About Me

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I am a confused soul, trying to find the meaning of life. And I feel, there is no better way to see things clearly than to write them down. So I write...oops..type ;)

Sunday, October 07, 2018

My Speakers Story

After a long break, i would like to share my journey to finding the speakers that I would love to listen to everyday.
My search for good musical speakers began many years ago and it has been an on and off urge. Had checked out some model of Polk audio tower speakers almost 10-15 years ago at "5.1 sounds" in Nerul, Navi Mumbai (i guess this shop is no more) but the price back then of the Hifi setup was my entire year's salary :( and so i couldn't pursue it.
Fast forward to present day and i started looking for a stereo setup once again in Bangalore. My benchmark was my Bose QC3 Noise Cancelling headphones that i have had for 10 years now and hadn't heard anything better than that so far. Therefore, i began my search with Bose. Checked out Bose Soundtouch 10, 20, 30, the Wave IV system and the Bose soundbar + Sub. I wasn't sure what kind of setup i was looking for. But, all i knew was, it should sound great. The Bose gadgets fell well short of my expectations. I always considered Bose as the gold standard for speakers, and so i was really disappointed.
Then came my meeting with Mr. Palani at Audio Planet, Koramangala. The moment i mentioned to him that i had auditioned Bose speakers and wasn't satisfied, all he had to say is, you haven't seen/heard good speakers yet :(. I wanted to tell him, i love my QC3 headphones. He seemed like a very knowledgeable person i the field of acoustics and so i let him advise me further. Based on my requirements, he recommended Cambridge Audio TVB2 soundbar which he thought would suit my needs. Also he had one spare in stock which he could give me. Now, i had never heard about this company called Cambridge Audio or all the other brands he had in his store, so thought of taking my time to research further. BTW, Mr. Palani generally caters to high end audio setup and i would recommend him to anybody into serious audio stuff to check out things at his shop, which is behind Koramangala BDA complex.
Well then, meeting Mr. Palani was an eye opener and then I started looking out for some great sounding speakers. It is now that i realized how confused one can become after going through the Internet in search of speakers, with so much info out there. I was bombarded with words like Tower speakers, bookshelf speakers, monitor speaker, active speakers, passive speakers, floor standers, surround speakers, Bluetooth speakers, drivers, tweeters, woofers, sub-woofers, bright speakers, warm speakers, blah blah blah...INFORMATION OVERLOAD!!!!

That is when i decided to visit a Hifi shop in Bangalore to see (and hear) things to understand. My music source was my Apple iPod from 2004. I visited ProFX at MG Road, Bangalore and checked out Polk Audio Signature S50 tower speakers, KEF Q100 bookshelf speakers. Initially i liked the S50s paired with a Sub-woofer. Didn't like KEF Q100s at all. As i was about to leave the shop i happened to look at Polk audio RTiA7 tower speakers, which looked great and so wanted to try them out. I was just amazed by the sound and completely floored. Some of my test songs were:
Chiquitita - Abba
Aate Jaate Haste gate - Maine Pyaar kiya movie
Me Raat Takali - Marathi song from movie Jait Re Jait
I walk a lonely road - American Green Day
Bhetateti Ashi - Marathi song from movie Asehi Ekda Vhave
Kitida Navyane - Ti Sadhya Kay karte

Next 2 months did some more research, and now i was even more confused about, weather i should go for Active or Passive speakers, Bookshelf or Towers, an AV receiver or an Integrated Amp, and i would keep changing my mind every second day, and to speak a little in software engineering terms, my mind was in an infinite loop outputting random numbers ;)
One thing i kept reading over and over again on the Internet, that one should just trust their own ears to pick speakers. I was not an audio expert and so did not want to trust my ears.
After reading lots of reviews I started believing i might like the sound of DALI Speakers. Found out that i could audition them at DNI Home Theater at Bellandur Bangalore. Called up the folks and walked in with my wife and kid. The speakers that I auditioned here were, Focal 714 Towers, DALI Zensor 5 and Zensor 7 Towers. The Focals sounded better than the DALIs and i was totally underwhelmed by the DALIs  :(. Then, i found out from the Focal's website that the 714s had been discontinued.
I was back to square one :(

Finally decided to go back to my first love, the Polk Audio RTiA7s. Visited ProFX Bangalore again and this time auditioned the new KEF's 2018 series Q150, Q350 bookshelfs, and Q950 Towers, Polk RTiA3 bookshelf, S50/55/60 Towers and RTiA7s, which were mated to different AV receivers (mainly from Denon x1400/x3400 or Yamaha R 602N Integrated amp).
It is only now that i started understanding that, to MY EARS, Polk RTiA3s sounded better than KEFs top of the line Q950, where Q950s were crossing well over a lakh and the RTiA3 were around 23K. Also, listened to a pair Cabasse 3 way bookshelf speaker (can't recall the model) but didn't like those due to their boomy sound (hard to imagine a bookshelf speaker with a strong bass, isn't it).
I had finally shortlisted Polk RTiA7 and RTiA3 speakers but my wife didn't like the strong bass response of RTiA7 (it is a 3 way speaker, and so doesn't really require a sub). Before i booked RTiA3, the folks at ProFX wanted us to have a look at RTiA5 as well which was kind of mid way between RTiA3 and RTiA7. On the day of booking we had them switch between RTiA3s and the 5s at least a dozen times (ProFX MG Road has a very nice setup where they don't have to mess with cables and the speaker switch over happens in a second). We were listening to parts of songs and switching speakers in quick succession and the RTiA5s sounded better in comparison.

I may scale up the current setup to 5.1 in the future and so went with an AV receiver (Denon X-2500H). Also, to my amateur ears, the sound from an Integrated Amplifier didn't appear too different to one coming from an AV receiver.

By the way, I still cant relate to terms like Warm and Bright speakers, but what my wife mentioned about the RTiA5s was, it had "goad awaz" (sweet sound in marathi), unlike the KEF Q350s and Q950s which had greater clarity but lacking "Mithaas" (sweetness). For me (and wife), the speakers need to sound pleasant to our ears instead of running after sheer clarity.

I hope others in search of speakers find this useful.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Confessions of an Idiot

I walked alone a fairy trail,
of green and brown, all kind it hail;
of joys and tears of many years,
succumb today, to my only fears.

I walked alone so proud and tall,
no matter then, how bad I fall;
A ray of light was there to guide,
that shown my home in shiny bright.

I walked alone through eerie plains,
and tread along through woods n mains;
though sure I was of curves and straights,
it lacked the thrill of unknown pains.

I stepped into the woods unknown,
wary of what each step would hold;
but glad I am for once being bold,
to feel the breeze from planet earth.

I walked alone through starry nights,
and dream t of dreams on sunny days;
though shattered few and lovely few,
I walk along, knowing well, I burnt every sinew.

I Keep Walking!!!....

Sunday, November 07, 2010


This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 16; the sixteenth edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton.

Some time in 1996:

I was in the second round of the district Chess championship and playing against a 3rd std kid in the 2nd round. I almost took it as an offence, for being asked to play this kid. As expected, I beat him in 15 mins, only to see him cry for as long as I was there. His elder brother, who must be in 5th std then, challenged me for a match, which I politely refused. On my way back home with my Chess Mentor, Mr. Majumdar, I asked him, why was that kid crying so much. He told me, you just beat the junior Chess champion of Gujarat. His name was Neville. Next year, I happened to meet his elder brother Kevin, in the quarters. That turned out to be a marathon of a match, lasting 14 hours spanned across 2 days and finally decided via a 30 mins timer. His entire family had gathered around us that day. With the timer ON, I lost from an almost winning position. Kevin was ecstatic and told Neville that he finally beat me. It was a sweet revenge for him, but I too felt at peace, seeing those 2 kids happy and smiling.

Some time in 1997:

I was standing at the gates of my school and watching my friends and their parents with bright happy faces. A couple of them walked up to me, seeing me arrive. They were so ecstatic telling me their marks especially what they scored in computers. I felt as though they were looking for some kind of an acknowledgement from me, about how good they were at computers (you can think all kinds of weird things as kids ;)).  I was the undisputed master of computers in my class over the last 2 years, having topped all its tests and exams. But the boards turned out to be a different ball game, and almost everyone scored more than what I did in that subject. Surprisingly, I didn't feel bad about it, but was instead rather at peace. I remember being so very upset once in 9th std when I didn't score the highest in computers, in one of the unit tests. All that was gone now.

Some time in 1998:

I was in the finals of an Annual Badminton tournament, and playing against my partner and best pal, Ritesh. I had also reached the finals of the Chess competition. Since I was already going to get 2 prizes, I unilaterally decided to let my friend win without even putting up a decent fight. He completely slaughtered me in the first set and it was over in less than 10 mins. After the first set got over, he walked up to me during the changeover and said that if I continued to play the way I am playing right now, he would forfeit the match. Either I give him the fight of his life or he will just quit. I was dumbstruck! What would someone want to blow up a final like this? The rest of the story goes like.....The next 2 sets lasted more than an hour, and even though I lost at the end, I was much happier now :) and we embraced each other after the match.

Some time in 2002:

I was barely out of hospital, having spent a month there due to a bout of Dengue. I was hardly able to walk any distance, and used to watch my friends play badminton, from the sidelines. I would sit there during the evenings watching them play my favorite sport, wondering, when would I get the chance to play again. I tried my hand once, but almost fainted after playing for 5 mins, due to extreme exhaustion. That's what a month in hospital does to you. Nevertheless, I participated in a badminton tournament that was one month from then. I reached the finals and was playing against a friend who learnt to play badminton barely a month ago. But goodness gracious, that kid was super talented. Our match lasted for almost 2 hrs and I might have fainted on more than one occasion, during the match. Finally I lost, but not before we earned each other's respect.

Those were a string of disconnected moments in my life which might have left you wondering, what do I want to convey. Observing closely, you might realize that I lost on all those occasions. But, perhaps, me as an adult has a lot to learn from the kid in Me. In today's world of cut throat competition, we live by the phrase "Winning is not everything....its the only thing!" or people at the opposite end of the spectrum say that "Participation is more important than winning"....just as feel good factor.

However, as a kid I didn't think that way. Back then, what mattered to me the most was that, I give my best shot, and if I loose, I would surely be disappointed, but if I loose to a worthy victor, I would acknowledge his feat. And it is only the stature of the one who stands defeated, determines how sweet the victory tastes to the winner.

So lets celebrate not just our own achievements but even of those who vanquished us and put a better foot forward...because its only in acknowledging them that we learn and take a step forward.

The fellow Blog-a-Tonics who took part in this Blog-a-Ton and links to their respective posts can be checked here. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Return - No Way ;)

Image courtesy http://2.bp.blogspot.com/
It was the summer of 97. We had just completed our 10 std board exams and awaiting results. Not that I really cared for them as I could never fathom the fuss around these exams. I can attribute this mindset to growing up in small towns like Sibsagar (in Assam), Bharuch and Ankleshwar (both in Gujarat) where competition was just another word in the dictionary and wasn’t to be taken seriously. We could get admitted to any school of our choice, at any time of the year, unlike what we see in bigger cities, and the situation further deteriorates in metros, where there is a mad rush for marks to get into the best schools and colleges. So, for me, the culmination of exams was nothing but the beginning of summer vacations, sign of good times to come, when we could play Badminton and Cricket all day long :). And 10th was no different. Perhaps I was too naive to not make a distinction between the boards and other exams.

Well, the results were soon out and it was time for us to hunt for schools to get admission into 11th std. Although my school had 11th std, but it had started just a year ago and my parents didn't want to take a chance. As for me, since none of my friends were staying back, even i wanted to go where everyone was going. But all my friends were going in different directions. I was confused about where to go. Anyways, I applied to all the schools and got shortlisted in a few of them. The odds were heavily stacked against me, as I was coming from I.C.S.E board, for which there were hardly any seats in any of the schools. A few schools would even refuse to give me application forms as they hadn't even heard of I.C.S.E. board. 

Swami Vivekanand was one of those schools that realized the potential in me and so I was among the shortlisted candidates there. My name was 11th on the list and there were only 13 or so seats up for grabs in the open category. I was now scheduled to appear for my very first interview ever. I had absolutely no idea what to expect, and so did my parents. The other worrying part was, since my name was higher up on the list than my friends, there was no way I could get any tips.

We reached the school on time, courtesy my Dad. I was lazing around all morning before I was pulled up by my Dad, to get serious about the interview and life in general. It was around 2.30 in the afternoon when the peon called us in and escorted us into the Principal's room. It was rather dark inside resembling a dungeon. The Principal was a middle aged woman with a stoic visage. Due to some odd reason, I didn't particularly like her at first glance. I was used to seeing Sisters in Principal's office. This was the first time in last 5 years, I was looking at a Principal in a Sari. I would have rather addressed her as "Aunty" instead of Miss/Sister/Teacher (had never used the term Madam/Ma'm till then) which got me ever so confused. The Princy's strict demeanor was a bit unnerving which added to the dislike I held towards her.

There were only 2 chairs in the room, facing the Princy. So, where was I supposed to sit? I stealthily looked around the room to find some place to sit.  Standing in the middle of the room for this long felt like i was being punished for some felony I committed without my knowledge. 
Since, I was busy looking around the room, I didn't pay much attention to the discussion underway between my parents and the Princy. All I noticed was, she waving her arm around a couple of times and suggesting me to come and stand beside her (or so I thought). Suddenly I gazed upon a stool kept right next to the Princy's chair. The stool looked very similar to those kept in clinics where patients are made to sit for examination. I was always thrilled to sit on those stools, as I considered them as the most important pieces of furniture in the clinic, where Mr./Ms Important Patient would sit and thereon would be the center of attention. However, in this cell of hers, she had kept her purse on it which defied the whole purpose of having that stool there. 
After she waved her arm a third time, I was almost convinced that, she wanted me to come and sit on that stool. I couldn't help but oblige. I picked up her purse, kept it on the table and sat on the stool. For a moment, I was grateful to her to let me sit. There was a brief moment of gratitude that I held for her, suspended in abeyance, just like a plastic ball held mid air by a strong current of air. 

No sooner did I sit on that stool, I heard her yell out at me. I was dumbstruck by her reaction. It was beyond my comprehension, why would someone get so agitated by my mere sitting on a stool. She immediately ordered me to stand up and keep standing. According to her, this was an extreme case of indiscipline that a student would dare to sit in a Principal's office. I was coming from a different planet it seemed, where our Sisters would make us feel comfortable. What mattered then was the purpose that brought us to their office, not the protocol. Here, instead of comforting, I was severely reprimanded in front of my parents, that too in the most acerbic tone. I sprang up to the feet, said sorry, and then didn’t utter a word for the next few minutes. I felt as though, moving one step in any direction would tantamount to committing another felony.

The Princy, then started questioning me about my academics and how I had managed to put up such a show, without revealing whether my performance was good or bad. Although I hardly studied all year, I had to sound studious. After much deliberation, I blurted out "15-20 minutes every day". I was immediately overwhelmed with a sense of guilt for having lied (I don’t feel that way anymore ;)). Those were the days of pure innocence :) The Princy looked startled, and then turned to my parents for confirmation. Dad shook his head and said in a low voice, "Yes, he never studied much!". But, to my utter surprise, she said, "Then, how did he manage to get such good marks". My Dad's face lit up like never before. However, I was still suspicious of her and this sudden bout of niceties that she showered on us. The rest of the discussion went on positive lines, but I was still wounded by those harsh words. She, however, had some tough words for me till the very end, and her plans to reform me and make me study 10 hours a day in 11th and 12th. I was now staring down a dark abyss in which all I could see is the Princy's face with a stick in her hand 

After a week, we got a call from the school, that I had been selected for admission. But, by this time, I had collected enough information about the Principal and how strict she was. The kids in that school weren’t even allowed to step outside the class between periods. To add to my misery, I was already in her bad books.

Dad was ecstatic to have received the good news and he was eager to see me admitted there. But I had almost made up my mind to not go to that school. I was so scared of the Principal that even if all hell broke loose, I would not join that school. I conveyed my decision to my dad and he reluctantly delivered the verdict to the Principal. She tried a couple of times to allay my fears, but like a typical Scorpion, I wouldn't step back. 

Today, whenever I look back, I laugh about my stupidity and naivety back then. 

Back then, I would I would brag about it to my friends, "How on earth does she expect me to RETURN after having fired those volley of abuses at me?" But underneath all that braggadocio, I was shit scared to go to the school.

Saturday, August 07, 2010


This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 13; the thirteenth edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton.

I boarded the train  to Nasik with heavy baggage and a heavy heart. I was getting goosebumps going back to Nasik to attend a family function after such a long time. I had almost decided that I will never go there again to attend any get together.

My Sister and my Aunt were accompanying me on this train journey. They too had some apprehensions about going there, but they seemed much more relaxed, at least that's what their countenance suggested. 

So here I was, sitting in one of the worst kept trains, completely annoyed with my surroundings, which further aggravated my misery. I wasn't able to discern, what was bothering me more; the train or my apprehensions about this journey or rather the destination. Meanwhile, me, my sister and my Aunt had some rather long conversations, as it was time to catch up with the happenings in our lives. During all that talk, my mind would invariably keep going back to the original question; "Why the hell did I embark upon this journey?" I couldn't find any answers. 

The ghosts of our collective past have been haunting me for almost 5 years now, which is why I have turned down the request to travel to Nasik ever since, unless something really urgent needed my attention. That would strictly be a one day trip. Nothing more.

We reached Nasik at 4 o clock at night or morning. Uncle had come to receive us at the station. My heart started pounding as we approached our house. I didn't want to stay there. I just could not come to terms with the divided house. A House, not divided by physical structures, but the hearts and minds of its inmates were now poles part. Both my uncles wouldn't see each other eye to eye. This was in complete contrast to my childhood days when all of us grew up together; Children and Adults alike. It used to be one big joint family during my summer vacations. No one could tell, who is whose child. Everyone was loved and respected equally.

I had not spoken to my cousin brother, son of my estranged uncle, for almost a year now. Everyone said, we were inseparable as kids, even though we used to fight like crazy. We were brothers more than cousins. And now, things had reached a nadir; I had to take permission to attend his wedding. Almost unfathomable not too long ago.

The festivities began the next morning with a lot of fanfare and everyone seemed to be in a jovial mood. However, I was still stuck in a time warp where the divisions didn't exist. I was craving for that elusive wish to come true. That morning, I happened to cross paths with my other uncle and Aunt. Spoke to them at length, as to how they were doing. They were and are still the same for me, regardless of whatever had transpired in the meantime.

However I was pulled up by others for this brazenly defiant act of mine of talking to the other side. But, everyone was back to their usual self soon as though nothing unholy had happened, just a moment ago. Seemed like, I only had to be reprimanded enough to realize the ground realities.

That evening I happened to go the temple near our house. Place, which we so often visited, as kids, during our summer vacations. Although I am no more a believer, but that temple was more than a temple for me. It was one place where I could sit and reminisce the moments of yesteryear's.  It was a storehouse of memories treasured over two long decades.

After spending close to an hour at the temple, alone, during that rainy evening,  I realised, perhaps I was the only one who had not yet come to terms with the present day. Everyone else had moved on with life. I needed to be a little more brave to accept the facts as they are and not yearn for how they ought to be according to me. That was surely an exercise in futility.

That moment I decided to wave Goodbye to the disquiet I harbored towards my tumultuous past and accept things as they are. Things now seem much more easier to handle. 

The fellow Blog-a-Tonics who took part in this Blog-a-Ton and links to their respective posts can be checked here. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Bird

image courtesy www.wikihow.com

Today, a very old friend of mine (Tabrej) landed at my place...and was I happy...You bet! Its always funny, meeting old friends (especially school friends from 4th std :) ) can suddenly turn you into a kid. You don't just sit around and chit chat with them, but you relive the good old school days. He reminded me of the paper stuff I was so good at during those days. I think I even taught my teacher a couple of things back then :)

Before we could think any further, off came the newspaper, a knife (we couldn't find scissors :P) and then we sat down to make a bird out of a newspaper. I was quickly rewinding my entire life right up to 4th std, when I use to teach making paper birds to so many of my friends. I could see the finished bird on the canvas of my mind. But the tricky part was to de-construct it. That's how we begin, don't we! But deconstructing the bird was proving to be more difficult than debugging some complex piece of code. Or should I say, I used to do lot more complex things back then ;) Education and later Work killed the genius in me :( While, I was still lost in the past, trying to dust off those pages of my life wherein lay the answer to my earnest pursuit, I could actually sense that childlike enthusiasm in me again, so reminiscent of those days, to recall the exact steps. I went over it again and again in my mind, to unfold the bird, one step at a time.

While I was pondering over the structure of the bird, I was transported back to those days and I could  recall the program on Doordarshan from where I learnt to make the bird in the first place. I think it was way back in 1990-91, when I was probably in 2nd std. I remember how frustrated I was, at not being able to make the bird on the first attempt. I thought I had missed it for ever. While trying to vent my anger in desperation, I had kicked and broken the glass of our center table in the drawing room. My leg was bleeding badly, but that was the least of my concerns. I wanted to make a bird and make it right then. It was like that nagging pain which would give you sleepless nights.

The bird still wouldn't unravel itself in the present day. I could go back only two steps, starting backwards from the finished bird, but had no clue how to proceed thereon. I was unable to figure out the steps leading up to that state. Just then, Tabrej opened YouTube and started checking for videos of making this paper bird. He started making his bird by following one of those videos. Its only while searching the videos that we came to know that this is a Japanese art called Origami, which involves folding a flat sheet of paper and turning it into something beautiful and meaningful. Meanwhile, I was still hell bent on doing it the way I always did it in my school days. I remember having this weird attitude towards problems. My whole life would be stuck on a problem until I found the answer. I would go over and over it, while sleeping, eating, taking bath and also while doing other important things ;). I so very miss that spark today :(.....or I can blame google for having taken the fun out of my life ;)

I had this square piece of newspaper placed in front of me. I tried to fold it in so many different ways, but could never bring it to the point from where I knew how to proceed further. Almost an hour had gone by, and I was still thinking. This was nothing, compared to the days I used to spend pondering over difficult problems. These would vary from mathematical problems to interpreting Shakespearean verses during the later part of my schooling. I always had the good fortune of having at least one friend who would be ready to take up the cause along with me :) Back then, we used to say..."If you can both prove and refute an idea at the same time, meant that you have really really understood the subject well". This was our way of playing tricks with ideas :)

Well, solving the bird problem was proving to be an almost insurmountable task. I was now probably experiencing the same kind of frustration which subconsciously challenged me all those years ago to give more than my best. However, I could now see the half made bird in front of Tabrej. I thought I could never get that far on my own. A sudden feeling of despair overwhelmed me and I realized, I was no more a kid and that spark to uncover the myriad mysteries had dosed off long ago. It was a pursuit in futility.

I turned my laptop around and went through the entire video. However, as I was making my bird (looking at the video), I realized, I had done it slightly differently back then. I started telling Tabrej, how it can be done in a much more elegant way. The clock started ticking backwards again :) and this time, it wasn't just ticking, it zoomed backwards!

I was able to improvise on a couple of steps shown in the video that would make the process of making the bird much more precise. I was thrilled at this discovery :) My memory, quite often the object of ridicule wasn't all that bad after all :) It was already 2.30 at night by the time we finished our first bird. And then to emboss it on our minds, we made one more without the aid of the video, while simultaneously trying to improve upon the process.

My friends have now gone back to bed, but I still sit back and reminisce about those days :)

Next on my agenda is the Frog......remember making it????

And I am surely going to teach my 30 odd kids this weekend, how to make a bird :) I am so very looking forward to it :))

tc and goodnight :)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Money..Rich and Poor

It was a Monday morning, and I woke up as lazily as ever; got ready and left home by 7.30. I was going to miss my office bus by a mere 30 mins. Sometimes I wish if I could shed all that laziness, that's so deeply entrenched in me, I could potentially save on so much money that I spend commuting to office daily.

As I stepped out of the building I found it was still pretty dark for this time of the day. I looked up to the skies ...it was overcast....seemed like it may rain anytime...but being true to itself...Bangalore rains pay a visit only during the evenings. However, after I took a few steps, I could sense an unusual calm ...almost foreboding, even though I was used to these surroundings. J.P.Nagar 7th Phase (place where I stay in Bangalore) is bereft of all the hustle and bustle, typically associated with Bangalore. I had barely walked for five minutes and I was already lost deep into my thoughts. The route was customary and I just had to pay enough attention on the road so that I don't bump into anything. So apart from the sense of sight, all other senses of mine were now facing inwards attending to my day dream.

And then I heard someone call me from far away (or I thought so)...I didn't pay much attention (thinking it wasn't meant for me). Then, another call. This time I had a feeling ...maybe I am the person being addressed here. When I looked around, I found a young girl standing barely 5 feet away, asking me something. All this while I was only hearing some sounds, but couldn't make much sense out of them. I had to return to reality. I looked at her with a sense of apology, having mistakenly ignored her words. She then spoke in a very tender voice "Can you give me 5 rupees?" I was a little taken aback...this wasn't normal. I looked at the girl carefully; she was neatly dressed in her brown school uniform, carrying a big school bag on her back. I again asked in a startled tone..."What???" the reply didn't change. I was now sure, I didn't hear anything wrong. She said she wanted 5 rupees to buy a pen; a red pen. I told her, red pens are only used by Teachers; Why does she need one? She came up with a reason (reason I cant recall now) which I found to be good enough then. But instead of handing over the 5 rupees, I offered to buy her the pen myself. When went to a bakery nearby ( that was the only shop I could see open at 7.30 in the morning), hoping he stocked some Red Pens. But he had only blue ones :( .....the other shop I knew was off the main road, and she had her school bus to catch. So I handed over a 5 rupee coin, but only after I got an assurance from her that she will only spend it on buying a Red Pen and nothing else. There is no way I can verify that she kept her promise, but I believed in her and I do trust kids in general to not lie. I hope she did keep her promise and did not spend it on some frivolous stuff.

We bid adieu and she started walking towards her bus stop and I took an auto to go to my stop, from where I would get my bus to Whitefield. However, my thoughts suddenly went back to the kid, and why I handed over the 5 rupee coin. I am generally averse to giving out any free money, especially to strangers, unless I see a pressing need to do so. I don't even give out a single penny to beggars, no matter how wretched a condition they are in. Did I relent because of her innocent face or her spotless appearance suggested me that she wouldn't have any other motives. I am sure I would not have shelled out a penny to a beggar kid even though it was apparent that he would need it much more than this kid did. So its definitely not because she was a kid that I helped her. The larger question here is, do we trust people who are well off (materially), more than those who are children of a lesser God? Take a second to think over this! Will you entrust your house (for a day) to a relatively affluent friend, who has a questionable history, over your maid who had been working at your place for quite some time and has been absolutely honest? The answers might differ, depending on your comfort level, and so I wont take any sides. But a third person would definitely advise you to trust your friend over the maid...well, on most occasions! The underlying assumption is that, people who have a plenty would not do ugly things as opposed to those who are not as blessed. That is the voice of reason.

Is this the reason why money (and material) chases people who already have them in plenty. Or should I say, it gets pushed to those people. Which explains why rich get richer and poor remain poor. Nobody is ready to finance them. However, as they climb up the social ladder, we invariably doubt their means and frown at the new money that's brought in. Maybe, deep down there is this basic instinct (rather animal instinct) within all of us that wants to see 'status quo' being maintained, that is if you are not among the deprived lot.

I guess I have digressed enough....but these are just some random thoughts that disturbed me after the incident.