Thursday, October 22, 2009
Sometimes when I look at life,
I see there is so much strife.
Have I made it myself so complicated?
Or is it something that fate decides.
I am not satisfied, but then no one is.
I don’t want to accept and justify mine with this.
But then how long should I put up a fight,
With the battle that is life.
Life is all about taking the right decisions
But how can I know wrong from right.
Advices pour in from everywhere,
But all I end up with is taking a chance with life.
When things go wrong we say the decision was not right,
And while deciding we had said the future is bright.
What happened to all the hard work I had put in?
When will be the payback time?
The fruit of patience is always sweet,
I agree, but then it should not be too late.
What’s the use of getting the food,
When you have lost all the appetite.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
As I came out of the aircraft, a sudden gush of very humid wind touched my face. Welcome to Chennai, I told myself. While we were waiting for the ground staff to pick us from the airstrip, I looked around. A few of the gentlemen who have boarded the aircraft with me from Delhi were in their very traditional dresses; meticulously white kurtas and lungis. The white of their dress glowed against their dusky complexion. Their uncovered body parts were hidden in the dark of the night. Women were wearing embroidered saris heavily ornamented with the work of gold. Even if the whole airport was to fall under a sudden black out, the luminous dresses could easily make out for the lack of electricity. I don’t know if some people are so dark in this part of India or are burnt and reduced to charcoal by the sun. No idea.
I had asked the person sitting next to me in the airplane about how to go to Guindy. He could not tell but he advised that I should refrain from asking the same question to an autowallah and better should not think of taking an auto. One of my friends had recently visited a girl friend in Chennai – I mean his girlfriend from Delhi studying medicine in Chennai – and I remembered his experience. He asked his girlfriend to a movie. She suggested taking the local train. He insisted on hiring an auto. Of course, every boy would have. How can you agree to take your girlfriend on a cheap local train, when you have flown from Delhi, staying in a hotel minus stars, and sporting all branded accessories? Isn’t all this spending is what makes a girl feel pretty cool? But I guess before Chennai auto’s one should better heed to a girl friends modest advise because these guys make you feel like you are earning nothing. All his enthusiasm evaporated when the autowallah sounded costlier than the whole movie trip. Imagine paying 600 bucks for a 10 km ride to the City Center Mall. He had to revert back to the local train.
I took a prepaid taxi to Guindy. It was so humid like I was sailing in sea. The weather was very different from the dry heat of north India. I stopped by at my friend’s office in Guindy to get the keys to the room and from there I took an auto to Perungudi. It charged me another 170 bucks. This auto driver was, I am sure, had been expelled from an F1 race for driving too fast. My room was nearby one Life Line Hospital in Perungudi and I had to emphasize this fact to the driver that I only have to go to some place near to the hospital and not into the hospital. He drove like maniacs, flying over flyovers as if skaters in adventure sports. He justified the speed telling me that if he was not to drive so fast someone will hit the bum of the auto from behind. I watched the traffic and saw everyone driving in frenzy. I don’t think there were any lanes for regulating speed.
To appear a little friendly or honestly to regain my own composure after having landed in a very alien state , while taking the auto I had told him to tell me all the places that we will drive through. Now I regretted saying that. I just wanted him to keep his eyes on the road and concentrate on driving. But he was like solely interested in telling me about the city and its places. As we drove past a local train station, he took up the task of making me acquainted with all the stations that this line connects. He mentioned several unpronounceable places, two or three I tried to repeat after him but then I gave up. He continued with his rant while I was lost in thoughts of how I would ever ask anyone for directions in Chennai when I can’t even pronounce the names. In between he told me that he has been driving auto for the past twenty years and has never met with an accident. I don’t know if I was relaxed to hear this or was apprehensive to think that the counter would not start today.
Finally, I reached my destination safely. The auto driver gave me his mobile number and left off with a smile. And I retired to my room and slept.
Anyways, despite being presenting a very dull picture of Chennai, I have found after a few days stay that Chennai is not so bad after all. I am not saying this to placate the chennaites, but this is what I have felt. Yeah there still are language problems; a lot of people don’t understand a word of Hindi despite it being the National Language. But since most of the public can understand bits and pieces of English, I guess literacy rate here is better than north. It’s very warm and humid out here, but so is Delhi. It’s just that Delhi has very dry heat. Crime I have not much heard of here. Petty thefts, daylight robberies; nothing so far – touch wood! In Delhi, these are as common as breathing. Delhites have learned to live with this misfortune. Then some say Chennai is too traditional. But then what is wrong with it? On national platforms we say we need to conserve our cultural values. And when some culture tries to preserve itself, we term them as backwards and outcast them. Why this double standards? Though a few things look real amusing; like someone walking in the office of a multinational company wearing a lungi. But if it’s on the eve of a festival, it should be perfectly ok. Don’t in north India we observe traditional days during festivals? But only here I have seen women with shaven heads. No fun intended though, may be some religious or cultural thing. I have not prodded. Now I don’t want to put off my Delhi friends, so the comparison will end here.
This place is best suited for people who
· Don’t enjoy or are averse to the chilling Delhi winters (anyways, winters in Delhi don’t prolong now.)
· Don’t drink; do not look out for a pub and disco, or indulge in other similar activities in the weekend.
· People who are silent and reticent types, having a very reserved nature, who like to take long silent stroll along a beach, keep to themselves, can thrive on a book and can sleep off their weekends. Such people are not always boring, though however boring the previous statement might have sounded.
· You grow up a family, you can stay anywhere. A few of my friend’s friends have bought houses here and have settled here. And yes, they were from Kanpur and Delhi.
· You love south Indian food. Punjabi food is a rarity here, though in the dinner I have an arrangement for a north Indian Tiffin service, but then you know outside food even in Gurgaon can be disaster at times.
· You love the smell of sea. Mariana beach, they say probably the biggest publics beach in Asia and a lot others, though they are not very clean or serene. But a few miles out of Chennai and you will find vast amount of clean water and sand with no foot marks.
Just as an aside, since I have come to Chennai, four people have asked me for directions. And in gym, I met a guy and he told me that I resemble a Tamilian. And it has been only a month here. At this rate, a few more days and soon people will start finding a family in me.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
My first day in gym
I felt like a frail stick in an iron and steel mill
Everywhere muscles flexed and shone
On my scrawny body even the basic ones are gone.
I felt really ridiculous standing amid Arnolds
Until I saw one puny body taking stroll
He came around and looked at me
I felt at some ease and I bet he was as glad to see me.
He was doing warm-up
Sit-up and sit-down
I joined him in push-ups
After I did five, I went down.
He urged me to get up, and run on the tread mill
I asked him why to cut unnecessary electricity bill
I tried explaining I will famish, running
He insisted I should stop begging.
I perched myself on that floor in motion
While everyone stopped and stared at me with varied emotions
Probably they were thinking what I was doing
As I ignored their glances and took off like a Boeing.
I ran for a few minutes before getting down
While they disbursed with a little frown
They were waiting for some magic, for my thin frame to fade
But I stood there like a swine, sweating heavily, and swayed.
My little friend asked me to sit down and relax
I wanted to tell him it was enough for the day, thanks
But as if reading my mind he picked up a weight
It gave me instant motivation to stay and wait.
After I relaxed for more time than the earth took to revolve round its orbit
He shouted, “Come on, work out and don’t just sit!”
I dragged myself by the collar and stood up
There I was again amid bulldogs, terrified like a pup.
He brought me near the bench press
And asked me to stretch myself on the recline
He helped me to hold the rod above my head at a certain line
I was cautioned to breathe correctly or I myself would pay the fine.
I was breathless as I counted ten
My chest was heaving like those of women
A two minute rest was suggested by my little friend
Only if those two minutes I could have extend!
But time runs away when you want it to be with you
And soon my buddy returned and whew!
He brought two weights and gave them to me
Since my school bags I had never felt so much mass on me.
I did one complete set, which was some achievement
But he decided to be hard on me, “Do two sets more”, and went
Like intermittent torrential rains I somehow did the job in parts
Instead of two sets I did many albeit with a few farts.
Music was loud and no one heard my ass
But my buddy was relentlessly watching me and he won’t let me pass
As I tried to sneak out to the door, he came running
Chided me for being such a lethargic being!
I was put to inaction again, a two minute rest
He showed me around the machines for building biceps, triceps and chest
As we moved to the shoulder press, I saw it coming
He asked me to take position and pull the string.
In light of my need of some stimulation, music was not right
So I pulled the weight down with all my poetic might
Swiftly and slowly I pulled it against gravitation
But the other way, it took me up with a sudden motion
Body-builders around me burst into laugh while I was grim
Grins, sneers and cheers filled up the gym
Music stopped and everyone rushed in to devour the scene
And the public went hysterical and more mean.
Gradually the assembly melted away
And I saw myself walking out clearing the way
It had been enough of a day at kill
That was my first experience at the muscle minting mill.
By the way, I guess GYM stands for 'Get Yourself Muscles'
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Monday, October 5, 2009
Books are my best friend,
But why have they turned aloof.
How much I love you, can’t they give you any proof.
I have read so many pages,
But have understood none of them.
Just read your name in every sentence, and in every word.
The smooth pages and the glossy covers,
Dear, they mirror your face.
Often you come out of them, dancing with that suave grace.
The sweet scent in the new books,
Hint the fresh aroma of your hairs as they sway and unfold
I breathe it, I feel it, and it melts in my soul.
The soft murmur as I flip through the leaf,
Is it the swift echo of your voice?
Or is it you talking to me, across time and space.
I bought Richard Branson’s autobiography Losing My Virginity. Then I remembered I already had that book on my shelf in Delhi. Before you ask me how can I be so forgetful, I queried myself why? The last time I had seen this book in the Sunday book market in Daryaganj, Delhi, I was tantalized by the title itself. I bought the book without haggling over the price. But since the title was so bold I couldn’t gather enough courage to read it at home. The book is also very thick that I can’t read it hidden within another book. So I shoved that book at the back of a swelling bookshelf and gradually the memories worn out.
This time I found it again in Higginbotham, Chennai, albeit under a different cover. For a second time, the title appealed the virgin inside me and I bought it instantly without any second thought. But as I came to my desk, I was in doubts. The thought of spending money on something I already had and had again and that I haven’t read it the first time and probably might not read it the second time too made me restless until I fished Amazon for the book. The book appeared in its old cover and left me doubtless.
So I went to the bookstore downstairs and took this chap with me. There I got to know about a whole new perspective on buying books. I have told him that to replace the book would be a difficult chore as books appeal my mood and I never go to a bookshop with a book in my mind. He gave me a discourse on how to get value for my money as we roamed around the book store, checking each and every book. Here are the pearls of wisdom:
- Cover should be attractive. First impression is the last impression – this is what he believes in.
- Books should have a lot of pictures. Probably a comic book would be just fine. If you can’t understand the language, you can probably get the story watching pictures.
- Pages should be smooth and glossy. Should not be wooden and rough.
- Buy a thick book, and not a thin one. This saves money in two ways. First it is cost effective. Like each page should cost less than one Re per page. Cheaper is good. Secondly, a thick enough book would take more time to read and finish. Thus in a span of time in which two or three books would be bought, you end up consuming only one thus saving further bucks.
- Book should be by a prominent author. Even if you don’t get intelligent by reading the book, it will make others feel that you are intelligent by occupying a prominent place on your books shelf.
- You can go for a heavy book or a light one. Heavy ones will serve to press envelopes and light ones you can carry around while travelling. People with books often get respect in social circles.
Thankfully, I was in no mood to pay any heed to his suggestions, and another long search brought me to this book – Go Kiss the World by Subroto Bagchi. I had the book in my possession now, but the titles I have bought today made me smile. Check them, aren’t you amused?