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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 ;)

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.

Monday, July 05, 2010


This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 12; the twelfth 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 was deep asleep, probably dreaming, when my Mom suddenly nudged me and breathed life into my motionless body. I was too fast asleep to respond to her. Finally half asleep, I asked her, what was the time? It was 4.30 in the morning. I shouted at her for waking me up in the middle of the night for no reason. But she was persistent and determined to wake me up. I finally got up after half an hour and tried to figure out in my mind, why am I being asked to get up so early? Everything my Mom had said that morning had fallen on deaf ears. Finally after much deliberation, I figured out, I had a class to attend at Dadar at 7 in the morning. Today was my first day. And guess what, I was already running late :( I again started shouting at Mom for waking me up so late. Didn't she know, I would be late for my classes? It takes more than an hour for me to get ready, and then another hour or so to go from Kharghar to Dadar, that too, if you get a Dadar ST on time and with a Schumacher like driver in command. I guess it was my Mom's turn now to ignore my words. She silently went about her morning errands; kept a cup of warm milk, for me, on the dinning table, took out an ironed Shirt and a Trouser from the Almira and neatly placed them on my bed followed by a handkerchief and then my belt. Such a thankless job, considering I was her elder son.

I got ready within no time (45 mins approximately) and left for my classes though still shouting at my Mom for getting me late. 10 mins passed by and still no sign of a bus. As usual, you ask yourself, "Why Me?" and "Why today?". I must have cursed every single person associated with waking me up early today and getting me late; right from the professor who had scheduled a class at midnight (7 AM is not too far from midnight, at least for me), when half the world is asleep, to the State Transport Dept, who schedule their buses at such random intervals and then my friends who encouraged me to join these coaching classes. I was seething with anger; anger which was as much directed towards others as it was towards myself. I guess someone feared Armageddon and sent out a Lal Dabba (Maharashtra State Transport buses are painted Red). As the bus neared, I prayed to someone (definitely not God, as I am a Non Believer), that this should not turn out to be a Thane or a Belapur ST. To my relief, it was indeed a Dadar ST. However, now the problem was, will the driver even stop the bus at the bus stop as I could see people precariously hanging off the last pieces of metal protruding out of the body of the bus. The bus did slow down as someone had to get down at my stop. However, it stopped a good 100 meters from the designated point. There was no time for any further driver bashing or cribbing about the state of public transport. I ran after the bus as it crossed me and finally latched on to a window rod until I could find enough space to rest my one foot on the last step of the staircase. My left hand holding on to the window rod and my right hand performing the dual job of holding my notebook and latching on to the bar on the side of the stairway. That's how I managed to keep myself alive and on time for my class. However, my most sincere thanks went out to the person who got down at Kharghar on a pilgrimage, courtesy whom I could now be less late.

No sooner did that noble thought, of thanking someone, crossed my mind, I started feeling the pain in my arms and legs which was the result of hanging off the bus in an attempt to keep myself alive. I was back to my old self of cursing (only in my mind) the person hanging next to me for trying to dislodge me, so that he would have the luxury of keeping both his feet on the stairs and increase his chances of survival by 25%. His two hands and the other leg which was previously merrily resting on the last stair accounted for the balance 75%. As I was fighting my battle for survival of my species (species named Mayur, of which I was the first born), the conductor shouted at the top of his voice "TICKET!!!". How on earth does he expect my left leg to curl backwards, take out the wallet from my back pocket, and then reach further upwards to hand him (actually leg him) the fare through the window (from outside). I was again burning with anger. As the bus stopped at the next stop, I tried to jostle my way up the stairs. It was tough, but I no longer cared who got hurt. I handed over the fare to the conductor and gave him a few words of advise to not jeopardise any ones life while he is holding on by a thin margin. Seemed like, he was used to a daily dose of verbal abuse and so disregarded my golden words. This got me even more angry. Anyways, I diverted my mind into thinking about how late I am going to get for my class and what all 'gaalis' I will be getting from my so called friends. Huh!...I gave out a sigh of despair.

The crowd started thinning as the bus approached Anushakti Nagar (B.A.R.C). Almost 45 mins had passed by since I boarded the bus. By now I had been pushed and pushed till I reached the first seat behind the driver. I was still standing, and looking straight out of the front windscreen. My mind was completely blank or I just wasn't able to recall anything that I had been thinking about for the past three quarters of an hour. This was so typical of me;absent-minded me at my best. Suddenly someone nudged me from behind and said "Anushakti?". I replied back saying "Yes" (thought he was confirming what the next stop is). As the bus stopped, he asked me to get down. I was dumbstruck for a moment; why would someone tell me where to get down? I let him get past me and disembark, but not before we exchanged a few niceties. In the meanwhile, I grabbed his seat behind the driver and I was now facing every single person sitting in the bus. Made me feel slightly uncomfortable. I wanted to be alone and in my own world. Looking at those pale and sickly faces at 6.30 in the morning wasn't the most enjoyable experiences one would like to have at the dawn of the day.

However, there was this little kid (maybe in 3rd-4th std) sitting right opposite to me, peeping out of the window. She seemed completely oblivious to the happenings inside the bus, and into a world of her own. I kept looking at her every now and then, but she was so completely at ease with herself that she didn't mind my occasional glance. She was in her school uniform, probably going to a govt. school, judging by the Blue and White dress. She had a cute chubby face, her hair weaved into twin short braids with red ribbons intertwined and two little golden earrings as her only ornament. She also had a tiny 'bindi' on her forehead which further accentuated her simplicity. She would follow each passing vehicle overtaking us and then the next. And then she would look around saying to herself, "Why on earth are people so pissed off with life?" Just looking at her would bring a smile on your face :) (it still does, thinking about her). Suddenly, Asha Miss's (my Chemistry teacher in 7th std) words echoed in my ears "School Days are the Golden days of your life, where you get sad about petty things but remain happy most of the time". I reflected upon the happenings in my life in the last few days and realized how stupid I was to crib over some silly issues, almost non issues.

And then suddenly, as to wake me up from my day dream, she got up and got down from the bus. It was a sudden shock to see her go. How I wished she had stayed back just a little longer. But I was more glad to see her in the first place than to rue her going away. She was an Unlikely Angel who made my day. She helped me salvage my day and not ruin it any further. Although we didn't speak a word, but I guess we acknowledged each other's presence. Too much to expect of a kid..huh!
I hoped against hope that I get to see her every morning that I travel on this route at 6 in the morning. And guess what, someone fulfilled my wish and there she was on my next bus journey, one week from then.

But that was the day "W(hen) I S(aw) H(er)" for the first time!

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