Thursday, October 28, 2010

Oh, that's a Lie!

I am addicted to Lie to Me, the serial on Star World. I started watching it last Sunday and I'm done with one and a half seasons now. It is intriguing, and in my opinion scientifically and logically quite sound. It is interesting to watch the chemistry among the team members and how well they study and ignore each other's faces, yet are able to put the same skill to test every time a case comes up. Dr. Cal Lightman's agility is awesome, and his restless behaviour keeps you on your toes too as you begin watching every episode. Of course, like with every sitcom you do begin to understand the patterns and are able to predict a bit around here and there, but the reason why this sitcom still keeps you interested (also given that there is no direct spotlight on sex, relationships, love and complications!), is that it simply circles around the most basic human instinct that each one of us has tried hard to conquer - Lying. Whether we like it or not, we all lie! At some point in time. It is different from not telling the truth, the whole truth as one of my friend suggests; but the fact of the matter is we all have told lies to someone - a white lie, an intentional lie, a blind lie, a naked lie etc. We have also felt remorse, guilt or even appreciative because of all those lies. Some we carried off well, some got caught, some were never believed. But, none of us have been able to conquer a lie as perfectly as Dr. Cal Lightman. And that's what is most intriguing about this character. He reasons scientifically about it, puts no super-natural powers as his defenders of the skill but it surprises me every time he catches a liar with a blink of an eye in the one-fifth of a second! Fiction at its best parallels with reality here. 

Try an episode or two, and you might just like it as much. For those who watch - my favourite is the Jenkins episode from season 1. Amazing twists in the tale! An absolute Lightman delight!

Talking of lies, I watched Jhootha Hi Sahi on Sunday. Although I don't write reviews here, I felt I should write about this one for two reasons. One, because I felt it was quite unnecessarily bashed by critics. Comparing it with Anjaana Anjaani is, frankly, too far fetched. Second, because JHS is delightful in places, and has a certain goodness and honesty about it. One should watch it for the spontaneity in Raghu, for the different types of proposals one can make, of course to the same girl, and simply for the imperfections in each of those characters. It is worth the laughter it infuses for those two and a half hours!

"While it might be hard, to say what's true,
 would you want a white lie be told to you?" :)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

No Baggage to Check-in!

Tweaking the lyrics of a song by Norah Jones, I have:
"If I were a painter, 
 I'd paint my memory
 If that's the only way for you to be with me..."

She sings she would paint her reverie, instead of her memory. Well, it means the same, more or less! Of course, memory is more validated and there is an element of truth in them. That's why, for me, putting "memory" above  instead of "reverie" made more sense. Talking of memories, I always boast about my awesome ability to remember and recollect everything in excruciating detail. But sometimes, having such a fantastic memory overburdens my mind. My mum always asked me to discard old stuff, but I could never detach myself from those paper cuttings, greeting cards, red ribbons, pamphlets and flyers I had collected over time. I am not saying preserving such stuff is a bad thing. I am sure not. And I am also sure many of you do it. We all keep our notebooks, diaries, wrappers, stickers, comic books, junkies - stuff we were once close to and now preserve to keep that side of ours alive and intact. We, essentially, try to keep that memory alive within us by not discarding them. And given how constantly things change, it is not such a bad idea either!
But I was thinking about it this afternoon about how much I actually remember; believe me, my memories run like a reel of a film. Sequentially, colourful, sometimes not, and clear faces of the entire crew with all the dialogues in sync! I realised, it is a baggage that I have made a choice to carry with me. For those of you who watch How I Met Your Mother, season 5 episode 23 shows a clever sight gag about our emotional baggage by a physical representation (the scene of random people walking by gave some amusing and bizarre pieces of luggage, one carrying "Elvis is still alive" was particularly funny!). 
The other day, I met a colleague while on my way out of office in the evening. She was leaving for the day too, and we got into the same cab. After a while I noticed, she wasn't carrying any handbag, in fact not even a wallet. She had her cell phone, id card and some money in her pockets and she was sitting next to me, empty handed. Not able to contain my surprise, I asked her how come a girl is seen without a bag! That too now that the big colourful bags with huge buttons, laces and prints are in fashion. She casually shrugged at me and said, "no bag, no baggage". Ah, I thought, how convenient was that and literally, how free (saying liberated would sound too feminist I guess!) she looked! I got out of the cab before her and looked at my bag as I walked towards my apartment. Half the things in there I carry because I think I might need them... but, this was a reality check right in front of me. 

It is these small habits that slowly allow space for all that baggage we begin to carry for the rest of our lives. Carefully avoiding to be preachy here, but how lucky are those who are forgetful! They have more to look forward to than to look back at, from time to time. Again, I am not saying preserving memories is a bad thing - but don't you agree too much of sweetness spoils the sweets after all? Of course, it is all easier typing than doing. So, I decided to try out my colleague's technique and observe how difficult would one day be without my big handbag! Will post about my experience soon. Try, if you are curious too! 

P.S. I have updated my list of things-to-do when in Mumbai. Thank you all for adding to my list! :)
And here's that song by Norah Jones: PAINTER SONG

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Quote Un-quote

It is one of those kinds of days, I guess, when you find yourself wondering, if it's one of those kinds of lives. I sat down to write and instead ended up reading a lot of quotes and interesting things some very creative people had to say. All of these, I have collected over time; and I sifted through them all evening and took a walk down the memory lane. Memories of how I had come to collect each one of these quotes. From who, where, and when. Some of them were from the newspapers (I think I still have the cuttings somewhere). Times of India's Sunday edition always carried some interesting lines on page 17. A friend of mine and I would often sms each other "Page 17, TOI" and then it became sort of a subtle competition as to who would read them first and tell the other. Then, there were these days when something somewhere I read would remain in thoughts for the whole day - and every time I thought about it, it would turn out to mean something different. Soon, it would be shared over Pine with this friend and smiles exchanged! This habit continued for quite some time after BITS too. When I was at home, I had indulged myself in a lot of books and these would inevitably lead to a lot of discussions over gtalk chats with this friend again. Of course, this was the time when it was not just limited to reading quotes and adding them to my collection, it was about putting my mind to it and wondering about it too. I enjoyed that a lot. 

These days, it is not so much about that any more. So, as I came across these lines today I just smiled at the me back in that time. It felt good. 

Here are some lines from my collection that I felt I should share:
2007, ToI - "It doesn't take any longer for an enlightened to get a an intuitive grasp of what it's all about and that grasp that they get is so fundamental, so comprehensive and so deeply internalised thereafter that virtually nothing can shake their faith in it. but ask any of them to explain their particular thin slice, they would run out of words to do so. or if they did manage to speak about it, the essence would suddenly go missing - even to themselves. that's because the power of thinking with thinking belongs to scientific world of empiricism and rationality which always acts on the "more information is better" principle."

By Nora Ephron - 
"Insane people are always sure that they are fine. It is only the sane people who are willing to admit that they are crazy."
"I am continually fascinated at the difficulty intelligent people have in distinguishing what is controversial from what is merely offensive."

Food for thought, eh!

Friday, September 24, 2010

My Mumbai Trip

When I finally arrived in Mumbai, I wondered more about the terrible wait of more than 6 hours at the airport to get to Mumbai in one piece than those two years for which this visit kept getting postponed. I had an excuse every time to not go to Mumbai, but suddenly a few weeks back, none came to my mind. I felt the time was right, most appropriate and well, I could almost hear Mumbai calling me!

I have stepped on Mumbai streets once before, but it was more of a transit than a visit. Shruti took me to Juhu Beach, and although I found it rather clean and quiet – it was 8am when we went there – a lot of people point out that Juhu Beach is messier than slums of Mumbai. Really?

It rained heavily a day before I reached Mumbai. I was given the credit of bringing some sunshine to Mumbai, as raindrops suddenly decided to hold themselves back for the 3 days that I was there. Of course, I stole the sunshine back the moment I took off – or so Shruti claims!

I must admit though, that I hardly saw the city and explored any of its chaos. Within the little time that I had, I could do little things like gaping at the Hiranandani’s buildings, shopping-till-we-dropped with best friend, travelling for exactly fifteen minutes in the Mumbai Local Train, breathing the air that passes through the Western Ghats, gaping at skyscrapers one after the other (it was funny the way I bent to see them sitting in the car as though I had never seen one before!), treating myself to some very delicious food, getting stuck in the Bandra traffic jam etc. And of course, I also met two very dear friends, and made enough time for a few others that I had intended to meet. It was a trip that cannot be called anything less than awesome!

A long list of things-to-do-when-in-Mumbai still remains, and I am sure the next time I visit this city, I will cross a few off.
So, here’s a small plan; why don’t you help me out with my list! Let me know what you think one should definitely do when in Mumbai. So far, I have included these:
  • Visit Gateway of India
  • Visit (and click) the Taj
  • Visit Café Leopold
  • Watch sunset at Marine Drive
  • Do street-shopping
  • Experience a day outside BSE
  • Spot celebrity mansions – Shahrukh’s in particular
  • Gorge on Moti Mahal’s Veg Kebab platter
  • Eat Natural icecream
  • Leave footprints on every beach
What do you think I missed out? 

Verses of Innocence

These are some lines that I had scribbled a few years ago. I came across them as I was going through some old files. I felt I should share them with you all...

The first one was an sms reply to a friend with who I was exchanging some impromptu attempt at poetry. I tossed a few lines for him as he was struggling his way out of a bad traffic jam in Delhi...

"Listen to those birds chirping
 Even in the chaos of traffic and noise
 With your heart beating
 In rhythm, and silent poise."

The one below was another attempt, written at one-go, to capture the emotions of love-birds separated by time and distance.

"Standing by the stream,
 He fondly looks at the kids
 As they play and scream.

 Staring at the moon,
 He wishes for the clouds
 To give way to her stars soon.

 Holding the phone,
 She hopes time stops
 To let her forever hear his joyful tone.

 Walking back to her books,
 She wonders if a miracle happens
 And she is with him too in those brooks."

Hope you smiled, just as much as I did while reading them now!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Wedding Bells

Too many wedding bells have started to ring, and I get excited when I hear the announcements. After a few “wow”s and “congratulations!”, I get down to know the more interesting part. No no, it’s not the preparations! It’s the story of the couple – their story, the tale of their lives, which I am sure each of them will narrate to their grandchildren in great detail and delight. Of course, each version will make the hero look/sound better and each version will be better than all the previous ones! But, they will have a story, and a turning point which would have changed these couples’ lives forever! And what more fun than to listen to all these stories over chat and phone calls…

Carefully avoiding all of the personal details, these stories that I have got to know so far range from college-love to post-college-realizations, to love-at-first-sight and love-at-a-matrimony-site… each one of them whole and honest, and shining like crazy diamonds with love!

A dear friend of mine had once said, “go ahead, make your own story!”. These words ring in my ears even today. (Of course, he is talking about making your story of Life!, at a much broader perspective.) He is also the genius at narrating weddings and at describing with utmost precision the emotions that pour out when you see a dear friend get married and embark on the journey of love. I wish I could make you read each one of those blog posts that he has written! But, I have a better plan. I will make you read the one he writes soon after either of us gets married – whoever’s happens first that is.

As for now, I just wish all these people a lot of happiness together!

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Blog: Update - 2

It kills me to write after so long. But, every time I have sat in front of my laptop to write, I found myself at a loss of words. Not only words, even ideas. Nothing interested me long enough to write about. And although I have titled this post as “Update 2” there is hardly anything that I’m updating you with this time. 

It is called “Update 2” simply because my earlier post talks about a series of updates that I was to write for my readers telling them about what all is/was happening in my life – thoughts and incidents that I wished to share with people through this blog. But I suppose there was so much happening around me that I missed a beat somewhere and lost myself. 

I am typing this out sitting in office. I am waiting for the clock to tick so I can catch my cab and go home. After a day’s work (and incessant rain), when sunlight shines through the clouds and makes its way inside through the tiny gaps between the blinds it brings along a feeling of pure ‘niceness’. A friend finds this term completely ‘fb-ish’ or ‘internet-y’, but I couldn’t find a word better suited to my mood right now. It makes me feel that I can go back to doing all those things that somehow got put on hold, and that the emptiness will slowly find itself filling again. 

I was listening to Norah Jones’ Seven Years this afternoon. Perhaps you too should - Seven Years

P.S. I must tell you the ‘updates’ series ends with this post. Tomorrow shall be a new day, a new post and a new beginning.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Blog: Update - 1

I put the title of the blog as “Blog: Update – 1” for three reasons. First reason being, it gives me a sense of satisfaction that I am acknowledging the fact I haven’t written a post for my blog for long; second, there is more than 1 update that I need to post here so more posts shall follow soon; and, the third reason is I am now very used to reading the “BP: Macondo Update…” reports regarding the recent oil spill in GoM published very frequently by the research desk I work for and so it is only natural I pick that up as the title of this post!

My days are spent reading about Oil and trying to figure how, in the broad scheme of things, it would help manage someone’s wealth; where as my evenings are spent trying to figure how to manage the Oil usage at home so my roommates and I keep good health!

I guess once you start working, the mind undergoes a certain conditioning, which is automatic and completely unintentional as well, but it sure happens. I realized this when I was sitting with a friend in Hard Rock Café the other evening. It was his last day in Hyderabad; his stint here as an intern had just ended. Digging into the hot melting dark chocolate on an unusually large piece of chocolate brownie, he was narrating his experiences at work. On the day of his final presentation, his boss asked him “how many hours in a day do you have?” and my friend blurted, “Eight, Sir!”. It did not occur to him, even for a moment that his boss could actually be referring to the total number of hours in a day! He thought of only the ideal number of working hours in a day and said 8 in all honesty.

The other I realized happened with my roommate. She works for a firm which leaves her with no life – both in terms of time and activity. In the first month of her job, she went to office on all Saturdays. She is supposed to have a five-day week but she never saw a relaxed Friday evening or a Saturday morning in that whole month. And then, one day she returned with the biggest grin on her face, announcing as happily as she could that the next day, a Saturday was going to be an off! But the whole of Saturday she kept repeating to us, “I feel this is Sunday!”, “I feel as if I need to go to office tomorrow!” or “I will feel weird when Sunday actually arrives tomorrow!”. Her mind is conditioned to have only one day off in a week – in just a month’s time!

And well, I did not escape the conditioning either!
Suddenly I find, the popular phrase “All is Well” has changed to “Oil’s Well” in my vocabulary. Humorous I know, but it is a certain inalienable truth of my life now!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Umm, This was Crazy – Part II

Read Part - I below before you read this.

Fortunately for the four of us, we did not have to try too hard for an auto outside the main gate at such an odd hour! He agreed for 300 rupees to take us to Mehdipatnam in the city.

Now as we 'embarked on the bumpy ride', I thought of my BITSian juniors living in Hitech City. Mad as I might sound, I called one of them asking if she would be willing to let us in into their apartment post midnight because we had no place else to go and that we wanted to "do something"! Mugdha ever so willingly agreed.

The auto ride wasn’t particularly something I would like to remember. It was terrifying to say the least. Why? Well, the road was completely deserted, with only the auto’s headlights flashing – only every now and then. Not a single vehicle crossed us, ahh, of course there were a few bulky noise-making trucks that did but we are not considering them here.

And, to scare us further, the auto-walla’s phone kept ringing (and he was receiving those calls while trying to drive with one hand) and he said, “main aa raha hoon, jaldi aa raha hoon.” Terrifying scenes from all the Bollywood movies flashing in front of my eyes, I turned completely white, apparently. Well, it was something to be scared of, after all!

Finally, after a long and rather speedy drive, we reached Mehdipatnam, and looked for another auto to take us to Hi tech City. Mugdha had sent us directions to her place in an sms. So, huddled into a smaller auto this time, the four of us experienced Hyderabad post midnight.

A blank above is to tell you that there isn’t much to write about Hyderabad’s post midnight life.

Upon reaching Mugdha’s luxurious flat and a round of introductions, my BITSian juniors cooked some delicious late-night dinner for all of us. The menu was exquisite – Pasta, Chicken sandwiches, and cold drinks along with some chips and chocolate-chip biscuits; we couldn’t have asked for more! As it happens always, when a few BITSians get together, and then if they belong to the same Department too, there’s no stopping them from going into long sessions of lachha, ignoring the rest of the world. Pretty rude for an outsider, I agree, so to not look rude, we narrated some BITS stories to the non-BITSians in the room and the lachha-session continued for more than an hour or so.

Have you ever played Taboo? It’s a card-words game, an extremely enjoyable one. And, that is what we did for the next three hours after two more juniors joined us. Two teams of four each, Controlz Vs Non-Controlz; and boy! did we have a gala time or what! Controlz made a clean sweep, although my friends in the other team provided both good competition and great fun – with Dipsen using all of the Taboo words one after the other for cards after cards!

Oh Dipsen, you are the cutest I know.

Post 5.30am, the diligent student and the sane human in us woke up to reality. We forced my juniors to retire; they had to get to offices and internships in about three hours time.

We gathered our tired minds to work, and strained our eyes to read the fine print from our laptops. Only to fail, for slowly, all the four wickets fell one by one on the big black cushiony sofas into a deep slumber of about an hour!

By 8am, we were on the way back to our campus in a seven-seater. We had taken our camera with us, but in all the excitement and madness, we forgot to click for most part of the time. But, none of the eight would forget the night, ever. For Dipsen – it was the satisfaction of having done something outrageous, breaking college rules to be precise. For the two guys who accompanied us – it was the delight of having given us company through such madness. For my juniors – it was reliving Pilani days, graveyard shifts in the Controlz Booth to be precise. And for me – it was the addition of another great story that I would relay to my grandchildren!

Umm, This was Crazy – Part I

This post should have been here a long time ago. But, given the rather erratic MBA schedule and the regular succumbing to the whims and fancies of my professors, this post got inevitably delayed. Of course, I also went home in a rush which added to the further delay. Anyway, read on now.

Disclaimer: All names are real. And no incident here is fictitious.

This is the story of one night. A rather simple and funny story of just 12 hours!
It all started with Dipsen walking into my hostel room at 9pm. I was acting a slave to my laptop at that time, trying hard to start reading the case pending for Brand lecture the next day, with two more assignments nagging at the back of my mind. Ok, alright! I won't brag about my academic schedule here but, what I mean to imply is I was busy with terrible work load. (In fact you know, to validate, just that evening I was chatting with Raghu and Anish, and they would willingly agree that I was dead meat then!). Anyway. So, Dipsen walked in with the biggest grin and even more intense sheepishness written all over her face. Then, she blurted, "let's do something!". Puzzled I stared at her for some time, obviously prompting her to explain! The next couple of things she said sounded just like her - determined yet confused. Mm hmm, Determined because she was sure she had to do something. And Confused because she did not know how to.

Half an hour later, some part of her craziness rubbed off on to me. The "let's do something" had changed to "let's run off from campus". By this time, Nivi was also in my room and she looked at both of us very disapprovingly. And so, we knew she wasn't going to "do anything"!

Like some random shots, we phoned and Googled a few places around our isolated campus. When I say isolated, I really mean Isolated! There is nothing around my college campus apart from vast stretches of green and only green. And, as expected our search was all in vain. But, Dipsen wasn't to budge at all. About one thing, she was very true, "It's a chance of a lifetime - to have this kind of crazy enthusiasm. We might not have the time and the place to do this again!"

So, like all management graduates, we tried to first set up a team of like-minded people - people on campus who were ready to take on a crazy night. Most of them did not agree. We finally called up Nishadh, almost expecting him to get convinced in a jiffy. But it was Tj who unexpectedly agreed almost instantly! Finally, Nishadh gave in too. And so, we found our team.

But what was it that we were "to do" exactly? Haah! We hadn't decided yet.

As we all got ready to leave (with no planned destination), it was past 10pm. Now, like in all college campuses in real life, there are some rules you are supposed to follow. Like not go out of main gate without permission post 11pm, like sign in the Out-Register while leaving campus. And there are certain general rules of Life that you are supposed to follow too. Like not travel on a deserted road with no street lights in an auto at the middle of the night. Anyone would call you insane if you did that.

But, those are exactly the things we did that night. The four of us quietly packed our laptop bags, convinced each other that we were doing this now or never, and casually walked out of the main gate.

Monday, February 01, 2010

For The Last Time...

This is a good news to declare to everyone. I am on the brink of writing the last three-hour final examination (popularly called as Comprees in some part of the country and Externals somewhere else!) of my life. We've all had our share of waiting for this D-Day, and aloha, here it is for me! So, although a bit nostalgic about it somewhere within, the excitement is overpowering and it is definitely a moment to savour!
Needless to mention, with exams ending, the day tomorrow also brings the end of the long academic journey I embarked on at the age of 3! It is overwhelming to think of it that way. I Learnt and Un-learnt many things. But, this post is not to tell you about the serious and sentimental stuff (that'll bring an unnecessary halt to my last night-out preparation!); so, I am going to do what I logged on to do.  
As a tribute to all those days and nights of exam-preparation, tension, lectures, professors-teachers alike, techhy classrooms, out-of-syllabus incomprehensible questions, really weird invigilators, and to all those wandering imaginative brilliant minds -- suited to the occasion, here are five of my most favourite from the world of Calvin and Hobbes:

No one does it better than him; I am sure you agree! Cheers!

Saturday, January 02, 2010

The Blues and Hues

Disappointments are difficult to handle. You don’t know what you are disappointed with more – yourself or the situation you found yourself in. You don’t know whether it was you who did something wrong or if it was the situation that went against you. But clearly, you are dejected. And, that is why I presume disappointments are tough to handle. Because of the sheer ambiguity they carry with themselves. For a while, you are immersed in a feeling of loss – loss of something good, something you wanted but did not get; later perhaps in the lack of a feeling itself. The vicious circle that the mind then weaves gets you weary to even fight any longer.

I am talking about one such disappointment I experienced today. I will tell you why I call it an experience later. It has not been easy to overcome. Absolutely because of the confusion it clouded my mind with. I did not know who to blame, if at all I wanted to play the blame-game – myself or the series of events that led to the disappointing outcome; or both. And, I did not know of a way to find comfort in my chaos.

It wasn’t somehow a regular college day right from dawn; and yet I dared to march into the unknown armed with… nothing. Or maybe, with some hope against hope. And, as I sit here in the library reflecting on my day that just went by, one thing stands out. Life is not easy. There are days when you become a victim of Murphy’s Law and chance upon the sad realization that the road ahead might only get worse. And that’s exactly what happened today. Being hopeful is even tougher on days like these, but then that’s the best you can do. Perhaps the day was chalked out to be like this, says a friend philosophically. But I don’t know that. Yet, I mean.

Like in most Bollywood movies, where the good wins over the bad, the disheartened feeling also saw a heartening comfort in the end. Sipping on tea sitting outside the college mess, I had a ‘lecturing’ conversation with a friend. So when I say lecturing, you can imagine it to be completely one-sided. And it was not the lecture that was the actual take away. It was the fact that no matter how bad your day is, at the end of it you will always have friends to sit on your either side, who’ll try to make you believe that the script you have been writing for your life will win just when the time is right; that the blues within would soon be replaced with newer, brighter hues; and that there is no greater delight in having faith in yourself, patience with life and wielding your pen no matter what happens.

With the day at its end now, I realize I shall wake up again to dare and march into another unknown armed with… maybe, the experience of having done this before. And, that as they say, is Life!