Sunday, December 6, 2009

For your eyes only..

(The pressure project is almost over and I am enjoying the festive season now. Also have some plans to go to Munnar-Alleppy during the year-end. Thought I will delurk today to share an event. Trivial, but have to get started anyway.)

I and Kuhoo used to take short trips to Delhi from Dehradun. We were enjoying our first year of marriage. Our trips were hardly planned, most of times, we used to dump few t-shirts, jeans and a towel and head started for any place within an hour.

Dehradun Shatabdi express used to leave New Delhi around 7’o clock in the morning. Around the same time, from same platform number, another Shatabdi (Swarna Shatabdi) used to leave for Amritsar. The two trains used to stand in line, Dehradun Shatabdi ahead of Swarna Shatabdi.

As usual we reached during the last minute and jumped into the train. It was a little less crowded though. We threw ourselves on the chairs and tried to catch breath.

“I am coming in few minutes,” Kuhoo went towards the rest room. I waited for the train to start.

Even after 15 minutes, train did not start and, Kuhoo did not return.

A little worried, I went up to check. I checked all the rest rooms in adjacent bogeys, there was no sign of her. I got anxious.

I approached a TTC standing nearby. He directed me towards one Mr Sharma, a fat and aged looking person who worked for railway protection force.

By that time, I had lost my bearings; I spoke, “My Kuhoo is missing. Can you help?” (I spelled Kuhoo instead of wife. Mr Sharma thought she is my daughter.)

“Relax. Train is delayed for an hour. Have you checked everywhere?”

“Yes. No sign”.

“What is she wearing?”

“I am not sure. I red or pink top and blue or black jeans perhaps”.

“Come on, you should pay attention to these things”.

“I am sorry”. (I was trying to remember. She has a dozen of similar looking tops. It’s humanly impossible to figure out the difference. )

“I will get this announced right away. What’s her age?”


“Is she? Oh. Your wife? Your wife is missing?” Mr Sharma suddenly appeared a little relaxed.


“Have you called on her mobile?”

“I did. It is switched off”.

“See I don’t think one can kidnap her here. Please don’t mind my asking. “Were you in good terms with her? Any possibility of her running away?”

I ridiculed the question. “We love each other, and she will never run away”. (I am not that lucky anyways till today)

“I understand it’s difficult for you to search in this crowd, but keep looking. I will get this announced”.

As he turned towards the gate, I saw Kuhoo coming. I called back Mr Sharma.

“Where were you?” I almost shouted.

Kuhoo was smiling, “I heard train is delayed for an hour. I saw Komal in Amritsar Shatabdi. I sat with her inside. I was seeing you from there. What happened?”

“Yaar you didn’t tell me. How will I know?. I can’t see you in hundreds of people here”.

“But I can”. Kuhoo blinked.

Mr Sharma too smiled, “See you can’t find your wife in crowd, but she can”.

Kuhoo started towards the train. Mr Sharma came again. “Well this also means she always keeps an eye on you”. (She still does. But that's life. Isn't it ?)

Sunday, August 30, 2009

A walk in the clouds..

We were on the way to Coorg, the Scotland of India. The trip was organized by our neighbors. It was after a long time, we were going to the hills.

These days, sometimes, I get very tensed. But I have observed that whenever I have something to ‘look forward to’; I handle the tense moments better. Planning a trip or a get together (that one can look forward to) helps. Of course, how much we spend will depend on time or budget limitations; but if we are serious about planning, we do succeed 80% of the times.

We had a lazy breakfast at Kamath’s (a restaurant at the outskirts of Bangalore). Raindrops greeted us as we moved ahead. We sang our favorite rain songs and flirted with raindrops.

I wished time to slow down.

We reached Kushalnagar around 1’o clock and stopped to see the Namdroling Nyingmapa Monastery at Bailkuppe. Nyingmapa is the most ancient of the four major schools of Tibetan Buddism and maintains the method of tantric teachings (vajrayana). We were at the largest Nyingmapa teaching center in the world.

I get envious of the life these monks live. They don’t have to learn from past or plan for future. They live in their present; and appear to be content and peaceful all the time.

Our next stop was Cauvery Nisargadhama, a small river island known for elephant rides and deer park. We had lunch and then a peaceful walk among the dense bamboo trees.

I enjoyed the fragrance of trees and soil; like a child nearer to the grass and mud.

Around 5 PM, we finally moved ahead towards Madikeri. Mesmerized with beauty of heavily forested hills, when we reached our reserved home-stay, we found ourselves surrounded by high hills.

I found myself at home.

Hills never fail to recognize me. It’s like home coming. It's like a lost love that appears more beautiful every next meeting.

Next morning I trekked among the coffee and pepper plantation along the slope. For next 2 days, I roamed around, saws waterfalls, had campfires.

I don't remember what all I did. I was too busy enjoying the present. I saw the clouds as near as I could touch them. I kept walking in them.

Sunday, June 28, 2009


(A few months back (!) IHM tagged me to write on Cruelty. Blame it to the stupid projects or the stupid ways I am doing them, I have not been able to blog these days. I hope to be regular from now on.)

Some questions come when I think about ‘Cruelty’.

Is cruelty about causing pain and distress, heartlessly, deliberately? How is that measured? Is it based on the inhumanity of assaulter or the suffering of the victim or the perception an observer will carry?

I have some observations:

  • My elder cousin used to bully me for chocolates, front seat, toys and for almost everything we were asked to share during childhood days. My cousin never realized that and at very few times anyone observed that. It was a cruelty and I was the victim.
  • Once I threw stones on the frogs in our kitchen garden during rainy season. I did not realize what I am doing, my mom saw it late. By that time I had killed one. It was again a cruelty and the frog was the victim.
  • On the first day in college, I was asked to go and get the size of b** of the girls in my section. I was slapped by some of the girls. And then I was slapped by my seniors too for missing entries. It was cruelty that my principal did not see; I almost cried while my seniors (including senior girls) laughed.
  • My first girl friend left me because she had found a richer guy to marry. She had to do that; no one observed that. It was cruelty that I could not bear and I cried.

I think all of us are Cruel by instinct though some of us can be a little less cruel than others. Perhaps we are animals; at least some kind of. But we have to live with that.

We have also seen the Cruelty of nature. Again we have to live with that.

The complications are when we look at Cruelty for a reason (acceptable or otherwise).

  • Consider a victim of cruelty. Consider I act back against my cousin, my girl friend etc. I found one of my friends ragging the freshers because he was ragged in his first year. But all this is still a cruelty. At least to an observer who is unaware of the past. Actually an observer can never know the complete details. His viewpoint will remain skewed towards what and how he has been informed.
  • I called the Pest Control guys and ensured all cockroaches, rats and mosquitoes get killed. The rat poison chokes the air supply to rat’s heart. It comes out in air to breath and dies in open due to breathing failure. Perhaps I will never do that again; perhaps I will do that again, when rats re-start cutting the electrical wires of my car and appliances. I don’t know.
  • I have seen cruelty inflicted on a daughter-in-law when required dowry could not be given. I have also seen the cruelty inflicted on a mother-in-law who was forced out of his son’s house.
  • Non-acceptable reasons for cruelty are something we must watch out and react against. To increase vote bank, some politicians in my country create distances between two religion, communities and people. The most powerful country in the world creates imbalance between countries to sell arms and to gain regional controls.
  • I felt so angry when a shameful incident took place in my state in a pub. Such sick people need to be brought to the law. I have seen movies on war crimes, genocide etc. This tells me about cruelty due to mental disorders.

Action against Cruelty by Instinct or acceptable reasons can be patience and forgiveness. We all have these tendencies as well, again in varying proportions.

Action against Cruelty of Nature is to care of it a little more. It may be cruel but it’s lovely too. Most of us love nature though it shows the ugly face sometimes.

Cruelty for un-acceptable reasons must be retaliated individually and collectively. Laws of society, state and countries have been drawn for them. If need be, they need to be re-drawn. We must express this in all forms.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

A missed call..

Phone rang relentlessly in the wee hours of Sunday morning.

Half asleep I groped around the bed. I had slept late last night. For last few months working till late has become unavoidable. I picked up the phone.

“Remember me?”

I hate early morning calls and I got a little annoyed with the question. I tried to recognize the voice, “Can’t hear you properly”.

“Setu here; how are you?”

“Hey ! Setu.” I almost screamed.

Setu was my school friend. He moved to New Jersey 10 years back. We were a little out of touch recently. We studied in same college; shared somewhat dissimilar thoughts, discussed a lot about career and girls. “Your accent has changed a bit. I am fine. How about you?”

“I am coming to India”.


“Manish, you were right. I understand your point now. I had a chat with Sweta also. Let us make another trip to Rajpur.”

Setu always liked to make money when I told money isn’t everything; he always liked high society life that I felt, several times, too artificial; he believed in passion when I believed in flexibility. He was focused, I was confused. He had girlfriends, I had none.

We were at par in studies. We respected each other. Later I joined a company as a Management Trainee. Setu waited for a chance to go abroad. He finally managed to. And since he has earned a lot of money and has lived a high quality life. I too worked on my weaknesses. Got a decent job, got married and settled in Bangalore.

Sweta was Setu’s girlfriend then and now the life partner. Once three of us went to Rajpur and stayed overnight in a camp. The whole night we sat and discussed about the real life we had to see ahead. While I spoke to take life as it comes, Setu talked about dreaming big. Sweta shared similar views those I had and she loved Setu.

“Come here. We will plan. Though I am not sure whether I will be able to go to Rajpur. We can plan anywhere near and around Bangalore”. “Hope everything is fine at your end”.

“Manish, I have run too fast. I feel exhausted. I want to slow down. Want to spend the life you spoke about”.

“What happened Setu?” This was not the Setu I knew.

“Nothing. Just that I want to take it easy now.”

But Setu didn’t know that his views had actually changed me. I too had started dreaming big. Since last 10 years, I tried to become Setu. I turned into a perfectionist from an easy going guy. And I achieved what I wanted to. To catch Setu I also ran fast. But perhaps because I never completely believed in his ideology, I could never catch him. And finally I stand today, dreamless and realizing Setu too has stopped chasing those big dreams.

“You know Setu, I somehow followed what you believed in. And in this I lost my ordinariness.”

“Don’t tell me Manish. You told you will never change”.

“I did Setu. But today there is more Setu in me than Manish. You taught me to dislike mediocrity; I came over it. Now flamboyance sucks me.”

Of late I see more life in ordinariness. It’s like knowing all roads of the jungle. And all roads of the jungle are known to only those who have got lost in it. Success alienates a person to all those small things in life that life is made of.

“Manish, I am coming back. We will trek again together to Rajpur. We will talk. I want to re-live those moments.”

“I understand”.

“Throughout my life I chased my dreams. One dream after the other. And in this I lost touch with my friends, created distance with parents, got money but life slipped out. Objectivity replaced amusement. I am boring at best, anxious at worst.”

“You have been my alter ego Setu; and finally we have a common problem” I smiled.

“How is Kuhoo?”

I turned around to look for Kuhoo. But she was not on bed.

“Wake up”, I saw Kuhoo standing near me with tea. “We are planning to go to Mekadatu today’.

She continued, “I took your phone in morning. Setu had called. I told you’re sleeping. He and Sweta are coming to India for a week”.

“I didn’t miss that call”, I smiled back. She looked at me in disbelief as I enjoyed the cardamom tea.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

A Wet Towel Dilemma...

Yesterday morning, I came out of bathroom, half naked. As usual I was racing against the clock to start for office. Dressed myself and came out for breakfast.

“Have you left the wet towel again on the bed”, Kuhoo inquired arranging the plates.

Shoulders down, I tried my standard answer, “There was no other place”.

She smiled like a stubborn boss, “There are lots of places to keep if you look around”. I normally don’t argue back when she is smiling; you’ll never know what is in her sleeves.

But the problem continues and here I explain.
  • The bathroom is attached to the bedroom. The most visible object I see coming out of the bathroom is my bed.
  • It’s also the place where my shirt and trousers are kept for wearing that day. Jumping on one leg when I put on the trousers, the bed is the only place I can throw the towel.
  • And I must free my hands to secure the buttons and zip else the outcome can be worse, considering my maid can anytime barge into the room without knocking the door even once.
  • The other option I have is to go jumping on one leg towards the balcony and keep the towel on the wire. But the problem is - my balcony is visible from my hot padosan’s kitchen. She is the spice of my life currently and I don’t want to be seen by her when I am not properly dressed.
  • I could have attempted a Salman or even a John Abraham, but the problem is I have only one pack to show.
  • Twice I gave that to Adi to keep the towel on a chair. But he tied that around his neck and started running around, “I am Per-man”.
  • Once I threw it under the bed but that night I was asked to wash it.
Friends actually I don’t want to test Kuhoo patience but I am running short of ideas. Can you help?

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Awards and New Friends..

This blog is to thank IHM and Mampi for the awards they have given me.

This one 'Bloggers for World Peace' came from IHM with comments: "Some bloggers give us Hope. They are bloggers who care, for ALL THE CITIZENS of this World. These bloggers can see above the generalizations of Caste, Community, Religion, Language, Region, Race and National boundaries. They are the hope of our UNITY IN DIVERSITY".

This one 'Proximidade Award' came from Mampi with comments: "The citation of the award reads that this award is given to a blog that invests and believes in PROXIMITY - nearness in space, time and relationships!"

Thanks Friends.

And you know what you have done ? You have given me links to some new bloggers who I have added in my favorites list.