Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Three randon thoughts and a pop theory

1. when you've met enough people, everyone seems like someone.

2. Long ago, I used to chat to myself. It felt good when somebody talked just like me.
Now I don't sound like myself to me anymore so I chat to others only.

3. Five greatest inventions of mankind - Wheel, Wings, Microchip, Fire, and Football.

And The Pop Theory-

Mostly, love is like groping in the dark. You get hold of someone and you fall in love - not because you most certainly love them but because you are most uncertain whether you will get hold of someone else ever again.

And perhaps, that explains a lot of homosexual behavior. With the increased population, there is higher density in that darkness and hence, more groping. However, with the higher numbers, the competition is also enhanced, hence, an even thinner possibility of fishing out 'The One', so people tend to fall even for same sex.

This also explains a lot of break-up and divorce behavior. With a bigger population and higher density, there are more and frequent shoulder-rubbing in the dark. With so much of clashing and groping, people soon realize that getting on to another one in the hope of finding 'The One' is not very difficult. They also realize that though there is greater competition due to large numbers, the opportunities have also risen and a greater number of choices available. Hence, risk in break-up or divorce is systematically reduced and they can frequently grope in the dark in the hope of finding another groper.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Round 4 and still in Love :)

Started watching F.R.I.E.N.D.S. yesterday for the fourth time. For over a year now, watched all ten seasons at random, one by one, and at random again. This time, started with the first season and now, after two days and four episodes past season one, I'm in love with all of them all over again.
Last time I wrote on Friday, 7 March, 2008 about F.R.I.E.N.D.S. and closed the post with asking above all, are they still F.R.I.E.N.D.S.? Many a things have changed since then. My own dynamics with many of my friends have changed a lot, specially with the one who introduced me to the series. But as F.R.I.E.N.D.S. taught me - In life, you have to move on... So shall I... from fourth round to fifth and from dearest to....... dearest!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Abu - one year ago

One year ago, I was in the hill city of Abu.

One year ago, Abu looked like this from a hill temple.

One year ago, these kids had a meal on a footpath near Nakki Lake.

One year ago, the Abu Sunset looked like this from the Sunset point.
Everything has changed for me, don't know for better or for worse...

I hope everything has changed there too and hopefully, all for better only - the city looks a lot more green, the kids go to some school with their lunchbox, and the sunset... well, that must be a lot brighter now.

After all, not every Sun that sets leave the world in dark... like the one in my world has!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Did I do something wrong?

In the past few months, I encountered a dilemma twice - Am I doing something wrong? Let me share the instances first.

Incident # 1

I was in Lucknow for Diwali and going to Gomti Nagar by my scooter. On one road, there was some barricading , leaving a part of road open. Since there was no sign like no entry or one way, I entered the road. However, it was a one way. I was told that the traffic police do not put up a sign so that the targets of challan can be achieved. At the end of the road, there were two constables for checking papers. Although my scooter doesn't have a problem of throwing excess smoke, it didn't had a pollution control certificate either. More problematically, the insurance was also expired and neither me nor anybody back home renewed it.
So finally, there were two options for me - first, get a challan, leave my papers with traffic police, pay some 1350 bucks in penalty, go to their office, and get the papers back after three days, as the office was closed for Diwali; and second - slip a 100 bucks to the constable and drive away in peace.
I chose the latter. Although I picked the most convenient option and there are a lot of justifications, like - it was 'wasooli' time and there was no signboard to declare it one-way. But somehow, no justification works when I feel guilty for bribing.

Incident # 2
I was in Vadodara, roaming around after a day long conference. I saw a small roadside 'gumti' selling dry fruits . It was run by a lady with two small and cute kids. It would obviously be difficult for her to sustain household with two kids. With this impulsive thought, I decided to buy some dry fruits from her. However, as my stuff was being packed, handcart-pullers standing nearby started running in one direction. It was a policeman removing them all from there, including the dry fruit shop. At that moment, I encountered the dilemma - am I helping a poor lady to sustain or am I encouraging encroachment? Finally, I took the stuff but got hooked to this chaos within.

I am sure that there was something wrong on my part on both the times. What I am not sure of is how wrong was I. There are deeper connotations as well but let those be food for thought for all of us.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The first blog

It's been almost three years, when I first tried my hands on blogging during my second term at IIMA. Soon after I left the whole blogging business and got busy again in the whole load of course work.
And yesterday, I found that long lost forgotten blog again. It was a surprise and a good one at that. There were only two posts and both full of nostalgia, even the title of the blog. With years passing by, the intensity of that nostalgia has definitely gone down but all that came rushing to me for once after reading this page.
By the way, that trip to Mumbai never took place and I went back home yet again to recuperate my operated toe.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

There is this 1968 classic novel by Russell Braddon, titled When the Enemy Is Tired. Based on a prisoner-of-war's survival story, the novel subtly passes on the art of psychological battling. However, I'm recalling this novel today after reading over a year and a half ago because of one thought suddenly erupting inside my head.

In the novel, the protagonist, a military high-ranker, hesitates and fumbles in answering any question to anyone for one reason only - he was punitively taught in his childhood not to answer back any elder.

Somehow, someone somewhere sometime taught me something too - not to ask for anything. And just like the protagonist of that novel, who failed to answer the easiest of the questions due to a simple childhood preaching, I always fail to ask for anything. Now, perhaps, you'd know why I couldn't ask for your love ever.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

26 January 2013

This is the date I had decided in 1999 after reading the story 'After Twenty Years' for all the friends to meet up. Yes, it wouldn't be twenty years but long enough to see us all meet our destiny. Somehow, the plan never took off.

This diwali, I tried organizing a get-together sort of reunion of the Lucknow University group - tried including all the friends who were in Lucknow at that time - 5 out of 12, and four of us finally joined. We sat for hours, chatted, discussed, teased, and shared. It was nice and nostalgic but at the same time, I couldn't help missing others too. Out of the missing, there is no news of two of us and two of us chose to connect selectively. Two are out of India and one was out of Lucknow.

Gunjan blew off the idea of 2013 reunion. He said that if he is a friend, he'll remain in touch and if not, he won't come anyways. I think he was right. Sometimes we have to let go and move on. There is hardly any sense in clinging to relations that aren't... and those that matter remain alive despite whatever.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

P.S. to Publish (ed) (ing)

As if they were watching! So after one year of accepting my poem, Kadambini published it in October 2008 issue with editing out some key lines.

And yes, I got a letter of appreciation for Bonsai - a postcard shown here. Feels good again :)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

गुंच आ के याफ़्त मी ना शवद आनम आर्ज़ूस्त

"It is more difficult and more bitter when a man fails alone."
Things Fall Apart, Chinua Achebe

"I'll end up alone, just like he did. Our trains on the same track. Ya sure, I am coming up thirty years behind but stops are all the same... bitter town, alone ville, hermit junction."
Chandler Bing (F. R.I.E.N.D.S., Season 2, The One Where Heckles Dies)

"It was a moment unlike anything Adi had experienced before. He raised his hands and started laughing even as tears raced down his face. His heart was bursting with happiness. He had never experienced so much joy in his life. He needed to share it with someone...someone close."
Bombay Rains Bombay Girls, Anirban Bose

I had decided for quite long now that I'd live alone and remain single. I was sure that I'll be fine, as I have my family and my friends and my students, and all of them love me. But then, you know how life sometimes gives us a reality check in the most innocuous and imperceptible ways. And as a consequence of the direct interventions of superior powers, one more of my percepts lies shattered...

Thence, I decided that despite being a loner at heart, I don't want to end up alone. There were times when this solitude was no longer so enjoyable, for it got immersed in loneliness. Those were the unnerving times and I felt like Chandler Bing.

Realizing that, I further realized that there lies the real irony of life.......

P.S. - The title is a phrase from Persian and literally means, "I am searching for the one, I know I may never find."

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Publish (ed) (ing)

Kadambini accepted a poem for publication more than a year ago and it is yet to be published, so my first literary publication now belongs to Vagarth. And after that, another joy came today, when I got my first Real call of appreciation.

A critique-writer, completely unknown thus far, called me to appreciate my first ever publication - the Hindi Story Bonsai in Vagarth (October 2008) issue. In the past two weeks, I have got loads of congrats, appreciations, and applauds from friends and family; and I suppose, most of it was customary and out of courtesy. But getting an applause from a professional reviewer is really great.

And this is for the story I never really considered among my best works. In fact, both of my creations accepted for publication thus far are such. I never really liked either but submitted these only for publication coz of better salability. And the ones I really love and consider to be my best were never sent for publication, although I am pretty sure that those ones won't be accepted at all. Nonetheless, my favorites remain my favorites. Perhaps because when I read those ones now, I witness and relive those emotions, which obviously neither possible nor expected from others.

However, finally, after so long a rumination, I've decided to put up my poetry on a blog, to publish whichever I like the most among my poetry.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Recently, a friend asked, "if I have to choose only one among writing, reading, traveling, and photography and forgo the remaining three forever, which one would I choose over others?" Obviously, he knows me only too well and knows that I barely can imagine leaving any of these four - the four major among many other of my addictions.

Although I settled down for a hierarchy of my affection for these four than choosing one of these - it was hard even to imagine to let go any of these. But the point here is not what I chose. I think I have become addicted to too many things, people, and activities. I love a lot of those and can barely imagine living without any one of my addictions, though mere existence is a possibility.

Perhaps that was a God-send. Perhaps that was a reality check. Perhaps that was just an innocent question. But it definitely had a butterfly effect in my head - I have to learn to live without a lot... be it writing, or reading, or traveling, or photography, or even You... dearest!!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Some old sketches

Found some old sketches in my files today and just thought of putting those up here. None very impressive though, but I love these. One reason is, perhaps, that among all the sketches, I ever drew, only these remain. Some thrown away, some gifted, and some - never sketched. Though these titles are completely fresh - I never gave titles to any of my sketches, just like my poems.

If you're still reading and want to have a look at these sketches, enlarge these and observe. There are so many faces, so many question-marks, and so many incomplete shapes. Perhaps, you may find me in there, or perhaps, yourself too.


खुदा देता है!

The Impressionist

P.S. - Interestingly, in my class six quarterly exams, I got 11 out of 50 in drawing. Evidently, I have not improved a lot, just learnt disguising the incompetence :)

Sunday, September 14, 2008


एक बरस बीत गया

सूरज पाने बढ़ा था

हाथ जल गया केवल
हाथ कुछ नहीं आया!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

"You're not entitled to a smooth meal" Day

Well.... Today was like this only... When I sat for my morning tea with an episode of F.R.I.E.N.D.S., there was a knock on my door for match-box. Then during Dibbi's thesis seminar, the snack guy completely forgot me and kept passing snacks and tea to everyone around but me. Thankfully, the seminar was too good to keep my attention off my rattling and gurgling stomach.

But the funniest one was when I ran to the mess after the seminar for a coleslaw sandwich and grabbed a plateful of those. As I left the plate on the table to get a cuppa and returned, my plate was GONE, without leaving a trace of a crumb behind . All I could see was two junior FPMs and another fachchi munching some sandwiches, completely oblivious to a hungry, surprised, and confused me. However, to rescue the poor (and hungry) soul, one of the junior FPMs, who obviously was observing the whole scene, informed the busy-bee sandwich munching fachchi - "haven't you taken his plate!"

Yeah, the first term at WIMWI really gives people some out of body, soul, and mind experiences. And this was one of those for the poor acads-tormented fachchi. She sat there, embarrassed, staring at the half-eaten sandwich and at me by turns; and I stood there, first utterly confused and then, smiling, with efforts to control a burst of laughter.

Finally, the wisdom dawned on us and she offered me my plate back, with a half eaten sandwich and I ran for another platter, with murmurs of ohhh, it's fine!!! As I sat opposite to her with a platter and a glass full of tea, both of us kept smiling at the whole incident. After 15 minutes of embarrassment, she sheepishly apologized and left for another session of muggai; and I stood up for another round of munching.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

I wrote another poem today. This was the eighth one that traces itself back to you. You inspired all of these at least, if not many more. You have read some of them and some of them would be completely new to you, that is - if you ever wish to read those.

I have so many questions. I have so many answers. No question matches the answers. No answer matches the questions.

It's all breaking. It's all shattering. It's all melting down.

Life is irreparably damaged.

Would you like to have some evening tea?

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Just Know It!!

Years ago, when he used to preach us about how information is important and how knowing can change our world, some of us believed him, some kept gaping at him, and some were simply disinterested. As I vaguely remember now, I was my usual skeptical self - Yeah... might be info-tech is damn powerful and knowing is important but you seem to be stretching it too far man!

But as they say, you never know until you know (I don't know who said that but in case nobody said that, it's my copyright now). So, in the recent past, I realized the power of information and the virtues of knowing.

And the enlightenment dawned from many sources over the time. Be it the reading of Arthshastra by Kautilya, where he draws the details for espionage and underlines the criticality of such information for the emperor or the use of Right To Information (RTI) Act, 2005 to get my thousand bucks back as well as to get the information from bureaucrats for a study.

But the reason of writing it all now is that I recently started tracking the traffic on my blog through some tracking tools. And I am really glad to announce that my blogs, which in my view were followed by barely two people - including yours truly, are not 'that' unknown. With about 250+125 views in three weeks and at least 24+13 unique visitors from two countries and over 15 regions, I am glad. Yeah... one can laugh it out! But I never expected even this much action here. Not that that I write for others but that sure gives me some more spirit to carry on with babbling and blabbering.

Thanks to all those who visited and more thanks to those who visited again :)

Thursday, September 4, 2008

सात साल

It will be seven years in two more days, when Prof. Vaishampayan gave me this pen in our Macro Economics class during B.Com. III year. It will be seven years in two more days, when a friend had left the class in anger.
It will be seven years in two more days, when we spoke for the first time and I had got two new friends. One of them is gone long ago and second, not so long ago.
I don't know why I am recalling it all today. It will be seven years in two more days.
Some verses that were written once by someone and from some unknown dimension, just slip into my life to speak my mind...

कभी-कभी बाज़ार में यूँ भी हो जाता है
कीमत ठीक थी जेब में इतने दाम नहीं थे
ऐसे ही इक बार मैं तुमको हार आया था।


तू तो नफ़रत भी ना कर पायेगा इस शिद्दत के साथ
जिस बला का प्यार तुझसे बेखबर मैनें किया।


ये कैसे रिश्तों में फंस गया मै, ये कैसे रिश्ते निभा रहा हूँ
जता रहा हूं किसी से चाहत, किसी से नफ़रत छुपा रहा हूँ।

मैं ख़ुद को बिल्कुल बदल चुका हूं,तेरी हदों से निकल चुका हूँ
के वक्त रहते सम्हल चुका हूं, यकीन ख़ुद को दिला रहा हूँ।


ज़रा आवाज़ का लहज़ा तो बदलो
ज़रा मद्धिम करो इस आँच को सोना
कि जल जाते हैं कंगुरे नर्म रिश्तों के
ज़रा अल्फ़ाज़ के नाखुन तराशो
बहुत चुभते हैं जब नाराज़गी से बात करती हो।


तेरे लिये तो मैनें यहाँ तक दुआयें की
मेरी तरह से कोई तुझे चाहता भी हो।


हमारे बीच जो भी अनकहा था
वो शब्दों से मिटाया जा रहा है।

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Dear Shakespeare, It's all in our stars...

Around my under-grad's first year time, my mausi started learning astrology for reading horoscopes and all of us, driven by curiosity, happily served as the guinea pigs for that newly acquired knowledge. It was fun, amusing, and sometimes baffling also; but it mostly remained a superstition. Although I got my horoscope read and interpreted, I seldom believed those prognostications. I was, at best, an agnostic.

In the coming years, we witnessed many a predictions and foretelling coming true - almost as many as that went wrong. But as another fun thing, I started learning astrology and horoscope reading myself. Although I never learnt it too well, thanks to my impatience and tight time-schedules, but I managed to understand some bits and pieces of the puzzle.

In the past four years, I've done the readings for a few friends as well as have been keeping a watch on my own horoscope, in addition to consulting with some more enlightened ones. And over the period, I've got so many predictions correct about the looming crises and the good times coming that I somehow stand converted into believing in the 'science' of astrology.

Horoscope reading has benefited me in at least one dimension - I understand now that neither good nor bad times are permanent. And with astrological guidance, I can even estimate the duration of such phases. Sure, it helps in keeping me cool through the ups and downs of life. So what was fun, superstition, and unscientific once, I have no reasons to not believe it now.

Therefore, Dear Brutus, do not believe that Shakespeare fella (or that Cassius either), when they say, "The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars..."

Saturday, August 16, 2008

पुकारो मुझे नाम लेकर पुकारो...

So many names, each with a tale to tell, and so many memories with every name...

Family and links called me Manu, the first ever name. School-name was Siddharth, which, later on, changed to Siddhartha. At IIMA, the FPM batch called me Professor and the dorm-name was Narad, with a weird reasoning behind.

Friends called me Siddhu, when the cricketer was at his career's height; and they called me Sid, when Dil Chata Hai became a hit. Although I was writing as Sid for more than two years then and Kanhaiya Lal Nandan had already published an article 'Sid Maane Siddhartha' by then, the abbreviated name is now single-handedly attributed to the movie only.

Some friends named me Buddha (as in old man) and one even called me Buddha (as in Gautam Buddha). And there are a few, which were very person-specific, Like - Siddha, Sadoo, Chhotu, and a few more... I was even a Fariyal (Angel) once.

There are some embarrassing ones too, which was the precise purpose of using such names; like - Seenkia (Straw-like) and Mrignayani. And there are a few, which I never came to know; for example - if my students at ICC had given me a name, what foes called me, and of course, what my friends call me in my absence.

Many of these names would be lost in the tides of time and many more will come as moments go by. Somehow, I love all these names for they have become a part of my being...

So what would you call me today?!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Whatever happens, happens for Good.

In my life, it was the third time when I had to break away. Sometimes I feel like running back in time and hold every moment so close and so tight that I may never lose it. But if wishes were horses...

About the first two times, who, when, and why stands irrelevant now. Perhaps, soon the third's details will also become immaterial. Perhaps, I'll realize the same old truth once more - Whatever happens, happens for good. Perhaps, this loneliness and this melancholy will be short-lived. Or, perhaps.... NOT!

Yes, there are times when I feel too agitated within; there are times when I want to melt down; and there are times when I want to tell it all to the one concerned. But then, they are not there to listen - perhaps, they never were.

It is weird. It hurts to be in such a position. It feels good to be so free of obligations. It feels good to live as per my own wish. It hurts to be so far from the most precious wish.

But like every good and bad patch of life has taught me something, I believe, this one is also not going in vain. After all, whatever happens, happens for good...

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

I don't know where I am heading to and what I am doing! I have no idea why I am behaving the way I am behaving and I have no idea of things I've been babbling! I don't know what my next step would be and what mischief would I commit next!

Go away from me - don't try to be even a bystander. I don't know whom will I hurt next and I don't know what will I destroy next! May be, it will be your affection or your sympathy or your pity towards me - go away before I destroy it all. Go away before you also begin to hate me. Go away before I hate myself more for hurting you.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

One, Two, Three, and Counting....

It's been three years since we came to join IIMA. I landed here on a hot Saturday afternoon of May 28, 2005. For one month, we had much fun and enjoyment in encountering so many new things at once. Those were the days of preparatory program - days of least work load possible at IIMA.

Soon after, the dream run was replaced by the first term. Although, in retrospect, even the first term is worth missing - those new friends, new campus, unknown knowledge frontiers, new understanding of known subjects, amazing professors, sleepless times, surprise quizzes, and never ending cases and readings. In between, we still managed some weekend parties, small outings, or just sitting around LKP and discussing nothing with the gravity of most intense thoughts. All of us were so busy in studies that we never got the time to realize how time is flying by.

First year ended, more or less, like this only - without giving us much time for stopping and thinking. And despite all the loads, grades, and frustrations, everything was great. I was growing beyond my imagination - not only mentally but also physically - mess food was too rich to digest by sitting on the study-table only. Nonetheless, the first year was over and to my surprise, I was still here. I always thought that I'm never going to make it through the first year. I had secretly decided that I will not leave IIMA by my own and let the authority kick me out. Fortunately that didn't happen even during the second year.

In second year, we had our area specific courses. In some of the FPM classes, there were barely 3-4 students. When the life got easier for our PGP batch-mates, it got much harder for most of the FPMs. Not only the workload was more, even the quality expected increased and evaluation became more intense. There were the days when I wished for a 50 hours day. Class duration was normally 2.5 to 3 hours and some days had 2-3 of them. With almost 6-8 hours of preparation for every class, my demand of 50 hours a day was not totally unjustified.

The real nightmarish time came with the fifth term, which faded the whole of the first year. I had max credit-load thus far and some courses were too critical and too time-consuming for me. I reminded myself of my old commitment - don't leave, let them kick you out. But like every good (and bad) thing, even the second year came to an end. What seemed like a relief was actually an even bigger headache - the Comprehensive Qualifier Exam or the CQE, which marks the end of the course-work. We had to qualify the CQE to begin our much awaited thesis work. It took us two months of intense preparation and three months of waiting for the result to know that we have successfully completed the course-work and now can proceed to even more hectic part of the program.

I was lucky enough, unlike most of my batch-mates, to find a guide ready with a thesis topic and willingness to work with me. So, for the first time, I was involved in what might be called as some serious research. The wisdom dawned soon - research needs much more than abilities. It needs loads of persistence, self-motivation, and a very high frustration-bearing capacity. I had given my Thesis Proposal Seminar on April 16, 2008 and before that, had earned some papers to my CV. Now I am trying to build a model and collect primary and secondary data, with the hope of being lucky with consistent and valid results.

This is pretty much the story of my academic journey of past three years at IIMA. I have at least one more year to go before I complete my thesis and I wish to complete it within that time. But there is a part of me that wishes to stay here forever, for these are the days that I am going to miss in the years to come. And no matter where I go or what I do, there will be a part of me that will stay here - forever - for this is the place, which has written one of the most beautiful chapters of my life....

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Alas! I could never be your man!!!

If you want a lover
I'll do anything you ask me to
And if you want another kind of love
I'll wear a mask for you.

If you want a partner
Take my hand
Or if you want to strike me down in anger
Here I stand
I'm your man!

Ah, the moon's too bright
The chain's too tight
The beast won't go to sleep
I've been running through these promises to you
That I made and I could not keep
Ah but a man never got a woman back
Not by begging on his knees
Or I'd crawl to you baby
And I'd fall at your feet
And I'd howl at your beauty
Like a dog in heat
And I'd claw at your heart
And I'd tear at your sheet
I'd say please, please
I'm your man!

And if you've got to sleep
A moment on the road
I will steer for you
And if you want to work the street alone
I'll disappear for you
If you want a father for your child
Or only want to walk with me a while
Across the sand
I'm your man!


P.S. - Above is a song by Leonard Cohen. The title and the last line are not a part of the song and have been adapted from the title of a movie. And this juxtaposition does have a meaning.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Wear the old coat and buy the new book.

From a bookmark that I happened to pick from the payment counter of Crossword. Somewhere inside, it hit a chord and said so simply a thing that I always felt so deeply.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Post future...

And when you're old, you run out of hopes and dreams. You just know who you are going to be and what you are going to be. Most importantly, being young or being old has hardly anything to do with the age, the same way as being modern or being wise hasn't. Its not about how many years have you been on earth but how many years you have lived inside yourself.

I no longer think much about future. I, sort of, know that it is there and it is coming. What lies beyond the next curve of space and what may appear beyond the next twist of time. That is why I have started living in present, and sometimes, in past - because most of my life is there.

I know that I am not going to write poetry anymore. I know that I will be a professor. I know that I will never be able to join politics. I will never have company to tread the globe. I will have more money than will to spend and I will have more nights than sleep in my eyes. But perhaps there is a flair left of that ol'buddy. Perhaps that is why, despite knowing all this, I still crave to learn some more languages, watch some more movies, and to read some more books.

Well, I do not want to have any regrets, or should I say, any more regrets than I already have, when I leave this world. And I want to leave like a contented man, like a man with more life in his years than years in his life. And when I fly away, breaking the feeble chains of last worldly charms and last few chains of affection, I don't want to be followed by voices that may hold me back. I'd rather prefer, if someone could play Bob Dylan...

Meet me Jesus, meet me,
meet me in the middle of the air
If these wings should fail to me,
Lord, won't you meet me with another pair

Lord, in my time of dying don't want nobody to cry
All I want you to do is take me when I die
Well, well, well, so I can die easy
Well, well, well, so I can die easy...

Monday, April 28, 2008

"Die Religion ... ist das Opium des Volkes"

As I watched 'Khuda Kay Liye', followed by many debates and dialogs with islamic scholars on the issues raised in the movie and the references of quran and hadith cited therein, all that left me as clear as I was. If, for a while, I set aside the 'Jihaad to make the world a Dar-ul-Islam' aspect of Islam and just concentrate on the issue of why there are so many issues and so much emphasis for 'living by the book', it melts down to a very different plane - it's in the human nature.

As a pop-theory, without any claims of originality, Islam suffers the same fate that christianity got through in middle ages and Hinduism in Vedic periods; i.e - absolute rule of a single class - clergy in this case. They interpreted and mutilated everything for their convenience, precisely as tricks of twisted minds but in disguise of speaking for God. I see a pattern in all three religions - first of all, the clergy created a language barrier through Sanskrit, Latin, and Arabic, which were not the lingua franca but became the language of God. The process and stages were different though, but the end-results were the same.

Thereafter, clergy had a free run to change or interpret the so-called God's words. After language, they began dictating what to study and how to live - curbing individual freedom because there are God Spoken rules for everything. If draw the parallels further, they began hideous targeting. Simply, oppressing the easiest target they could find or the one which could retaliate the least. All three commonly chose women. Apart from that, christianity burnt millions in the name of witch-craft and anti-christ, Islam attacked non-believers, and Hinduism fought with Buddhists and in the absence of any other obvious targets, segregated its own one-fourth.

In this sense, organized religion, or rather, institutionalized religion is no different from or better than fascism or communism. In essence, all are based on seeking absolute control. And that is why, religion is no matter of theology, mythology, or sociology. It has to be studied in the light of psychology, where human brain becomes its own worst enemy in a bid to seek absolute control over its own petty universe.

Friday, April 25, 2008


"How can we solve world problems when our best advisers are busy cutting hair, driving cabs, and mixing drinks?"

If you want to cheer yourself up with some spontaneous laughter, just read through some comments on rediff news or any similar site. Every Tom, Dick, and Harry has a bunch of opinions, guts to express it publicly, and ready to conquer the world with their intellectual 'insights'. Not only that, just try to refute one's expert opinion and they are ready with all the vengeance. And there need not to be any connection between the article and their commentary. If the article seeks underpinnings of inflation, the expert commentators can blame cheerleaders of IPL; China-Tibet and Kashmir cannot be solved because there is no potable water in Chennai; and if it's about food crisis in the world, it must be due to following Gregorian calendar. Best are the spammers, who never loose focus. They just keep advertising for their arbit sites amid all this experts' brainstorming.

As an afterthought, it is really depressing to realize that these are the masses who vote and choose the national leaders in every election. This also makes it clear why we have such crooks and idiots as our representatives and perpetually successful leaders.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

The company you keep

For long, I've been thinking of writing about some companies - the ones one would like to keep in good lists and the ones in bad lists too. I so far believed, pretty much in sync with the general notion, that big brand names, lucrative ads, lush shops, and neatly uniformed work force is enough to raise confidence in products, services, and after sales support. Au-contraire, there is almost no correlation between these factors. And on the basis of those hard-learned experiences, I've chucked some corporations completely whereas, for some, I am willing to bear a bit of extra burden too. Instead of preparing a check-out or chuck-out list, however, I'd just share some of my experiences here.

When I wrote a mail to Nescafe about their coffee not tasting that good any longer, got a phone call, a very sweet voice, and offer for a free jar of coffee to write another feedback. That was really reassuring - at least, Nescafe cares. But another coffee company, Cafe Coffee Day, is damn unresponsive. None of my communications were answered or even acknowledged. And nopes, it's not the difference of a foreign vs. Indian company - my further experiences proved that.

Big Bazar, the supermart by Pantaloons, is though very responsive at the top level - I got a personal call from the local store manager and quick e-mail responses; yet they are not the ones whom I deal every time I visit Big Bazar. And the ones I've to deal with are too rude and even insulting. But the remedy was easy - I don't go to Big Bazar anymore.

Another similar case was of Sony - the Sony World gave a non-functional battery charger and was very reluctant to talk after making the sales. However, a single mail to Sony India got the charger checked, and finally replaced with a new one, despite there being no guarantee or warranty whatsoever.

Another different and unexpected experience was with Tata - no matter how much trust the name raises, they are really unpredictable. Tata Croma manager responded in two days with a very good natured reply and Tata Star Bazaar was not even willing to listen if there is a problem. Perhaps, it was the difference between two arms of a man.

However, most amazingly, my experience with Indian Railways (IR) has been pretty good. When we were stuck in Abu Road after a derailment accident, the station master tried his bit to help us out with whatever he could and that too without a frown, despite all the hullabaloo all around. However, besides that, the experience with IR has been mixed and in essence, IR is not bankable. Similarly, IRCTC, the online reservation site and service managers for IR, are highly unpredictable - after almost five months, I am yet to get a refund for that ticket, which unfortunately was booked online with IRCTC and which, even more unfortunately, has no validity across the counter.

Some more unexpected and very mixed experiences concern the two largest banks of India - SBI and ICICI. SBI, Chowk, Lucknow branch has been a real pain in the neck with their rude, unresponsive, and rather, hostile behavior. SBI, IIMA, Ahmedabad, on the other hand, has been too good at every level, including the manager who helped me recover my lost thousand rupees that I had written-off after 2 years of the ATM malfunction. Now about ICICI - opening an account in their main branch was such a painful experience that I felt like return of the baburaj. Comparing the two banks, though SBI is ubiquitous with its 10,000 ATMs and 6,000 branches, online services of ICICI beat SBI hands down.

After all my experiences with so many corporations and organizations, all I have learnt is not to believe in that rhetorical pomp and show; to take seriously the lessons of 'Organizational Behavior', and; most of all, to value individuals, for they are the ones who make or break an organization.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Wrote a line of poetry after so many days, or may be months. Don't know will it ever be completed or be left like me - forever!

Friday, April 4, 2008

To Sir, With Love - 2

Though To Sir, With Love - 1 was long time ago, I still couldn't find enough words to express my gratitude and admiration for all my professors and teachers. Perhaps it is because of them only that I want to be a professor. I have been lucky to always have such wonderful teachers, both in terms of excellence of intellect as well as in terms of genuineness of person.

Although it'd be very unfair to recall only few names here, yet some of them are so deeply imprinted in my memory that I can't help mentioning them. But very emphatically, this is not an exhaustive set. Further, here I've talked about the teachers and professors in academic sense only and not in a philosophical sense, where I'd include life, experience, and testing times also as my teachers.

In school days, Rajendra Srivastav Sir, who gave me full leverage and freedom for learning and doing maths, was one of the main reasons of my interest in intuitive mathematics. At Colvin Taluqdar's, everyone was almost perfect - Mr. K.K. Verma, Mr. R.R. Gupta, Mr. R.P. Singh, Mr. R.N. Sharma.... I even sometimes miss Keerti Sir, Wesley Sir, Godha, Panther, and BPS also.

At Lucknow University, any of my friends can tell who was and is my favorite. Yupp, it's Dr. J.V. Vaishampayan - more than a good teacher, he had been a great person. From teaching economics in class to guiding outside class, I can't help admiring him all the while. And also Dr. Rachna Mujju, with those wonderful discussions and insights - all that is too much to put in words.

My luck got me again the best at ICC, where I initially prepared as a student and then joined as a faculty. I met Saxena Sir and Gurjeet Sir - can't forget their discussions-cum-fights on approaching the problems in different ways. Also, a big thanks to Ashley Burn Sir, who 'actually' 'taught' me English language. But the best of the lot was Anand Sir, who proved to be a teacher, guide, friend, philosopher, and much more.

And finally here, at IIM Ahmedabad, again my luck played good for me. Though it'd be fatal for me to take names as I'm yet to finish my Ph.D. and I cannot take all the names as well, for the list is too long; but there are truly great professors here. However, playing politically correct, I'll mention all the names only when I receive my degree :D

I have plans to go for Post-docs and I hope, my 'teacher luck' will remain as good as it has been so far... and may be with enough luck, someday I'll join the elite ranks of the lovable profs.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

I deleted all of my Orkut album today. Not in the spirit of destruction but to start afresh. Had deleted my accounts twice in the same spirit - to have a memory less appearance. Had tore off many pages of my life - in the same spirit. Alas! Life cannot be started afresh - memory less.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Since last week, at least four people have told me, while talking to me on phone, that I am very silent and asked me if I am busy / I'm not interested / I am bored. It wasn't any of these. I was not busy. I was not disinterested. I was not bored. Perhaps I do not have anything left to say. Perhaps I've just fallen out with words. Perhaps something I wrote long ago is coming true now.

अपनी आवाज़ भूल जाता हूँ
कितना खामोश रह रहा हूँ मैं|

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

झरने लगे नीम के पत्ते

Very soon, another batch will be convocating from IIMA. It is yet another farewell season here and Senti NB is up and running again. I was a little sad last year, when my batch-mates were leaving to chase their dreams - I was going to be an almost stranger in my own place very soon. But this year, I was very much sure of not feeling anything - after all, I have very few acquaintances among my junior batch and friends - none. Yet there is a bothering about this parting too.

And this parting will be followed by long days, dense nights, and lonesome times. Summers, for the past two years at IIMA, has been like this, with hardly few people on campus and fewer around. Perhaps this is going to be the norm of my life for at least two more years till I complete my thesis and bid adieu to the beloved IIMA. For the time being, I am going to be sad, nostalgic, and joyous for the friends and foes as they fly from here to horizons. May be, I'll also leave someday just like this; however, till then, as the leaves fall, let's celebrate the parting and sadness, dreams and joys, and summers and loneliness...

झरने लगे नीम के पत्ते
लगी उदासी मन की|

P.S. - The above picture is taken from Perspectives NB, where it was posted by Amit Patel of IIMA.

Friday, March 7, 2008


I've been watching a lot of FRIENDS lately. Although the show closed in 2004 after running for ten seasons, I got addicted to it recently. I usually watch one episode at a time with my daily tea - 20 minutes of tea with FRIENDS :)

What I like most about FRIENDS is their dynamics - they spend time together, eat, drink and party together, fight and pull each others' legs, play pranks, get mean, and what not; yet, they all are best FRIENDS.

But as I am, I find something or the other everywhere to get philosophical about. So here too, I find a lot of practical lessons of life. Like - how important it is to move on in life, and real friends go to any extent to do something for each other, and forgiveness is always a smile away, and no matter how much you fight, your friend'ship' never sinks.

And like every fan of FRIENDS, I too identify a lot with them... well, at least half of them. I am a cleanliness and orderliness freak like Monica; and like Ross, bookish and bore, geek, and can just put every one to sleep with my 'interests'; and like Chandler, I also keep throwing PJs to hide myself behind those laughs.

I often wonder where all the characters of FRIENDS would be now, what would they be doing, and above all, are they still F.R.I.E.N.D.S.?

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

"When we went to see Snow White, everyone fell in love with Snow White, I immediately fell for the wicked queen."
When Woody Allen said that, he might have been joking but for me, it goes much deeper. I wonder how does it happen with me without an exception in every single stream of life.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Few things to do in Life

One of my many 'psychological disorders' is to make lists for everything - ranging from shopping list, academic logs, friends, people I want to kill (this one is in my mind only so that I can tell everybody that they are not on the list when actually they are), superpowers I want, books wish-list, CDs collection, financial statements, daily works, things I'll do after assuming dictatorship of India, things I'll do after I win KBC. Hmmm.... realizing that there are so many lists, now I want to make a list of all the lists.
But for the time being, I am going to make a really serious list (i.e. - serious in others' eyes too). This one is about a few things that I want to do before I do the thing that can be done as easily as lying down - (In words of Woody Allen, "On the plus side, death is one of the few things that can be done just as easily lying down").

1) I want to learn more languages - at least one Indian and one foreign language. Bengali and German are on my top priority because of their rich literature, heritage, and my present resources. After that, I may also think of French,Urdu, Tamil, and Hebrew in that order.

2) I want to travel. I mean, to nowhere in particular but to everywhere - African safari, Taj Mahal, Germany, Paris, Kashmir, Italy, Scandinavia, Egypt, Southern tip of India, North Eastern India, Australia, Mauritius, Goa, Israel, Badrinath-Kedarnath, Rajasthan to name a few. I don't know if ever I'll see even a small subset of this whole long list but nonetheless, I enjoy the dream.

3) I want to learn singing. I know I am too much out of tune (and all my victims can testify it) and at this age, it is too difficult to find a teacher to improve my vocal cords (I hope they are there, though my vocal abilities don't suggest so) but still, this is my wish list and if nothing, I'll learn on my own (as if that would help).

4) Some sketching and painting is also on my list. I still remember when I failed in drawing exam in class 6th - I got 11 out of 50 (and I wonder HOW??) but after that, I got this pushing feel to prove that I know drawing. So I drew and sketched and painted a lot. I passed my drawing exams easily afterwards but I still have not reached my satisfaction levels. Hence, it is still on my list.

5) Cooking. I know my taste buds fail me and I do not have an iota of an idea of those exotic dishes and all I can make is good for survival only (if you take out the enjoyment part of it). But for once, I want to cook some really good things on my own - without any guidance and supervision. I know I can do that but just waiting for a good kitchen and some free time for experimenting.

6) Although this one is coming pretty late in the list but it doesn't at all reflect the importance I attach to it - writing. I want to write some good papers, a good book on a few subjects of my interest, and last but not the least - a memoir - sorts of autobiography (although it is my hyper-optimism that people would be interested in the story of my life when nobody is interested in my life).

7) Mathematics and computers. I know just some bits and pieces of both but what I want is proficiency - at least as good as a good practitioner if not as good as a theorist. Yeah, I know my resume says that I taught maths to graduate MBA aspirants and that I know some 3-4 programming softwares but as Calvin said, "Happiness isn't good enough for me! I demand euphoria!"

There are few more things that I 'want' to do but since I was trying to contain myself within the limits of 'possibilities', I'll not enlist invisibility and time-machine like 'wants' here.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

कुछ सम्बोधन

साँप (अज्ञेय)

तुम सभ्य तो हुए नहीं
नगर में बसना भी
तुम्हे नहीं आया।
एक बात पूछूँ - उत्तर दोगे?
तब कैसे सीखा डसना,
विष कहाँ पाया?

गुलाब (निराला)

अबे - सुन बे गुलाब!
भूल मत गर पायी खुशबू - रंगो-आब।
खून चूसा खाद का तूने,
अरे अशिष्ट,
डाल पर इतरा रहा कैपीटलिस्ट।

आम (शरद जोशी)

तुम लँगड़े क्यों कहलाते हो?
जबकि तुम ऐसे नहीं हो:
और यदि लँगड़े न हो
तो बताओ
क्या तुम पैर वाले हो?

और एक तुम्हारे प्रति

तुम्हारे हों ढेर सारे बच्चे
एक-दो नहीं, कम-से-कम
छ: तो हों लड़के ही लड़के!
उन्हें पढ़ाना-लिखाना
डाक्टर-इंजीनियर बनाना,
और यदि कोई निकम्मा
लिखने लगे कविताएँ
तो चन्द्रा,
उसे भी निभाना।

Monday, February 4, 2008

Today I read, "you know you are old when you spend more time thinking about money than sex". I think I am very old. In fact, I've always been very old.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Distress is the father of creativity.

And the source of this great hypothesis is a simple observation - every time I am distressed for whatever reasons, thousands of ideas raid my top-floor vacuum - for poetry, for blogging, and for activities I'd never get an idea of doing in normal times. And as the most obvious proof of this hypothesis, here I am - finished three poems two days ago and writing this blog at a time when I am supposed to be working some 86401 seconds per day.
Ouch!! I just increased my guilt by a factor of 24.09 (which incidentally happens to be my Quetelet Index Number).

Every time I am free and fresh like a flower (preceded by cauli) and I set out to write something phenomenal, not a single God damn flying fish crash into my mind.

P.S. - Distress is the Father and not mother of creativity because... give it a thought!!
How does it feel to God when (s)he is distressed and looks up and finds noone!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Frankly My Dear!! You can never see enough movies.

And the more movies I see, the more I believe in this. Every movie, like every book, teaches me something valuable. I re-realized it today after watching 'The Ultimate Gift'. If you haven't seen it yet, I recommend it to you as soon as you finish reading my valuable blabbering.

I have learnt a lot from movies - about Life, the universe, and everything; And I can recite a long-long list of movies, characters, and moments - that have affected me, touched me, and taught me... but I guess, howsoever hard I try, that list may never be complete. That is not the purpose as well. The point here is that if you want to learn and understand, you can find the possibilities anywhere and everywhere. That is why even the worst ones have something to tell - how not to make one, for example.

Although, I have always believed books to be a better source of learning and personal development than movies but I find movies scoring points over books at least on a few dimensions. One, understanding things as well as personal behavior is easier in visual media than in print media. Two, movies are cheaper to afford - especially since I can download most of them for free. And third, they consume less time than books - I can fast forward them, if they bore me. And given my present resources, time is the most valuable one.

So folks, wish me luck for watching more movies - just as you wished for traveling and for reading philosophy. Now, I close this, will bore you later... It's show-time, you see :)


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