Sunday, December 14, 2008

What is all this fizz about?

Little drops of joy- a captivating tagline, claiming to offer a second of satisfaction, an instant of happiness and a bubble of hope with every sip of coca cola one takes.Behind that joyous, dewy cool facade lies something more hideous than the phosphoric acids and pesticide content that we know of.A little bit of browsing through revealed how coke is on its heel, heaping atrocities on the developing countries of the world.

Coca cola, a U.S based multi-national company and a political product of it's domination and global sucess, has it's straws down in Indian wells siphoning away much needed water.Recent news read that so much water was being pulled out for the manufacture of the drink that the sites with bottling plants, and the villages around,from uttar pradesh to kerala, are left with little water to drink, cook and wash.The condition is even worse in Mexico where coke has accounted for land privatisation program that allowed free access to all the resources on the land, including water.And it seems it needs four litres of water to produce one litre of tasty-tasty coke.Need of the day!

Coke does not directly employ child labor.Not violating the law, and by it's own guiding principles coke only buys sugarcane from the fields of El Salvador which employs around 5000 to 30,000 children,some as young as 8 years.Sugarcane farming, from what I know, is one of the most hazardous of practices.One is bound to sustain several injuries and health hazards, inspite of experience.Imagine what plight little children will have to undergo. Some children also get to miss school during the harvesting period.

At colombia, the killings of union leaders at Coca-Cola's bottling plants has evoked truths about the company taking paramilitaies' help to threaten and harass its union leaders.Columbia is a country already famous for its paramilitaries belonging to its self defense forces itself who treat trade union leaders like pests taking their lives in dozens every year. Claims show that the company benefits from paramilitary violence and is also one of the orchestrating powers of right-wing paramilitaries.

Big Cola is a famous mexican cola company, now under rapid supression from coke.Market positions in Mexico are taken by power and the retailers are put under immense pressure not to sell rival drink Big Cola. Coke also has found a brilliant niche market in there that is made to believe cola induces burping, which releases the evil from the soul!

Denials and evasions are all that comes from the company's side of the story.Coca cola is just the parent corporation that markets the drink.So,technically coke is not produced by a single global company, but a global network of bottling companies that are either wholly or partially owned by Coca cola.That gives coke reason enough to elude the enlisted abuses and keep up the high-value brand name.

For some reason ,I feel,coke gets picked up first against its more conservative cousins.May be its the extensive ad campaigns, costly brand ambassadors, or simply for the cool dude/dudette image it creates.Whatever it is,coke may well be your favourite soft- drink but for many ruralites clean water is still their drink of choice.You can spare them some by refusing a bottle of the not-so-healthy fizzy pop!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The race and the routes.

Sorry, I have no time to introduce myself because I'm running a race- a race to see who comes out on top over everyone else.I'm not sure since when I've been running but I've been running ever since I started running.Hardly can I see a destination, but I will keep running with nowhere as my endless destination.

Is this what I really want? Well.. I dont know.Just as we all want to be on top I want my little moment in the spotlight.And you have to be in the number one spot simply to survive, and survive that I must.Therefore I will run. There are routes, though limited they are. High pay, medium pay, low pay jobs.Tech job, softy job, management job. MS abroad- ambitious universities, good universities, ok-ok universities. MBA- Top tier business schools, B-grade business schools.And that is my domain and I'm not to run outside the boundaries.I need to run to continue living in the “status quo”, do-what’s-expected-of-you lifestyle that’s got me this far.

Dreams? Oh yeah... I had a few...but.. Why take a chance on a far-flung dream (that may fail!) when you could follow a formulaic pattern that leads to an already determined – and hopefully successful – conclusion.Why think beyond the circle when the circle is so self-sufficient?It has been set and treaded upon.That alone is the legal track for the race and you lose if you step out.Being money-minded is practical. Dreams are mere illusions,they lead you nowhere.See something that works and stick to it, don’t fix what isn’t broken! That's how you got to be in the race and that's why I'm running.And yeah...Hi! I am... just another rat!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

A story of the girl.

A gloomy evening sun was casting its grim rays into the smudged window pane of her office cabin.Vaishnavi stood, leaning against the sliding door to the balcony, lost in thoughts.She didn’t want to think of what happened the day before while there was nothing else she could possibly think of. She was tired, for the last night, for some reason, sleep kept eluding her. After a few more long moments she took her bag and left the office.

Speeding her scooty through the busy streets of Chennai , Vaishnavi zigzagged her way across the many vehicles that raced the roads, taking turns and cuts at places. It was a default ride, she wasn't concentrating on where she was heading to. There was virtually no other place but her home she headed to right after work.Reaching at the end of the street she slowed down her bike beside the neighbourhood she had spent all her life in.

The door of her house was open even before she could ring the bell.Walking in she found her father in his huge wooden chair silently scanning through the papers.He did not look up.He did not acknowledge her arrival.She went in, washed and changed. The breakfast she had made that morning lay cold in the casserole and the coffee undrunk.She looked across the room to where her father sat.He was only a few yards from her but it seemed like the distance was growing every minute and something opaque was building up between them. Feeling distressingly uncomfortable, she sat down. It had never been like this before. Never, ever since Vaishnavi's mom left her when she was only thirteen. Her father,Subromaniyan, was an auditor in a huge firm and ever since the departure of her mom he had reared her single-handedly.

Vaishnavi had grownup to be the perfect girl, the dream of every parent .She spoke less, worked hard and followed her father's words to the t. Her father had decided everything for her from the clothes she should wear, friends she should spend time with, to the career she should take up to.And she had heeded to him without a word of refusal or rather even gladly.She had completed her accountancy studies and moved to a firm where she found a decent job and became busy making herself worth the life she was given.

For all the twenty four years of her life, she kept her secret dreams intact in a land far away in her head.Staying away from all the waywardness of the sober colors of her life,she stuck to her schedule and the endless monotonies it had to offer, only believing change will come as a rescue someday, someday not very far away. And it did but it was not the quite expected change.

There she sat like a mannequin at a showroom, all adorned and groomed, infront of the group of strangers. The ladies were weighing and measuring her from top to toe and the men the house around.It was the traditional ceremony before marriage where the girl is visited and decisions are made.Decisions for something so personal, that so become a part of your life.But you are just allowed as a silent spectator when your life is being decided.As she sat being scrutinized and questioned, something in her died. Dreams were sailing far and away.She was listening no more.She stood up, refused whatever was being done and went in. Subromaniyan was taken aback just as the pain of humiliation came over him.This was something he had never expected from his daughter,whom he had brought up with every value inculcated.Had he not taught her morals and values? He was shattered.
Letting no emotions play on his solid features, Subromaniyan read through the papers that were a couple of weeks old. Someone had taken his child away from him,and changed her heart. She knew not what lies in the awful world around.But he couldn't gather the will to talk to her, for plain fear of being not heeded to.

"Appa.." ,Vaishnavi called out. Subromaniyan looked up, eyes plain and emotionless.
"Appa, I know you must be angry..but..."
"Why wouldn't I? We all have our reasons, don't we?"
"I said no because of a reason"
"Of course... You have grown up, earn and live in a corporate world.You can sure have reasons.. more than one.If I may know.. who is the boy you have decided for yourself?"
"I never told you the reason, I just said a no"
"....." Subromaniyan returned back to his paper.

" Yeah…. I said no because it was too sudden and there were so many things unknown. The boy you chose for me must be great, but I don’t know him. I couldn’t give you an answer right there right then, but they wanted an answer, and the only answer appropriate for something so strange, so nameless, was no. I didn’t say no to you, or your choice or your intentions; I said no to something I didn’t feel comfortable with, I said no to the urgency, to the lack of time and understanding. I didn’t even say no to him, but to the way it was all being done. Just … give me time. If there is anyone I would let make decision for me, it would be no one but you; but include me, let there be time to find out, to know, to like, to decide.”

Subromaniyan looked up again, this time they had tears in them, of joy.His daughter has sure grown up.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The little invader

Its with extreme helplessness that I write this blog.I wanted some place to give full vent to all those downbeat feelings,I've been trying to suppress for sometime now, however silly and stupid they may seem to be.
As the most molly-coddled kid of the house, I grew up with all the affection and attention there was,with every little thing fussed over.And... I liked it.Who doesn't anyway!For the first time in my life, I experienced what it was like to be suddenly thrown out of the spot light when the toddler next door invaded our home with his tiny presence. Since then things have not been the same. My twenty years of unrivaled monopoly had come to an abrupt end.Kapil- yes he is the source of all chaos. Everything was fine and flowery until he came into my life.

Kapil is a year and a half old, lives next-door, away from his busy-working parents, with his grandparents. I should admit to the fact that he is a totally charming child.He could barely walk when he first entered our house and now he speaks a few meaningless words.Obedient, sweet, a tad shy, smart and a little naughty, he is every bit an adorable child. Spend some time with him, and he'll sweep you by your legs and throw you overboard with his mysterious childish charms. And that was exactly how my parents fell. He wove his magic around them when I was away in college,oblivious to how he took the starlight from me.

It was to my mom he first looked up and called 'ammmaaa' and you know she was sortta ...overwhelmed.And so was my dad.Kapil liked our home, for he was not held back for anything.He started staying in our house overtime, going back to his home only when forcefully taken when it was bedtime.When at our home he would run little errands for my parents like fetching the mobile every time it rings, putting back the empty coffee mugs in place, emptying small cups of water to the plants in the garden, selecting evening clothes for my mom so on and so forth.He would see them off with a wave and a kiss when they leave for work and jump in excitement when they return.Initially, I should say I actually liked it very much to watch my parents play with him, talk in sugar- sweet tones, exaggerating little things.It was cute watching them lose their adulterous ice and defense for a small kid.

It was the last time I went home that I understood the real gravity of the situation. Things had undergone a paradigm shift.He claimed all the priorities that had earlier remained in my domain alone- from getting the first morsel of food, getting to flip to his favourite channel, getting the biggest chunk of chocolate, to getting to oil massage my father's head.He sits on my mom's lap and falls asleep on my dad's shoulders. He took it all from me. I was no longer the coddled KID of the house.I was not getting my daily dose of attention.Maybe I would've looked like a grown-up responsible adult beside Kapil's petite presence.Whatever happened to the famous parental vow 'Kids remain kids' all their lives!

Now It even infuriates me to watch him rightfully hail my parents 'amma' and 'appa'. No one could possibly guess,beneath my cool facade, there was a sizzling fire of jealousy and possessiveness.I wanted to be pampered and cuddled.I wanted to be fussed over for little things.I wanted to claim my parents all for myself, not wanting to share their priceless love with anyone else. Only a well-formed ego kept me from from voicing these things out.Or maybe I'm just afraid I would sound silly.

As a child I'd always wanted to grow up fast- to be a big girl, to be able to go ahead and further my secrets ambitions. I wanted to smell the sweet air of complete freedom and chase the rainbows I'd looked unto. But now, here I'm ready to trade all that for a small place on my mother's lap and for the comfort of falling asleep on my father's shoulders.

It does feel great watching my parents grow young in spirits once again.They get to laugh more, they have someone to look forward to after a day's hectic work, they found a solace to ward away their boredom. Kapil had carelessly spread his innocent smiles across their lives. Whatever I wish they could hear the stubborn child in me crying for their undivided attention!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

And I walked on..

I was walking through my college avenue after class(es) yesterday, along the long wet, rain-drenched road.Rain had just stopped and a dripping sun showed its helpless face before taking refuge behind the smoky clouds.I could inhale the silence in the air . The whole place wore on a fresh shade of green after a nice long shower.I walked on slowly, aimlessly as I always do.And I love walking, call it sauntering.

It was one of those days when you feel strangely happy, blissfully content. There was a nameless excitement in the air that hung around me. I didn't know why, couldn't point out a reason.But I didn't want one anyway for I don't like reasons , at least for all the good things in life. When one searches for a reason behind a joy it becomes ephemeral-short-lived. Like someone? like them for the person they are, completely, rather than for a reason, for a personalized opinion.Studying for reasons.. for grades, for peer respect, for career prospects, it feigns the very idea. Study, for the pure pleasure of learning itself, to explore, to know, to get fascinated.

I walked on trying to make out weird shapes in the looming clouds above- a deformed tortoise and a malformed crocodile. Little terns chasing the grazing cows around, a pup that was blissfully asleep , the last drops of rain holding on to the yellow flowers on the trees as if unwilling to part, little puddles of water, two school going kids with over sized bags,I wanted to indulge in everything I saw. The smell of fresh, steamed corn suddenly invaded the cool air and it was intoxicating. And I succumbed. Taking juicy bites off the heavenly corn, I walked into the lonely eastern road that lead straight to hostel.And when I reach there. these few blissful moments I had by myself will end amidst the life and chirping inside the place.

With every passing moment,with every step I took I missed something I liked so much. It was trivial, nameless and strange but still I missed it.I felt helpless letting such precious moments slip by like sand past your fingers. I felt myself switching mode from strangely happy to helplessly sad.

May be this is how humans are... we refuse to let go, trying to hold on to precious things, precious moments, precious ones. We fail to accept that only the prospect that joy is momentary keeps it alive and beautiful. When everything is joyous and nothing is not-so-joyous, then joy in its version doesn't exist at all. We would let go when the moment is infiltrated and lived completely. Those who let go of their loved ones are those who know they have loved completely.Those who embrace death bravely are the ones who know they've lived life completely and the death itself gets meaningful.I kept walking.

Diwali is around the corner and soon I'll be royally landing at home.Home- that beautiful place with a grim n loving father, mother.. all excited with her repertoire of festival dishes which she is waiting to share with me, those little fishes in my tank that keep constantly blowing airy kisses at me, freshly pruned garden waiting for my inspection, lively neighborhood, yes I'll soon be there.I had plans.. I'll show dad he needn't be so grim with an unexpected hug,approve those tantalizing dishes with a wink, empty a generous pinch of fish food inside the tank for a few extra kisses,steal a few flowers off the garden and get updated on the recent gossips. I'll walk on this road, it will lead me there. As moments flit by, I take more steps ahead...I'll soon be home!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Ambassador of glitz and glamour

This blog is not fairly in time, for it’s been a good few months since Auto- Expo 2008 that came about in January. I decided to put it down anyway because there are quite a few out there who aren’t aware of the sensation our good old ambassador has created among international hotrod freaks. If one happens to gaze across an Indian road not many of us would take a second look at the ambassador. Not only that we are too accustomed to the looks that had undergone little change since it rolled out of the assembly lines of Hindustan motors in the late 1950s(but for the fitting of Isuzu 1800 cc engine sometime later) but it does not even seem close to winning a road race of luxurious SUVs and smallest-and-most-affordable-car-ever-mades .

But all the same it brings in me a sense of nostalgia looking at India’s first car- an Icon of India’s independence from the British rule. Despite the fact that its entire construction is based on the Morris Oxford series, it indeed was the first ever car to demonstrate the fact that India was capable of independent automobile production. As luck would have it when the oxford series had already demoted a decade after the launch of ambassador, Hindustan Motors still manages to sell about 20,000 ambassadors a year.

This car enjoyed a monopoly till the introduction of Indica that took away the taxi car market from Ambassador. The narrowing price difference between petrol and diesel also eroded the value in investing in an old dated Ambassador. HM never bothered to rationalize the price of the brand. Today an Ambassador costs more than Rs 4, 80,000. At that price one could afford a more luxurious Indigo sedan. HM launched a radically designed Ambassador variant Avigo in 2004 in an attempt to boost the sagging sales. Although the styling was radical, the customer response wasn’t …well… very promising.

Celebrated car designer DC decided to give this car a reincarnation something like Holden’s wild hot rod concept- EFIJY , a remodel of 953 FJ Holden. So retaining the design cues and the fabled spaciousness of the old ambassador he gave it a few futuristic touches, a low slung body, oversized wheels all from the hotrod design manual and there we had the all new AMBIEROD that set the ramps on fire during Autoexpo 2008. Before it could see the faint flicker of recognition in the onlookers’ eyes , it blew their eyeballs off with the style and the exteriors bathed in cherenkov radiation.

Open the hydraulically-actuated gull-wing doors and you are transported into the future. It’s an intelligent car, with enough computing power to rival a supercomputer. Menu-driven LCD screens display not only the entertainment options, but even the driver’s instrumentation. You have movies and internet on demand. Cameras have taken over the function of mirrors. Internet and videoconferencing-enabled flat bed and multi-coloured mood lighting all makes the Ambierod a retro-futuristic car, the looks of which are derived from the American hotrods.

The car that had been looked at as the most economic one of all times has become the most expensive designed cars ever showcased at the Autoexpo with a price tag of US $1 million ( Rs 4 crores). The car that looked like a mirrored version of Hillman minx now looks nothing less of Ferraris and Lamborghinis straight out of a hotrod. The car that raced the bumpy Indian roads with Premier Padminis is now on the ramps with a jaw dropping glamour giving hotrod freaks a thud in the heart and costing limo owners a fortune for its possession. An ambassador of reliability and reparability is now one of style, glitz and glamour. Well I’m mighty proud. Are you??

Saturday, June 7, 2008

A Rendezvous with her smile - A short story

“What went wrong?” Greg asked himself over and again, ploughing his hand through his dark unkempt hair, not realizing that he was the one who kept condemning the answer every time it came up. The dirt of their conversation hung like a halo, this one in front of his face. There were the accounts to be verified, tenders to be quoted, ledger to be checked, but everything lay haywire waiting to be attended. It had never been like this before for the fastidious boss he was. Blame it all on her! She was the disturbance but the most beautiful disturbance he had ever known. And he knew in the heart of hearts he wanted to be disturbed all his life. He stood up, slipped on his tuxedo jacket and left. It was late alright, but better late than never.

Greg Travolta was the only heir to Travolta tea plantations company Ltd. which spanned eleven tea gardens apart from the seven estates it did business with, had found immense success ever since his grandfather put his private blend of tea into production and proposed allied industry businesses. Smart and nifty, Greg had quite a reputation for his adept way of playing the stakes at such a young age and the figures had seen a hike in the annual turnover since he took over the business after his father.

Things were going systematic as he wanted them to be, until that fateful day when he took a diversion in the route he usually goes jogging- a diversion not just in the route. Usually he trots along the path that winds through the estate plantations, the north side of the hill that is. He rarely ventures into the southern side that encloses a valley comfortably nestled between a range of hills but that day a bit jaded with the usual, took to the southern path through his bike and up the woods jogging. On the either side of the so-called path stretched an unbroken line of trees – alpine, pine, oaks and chestnuts – rising and falling in gentle undulating lines as far as the eye could reach, colouring a soft, deep yellow green, the whole effect alluring and strangely at home. Hither and thither were kisses of wildflower beds and the air clean and cool with a delicate floral scent. He could distinctly hear the sound of the small stream gushing by the foot of the hill, rushing past the heart of the valley to meet with the crevice where it disappears.

All of a sudden he stopped short on his path beside a flower bed. Is that just the reflection of the morning sun around her head, or could it be . . . ? No, it couldn't possibly be a halo. On careful scrutiny he found there were no wings sprouting on her shoulders. But she did appear angelic, that mysterious woman who was gathering flowers with deft hands. May be an enchanting ghost, he looked for her foot. It was there, one dainty foot that seemed to fit the glass slipper he didn’t know he was carrying all along. Her radiant beauty seemed to eclipse all of that around. The woman having collected what she wanted started down towards the valley, away from him.

She was like a dream flitting so quickly as a rule, but he decided to be too quick for this enchanting dream. He ran to her and uttered a blunt, “hello miss”. She stopped, staring into the face of the icon Travolta himself, taken by surprise. “Hello” she echoed blankly excited and confused at the same time. He was much younger- looking and striking than what she had imagined.

“Isn’t it a great refreshing place for a morning jog?” Greg remarked
“Indeed it is”
“Have you come for a morning jog too?”
“No, I came to pick up some flowers for my vase. I run a café down the valley.”
And saying so she pointed down to a small cottage that was wedged on the valley overlooking the stream. She was carrying a huge bunch of flowers, but her face looked like the biggest and most alluring one amongst them.
“Nice…. Guess I can drop in sometime for tea”
“Sure, my pleasure”
“Alright then…. I should be kicking off for the day. Bye!”
“Hey there’s something in your eye!!” he exclaimed suddenly
“What is it?!” She rubbed her eyes frantically,
“A twinkle”
And he jogged off wondering what these butterflies where doing in his stomach when there were so many flowers around.

He was at the café the very evening, not that his mind was anywhere else all day. A few cars had already found the tiny road that wound besides the clear running river in the valley and into the small car park of the café .He observed it was something of a cross between a continental restaurant and an old world cafe, and a great stopping off point for coffee or a light snack- a lovely place to sit and gaze out over the rolling trees and hills.

When he checked in, his eyes searched the place but she was nowhere to be found but his eyes caught the huge vase near the entrance brimming with wild flowers. Deciding to have a drink and wait, he walked past turning faces and murmurs to a seat beside the window overlooking the stream. The view was breathtaking. He could almost make out the fishes darting in the stream, too and fro. The café itself had been tastefully built. He observed the insides of the café. Original hardwood floors, and chestnut beams in earth tones gave a gentle, welcoming feel and a sense of timelessness. Bold, densely patterned tapestries looked quite exquisite against the walls that were painted a blend of deep cream. The chairs had vivid emerald green silk on their seats and the table was of green and faded gold. Aromatic candles and a brass vase with little flowers adorned every table. Pulled against a huge window was a lofty cushioned sofa with a table of the same hue of the chairs, most suitable for friends or ladies to chat over the teacups. The curtains were of three layers- deep olive green, soft mulberry, and faded golden gauze- so delicate in texture and colouring that they rendered a fascinating effect when light streamed through it. He went through the menu, a repertoire of tantalizing dishes. The idea was simple: make delicious food with what's local and what's fresh.

“What would you like to have Mr. Travolta?” a familiar voice chimed. He turned around to find her standing, fresh, with a well pressed white shirt, a grey skirt, an olive green apron and a warm smile on. “A coffee, a mushroom sandwich and if possible some of your time” he replied. She beautifully failed in trying to suppress a smile. She informed something to a waiter who was serving food around and returned shortly. They chatted for sometime as the last rays of sunlight dispersed itself in tones of gold and sepia into the café. Then a strange thing happened. The sun was setting behind the hills. He saw another sun setting into the casement of her eyes.

She chattered on cheerfully. He learnt that her name was Kathy and he also learnt that he was bitten by the love bug. He felt that the sound of the stream gushing by seemed to rhyme with every of her words and the trees ruffled as if in response to the giggles that she would punctuate her never-ending sentences with.

Kathy belonged to the small town beside the valley. This cafe restaurant and its glorious location had been the realization of her life’s ambition. When her mother passed away she sold their rather huge house and started the café. She’d seen to each and every aspect of the café – the design, location and the food to be served. She had carefully collected the best of dishes, tested and modified to provide what was the best. Naturally success shone on the cafe restaurant enterprise as easily as the sunlight from the valley streamed though it. The small town people loved it for it served healthy, delicious food at reasonable rates with an enchanting view of the valley. There was also Kathy’s bubbly charm. She would freely chat with everyone and make them feel at home. Now and then Kathy would try her hand at a different dish and that would instantly create a sensation among the people there.

Greg saw more and more sunsets in Kathy’s eyes after that day. She liked his air of careless cheerfulness and grew fond of him. The bug had not spared her either. They continued on with what seemed like a perfect relationship until that tumultuous conversation they had. She felt the slow, creeping blight of a rich guy’s pride that distorted and soiled all that he was when he remarked about her shutting down the café after their marriage. She grew furious about him not understanding how much she loved the café. He was irritated about her not being practical and felt it should be plainly obvious to her that a Travolta cannot go about serving tea and coffee around and that it was beneath them. When he voiced it all out, they went into such a brawl that they had decided to call it quits.They vowed never to fall victim to the illusion that gluing together the broken pieces will recreate perfection in what has once been seriously flawed.

Greg went into the café as his heart hammered against his ribs. She was there sitting behind the counter, reviewing bills. He sat in his usual place beside the stream but she dint seem to notice. He went near the counter, pulled a stool and sat beside her.
“What would you like to have, Sir?” she asked sharply.
“And till last week I had a name”
“I’m sure you still do. What do you want?”
“Some attention”
“You had it, more than your share”
“But I want it for all my life”
“I just run a café. I’m no good at house keeping. You have the money you can have as many nannies as you want.”
“I’m sorry for the things I told you the other day. What you do is a noble act. You serve people, something ordinary people like me can never do”
“Words come easy to you, don’t they?”
“I wish they had. I wish they had”

He stood up, took her by hand and hauled her to the seat by the stream and made her sit down. Then he went behind the counter and wore her dough- smeared apron upon his crisp tuxedo, took a tray of coffee and walked past a shocked group of diners. Humbly he served her coffee. People around cheered and clapped but his ears were deaf to all sounds but his thudding heart. Then he looked up at her face. A smile started like a ripple at the corners of her mouth and spread across her face- a smile he knew he could live with for a thousand years and more.

Monday, June 2, 2008

My first short story.


I ran. I was trying to run as fast as my legs could carry me. Past the buildings, past the market, past everything that was alien to my inner turmoil. I ran, wanting to run into the world of my yesterdays.

I ran, as the thunder re-sounded my steps. Dark clouds strode like sentinels in black across the length of the skies, firing raindrops like bullets on my face. The wet roads conspiring with the rains, tried to skid me. But nothing was going to stop me that day because I had to reach for a place; I had to reach for my angel. For that I had to reach for the bench- that wooden bench in the park.

I jumped over the wooden fence and headed for the park . My knees bumped into a lamp post that was illuminating the rain like a string of serial bulbs. But I had no time to feel the pain. I kept running

I ran around the corner of the lane and stepped on a puddle of water. I lost my balance but I had no time for falling then. So I dint fall. I kept running
As the project manager of a large firm, I had always been a man laden with work and professional responsibilities. For all the work there was and all the projects to be completed, I had little time to spare for Sandy-my seven year old daughter. Ever since Mythili left me, Sandy had become the world of my existence and I loved her dearly. Justifying the fact that I was too busy a man to look after her I put her in a boarding school who unlike me would tend to her every need and take care of her.

Every Saturday my assistant would fetch her from the school and we would spend the evening in the park, sitting on the bench, chatting.The wooden bench was beautiful not only because it was flanked by a meadow of daffodils and ferns on one side and a huge birch tree standing by a small brook on the other, but because it carried pleasant memories of me and Sandy and had overheard all our little secrets.

Those few hours were sheer bliss. I’d sit, an enchanted audience, to her childish talk, her petty complaints, and innocent gossips. To me nothing was sweeter in the world than to listen to her talk and to watch the way her little brown eyes would round in amazement at her own stories. Now and then she would stretch her little hands asking for a promise so she could safely confide her little secrets to me. And when the time would come for her to return to her school she’d cling to my shoulders. I’d feel like the most brutal guy but then I was just doing what was best for her. I’d send her back to school, with a heavy heart of course.

One day, an unfortunate one as people called it, I got a phone call from Sandy’s school saying that she fell from the third storey of the building and sustained severe injuries on her skull and that she was no more. But angels don’t die, do they? I refused to believe them, they were a bunch of foolish people. I refused to cry, my angel was there in the school taking lessons. Instead I waited for Saturday to come. It did after a couple of days.

I waited for her on the bench in the park. I waited till sunset. After a few minutes sun rose again. She never came. She must be doing her math assignment I said to myself and got back to work. The next Saturday I waited again, she did not turn up. She must’ve caught the flu from one of the girls I decided. She must be busy with her exams I informed myself when she deprived me the pleasure of being with her again. Thus two years went with yearnings and excuses but I still went to the park on Saturdays, waiting for her.

One Saturday I was walking towards the bench when I found that someone had already occupied the bench. Rather than getting furious like I usually do, I was surprised. It was a small kid- about the age of my Sandy. She was very much different from Sandy but there was something special about that kid, I couldn’t point out what. Something in her resembled Sandy. I stood there watching her play with her doll that was just as ragged as she was. She would talk with the doll endlessly in a language I didn’t understand. At around sunset she left. I waited for a few more minutes trying to find an excuse for Sandy not coming but failed. I went home empty headed.

I couldn’t get myself to wait till the Saturday so I decided against my decisions that I’d go to the park the next day. She was there staring into the brook, watching butterflies as they fluttered about the daffodils. I kept returning to that place like a man possessed to the park and watch her from behind the birch tree, trying to find out what semblance she bore with Sandy. Another kid solved my problem when he made her laugh.Yes , that was it. When she laughed it wasn’t just her lips that did it. She smiled with all her face, brow lifted, eyes creased, she smiled- delighted and content, just like my Sandy. I looked around and learnt that she belonged to the group of nomadic people who had put up their caravan and tents near the park.

That night I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t think. I couldn’t go to work the next day. All that I knew was that I would bring that kid back with me. I’d keep her to myself. I’ll tell her stories, teach her math, pillow fight with her and take care of her. She would talk to me with her black eyes rounded in amazement. Yes, I’ll bring her home and never send her away.

It was Saturday the next day. I ran to the park, to the angel with the ragged toy to gather her in my arms, and bring her home.


I kept running, oblivious to time, space and distance till I reached the park. I ran to where the wooden bench was.

Suddenly the wooden bench looked old and rotten. She wasn’t there. She wasn’t there with her ragged doll, staring at the pond, watching butterflies. No it was not just that she wasn’t there. ‘She was gone’. It hit me only when I turned around to find that the caravan had moved away and it had taken my angel with it. The caravan was carrying more than what it had before- it was taking away with it all my dreams.

Suddenly it stopped raining. It felt like the clouds had cried away all their tears. My knees hurt and I felt like I was falling. A drop of tear reluctantly emerged from my eyes and escaped the pain that was there. My heart melted trickled and down my eyes- colourless as my world had become.
I cried out- loud.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

My site

This is a site that I'd created. Contains a few blogs.

The Hero.

A typical Indian movie:
A pair of legs sprinting. There is a continuous build of music. Someone shouts out his name “Raja or Shiva or Karthick” (stereotypically speaking) and he turns in a painfully slow motion towards the screen and smiles his ear to ear smile: Our protagonist gives his first appearance in the movie. Everyone around( in the movie) is happy at his arrival, going into raptures over his many heroic abilities.

‘Zip – Zap’ goes the sound as the protagonist or rather the ‘hero’ of the movie yanks his hand in the air revealing a gesture of style. An introductory song follows where the hero continuously blows his own horn, singing his own praises to a dumb crowd around. Then he (or rather the stunt man) bounds and leaps in the air in an always victorious attempt to rescue the oh-so-beautiful dame from the evil hands of a group of ruffians. There goes the boy meets girl sequence. Some romantic duets follow (no never a dupe in this!) and then some drama, some action, a series of unsolicited lectures … blah and blah…and we all go crazy over this “hero”.

Try asking your fellow mate who his or her favorite hero is. The most probable answers might be Vijay, or Rajni or Shahrukh, not a surprising one though! We get obsessed with these demigods- so infatuated with their personalities that sometimes we lose our very individuality trying to imitate these larger than life characters- giving them more importance in our life than what they really deserve.

Who are these people? What do they mean to us? What have they been to us? Aren’t we supposed to just be entertained for the three hours of the movie?

Someone who has to be continuously commended and admired to keep up the image , someone who needs sound and visual effects to depict his superhuman image- We call him a “hero” -not a cast, not merely an actor but a “hero”. Fan clubs, talk shows, film-fares to add to that!

We have been so busy all our life gaping in wonder at something that is apparently fictitious, worshiping pseudo heroes that some of the real- life heroes have taken a back seat. Following is the story of a real life hero.

This person hails from a remote village of Madurai: a village the size of my college. With barely any facilities for routine, uneducated parents, a flock of siblings, education was a far cry. It happens that many a day he might even go hungry, but in the unfathomable depths of his vacant stomach there always was a fire burning- that wanted to get ahead no matter what it takes and further his ambitions, to acquire the education that was denied to his forefathers and to stand up against anything that might get in his way of realizing his dreams. And that was no cake walk, trust me.

Everyday he would cycle ten miles to the nearest school on his cycle (but for the bell every part of the cycle would have a distinctive noise of its own) and back. And then luckily got into a college (with only a couple of clothes to wear), graduated and started his life as a cashier in an insurance firm.

And then there was this problem with the exacting english language as he studied in an elementary school that was far removed from any scope of english. He would sit through odd hours in the night reading and comprehending. He would push himself analyzing his insurance subjects (and they are really vast) every available minute. Thus he climbed crag to crag, leaving his mark as he climbed, determined to reach where he is today- a divisional manager cum a top cadre marketing manager of a reputed insurance firm. He really has come a long way.

Sincere. Simple. Humble. Brilliant. Responsible. Organized. Benign. It’s nothing but an honor calling him my father. He’s the person who had taught me to walk, to talk, to read, to write, who would hold my kutty hands and walk me to school, who had given me freedom enough to enjoy but with ethical boundaries, who imparted to me the importance of moral convictions, who would ask my suggestion in every important decision that he is to make even when I was a kid, who -even now when I’m out of my teens -would feed me and lovingly watch me go to sleep.

He has never let his struggle and heavy work that was demanded by his profession, compensate his duties as a husband to my mom and as a father to two children. During the earlier days when his income was modest he would sacrifice his essential requirements to get me an extra frock and a toy. I’ve never known anything as genuine, unconditional and perfect as his silent sacrificial love. He really is a hero to me.

It’s true he cannot recite rhyming dialogues of love like our silver-screen heroes do but why should he when that abstract love though silent and unexpressed in words is so tangible? He does not sing songs of his praise but again need he do it when everyone looks up at him with respect and awe? He does not leap and bound in the air in a frenzy of action but he has fought against countless barriers on his way from a simple livelihood to what he is today. He does not have the face of a media prince, for time had ruthlessly stamped fine lines on it and age has already started combing grey streaks through his hair, but his shoulder is sturdy enough to hold and support his family and his heart pumps fresh young blood every minute. To this hero I owe my life for he was the one who had given it to me in the first place.

If we blink away the haze that the big screen has created and look around there is a silent legend- a hero living in every of our homes . Just that we are too complacent to realize it.
My dad is a hero- in the real sense of the word .And so is your dad.