Friday, December 31, 2004

The Year Gone

If I try to think of it, then it draws blank. Can not remember any highs, except, perhaps, this Blog.

Was having usual bad time for long now. Thought it was a passing phase. Things will change for better. Every book, every story talks about changing fortunes. Even most of the films have happy ending. But it was not happening. Not for me, at least. So much so, that it was getting difficult to concentrate even on work.

Till date, I have been lucky with friends. But past two years, there has been an ebb on that front too. School ones, with whom I was probably the closest, are scattered. The college ones have moved on with life. It is pitiable that even in this electronic age, we don't exchange emails for weeks. Not even those stupid forwards. Itney Bure Din Kabhi Na Soche The!

Most of the office ones, have left the company, or even the city. Some of them live in fringe corners of the city. Mulaqat Kya, Jumma Jumma Bhi Baat Tak Nahin Hoti.

So, as fate would have it, in the heat of a moment, during a lonely June weekend in office, I decided to put up my blog. I reasoned to myself, at least, there would be some diversion, if not a break.

But didn't know what to pen. I was never good in writing. I don't have any creative juice in me. What would be the topics ? Will they be personal? How long this mania last?

But now that I had taken a plunge, I knew topics will also come. Will cross the bridge, when it comes. So it started this way, and now it's six months. This, incidentally is my 200th post.

For my happiness, I will call this a reasonable success. I continued on because of blog friends. People have been reading, and even responding. More importantly, though problems are still there, it has been successful in diverting my attention.

Bringing all old friends back on discussion fold was also another reason behind it. So gradually, as blog moved on, I invited all of them. On that front, it is not a great success. Barring five or six of them, no one else comes around.

So all my new and old friends, wish you all the best for this new year, and rest of your lives. Have a very prosperous and healthy new year. See you next year!

Thursday, December 30, 2004

The Interview

Months ago, I wrote a post about my dear friend, Timir. I had also mentioned about the classic interview he gave during campus recruitment to land the job. His CPI, which was paltry 5.5, had hit the rock bottom of the entire Aerospace department. It was never believed that with this academic record, he would ever get a job, leave alone the first one in the department.

Well, many a beliefs were about to be shattered soon.

Even when he had cleared the written tests, to be short listed for the interview, along with 36 other B.Techs & M.Techs from various departments, people still thought this was a mere flash in pan. It was indeed difficult because the company was calling in the descending order of the written marks achieved, and his number was at about 25 out of 37.

The number 37 was far too much to select just 8 or 9 people. Even 25 was also on the farther side. And to top that, his pathetic grades. Nothing short of miracle was needed. But miracles never happen. They are created by genius. And Timir, the genius he was, to the utter shock of entire batch, pulled off one.

Interviewers were two - the senior Director, a guy, and the senior HR Manager, a lady. To every person, they were asking two geometry related questions, one puzzle of sorts, while rest was general HR staff. But the problem was that they had a limited set of geometry and puzzle questions, so they were getting repeated. By the time ten guys were interviewed, every still-to-appear had most of the questions by heart.

This was the key for him. He realized that since every one is answering those puzzles, there is no point answering same ones. He needed to do something different. And different he did.

On his turn when he was asked about the first puzzle, he replied that he has heard of it, so please ask a different one. He repeated same answer for next three ones. Perplexed, they enquired about the reason of his knowing all of them. He told them the truth that he has heard them from others. They were highly pleased by his honesty.

Then they asked some different questions, that included a puzzle which till then nobody had answered. Since, there was no of dearth gray matter, it was cracked. This, along with his honesty, had done the trick. His frank admissions about his low CPI, which by then had ceased to be a factor, further sealed the case for him.

Next morning when the list of selected candidates was announced, the only ones from my department were myself and him. Kalpana Chawla's foray in space, and Timir Ranjan Chatterjee's landing the first job in Aerospace department were the most widely talked about topics in both, student and faculty circles of IIT Kanpur that year.

My Last Post On Timir - Rememberance

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In Mood With The Times

This one paragraph from Madhushala, by HariVansh Rai 'Bachhan', explains the irony of the current situation. Couldn't help posting them.


But again, those valiant stories of self sacrifice, especially by some young women, bring some joy. Not only people were saving some fellow villagers, there were some perfect strangers doing the same, and gave up their lives. Still, these are the mixed feelings. Not sure whether to feel proud of them, or sorry for them.

My Previous Post On Poems - Bachpan

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

The Silver Line In Dark Cloud

Adversity has the effect of eliciting talents, which in prosperous circumstances would have lain dormant. At the same time, in some, it brings out the hidden fiend, i.e. Mr. Hyde out of Dr Jeckylls.

Dark cloud first. In Kerela, God's Own Country, thieves have suddenly surfaced up. They have been looting deserted houses, though hardly anything is left in there. To call it sick would be the understatement, but not shocking. I knew, sooner or later, the fiend will come out.

Now the silver line. In Varanasi, the street beggars, who have been dying of cold, if not hunger till yesterday, have been contributing to the relief fund. This, I would call supreme sacrifice because they hardly have anything to contribute. It would also mean skipped or half meals. This was pleasantly shocking, but again Ghayal Ki Gati, Ghayal Janey, Aur Na Janey Koi.

I remember during Rajdhani mishap in Bihar, while the local villagers were trying to bring trapped passengers to safety, in the pitched darkness of night, the police Jawans were caught stealing jewelry and money from the bodies dead and wounded.

Likewise, when that killer fire broke out in Delhi's Upahaar theatre in 1997, even as a holidaying Army Major gave up his life while trying to save the trapped people, some perverted youth were seen molesting the hapless women.

And I don't even want to talk about the fiends who surfaced in Godhra, and later, during riots.

For my comfort, I would ignore the clouds, and cling to silver line, hoping that former would be only the minor aberrations. More an exception than a rule, or else the civilization wouldn't have survived so many thousand of years.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

And We Want To Go To Moon

An earthquake, which measured 9.2 on Richter scale! Believe me, it doesn't get more severe than this. It's all time second highest ever in severity . Gujarat one was below 7.0( The date is again 26). Whatever the officials say, the devastation is much beyond they claim. Dreadful, as it may sound, but casualty is going to cross much beyond 50,000. Even 100,000. Take my word.

Such was the intensity of the quake that it created a crack 20m deep, and 1200 KM wide , much the worse, at the sea bed. Had it not been sea bed, casualty would have more just above the epicenter in Indonesia, but the Indian subcontinent would have been spared of the disaster. Unfortunately, that was not to be and for the first time death came with a new name in the region - Tsunami.

30 ft high walls of surging waves, riding at the speed 600 miles per hour, hit the coastal regions. And that's what cost the maximum damage. Such high severity of the quake produced so much turbulence and kinetic energy, that these marauding waves were able to cause so much havoc, even 1500 miles away.

Almost like a missile, where also, the source and target are miles away. But that also means, that we had 1.5 hours to save Andaman and Nicobars, and 2.5 hours to save the entire eastern coast. If not the property, then at least the life. But like always, we couldn't.

Why, we can't even detect floods which are a slow and steady process. Our satellites, costing billions to exchequer, are there just to provide cloud pictures. They are no good than moon, the natural satellite of the planet. The weather forecast is legendry, with fishermen making a point to venture into sea, when advised otherwise. Add to this, the cost of maintaining scientists, who make these satellites, that too with imported technology.

There is no permanent or qualified disaster management committee. It is always made adhoc, that too of the good for nothing Parliamentarians. To show off, we have a Shivraj Patil, the Home Minister, and MP from Latur, who faced a similar situation in Latur earthquakes, more than a decade ago, heading the committee. It was mismanagement galore, then.

Our only ray of hope are ever dependable defense personnel, and good Samaritan locals. They will fight it out for the disaster struck. For those who are affected, and are lucky(or unlucky) to be alive, life again starts from scratch. It is really a heart wrenching sight, seeing one's loved ones being snatched away within seconds, in front of one's eyes, without being able to do anything.

Deplorable that we can't save our own citizens, and still want to go to moon.

Monday, December 27, 2004

Kabul Mein Bhi Gadhey Hote Hain

Lucknow is a city where camaraderie between the neigbours is legendry, so much so, that some people even go to the extent of dumping their own garbage in front of their neighbour's house. 'Mine garbage => your garbage' funda.

It is not that there is no colony sweeper. People, usually put their garbage in front of their house, and sweeper comes and collects it. But due to some inexplicable reason, some people can't help not curbing this irresistible urge.

On this issue, Pune was a refreshing change. Have seen people walking quite a distance to dump their garbage in corporation provided huge dustbins. Though garbage may not exactly go 'inside' it, none the same, it is thereabout. People come even from slums, and even as a late as 10 in the night. That was a real revelation.

But yesterday, it was time for another revelation. I was visiting a hospital in a very posh locality of Pune - Model Colony. From the window of the room I was sitting in, I could clearly see the first floor of the adjoining Bungalow.

It was a huge one, even by Pune's standards, because even those elegant, middle class MIG row houses, found in abundance in Lucknow, are termed as Bunglow over here, and are rare.

A gentleman, who seemed to be in his 50s, was enjoying his breakfast in the balcony. Like the house, he was also huge, and seemed extremely well-to-do type even if he was a tenant at that place. During one of my passing gazes, his behaviour looked a bit queer.

He was making furtive glances, almost like a thief before going for his kill, and between one of those glances he suddenly lifted some thing from his plate, some unfinished stuff probably, and very quickly hurled it across the boundary wall, traveling with the smallest trajectory, crashing bang into hospital campus. Satisfied, he was again back to his normal self, digging into his plate.

I was a bit surprised, as it was relatively unexpected thing to occur, but then I said to myself, that no matter how many good varieties of horses it may boast of, but still Kabul Mein Bhi Gadhey Hote Hain!

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Friday, December 24, 2004

Merry X'Mas

Merry X'Mas everyone. Could have been merrier, if it had fallen one day earlier. No Santa on the sledge for me. Might have to work on weekend, as well, though not sure.

Got to see off a friend tomorrow. Another one might be visiting my place. One luckier one is almost off to Mahabaleshwar for the weekend. And yes, the newly wed couple is back from their Honeymoon. This monday is going to hit him most. Back to office, back to terrafirma.

So see you all on monday. Merry Christmas once again!

Who Is Proud Of Delhi ?

Yesterday, Gaurav(Sabnis) raised an interesting question in his Blog. His question, to paraphrase, was that while every one criticizes various aspects of Delhi, there is absolutely no Delhite who stands for the city and counters this claim. The alleged absence of any pride is what baffles him.

Though, I myself no Delhite, I still placed my opinion. Then I thought, since I had made a detailed comment, I would re-organize them and put it as a post. Here are my views.

There is no doubt that Delhi these days makes news, usually, because of wrong reasons. Still, I believe, we as the Indians should be proud of this city, and Delhites should be even more.

It has been the un-official and official capital of the country since the time of PrithviRaj Chauhan, or in fact, Harsh Vardhan. If one believes, even the Pandavas' KhandavPrastha was not far away. Almost every decade, it has faced some sort of foreign invasion, be it Mahmood Gaznvi, Mohammad Gauri, Nadir Shah, Ahmed Shah Abdali, or even Babur. Britishers too didn't spare it.

Most of these invaders were barbaric looters, and the city has always played the first front. People have been plundered, maimed, and killed brutally. Before Mughals, even the rulers kept changing every 30 years. Mohammad Bin Tuglak and Akbar even tried to change the capital.

The last nail in the coffin was stuck by the partition. People arrived and left in HUGE numbers(The largest exodus ever in world history). There was not a single family who did not lose some dear one in that mass exodus and killing. A complete generation was scarred for life. The violence and immigration which Mumbai has been suffering from past 15-20 years, Delhi has been suffering from it for more than 1000 years now. We are lucky that we have been living in it's hinterland.

This amount of relentless turmoil can kill the basic fiber of any city. World history is proof of that. Most of the ancient kingdoms sites have disappeared. But despite of all these adversities, Delhi survived. It's people always rose from the dead like Phoenix, though, this might be a reason for a degree of mistrust amongst it's denizens.. After partition and English rule, people were left penniless. But by sheer survival instincts, grit, and hard work, they are prosperous and happy.

The current bane is also age old. The power center. All the crooks, today, embrace politics, while the enterprising ones stay away from it. The clan of the politicians is large, and their habits are infectitous. The misdeeds of these people and their like minded cronies gets highlighted, while the true essence of this great city remains hidden.

So for rest of us Indians, it's very important to change our perspective, I guess. From our vantage point, things might appear different than they actually are. That city is heart of our country, and our second shield after the great Himalayas.

My Last Post On Cities - City Specials

Thursday, December 23, 2004


Poetess Subhadra Kumari Chauhan revisits her Bachpan. Her claim to fame is the fiery poem - Jhansi Ki Rani, now part of every Hindi curriculum. She took active part in Indian Freeedom Movement, and that showed a great deal in her writings. Unfortunately she died at a very young age in a motor accident, which perhaps deprived us from more of her possible works.

This lovely poem will be a trip down the memory lane for all the mothers around. Why only mothers, I think every grown up will ahve feeling of deja vu, reading this. Enjoy.


My Previous Post On Poems - Prateeksha

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Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Shaadi Pics

Today is 22nd December, the smallest day in the Northern Hemisphere. That's the irony of the situation. I have loads of work, but days are small. Feeling the heat, literally.

And North Indian public is chilling out, that too literally as well, in REAL winter. I mean starting the day in misty, foggy, and cold mornings; followed by Dull, Sunless day, with never ending rounds of Pakoris and Chai; and then rib chilling nights.

Sorry guys. I was again back to my dreams. Managed some time to upload a few pics from Ashish(and Shipra)'s marriage. Aren't they one radiant couple?



My Previous Post On Munna - Mere Yaar Ki Shaadi Hai

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

The Root Cause

The flurry of activities in past two weeks, especially the DPS episode made me to pause and ponder. It is not the morality or obscenity which bothers me as much for what this boy(and girl) did, pales in comparison to what some fathers do to their daughters these days.

Rather, what bothers me is the listless, sorry manner in which children are brought up today. It might appear as a case of sour grapes, but I can not imagine myself in possession of a mobile, with multimedia or no with multimedia, during my school or college days, not just because they were non-existent at that time.

I vividly remember that we had to earn every penny we demanded from our parents. Even that Laiyya or Bhel at the Thela, after the school, was a luxury which could be enjoyed only once or twice a week. There was no easy money on platter. Parents earned it with hard work, and so were we made to. We complained, of course, but value of the money was always emphasized.

No amount of Sari pulling at the market place would melt their hearts. I had to pool whole year even for my birthday. Double of the collected amount was contributed by them. All these habits helped us a lot in college days, and even today.

Unfortunately, economy is open these days. Rat race for money is on. Parents don't have time for their kids, especially the rich ones. Money is only an ATM away. DVDs, computers, internet - every latest gizmo is available to kids, without proper control. Nothing less than a branded item will do. Flaunting them is a status symbol.

These two kids did it for fun; many of their age do it for money. Not that they need it. But they have a lifestyle to maintain. Not many have the guts to earn it honestly. How can it be explained that same DPS boy, or that IIT-KGP guy sold that MMS to many, when both of them belonged to affluent families ?

The debate will go on. People will talk of banning such handsets, and other crap. These are only the symptoms. No one will see the larger issue. The root one. The parenting one.

Monday, December 20, 2004

The Indian Ghost Stories

If you come across a book titled - The Indian Ghost Stories, written by various writers, compiled by Ruskin Bond, and published by Penguin India Publications, with a price tag of Rs 150 - please make a note that it is for NOT to buy. I will tell you why.

While I was in Lucknow last month, and checking into some books in Universal Book Store at Hazratganj, after a long long time, I came across this book. I could not hide my joy because the stories were written by the luminaries like Rudyard Kipiling, Arthur Canon Doyle, Satyajit Ray, Victor Banerjee and many other known and not-so-known names.

Moreover, it was compiled by Ruskin Bond. I remember while reading Delhi Is Not Far, Bond fondly mentioned about some splendid spooky stories, he chanced upon in a Dak Bangla, during one of his father's several hunting trips. The back of this book said that these were the same stories. I was myself happy to chance upon the treasure that was this book. Or so I thought.

The story reading had never been so disappointing. As the name suggested, all stories belonged to India; mostly during the Raj period. I must say that stories by Indian authors were some what gripping, with some element of mystery. But most of the English writers' works were trash. No spook element whatsoever.

Biggest culprit was Rudyard Kipling. Both of his stories , written in some weird flow of English, not reader friendly, and brought me headache. And of course, smacked of all those cliches associated with the Raj. The Indian characters were shown as oppressed, worker class, & thugs. While, English were superior, haughty, & sacrosanct. In line with his notorious statement about Indians - 'The white man's burden'.

Then there were all those oft repeated facts about India like snakes, jogis, elephants; the cast related digs and stereotypes. The stories about villages, jungles and superstitions. Even the Gods were not spared.

More importantly, the whole book was all but scary. It won't scare or excite even a kid, leave alone adults. I am sure it was the Dak Bangla which scared the child Ruskin, not this book. He fooled me into this one, but at least those who read this post would be wiser.

My Previous Book Review -Delhi Is Not Far

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Friday, December 17, 2004


Seems like a desereted blog this. No comment for past 30 hours now. Sigh!

Bond Of The Music

This article on MS Subbulakshmi is the perfect example how music binds different part of India into ONE. As they say, music is the universal language.

Thursday, December 16, 2004


The joy of waiting, expressed by Harivansh Rai 'Bachhan' in this lovely poem Prateeksha. Very nicely done.
Have to agree - Jo Maza Intezaar Mein Hai, Woh Deedar-E-Yaar Mein Nahin.

My Previous Post On Poems - Manav

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Bhansali And His Guts

During the last episode of Koffee With Karan, Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Aishwariya Rai were the guest. For me, the highpoint of the whole episode was the two answers given by Bhansali. They were as follows.

Karan To Bhansali: Who, according to you, is the most overrated actor of the film industry ?
Bhansali To Karan(Nonchalantly): Vivek Oberoi.

The above answer was bang without any hesitation. Miss Rai looks down with not preferring to show her emotion.

Karan To Rai: What do you have which others don't?
While Miss Rai, looks for some usual diplomatic answer, Bhansali offers to answer that for her.

Bhansali To Karan(Smiling wickedly): Giggles. She has giggles, which others don't. And guess what was her reaction to that answers? Sheepish giggles, of course!

Prior to this, I was a kind of a fan of the movies which had a Bhansali touch, including the movies, when he was assistant to Vidhu Vinod Chopra i.e. Parinda, 1942 -A love Story; and of course, his own movies - Khamoshi- The Musical , Hum Dil De Chukey Sanam, & Devdas.

Now I also know that this man has guts. Guts to speak the truth, even in the presence of concerned party, even if it is not comfortable. And he has the guts to make a movie like -Black. Way to go!

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Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Neighbour's Envy

These days Foreign Office at South Block, New Delhi must be wondering about that famous 'Rin' question. 'Padosi Ki Kameez Meri Kameez se Safed Kaise?' Padosi, of course, is Pakistan. And following are the reasons for the feeling of more Safedi across the border.

Firstly, USA lifted all the sanctions which it had imposed on Pakistan, when it performed nuclear tests in 1998. Against India, however, many of those sanctions are still there.

The next reason is more concerning. USA has decided to give Pakistan those much delayed F16 fighter aircrafts, capable of carrying nuclear payloads. This deal was blocked by Clinton regime at the wake of nuclear tests. This curb goes off too.

Reason given by visiting US Foreign Secretary, hold your breath, is that this has been done to protect Pakistan from Taliban and Al Qaida! Beats me!! Ab Kis Baap Ko Apney Hi Bacchon Se Khatra Hoga. Al Qaida, Taliban, and Pakistan, after all, all are a family.

Now comes the most preposterous one. UK has decided to appoint an honorary consul at Mirpur in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir. India, of course, has lodged protest citing it as disputed area, under illegal occupation of Pakistan. British High Commission has said that there are nearly 500,000 people from that region in UK. So this is for people's benefit.

In other words, this is a tacit acceptance of the fact that this region is now a legal Pakistani area. What can India do ? Just rant, nothing else. Only a fortnight ago, Mr Pranab Mukherjee was harping on the fact that his government has better foreign and hostage policy. With these latest developments, it has gone Phut now.

The old chap needs to understand that nothing beats vote politics, be it India or US. Attack on Afghanistan and Iraq has helped Bush garner crucial votes. Pakistan has been of great help. Therefore, now Mushy baby and Bushy baby are the best of the pals. Nothing can dislodge that for now.

Also, what is more significant is that Pakistanis are apparently an influential category among the voters of Blackburn, UK which is, incidentally, British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw’s parliamentary constituency. Vote politics, again.

Tomorrow is Vijay Diwas, and that shirt, it seems, will remain white for a while now.

The Maiden Rendezvous

Wanted to call it- The Golden Rendezvous, borrowing it from that famous Alistair MacLean novel, but finally settled down to- The Maiden Rendezvous, since, I was meeting with Muskaan(maiden), and so with her mother- Shruti, for the first(maiden) time.

She was waiting for us in her mother's arms, but was not so amused at the sight of strangers. Howwever, then she caught fancy to the flower bouquet, and soon that radiating smile appeared on her face. The first battle was won, but she still wasn't coming to my arms.

Well, it had been a long time since I had become a Ghoda, and it was time to do that again. The trick worked, because one ride on my back, and we became friends. She gave us company at dinner, chat, and even sang some sort of song which only she could understand. My camera shutters were busy all that while. She was in no mood of sleeping, and had to be forcibly taken away for sleep by Shruti, well past eleven.

Not even nine months, and she already knows how to compel her parents to submit to her demands with her mock crying and anger. And of course, she loves herself in mirror, and spends a lot of time in front of that. A true blood girl.

Every above moment was so special. May be every child does that, and every normal person enjoys that. So did I. I remember that most enjoyable portions of Ramcharitmanas are Bal Kand, and Sundar Kand.

My line of the month was when Shruti said that a room emits a special glow whenever flowers are kept there. I said that glow is not due to the flowers, but due to Muskaan. Needless to say that the rendezvous was most satisfying, and I am overwhelmed.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Aaj Insey Pehli Mulaqat Hogi


Fir, hopefuly, Amney Samney Baat Hogi. A long wait, 8.5 months, after her birth. For those who have joined in late, she is Muskaan, my friend Rohit's adorable daughter.

Customer Care

Last evening, I received a call from a representative of an organization doing some survey on electronic equipments. Following is the piece of conversation which took place.

The Girl: "Hello sir. I am calling from XYZ organization doing a survey on electronic equipments. Can I take a few of your minutes ?"

The voice looked familiar. But heck, all call center girls sound same.
Myself: "Hmmm, okay, but only a few minutes, please!"

The Girl: "Thank you sir. I won't take much of your time. Sir, do you have a refrigerator at home?"
Myself: "Yes, I do."

The Girl: "Of which make, sir?"
Myself: "Whirlpool."

The Girl: "Sir, Kya Woh Theek Se Chal Raha Hai ?"
Myself: "Haan"

The Girl: "Bilkul Theek Se Chal Raha Hai ??"
Myself: "Haaan, Bilkul !!"

The Girl: "To Zor Se Pakad Li Jiye, Werna Bhag Jaiga !!!!"

Arrrrrrrg. I was shocked, but then I heard a chuckle at the other end. No way I couldn't have recognized that. It was my little sister who was playing a prank at me. We had good a laugh long after that and she kept pulling my leg for not recognizing her instantly.

I am very bad at the voices over the phone, hence proved.

Monday, December 13, 2004

The so called 'Society'

Last week, one of my friend's 2nd floor flat was robbed, while he was away to his hometown. That's unfortunate enough, but more unfortunate was the fact that none of neighbours got even whiff of that. Or they simply didn't bother.

Aloofness. That has been the culture of affluent, and not-so-affluent societies in cosmopolitan cities these days. Interaction is negligible as we just have -I, me, myself to think about. A helping hand is termed as invasion to privacy. I know people who don't know, who their neighbours are, never mind they have lived at the same place for last 2 years.

In Mumbai, a person died in his flat and his dead body remained unnoticed for three years ! The other factor is regional stereotypes. Languages and culture don't match. One may be curious, but from the distance. And the rest of them are bitter snobs.

This flat system gives a false sense of security. A lock, a latch is not good enough. Not even the security guard. Lapses keep on happening. There is always enough scope and time for the prowler. Elderly are killed, inhabitants are robbed - all this because we depend on somebody else for our own security. The misnomer called society.

All this is very much there in Pune. Since robberies are not very common here, my friend was caught off-guard. Now, we all are wiser. The places where thefts are more common, like Lucknow, we already take extra steps for our security. Multi-locks, channel gates are used. There always is a second line of defense. Jewelry is kept in lockers( In Delhi, now a days, even they are not safe).

More importantly, we make a good, lasting bond with our neighbours and in-house tenants. We are like a family. I don't have much to worry about my folks back home. The following piece of information sums it all.

Whenever I go to Lucknow and come back to Pune, I have to stay overnight in Allahabad. One of the daughters of one of my acquaintance, who were once our neigbours in Lucknow, has been married settled there. I have been gleefully staying there overnight four times year, for past five years. Can you believe it?

Friday, December 10, 2004


I am again in 'love' ly mood. This poem shows how Padma Bhushan poet Bhagwati Charan Verma got his inspiration. He is the one who wrote the famous novel Chitralekha, which was made into a film by Kedar Sharma. He also got Sahitya Academy Award for his novel Bhoole Bisre Chitra.


My Previous Post On Poems - Sahir

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Thursday, December 09, 2004

Number 1 & Number 2

baby-s.jpg I agree that we are living in such a cruel times. But still it's difficult to comprehend that these sleepy-eyed, twin cuties have been left abandoned by their parents! Was watching them on television yesterday, and it was really a heart wrenching sight.

Just look at the hair, both the number and colour. Most of my friends don't have so many of them. What should have been bundles of joy, instead have been left to fend for themselves! Whatever the reason may be, from rape to love child, but did they deserve this? Will their parents ever live or die in peace.

Not that this has happened for the first time, and not that I didn't feel bad about that before. But there are some relevant times when the sting feels the worst. I remember there was a nullah behind my school. When I was in my grade IV or V, during an assembly session, we noticed a newly born child's body floating in that. It was blue and dead. That sight shocked both kids and teachers alike.

However, there is a silver lining for these kids. They didn't die, luckily. Many childless mothers, single ladies, even a mother of twelve have come forward to adopt them. A dimpled smile is enough to melt their hearts. But both these small ones, called Number 1 and Number 2 will have to do without mother's milk. There should be capital punishment for this.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004


Mark these words by Sahil Ludhiyanivi, one of the greatest Urdu and Hindi poets of the country. This is not exactly a poem. It's a Hindi Gazal, and how pertinent one at that.

My Previous Post On Poems - Adarsh Prem

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Hate Mail

There are a few people I know, see, or aware of, whom I loath to the point of hatred. But not even half as much, as I feel that emotion for ever irritating Sajid Khan, with my due apologies to Vandy. I know she likes his performances.

His screen presence, voice, everything acts as perfect repellant for me. The way he makes nasty remarks about people is everything, but funny. In fact they are very offensive. Even Shekar Suman pokes fun, but it is always a naughty humour, never going too personal.

On one particular show of Zee India's Best, Mr Khan was giving a pep talk to participants. He was so pugnacious that day, that participants just fell short of crying in the end. This behaviour is usually shown by those people, who have troubled childhood. But to make a profession(which is a failure) out of that, is simply unacceptable.

Now comes the latest incident, which added fuel to my fire. That day I was watching Muqabala, on NDTV Hindi, and topic of discussion was about changing trends in humour. Ashok Chakradhar, Surendra Sharma, Sajid Khan, and Ad director Prasoon Joshi were the debaters.

When Sajid Khan was asked why does not he goes to Kavi Sammelans, to everyone's shock, he replied that they use 'north Indian Hindi' over there, which he doesn't understand ! He didn't even bother to say it as 'shudhh Hindi'. I kept wondering if there is, similarly, south Indian Tamil, west Indian Gujrati etc. This idiot has such respect for Indian languages.

Anyway, I quite enjoyed the show because both Chakradhar and Sharma took the winds out of him in those 50 minutes, and he was looking sheepish at the end. I guess, he was not able to understand the 'north Indian Hindi' which they were speaking. Pardon me for writing such damning post, but I couldn't help it.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Aaj Mere Yaar Ki Shaadi Hai

Yes, today is one of my best friend's wedding. However, it does not seem that Sarey Sansar Ki Shadi Hai, as I am not able to make it to the occasion. We share the same birth date, and shared the same room for a while. God forbid, but we might have shared the departure date from this planet, as well.

Apart from the event, I am also going to miss the-much-due group gathering. It's been a long time when we were last together. Long time I have been to Kanpur, more importantly IIT-Kanpur. Have heard about the good changes taken place over there. Wanted to meet some of mine old Profs, and also get that familiar feel of the campus.

Come to think of it, then I guess fate didn't want me there. His marriage was to happen last year, but unfortunately got cancelled. I had planned my leaves then accordingly. This time also, though, planning was ready, but circumstances blocked it.

But this time marriage is for real. My good wishes for Ashish and Shipra. All I can naughtily say - Ek Kunwara , Fir Gaya Mara, Phans Gaya Dekho, Yeh Bechara ! My sincere wishes that Uska Shadi Karte Hi Baja Na Baje!


City Specials

Having been travelled to many cities, and even if not travelled, one does get an idea what are the special gourmet delicacies of various cities. Here is what I think of them. Reader's suggestions, are welcome.

Pune: Bakerwadis, WadaPav, Modhak, Kayani Baker’s Shrewsbury biscuits, Chittale Bandu's Amra Barfi, Karachi SweetMart, Lakshminarian's Chiwda.

Dussehri, Lucknawi, Chausa, Langda Mangoes(in total 1300 varieties, ahem, including names like Kali Ghata, Badlur Asmar, Suhagsisi, Shyam Sunder, Kelwa Misri);

Tunde's Shami, Seekh, Boti, Kakori, Patili, Ghutwa and Galawati Kebabs;

Dum Korma, Dum Murg, Dum Biryani, Roomali Roti, Nahari Kulcha, Warqi Paratha, Sheermal, Dahi-Tikki-Chaat, Falooda Kulfi, Revadiayan.

Kanpur: Badnaam Besan-MotiChoor Ladoo, Kajoo Barfi, Makhan Singh's Biryani, Dosa at IIT-Gate, Malai Paan at Birhana Road.

Varanasi: Kalakand, Barfi Sweets, Chaat, Banarasi Paan(Betel leaf), Nimmish.

Kolkotta: Roshugulla, Mishthi Doi, Paan(Betel leaf), Chum Chum.

Delhi: Paratha at Paranthe Wali Gali, Chaat at Bengali Market and Sunder Nagar, Bhelpuri at Greater Kailash and Sweetmeats from Annapoorna and Ghantewala.

Allahabad: Guavas.
Nagpur: Oranges, Haldiram
Jaipur: Ghevar
Agra: Petha
Mathura: Brijwasi's Peda
Orai: Gulab Jamun
Mumbai: Bhelpuri, Pav Bhaji, Bombay Halwa.
Hyderabad: Biryani.

I know this list is grossly incomplete. But that's exactly the time I have. Keep suggesting.

Added after suggestions

Ahmedabad: Dhokla, Undhiyu, Khandvi, Mohanthal, Patra, Khichadi Kadhi.
Hardwar: Chotiwala's Chholle Kulche.
Goa: Vindaloo, Fish Curry, Pheni.
Dehradoon: Leechies, Stickjaws from Kwality.
Mahabaleshwar: Strawberries.

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Monday, December 06, 2004

Theory Of Numbers

What is the difference between numbers 439 191 and 43 91 91?

Statistically speaking, nothing. But there are situations, when they appear to be different. On a tense morning, some nine and half years back, June 15, 1995, that was exactly what had happened. For a split second, the same number was so different.

For the uninitiated, this very day is set aside for all India declaration of IIT-JEE results. I had given a mixed performance at the exams, a month back. A horribly bad Physics paper, an average Chemistry paper, a good multiple choice, objective paper, and a brilliant Mathematics paper.

Since this was the competition for the best engineering institute in the country, my chances were like that of finding a needle in a hay stack. Earlier, I had a dream as well, that I could not clear JEE. But internally, I was also aware that my hopes are not entirely dashed. There was still a thin rope to cling on.

But I had made everything clear to my parents. That exams had not gone well, and that I stand no chance. I didn't want them to nurture any false hopes. Dejected they were, but like me, they also internally felt the opposite. They thought I was telling a lie to keep the expectation low. Sometimes, parents are more confident of their wards, than the person in question itself.

Therefore, I wanted to see the results first. I didn't want anybody to tell me that I have not made it. I got up early waited for newspaper in the lawns. To my horror, I was soon joined by the entire family. While I was still trying to shoo them off, the paper landed. I was the first one to get it, and searched my roll number. It was surely there, against All India Rank 1270.

As soon as I heaved a sigh of relief, I saw the number on my father's hand. But wait a minute, it was a different one. I choked with shock because I had seen the wrong number. But soon, the haze got cleared. As a habit, I had memorized the number 3 digits a piece i.e. 439 191 while my father had written it as two digit a piece - 43 91 91.

In anxiety and excitement, the two appeared to me as different numbers. But once things got cleared, smiles came back. It was like receiving double joy that day.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Adarsh Prem

This is what 'Adarsh Prem' is, says Harivansh Rai 'Bachhan'.


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Thursday, December 02, 2004

Cricket Postcard

After a long time, something on cricket. Had taken a brief hiatus after sickening performance during India-Aussie series. But a series win today, finally brought smiles.

After creating havoc over visiting Kiwis during NewZeland-Aussie series, Steve Bucknor asked for more technical support for umpires like ear piece. Sure, but those ear pieces must posses amplifiers from loud speakers. Please also give him a pair of multiple lense, super zoom binoculars. Along with that, he would also need those multiple beam flashlights, used by police force. Then only he would be able to make correct decisions. I am glad he didn't demand sticks for hitting errant appealers like Parthiv Patel.

At least Kiwis have this much luck. Billy Bowden was born in their country, so he won't be able to trouble them in international test matches as he can't officiate.

Clive Loyd is angry with Ganguly. So are Steve Waugh , Atherton, and Peter Reboek with ICC. Why ? Well Indian bowlers took almost 4.5 hours(an hour more) to complete stipulated 50 overs during Indo-Pak match, but still ICC set aside the punishment.

Loyd says that 'this guy thinks he is above law' because Ganguly decided to appeal. Waugh, who have an opinion on every matter wanted Ganguly to be punished to set an example. Atherton and Reboek lamented growing Indian influence at ICC.

I have only to say this. Observe these situations, and yourself decide what should be punished and what not.

Incident 1: Shane Warne sends obscene messages to a nurse.
Incident 2: McGrath ask Ram Naresh Sarwan -"Are you and Lara gay". To this Sarwan replies -"Ask your wife. She knows it all."

Well if these utterings on Cricket filed can go unpunished, then, on a dew laden evening, when ball was changed thrice, Batsman was treated on field, then he limped off the field, then he again came back, that too with a runner, when extra drinks break were taken, when ball was being wiped after every delivery, how come a captain can be made responsible for all these deeds ?

But then this is nothing new.

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This is not a review of sorts. There are many better ones already doing the round. Just want to state a few observations.

Firstly, the director, Yash Chopra must be credited for a doing a splendid work on a terribly botched script by the writer, Aditya Chopra. I won't question the novelty of the script, as we all know that Chopras gonna do what they do best. Romance. They have made this clear, and therefore we can see all those have-seen-before scenes.

But the writer has failed to better even what has been done before. Please observe this. Shahrukh was taking a leave for Lohri, which happens to be in mid January, the coldest month in north India, including Punjab, but nobody is using even a Shawl, forget sweaters.

Rush at the Atari station is attributed to Id. Boss, Id-Ul-Fitr takes place much before that, even before Christmas. Id-Ul-Zuha, ie Bakrid usually is in February, while Id-E-Milad happens 5-6 months later. So which Id has been talked about. Manoj Bajpayi has been introduced as Mangetar, while Mangni takes place some weeks later. We thought there is no Mangetar without Mangni.

Court scene was terrible. Chopras( Both Yash and BR) have been known for their gripping court scenes. Yash has directed many of his elder brother's court room dramas like Waqt, Kanoon. He has done terrific work in his home production Ittefaq too. But this one was no show. All the hype built from the beginning turned into an anti-climax.

But Chopra the director, well supported by the performances was at his best. The scene of the movie was Zara's departure at Atari station. I loved the whole 10 minute capsule. The till now missing chemistry between the Priety and Sharukh finally developed. Nothing of that sort could be seen in Dil Se and KHNH. But chemistry was great between, Shahrukh-Rani and even better between Shahrukh-Amitabh.

Barring Anupam Kher, and Hema Malini, who had little to do, all the lead actors were superb. But for the Shahrukh's overacting with the old man's getup, it was his best performance in recent times. He didn't look convincing as an old man. The only person who comes to my mind playing the old man superbly, despite being young, was Sanjeev Kumar. Even Amitabh wasn't as good there. Though I loved the older Amitabh in Akhiri Rasta.

Last thoughts. Looking at the scenic visuals in the movie, I wondered why did Yash Chopra ever go for Swiss Tulip gardens. India is so beautiful.

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Wednesday, December 01, 2004


If there is a born engineer in my group, then there is only one worthy person. Rest of us only hold a degree. We were just good at Maths, Physics, and Chemistry, the quintessential eligibility criterion to become almost an engineer.

A new mobile, or camera or even a TV remote won't escape his attention. And Before long, there would come a humble request - 'Kya Mai Isey Khol Ke Dekh Loon ?' Nothing short of a scream will stop him from prying it open. And he has been doing that since his childhood.

He knows all about gadgets, gears, circuits, chips - everything. At a course in IIT, his ship 'Santa Maria' was the first in the race in swimming pool by a big margin.

Why, he is a born writer as well. You will hang on to his every description. He has a good eye for detail. His 'Doomsman Ki Diary' has lot of Sher penned by 'Ashq Lakhnawi' i.e. himself.

Despite all his greatness, he is a shy person. Sometimes, his fuse gets short but all in all, a very good friend to have. I won't ever able to repay what he has done for me in my difficult times.

Happy Belated Birthday, Ashutosh.

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