About Me

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Saala, roads ithna gandha hai ki...

Another peaceful day went by at office. Reaching MG Road by about 8 30 I knew that our plans of some pub-hopping weren't far fetched. 10 00 pm and it was time to go home. Hopped into an auto near the Cubbon Road - Kamaraj Road (erstwhile Cavalry Road) junction.
"Lavanya Theatre, guru!", I muttered, with a Kannada accent thrown in for good measure. The signal went fluroscent green. An insect's high-frequency flutter could be made out with vagueness, set against the green. His day had just begun! Mine was coming to an end!
At Lavanya theatre I got off the auto and ran through my wallet looking for the odd coin or two to pay off exactly. Three strangers walk in a goose-flight combination towards the auto. The two behind, seem to be waiting and following every move of the guy in front. Must be in his early 30s. Certainly well to-do. Paan in mouth and attitude on the sleeve.
His huge head, goes past my peering one, towards the auto-driver's face. "Kailaspal", he said. "Kalaspalya", I played in my mind. The auto-driver didn't as much as look up towards his potential customer. He nodded his head in semi-circles. It means a "No!". It doesn't mean ambiguity in Bangalore.
Big_head looks to cross the road. I yell out "Boss, go this way". Thumb stuck out like Moriarty, I wave staggeredly in a direction, hundred metres down which is an auto stand. Most autos from there go to the place Big_head wanted to. I know, because I've lived close by for about 22 years now. I don't expect a thank you. But I certainly didn't expect what came next. With nonchalance and a condescending look, he stares at me and utters "I know that!" and heads off in the opposite direction. He didn't know his bleeding kidneys from his bloody larynx, I bet. I hold a mild grudge against him.
By nature I think most folks and communities are xenophobic. It's only an intrinsic part of society, certainly not something that's bad. It exists everywhere. I only wish that when a person comes down or goes out to a different place, he still understands that people are nice and wouldn't mind helping. The least you can do, is to have the maturity to appreciate someone's gesture and recognize those who genuinely want to help, from those who are out there for a con job. It never hurts to be helped or help. When any of you guys go out to a different place, from your place of comfort, just remember to appreciate those who have already been there for ages. Don't complain about the bad infrastructure, food not to your liking or the lack of a social life. If you do that, even New York City or Amsterdam might sound like a place you'd pray your enemies would go to. After all, its a new place and gives you newer experiences, greater learnings, and makes you a traveller. Be a traveller, not a darn tourist. The difference is subtle, yet large. And only when you recognize and acknowledge it, will you have fun on your away trips.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

We pity the plumage, but forget the dying bird!!! - Reservation?!

Arjun Singh seems to have decided to make a chicken out of the peacock and pluck it off its multi-hued beauty.
The line in the subject is from Tom Paine. On the IIM Lucknow alumni group, there was a mail sent containing the text of the resignation letter sent by Mr. Pratap Bhanu Mehta, Convenor- Member of the NKC (National Knowledge Commission) to the PM.
Mr. Mehta in his letter quotes Tom Paine and the quoted line is "We pity the plumage, but forget the dying bird". Apt! Just the right way to define what really is happening due to reservation.
I'm not pasting the entire text here since it is already available in multiple places. I could write my opinion about reservations here. To what purpose! This is not to underplay the effort thousands of students, professionals and other folks are putting in through literature, to bring the issue further into light. The media, both TV and print is doing a great job of it.
I hope I'm able to contribute in action. I'm not sure how this would be possible, but if there is an opportunity to join a strike, or a peace protest on any road, I will surely be there to support the issue.
Here's hoping that justice prevails and all strata of society (upper caste or lower caste) are given justified opportunities to perform to their limits.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Big Bazaar!

Tie worn to the IIM L interview - 55 bucks @ Big Bazaar (worthless)!
The feelings when I swapped it for a hand-stitched silk one of Italian make during final placements from foolish friend - priceless!
The first time Big Bazaar made an impact in my life when I wasn't expecting it to, is captured in those lines above. Big cricketer places crotch-guard before innings, small corporate fry try cheap-silk noose a.k.a. tie before innings. With such parking area metaphors taking afternoon naps in my traffic-torn mind, I walked into Big Bazaar, Koramangala in Bangalore. When I did walk out of the place, I was the proud owner of a skin rash, an extra plastic cover with the BB logo on it, a fake leather belt for 59 bucks and hyperactive brain cells figuring out how the bloody loop of the belt works.
But what shook me up were the 30 odd minutes I spent inside the place itself. Everyone worth their salts, right from paan-wallahs in street corners to media professionals are screaming loud about the influx of people from across the country into the city. If there were 5 places in Bangalore where you wanted to see this for reality, BB would have made it to the 3rd place atleast (any cross-section of MG Road would be ranked 1 and rank 2 would be taken by a sampling of any multiplex's restrooms).
After winding up two stairs, playing i-stamp-your-toe-you-stamp-mine with strangers, friend and me reached the men's accessories section. The broader term of accessories did not, unfortunately, include magic potions to make people invisible or Israeli smoke bombs. Had they, I would have used the smoke bombs on all those around and the potion on myself thereby decreasing population and as a side-effect contributing to global warming. Crowds were choc-a-bloc on all three floors with the most furious mobs reserving their presence for the billing queues. On more than my fair share of occasions I have played both observer and observed in the game of jumping queue lines to get forward. Today I donned the clothes of the former. Breathing down the neck of a certain gentleman who was holding aloft 3 'Vicky' underwear for 99 Rs. and 2 pcs of Vicky 'banian' for 82 Rs., murmuring obscenities in Kuvempian kannada, was me. The queue refused to me any further, partly due to the constant barrage of calls the personnel behind the billing machine was getting and partly because of consistent failures of the billing machine.
In steps graceful Bong lady! I was under the impression that she was looking around for someone, when it occured to me. Her eyes were in search of a fool who would let her into the queue, with or without consent. Our eyes met! Her search ended... abruptly. I was the chosen fool for the day. With grace she slid herself between me and the person in front. I got off his back. Vikram and Betal, episode 2, slipped out of mind in silent animated movements. Her hubby nudged her forward. She moved further and conquered fool 2. V&B, episode 3 was on. I was again on his back. We made small conversation. Big jokes followed. Three Coimbatoreans who minutes ago remarked about how vyaraitea was available in Coimbatore's Big Bazaar and not here stood ogling at Bong lady. They were loud, used gestures to good effect and had bought black shoe polish, purple socks, other paraphernalia and 3 pairs of jeans. Only minutes ago, two queues were converging at a distant point. I took the one less taken... however the other queue had me overtaken. I cursed .. in Kuvempian Kannada so the neck may understand. Not my neck.. Vikram's from the V&B rap team.
I hated Bong lady for breaking queues.. sacriligeous. I disliked Coimbatorean brothers for crude comments. More sacrilege. New roll of billing paper was strung into failing machine. Bong lady unabashedly acts like she was born in a queue, with the queue, for the queue. Billing personnel take out the first piece of garment.. from its middle slips out kinky cloth. It was 'first piece of garments' and not 'first piece of garment'. Coimbatoreans giggle, gush and crack vulgar vernaculars. Bong lady does not understand. Bong lady is embarasssed. Only women behind me in the queue. She might not have been embarassed had she been where she was supposed to.
She leaves puffing! Coimbatoreans come forward in their part of the queue. They picked the wrong size of denim and had stayed in the queue for 30 mins to get it billed. The queue must go on. Theyr'e sent packing from the counter. The things they bought weren't.
Coimbatorean brothers and Bong lady had proposed. Billing counter-boy had disposed. Justice was done. The man in front of me looked at me with eyes that seemed to reflect my thoughts. I closed my eyes momentarily and nodded my head simultaneously. He followed the ritual while facing me. We knew that justice had been served.
The belt was packed. I asked him for a spare cover then sneezed loudly. Allergens in the air. But all I could smell was sweat. Big Bazaar, just a stone's throw away from a swanky mall. A mall in its own right. A place where families came, perhaps every weekend to make the same purchases of commodities like rice. A place with hands of a kirana store but the skin of a mall. Middle-class India's big answer to their upper class cousins who want weekends with fine dining.
Friend and me stepped out of BB. We walked towards the Forum, appreciating the easy pick we had on the fake-leather belt. It was only 59 bucks. The 4 o'clock sun, shone brightly on us!!