Wednesday, October 31, 2007


Life. In little slides.

A drawn-out fight for over-priced beer

A party in a little known corner in Haryana, by the company, for the company. It was thrown to welcome the new employees since July, 2007. The party was scheduled at 4 pm and we were told that the cabs would be arranged for us and we would be picked up from our homes. But we never knew when the cabs would come.

It was a chilly early afternoon that I woke up to at 11 am. The shower was a torture. It was at 12:30, the exact moment that I was completely covered in soap and shampoo, that the cab driver knocked on my door. Pleading with him to wait a few minutes was of no avail. Finally, as I hurried myself out of the shower and got some clothes on, I called up the driver and asked him to come by my place again. And so it was, that we finally arrived at the resort.

The entire event went well, I guess. I wasn't in the centre of things. Except for one tiny detail. No beer! We agreed that perhaps beer was off the menu, but we could buy it ourselves if we wanted to. Step in this little do-gooder fellow employee, who was supposed to be the "coordinator" who talked the resort guys into putting beer completely off the menu. And I mean completely. We saw our doubts turn to murderous intent as the barmen mentioned our dear coordinator. In the end, after much squabbling and negotiations, we finally had beer at Rs. 200 a pop. Expensive yes. But we convinced ourselves it was a moral victory.

Trash it. Treasure it

The concept of bay decoration was forced down my throat by my enthusiastic team. I admit to swallowing it willingly. We were to decorate our bays and parade them in front of touring judges. Enthusiasm was high (among my team, that is), but ideas were low. We saw people setting up beauty parlors, 'chor bazaars', and pan shops in their bays. But, we were stumped. At literally the last minute, we decided to do what was the only option. We decided to trash it.

We brought empty soft-drink bottles from the cafeteria, empty 25 litre water cans from various water dispensers. We dumped them in our bay. Next on the line were paper cups and empty tea-bag boxes. They too were dumped in our bay. Next in line were hand bags, jackets, shoes and various other articles of clothing. Chairs were brought from all the desks in our bay and dismantled and strewn around. Then came the phones from our desks. They too were dismantled and thrown about, albeit rather artfully. An old CRT monitor, various keyboards and mice were added to the growing pile of mess. A huge pile of used paper was lifted from the printer room to give the final touch. And as the judges came around, we put up a sign saying, "Rabdiwallah", i.e. the recycling mart with notices promoting recycling stuck everywhere. A pair of broken headphones, still very usable, artfully straddled the sign. If not for the judges arriving just then, we could have brought empty milk packets from the neighbourhood tea shop.

What took little less than half-an-hour to create, took us more than 2 hours to clean up. All of it hasn't been cleaned up yet, even though it has been close to a week. In the end, it was the pan shop that won. But, it did not matter. We decided to recycle this idea for the next time.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Ode to 218

And so it was, at the setting of our mighty Sun, that we stood upon a small hill. With grassy plains surrounding, bordered at the farthest by a dense growth of hemp, we assembeled the Elders, the Knowers and the Thinkers. For amongst them was the Fire. The Fire in us all.

The Elder amongst the Elders received the Fire and lit the grassy knoll surrounding. And as the music in our hearts reached a cressendo, we indulged in the Feast of the Goat. We gazed at the Inferno, our minds in awe, as the beacon passed amongst us. For we consumed the essence of our world, without a word spoken, with our hearts in unison.

As the night came to its glorious end, and our mighty Sun rose over the horizon wreathed in a halo of Blue haze, we awoke to a new world. Our minds cleansed.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

A fond picture book

As I woke up today at 10 in the morning, to open the door to my insufferable landlord demanding the monthly rent, I realised that my life had descended into a comfortable yet a claustrophobic rut. Stuck out in Sector 62, the veritable boondocks of Noida, something was missing. What did I desire? An escape. I hadn't the faintest idea. I still don't.

Did I really want an escape? I was happy, wasn't I? I liked it here, didn't I? Perhaps I longed for the times in which I was truly happy. The feel of a home in which you are welcome and a home you longed to return to. After I saw my landlord off, contended with the thick wad of Rupee notes tucked away in his trouser pockets, I promptly fell asleep. Only to be woken up by a turbulent dream. A hazy picture of a home no longer.

The day was chilly. The onset of the winter of the North. I needed to clear my head with a mundane activity. I cleaned my apartment. I swept and mopped the floors, took out the trash which had piled up over two weeks and organised my wardrobe. The absence of my room-mate gave me the peace and quiet I so needed. Tired of the heavy cleaning, I stuck my head under the shower. My hair badly needed some cleaning. As I stood under the shower with the cold water pouring over me, I felt at home. Yet, I wasn't home.

As the cold water pitter-pattered on the floor and the cold breeze chilled me further, that hazy picture of my dream came into focus. I had dreamt of college. My college during the beginning of the seventh semester. The days of true happiness before I had so gloriously fuck'd up. The cold water and the strong breeze reminded me of the few days in the beginning of seventh semester, in which I, on the third floor of my hostel, welcomed the hey-days of the monsoons of Mangalore with a sheer uncontrollable bliss. I remembered the days on which the water drummed fiercely on the young leaves of the trees, cleaning off their dust and bringing to light their bright green faces. Returning to the hostel soaked from college only to be mesmerised by the bright, throughly drenched, greenery that surrounded me.

As I sat in my third floor room, with the windows wide open with little regard to the computer lying right next to them, I sat soaking in the spray brought in by the fierce breeze that blew in from the sea. The rains always came in at about four in the evening always accompanied by the breeze that brought such joy. As I sat getting drenched, there was nothing on my mind, but the fine cold spray which brought such freshness to my world. As the rain ended, the leaves dripping with water on the road to the beach made the picture complete.

For me, the monsoons of Mangalore are no longer. That chapter of my life has been written. The time to write a new one has arrived. Only when it is finished can I say whether it is worth reading again and again. Much like a fond little picture book we thumb through when we are feeling down.