Yearly Archives: 2003

A short snippet of my train journey

This has been typed out by me…just the way it was jotted down during my train journey from Delhi to Bangalore. It might be a little abstract in portions… where I have just penned down whatever came to my mind without paying attention to grammar etc.

28th September’03 (have already spent one night in the train)

My train journey consisted of panoramic views whizzing past, green countryside…dotted with stray cattle, past the famous ‘thumbs-up’ point (a name given by travellers on this route to a mountain which has a rock shaped like a thumbs up sign, on its top).
Railway Stations always fill me with a disturbed feeling that I associate with paranoia and tension…may be  for catching the train on time…the smell of human excreta along with the smell of dirty coaches…the noise of hawkers with their ware, noise of announcements on various platforms … it all disconcerts me.
Till the time of boarding the train, the feeling hadn’t sunk in…had no time to think..was so preoccupied with my work. My parents had freaked out just the previous night when I had come back @12:30 pm in the night from office, that too after having driven back myself at that unearthly hour. No interesting company in this cabin in which I have to spend 2 nights. One talkative kannadiga, bent on knowing my interest in music, literally interviewed me on the topic! He described himself as a good listener of music. He owns 3000 cassettes (“Is that all”, I wanted to ask). Robert Miles makes him cry…he went on asking about my opinion on per singer/group basis …when we reached George Michael and I was just beginning to wonder whether GM doesn’t make him cry, he promptly added on his own that he did (Jesus to a child seems to be a painful and soul stirring tragedy) and broke into song to no one in particular…

Sheesh! I have got the worst choice possible for a novel to read in the train. I had hurriedly asked my mom for something to read in the train and she handed me a book titled ‘great american short stories’. Interesting you would say, but for the fact that all authors are 18th century ones and most of the stories have either cowboy language (Ye get on the horse) or Shakesperean English (thou shalt not read a novel). Too late to repent..

Whatever attempts I make of retreating to my shell get thwarted. FK (friendly Kannadiga) keeps asking me about anything that I happen to be doing. If I read my novel, he wants to know the stories. If I listen to music, he’ll ask me what songs are there in the cassette. Before I knew it, he had asked for my Walkman and the next thing I knew was that my treasured possession was in his hands. But I relented, thinking that at least that would occupy him for some time and I would be left alone to myself. I explained Kandisa and Indian Ocean to him, but he couldn’t comprehend it.
Even while listening to the Walkman he went on asking me about the other cassettes that I have…told him, but that has whet his appetite more. He wanted to know the 3rd song on the B side or the 5th song on the A side of one of my cassettes!! For heavens! I don’t remember them like that! I named a few… he wanted me to *sing* them!! I hesitated, said I am not a public performer… he pestered.. I end up humming the tune and then singing.. again, it only makes matters worse. He wants me to sing various songs now… (which are not a part of my cassette collection), recollect their tunes… I decided that I have had enough and strategised to use his methodology on him. Now *I* asked him to sing particular songs.. some English ..some Hindi… my strategy works!! He’s transformed to a kid who’s been conned into getting engrossed in his own thing. I took out my pen and paper again and jotted something. As expected, he’s inquisitive about what I have been jotting all this while… wonders if I am a writer or a journalist… later I get branded as a spy.. :-). Every time I take out my tools (pen/paper, me no laptop carrying executive), I get referred to as the spy making notes. I’ve come to enjoy it…
FK has started singing songs in all languages he could sing in… that includes hindi, english, tamil, telugu, malyalam, kannada…even some broken punjabi.

Time 4:30 pm…place: somewhere near Manmad
It’s raining heavily. I have finally managed to get my Walkman back and am listening to some great English classics instead of those ‘yellum belluvam’ songs…As the train whizzes through the rain, I see the rear end coaches following like a snakes tail, when the train takes a turn..Chris de Burgh croons ‘Lady in Red’ in my ears as I feel like dancing cheek to cheek, dressed in red…

Time 5:00pm
The FK is becoming a real jukebox (no pun intended). I’ve had an overkill of South Indian songs. As I pump up the volume in my walkman, Ozzy osbourne asks me what I would do if God was one of us, just a slog like one of us…
I drown my auditory senses in music and I see, FK entertaining the rest with his south indian songs, with the utmost zeal and passion.. Occasionally, he glances at me too, with an expression akin to an actor, enacting a duet, when he has to show passion on his face, his eyebrows and eyes expressing intense passion.. I give him one of my disarming smiles as Shanice says, ‘I love your smile‘. The rain’s stopped and the sun peeps through the thick black clouds.

Time: 6:15pm
History is being made. The FK has been crooning for the past 2.5 hrs now. Some guy comes and congratulates him, introduces himself as a bigshot who has known Sonu Nigam from rags to fame… tells him that he must pursue music professionally. He drops a few more big names like Naseeruddin Shah, Gulshan Kumar etc. and I start thinking he’s a farce. Things get rather melodramatic when he asks for FK’s card and promises him something if he ever shifts base to Bombay again.
I get back to my novel with Indian Ocean singing ‘Hai tamasha yeh kya..‘ from Kaun. Pretty apt. A picturesque sunset charms me as I look outside and contemplate. ‘Kaun chaday roz yeh sooraj, pawan kaun phoonke’…apt again.
The sky has a greyish blue hue, whilst the horizon is dense with dark clouds forming weird shapes..thru the cocoon of the clouds the sun manages to let out the last few bursts of flame before settling down completely. the intense black clouds look as thick as a fortress and slowly but surely they are engulfing the sun…
Another guy congratulates FK.

Day 2, 9:30 am
I need some sun… I feel like a leaf unable to perform photosynthesis because of deprivation from sunlight. Finally had something edible at the last station…aah.. hot fresh vadas with chutney. People have started calling me the spy… because I keep jotting down stuff. 4 more hours to go.

Day 2, 9:45 am
CS (FK hereby rechristened as celebrity singer) is up and energised even after a not-so-sumptuous breakfast. The “Piramalam Yelladeva” session starts again. Mohit (another passenger who’s joined the bonhomie) is also bored now. The 2 of us try to get him to English numbers but somehow CS sticks to south indian songs only. I try to look as bored as possible in an attempt to at least stop the session. No use.

Day2, 1:00 pm
Aaaaaaaarrrggggggh!!! The train is already late.. it’s supposed to reach Bangalore at 12:50 pm and we are nowhere near Bangalore yet. I can just not sit still. CS aka FK has stopped the music sessions some time back. They all seem to be concentrating on how I seem to be restless and *too* keen on reaching Bangalore. What the heck!! Of course I would be! I am on vacation…am excited about meeting my best friend after 1.5 years! I have had to consciously check my smug grin into a sober face *so* many times. I defend myself by saying that I am not from Bangalore so it’s not a subtle homecoming for me.. I get permanently labeled as ‘The spy’ (not the one who shagged) and Mohit is warning CS that the next days papers might have all kinda uncomplimentary things written about him.

My train was late by about more than an hour. I really enjoyed my vacation. The next post shall be about my Devbagh trip. Till that time, visit my photo blog for the pics of the place and my new blog (no I am not leaving this place as of now) for a short account of the place.

First things first

I am back from my vacation…sigh..wish it could have lasted back to the grinding schedule. I reached Delhi on Saturday and after a zombied Saturday, and a partially zombied Sunday too, I finally went to watch Maqbool at the 34th International Film Festival at Siri Fort Auditorium, Lodhi Road. Had gone with my sis and we just managed to reach on time, all courtesy Twilight’s abilities to calculate the shortest path (NOT using Djikstra’s alogrithm) to Siri Fort Auditorium 🙂 (please note, no smartphones with maps were available then). Of course my sister’s resourcefulness in getting the 2 of us in, with 1 delegate pass also counts. So here we were in the heavily packed hall with no place to sit. I spotted 2 empty seats right behind me with a note saying ‘Reserved’ stuck to them. I pointed them out to my sister and was just contemplating another bout of ‘resourcefulness’ when I saw some hostess ushering someone to those seats. Now it isn’t everyday that I come across big shots or when I saw that the ushered in was Milind Soman, my heart gave a squeal..My head tried to explain to my heart that it isn’t really such a big deal.. after all they all are just normal ppl like us and I *have* seen better bods than’s just hype..but my heart told my head to shut up and ogle in an unladylike manner, which my head promptly did but it wasn’t long before my head wrenched off from it for the sake of *my* dignity. In the meantime, the lady on the stage started thanking all kinda bigshots for making the movie possible and on the stage came.. Irfaan Khan, Pankaj Kapur, Bobby Bedi, Tabbu etc.. again, my head told my heart, ‘see they all look so normal like everyone else in the hall’ and this time my heart nodded *its* head in silent agreement (getting twisted, are we?).

Finally we spotted a few seats empty in the left wing of the hall. We reached there and realised why they were empty. Getting into and out of that row was a torture! There was *just* no leg space. But then beggars can’t be choosers, so we strived to get in. The first two occupants simply came out to let us in. The next two, stood up to let us pass by. The next two kept sitting and after a major mishmash of legs and thighs and limbs, we disentangled ourselves and settled ourselves in the next two seats. phew..

Now that I could get my bearings, I looked on and the next thing I know is that the CEO of my company comes down the aisle with his wife and chooses to sit right next to us! The whole exercise followed again and when they were crossing us (we had of course stood up, in fact my sister stood *on* the seat!), I greeted him with a ‘Hi A, I am from XXX’ (where XXX is the company which employs me). He tried blinking in the dark and after not being able to make out much uttered some polite sentences and then we settled down. It took me a little more time to get rid of the overwhelming feel that comes with such an out of the blue coincidence and by that time the lady on the stage announced that she would not stand any longer in between us and the the movie started.

Tabbu as usual managed to look nice and she is one of those rare bollywood heroines who manage this without any skin show. Irfaan Khan was intense and expressive. The Naseeruddin Shah and Om Puri duo was great as always.. The story is supposed to be an adaptation of Macbeth but I had absolutely forgotten the story line to be able to compare anything to the Shakespearean version. So I saw the movie as any normal movie goer would. Of course, my sister had this as well as all points like script, lighting, camera, picturisation etc in mind. The movie was all about the underworld, the way it gets you to the top at times and throws you down just when you think you have made it, it shows all typical underworld stuff like treachery, blood, gore, jealousy, loyalty, anger, and of course mistresses and mujras. It lasted longer than we thought it would and by the end I just wanted it to finish soon. It was getting too heavy a dose for me though the movie is quite good. After the movie finished, my sis met a couple of her friends who had worked in the movie (behind the scenes) whilst Milind Soman signed autographs for his fans. I decided against giving him bhaav by not taking his autograph, though it would have hardly made a difference to the huge ocean by the absence of this one tiny droplet.

Just as we were coming out, a lady with a mike suddenly popped it in front of me and a light somewhere focussed on me and I realised I was being asked how I found the movie. I saw that the mike bore the logo of Zee news on it. I said something like ‘It’s quite a good movie but a little heavy’ and scooted out. Right behind me was Milind Soman and obviously all the news crews barely managed to *not* topple him over with their equipment. ‘Their goes my shot in the drain’, I thought. Later I kept nagging my sister about how if she would have replied to my barrage of questions throughout the movie about how it is similar to Macbeth, I would have been able to give a loooong and elaborate answer which would have increased the probability of my shot being telecast to an all time high. But then this much of excitement was enough for a day. We also saw Irfaan Khan roaming around callously with his arms around ppl’s neck! But by then the feeling that all these ppl are also quite normal like us had sunk in to quite an extent. We set out for home although my sister wanted to stay and watch another movie. Whoa!

Devbagh Ahoy!

Lakshadweep was in the title I had originally contemplated for my post before I left for my vacation…Sad, the title can no longer be the same. Thankfully only my destination has changed and the vacation stays intact..phew 🙂 I am going to Devbagh beach resort, which is a small island on the coast of Karnataka. Have been waiting for a vacation break since years. Finally managed to wrangle 2 weeks out from that corporate mess called managers. That’s a different thing that they would themselves be on leave during the dussehra week.

I wrote the above when I was still in Delhi but I *just* didn’t get the time to post it.. and now here I am, blogging all the way from the silicon city of India.. ya Bangalore.. ta da ..and I have a lot of things to write about my 2 night train journey. Would blog abt my train journey as well as my devbagh trip when I get back from that island :-). Till then.. sun and sand and good times.. here I COME!!!

An uneventful Saturday

My Samsung cellphone has a mind of its own. Its charger has decided that it won’t charge my cell from any socket except a particular one at home! I have tried it in all sockets at home and numerous ones at office, but to no avail. All this, when I had bought an original cell with guarantee and all! So here I was, in Gaffar Market on the hot sweltering afternoon ( and I thought winters were close by!), haplessly looking for an ‘original’ Samsung charger. I soon realised that there’s ‘nothing original about it’. An original charger costs just 50-100 bucks more than a locally made one and it doesn’t have any guarantee! The standard reply which any vendor would give you there, is, ‘No guarantee for any original stuff as it doesn’t need any’!! what?!!

Anyway, I bought a suspicious looking charger, with no ‘Made in XXX’ stamp. After haggling for a while with the vendor about its authenticity, I gave up and satisified myself with a scrap of paper on which that guy had given me a 2 month ‘guarantee’. It had been duly signed by him.

It was well past my usual lunchtime. I was slightly apprehensive about having a solitary lunch. I’ve had a lone lunch several times at home, but an occasion when I especially go out somewhere (alone) to have lunch, has never happened. Out of habit, whenever I see a loner having a meal alone or watching a movie alone, I find myself sympathising with that chap and thinking what a sad life it must be. And I didnt want anyone doing that with me! But I had no choice, so off I went to McDonalds. I had been contemplating trying the Mc Curry Pan thing, for which they have shown several ‘moan groan’ ads on the TV. I took my order and went ahead for the lone lunch, and settled myself at a small three seater table. In due course of time, a kiddie made his way to a nearby table, apparently waiting for his parents to get the grub. With nothing better to do, he started looking around and I suppose I made a perfect specimen for a child’s inquisitive scrutiny. Mebbe his gaze had focussed on me because of the ‘Patrakaar’ way in which I had dressed up… a collared Khadi (long) kurta with blue jeans and brown sandals. The only thing adorning my face was earrings. Well, at least I didn’t have specs on or a cloth ‘jhola’ to make the perfect journalist. Mebbe he thought I would just take a pen and notepad and start asking for his views on Mc Donalds..I would never know. Soon enough a heavily-built-but-trying-to-be-hep-in-western-clothes female came and thudded on to a table (ok, the chair) right across me. Wonder how she managed to fit into those chairs. Like standard meals, Mc Donalds has a standard size for chairs too I guess. She had an array of plastic bags, all from the same shop, with a big SALE slogan written on them. She arranged all the bags as a barricade around her mini fortress – her table. I felt like asking her which shop had such a throwaway sale, that she managed to buy at least 12-13 articles from it…but left the idea in my mind as I noticed her grunting under her breath. She was soon joined by another friend of hers and they both took turns at stealing glances at me. Now I know that I am attractive and all that (ahem) but I definitely mind it if I get too much attention (even if it is guys giving me that attention). So I quickly swiped off whatever was left of the Mc Curry Pan thing (Let me mention that it is not at all worthy of that ‘moan groan’ quality that they show on TV) and left the place.
In the evening I decided to set out on another ‘lone adventure’. This time the venue was Sarojini Nagar. Even though the sun had set, it was tough wading my way through those innumerable sweaty bodies, slithering at a slow speed, whereas I wanted to zip through the crowd. My eyes caught some bright colored and sequined garment being sold for a discount. On questioning the shopkeeper about what he thought was worth the amount he had quoted, he told me that the same thing is worth 20K INR! I thought I hadn’t heard correctly and expressed so.. he instantly assured me that 20K was indeed what he had meant.. foreigners had paid 20K INR for that measely thing. Didn’t know which bewildered me more.. the exhorbitant price or the fact that he had actually used a foreigners ignorance to his own advantage.

Some mundane facts abt my blog

1. The person you can thank (or curse) for my plunge in the blogging world is Aashish. That’s a different thing, that I have visited his blog may be 4 times in my entire bloglife. Even he doesn’t know that he was indirectly the one who made me take the decision. I was toying with the idea of blogging since quite some time but never really took the plunge coz I thot I would not be able to manage it regularly with the kind of hectic schedules that office usually gives me. (wasn’t wrong about that one :P) Now I knew somewhat about Aashish, since one of his collegemates (P) happens to be my cubicle mate. P would time and again tell me of the mails on their yahoo group that Aashish would usually post.. all gossipy stuff like ppl eloping and getting married and the like :-).. It seems he was the only regular ‘news reporter’ on their yahoo gp. I could perfectly identify with him coz I was more or less in the same situ..trying to keep a yahoo group alive by posting juicy gossip and of course also being the moderator. I was also given to understand that he’s in the IT industry, though I think in the management cadre. And one fine day P told me about Aashish’s venture into the blogging world.. so here I was…thinking that his interests seem to be very much like mine.. and may be I should also give blogging a try.

2. I started my blog as a private blog coz I was not too sure about what to write..I was sure that I didn’t want this to be a personal diary thing. It stayed that way for some days and then I posted something finally. I also made my blog public. But by that time, my blog was nowhere in the latest blogs entries so I wasn’t surprised when I didn’t get any visitors/comments on the first post. It was something of a rather selfconscious first effort :P.

3. I thought of keeping a unique and original psuedonym for my blog. Suddenly ‘twilight’ bubbled up from somewhere in my head. I have always noticed that it’s much easier for people to open up or confess when it’s night or rather when it’s dark. Somehow the sense of anonymity that the night (or rather the darkness) lends to the atmosphere, makes people shed all their inhibitions and share their utmost personal thoughts. I have seen people, even strangers talking their hearts out in situs like these..I have myself experienced the same sense of comfort when it’s night. Ever noticed how one tends to always stay up late talking into the night even when one knows that one has important business to attend to in the morn? Well, somehow it’s just not the same in the daytime. Things are way too clear, precise and visible in daytime. In the night everything is kinda hidden in shadows..and well..there’s a comfortable sense of security. So ‘twilight’ indicated that it’s time to be chatty. I really don’t remember how I thought up of fairy. It was something to do with the magic that night brings with it or maybe it was something to do with weaving magic with words. 😛

4. So much for my originality! One fine day (inspired by many fellow bloggers), I searched in google for my psuedonym. The fact that the number of results were *huge* did nothing to amuse me, because all that turned up in the name of my blog was some obscure comment that I had left on someone’s blog which was in turn cached by google. The rest of the links were about some easily procurable *toy*, commonly found in departmental stores! Twilight fairy was a collectable like Barbie!!

5. Till date I have communicated with 3 bloggers on mail. None of them on a regular basis.

6. No one in my family knows that I blog and I intend to keep it that way. But I have consciously tried to post rather impersonal things so that I don’t land up in trouble at some later date :-). AFA my friend circle goes, I must have told around only 15-20 people that I blog. Hardly 2-3 visit my page once in a blue moon. The traffic usually consists of netizens I don’t know anything about. The number of ppl I shared this with is quite less actually but I didn’t broadcast it to all my friends because I was sure I would be greeted by remarks like ‘You sure are vela’, ‘Oh, so that’s what keeps you busy’, ‘You sure have a lot of spare time’ and the like.

7. My stats counter shows me some very weird things. I have never set my timezone but it gives me varied results all the time! It has a timezone wise share of my visitors. Bewildered would be a small describe what I was when I saw that most of my visitors seemed to be from the middle east.. Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq and even Pakistan. A substantial number was from India but it was miniscule compared to the middle east visitors! I wonder why ppl *there* would be reading my blog more than Indians! Though it also showed some stats of US (both east coast and west coast, where typically Indians work). In between for some days the stats showed that there were *hardly* any Indian visitors. I think most visitors ignore their timezone settings. That could be the only thing that explains the goof up. Here’s a pic of the stats.

For current stats, you can click here.