Friday, November 28, 2008
Safe in my indifference lie.
I close my eyes and stuff my ears,
I see no pain, I hear no cries.
The World on fire, I watch it burn.
and scoff at those who seem to care.
Their tears, their plight it stirrs me not,
I join the crowd to stand and stare.
The World on fire, I watch it burn,
and still go on from nine to five.
Commend myself for my indominable spirit,
The dead fade quick when you're alive.
The World on fire, I watch it burn
and turn my back to all I see.
I knuckle down, believe their lies,
Ofcourse things are better than they used to be.
The World on fire, I watch it burn
while gunshots ring out through the night.
The blood that spills is not my own.
Why should I care? Its not my fight.
The World on fire, I watch it burn.
Its distant still, I pray it stays.
The World's on fire, the flames they spread,
the embers set my heart ablaze.
Friday, November 21, 2008
But what does one do when somebody you really care about is upset and hurting... and you cant help but feel that you're responsible... I havent quite mastered the art of giving people space... Dont quite know how to ride away from the dragon...
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
I'm pretty sure most of you guys reading this blog are techie nerds who don't have too much of a clue about what I do. I'm even more sure that you don't give a shit either. Hence I'm compelled to write this.
THE CHUTNEYCASE GUIDE TO UNDERSTANDING CA
CA? What the hell does that mean?
Chartered Accountancy. This is the course one must pursue in order to become a shattered accountant. Er, chartered accountant. Obviously, CAs are different from your regular accountants. That's cause they're not only accountants, they're chartered.
So what do they do anyway?
They do cool financial stuff. Like awesomely cool financial type things.
Right, if I told you that the job description varies from Auditing and Assurance to Due Diligence to Strategic Management to Information Systems Audit to Valuation to Arbitration to...
I had to pause to catch my breath. In any case, did you understand any of what I just said?
Oh so you were talking in English all that time? I'm sorry, could you run that by me again?
Sigh. Actually I'd be surprised if you did have understood. Most of us CA students don't get half of that shit. I was just quoting from the prospectus. But it's like I told you. Awesomely cool financial type things.
So, which college you doing CA in?
Never ask that question to any CA student again. NEVER. CA is a course which is NOT offered in any college. CA is based on the model of distance learning. You just have to register yourself with the ICAI.
Hold on a minute. Shouldn't it be I See AN Eye?
Good Lord! ICAI, as in Institute of Chartered Accountants of India. They're the regulatory body for this course. You register with them for the exams, study for the same and then appear for the exams at the various centers authorized by the Institute. After clearing, you get to become a member of the ICAI.
Oooh, membership! Do you guys have a pool? I'm even ok with a jacuzzi.
The ICAI is not some kinda club! If it were, I would have paid the fees ages back and become a member without going through all this! Membership with the ICAI entitles you to certify the financial statements of a Company. Unless a company's accounts are certified by a member of the institute, they're pretty much invalid.
It's like our Board exams. Why are they such a big deal? Cause its not our school teachers who correct it. It's a third party, which means all that apple polishing we did for Sheela Miss was a big waste of time. A CA is like that board examiner. He is the 3rd party who expresses an opinion on your financial position. And just like its the board marks which finally stand the test of time and job interviews, its these audited and certified financial statements which hold good. Whether it 's for applying for a bank loan or for publishing in the company's annual report.
So this is called auditing and that other-fancy-word-I-can't-pronounce?
Sort of, CA's who do this sort of thing are called practising chartered accountants. They are independant chartered accountants, kinda like freelance journalists. It's the true essence of the profession and if you want to be successful in this line (other than inheriting a practice, in case your father is one), you have to drop shit cause it requires a lot of painfully painful hard work builiding a client base. Which is why lots of fresh CA's prefer jobs in the finance department of companies. Their argument is that they've already had 3 years of trauma and don't have enough mental strength to cope with more of that.
How much do these guys earn anyway?
The starting salary for a fresh CA is 6 lac per annum on an average. If you're practising, there's no actual estimation. There's no bottom limit or top limit, depends on your skill.
No limit? You mean If I'm good I can even earn...?
Sweet! So this is like a 3 year course I heard?
CA is not like college degrees - FY, SY, TY & then Bye Bye. It's like...playing Age of Empires. You have to complete a set of levels (as of now, 3 levels) before you can claim to be emperor. And everyone takes their own time to finish those levels. Level one is the Common Profiency Test which you can write after clearing your 12th. Level two comes one and a half years later, the Professional Competence Exam and one and a half years after that, the final. If you're good, you'll wrap it up in 3 and a half years, which is the minimum time possible as of now. Average students take 6 years. Some can take up to a decade.
A decade? Wow, this course must be tough!
If Time Magazine ever brought together a list of the Top Ten Evil Courses in the century, CA would lead the pack followed by the-course-you-have-to-study-to-find-the-cure-for-AIDS and Swahilian Anthropology. But Time did not come up with that list.
Level one (the SAT modelled Common Proficiency Test) of the course is extremely simple, in fact its just a way for the institute to collect money. In all honesty, its a feat to fail in that exam than clear it. It's a multiple choice with negative marking test for 4 subjects - Fundamental Accounts, Mercantile Law, Quantitative Aptitude and Economics.
The second level is the PCE or Professional Competency Exam. There are 6 papers classified in 2 groups. The first group is Advanced Accountancy, Law Ethics & Communication, and Auditing. The second group consists of Cost Accounting & Financial Management, Taxation and Infotech/Strategic Management.
The Final (thankfully spared of a fancy acronym) exam has 8 papers, Financial Reporting, Strategic Financial Management, Advanced Auditing and Professional Ethics, Corporate Laws (Group 1), Advanced Managament Accounting, Information Systems Control & Audit, Direct Taxes and Indirect Taxes (Group 2). (Just in case you were wondering, yes, the Institute hires an MBA to come up with fancy acronyms for its tests and revamp the subject names so that they can sound super sexy.)
The exams are conducted twice a year, May and November, and each textbook is the size of a large pillow.
As if the humongous syllabus is not a worry, the Institute has this absurd passing criterion: You need at least 40 in every paper. Though it looks very low you will have to sell your soul to score every single mark. But that's not enough; the average score i.e. the % secured when all the subjects are combined should be minimum of 50. If you don't fulfill either of the criteria, you will fail.Another simple rule of the game is "One Down = All Out." Strange but true, if you fail in one subject, you have to give all the subjects again. However there is an exception, if you score 60 above in any subject (you have to be Einstein's accountant twin to do that) then you need not give that paper again.
Shit! But you get 3 years right? Study then.
Yeah you wish. One of the highlights of this course is making the student "Corporate Ready" by making the student go through a 3 year internship thus enabling "practical training". This is just the institute's way of saying that the student has to mandatorily enroll himself into manual labour for 3 years under the fancy tag of "articled assisstant". So most of the time we're busy slaving away, and when we're not, we're writing dumbass blog posts. Clearly, we're incredibly hard pressed for time.The cool part about this is that you get some super work-experience at the end of which you are much more confident and prepared for your first corporate job. If you join a B school, you would have an edge over freshers because you've already been learned all that shit, the hard way.
So this course is fiendishly difficult, doesn't give you any time and is pretty much social suicide. So why are so many people doing it?
It's incredibly cheap. If you don't go to any classes, the entire course won't cost you more than 30k. Even if you do go for classes, you won't spend more than 1 lakh. And the return on your investment is awesome.
Its cheap?! Ok, let me rephrase that - forget why other people are doing it, why are you doing it, miss daddy's little girl?
My father decided he had spoiled me enough and wanted to teach me the lesson "There is no free lunch in life". He could have just sent me to the Himalayas alone without any money. Instead of that, CA.
Wait a minute now. You've completed a year of this...which means you're exam is coming up in May '09! How're you preparing?
Er. Ok, How're you GOING to prepare?
With courage in my heart and the CA anthem in my head.
"Fight fight, never surrender,
After May, there is November.
Where there is a will, there is a way,
After November there is May."
Aren't you positive...
Hey, when you're in CA, you gotta be able to face the F word (Fail, you pervert!). Even the brightest of students don't clear sometimes.
That's no excuse for you to be wasting time. You have 6 months left and 6 subjects to cover. Shouldn't you be studying?
Hmmm...you sound like my mother.
That's becasue I am your mother! Enough of this nonsense! Shut the damn computer down and study! Don't you have any seriousness? You've played around all this time and....
-This information broadcast has been brought to an abrupt end due to technical difficulties. If you do have any more questions, feel free to shout back! I will get back to you after the er, technical diffulties are sorted out. YES AMMA, I'M STUDYING!-
Saturday, November 15, 2008
मना रहे हैं स्वर्ण जयन्ती
हम अपनी आज़ादी की।
याद में उन वीरों की जिनका
जीवन यह आज़ादी थी॥
वीर शिवाजी, लक्ष्मी बाई,
भगत सिंह और आजाद।
ऐसे वीर सेनानी हमको
सदा रहेंगे याद॥
गांधीजी और लाल बहादुर
भारत के थे लाल महान।
एक का नारा अमन,
एक का " जय जवान जय किसान"
क्या हिंदू, क्या मुस्लिम,
क्या सिख और क्या ईसाई,
कूद पड़े जंग-ऐ-मैदान में
और ये आज़ादी पाई॥
अपनी आज़ादी की फसल हमने,
लहू से सींच कर है उगाई।
रखना उस बलिदान को याद,
फिर ना बिछडे भाई-भाई॥
Friday, November 14, 2008
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Here's an account of my first expedition... in the borderline poetic prose style of Miss Isha Astha....
It was a starry night…. somewhere in the hills (!) …and we were on our way there, Aakash, Pavitra, Mehak, Amit, Nitasha, Mary, Veronica, Ankit, Raghu sir and me. Seshadri was to join us a day later at Uttarkashi. Stuck in a rickety bus, which is the trademark start to any given Hiking Club trek, we prepared ourselves for a sleepless night. We had found a direct bus, so at least we didn’t have to switch buses in the middle of the night. Ankit had managed to find himself a single backseat on which he sprawled himself , covered his eyes with his Stetson, and in true cowboy style dozed off. Pavitra mean while amused herself by watching Nitasha bonk her head against the window pane every time she drifted off and must’ve laughed so hard that eventually her seat broke. By the time we crossed Chamba, dawn broke and a few hours later we reached Uttarkashi. the ‘bus stop’ in front of Bhandari hotel had actually turned into a muddy swamp thanks to the previous night’s rain, and we had to wade through it to reach our rest house….all exclaims of disgust were soon forgotten at the thought of aloo parathas awaiting us for lunch. Stomachs full, we made our way to NIM to hire equipment; tents, axes, and koflachs for the guides, we ourselves didn’t carry any, relying on the guides to break the trail for us. The skies were clear, the weather was warm and perfect, and we were all excited at the prospect of climbing the peak… and prayed for some snowfall at the end as well. We spent that evening scarfing down just about everything the Uttarkashi dhabas had to offer us to eat~ trying to build food reserves for the days we’d be on the mountain with virtually nothing to eat.
5th October, we were ready and raring to go. Nitasha was in dampened spirits since the time she woke up and found her lip swollen to the size of an egg. Lesson no.1: when in strange beds never sleep with face into the pillow. An avil, and a couple of parathas later she was back to her usual chatter pattar self and making Ankit’s life miserable. We boarded the luggage on the 10 a.m bus to Gangotri, after Seshadri arrived and were on our way amidst a noisy and very cramped bus. The view succeeded in making up for the discomfort of the journey. The deep gorges, livid colours, the raging Bhagirathi, all made the mountain seem to come alive. The rock formations, especially in the river were unlike anything I’ve seen before. They were huge single boulders, smooth as a baby’s bottom in different shades of browns and grays, with these depressions in them, as though someone had left finger marks in clay dough. This was the second time I was going up the valley this year, and as opposed to the summer when I had visited the Gangotri valley for the first time, and the scenery was dull and lifeless, somehow autumn had brought about a 180 degree change in the landscape.
The landscape was breathtaking all the way until Chirbas where we went for an acclimatization walk the following day. Throughout the 9km walk from Gangotri to Chirbas we had the Bhagirathi to our right, glimmering like a thousand diamonds under the midday sun, and the mountain ranges flanking both sides of the valley, showing off a spectrum of colours; dark green pine forests at the base, orange to brown till finally red alpine meadows higher up, and the whipped cream- like snowy tips. It was a clear, sunny day and we had a clear view of the Bhagirathi massif, as well as Saifi, Maitri, and Chirbas Paarbat. After a hearty meal of nutella in Maggi masala flavoured water, we marched back down to Gangotri like happy campers, singing at the top of our lungs, (Mary) stopping here and there to take pictures, or (veronica) posing as a Liril ad model under waterfalls. It was our last night in civilization before we officially commenced the trek. The boys decided to christen the occasion with cold water baths…. and loud screams of terror (from Ankit) when the cold water actually hit him.
On the 7th of October we started making our way up the Rudugaira valley. The river played hide and seek with us most of the morning. The first half of the trek that day was through shaded mountain on a carpet of maple leaves in their autumn hues, the sounds of waterfalls beckoning us in the distance, and sunny patches where we could drop our packs and just feel light and free and doze off for a while. But all was not pretty that day. It wouldn’t hurt to mention the killer 1000 foot ascent ,that gave our backs reason to scream, or the part of the trek when the group had split Aakash, Mary and I lost the trail and eventually had to scramble over a rock fall (extremely nerve wracking) to regain our bearings. It also wouldn’t hurt to mention the little crush that Pavitra and Nitasha had on Baldev, one of our guides, and how they managed to successfully play damsel in distress on various occasions, and have Baldev come to their rescue, either helping them cross over a dilapidated looking bridge, or run down the mountain holding their hands…heh heh! 16500 feet up, the day had ended well- a short spell of rain towards the evening and a warm glass of milk served by the porters in our tents, for a good night’s sleep.
The next day we began our trek to base camp. We were well above tree line now. All we had around us was patches of brownish red alpine meadows splattering the snow and an eerie calming silence. It was like walking through a painting. Just before base camp was a treacherous path through a landslide which lasted a bit too long. One slip and you’ll find your self skidding all the way down into the river, which will gobble you up and drown your screams. Terrorizing describes the route in one word. Base camp was a flattish area, being the highest point at that height. So the winds beat in from the windward side. Strangely, just ten steps away, you can seek refuge on the leeward side of the mountain and happily bask in the sun all afternoon (and burn your nose doing so). That night at BC was going to be the first of many sleepless nights to follow.
The next morning while the entire party decided to do a recce of ABC, Raghu sir and I stayed back at BC, me feeling the slight effects of altitude. The weather was still good. The Gangotri peaks were visible in the daytime, before the midday clouds rolled in, and across the valley two of the Jogin peaks were also visible. A foreign party of two with an army of porters came into base camp that day, on an expedition to Auden’s col. By that afternoon the ABC party had also returned with horror tales of the speed of the winds up there. The next day was to be the load ferry. I was dreading it. In the evening we killed time making fools of ourselves in a long jump competition, or standing around a tiny fire made out of twigs and trash (we were above tree line), or staring at the very glamorous(!) and better equipped American camp, plotting ways of raiding their kitchen at night.
It snowed that night and all the way into the next morning. Initially our spirits were high at the prospect of making snowmen and having snow ball fights, so we eagerly jumped out of our sleeping bags. Ten snowballs and a one foot tall snow man later, we started getting restless. No Koflachs meant no work that day, so we had to bum in the tents all day, lest our boots get wet in the snow. We sat, all of us crammed in one tent talking excitedly, waiting for the snowfall to cease. When the weather started showing no signs of relenting that day, Mehak and I retired to our tents to sulk, while the others played cards, and made it a point to shriek and disturb my peaceful sulking. Nitasha was getting restless too. While Mehak and Amit were writing pages and pages in their journals, competing for best travelogue of the year, Nit was suffering from writers block and would release her frustration on poor Ankit, which inevitably resulted in very comical squabbles. That night we sat in the shelter of the warm kitchen, eating sticky maggi and contemplating the next days’ moves. The American team had already packed up and left that morning. Although our head guide Mohan Singh was eager that we attempt summit if the snowfall stopped by the next day, to us, packing up and leaving seemed like a welcome idea.
It was a hard night. The winds were howling and banging at our collapsing tents, trying to blow us off the mountain. Lucifer’s messengers were calling out to us and we were saying our last prayers. With the temperature dipping to well below – 20 C, we didn’t get any shut eye that night. All of us took turns banging off the snow on the sides of the tents all night. The boys’ tent was the worst, with the ceiling touching their noses and the guy ropes propped up with ice axes and sandals, and just about anything they could find!
By the next morning the storm had ceased, though there was still an ominous cloud cover stretching for miles around. One couldn’t tell where the sky ended and the snow covered mountains began. So we packed up base camp, and after a breakfast of something that tasted like sweetened shoelaces, we set off, all the way back down to Gangotri. Most of the tough areas were snow covered; making it easier to negotiate. My knees began to collapse midway, the cold and the descent just made it harder. Our boots were wet and we were hungry. The only thing that kept us going was the thought of a warm quilt in Gangotri, and so we marched on, well into the night and finally reached at 9p.m.after a 13 hour hike. After a thank god meal, we crashed, and slept the most peaceful sleep in days. From thereon, it was all the way home. The weather apparently got worse on the mountain by the day, and we had managed to get out of the valley just in time.
Needless to say, despite the fact that we hadn’t achieved our goals we’d gladly do it all over again. And as to what became of the team mates? Veronica and Mary, the inseparable duo, can be found at the Dhaba, at all odd hours of the day, Pavitra and Aakash are in class most of the time like good Mathsies, Amit is known to be setting newer and harder routes on the wall everyday, and Seshadri is trying his level best to demolish the route. Nitasha’s presence can be heard from miles away at any given point of the day. Spider girl Mehak is climbing and passing on gyan to fuchas. And Ankit has been spotted at the local crags often, saving the lives of many, by showing them what NOT to do!
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
First, grant me my sense of history:
I did it for posterity,
for kindergarten teachers
and a clear moral:
Little girls shouldn't wander off
in search of strange flowers,
and they mustn't speak to strangers.
And then grant me my generous sense of plot:
Couldn't I have gobbled her up
right there in the jungle?
Why did I ask her where her grandma lived?
As if I, a forest-dweller,
didn't know of the cottage
under the three oak trees
and the old woman lived there
As if I couldn't have swallowed her years before?
And you may call me the Big Bad Wolf,
now my only reputation.
But I was no child-molester
though you'll agree she was pretty.
And the huntsman:
Was I sleeping while he snipped
my thick black fur
and filled me with garbage and stones?
I ran with that weight and fell down,
simply so children could laugh
at the noise of the stones
cutting through my belly,
at the garbage spilling out
with a perfect sense of timing,
just when the tale
should have come to an end.
Monday, November 10, 2008
Hi (INSERT NAME HERE)
im not sure you are familiar with the concept of civil replys. the fact that you've read the mail has been made abundantly clear in your reply but as far as the standard of the reply in the way of size is concerned, you still leave a lot to be desired. young (lady/man)
i sincerely hope that you appreciate the depth of the message conveyed by this mail. remember, a genuine effort towards life never goes unrewarded. in conclusion, and on a personal note i would like to inform you that if you do not send better mails i shall be liable to knock your ruddy head off.
I hope the above proves useful..
Friday, November 7, 2008
This if for you my brave partner in crime... my heart goes out to you... i know it hurts... but i know you're strong enough to take it... and dont ever think you're alone... im right here to piss you off with lame jokes.. like i've always been... this song goes out to you...
When the day is long and the night, the night is yours alone,
When you're sure you've had enough of this life, well hang on
Don't let yourself go, 'cause everybody cries
and everybody hurts sometimes
Sometimes everything is wrong.
Now it's time to sing along
When your day is night alone, (hold on, hold on)
If you feel like letting go, (hold on)
When you think you've had too much of this life, well hang on
'Cause everybody hurts. Take comfort in your friends
Don't throw your hand. Oh, no. Don't throw your hand
If you feel like you're alone, no, no, no, you are not alone
If you're on your own in this life, the days and nights are long,
When you think you've had too much of this life to hang on
Well, everybody hurts sometimes,
Everybody cries. And everybody hurts sometimes
And everybody hurts sometimes.
So, hold on, hold on
Hold on, hold on, hold on, hold on, hold on, hold on
Everybody hurts. You are not alone
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
I don't understand it. I've just given one of the best performances of my life, and I feel like crap.
I'm asking myself existentialist questions. Is there a point to being alive and not be loved, or even liked by those around you?
I'll tell you something. You know what a close friend is? Like a REALLY close friend? One who you can pour your heart out to at any time? Well, I've got one or two. But you know the other type of close friend who does everything with you? One who goes through pains to cheer you up when you're down? One whose presence feels like upliftment. One you plan month long excursions around the country with. I don't have anyone like that.
You know, a while back in my life a realized that I didn't have many friends. So I made a conscious decision to be more outgoing, accommodating and accepting. I decided that clubbing wasn't a bad thing, and grabbing a drink was sometimes desirable. Predictably, I made more friends. But I started to feel crappier.
And I'll tell you why. The people I regard as friends regard me as an acquaintance. Those that regard me as a friend regard me as a friend on the last rung, to be given last priority. It's like, I care for these people, I feel for them, I like being with them, but they don't give a rat's ass for me.
And they're good people, these. Mind you, I don't blame them for doing it. Cause, for them, I may actually only be incidental. They all already had their respective circles of good friends, and it's foolish of me to think that they'll let me in.
Something like that happened today. Lamba was hoisted onto shoulders by some people who I'd also call friends. Many of them didn't even come up to me to shake my hand and say 'well done!'. A few came up and gave me plastic smiles, shook my hand and quite formally congratulated me. One or two sent me text messages when I got home.
You know, I've been given a lot of talents. A decent amount of intelligence even. But god forgot to teach me the art of friendship. I can't socialize. I come across as a 'pompous ass' at first to almost everyone I meet.
There's no point living this life, is there? Maybe I should go back to being like I was as a kid. Engrossed in my own world. Of animals. Plants. Nature. Fossils. Evolution. The universe. Tabla. Singing. I somehow got into believing a few years ago that people and relationships are important. But they can't be, no? Cause if they are, then I'll never be happy in my entire life.
PS. Guess what song played at the end of today's Simpsons episode...
Pal bhar ke liye koi humme pyaar kar le
Jhoota hi sahi
Do din ke liye koi ikraar kar le
Jhoota hi sahi
Pal bhar ...
Monday, November 3, 2008
"I haven't fulfilled the balladeer's job. A balladeer can sit down and sing three songs for an hour and a half... it can all unfold to you. These melodies on John Wesley Harding lack this traditional sense of time. As with the third verse of "The Wicked Messenger", which opens it up, and then the time schedule takes a jump and soon the song becomes wider... The same thing is true of the song "All Along the Watchtower", which opens up in a slightly different way, in a stranger way, for we have the cycle of events working in a rather reverse order."
Christopher Ricks, renowned literary and poetic critic, has commented on "All Along the Watchtower": "...at the conclusion of the last verse, it is as if the song bizarrely begins at last, and as if the myth began again."
Dave Matthews Band has played the song since the band's inception in the early 1990s. Their rendition of the song maintains Dylan's three chord structure and key signature but differs in style. Dave typically begins the song slowly with just vocals and acoustic guitar. The band members come in after the line "the hour is getting late" and the song tempo and intensity picks up. This is then followed by extended solos taken by the band members culminating with the line that the band chooses to highlight, "No reason to get excited".. which leaves the song hanging as precariously as Dylan would have wanted it to be.
I leave you with the lyrics :
There must be some way out of here,
said the joker to the thief,
Theres too much confusion,
I cant get no relief.
Businessmen, they drink my wine,
plowmen dig my earth,
None of them along the line
know what any of it is worth.
No reason to get excited,
the thief, he kindly spoke,
There are many here among us
who feel that life is but a joke.
But you and i, we've been through that,
and this is not our fate,
So let us not talk falsely now,
the hour is getting late.
All along the watchtower,
princes kept the view
While all the women came and went,
barefoot servants, too.
Outside in the distance
a wildcat did growl,
Two riders were approaching,
the wind began to howl
Tell Mother I'm sorry,
kinda left in a hurry,
and left all the laundry undone.
I hope you realize
That after my demise
She wont have to pretend she never had me for a son.
Tell Kenny I lied
everytime I denied
killing his girlfriend that fatefull Saturday night.
I loved her too you see,
but I was left alone when he
got us all crossed up in a fight.
Tell the schoolmaster to look
in my cupboard behind the little black book.
He'll find several small pieces of his favourite whiplash cane.
My hands, they're still red
from the places where they bled
and on that stick my bloodstains remain.
Tell Daddy to celebrate
now that I've met my fate
and open that bottle of his precious red wine.
and quietly say,"Here lies Fred."
"He shot himeslf dead"
"I buried him but he was no son of mine."
Never thought I’d see this day.
My last production, writing this note; I’d been putting it off for quite a while, my last act as the ShakeSoc Secy.
It began, and I’m not sure if he remembers this, with me as a fresher, grounding Shubho with a flying tackle in one of the numerous games of rugby we played in the mess lawns during the annual production then. And now, with Shubho directing annual, one believes things have come a full circle.
Been through a lot. Six full length productions, several one act plays and competitions, flickering lights, falling ladders.. Suttas and samosas.. Politics and parties.. Friends and well.. not so good friends..
A few regrets, wish I’d done some things I never did. Wish I’d done some things I eventually did, a lot sooner. Wish I’d attended more classes (I’m soooo short..). But overall a jolly good trip it was.
Thank you Shao, Anisha and Neel for keeping me on my toes and always giving me a hard time.
Thank you Meetali, Zafar, Shriya, Himakshi, Sikander, Chirag, and the occasionally present Johnny for making everything come together both in the society and in my life.
A special thanks to my classmates who made it a point to look incredulous every time I came to class and making sure I got whatever attendance I do have.
Thank you Ann for always being there for me and for helping me retain my sanity through everything. Couldn’t have done it without you.
And a final thank you (and sorry) to everybody who had to deal with this non actor, non artsie, non bong, non existent Secy at any point of time.
I hope you all enjoy watching the show as much as we enjoyed putting it up.
Sunday, November 2, 2008
For the benefit of every Tom, Dick and Harry visiting India and daring to drive on Indian roads, I am offering a few hints for survival. They are applicable to every place in India except Bihar ,where life outside a vehicle is only marginally safer.. Indian road rules broadly operate within the domain of karma where you do your best, and leave the results to your insurance company. The hints are as follows: Do we drive on the left or right of the road? The answer is "both". Basically you start on the left of the road, unless it is occupied. In that case, go to the right, unless that is also occupied. Then proceed by occupying the next available gap, as in chess. Just trust your instincts, ascertain the direction, and proceed. Adherence to road rules leads to much misery and occasional fatality. Most drivers don't drive, but just aim their vehicles in the generally intended direction. Don't you get discouraged or underestimate yourself except for a belief in reincarnation; the other drivers are not in any better position. Don't stop at pedestrian crossings just because some fool wants to cross the road. You may do so only if you enjoy being bumped in the back. Pedestrians have been strictly instructed to cross only when traffic is moving slowly or has come to a dead stop because some minister is in town. Still some idiot may try to wade across, but then, let us not talk ill of the dead. Blowing your horn is not a sign of protest as in some countries. We horn to express joy, resentment, frustration, romance and bare lust (two brisk blasts),or just mobilize a dozing cow in the middle of the bazaar. Keep informative books in the glove compartment. You may read them during traffic jams, while awaiting the chief minister's motorcade, or waiting for the rainwater to recede when over ground traffic meets underground drainage. Occasionally you might see what looks like a UFO with blinking colored lights and weird sounds emanating from within. This is an illuminated bus, full of happy pilgrims singing bhajans. These pilgrims go at breakneck speed, seeking contact with the Almighty, often meeting with success. Auto Rickshaw (Baby Taxi): The result of a collision between a rickshaw and an automobile, this three-wheeled vehicle works on an external combustion engine that runs on a mixture of kerosene oil and creosote. This triangular vehicle carries iron rods, gas cylinders or passengers three times its weight and dimension, at an unspecified fare. After careful geometric calculations, children are folded and packed into these auto rickshaws until some children in the periphery are not in contact with the vehicle at all. Then their school bags are pushed into the microscopic gaps all round so those minor collisions with other vehicles on the road cause no permanent damage.Of course, the peripheral children are charged half the fare and also learn Newton 's laws of motion enroute to school. Auto-rickshaw drivers follow the road rules depicted in the film Ben Hur, and are licensed to irritate. Mopeds: The moped looks like an oil tin on wheels and makes noise like an electric shaver. It runs 30 miles on a teaspoon of petrol and travels at break-bottom speed. As the sides of the road are too rough for a ride, the moped drivers tend to drive in the middle of the road; they would rather drive under heavier vehicles instead of around them and are often "mopped" off the tarmac.Leaning Tower of Passes: Most bus passengers are given free passes and during rush hours, there is absolute mayhem. There are passengers hanging off other passengers, who in turn hang off the railings and the overloaded bus leans dangerously, defying laws of gravity but obeying laws of surface tension. As drivers get paid for overload (so many Rupees per kg of passenger), no questions are ever asked. Steer clear of these buses by a width of three passengers. One-way Street: These boards are put up by traffic people to add jest in their otherwise drab lives. Don't stick to the literal meaning and proceed in one direction. In metaphysical terms, it means that you cannot proceed in two directions at once. So drive as you like, in reverse throughout, if you are the fussy type. Least I sound hypercritical, I must add a positive point also. Rash and fast driving in residential areas has been prevented by providing a "speed breaker"; two for each house. This mound, incidentally, covers the water and drainage pipes for that residence and is left untarred for easy identification by the corporation authorities, should they want to recover the pipe for year-end accounting. Night driving on Indian roads can be an exhilarating experience for those with the mental make up of Genghis Khan. In a way, it is like playing Russian roulette, because you do not know who amongst the drivers is loaded. What looks like premature dawn on the horizon turns out to be a truck attempting a speed record. On encountering it, just pull partly into the field adjoining the road until the phenomenon passes. Our roads do not have shoulders, but occasional boulders. Do not blink your lights expecting reciprocation. The only dim thing in the truck is the driver, and with the peg of illicit arrack (alcohol) he has had at the last stop, his total cerebral functions add up to little more than a naught. Truck drivers are the James Bonds of India, and are licensed to kill. Often you may encounter a single powerful beam of light about six feet above the ground. This is not a super motorbike, but a truck approaching you with a single light on, usually the left one. It could be the right one, but never get too close to investigate. You may prove your point posthumously