Friday, May 22, 2009

Read this and then this

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Sitting in my car listening to “Ek Lau Is Tarah Kyun Bhuji Mere Maula…” , watching the wipers idly clean my windshield as the rain drops trickled down, I felt shiver of delight. It’s funny how music makes everything seem so poignant, so surreal. The yellow haze around the streetlights, the pedestrians scurrying towards shelter, the dog curled under a broken down truck, people with umbrellas queuing outside the Andhra Dum Biriyani Center , the glum looking owner of the Iyengar Bakery..for a fleeting moment everything was beautiful. I was perfectly happy, perfectly satisfied with my life.

I wish my life had background music.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

What I really do when I stay back late...

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Before my sister and I went about cleaning out our house, I visualized myself writing a sentimental blog entry, an entry of remorse, of faded memories that came to life, of regret of a life that turned out different from what I’d imagined. We were after all going to rid the house of all the furniture, the vessels, the books, the photographs, the electronics, the clocks, the clothes, the curtains, the puja room pictures and the idols. We would spend two days getting rid of twenty years worth of possessions. At the end we would give it out for rent so that strangers could occupy the rooms we grew up in. We would trade our personal museum for convenience and cold hard cash.

The horrible truth is we did it with clinical efficiency. I spent most of my time standing on a stool, clad in a baniyan and a pair of shorts as I systematically pulled out box after box from the loft and passed them down to my sister after which we decided the their fate: Stuff to keep, Stuff for charity and Stuff to trash. We hardly spent time agonizing over individual items. I would take some vessels, some books, a small cupboard, a study table and a Godrej Bero. My sister would take a couple of cupboards and some books. My uncle would take the computer table and the fridge. Everything else would be given to charity. We surprised ourselves with our practicality.

While a sense of sadness did prevail, we all had terrible limitations. We lived far away in Bangalore. I shared a fully furnished flat with two other guys and I hardly had any space to spare. My sister and uncle had full houses as well. Where was the room to keep all the stuff?

“You should keep it all” my grandmother said. “It will be useful for you when you get married”. She was right but marriage seemed too distant a possibility to consider seriously now. I was in no mood to have so many possessions. It didn’t seem right for someone my age.

“I don’t want to be weighed down by a dining table.” I complained to my uncle,. “And all those vessels! I don’t even cook!” My uncle however didn’t appreciate the flippancy.

“Dinesh, you’ll have to remember that those items were bought by your parents when their income was very meager.” He said gently. “They didn’t just pick those items up because they fancied them. They worked hard, saved money gradually and bought them because they really needed them. It took them over two decades to acquire these items.” You can’t dismiss them just like that.”

I felt guilty, but I still didn’t want the dining table.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Introducing my best friend and brother, Ali :-)

Friday, January 02, 2009

I knew I’d made a mistake by turning up at office on the 2’nd. Given that it was the Friday following New Years Eve, I only encountered lonely chairs and empty cubicles. In a way, the sight was a relief. While I’d often had doubts about my career choice after I joined an IT firm, I remembered this was why I opted for IT in the first place. If Thursday or a Tuesday was a holiday, you could be sure that the weekend would last 4 days.

Weekends off, air conditioning, opportunities to travel abroad and the chance to stay in Bangalore…these were the reasons I chose an IT firm. The thought of an exciting and challenging career had never crossed my mind. My more adventurous friends who’d joined faster paced industries like Telecom and FMCG were spending New Year by themselves in obscure villages and small towns, deep in the heart of rural India. No doubt that they would emerge stronger from the experience but for now I gloated over the fact that I could go home now and no one would care. (On the other hand, there was a good chance I could get laid off due to the recession but I didn’t let the thought trouble me too much)

I hung around for a while, completing some trivial tasks and then I left. It was only 12:30 PM and I was on my way out. The sun was shining quite brightly, a bit of a relief considering it was quite chilly in Bangalore. I’d arranged to meet my sister and brother in law for lunch at an Italian restaurant called Herbs and Spices at Indira Nagar.

Herbs and Spices turned out to be quite a spiffy restaurant. The menu had some very fancy sounding Italian items, none of which I understood so I randomly made my choice. My brother in law safely went in for a Pizza while my sister who felt the need for something sophisticated went in for ravioli with artichokes and goat cheese. Having ordered our food, we sat back and relaxed.

Our food arrived. My quiche was quite nice to eat, even though I didn’t know what it was. The pizza though bland was quite a wise choice. My sister took a forkful of her ravioli with goat cheese and artichoke and then her eyes went glassy. She didn’t say anything for a few seconds and then she shuddered.

Out of concern, I took a sample of the ravioli and chewed it. Suddenly, I couldn’t breathe. The goat cheese overwhelmingly pungent, it made me quite dizzy. The artichokes tasted alien in my mouth and just as I made a masterful effort to keep the food down my throat, I saw his buttocks.

A group of foreigners were having lunch at the table opposite us and for some reason the man with his back to me had half his bottom hanging out of his pants. While I understood the need to make a fashion statement, the sight of his pale pimpled buttocks didn’t go well with the goat cheese. The fact that he was overweight and shapeless greatly increased my discomfort. Struggling for breath, I quickly sat back and averted my eyes. That’s when I realized my family was the only one restaurant not wearing low waist jeans. Everyone’s chaddi was display.

What had happened? I knew low waist jeans were a trend but why was I being subject to the sight of everyone’s underwear against my will? I caught my breath. The girl to my right was wearing a thong.

I looked around again, spying only rows of Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger. I searched in vain for a Rupa frontline or a VIP but none were forthcoming. The middle class did not dare to bare.

It was depressing. For a few moments I had felt very classy that I was eating Italian food at a posh restaurant. The next moment I realized that I didn’t belong there. Not because I couldn’t afford the food, but simply because my underwear brand was for my own eyes only. My middle class morals would never let me feel comfortable there.

Once upon a time, eating out was special, a luxury reserved only for special occasions. A trip to Saravana Bhavan to eat its special Sambhar Vadai was the highlight of a month or even a year. My family would brave waiting in a crushing crowd in order to get a seat. It was a team effort. We would scan the tables, alert to note which family was likely to finish their meal first and then push our way towards that table, breathing down their necks until they got up. For the next hour or so, we would ourselves endure the impatient looks of the other patrons as we busily attacked our food. The sight of a waiter holding a plate of paper Masala dosa aloft his head as he navigated the crowd to reach our table would almost cause me to burst from excitement.

Sitting at Herbs and Spices, with the nauseating smell of goat cheese in the air and only Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger for company, I missed my childhood.