has an even more unique concept here. Apart from the usual rigmarole of mud baths, dunking people in colour, smearing them with whatever comes handy, getting drunk on ‘bhaang’, and dancing away, there was ahem… an added ‘feature’. Somehow, the ‘culture’ is to rip off the t-shirts of all the guys, and then colour us poor folks. Quite insane, if you ask me! (Actually, I think it’s quite insane, even if you don’t ask me.)


One of the most decent pics of the lot is posted here. Due to ahem… various considerations that one has to consider, the rest have been kept away from your eyes. However, imaginations often run wild, and you’re free to let yours loose as well.


I rather think that we look like a bunch of folks from the movie 300, minus the six-pack abs, or rather, plus some six-pack ‘flabs’.


What say?


Edit: On demand from Scriber, here’s a pic of the girls…


Thursday, March 12, 2009


This time it’s a serious post about football. No jokes, huh? So, if you’re looking for humour in this post, QUIT right now! No point reading further, because I’m a strong believer in the philosophy of one of Liverpool’s legendary managers:


Some people think football is a matter of life and death. I assure you, it’s much more serious than that.



I think that statement echoes my feelings perfectly. Of course, most of my friends will vouch for my die-hard following of the game, and fanaticism for one of the greatest clubs ever, football. Another quote of Shankly’s tells of my devotion to winning.



If you are first, you are first. If you are second, you are nothing!!



That’s precisely why I was up at 3 am to watch my team thrash Real Madrid 4 goals to zilch! Awesome!


And then, I decided to write about some awesome quotes from the world of football. Sample these:


Football is a simple game based on the giving and taking of passes, of controlling the ball and of making yourself available to receive a pass. It is terribly simple.

(Another example of Shankly’s sharp wit)

If you’re not sure of what to do with the ball, just pop it in the net, and we’ll discuss your options afterwards.

(Simple really! No wonder, Shankly was such an awesome manager.)

I spent a lot of money on booze, birds and fast cars. The rest, I just squandered.

(George Best has a nice perspective. I wish my dad agreed with this too.)


We lost because we didn’t win.

(Thanks for explaining that, Ronaldo. Duh! We’d never have figured it out.)


If history repeats itself, I should think we can expect the same thing.

(Wow, really?)


After reading these, you might be misled into thinking that I don’t have anything else to write. I’m not saying that you are wrong, all I’m saying is that you’re not right.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Bloggy Power!!

I just read somewhere that there are only about 50,000 ‘active’ bloggers in India. Even though the definition of ‘active’ is rather subjective, I’m glad to be a part of the set!


And also proud of the many friends who are among those 50,000.

B’day Bumps

Since this is my first hostel stint, for the majority of my 28 (sigh) years, I’ve been relatively ‘sheltered’ from birthday celebrations. Yes, there have been incidents when pepsi, watermelon juice, chocolate cake, pizza, and god knows what all substances have been rubbed into or poured over my hair and face. Ugh!


However, all that was pretty innocuous, when compared to my 28th b’day, which was about a month ago.


I was (peacefully) sitting in my room, and playing a (violent) computer game, when I heard what sounded almost like a recording of me singing. Because it was a rather terrifying sound, I didn’t bother to investigate. However, the source of the sound came closer and closer, and ultimately, I discovered that the sounds were being made by a mob of people who wanted to ‘wish’ me.


So, after hastily said goodbyes to all those midnight callers, calling to wish me, I prepared myself for the worst. (As it turned out later, I was hopefully underprepared.) I was almost dragged to the common room. (At times like this, one thanks one’s lucky stars for the extra tyre that one carries around one’s middle. If not for that, numerous human rights violations would’ve been committed that day.)


To my surprise (and fear), there was quite a crowd gathered there. Another classmate, Reju, also had his b’day on the same date, so there were two cakes, one for each of us.


But before that, an ancient tribal ritual was to take place. Reju was picked up by a sea of people, who then proceeded to kick his posterior. A tradition that we have at XLRI is to kick the roomie as well. So, Ram, who happened to be that unfortunate creature, in this case, was also promptly thrown up and made to meet the might of other people’s feet.


Then came the moment that I’d been dreading. My turn! After I put the knife to the cake, suddenly, the world went mad. Someone took away my specs, someone else smeared  a huge chunk of cake on me. Then, of course, there were people who wanted to practise their kicking skills.


So, I was promptly hauled over to a corner of the room, and tossed up by a few heaving, puffing souls, while the others took turns imparting some nicely-aimed kicks at me. In fact, one of these vile creatures had a broken ankle, and couldn’t kick. So what? He just picked up his crutches and used them.


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After that, there was a ‘bathing’ ritual too. Both of us – the b’day boys, and our roomies were dunked in water that contained a wee bit of detergent – presumably to cleanse us. Then of course, the back-slapping, laughing crowd dispersed, and we were left to wash up and shake our heads in disbelief.


Of course, it was fun! Though, because of the sore posterior that I suffered from, I was unable to type out the experience, and forgot about it till much later. Today, I’m rescuing it from the depths of my drafts probably because I don’t seem to have much else to write about.


*Some of the pictures and videos are too gory to display. Hence, in public interest, they’ve not been displayed.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Brave New World

I just finished reading this awesome book called ‘Brave New World’ by Aldous Huxley. One of the most amazing social satires I have read, the book was written nearly 7 decades ago, but the situations it describes are still the same.


Without giving away too many plot details, let me try explaining what it talks about.


It talks about a society in the future, which has evolved from the way our ‘primitive’ society is today. There are various social classes – Alphas, Betas, Gammas, Deltas, and Epsilons. Mankind has devised ways to generate upto 96 humans from one embryo itself. Hence, the lower classes are ‘batch produced’ to ensure that mechanical jobs are performed by absolutely similar people.


Also, to ensure that they have the same mental make-up, the children are subjected to Pavlovian conditioning, and hypnotic treatments. Consequently, after a speeded up aging process, voila! Humans are ready. Since the model of operation is like that of an assembly line, the society doesn’t believe in GOD. However, they do believe in the father of assembly line production – FORD! Therefore, they worship ‘Our Ford’.


There are no ‘parents’ because the mode of reproduction is asexual. Humans have heterosexual sex, but purely for entertainment. Society encourages promiscuity, and having just one partner is frowned upon. It is taboo to talk about marriage or pregnancy.


Obviously, since people are trained/conditioned for only one kind of job, there is no wish to switch. So, it’s a stable society. People are not supposed to spend time with themselves. They have to be part of a social group. They can either be in bed with a partner of their choice, or participate in ‘religious’ ceremonies, that involve consumption of an intoxicating drink called ‘soma’ followed by an orgy.


Seems like a utopian society, right? It probably would’ve been, except for the presence of one man, who is a non-conformist. Because of his shorter stature, which is equated with lower classes, his high-class compatriots consider him an outcast. He takes the woman he ‘loves’, on a trip to a ‘savage’ colony, and brings back two of the savages.


Because of this feat, he now basks in glory, and ends up being a changed man.


I think I should stop here, and let you experience the story for yourself. The ‘social conditioning’ part made me wonder – are we not being conditioned to be clones? Any kind of classroom education that we have, typically refuses to consider individual differences, and believes that since the input being provided is uniform, the output should be uniform too. Aren’t we being trained to become conformists?


And don’t we create artificial social classes, based on our own whims and fancies? Don’t we try to condition people around us? Hence, I found the book pretty relevant.


Irrespective of whether you’ve read the book or not, I’d surely like you to express your views about these questions.

On The Recession…

I guess the recession is taking a toll on all of us. One of my friends is suffering from a ‘receding’ hairline. For as long as I can remember, my wallet has been hit by recession. The same can be said about my report card. My roommate’s waistline has also receded in the last week or so, though he has managed to remain remarkably upbeat about it. (I wonder how!)


Luckily, one thing that’s not changed due to the recession, is my brand of humour. (I know… I know… you’re rolling your eyes and thinking that it’s as bad as ever. Right?)


Hmmm… did anyone call me a mind reader? ;)

Friday, March 6, 2009

Football – The Beautiful Game

This post is dedicated to my football-illiterate friends, who keep cribbing that they don’t ‘understand’ the game. It’s a simple game, really. There are no complicated techniques one needs to learn, like cricket or tennis, or any other sport. (The only sport I think is simpler than football is boxing. All you need to do is punch, right?)


The basic idea in the game of football is to score a ‘goal’. Of course, there are teams that forget this basic idea, and do anything and everything except scoring goals. But, we shall completely disregard them for now, and focus on the steps to be taken, to score a goal. So, here goes:


1) Reach the field, usually covered with grass.

2) Place foot on ball, with force. (This technique is called ‘kicking’.)

3) The resultant force will change the direction of the ball’s movement i.e. the ball will fly.

4) Place one foot before the other, in rapid, consecutive movements. (This technique is called ‘running’ by advanced football players.)

5) Move towards the ball’s new location.

6) Try and kick the ball away from your opponent. (Normally, there’s a man with a whistle, running around you. If you can give him the slip, kick your opponent instead of the ball. Much more effective, I assure you.)

7) Repeat step 4.

8) Find the goal. It is usually made of white metal frames and net.

9) Aim for the goal.

10) Kick the ball towards the goal.

11) If the ball flies into the goal, celebrate by performing some hideous actions. (If it doesn’t, grimace, shake your head, and perform some more hideous actions.)

12) Repeat from step 2.


There you go! That knowledge should suffice to help you understand the basics of the game. Of course, the game is not quite so simple. There are advanced techniques one has to learn, to truly master the game.


a) Diving – Deep-sea divers would probably do a good job at this game. Diving is a very useful skill, and can help your team a lot, in times of need. The best exponent of this art is a certain Mr. Cristiano Ronaldo.

b) Theatrics – Playacting and drama are essential skills. Once again, Mr. Ronaldo displays them in ample quantity. He is closely matched by Mr. Didier Drogba.


Once you’re familiar with the content mentioned here, we shall progress on our journey. Football is a beautiful game. If you don’t realise it even now, you will, pretty soon. Hopefully…

Thursday, March 5, 2009



Just found this picture while performing some ‘spring cleaning’ on my hard drive. It was taken on a rural trip organized by XLRI.


As part of our first-year curriculum, we’re supposed to spend a weekend in a village, in some of the poorest regions of India, in the states of Bihar, Jharkhand, and Orissa. This picture was clicked in one such village.


Based on our experiences, we are then supposed to come up with ideas that can help improve the quality of life for these people, who are plagued by illiteracy, diseases, poverty, ignorance, the apathy of the government, and the terror of the Maoists (Naxalites).


So far, I’ve not been able to do much on that front, even though some other students have done a fair bit. You can read about their initiatives here.


But someday, the day shall come, when instead of only ‘Hope’, I can promise them much more…

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Narcissism Personified!

Apart from being a devoted Liverpool fan(atic), I think I’m becoming a narcissist too. Yesterday, we folks had gone out for the Founder’s day celebration, and I had worn my match-day jersey, because there was Liverpool vs. Sunderland to be watched later in the night.


So today, since I had nothing better to do, I was playing around with Photoshop, and messing around with some pics, when this came up:


Awesome fun! :D Even though this is pretty amateurish stuff, I now have demands from Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal, and Man Utd. fans here, who’d like to get similar profile pictures. I think it could be a cool business idea. Any takers? ;)


P.S. What makes the day even better, is that our team won yesterday, defeating Sunderland 2-0. Come on, Liverpool!!

Happy founder’s Day

I think I’ve been writing too prolifically today, but then I can’t help it. I just have to write this!


March 3, is celebrated as Founder’s day, in the city of Jamshedpur. Jamshedji Nausherwanji Tata, scouting for a suitable place to set up a steel plant, chanced upon this quaint location, early in the last century. The vision Mr. Tata had, has now translated into a modern, well-maintained city, with one of the highest per capita incomes in the country!


While building the city, Jamshedji Tata had said, “Be sure to lay wide streets planted with shady trees, every other of a quick growing variety. Be sure that there is plenty of space for lawns and gardens; reserve large areas for football, hockey and parks; earmark areas for Hindu temples, Mohammedan mosques and Christian churches."


And true to his vision, the city has turned out be one of the two most well-planned cities in India. (The other one being my hometown – the ‘City Beautiful’ – Chandigarh, designed by French architect Le Corbusier.) Some facts about Jamshedpur, which I found through Google:


a) The Tata Steel plant covers nearly one-fourth the land area of Jamshedpur.

b) It is probably the only city in India that does not have a municipal corporation. In fact, residents protested when the government tried to take over the Tata-run utility services company, and replace it with a municipality.

c) It is the only ISO 9005 certified city of India.

d) It ranked ahead of cities like Bangalore, Pune, and Chandigarh when it won the 2004 Global Compact City Award from the UN. (There are only 10 cities in the world with this privilege.)




So, we, a group of students from XLRI, decided to go and visit the nearby areas, to take a look at the decorations. Here are some pictorial snippets of the visit.


IMG_0205                        IMG_0207  IMG_0210  IMG_0217 IMG_0212

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


It is a feeling of sheer helplessness, to read/hear about acts of terror, every second day. Thanks to the fourth estate, we are served news of dastardly acts against humanity for breakfast. Primetime news leaves us with disturbing visuals of terrorists’ handiwork.


I was just reading about a terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team that was touring Pakistan. Five lives lost, and some folks injured. The news will be all over the papers, the radio, TV channels, for a couple of days. There will be drawing room conversations based on the topic (with my comments in parentheses):


Speaker 1: (while munching on her muffin and sipping her coffee) “Tch…tch… sad, no? What is this world coming to?”


Speaker 2: “Seriously! All these terrorists should be captured and shot!”


(Yeah, dodo! Why did'n’t anyone ever think of that? You’re a genius! Speaker 2 for the Home Minister’s post! Hooray!!!)


Speaker 3: “No, they should be paraded to the city square and hanged publically.”


(Ahem… don’t you think one would need to capture them first?)


Speaker 1: “Pakistan is a terrorist state; it should be banned.”


(Absolutely! If we don’t have electricity for an hour a day, it’s because of them. If I get bad grades at school, it’s because of them. If my neighbour’s dog bites me, it’s because of them, right?)


Speaker 3: “You know, these people are brought up this way! Their religion teaches them to kill. What can one do?“


(What can one do about you, you FAT COW? You’ve been brought up to think of nothing more than manicured nails, kitty parties, and silly conversations. What do you know of religion?)


Speaker 2: (with more vehemence) “I still say that these terrorists should be captured and shot!”


(O kind sire, why don’t you go out and do that, instead of sitting here, turning blue in the face, and pounding your fist on the table?


Speaker 4: “Come on guys, we must leave! The movie show begins in 20 minutes.” ($#@%)


Of course, there will be folks like me, who express their outrage, and spit venom for a few days. We’ll try to satirize people who have no perspective, yell, shout, flail our arms, and do everything except address the issue. After a few days, our daily schedules, movies to watch, things to do will drag us back, and we’ll lose all memory of recent events. This is not to say that ala Guy Pearce, we tape post-its to ourselves, or tattoo our bodies with memories of these horrific incidents. To tell you the truth, I guess there’s not much that we can do directly.


Except, maybe we could try and shed our attitude of suspicion towards ethnic minorities, not equate certain religions with terrorism, and try and integrate better with others. It sounds like an awful lot for a single human to do, but then, as a Buddhist saying goes, “If we are facing the right direction, all we have to do is keep walking.”


P.S. I hope the families of all those who suffered in the ambush on the Sri Lankan cricket team find peace, and we don’t see a repeat of any such incident worldwide.

The wish list!

At this unearthly hour, I’m banging my head in frustration because I’m trying to design a website, and facing roadblocks. The biggest roadblock is … I don’t know website designing. :|


So, I decided to give up on designing for a while, and think about other such things that are on my wishlist. Skills I wish I had…


a) Singing – If I begin to sing, anyone with even the faintest notions of harming me will run for his/her life. So, I can sing to save my life. Though, it would’ve helped my cause better, if I could sing better.


b) Dancing – Yes, we’re broaching a very touchy topic now. With a track record of maiming several dance partner, and causing them grievous injuries, I’m a dangerous chap to dance with. On the positive side, I can only improve.


c) Writing – Hmmm, getting a bit on the ‘artistic’ side, eh? I shall consider myself a writer of note, the day I can regale people with humour of the quality of P.G. Wodehouse, or entertain them with poetry that has a lyrical quality like that of Alfred Noyes. Though, I guess I can write better than many ‘wannabes’.


d) Sketching – Now, this one will probably take multiple lifetimes to learn. It would be an understatement to say that I’m horrible at it. It’s not like I want to develop into a Picasso or a Rembrandt, but just that I’d like to be able to express myself visually. Anyway, no further discussions on this one.


e) Web designing – This is what started this post! And it is just reminding me that I’ve not made any progress on that front. I think I shall get going. Thankfully, you will not have to ‘evaluate’ most of the above skills (or the lack of them) for me. But, if and when I manage this last item, I shall certainly expect you to.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Love in December

What I’m writing about might seem almost blasphemous. Today, when the world is celebrating the Oscars, and we Indians in particular, are celebrating the victory of ‘our’ film, here I am, extolling the virtues of a completely different piece of art.


On a friend’s recommendation, I downloaded a copy of a play staged at IIT* Mumbai - ‘Love in December’. To begin with, I was rather skeptical of it. In fact, I distinctly remember waving a hand, with a dismissive expression, and saying, “What nonsense! IITians staging a humorous play? Ha!”


In fact, like those crusty, old British curmudgeons, I probably would’ve offered to eat my hat, if proven wrong, but thankfully, I don’t wear a hat. Moreover, I guess I’m too prudent to offer to eat any other item of clothing.


Anyway, let’s cut right to the chase. At first glance, it sounds like a typical, run-of-the-mill story – boy meets girl at railway station, the train is delayed by 4 hours, they start talking, and towards the end, they realise that they used to know each other in school, and had major-time crushes on each other.


However, the acting, the direction, the sound editing, and the dialogues are simply fabulous. Even if you are a die-hard cynic (I’m not!!!) or an Indian-movie hater (Ahem…. sometimes I am one), you probably will grow to like this one.


Sugat (my roommate) and I had organised a special screening of the play in our room for ourselves and a few friends. And it would’ve been a perfect experience, if only we’d had popcorn and cola.


We loved it so much, that we’re planning a repeat broadcast.


Of course, academic constraints are acting as a major deterrent. The worst part is that you can’t even crib about the rigors of academic life. The moment you say that, people shut you up, saying, “Who asked you to ditch your job, and go study for an MBA? Now that you are at XLRI, obviously, you will have to study.”


Thank you for those wise words, all ye folks! But for now, stop reading this, and go check out that play if you can.


*IIT stands for Indian Institute of Technology. The IITs are the most prestigious engineering institutes in India.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Walk on… Walk On…

It’s been a testing time lately… both literally and figuratively. With professors raining exams, submissions, and projects on our hapless souls like the torrential Indian monsoons, on the populace, life was never so busy.


To add to it, the mood’s been a bit blue too. Why? Well, I don’t really know. It could be the academic drudgery, the lack of sleep, the social reclusiveness that I seem to have donned of late, or a zillion other things. And so, I constantly find myself humming, “We don’t need no ‘ejj-oo-cay-shun’, we don’t need no thought contro-o-o-o-l,” pretty frequently.


And when one finds me humming/singing, or producing any kind of …ahem… vocal effect, one tends to acknowledge that , “Houston, we have a problem.”


Anyway, since this was supposed to be a tale of woe and misery, I think I should stop cracking jokes, and cut to the chase, as  they say. So, in the bleakest of moods, I sat, with my academic (under)performance topmost on my mind. (It can be quite frustrating when you know that you surely deserve better grades than what you have been getting.)


But then, as I do sometimes, when the clouds of despair gather around, I began to watch the highlights of that iconic match between Liverpool and A.C. Milan during the Champions League, 2005. That was when after being 3 goals down to the best team in the world, a team refused to give up a die. A team resolved to fight till the last breath, and WON!!


I guess the biggest takeaway from that is that one doesn’t lose, as long as one puts in one’s best. Even if the outcome is not in one’s favour, one still emerges a winner, albeit in a different sense.


There are loads of exciting things to do… a new startup, waiting to be launched… a couple of research projects to be undertaken… a story to be written (Thanks Mytho, for the encouragement in that direction…)


Like the Liverpool anthem says,


When you walk through a storm
Hold your head up high
And don't be afraid of the dark
At the end of the storm
Is a golden sky
And the sweet silver song of a lark

Walk on through the wind
Walk on through the rain
Tho' your dreams be tossed and blown
Walk on, walk on
With hope in your heart
And you'll never walk alone
You'll never walk alone


And like Scriber says, “Life awaits you. Make good choices and have fun!”