....and all that jazZ

Monday, June 27, 2005

Row Row Row your Boat, Gently Down the stream
Merrily Merrily Merrily, Life is but a Dream.


We went white water rafting this weekend. And what a weekend it was. I love the water. Seemingly benign and ever benevolent river. She runs treacherously among the valleys. While she entices and lures. Her seductive curves make for a great ride and a dangerous one. The rush to your head when the cold waters hit your face as you take the rapids front on. Or the serene calm that descends in your heart when you float on the calm parts and gaze at the mountains around and snatch dreams from the passing breeze. The butterflies in your stomach when the water swishes and swashes and threatens and the raft tips to one side and you hold on with everything you have, because as much as you love her waters you dont want to be washed away, not yet. But you want to be friends. So you jump into the river in the calmer parts and feel the currents pull and tug at you. Teasting and tempting "Come with me.. " they say. The chill of the water seeps in and you scramble back into the raft.

A weekend out is always fun for a variety of reasons. Especially when 6 of the zaniest people get together. Classic recipe for chaos. Highlights of the weekend :

1. "Sutta", "chutta", "lamba tika"," kaccha ganja", "the brotherhood", "doggie style", "I only do east-west", "Left paddle back", "Forward Forward""what else does a man need ?" made the best part of our weekend conversations.
2. tys and bhatta speaking in hindi. They rock :D !!!
3. tys doing a flip into the crazy rapids when we hit our first. But that guy has some amazing reflexes. He was back on without giving us time to panic.
4. Our guide was a very avg sized woman. But boy does she have strength !! She made this whole experience awesome. Thanks Andrea !
5. My first fall into the water. Paddling at the back I lost my balance and fell over when we hit the rapid. Tys's great reflexes kicked in and he jumped across the raft and grabbed the last he saw of me, my ankle. When in water there is no time to panic. I was trying to get my head above the water but tys held on to my ankle strong. Before I knew it the guide thankfully grabbed my life jacket and he finally let go of my foot :-D. I was back up in less than a minute. Shru and khatmal ahead didnt even realise that I had fallen off :)
6. I jumped into the calmer waters thrice where permitted. And got thrown off the boat by the water twice. The water and I. We love each other. What can i say ? So do trouble and I. No one else was in the water as much.
7. Laughed till our stomachs hurt.
8. "Make friends with pandemonium" the guide said at the start of the day. We took it to heart and did exactly that !!!

I am sore all over. Any encounter with nature is a humbling one. And as always I return humbled and grateful. For every moment I live and rejoice in Her lap is a celebration of Her.


Wednesday, June 22, 2005

The toughest battles are always fought with ones self. When rationality clashes with faith. When the heart clashes with the head. When desire clashes with courage. When "Can I ?" clashes with "Should I ?". There is no right and wrong. I stand at the fork and wonder. If I don't then I will always wonder what if I had ? But perhaps spare myself some humiliation. But if I do, I will know for sure. I will hurt for a while but be at peace for ever that it could never have been any other way.

I years had been from home,
And now, before the door,
I dared not open, lest a face
I never saw before

Stare vacant into mine
And ask my business there.
My business,¬ójust a life I left,
Was such still dwelling there?

I fumbled at my nerve,
I scanned the windows near;
The silence like an ocean rolled,
And broke against my ear.

I laughed a wooden laugh
That I could fear a door,
Who danger and the dead had faced,
But never quaked before.

I fitted to the latch
My hand, with trembling care,
Lest back the awful door should spring,
And leave me standing there.

I moved my fingers off
As cautiously as glass,
And held my ears, and like a thief
Fled gasping from the house.

- Emily Dickinson

I would hate for you to think that I am weak. But its not my weakness that brings me here. I had to muster every bit of courage, don't you see ? And now that I have, I am no longer vulnerable.





Monday, June 20, 2005

I just finished "The hungry tide" by Amitav Ghosh. I must say its a thoroughly
enjoyable read. Its nice to read an Indian author who writes in english and writes well. The mistke most such authors make is that they can't think in English and so the language ends up limiting them rather than they use it to play out the strengths of a setting or a story. One of the protagonist's shares my love for poetry and the poet Rainer Maria Rilke.

I made me go back and re-read some of the peoms I really love and some that I have never read before. So here is one.

You who never arrived - Rilke

You who never arrived
in my arms, Beloved, who were lost
from the start,
I don't even know what songs
would please you. I have given up trying
to recognize you in the surging wave of the next
moment. All the immense
images in me-- the far-off, deeply-felt landscape,
cities, towers, and bridges, and unsuspected
turns in the path,
and those powerful lands that were once
pulsing with the life of the gods-
all rise within me to mean
you, who forever elude me.

You, Beloved, who are all
the gardens I have ever gazed at,
longing. An open window
in a country house--, and you almost
stepped out, pensive, to meet me.
Streets that I chanced upon,--
you had just walked down them and vanished.
And sometimes, in a shop, the mirrors
were still dizzy with your presence and, startled,
gave back my too-sudden image. Who knows?
perhaps the same bird echoed through both of us
yesterday, seperate, in the evening...


Thursday, June 16, 2005


10.A looooooooong tight hug.
9.A night out partying with friends.
8.Play some music, sip on wine and cook.
7.Watch an old amitabh flick while ironing a whole bunch of clothes.
6.Phone conversations with my best friends bitching about everything and nothing till the battery dies out.
5.Sitting by the ocean. Letting the eyes take in the blue. The nose the smell of the salt. The ears filled with the sound of the waves and the soul filled with deep breaths holding the passing wind for a second before letting go.
4.Working out. Sweating out body toxins. Clearing out toxic thoughts.
3.Curling up on my couch and reading Harry Potter or PG Wodehouse's Omnibus for the hundredth time.
2.Dancing.

The above are all stress relieving techniques I believe in. (the order can be scrambled depending on mood) but this one is by far always number one when you are down, or rather when I am stressed and/or down

1. Call Mom. Pick and fight with her about something completely unrelated.Rave,rant,make a scene and then when I am tired, I flop down, put my head in her lap (imagine it since I am away) and cry.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Cigarette smoking is injurious to health.


So the government is proposing a ban on showing actors smoke on screen. That is the stupidest thing to do. Not the way to go about discouraging smoking. How about banning cigarette endorsements in any and every form? Or increasing the tax on it so much that a smoke is unaffordable. How about talking about it in classrooms ? By actually enforcing no smoking in public places esp discotheques and bars and restaurants ? No, but they had to find the stupidest way of doing it. By killing creative freedom.

Now just a counter point. I think media is the most powerful thing around on this earth today. We live on what they feed us. And to say that in India, Bollywood does not influence kids/adolescents (who are the target consumers for cigarette and alcohol selllers) is to turn a blind eye to things. Where you need Amitabh Bachchan to sell Hajmola and Aamir Khan to sell Coke, it is obvious that the common man only aspires and dreams to be like his favourite filmstar. I still remember when Aashiqui was released a couple of foolish girls from my high school actually burnt their hands with a candle (immitating Rahul Roy) to declare their love for equally foolish boys. Now, someone may not pick up a cigarette by seeing Shah Rukh smoke on screen, but him doing it definitely does endorse the habit to a certain extent. He does'nt need to quit if he does'nt want to, but its an undeniable fact that there are plenty of foolish people who think they are cool because they smoke and Shahrukh, the supposed ultimate cool dude doing it only affirms it for them.

Flipping back to where I started from, its stupid to put a ban on it in cinemas all the same. On that train of thought, filmmakers in India really need to grow up fast. We need them now. When society is changing so much and so fast. The medium being so powerful its completely wasted in India when compared to other parts of the world. Escapist cinema is all fine. I understand that thats what the avg man on the streets wants to see. But he needs to know more. He needs to be educated. If used correctly it can bring about a revolution of thought. Change perspectives. And who says good cinema cannot be entertaining. For every Bunty aur Babli there should be a Swades. But no. They wont. The monetary gains in making foolish movies are too big to be disregarded.

Anyways, so let me try this. I'll hold out an ash try and very coyly say " Cigarette smoking is injurious to health. Sehat ke liye haanikarak hota hai." Now imagine that MPK tune playing in your head and please put out your cigarettes. :)


Friday, June 10, 2005

Friday evening. I sit lost in my thoughts. The music is playing. My book lies open to the page I am reading. And I am staring out into the gloomy sky. I feel like a 5 year old. Restless.I am suddenly aware and suddenly lost. Shubha Mudgal's rich voice fills the room "Hazaaron khwaishein aisi ke har khwaish pe dam nikle....." And my thoughts run to where they don't belong. Why a thousand ? I have just one that will make a thousand worth giving up. One to live for. Just one to die for. The next song comes on " Bavra man dekhne chala ek sapna..." and I think "how appropriate". I must go now. My thoughts stand paused. A wish waits to be fulfilled.


Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Just wrote this email to someone who was complaining about invasion of privacy. Its my twopence, but since I made the effort of wrting it in a email thought i'd post it. Its been on my mind for a while now.

Hey XYZ,
My cousin works for google and was waxing eloquent about how cool it is and
I commented that I hated the fact that my email was being read,, and he
retorted that no one was sitting there going through my personal stuff, it was
just a routine keyword search that gmail does. True or not is another debate
by itself, but as you pointed out its the general trend that the world is
moving towards, could you say its almost part of evolving ?

you can make a point and take a stance by stopping to use gmail. are u also
going to stop shopping online? Amazon tracks every purchase you make. Are u
going to stop using cell fones ? The fone company tracks every call you make
and there are probably people listening to your conversation ? Will you stop
talking ? You are profiled every time you go through customs and like it or
not that is also an invasion of privacy.

People complain a lot about invasion of privacy. But u see in this
hopelessly tech savvy world we have isolated humans soo much from each
other, that we have made this evil amost necessary. It starts off as part of the
state like defence and police, for only tracking wrongdoers, and then slowly seeps into every aspect of our
life, simply because money can be made off it. How and where do we say enough is enough ? In the not so tech savvy
world, say in a crowded community bonded place like India you have nosy
neighbours who keep track of every little thing you buy,do,and say. They
know accurately your dinner times and the time you like to have sex. It more
of a human need than anything else. Why else would reality TV sell ???

We are all, directly and indirectly, in one way or another endorsing this
intrusion. And have been for centuries and its irreversible. Unless we start
saying NO to a lot of things. But if I asked my boss why make a tuner to
support 4 TV broadcasts in the same house I would not get my next paycheck
!!! If we asked why do we need cableTV on a cell fone, a lot of people in
Qualcomm and TI won't get their paychecks. The answer is simply that we do
it because we can. We do it because we believe that a lot more good comes of
developing technology and so we just learn to live with the repercussions and
the rest.

Coming back to the original point that I started out to make :), XYZ,
Gmail is probably one of the least intrusive and offensive things around. Don't take such
things to heart :) Its way coooler than hotmail anyways :)

Ragini

Thursday, June 02, 2005

GuruDakshina


My mentor/techlead/supervisor at work quit today. I have been working here for almost 3 years now. Almost 3 years working with him. We didnt start off quite well. We hated each other. He had a bad temper and I was the young fresh grad who didnt know much at all. Grumbliing and gruntling we learned to work together. I stood my ground and he his. Smarting and seething within both of us knew we had to play the game. We wore smiling faces and pretended that all was well. Slowly but surely things changed. With honesty came trust and soon deep respect and friendship. I admire his work and his dedication. He backed me when I was right, defended me when I was wrong and taught me well. I had never thought it would be an emotional experience for me when he quit. But it is.

He came to my office today and said "will you do me a favour?" Sure, what is it?". he opened his hand, and said pick one. Two chits. I picked and gave one to him. He opened it and showed it to me "Go" it read. "What does the other say ?" I asked. He opened and showed it to me. It said "No Go". "So is this how you make important decisions Lin ?""My wife got tired of my indecisiveness, she asked me to toss a damn coin and make up my mind". He pulled a chair and sat down. And for the first time in 3 years we spoke on life. Career money time and all the things that he was thinking of while he made this choice. All through 3 years I have hung out with a lot of my collegues, but with him kept a safe distance. We have never been on backslapping terms or even Would you like to grab a bite ? terms. Today after we had spoken at length i asked " would you like to join for lunch?"

I knew that he was planning on leaving for almost two weeks now. He had pre-warned me "I wouldn't want you to hear it from anyone else." he had said. I have been planning on what to get him as a going-away present, on what would be appropriate, useful and most importantly meaningful. My heartfelt wishes and gratitude for all that he has taught me is everything that I can offer. Anything without that is just a meaningless token.



Wednesday, June 01, 2005

The perfect morning


What makes the start of a day perfect ? Sun streaming through your window and softly waking you up. A good cup of chai with marie biscuit. Zipping through green lights on the road. All my favourite songs on the radio and no ads. Reaching work to find my favourite spot still not taken. And my sims all have run beautifully and there is no problem at all.

Wishful thinking ?