Saturday, July 31, 2010

Sunday + Aug 1st = friendly memories

It was Sunday, the first of August, 1999, when I arrived at the city of Madras (Chennai, if you must) and then on I officially became a south Indian (the location was the only missing criteria) and have been so till date! Seven years of schooling in Madras, and four years of UG in Tiruchchirapalli have now gone past me. Today, in the streets of Coimbatore, where I was traveling in bus I noticed a placard, an advertisement outside a store - "August 1st - Friendship Day cards available". And all those memories from 11 years down the tunnel of life sprang up in a jiffy.

I remember, my uncle came to pick us up early in the morning from the railway station, the traditional "Central". The previous day was a rainy day, I suppose, the streets were wet and it was overcast. My parents were very happy to be back in the South, this time for a "longer-than-vacation" duration, permanency! By Wednesday, my sister and I got admission into a school (which was already 2 months into the academic term) and from Thursday onwards, we were attending the classes! So, like within 10 days I had made the transition from studying in a north Indian school to a south Indian school, and believe me, you don't want me to list out the differences. In about a month of so, I had made some good friends, made up for the lost studies (lucky, I came just after an exam...couldn't have been ready to face an exam as soon as I enter, can I? ) and improved my Tamil (Appu, remember "Avaadi"? :-P ). It did take me some three to four years to bring it to tolerable limits, but that one month was enough for people to accept me as a Tamilian ;-) .

Tomorrow will be Sunday, the first of August, 2010! The first Sunday of August is celebrated as Friendship Day, all across the world (I guess). Its what I figured out 11 years ago and confirmed it as the years went past by, never bothering to check the record books for instant clarification. Friendship... How shall I define it? Should I define it? It'll be a disgrace to someone's friendship to bring it within the bounds of a definition. One presents abundant care, kindness, love and affection put together in an infinitely sized nutshell named friendship! Each one has his/her own way to express it, and develop it.

Having been to four schools and college in my little life, I know that friendship is a divine state which can only be enjoyed from within. How I enjoy the company of my pals, you will never understand or feel and nor can I do the same about yours. But what I (/you/we) can appreciate is the bonding that happens sub-consciously! And, most of these bonds are not going to be broken, (sans some sad exceptions) come what may. Even if you are not in touch, don't worry, the friendship is not going to take a hit. I have seen this through my very eyes. My dad and his school-friends have been out of touch for 30 whole years, and when there was a re-union of their batch, he somehow got the contact numbers of his classmates, his best pals. You won't believe how much they remember about those good old days! They can visualize it all. I understood friendship that day! Time and distance are no factors! Origin and language are no barriers! Looks and brains are no catalysts! Its just the communication your heart makes with your friends'.

"Every one is unique, just like everyone else"

This is an oxymoron, but I hope you saw the truth in it. The four years at college exposed me to people from more than 15 cultures. People of all kinds mingled like dust in the wind (no reference to the classic, here) and a few particles stuck onto me. After four years of college, I have friends, some of whom I met on the fist day of college, in my second year of college, in the third year, and even in the last semester... And all of them came into my life because we share something in common. Or, supplement something, and make the friend's life seem more complete. Yes, without my friends, my life is incomplete.

Even at work, as if the corporate culture and multinational inter-culture can make any difference to my heart, I made so many friends that I am overwhelmed by the warmth I receive in the chilling cold workplaces every single day. The guys on the bus, the warm smile as soon as I get down, the numerous waves of hand and "good morning"s from myriad people, the talkative gup-shups not withstanding the lectures and sessions, eat-outs... Who said man (/woman) forgets his (/her) childhood (read as - college/school life) when he (/she) enters corporate life? Do you even know how just a smile can get you a friend? I know, I have. And the friends help me sustain the smile. I just pray the smile I give them all never fades.

To all my friends, wherever you may be :-

Wish You All A Very Happy Friendship Day!
I enjoy(ed) your company whenever and wherever I had it, and I (will) miss you all whenever I am away from you. I am sure our friendship will last a lifetime! Thank You, All!

With a broad genuine smile,
P Bharathram

Thursday, July 22, 2010


The invariable mark of a dream is to see it come true.

- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Every soul must dream. For, thats the only way You are going to realise what You want! For eleven years, I was carrying a want, that became a dream as the years went past by. And then came another "dream", the seeds of which were sown some 8 years ago. I couldn't have asked for a time that could mix the realization of the two dreams, peppered with nostalgia and served with happiness :-)

My family shifted to the South from the good ol' North (India) in 1999. I reached Madras on the 1st of August, a Sunday, the Friendship day. Since then, I've not been further North than Thirupathi till this past December. I used to miss the good old days when I used to board the same train - the Tamil Nadu Express, either at Nagpur (around 1.30 pm - 2 pm) or at Delhi/Hazrat-Nizamuddin and enjoy the rolicking ride down South. Especially the last two of those years when I was near Delhi... The little but old(est) ranges in the central India will leave you in amazement. I still remember, as a kid, I would enjoy the time in the afternoon when the train reaches one station near the foothills, and gets an additional engine to supply the extra workforce to drive the train through the tough terrain. Then for 30 or 60 or 90 for God-Knows-How-Many-Minutes, the train would go through tunnels, and cliffs and around the hills, just like the motion of a snake on a tree. From atop a hill, it was fun to spot another train some miles away, lower down the hill, traversing the same track. WOW! Some memories do not get erased, do they?

Well, after coming to college, I was even more wanting to get on a trip all the way to Delhi and return the same night on the very same train - "TN". It never materialized. Late in 2009, after 10 years, 4 months, 23 days, I did go on a trip up north, to the West Bengal, but that doesn't satisfy me. I just had to go on MY route!!!

Towards the end of my college life, I did have a special liking to the power sector, an interest that developed over the years since childhood, but, paid attention only in the recent past (read, 8th std onwards :-P ). And there it was - a ticket to power sector, waiting for me, behind the veils of an exam of unknown level of "toughness". I had no choice but to take it, having little luck with my attempts at the two power sector companies that visited my college. This had to be it, make it, or wait, and make it, or wait again and make it... I was so sure there was no "break it" in here. I just had to put my efforts in and make them count. After all, you have to chase the dream you built, else it'll leave you forever.

So, here I was, standing with a happy-go-lucky rank in the exam! Well, I was one step away from laying my hands on the power I let slip, err, I slipped, rather...not my mistake I missed it. Nevertheless, I was here, sniffing success, and about to munch it between my jaws. And right on top of it was the destination - Nagpur, the sweet old home of mine, so long ago, 13 yrs ago, the same old lovely, largely dry, but lovely all the same, Orange City of Nagpur. i had to be in Nagpur for the counselling. And yes, yes, yes, I got my ticket booked in the same old "TN Exp"!

After a tight day at Madras, where I had to wash a suitcase full of clothes and repack them and then start to the station for the journey, it was a pleasant trip to look forward to. A downpour signaled the train's departure from the station, and pretty soon I was defending my lower berth I didn't want to let go off to anyone. Very much unlike me (as you would've read in my previous post) I clung on to my lower berth like it was "my precious" and successfully slept the night in the (made to believe) cosy berth. Early in the morning, I think it was Warangal, when I woke up in time for my breakfast. The whole route was cloudy, and a la Coimbatore, not wanting to rain! Lovely, without doubt! My camera was burning in my suitcase, but I considered it wise not to take it out...I have to "dig" it out from the suitcase, actually, and it wasn't going to be worth all that drama, knowing that I had to set things right once again once done!

Soon, I was falling asleep once in a while (conducive weather, you see) and the tamil-only people opposite to me would wake me up to ask me what station it was stationed at, and which state it is in. After around 11 or so, there were a series of coal mines and half the place was black with coal. Large coal mines or debris could be seen in many places. And pretty soon it was Maharashtra, and I received a welcome message from my mobile service provider, which I didn't receive when I entered Andhra. It just felt like someone was welcoming me home. I had a quick lunch, it arrived quite late, and my subconscious tummy was wanting my mouth to push things faster. So, before I knew, my lunch was done and was all geared up to get down at the heart of Indian Railways. After bidding my tamil fellow travellers a goodbye (they were heading to Delhi), I hopped out of the train onto the busy station and walked out of the familiar (oooooh) station and suddenly found the place unfamiliar... where did the overbridge come from? What is that multi-storey building doing there? Oh yeah, dumb me! Its been 13 yrs, not 13 months! One gentleman whom I thought was waiting for his relative at the station, suddenly turned to me and said "Auto, sahab?" . And then, recovering from my daze, I told him the name of the hotel I booked and I was there in about ten minutes of the ride, that took me through the streets of the busy shopping hub Sitabur(l)di of Nagpur. Nothing, nothing has changed here. People flock in HUGE numbers here too, and more and more and more shops of myriad varieties are bound to woo you to buy stuffs which you might not have felt the need for a minute or two earlier. Its almost impossible to be in the place for an hour and just "window shop".

I checked into my "could've been better" hotel and without moaning much about it, took a bath and turned on the TV and learnt that India vs Sri Lanka episode number 8346524576545129918723987984's 2nd day was washed out due to rain. I felt Murali chose the wrong test to retire... Sigh... I couldn't stay put in the room for long, could I? I went straight down to the receptionist and asked him " Where is the closest Haldiram's ?". He replied "go down the street, turn right, its at the next road-junction. Just five minutes walk". With a big "thanks", I handed over the large brass keychain and jogged onto the streets, like its the route I have been walking day in day out for years! I had a sense of belonging to this place... Five minutes, yes, and there it was - Haldiram's , Sitaburdi! A two storeyed building, air-conditioned, uniformed work-force, ice creams, restaurant! This is far better than what it was... Wait a minute, where do I get chaat stuffs? A worker pointed to the first floor. It doesn't take me more that a few leaps (at 6'+ ) to reach the first floor and there was my order - Papri Chaat! And it was there, in 5 minutes! And I don't remember what happened for the next fifteen minutes, but I was lost in some awesome mix of taste and satisfaction, a feel of getting to something which you always wanted. I was in the taste capital of the Indian savories industry and treating myself to one of the best ever delicacies to fill your mouth with (hey you! yes, you! stop licking the screen... where is your hand-kerchief?)! And with the satisfaction of a rattlesnake which devoured a rabbit, I lazily came downstairs and looked at the fifty or so number of sweets. Amazed! People just came in and went out, like as if this is a grocer's. Mannnnnnnnnnn!!! how do you select? How does a tourist get his share of worth in such a little time? I settled for some laddus and a couple of other goodies (censored, to stop you from dehydratig :-P ). Then, I was off to explore a little bit more, to tell the truth - to burn the calories I put up till now from over the journey :-P . Well, whatever it was, it was going to get replenished pretty soon, because I-Spied the city's best veg restaurant, Neivedhyam within striking distance. I didn't have to go any further, I just returned to my room and said - 8:45, I know where to head to! And gobbled two or three of those ghee-wet laddus! hmmm... yummmmm...and, to cherish the taste, I am going to gobble one of them now, the one I brought all the way along with me. hold on folks... (3 minutes later)... aaaahhhhhhhhhhh. Muhahahahahaha! :-P . Its just as good as good can get :-)

So, my dinner - Neyvedhyam - butter naans and alu-gobi! My goodness! This was my best dinner since the dinner I had in a dhaba in the streets of Shimla in '98! Not for nothing are they the best veg restaurant in the city! With a tummy resembling a pot, I somehow carried myself to my room and reminded myself of the primary purpose of the trip!

And the purpose was solved, the dream was realised, and I did get my admission into the National Power Training Institute- Nagpur at around 11 am, 7 hours before I expected! Well, it was a joyous occasion! It was, like I said, a dream come true :-) . From "where do I eat my lunch" to " c'mon, lets celebrate", the change in moods was evident on my face, a wide smile, which took some time to come off. And pretty soon I was back in my room, and was telling the good news to family and all my well-wishers. And yes, the Indians bowlers were enjoying a good spell at that time, or so they seemed. After a while, I went out to Haldiram's yet again to celebrate - No pav bhaji yet, said the man behind the counter :-( . Papri chat, once more, and some fried rice please! (PS: fried rice ain't good there). Papri chat was once again the culprit in sweeping me off the floor for a few minutes!

I returned to my hotel room and planned my evening - eat at Haldiram's, eat Pav bhaji at haldiram's and buy goodies for home and the friends back in CBE! And in the evening, it was a plan well executed. I bought assorted varieties of sweets, so, my pals can nourish the goodness encapsulated in the little sweets! And then was the exercise we all have to do before we leave - pack. Space management! You never know how good your spatial mathematics is until you try to fit an elephant in your suitcase! You know, if you push that box a little to the left, and put that book in the outer flap and turn that set of clothes on its sides, you can find enough space to play snooker! All packed, all set, time to check out and leave the place! The smiling receptionist arranged for my trip to the station. It was late in the night and was raining, so, it was kind of him to do so. I reached the station some half an hour before the scheduled arrival of the train. And, not surprisingly, the train was delayed by half an hour and the lady on the mike was "sorry for any inconvenience caused". Well, we are used to this inconvenience, so we didn't mind :-P .

In the one hour time-window, I noticed how busy the station was. A train would arrive/depart/start/terminate at Nagpur every five-ten minutes. You can see people flooding the platforms every now and then. Vendors would carry their portable stalls on their shoulders over the over-bridge and rush to the platform where the new train is about to arrive. I pity those fellows, its almost 24x7 for them! Just 3 minutes before the arrival of my train, the train which was on that very platform departed, giving and impression that my train would be further delayed. But nope, my train was just behind this one, but it was creeping into the station, literally. I could've knelt and been faster on my kneels! It took five minutes of the period called "forever" for it to reach the station and after allowing the crowd mixed with kids and youths and middle-aged to pensioners, I boarded my coach the last. After a minute of making the people in my bay realise that I have a berth in my name, and it wasn't any of their five, I pushed my baggage under the seat, chained them and went to the (sigh) upper berth and slept.

In the morning, I realised two things - One, this train, which actually covers 50 hours of travel overall (mine was only half of it) DOESN'T HAVE A PANTRY CAR!!! And I was waiting forever for my breakfast, and ended up eating samosa, which neither my taste buds, nor my tummy appreciated! Two, my bay consisted of 8 more people on the five other berths - two couples, an old lady and 3 kids! Sheeesh, the kids! my my my! I was like, please, bring me to some station, I am hungry (I had a tea, I don't think even I can make tea as bad as that) and I want to sleep! Soon enough came Vijayawada (I think) and I bought myself a good hot meal and finished it even before the ones in my bay could settle on what to buy! Hunger... Drank half a bottle of water, waited for the train to start and then went to my berth and dozed off! Next thing I knew, it was about 3 30 or so. I got down and was sitting there, chatting with the dad of two of the three kids... Learnt they were going to Thirupathi and that they had little idea about South India!

After Thirupathi, I was free! No one else (almost) in my bay for the rest of my journey! And Coimbatore was scheduled to be reached at 1 15 am, so, long time to go from the 5 45 that was on the clock at Thirupathi! I ate a little more there, and then went to sleep, then was chatting with a fellow passenger (railways worker) for some time till he got down at the station, which was the first one inside the TamilNadu limits on the route. Then I went off to sleep furthermore and woke up for good at Erode. Coimbatore was just 2 hours from here and I was in no mood to risk a miss. I wanted to be awake and window gazing was not a bad idea. the cool night air blew across my face as I blankly looked into the dark world, glittering in patches of street lights. And in about 1:50 hrs, it was there, finally... Coimbatore! the very place I had left some four nights ago. But, this time, it was much eerie, silent, empty. An auto ride in the cool environment (28.4 degree Celcius) took me to my room, and the nostalgic watch on my left read "1.45 am". I informed my parents who were both awake around that time, so all could sleep with ease now.

But I was not done yet, I badly wanted to see the way Pakistani bowlers thrashed the Australian line up! Unable to find a downloadable highlights package, i settled to allow the webpage buffer the highlight and thought of watching it in the morning. I had informed my parents to wake me up in the morning. I didn't want to miss my bus to office (just 5 hours away). Well then, it was time to sleep. I kissed my admission letter and then put it back safe inside and within a second or two, I was asleep!

The best trip I've had in the decade! Two dreams coming true at the same time, at/to one of the finest locations I could recollect.

Well then, all I can say is, chase your dreams, whatever it may be, and I'm pretty sure you will reach it one day!

--comments, suggestions, views welcome :-) --

Monday, July 12, 2010

Songs I Love

I am not one of those people whose ears have a four feet long extension of the earphone wires all day long, nor do I blare music all throughout the day, nor am I an ardent-est fan of any particular singer or band, though I do like a couple of them. But, I love to listen to music, of some soothing genre, mostly soft, with some touching lyrics. I usually am doing almost nothing while listening to the songs. Even now, the songs are being played, but you have no idea how many times I pause the song to write/type or pause my typing to listen... The latter outscores the former! Songs are one of the very few things that I am very "choosy" about. I usually am flexible, whatever you might want to call it, but yes, I am gifted with some tolerance, patience, flexibility, and a non-so-adamant or specific liking to things.

I have a little collection of songs that I keep playing over and over again, maybe around 150 or 200 songs. Once in a while (while > 1 month) I do listen to other songs in the 2000+ songs directory on my computer.

(right click and open in another window, to listen to the songs)

I like many, or most, Atif Aslam's songs. He has a wonderful voice box, a superb voice, that makes me melt any time, anywhere. For the past one month, I get up in the morning and play the song "Tu Jaane Naa" from "Azab Prem ki Ghazab Kahani". My day starts with that piece of beauty! Jal Pari, Doorie and Meri Kahani, his three most famous albums are always there to sweep you off your feet! Aah, what timing! Now, the media player toggled to play "Maula" by Atif Aslam. Fast paced, but like I say, his voice is superb! Must listen. You all must be familiar with the likes of Bheegi Raatein, Tere Bin, Pehli Nazar Mein (Race)... Well, those were just samples of his brilliance.

I was once browsing through my directory for an Atif song, when I came across "Aas Paas", a duet sung by Hadiqa Khayani and Atif Aslam. I was listening to it for the first time, and then, it just stuck to my skin. What a voice, this lady has! For the past two weeks, this is the song has been accompanying Tu Jaane Naa. Its always nice to wake up to those beautiful songs :-) . I have never felt the need to listen to any other song of her, thinking I may not listen to this as frequently if I fall in love with something else. I just love this song.

A lady with such a smooth voice, Hadiqa, and my next few line are about a completely different singer. I once heard this bomb shell of a voice chord sing a particular song. It was aproximately 3 years ago when I heard it. I had to make my roommate play it thrice in a row to satisfy my senses that it was a human who did sing the song. The song - "Golmaal" from the movie Golmaal. The singer - Anushka. What does she eat? What does she drink? Man!!! Unnnnbelievable. Her voice dances in mid air, and for moments I am in mid air, till the song ends and I have to realise a particular 9.81 m/sec^2 exists! She was there Golmaal returned as Golmaal Returns, for "Tu Saala Kaam se Gaya". Well, not as great as Golmaal, which is why I still don't want to listen to any other song by Hadiqa, and keep loving Aas Paas till I can. But yes, Anushka did take me back to the Coke-V Pop-stars days, when I was following her and her then four buddies race to the top of India's first pop singing talent hunt. Hum Naye geet Sunaye being my personal favourite from their album, VIVA.

Sticking to lady singers, my personal favourite, and maybe most others' too for other reasons, the lady whose voice is ten times more beautiful than herself, Shreya Ghosal! Be it "Pal pal Har Pal" or "Yeh Ishq Hai" or "Salaam-E-Ishq" the numerous duets with Shaan and Sonu (two of the best hindi playback singers the 21st century is lucky to have). But, I have one personal favourite. "Leja Leja" from the album "Ustad and the Divas". This song, sung by Shreya, and Ustad Sultan Khan, is one that can make me freeze and listen to it! I had it as my ring tone for a long long time. I had to change my ring tone, because, my ears were more prone to getting intoxicated by the song, than allow my brain to process the information- "YOU ARE GETTING A CALL, PICK IT UP, YOU MORON!". Many times, someone'd call early in the morning on weekends, and I would lazily be half awake, smile hazily into thin air, sitting up on the bed, and after the ring tone dies off, get back to sleep :-). I used to play this song so much, that my wing mates used to barge into my rooms, armed at times, to hit "alt+f4" or any other feasible alternatives to pause or mute or close it down. My room-mate was fed up and grew immune to it at one stage. Some even thought I had a crush on the girl who features in the song's video. She is beautiful, yes, but I don't have a crush on her, sorry. My eyes and brains and ears and heart work independently with select connections alone completed :-) , not this one.

Ustad Sultan Khan, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, and, Nusrut Fatel Ali Khan - the three easiest picks I can get to portray the brilliance of Sufi music. Sufi music is so soothing. just bring these names up because, its what we can relate to so easily. But, its not even 0.1% of what sufi music is about. This music can be heard even as far as Turkey and the northern Africa, Egypt primely, and most of the middle east, Arabs, Afghan, Pakistan, India and some of this touches other eastern parts of Asia. One may also find touches of Sufi music in Rabbi and Kailash Kher. A simple song by Rahat Fateh, one of the most lively ones, from the movie Namaste London - Main Jaha Rahoon. It just completely describes the feeling of a man away from home. Piece of excellence.

My sister is a big fan of Shaan, and I have been mindly infuenced by her. But, one cannot overlook the brilliance he carries in his voice chord, which he delivers with a smile. Almost all song from his album "Love-o-logy" which we got when we bought a stereo system 11 years ago, still lies as one of the prized collection! trust me, you don't want to miss this album. You will see that Shaan is the same guy now, which he was all those years ago!

There is this one song, by another famed singer, but I like it not for the singer's fame, but for the sheer brilliance of music and singing that goes in sync only to leave you in awe! Its "Soona Soona" from the album Classically Mild by Sonu, who has been a superb figure in the playback industry. He knows which songs to pick for himself, loves classical, and delivers the best goods! Butttt...Classically Mild is one of the best fusion albums you would want to listen to.

One of those very few fast paced songs that ever caught my imagination, is "Breathless" by Shankar Mahadevan. Its not a rap, but its just a superb fast paced singing, with beautiful lyrics to go along with the impeccable soundtrack! It truly does leave you breathless! I am no big fan of him, I'm not a big fan of someone to then select a favourite song. My ears go on a dollar-store shopping and pick whatever they like. This was one of those random flicks!

There are many other songs, which I love, but am quite tired to add them to this long post and tell why I love them. But I will list them below. I bet many of you will love most of them

Uff Teri Ada - from Karthik Calling Karthik

Tadbeer Se Bigdi Hui Taqdeer (Destiny Mix) - from Bluffmaster. You will find out why I (a remix- non-lover) like this song

Ajj Din Chadeyya - Love aaj Kal

Bheegi Bheegi - Gangster

Aye Bachchu - Ghajini

Jiya Dhadak Dhadak - Kalyug

Alvida, In Dinon - Metro/by KayKay

Laree Chooti - Xulfi

Well, unable to recollect more songs now. I can't do things by force, so, if at all there are some more to come in.

I fancy hindi songs over tamil or english, and hence have elaborated the ones in hindi. I do have some favorites in english and tamil, apart from these hindi ones. Also some arabic, and other languages...some other time, maybe.

Comments, views and suggestions always welcome :-)

Till next time,
Bubbyeee from me :-)

Friday, July 9, 2010

Tall Tale

Well, well, well. Let me brush you up with how(/at what rate) I "grew" up this way. At the age of 5, I bumped into a fairly high table and hurt my temple. At the age of 10 I was taller than my refrigerator. At 14, I was taller than my dad, and before 16 I was the tallest in my immediate family. And today I stand excess of 6 feet in height, and its tough being so, in India atleast. I will list a few reasons, err, lets say, instances to portray the same.

I have had many a journeys on the Indian Railways, and during most of them, would be confronted by an elderly person who would have an upper berth waiting for me, no matter what berth I had booked. Some years ago, in meter gauge (is it spelled right? I am not sure) the upper berth might've better served as a luggage compartment. I usually slither into the place like a caterpillar. I can never sit up there. And I've had torrid times, including one in which someone tried to steal my wallet from the upper berth of the adjacent bay! I was just 12 or 13 and found it uncomfortable.

Bus journeys - nightmares!!! One, the seats are so close, that my knees get tapped on the seat infront so often, my knee cap bone gets lost sometimes! And the push back seats! sigh! Not only are my push backs either too small, or too closely spaced or don't work, and then the agony of facing the sudden push-back "surprises" from the person infront of me! Doing anything in the bus is tough - be it reaching for my pocket, reading a magazine, craning my neck down to look out of the window, get up from my seat, avoid bumping into the short doorway, and most of all, ignore the whispers amongst all the people in the bus who think I am an alien!

Clothe-shopping. how can anything be tougher for a tall fellow? Either my trousers are too short, or too wide. Either my formals are too loose, or the cuffs are too short! This is some hectic thing - getting a suitable clothing. Well, now, I have to import it. If I wear all of what I get here, then, people would think the circus is in town!

Now, the furniture. Except your home, you/I will not get a comfortable furniture to relax, or atleast, sit with ease. At my new office, the chairs are height-adjustable. Even at its highest point, my legs are a bit crossed. So, if not for the little breaks once in two hours, some parts of my body will really ache. For two days here, I was reeling under severe back and neck pain. While sitting, please make sure your whole body weight is distributed over your thighs as well as your feet, not just feet and butt. It pains an awful lot! No joke! I raise my chair so much that from behind, it looks like someone, whose chair is a foot higher, and then, there is my head which adds another foot over it. Comfortable for the ones who want to sleep, not so for the ones who want to see the board or the screen in front of me! Merits and demerits come along...

People. This is like one of the worst part of being so tall in a country like India! People in India love to talk behind your back, and then act like they are angels. Well, atleast we can see the good faces there. But there is a worse classification - the one in which the people are right infront of you, look into your eyes and tuck the person next to him/her and whisper something. They want to tell you that they have an opinion about you, but will not tell you. And then the avalanche effect catches up and many have had a look at you. Even if you think a stereotype guy looks at any passing girl from top to bottom once, I bet any stereotype Indian scales me atleast twice, on an average! Sorry ladies, you know who gets more importance here :-P . Things get worse when there are kids! They come towards me, stop some five feet away, and gaze at me (imagine you are standing a km/mile away from the leaning tower of Pisa, or the Eiffel or the Statue of Liberty!), and bring out weird expressions too! Today I saw a family, dining in the restaurant. First the two kids look at me in amazement, when I got up for a while. And then the parents look at me, look at their kids and then look at each other and look at me again! Hey!!! What am I? monkey from the zoo?

Indian sentiments. I love this discussion. Can someone please explain how a person't height is going to affect his or her marriage? Someone saw me a few years ago and said, "Stop growing, else you won't get a bride!" . Like I can say to myself, "ok, my body, let us stop growing today, we will grow two inches in August, one in October and one more in December. Then we will have an online poll to see how much the people want me to grow next year, and then we will plan for the next year". How am I supposed to tell my body not to grow, or worse, become shorter? If I love the girl, if my family and her family love each other, the marriage will happen! I have absolutely no idea what height has got to do, that people include height as a criteria for consideration in marriage (It was not like I was reading it for a purpose), but thats what they put in the matrimonial column, right? Sigh!

Sometimes, people bump into me and think I am a senior. It happened in school, happened in college, happened at work too! People think more the height, the older they are (after some definite age, they do apply this logic). Sometimes works good, but many times, not. I am now to this place and I get lost while exploring and ask for directions, and the guy replies "You must be knowing this place inside out. Funny, you ask for directions" as if he has seen me all his life loitering in the same aisle!

Automatic "do-this-that"er. People will somehow notice me from any nook and corner of the room or bay or coach and ask me to lift their luggage upto the luggage cabin or remove it from there or put on the berth, or reach for something. In some cases, I don't blame them, they can't reach it. But in other cases, I am made to do this just because they need not stretch their lazy arms! Sigh! excuses do flash right in front of their faces.

"Long"evity. Long fingers, long legs, long arms. Good? Maybe. But not always. Long also means restricted. Its very difficult to move your body parts without hearing voices ranging from "careful", to some un-mentionable swears to some painful reflexes from others. Once, I whipped a person behind me when I was stretching after a long boring lecture! A stream of "sorry" followed then on. yesterday, I spilled half a cup of tea and half a glass of water (well, tea and water are different here, unlike in my college, where tea is just brown coloured water) because the table was too low, and I had to put the plate down with one hand, tea cut in the other and a bag over my shoulder that slipped to create the perfect scene to start a morning with all eyes on me! While typing on the keyboard, both pinkies are almost useless. My ring finger is enough to reach the farthest keys. Even if I now want to use my pinky, it is not trained enough to work so.

Now I am thinking if there is a tenth reason that I may add up over here... I just counted, and saw that I had nine above. Didn't plan to have a certain number, but just thought maybe, 10 is better than 9. Won't advertise it as "10 reasons for.... ". though. Planning ten is difficult. Either you fall short or exceed it and don't know what to eliminate.

Last problem, (let me turn the tables around) is that most of you are short! By "short" I meant real short. Yes, all are short to me, but many many many are very very very short! Many times, people think I am deaf. Actually, the reason I couldn't hear them was because their mouth was far away from my ear(s)! I have to crane down every now and then to listen to what they have to say! And the girls are worse! I had a back ache after the first week at office. Had to introduce ourselves to each other, and thus I met some short colleagues, who looked at me and said "You are very tall" in many accents. How do you think I can react to that line? It wasn't new to me, so, I didn't get that natural smile that people wear on their faces on hearing a complement. But yeah, I did force it up in the end. I had to bend to bring my head lower, like a giraffe. If you actually played a video tape of me that day and played it in fast-forward mode, I was like a Japanese, who is customarily welcoming people with the half bows with a smile on his face. Get it? Now stay in the bent post for two mins, and you'll realise the "pain" of bending. Reminds me of Hema Malini, who had to climb over a stool/desk to tie Amitabh's tie in the movie Baghban! Well, I usually sit down, so that I can relax, AND you can speak to my ears :-)

So, lets hear from you all about what you feel about height in general, taller ones in particular, issues, incidences, views etc... ?

Writing long posts is a tall order, but its a flow of words that makes it short. Time will only lengthen the cause, not influence the idea. Let your thoughts come out rapidly, do not restrict it to the boundaries.

Sadly, my posts are a bit long sometimes. May not be of the king of length you see in most posts, but hopefully the post carries something good and worth reading between the title and the sign-off line :-) . Or, so I hope :-)

Comments and suggestions welcome :-)
Until next post,


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

This past weekend, it was Karur

Yet another weekend after my entry to my new city, Coimbatore! Till now, I haven't stayed (back) here on a single Sunday. And guess what, its not going to be this weekend either!

Before I start, I want to talk about the term "weekend". Here, I get only the Sunday as the off-day, and people say that in the Roman calendar that is followed, Sunday starts the week. So, literally, I don't get weekends off!

Back to the reality, please. So, yet another Sunday dawns... Wait, it hasn't dawned yet. Its 4.45 am. I have to board a 7 am train and I planned to depart from "home" by 5.45 am. Well, 4.45 was too early, I had a series of alarms to follow up every five mins. So, with some confidence and sense of laziness, I snoozed the alarm and went back to sleep. I woke up pretty soon, I thought. But I read the time as 5.30 am!! Gosh! I must get going, and FAST, I said to myself! And with a super fast pace, I was ready in about 25 minutes and left my room by 6 am.

It was another typical cool and windy morning, encapsulated by clouds which refused to rain. I was in the bus stop, and was waiting for a bus. There were some three or four people there, traders I presume, with some packed trade goods with them, ready to board it in a bus, if only the conductor would allow them to..

A little while later, I took a bus to the "Gandhipuram" bus stop and then to the railway station to board the day train to Karur. I had a couple of Vada for a mini breakfast, and bought a newspaper and a bottle of mineral water for the journey. It was about three weeks (barring a weekend in Madras) that I had a newspaper for myself. I love to go through the paper for about half an hour usually, but the habit hit the pause button after moving to CBE. So, I was engrossed in the newspaper, which had interesting articles ranging from one on famous footballers who wore jersey number 10 to one on Dhoni's engagement. Then, subconsciously I noticed that the train had chugged off

In came the tea vendor and I had a cup of tea... The problem was, it was hot (good...but there is a twist) and the cup had a leak! Now you see the problem? I had to drink slowly on one side, and wipe the once-in-a-while droplets falling off the cup onto me or the little table/board too! Ever had been in situation with a leaking cone ice-cream? Well, this was similar to that. A little while later, after my tea activity was over, I had my breakfast (masala dosa) and then got up to dispose the box. Found the dust bin but not the wash basin. So, I had to go across the vestibule to the wash basin in the adjacent compartment, and in the process my head got bumped into the low lying coach's vestibule door. This was episode #243 of "Indians are short"!

Now, the train was picking up good speed. On its way out of the city, I was able to spot my place of residence too! Well, thats like half of what I know about the city! And then, I was either reading the newspaper or gazing out of the window at the greenery! I had just been on the very same route three Sundays ago, so, there weren't very many new things to see, but yes, for any nature lover, the green fields with little hills in the back drop was a nice view!

The train was not very amusing, this time. I usually have amusing people around me during train journeys, but not this time. People were so engrossed sleeping or eating or chatting in low voices amongst themselves. It sure was a lazy Sunday. Within two and a half hours I was in Karur.

I got off my station and called up my friend who said he will be there to pick me up in a short while. Now I was scanning this little station. It had three platforms, calm, less people, and clean! And, since my friend would be here in a while, I thought I would as well check for my return trip ticket. It was available, so I went to the reservation center (also inside the station) to book it. It was atwo minute job - fill the form, hand it over to the person sitting in front of the computer, hand over the fee and get the printed ticket. Its what I was an expert in, having perfected the "art of booking tickets" over the past four years of college life. Now, my experience had to "wait" as the person in front of me was cancelling around 10 tickets and booking a few more... And this guy would keep all the forms to himself, like he owned them! Silly people! My friend had to wait for me now! I felt a bit sorry for making him wait! After five minutes, I got my chance and was done in a jiffy!

So, I stepped into the "metropolitan city" of Karur (my friend's description of the city :-) ). It was a calm, green town. Lots of green pastures, farms, tree plantations - the fresh air was enough to tell a blind man about how green it is! We rode to his home, on his two-wheeler. I met his family and then had a delicious lunch. First home-made delicacy away from home after a long long time! He took me to a tour of his home, and I was reminded of my first home, in Bhilai, where I grew up. And, instantly, I took a liking to the place. It was in a very neat and calm neighbourhood, had a similar floor plan and garden! Nostalgic!

Then we went upstairs to room on the terrace. And watched a movie, "Iruvar". He said I would like the movie. In the past couple of years in college, I came across the movie on the local network, but never played it. the songs were good, but never got the urge to watch it. Now I was watching it, and I knew if he really did say I would like it, then I should watch it! We did, and I liked the movie! I don't want to talk about the movie for my own safety, those who have seen it may agree with it :-P .

Movie done, we were discussing about random topics from hostel issues to people to cricket to movie clips to thoughts on future. And boy, it was just like being back in that hostel in one corner of the campus, where such discussions were like salt and pepper of our life! We were now assisting each other over what we can do in the future et al. A power cut was timely, as the weather was very good and perfect catalyst for more and more talk. And then, we arrived at the topic we both love to discuss - cricket :-) . From Gavaskar to Cheteshwar Pujara, everyone featured in the conversation and many this and that topics of crikets were discussed! And yes, both of us were of the same opinion over the upcoming series - India vs Sri Lanka - "BOOOOOORING" (a little respect, since its test). Really, who wants to watch the same to team compete 30 times every two years!

After loads of chit-chat, the clock was nearing 6 pm, and I had to leave for the railway station. It was 5.50 when we left and five seconds after he had started the bike, I realised I forgot to put back the mobile phone charger in my bag, which I had used there! So, after getting it back from upstairs, we were off (@ 5.55 pm ) and we reached the station at about 6.10 pm I think. It was about drizzling and looked like in Karur, the clouds were hypocritical, as the drizzle became stronger by the minute. So, I thanked my pal for the wonderful day and asked him to get back to his home before the rain started to pour. And we bade each other goodbye, not knowing when we would meet each other next!

This train journey, back to CBE was a short one for me, because I was sleeping through most of it! And when the train arrived in CBE, I took the bus(es) to my neighbourhood, had dinner and then on, it was back to the normal life at Coimbatore... Another week to look ahead for, another Saturday to miss, another few days of training, maybe another weekend out of Coimbatore coming up.

Lets see how it goes
Until next time, Bubbyeee :-)