The Cliched Year Ending Post

So yet another Friday evening finds me staring at my coputer screen. Splayed all across it is something that is called a data model?.. block and ovals? connected to each other, passing cryptic clues to each that that I have been trying to decipher for the entire eveing today.

Its been a blessed year for me? honestly, as I luxuriate in company sponsored self introspection? this was probably the finest year of my life till date?

The year started off ( as usual) in the midst of drunken revelry at Mahabaleshwar, and then sped straight to April, when I shifted base to Pune from Hyderabad, ambled through June when we got married.. fast forward to October when we began our house hunt?. to the day before yesterday, when we got the keys to our new home?

So, at the cusp of bridging years, we finally have a place that we can truly call a home. It?s a house on the 8th and 9th floor of a fairly decent society?

It?s a duplex? so we have set of fancy stairs that lead up to a bedroom on the topmost floor of the apartment, the ?Tower Room? as she calls it?.

I love this place, the main reason being the view?.

On the left the scenery is contained by the Pashan hills, but on the right, its only the smoky horizon which limits your view. At night, as the lights twinkle in the Pune suburbs.. I cannot wait to open that first beer on the terrace?

We move into the house in January?.

And May I say? that it has been probably the best new year celebration I have ever had !

Wish You All A Very Happy New Year

Comments from the past:

san
1 Jan 2006, 4:23pm

See you around my new neighbour! See how long before we bump into each other…

nikky
3 Jan 2006, 12:10pm

Happy New Year Ahead………….:)

san
8 Feb 2006, 7:11pm

long time no see… hope all’s well with u

The Gift

Been a long long time since I have been here, the absence had not been more to do with my state of my mind rather than anything else.

In the last one month I hovered between the thoughts of quitting my job, appearing for interviews, considering alternative offers, making a general nuisance of myself at my company, getting appraised, doing appraisals, house hunting, negotiating prices, assisting old ladies at hospitals, buying a cycle for a young girl who traveled the length of Pune on foot to help ends meet at her home, obtaining the stamping date for the coveted H1, trying to spend time with my father who spent long lonely days at my home waiting for me and her to come back from office, loving and being loved?.

The last few days have made me look hard at what I want out of life, really hard. My job and my sense of security had lulled me into a state of complacency that made me respect myself a little less everyday?

Change takes time but it surely does happen, I have set the ball rolling in my life, and with a fair wind on my side, I will be there in some more months?

But the question is, what happens to the little girl who studies at a municipal school and works in the evenings scouring utensils of Pune?s middle class to raise an income for her wretched brood.

Do people like me ever make a real change in her life by ?donating? money for a new cycle, or is it more like a reaffirmation of our superior financial status, the ?Haves? and the ?Have Nots?

When I pledged the money I did not even think on these lines? but now that I am applying for Home Loan to buy a house, and find my finances subject to scrutiny of some petty bank officials, I sort of understand the humiliation of taking financial assistance.

The passage above sounds strange as I read it, but that?s the truth.

When I gift a cycle to a girl, am I not taking away a bit of her dignity. A gift is a gift among equals, equal in terms of either intellect or finances, otherwise, does it not become something which is somewhat humiliating for one and gratifying for the other?

I know what I am going to do, I am going to meet that girl and make sure that I remain in touch, and try to be a part of her life a bit more, maybe live with her a little, so that at least we become equal in that we share a piece of our dreams with each other.

Maybe then, my gift , will really be a gift.

Comments from the past:

mls
14 Dec 2005, 5:30pm

May there be more who think like you!

Many of the so called ‘haves’ think they have done their bit in giving back to the soceity, just by scribbling their signature on a cheque to charitable organisation. Everyone knows thats barely enough. But ..

To borrow words from Emily Dickinson, you wouldnt have lived in vain.

passerby
14 Dec 2005, 8:32pm

[qoute]
just by scribbling their signature on a cheque to charitable organisation. Everyone knows thats barely enough. But ..
[/quote]

but what?

san
15 Dec 2005, 3:49pm

long time since i’ve visited blogs too.

on topic, the girl might just go on to do the same for some other person in need. gifts don’t have to be between equals. it’s pretty pointless to some extent. but when u give someone something they need and appreciate, it brings immense happiness to both. like the time when u are ready to use an ink-pen and someone gets it for u 🙂 Make sense?

museman
16 Dec 2005, 12:09am

hopefully, she will pass on the good deed to some one else in the near or far future. Together, half the world can bring a difference in the the lives of the other lesser priviliged half. You have done a good thing. Rest will join too. 🙂

Ashish
16 Dec 2005, 2:26pm

Folks… thanks for reading this.

San, I have lost your mail id… are you at Pune now?

san
16 Dec 2005, 2:42pm

very much so. been here since end of Nov. had very busy 10days finding and setting up home! lemme see if i can find ur mail id…

Ashish
16 Dec 2005, 3:59pm

Take mine… its ashishkec@yahoo.com

san
16 Dec 2005, 4:26pm

very much so. been here since end of Nov. had very busy 10days finding and setting up home! lemme see if i can find ur mail id…

Misty Mornings…

I seem to have developed this small morning ritual of pulling aside the curtains of my bedroom window and spending some time breathing in the fresh morning air ? watching Pune rustle from its sleep..

My window overlooks the apartment next to ours? and there is a small lane between the two?

In the evening the lane is occupied by kids.. and the narrow strip of tarmac functions as their cricket pitch. The morning however, finds it barren, except for a row of two-wheelers parked alongside.

I like watching this lane in the morning? the morning walkers passing by; the young with a focused and determined expression, completing their morning exercise regimen? all pony tails and sweatpants? and the more relaxed retired stroller, for whom the joy of the walk far supercede the aftereffects? white shorts and canvas shoes.. and in some cases ? a white handlebar mustache?

Today at Pune , we had the first misty morning for the season. The Sus hill range that is ever so green in the distance was hardly visible, my breath curled around me in a lingering good bye as it became indiscernible from the wisps of steam rising from my tea cup?

The weather was so much more silent, somber and gray. The folks at the bus stop, attired in dark formals? seemed to agree with what the climate had to say. Cold mornings seem to have this effect on people, as if they withdraw into themselves to seek that lil extra warmth..

It reminded me of so many wintery mornings gone by and yet not any one morning in particular?

The misty cold of Lucknow? with small fires buring by the road side, where you share the warmth with the ragpicker who set aflame the refuse he gathered off the roads?

The biting chill of Kumaun? where the snow gleamed of distant mountain tops while you contemplated the right time to draw a bath?

The strings of lights at beach shacks in Goa? dimmed by the euphoria of music and alcohol for a 30 day new year eve?

The slight nip in the air at Hyderabad , which reminds you to carry along that sweater? Just In case it became colder.. which never really happened..

As I said? reminds me of so many mornings? yet not any one in particular.

Wind Chimes

Something has changed out here? I have been leaving my office at 6 PM everyday for more than a week now. I am not used to it and am a bit unsettled by this. I am in the process of changing my project?. So I am in what we call in IT jargon, ?Transition Period?

Things are really cool nowadays, I get emails by the dozen but in almost all of them I do not need to take any action ! Just delegate it- Delete it ? forget it !!

Life is different if you manage to come out of office everyday at 6 !! You get to read so much more, browse a little longer in the neighborhood library, strum the guitar while sipping that amber fluid?. In short, its quite good.

But then, in the extremely convoluted logic of an IT guy?s mind, my self worth seems to be determined by the number of issues that require my attention ! Now that I hand over the Admin passwords of all project related systems to newer folks, I feel as if I am giving away something personal. Stupid, but thats the way I feel?..

As I leave office at 6, there is this guilty conscience nagging me that dude, others are still at work?.Anyway, whether guilty or not, I am quite happy with having some more time for myself, especially since I know that the coming week is going to be hectic as usual.

Anyway, I did not start this post for cribbing about the way I feel about my job, I have enough posts on that subject already?.

What I want to write about today is my fascination for wind chimes?.

The first time I actually saw and heard a Wind Chime was when I , attended a 10 day Vipassana course at Igatpuri as a part of my Bschool curriculum. They make you stay silent for 10 consecutive days, you cannot speak, or see eye to eye with another guy? no I am not writing about that experience either?.

The Vipassna center is a campus in the cusp of a hill, wooded and shaded, and so very quiet?

I had a favorite place in the campus, they had a small Pond, with an ornate roof supported by marble pillars?

The surface of the pond was so covered by a patch of water lilly that water was hardly visible.

Around that pond there was a grove of ancient trees, dark and green.

And suspended from the branches of one of these trees, was a Bamboo Wind Chime?

Have you every heard the sound that a bamboo reed makes as it strikes another reed? No its not quite like a knocking sound? its much more hollow and so much more musical.

I spent hours sitting beside that pond and listening to the wind chimes and the rustling of the trees?. I skipped lunch and bunked the meditation classes ? and escaped to my solitary dreaming beside that pond?.

Now in our house at Pune? we have three wind chimes of our own?.. One is an ornate fiber affair, tall, decorous and somewhat pretentious in its own plastic glory?. Greeting each burst of air with majestic swish of its many crystals, musical and a bit dashing.

The other one was a gift from a common friend, and it possible reflects the personality of the person who gifted it !

It is small, has slim metal rods that clink with a delicate ?ting? whenever the wind brushes by, unobtrusive and immensely adorable.

And the latest addition , is brass one that hangs from the window of our hall, it has 5 bells, that need more that a mere gust to make their presence felt. Its beautiful, with a curving brass stem with bells attached like leaves. It has a habit of making you forget that its even there, only to tinkle suddenly out of the blue when a gust of wind manages to rouse it from its slumber?

Its nice, really nice?.

A Time to Think

Trust me?.. I am sure that there are better things to do in this world than working your ass off to earn salaries that seem so good at the beginning of the month and have a habit of disappearing somewhere in the middle of the month without trace? almost like those annually manufactured boybands of the 90s? two peppy songs and then a greatest hits compilations before you knew it.

Both me and Radhika came back early from office yesterday night? so we had an early dinner and on an impulse? went out in the never stopping rains of Pune to catch the late night show of Iqbal?

A nice movie? the kind of nice that you know will probably be real but you wish it was?

Sort of made me look at things again in a new perspective?. Two years back? in December 2003? when I was selected for my current job during my campus placements? everything seemed so possible. The clarity of my future in my mind then had been amazing.. even for me. It had seemed like from the time I stepped out of bschool it would all be a sort of a dreamlike existence concluded by the epilogue ?And he happily lived ever after?

Hmmm?..

Things have changed and evidently for the better? yet I find myself lying awake at nights wondering about what am I going to do with life?

The typical B school grad situation? a year and a half old in the job and wondering about where my life is leading me?

I do not like techy stuff? yet am a part of an IT company. And trust me ? sometimes.. this in itself is enough a reason for you to refuse to return the ball that lands up in your balcony when the kids downstairs smash it like Sachin (when did he last do that by the way?)

See.. here I go again? complaining, bitching and being a general pain. Shucks?

Anyway, the movie yesterday made me look back at what had been my dreams when I had been in college, when I was ready to face any test/interview/GD for that elusive thrill of victory?

Surprisingly?.. my current job gives me all that I had thought I wanted in my first job and a little bit more on the side as well.

Yet , I want more. Am I greedy, or impatient, or is this what they call ambition. Or am I simply the guy who has too much time to think while he types away at a company sponsored key board?.

As Ghalib Said: Hazaron Khwahishe Aisi, Ki Har Khwahish pe Dum Nikale

Whatever??

Comments from the past:

san
30 Sep 2005, 10:29am

such is life…
am visiting pune soon, house hunting…

Ashish
30 Sep 2005, 11:36am

Guess it is…
where are you looking for a house at pune? Maybe I could help you out?

san
30 Sep 2005, 5:04pm

that would be nice, i do need some help with location

🙂

Ashish
1 Oct 2005, 10:43am

Mail me on ashishkec@yahoo.com

Lets get in touch then

Ganpati Bappa Moriya

Is not so appropriate that I land up in the city that reveres my favorite deity, Ganesha? I have that special thing for Ganapati? something that is less to do with religion and more to do with faith.

Anyway, we are in the middle of celebrating Ganesha Chaturthi here at Pune? the annual rite when the city bedecks itself for the annual Pune festival. 10 Auditoriums, 10 days and more than a 100 performances and all free for the general public? guess there are reasons why they call Pune the cultural capital of Maharashtra?.

So last Saturday, me and her chucked away all worries of pending emails, unplanned finances and our in general cluttered life and escaped to Panchatatva?

The show had the great great Pt Hariprasad Chaurasia?. Do I need to say anything here ?

U ?Mandolin? Srinivas? heard him the first time at the Good Old Public Gardens at Hyd? blew me away then.. and did so again this Saturday

Selva Ganesha, was good to hear him again, last time he played with Zakir hussain on the Tabla, On Saturday, he was accompanied with a guy called Vijay Ghate? a talen from Pune?

And then there was Taufiq Querieshi on the drums and Ustad Rashid Khan for Hindustani vocals?.

For three hours, I forgot about the potholed roads or lousy jobs, or that I do not talk to her as much as I want to, or that I spend more time staring at my computer console than sitting across the table with her?.. almost

Well things could not have been better, till Pt Jasaraj took to stage for the conclusion? unfortunately he did not sing.. but I was happy to have just seen him on stage?.

Before I am through with this world, I have to hear Pt Ravi Shankar play the Sitar, and Ustad Amjad Ali Khan strum his Sarod? and maybe then I will die a satisfied man

I met all the folks in my society when we installed a Ganesha in our compound? and I suddenly found friends in a city which till now had me and her wallowing in our splendid isolation?

I have the Ganesha Idol at my home? wrapped in Pink and swathed in incense smoke? gaze benign and the hands gesturing an all forgiving benediction. The thought of taking him to the river for immersion is not a pleasant one at all.

But I guess this is what festivals are for? to pause and take stock of what has gone by? Ganesha will leave my home on Saturday, only to return again once a year is through.

It?s a funny feeling and I will not attempt to describe it?. Though I must say, the corner of the house which he occupied for the last 10 days, will seem terribly empty without him?..

“Ganapati Bappa Moriya”, Pudhachya varshi lavkar ya” (Return early next year, oh Victorious Lord Ganesh).

Goa…

Cooking is an Art, Goa is heaven and there isn?t anything better that a chilled bottle of beer on a summer afternoon right after you have spent three hours in the blazing sun?

And how do you manage to do something that magically combines all these three and still remains real, affordable and lasts for more than a mere moment??… well go to Goa in off season of course !!

I admit that these memoirs are a bit stale now? I having visited Goa in late June. We had gone there for our ?Honeymoon?..( this is somehow one of the corniest words invented)?

The cost cutting had started fairly early? with us having booked tickets on the day Spice Jet debuted on the Indian skies. Everything was planned for, the hotel, the travel arrangements, the finances? but even then we barely made it from Lucknow to Goa?

One cancelled connecting flight-detour on an international liner from Jeddah-7 hour wait at Indira Gandhi International- stale sandwitches for breakfast-lunch-tea & dinner later? we finally found ourselves circling above the clouds at Goa?

And trust me, it was all so worth it?

The weather was moist, and the ground smelt of fresh rains when we landed. It was not our first trip to Goa.. but definitely the first one during the monsoons

An hour long ride in the hotel cab brought us to our hotel on Cangute Beach. The rooms were fine, but a bit further away from the sea than we would have liked. The next day? we moved to a Cottage, right at the beach, next to the lagoon created by the Baga creek

We could here the waves as they crashed on the shores a stones throw away from our doorstep? spraying salt into the air?.

There were hardly any other tourists at Baga? the only joint open was the trust Britto?s? serving us with steaming platters of seafood and thick bottomed glasses of whiskey? well a correction here? I ate the seafood? she is a vegetarian? Gastronomically, Goa means endless plates of Daal and Rice to her. As Obelix would have so aptly said? ?These Vegetarians are Crazy!!?

So we had our rented Activa, and 8 days of doing nothing ahead of us. I do not know what made me happier then? the thought of being in Goa again? or having made it through a two day ordeal called a Tamil wedding in one piece !

So we went to all those places where no one goes in June?empty beaches, an empty Inox at Panjim where we watched Parineeta ( loved the songs), bookstalls where we were the only buyers, roads so shaded with palm fronds that you could not see the sun even if you craned your neck.

We got drenched in the rains? on a regular basis, and promised ourselves that before we are through with this world? we will build a house in Goa?. Retire early and teach at some college in Goa

Maybe we will not? and just maybe? we will?.

The London Post

I post here an email from a friend of mine in London, ah, with her permission of course…

It made me think about a lot of things… thought of sharing it with you folks…

******************************************************

Hi,

Thought was a long time since I heard from you guys…..

I am fine…..its rough n tough in London….and yes the Asians are looked down upon by the Goras here…..but thats nothing new…

Experience dated 17th July 2005:

With the kind of history we share this is part and parcel of the deal. Good we had history as a subject at least I can blame it for my current status.

My friend n me board a bus to a place called Oxford Street. We were carrying two school bags ( with no intentions of hurting people……physically and emotionally)…..but we get the vibes that we r not invited.

Reasons were obvious — We are Asians — We are carrying bags ( could be

explosives) — We were wearing jackets ( we cld be the suicide bombers) — and hence the resentment.

The whole 25 mins journey was an experience of a lifetime…. it made me realize education has not give me a physical identity …….even in developed countries where literacy rate is 85% nation wide people and races are distinguished by ‘the colour of the skin’.

I cant wear a tag which reads I am harmless and educated. If I smile at people trying to prove that yes I am on your side….I get a stare back which reads ‘mind your own business i don’t need that support’…….no one sat near me…….my friend was sitting behind as there was an agreement that both of us want window seats ……….there were English there were Blacks…..there were Asians too……neither the English nor the Blacks choose to sit …….sad but true.

The London bombings have not only taken lives but has surfaced a long dormant problem of………’who belongs to London?’……..The Asian community has a widespread hold on this soil and they belive they are Britishers more than being a Pakistani or an Indian. But the truth they have been hiding for so many years is now open to all……..did London accept them as Britishers?

…… Lets rule out the corporate and the government side of acceptance…..thats what I call global economic politics……its more on a societal level is what bothers me………its a pre conceived notion that a ND generation in London with a British passport are Britishers…..yes legally they are but not on a cultural basis. The Asians here have adapted themselves to behave as Britishers should behave…the mannerism the etiquettes the accent the dressing……. but what abt the genes?? ……the DNA cant be changed can it? ……. The 3 bombers were Britishers by birth what happened to them when they went to Pakistan? ….What happened that changed their lives so much so that they forgot they were Britishers?…….Are we then saying that adapting a culture is not successful?…….May be!!……..In my view…….Its not the Asians or the Africans………its the community as a whole responsible for this behaviour………The British born Asians were never accepted on a society level and this feeling was kept under cover for a long time………….till one such person went to Pakistan and realised he can surface a lot of dirt that this society is hiding………..he wanted to name it Jihad…………he was successful in all respects……..!!……The government said its no a consequence of the Iraq bombing and yes I agree with them….its not…..this is a result of the current condition in which Asian are treated in Britain………with suspicion and remorse…….

The rule of divide n rule ……..devised by the Royalties of Britain……..is now being used by the jehadies……..twist of fate!!……..they wanted the divide to surface……..and it has……..bags would be searched but only Asian people carrying those bags……….Girls with Blonde hair would not be searched but others wld be………..Woman wearing Burkas would have to show thief identity………..can u imagine what this might lead to?….

The death toll on 07/07 was not as high as 09/11 ………. becoz this time the plan was different……its not killing people…….its dividing them!!…..so that the damage can never be repaired. Now what would the government do? What would the British community do?…I guess its wait n watch!!

take care,

Himani

Comments from the past:

s
29 Jul 2005, 9:33pm

sad but specific; not how it is generally. i know i’ve lived in the UK for long.

Morning Raga

So begins another day? with a welcome absence of emails in my official inbox. And I can lose myself for a while in the Carnatic Strains of the Morning Raga? the movie. Fabulous music, beautiful scenes and the wonderful Shabana Aazmi. Must say, not a bad imagery to start the day.

Somehow, music always plays a defining role in my life. It was in the first year of engineering college that I discovered that I could escape a fair bit of ragging at the hands of my seniors if I sang. And realizing that I was a not-so-bad singer, I embarked on my first sessions of singing in public.

To be honest, I never was a grand success. I somehow could never keep track of beats. The percussion had a way of getting into my knees and shaking me up from my very foundations. Overwhelmed by the noise my voice would emerge as a high pitched squeak which in the words of my erstwhile room mate ? bore a strong resemblance to Bappi Leheri?
So this went on for two complete years? I being the guy who sang in the Hostel corridors through the year, was hoisted on the stage at any cultural function worth the name? where I proceeded to sing with the drums and Tablas and the dholaks? sounding more unlike myself with every passing beat. So I remained? one of the ?Also Sang?s? in every music competition, sometimes delighted by an occasional ?Third Prize? or a Consolation Prize while the winners pranced about with the real thing?

Then, one day, I walked into Vinay?s room to find him fiddling about with a broken down guitar?. One of the many hand-me-downs from the senior batch that dotted our rooms. Over the next couple of weeks, Vinay had the guitar mended and before the end of our semester was quite playing his C and D cords with 鬡n?

A week before our foundation day, I had a tiff with our drummer, a senior who deemed fit to play the beats with an intensity and decibel levels far removed from the real thing? but a nice chap at that ( one of those after-so-many-years afterthoughts).

So as I sat complaining to Vinay about the unfairness of it all, he cam up with the simple suggestion that if you cannot sing along with beats? then don?t sing along with beats?
Sing with me?

So that was it? the end of my ignominy as a singer and the beginning of a new phase of friendship with Vinay. We practiced songs that we liked? and never found reasons to regret it. I withdrew from the competition and me and Vinay continued to make music, in our hostel rooms, at the college community center? and for once I was happy with what I was singing.

We did perform in public ,eventually, and I did win competitions in the years to come? and Vinay continues to become a better guitarist by the day?.and I still find myself singing ?.. Yet, the music has ceased now.
Me and Vinay , different cities, different jobs ? we hardly meet now. But sometimes when I play that old cassette recording of our songs, he still seems to be there in the room next to mine, strumming away?

Comments from the past:

hs
21 Jul 2005, 9:23pm

Morning Raaga was a great movie. I loved the way they completely changed the songs that i learnt when i was about 13 ..:) ..nice post !

san
25 Jul 2005, 9:20pm

Enjoyed reading your blogs. Like the way you describe Hyd & Pune. One I belong to; the other we are about to move to.

Ashish
27 Jul 2005, 10:17am

Hey folks.. thanks for reading my posts!
And San, welcome to Pune, its a great place to be.. though a bit wet at the moment

The Weather is fine here at Pune…

So here I am? music on the headphones? surfing the net on company time (and expense I might add)?. a month after my wedding?. Enveloped by a sense of well being that the onset of the weekend brings to all those who go to bed every night dreading that awful ringing of the morning alarm?

The weather at Pune has been fantastic this week?it seems so?. Breezy? drizzling some times? but not too much really? Yes the sky was blue the last time I peeked outside the Grey glass walls of my office.

I believe the days are sunny? I feel the sun when I walk to the food court for lunch.. before returning to the engineered sunshine of my cubicle?

And yes? the sunsets are damn beautiful?. the city is surrounded by hills you see. In fact we have a towering cliff bordering our Company campus itself? each evening, the blinds of our windows turn a different shade? amber? or maybe ? something else?

Its green all around?. I am sure that the grass is wet in the morning with dew? well the gravel on the road definitely is and so are the window panes of the bus I catch in the morning…

But then the day flies by and I find myself home? sharing the evening with her…. sharing the only meal of the day that our careers allow us to share… and enjoy.

She too thinks ? that the weather must have been really fine this week at Pune….

Comments from the past:

hs
15 Jul 2005, 7:33pm

awww..
the weathers horrible here.
horrible.rainy.dirty.cold.horrible