Ban ’em earphones

I am slowly but steadily turning against noise-cancelling devices of any kind. I propose a ban on ear phones, head phones, around-the-head phones, around-the-ear phones, Bluetooth ear pieces and anything else that mankind can stuff in, on or around their ears to kill out external noise.

I want every citizen of the country, traveling on its ‘well-kept’ roads, to listen to every sound that is produced around them and that they are actively contributing to. We’ve become a nation that is so comfortable listening to the nasal drone of Himesh Reshamaiyya and Justin Bieber in our ears that we fail to comprehend the levels of noise that we create on the roads. I drove by a persistent honker today, who made it seem like his car’s brakes were connected to its horn, only to find him comfortable in his air-conditioned little bubble, ear phones plugged hard into both ears. Bleeps!

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A keen cyclist captures a driver using a mobile phone, a laptop and headphones while driving. Phew! Source http://www.dailymail.co.uk

Me and my ears

After spending a few significant years outside the country and after reading a little too many forwards about single women and their safety in the country, I always walk with my ears super attentive. While it would have been too easy to drown out the pains of the world in a beautiful rock ballad, there are the hidden fears lurking in your shadows that you should be aware of. I leave the rock ballads to the comfort of my home, a lavish drink and a book in hand. So, I find it extremely nonchalant on the part of those hailing a cab who sit with their ears plugged away, while their driver drives the machine of death that could give the local ambulance a beat at the race.

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Bleepety-Bloopety-Blaah!

Mean, keen flying machines! Yeah, Right!

Modern day cabs and buses are the major contributors to the increasing noise levels on the road. They use theirs horns like it were a light-saber; a whoosh and they expect all their opponents on the road to vanish. Well, what if I light-saber you back? And that’s where the duel begins. Have you noticed the melee of honks that ensue the nanosecond the signal turns to green? It’s almost like they were expecting the Flying Falcons in front of them to accelerate from 0-60 kmph in 1.6 seconds and now their F-16 is denied reaching the haloed Mach 2. All that mad ravenous blaring only to go 300 meters and stall at the next traffic junction. How myopic a race have we become these days?

Blame those riders

As I think more about the growing doom, I realize that the riders are as responsible as the drivers themselves. Most of them are indifferent to the ruckus that their drivers create, and sit with a glee contentment in knowing that they aren’t the ones going to hell. Well, you know what they say about Karma, don’t you? I myself have asked my cab drivers to stop honking on a number of occasions and on two specific incidents, I’ve stopped my cabbie mid-route because of his incessant honking, rash driving and not heeding to my requests to drive sane.

Why did the honking annoy me and not these thousand other riders, you wonder? Those darned earphones, I tell you!

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Those darned noise-cancelling, bubble-creating, zombielife-inducing earphones!

 

Rich God, Poor Man

These three little boys are extremely curious about everything in life and wandered into my gated house searching for my six year old dog. The oldest is 10 and is the responsible big brother and the youngest notes, “Even I am 6 yrs old“, when I tell him how old the Scotch is.

As I sit them on the sofa and bring them an apple each, they stare at all the gadgets in the house with awe.

How much is the TV, akka? Must be very costly no? Oh! Small computer! Oh! It’s called an iPad? How much does it cost? Must be a lot of money no? Nice mobile (cell phone). Look! I managed to unlock the phone. How much does it cost, akka?

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I fend off their inquisitiveness with answers that I believe are appropriate for their age. As the oldest and the youngest pet Scotch and enjoy their apples, the middle one wanders off to more apples kept at the puja area.

[It’s customary for most Indian households, especially Hindus, to have a little temple in the house; a collection of idols and pictures to bless the house. These idols are traditionally worshiped by lighting lamps and incense sticks and with offerings of flowers, vermilion, rice flakes or money.]

He carefully stares at the many colorful idols on the various sections and his eyes eventually rest on an idol that has been recently worshiped on. He fixates on an idol that sits smack at the center of a small podium, and has mounds of Rs. 5 coins lying around it.

Why is there so much of money put there, akka?“, he quizzes me, while settling back on the sofa.
It’s for the God. My mom must have done a puja with the coins.“, I respond.
But, God already has so much money. So, why are we giving him more money?“, he retorts, catching me off guard.
Umm…I…don’t… How old did you say you are, again?“, I ask my quizzer.

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I am 8“, he responds, ” and Mani anna is 10. My mama came home drunk last night and threw quite a fit. It was very funny, you know!” and he continues to munch on his apple.

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The dusty destiny!

‘Tis has been quite a while since we conversed. True. Time flew by and we walked into our own little closets, strengthened the walls around it and ensured the barbed wires saved us from any foreseen onslaught. The little that we heard, when we shouted across the inches of concrete, was the hatred and the hostility within. Staged? Practised? I know nought. Our keen discernment ensured that even a sincere act of fondness was falsified with riddles and mysteries. As each taunt built on another, the walls grew thicker, stronger and more fortified than before. The walls we built for one another, mysterious indeed.

In this lone cell, I hear sounds that baffle me; unknown visions from the past, I realize. A unified laugh at a played out hysteria, a cohesive smirk at the newest stereotype and a mortified scorn at tradition emerge, coerce and drift my way. I play witness to evenings spent in silent harmony, the music of the souls drifting by. I see two lone figures battling an entirety, the mass multitude. They walk together in their lone paths, alone in their combined missions, and yet powerful in each other’s presence.

Something stirs within, a wish? a dream? Fear maybe. I withdraw deeper into my surroundings, my facade from the outside world. And in the urgency to protect my heart from the hurt outside, have I forced you out with it? Did you want to be forced out from sheer exhaustion? Did the togetherness threaten your uniqueness?

The alter ego had vaporized, the best friend had vanished and out emerged my nemesis. Strong in knowing the real me, weak in being me.

[…]

She stiffened her sleeves, smoothing the crease that was beginning to develop. Smart move Mr. Murphy; throwing the wrongs her way, when she intended to make it her best performance. It was going to be the destiny she had fought for own her own, built it from the grave. The world had definitely been more accepting than it had been before. The bruises from her past wars showed themselves black and blue, reminding the observer to tread with caution. Was that the reason for the distanced reactions this time? Was the world busy living a more saner life for itself, untouched by her anxiety?

She shook her thoughts back to the moment she was basking in; the world could live its life and she hers. The walk towards the bridge had been painful. She had to conquer the worst enemy before setting out on this path; her inner self. The ego, bloated from years of hurt and neglect, had thrown its army of reasons at her, one more convincing than the other, declaring the entire episode a mere school girl’s trick. Her brain, the self-proclaimed master, had reasoned with them all, while the heart sat quiet, listening to the war wage on. As days turned into weeks and no consensus was in sight, the heart stiffly sat up, proclaimed the verdict and went back into its sanctuary. The trip would be made.

As her mind raced through the happenings of the past, her feet slowly tread on, stopping at the foot of the bridge. She looked ahead and gasped at the beauty that lay ahead. Pearly gates laid out for the mundane, reachable yet mystic in their ways. She took her first step forward and felt herself sink in, the soft touch of the feathers beneath her tickled her little toe. She let out a muffled laugh. As she lingered on, the season sunk in; little drops of rain slid by the window, concealing the harsh lights beyond. The familiar smells of the ocean swept by, bringing with them sounds from the past. Moments leapt by, as she validated the reality quotient of it. She walked out from aeons of movement and glared at having reached midway. The view amazed her.

She had lost count of the time she had spent there after the initial day itself. A sense of helplessness had set in, rising the devil within. As the heart lay curled at the corner, the ego threw its tantrums. The turmoil within manifested itself louder by the passing. They had all birthed a mistake in unison and now hell lay about. Sad, searching eyes flooded with drops of lost morale, as two feet slowly dragged the entirety back to the earth. She had won the war, but the battle was lost forever.

The world seemed more accepting at her return than anticipated, a welcome worthy of the prodigal was laid out. Aged fingers pointed to the direction of the rightful destiny; it lay in photographs floating in virtual space, clicked hastily by emotionless hands. Destiny flourished in names matched against the stars, lifetimes of congeniality predicted from meaningless scrawls on the eternal parchment. It lived in interests created with the purpose of hitting a match, wavelengths sourced to traverse as one. It rested on familiarity bred over time, distances being lost by it all. Destiny lay elsewhere from where she had sought it.

As the heart built its newest layer of fortification, there was a world out there that needed to be satiated. The brain promised itself to be just that. The head hung low, nodded in acceptance. Destiny lay elsewhere indeed.

The best snow angel, ever.

tring…tring…tring…tring…

Heyy! Wassup?

Yo! Wanted to say a final GoodBye. Just in case you know. *smile*

What’s wrong? Final already?

Well! I am breaking up with my ex today, all over again. Over dinner. So if something does happen to me and I don’t see the tomorrow to come, might as well let you know, you’ve been great.

Shut up! You are kidding, right? You din’t tell me he was homicidal.

I don’t know…Chalo, Gotta run. Bye.

She sat up, the prediction was spot on, again. It was going to be the first snow of the season. The incessant rain over the last month, hadn’t helped the mood either. But she had dreaded the snow for a good while now. No, she din’t hate the snow, it was quite the contrary in fact. It made her senses reel and feel fresh; alive. It was the perfect way to prettify the world, consummate and lasting. But all the snow around reminded her of the past; nostalgic and painful memories were rekindled. And thoughts are creatures that one has little control over. Yes! It was going to be a tough winter.

The chill sinfully kicked her out of her world of thoughts. She adjusted herself atop the little wall, tried better at staying warm and went back to her thoughts. The events of the evening had not turned out the exact way she had pictured it. But then, they weren’t what she would have called miserably bad either. They had sat in a little table, the mad rush of the restaurant beating around in all directions. As inappropriate as the location may be, she spilled her worst nightmares. They had grown apart over time anyway, things hadn’t been the same. The energy for those midnight phone calls and five hour long conversations had seeped out of their lives. The distance between them hadn’t been all that favorable either. Since their lives had picked different wave lengths to beat on, might as well let go of the little strings. She felt the words tumble out of her lips awkwardly; all the rehearsing lay wasted. She’d looked up, in anticipation. Of what? She wasn’t really sure.

Tucked in doors, she watched the first flakes of snow drift down, prop a leaf near by and wait for its companions. A few more followed and before she could tell, they were everywhere. The barren tree had new friends now, the prodigal leaves can wait till spring to return. Man made machines lay helpless, for once powerless, against nature’s ways. Ones smitten by the distinguished bug walked out, hand in hand, breathing winds of love from across the worlds. Children, with their unending chirpy ways and padded layers to the foot, welcomed the snow with tongues out in the snow and angels in the making. The sight of foot prints in the fresh snow is poetic in a strange sense; our fleeting five seconds of leaving a mark on this wide planet. Yielding to the wily temptation, she pulls over a jacket and jumps into those boots. She quietly walks to the front door and opens it; a strong gush catches her off guard and forces out a tear.

She nimbly wiped off the tear before the neighbors in the little shack caught up. She felt a wave of fatigue catch over, and swarm her from all directions. Numb to the last nerve. She’d expectantly looked up, armed and yet unprepared for the counter attack from the person across the table. There had been melancholy in his voice, anger in his tone, hatred in his breath. A melange of emotions were thrown at her and she seemed to have lost track of the best way to react in such an inopportune moment. She’d fought back, argued, pleaded and tried her best hand at logical reasonings. She’d let out a huge sigh and looked up at the skies; why hadn’t anybody invented a sober way to break up as yet. It was going to be a long night after all.

She looked up at the skies and watched tiny flakes fly toward her, gently flowing with the breeze and finally settling on the most wayward strand of her hair. It felt as new and fresh as her first snowfall ever. She had run out frantically, ignoring the pros in the yard. She’d convinced friends into building their first snowman ever. She remembered the taste of fresh snow on her tongue, the way it quickly melted and left behind a chill. She put her tongue out again; Yes, the same taste all over again.

A couple of hours and many more drinks later, he seemed to have resigned to what lay ahead. He slumped gingerly on his chair, as words slurred out of his mouth. He promised to talk hours long, about their love affair, to his wife that dint exist yet; swore that he’d name his first born girl after her. He claimed that he’d never stop loving her ever, would only retire to the life his parents dreamed for him. She sensed a fabricated effort in the entire conversation. Bade quick, subdued goodbyes; promised to keep in touch for ever and left speedily. Not once did she look back, not once did she regret what she’d just done.

She looked back and not once lamented about all the places she’d been to. Every by-lane, ally and highway had given her something new to learn from, something memorable to take back. She’d had her share of burns, hits and bruises, but she’d fought them back with a strong mind. She knew that she had the best bunch of rocks to support her, fasten her to the roots, whenever she’d slipped. She remembered people with worse states of mind than hers. She was very lucky indeed.

A smile began to surface, as the realization dawned. She’d cleared her vision, rid of any noise, comforted her wound, was ready to move on.

She thumped down on the snow and wielded her numb hands and legs in new found revelry. Her snow angel was going to be the best one of the season.


Ma, Me and She.

As I was skimming through the previous posts here, something glared back at me; they are all dull, boring, rants from my life and heck who’d care about my past and my God anyway. So I’ve tried a new venture here, spiced up my life and gone ahead and written a story. Yay!!

The usual rules stick, read till the end; if you see your concentration waning, pour that strong cup of coffee, wash it down and hang in there. All events in this story are purely fictional and any resemblance to any person, living or dead, is purely intentional. Duh! It’s my story after all!

He rolled down the windows of the taxi briefly, careful not to let the downpour in. He waved in her direction, met her eye, they exchanged a brief smile and she walked towards him. She gingerly snapped her umbrella shut, sat in and the taxi drove on. They exchanged quick pleasantries.

…”True, The Mumbai monsoon was becoming unbearable”…

…”That new flick had some poor storyline to begin with”…

…”Isn’t it a shame Michael Schumacher is not going to be driving after all!”

It was just their second date, could he really call it that, and he had already begun to like her. Unlike the prospectives his friends usually hitched him up with, she was genial, homely, grounded to the earth, loved soaking in the rain, thought that our traditions had to be respected no matter what and believed that the saari was a snug outfit. The last two were definitely going to get her special-extra-brownie-points with ma.

Amma. If the past had taught him something, it is that amma was a different ballgame altogether. School days was spent cramming up the books, extra tuition ensured that there was no time for wasteful thinking, leave alone squandering. Mom made sure that he got his milk on time, had his homeworks top notch and he was up before sunrise, for an extra round of revision. How else did he plan on becoming an astronaut? College was no less complicated. Amma relocated to his town; Yeah, Pa could manage on his own for couple of years and No, hostels are for kids whose mothers dont care enough.

And so, four years had dragged by at snail’s pace. The first puff of smoke was taken elsewhere while he had been busy completing his engineering drawing, on time and crisp to the P. The first crush was turned into heartbreak for others, while he dozed on the bus, rattling back home for dinner. The kiss had been magical; ephemeral, yet legendary indeed. But it had not been him, for he was at the temple that day, praying for a successful semester.

“Sorry?”

A mental snap, and he was back to today. “Whhaa..?”

“I don’t know. I mentioned coffee and you said ‘If Only’. “

“OH!!”

“It’s alright. We can get coffee sometime later.”

“NO!! No. Coffee is good. Coffee is great. Coffee it shall be”

He watched her, quietly, as she made herself comfortable in the small shack. Their patio table gave every part of her body room to live up and breath. He conceived that very moment, that he was capable of spending the rest of his life, staring at her luscious dark hair, duelling with the renegade breeze. The Indianness in everything about her, sent home a warm feeling within him. The waiter seemed to notice the artful manner in which she ordered our coffee, the nimbleness seemingly inborn. He sported a huge smile, scratched down our order and skipped his way back. Pumpkin what latte!? Pumpkin in a coffee? Really?

She sipped her drink, exuding a sense of peace to the world around her. By her green and yellow attire, everything seemed to pop out and spring into a dance, moving to the eternal song of love and life. Or at least he thought so. She sat there and took a sip of her coffee, undisturbed, while he continued.

He took a sip of the drink and spat it all out. He should not have listened to these guys after all. Amma was right from the beginning, this “was” a drink to hell. He forced another sip in, holding it in his mouth for a second, before gulping it down. As the caustic liquid oozed through his ducts, his inners came to life, burning their presence. When they finally settled, his mind settled too, on a cloud of dust around him. The guys were right, you could hear music with this drink in you. Hail Bro!!

Four hours and numerous drinks down, he walked home carelessly, mimicing a straight line in his gait. He laughed at how unsuccessful he was at it. The guys had helped him rehearse the story he was going to tell amma. He had gone over it a million times. Can you really count straight when you are drunk? There was not an odor or sound left on him to raise an ounce of doubt in her. He had to shoulder up and be a man! He could fool his way through without a doubt, and to think he presumed amma knew it all so far.

Amma knew it all. Period. She knew he was lying from ah-choo! There had been no study circle. There were no notes to copy. It was not just coffee indeed. He had disappointed her to the point of being ashamed. Dared he repeat it and she was going to take drastic steps. No, she did not want to listen to anything more. To the room please.

The soft tap on his hand bought his thoughts rushing back. He could never lie to amma again. But with the sensuous lady tapping his hands right now, he wouldn’t have to. She seemed to have fallen from heaven, or where ever they come from, with him in her mind all along. She pointed at her wrist watch, proclaimed that it was late and she needed to be home in time for the evening prayers.

“Oh!” Feeble protest. “Let’s get a taxi. I’ll ride you home”

Yes. Amma would definitely appreciate her and her impeccable demeanor. Prayers in the evening! There was no conceivable reason an out-going, modern, educated women of today would do that. She was going to be a complete success with Amma, and his dreams were coming to life indeed. He hailed the nearest black and yellow ride, shabbily whispered her address to the driver and settled in the back seat. She seemed to have been sitting there from ages eternal. The way she curled her legs together amused him, what wondrous poise in such cramped spaces. Beside him, she nudged closer and her sweet menthol fragrance gripped him.

He turned to face her, staring deep into her reciprocating eyes. Was this going to be the opportunity he had missed years back? What had the guys said? Don’t waste the moment thinking about it, go ahead and do it. Or wait! Was it, Thinking about it made sure you never missed it? She inched closer and his thoughts shattered, quite similar to the distance between them. Her brown eyes glared back, innocence and naievete in abundance. The inches between her voluptuous lips and his controlled fear seemed to be receding, slowly but surely.

Was he manning up to it and making the move? Finally? Was she being the infallable woman that she is, aware that he would want her to be? He sighed heavily, slumping in his seat.

A second away, and…

“Brother, Do you have a match?”

“What..? I..!”

“Here’s a lighter, bhayya.” With experienced swiftness, she dug through her purse, reached past her menthol cigarettes and produced a gem-studded piece.

Boy! He’d never seen one such before, and he couldn’t take his eyes of it now.

Excuse me!

Pardon the horrid array of fonts you find in my previous posts. I migrated over from Blogger, only to realize that WP needs me to get down to the CSS level to change the fonts here. sob sob

I realized that after a day full of codes, bugs, bugfixes, requests and processes, the last thing my sane mind wants to go back to is another round of programming. Am I doing something wrong here, or does WP really think changing the font is a more rare task than indenting or striking out?

Need to investigate more.

Meanwhile, I also need to get a more productive PR  guy 🙂

Cheers!!

A new road, a new beginning…

A world full of blogs and blogging awaits. Correction: A world awaits. I’ve never really been first time lucky. So I migrate from elsewhere to here, in hope, in want, in utter desperation to pull my strings together and find meaning around me. How successful am I in doing that? how much of a mess do I leave behind? Stick around as the story unfolds.

Some ground rules to set before we embark on this journey.

For me, the self:

– blog like noone is reading.

– blog like the whole world is watching.

– blackmail (emotionally, ofcourse) at least two people-a-day to read your blog.

For you, the reader:

– ahmm. hang in tight.

– please be vocal, bouquets or brickbats, bring em on. Am all ears.!!