The entire world is right before your eyes; you just need to introspect.
Thursday, December 28, 2006
At the Mumbai Airport, after going through Customs & Immigration, after claiming the baggage and even getting it screened, when I am just about to exit the airport, the inevitable happens:
Havaldar: Bag mein kya hai? Me: Samaan... Havaldar: Kya samaan? Me: Kapde hai. (I am sure he knew that wasn't true. I had 2 bags + 1 hand bag) Havaldar: Kahaan se aa raha hai? Me: UK. Havaldar: Bag mein kya samaan hai? Me: Wohi..kapde hai, thodi books hai... Havaldar (interrupts): Zara side pe aake bag kholo. Me : Arre bag kyu kholna hai..itna checking toh hua sab jagah par. A brief pause. Havaldar: Dono bag milake samaan ki value kitni hai? Me: (This is a trick question. You got to remember the upper limit. I didn't so I take a deep breath) Wohi jo 2000 dollars ki limit hai uske neeche hee hai sab.
Havaldar looks away (possibly for more bakras). I sense a victory. And I make a bold step - I make the gesture of asking for my passport (which he held) and start moving towards the Exit. Havaldar: Arre, sirf passport leke jaao, woh customs receipt nahin.
I always have weird airport experiences. Even last time, a related incident happened at Mumbai airport. Why does it always happen with me? Its as if I carry a poster on top of my head - "Catch me!" :-)
... to say 'Merry Christmas' and 'Happy New Year' to all of my readers. Time flies real fast. I distinctly remember the millenium year 2000's new year's eve. There were immense celebrations just about everywhere in the world. There were even people flocking to islands in the Pacific ocean to see the first ray of light. It was a historic moment as most of the world's population had not seen dawn of the previous century and certainly not the millenium. However at the same time, there were worries that when the clock will click 12, computer systems world over might crash (due to that Y2K bug) and might lead to flight cancellations, power grid shutdowns, banking problems and so on. Nothing happened. On millenium's eve, I was at a resort not far from Mumbai, alongwith friends. There was a huge open-ground dance party and I remember the countdown to the millenium being displayed on a big timer as well as announced on stage by the band. It culminated with some gorgeous fireworks in the night sky that lasted for atleast half an hour. I dont exactly recollect 2001's or 2002's new year, but I was probably at home studying for engineering exams, which unfortunately always occured during some cricket series or events like new years. Or maybe I was at a building get-together. Not sure. 2003 was at Baltimore city, 2004 back in India, 2005 in Atlantic city, 2006 at a friends place in Baltimore again. And now its 2007 and indeed, time flies real fast. I will pass on some wise words that I always keep reminding myself, especially at times like these -
"Don't hesitate to act and delay what you really want to do, even though you may not see the complete picture yet. Just follow your heart as it somehow already knows what you want to do. Its not comfort and luxury, but things that you are passionate about that will make your life a satisfying one."
Anyways, I am out of here. I will be in London and Mumbai in the coming days. In case anyone wants to meet up, do drop me an email.
And in case all my ramblings above took your clock back in time and you are at loss for the current time, then you can always ask this Italian guy :-) (Link: Sakshi)
I love to see the queries that people use to google out their dilemnas (and land on my blog). Some of these queries are downright hilarious. I made a note of few of them over the past 3-4 days. Take a look:
By now, you must have heard how Sreesanth broke into a dance after he hit a massive six off Andre Nel. If you haven't, well what happened was South Africa's Andre Nel was (as usual) sledging the batsman (Sreesanth on this occasion). Now Sreesanth, not allowing himself to be overshadowed, came down the track on the next ball and hit a six. While completing the run, he began his cosmic dance, gyrating his hips like a 60's Bollywood actor, much to the annoyment of Andre. Its really funny. Watch it.
< Cthon98 > hey, if you type in your pw, it will show as stars < Cthon98 > ********* see! < AzureDiamond > hunter2 < AzureDiamond > doesnt look like stars to me < Cthon98> < AzureDiamond > ******* < Cthon98> thats what I see < AzureDiamond > oh, really? < Cthon98 > Absolutely < AzureDiamond > you can go hunter2 my hunter2-ing hunter2 < AzureDiamond > haha, does that look funny to you? < Cthon98 > lol, yes. See, when YOU type hunter2, it shows to us as ******* < AzureDiamond > thats neat, I didnt know IRC did that < Cthon98 > yep, no matter how many times you type hunter2, it will show to us as ******* < AzureDiamond > awesome! < AzureDiamond > wait, how do you know my pw? < Cthon98 > er, I just copy pasted YOUR ******'s but it appears to YOU as hunter2 cause its your pw < AzureDiamond > oh, ok.
* Get the bag repaired for return trip. * Repair the watch. Probably new batteries. * Buy clothes, chappals, belt. * Buy sweets. * Get married.
Hahaha...don't get shocked. Everything is true except that last one. But seriously, I am tired of people asking me the same question again and again. For most, a trip to India (at this age) = Marriage!! The common statements heard are "Kab hai shaadi?" or "Kaun hai bhabhi?" or "Single ka double?". Hehehe...come on, you people. When I get married, I will invite all of you I promise. Why will I or anyone keep it secret? But its not this time, so let me enjoy my vacation now :-)
Speaking of marriages, many NRI's get married, especially this time of the year, when they make a visit for like 2-3 weeks. According to me, thats crazy! How can one make such an important decision of their life in such haste (talking about arranged marriages here)? Well of course, the rationale given is "We were introduced on my last visit and met a few times. We talked on phone all these months and remained in constant touch through emails and chats (might as well throw in scrapping, sms'ing, video-chatting etc). So we know each other well". What is this, some kind of "long-distance" courtship? Technology is really advanced, yes; but marriage is not placing an online order.
What do you think? Is it okay to reach a judgement/decision after you spend enough time online knowing one another, but just a few face-to-face hook-ups? Would you do that yourself, if you are constrained (ex. geographically separate)? Do you think technology (match.com, shaadi.com etc.) has replaced the old school of thought - meeting someone in a bar or a park and hitting it off from there?
Listen to this 1969 song from the beautiful Joan Baez:
We shall overcome, We shall overcome, We shall overcome some day, O o, deep in my heart, I know that I do believe, We shall overcome some day.
I can listen to this song over and over, without ever getting bored. This song became popular in civil right struggles in United States and thereafter, it has been adapted in various countries, including India in languages as diverse as Bengali, Hindi and Malayalam. In Hindi, it went "Hum Honge Kaamyab.." and is one of my favorites.
Don't know what got into me tonite, something like a blast-from-the-past, but I suddenly remembered today all those days when I played games with friends in the building. Those summer days, when the day began at 10 or so with friends shouting out your name and calling you downstairs to play, a quick lunch at noon followed by the 1-2 doordarshan cartoon show, playing cards or watching a movie in the afternoon, then downstairs again in the evening and night. Evenings used to be total fun. Somedays we used to play stop-palti, sometimes dabbaispice, sometimes sakdi. It was such an amazing time. Allow me to recollect some of these games and how they were played:
Stop-Palti: Ooh, this used to be probably the most popular play for kids. Actually, I remember playing it once or twice even when I was in 9th-10th. Its simple. First, everyone who wants to play gets together and someone will say "ayy pintoo, tu number gira". Basically what that means is, Pintoo will catch hold of someone else and ask him to guess the number being displayed at his back. Whoever gets assigned the last number loses and he or she has to start the game of Stop-Palty. The idea is that this person has to find every other person wherever they may be hiding. And whoever gets caught first, has to repeat the game. So lets say Pintoo starts the game. He stands facing to a wall, closes his eyes and counts till 100. By that time, everyone runs away and hides in the bushes or behind the tank or some secret place in the building that Pintoo is not supposed to find. However there is a rule - noone can go outside the building or hide in someone's house. After counting till 100 (which noone usually counted :-), Pintoo will start finding his friends. He has to shout out loudly the words "Montu stop", "Tina stop", "Bala stop" whenever he spots these people. These people are then said to be "out". Lets stay Bala is hiding behind the bushes. But Pintoo thinks its Tina so he shouts "Tina Stop". Bala will then emerge laughing from the bushes because Pintoo made a mistake and he has to start the game from scratch. Pintoo also has to be cautious that noone sneaks behind his back and hits him on the back. If that happens, everyone erupts with joy and start shouting "Palti, Palti". Pintoo will then have to begin again. The game terminates when Pintoo has caught everyone and whoever got "out" first has to repeat. Remember, "stop-palti" is a nightmare if you play after dark as it becomes easy to make a mistake in identification. People sometimes rush at you in gangs. If that happens, back off and start running in opposite direction and at the same time trying to identify the people and shouting "vishal stop" and "piyush stop" etc.
Dabbaispice: My favorite game. The idea here is to defend a dabba, coconut or some such object from being kicked by your friends. A circle is drawn in the sand and the coconut is placed within it. Everyone hides except Pintoo. Pintoo has to then go search for his hiding friends while at the same time prevent someone from coming in from the opposite direction and kicking the nut. Lets say Pintoo spotted Montu hiding behind the wall. Pintoo will now have to run and place his leg over the coconut and shout out loudly "Montu Dabbaispice", before Montu comes charging in. But if Montu or someone else reaches the circle first and kicks the coconut out, then everyone starts celebrating and rejoicing with the words "Dabba Gul, Dabba Gul" echoing loudly in the building.
Sakdi: As the name suggests, it means one has to form long human chains. Lets say Pintoo again is the person to start the game. He catches his right ear with his left hand and puts his right hand through the gap between his left hand and his face. Did you try doing that? Its tough. In this Ganpati-like position, he has to run and catch his friends. The game is played in a limited area so that its easy to catch someone. Lets say Pintoo catches Megha. Then Pintoo can let go off the Ganpati-like posture and can hold Megha's hands. forming a small chain. They now run and try to catch others and the chain expands till everyone is "out". Then Megha repeats the game. There is a variant to this game called "Double Sakdi" but I forget how to play that.
Jatapatti: Again as the name suggests, Jatapati means Jatpat (quick). Pintoo has to touch someone and say "out", but the other person can quickly touch him back and pass the turn back. But if Pintoo is sharp, he will sneak away quick enough for the other person. Then that person has to catch someone else. Jatapati just goes on tilll everyone is tired or calls for a change.
Oh by the way, in case anyone is wondering, Pintoo is not what I was called as a kid :-) Among other games, I remember playing something called "Red letter day" where we jump a step towards the person shouting letters of a word. Whoever reaches close enough to that person, hits him or her on the hand and then everyone runs in the opposite direction. Something like that. Then of course, there was "goti"(marbles) which I used to win a lot, but with the late entry of fresh blood, especially guys from nearby buildings, I started to lose. So I stopped playing. Then there was "kabaddi" we played at late night after dinner. It was an all-guys game obviously, unlike all other. One more all-guys game was "Abba-doobi" where the person with the ball has to hit others as hard as he could. The words "kheech ke maar" and "taan ke baja" were immortalized probably by this game. Afternoons in the summer vacation was mostly card games - "Mendicot", "Napolean", "Judgement", "Do-Teen-Paach" etc. Does anyone even remember how to play them now? :-) Ok I admit I even played the game mostly popular amongst girls - a small tile or stone piece is thrown into a box of squares drawn in the sand and one has to sprint on one leg or something. Aah lets see, among other games, I remember playing langdi and I was considered one fast chap. Then there was the dog-n-the-bone game. But both these were mostly played in school. However once cricket took over, all these games just vanished. Most of the time was then spent in cricket, football, badminton, cycling etc.
There were so many more silly games that I loved to play and I can't even recollect all of them. Do you remember some game from your childhood that you want to share?
Note to Regular Readers of the blog: You can consider this post as a stray-away from the usual topics you see here. Hota hai kabhi kabhi :-)
Consider these two statements: a) The Indian team has been performing terribly in South Africa because of the bouncy pitches that most Indian cricketers are not used to. b) Sourav Ganguly has been recalled to the Indian side to add to the batting depth.
Does anyone see the irony? A man who is famous for being unable to play the rising delivery, A man whose weaknesses are known far and wide, A man who has hardly played any domestic cricket all these months, A man who has had issues with the current team coach. This man will help India empty the cup of woes. Isn't that crazy? For all you fans of Sourav, I agree that he is experienced and known for his aggression, he is probably the best captain we have had so far, he has supported and motivated several key players like Sehwag, Bhajji etc., but what exactly does he bring to the table that helps to solve the team's current problems? This decision by selectors to include him seems to be an emotional one, rather than based on merit. People are now looking up to Ganguly as some kind of saviour (due to his experience) who will pull us out of the misery. But can he? We already have experienced players like Sachin, Sehwag, Dravid etc. who haven't really clicked. Doesn't anyone see that Ganguly's presence will one, create an unfriendly atmosphere in the camp due to his past issues with Greg Chapell; two, he will be under immense pressure to perform now that all eyes are looking upon him as a saviour; three, he still has to face Pollock & gang with their short deliveries and I doubt he has done anything all this while to get rid of his handicap. Lets see! I would be personally very happy to see Sourav get back his groove, but looking at the state of affairs, I have my reservations.
Does anyone else too think that Indian courts have suddenly woken up and are dishing out verdicts day after day? I mean, maybe this is a normal thing in other countries, but in India, where the judiciary has a reputation of having a backlog of millions of cases, looking at the recent verdicts every day is a much-welcome sign. Just today, Navjot Singh Sidhu was convicted of homicide which we all knew since the time he was playing. And few days ago, Coal minister Shibu Soren was convicted for murdering his assistant and Sanjay Dutt was convicted for carrying & destroying arms during the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts. And recently, Santosh Singh was sentenced to death for raping and murdering Priyadarshini Matoo while Mohammed Afzal was sentenced to death for the 2001 Parliament attack. So its not just that celebrities are being brought to justice; even other cases involving citizens must be getting verdicts - of course not all attract media attention. If thats the case, its wonderful and I hope the courts maintain this fast track. Agreed that many of the cases are decades old and culprits have practically enjoyed in the meantime, but in the end justice served is served. And each of the above culprit deserved what they got. Celebrity cases where the celebrity in question gets punished, reaffirms the trust of the public in the system as the message sent across the table is that 'No one is above the law'.
There are some more people whom I would love to see behind the bars. Notable ones being Salman Khan and L.K. Advani. The former allegedly killed someone sleeping on the footpath in a state of drunk driving, and the latter has been accused of being the mastermind behind the Ayodhya riots. Is there anyone you would like to see in jail too ?
i love the video..lol..so whats the plan for new years??
Ask me, naa
We need more people like him...
The best is the subtitles which say 'Now rapidfire telugu, subtitler is confused' .. haha !
My To-Do list
To Your Last Para: Probably. Why Not? What's Wrong? ------------------------------ On a different note, have a wonderful trip home. Give my regards to Bombay :-) And, ya, Single ya Double???! ;-)
yep - I agree with Jimit.. I think, with changing times, we need to 'update' our thinking .. how many face-to-face visits you think are good enough ? There can never be a consensus on that since its very difficult to know a person anyway even after spending whole lifetime .. According to me, marriage asks for adjustments and compromises alongwith the initial attraction/ love .. so once you are sure that the two of you have an attraction and comfort and at least a few things in common or have a few matching notes to sing to - I think its your maturity which should take you further in any relationship ...
oh yes and by the way, have a great India trip - we will probably meet there anyway :)
We shall overcome...
We Shall Overcome" has it roots in African American hymns from the early 20th century, and was first used as a protest song in 1945, when striking tobacco workers in Charleston, S.C., sang it on their picket line. http://www.loc.gov/teachers/lyrical/songs/overcome.html
Check out Celebrating MLK Day 2007
A Blast from the Past
Pretty Neat. I have a few friends and we quite often recollect those days. You know what - There was term in Bombay buildings lingo (which I don't remember) associated with the phenomenon of 'stopping' person X instead of person 'Y' ... Gosh! Btw - Some other games that I can think of are: Thappa/Thappo/Hide n Seek BOMBAY Bombay Samachar Stop Colour Colour Nadi Parvat Lock & Key / Medicine Poison Corner Corner (We played this even while we were in final year engineering :)) Crocodile Crocodile (Can I cross your golden river? :)) Guess I'll stop right here ....
Wow Jimit..Those were indeed some of the most popular games...'Nadi parvat' -> I loved that. Played Thappo too. And then "Colour colour, which colour? Red" and then everyone started running. Cant recollect why. I remember faintly Lock&Key, but dont think have played other games. Or maybe they were called differently in other buildings. What was corner corner? Oh and the 'stopping' person X instead of person 'Y' -> was it called "aatli baatli gutli" or "aalti paalty gulti" ? I remember kids saying that in some game :-)
Thanks Man ---- Aatli Baatli Futli is what we used to say .... Gosh!! This question was running like a darn background process just not willing to die!! :-) Corner Corner: There are X number of selected posts (preferably pillars) or corners selected amongst X+1 people. So, only X people can get a corner and the one person remaining stands in between (his den). These X people exchange their posts/corners randomly with each other while the denner tries to steal or conquer any corner. Not sure if this was a speciality in our bldg or common everywhere (Probably the latter since I remember my engineering friends knew about it - Perhaps the name would be different everywhere). And there were dozens of variations of cricket. And then so many games in goti. (Box Cricket, Frech Cricket, Double Wicket, Underarm, Overarm, Double Innings, Katte Run and what not) Did you play gota? (Sounds cheesy!! ;)) The dealing generally used to be for "fota" - Some Picture cards from hindi flicks.
What a Joke!
Sachin has been playing well enough. Don't compare him with Sehwag or Dravid this season. Please see the scores
Why should anyone want to jugde dada? Look at the freaking morons in the team, the biggest one is SACHIn...An ass of a player he only plays once in 10 innings and gets through just coz he has the name..WTF do the selectors mean that ganguly is not good enough and this moron is? Sehwag another idiot who only plays once in 20 innings...If the 2 biggest losers of indian cricket are in the team at the moment la sehawag and sachin i c no reason why dada cannot play on even if he has no record!!! And who cares the indian team is anyways too over rated, its not like they are a class act like the aussies or the proteas...So just leave it at that! If one moron can be in a team many others can too dsnt matter if they hold that image or not!
Doctor Bruno: No. Sachin is not playing well enough. No one is really talking about him because of well-known reasons, but I can sense that patience is running out. Besides, I have a hunch Sachin will announce his retirement after 2007 world cup. If not, in all probability, it is his last one. We all love him and want him to be in the team which gets the world cup, but there is not much that one man can do on his own.
Karishma: Relax. Yes, Sachin and sehwag have not been playing to their potentials, but what abt Dada? He has hardly even played all these months. I wont call any of them loser though.
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Courts playing Twenty20?
Mitesh: You seem to be a believer. I too am a believer at times but at most times I am plain cynical about the conditions back home. There are new records being set in Indian courts. Not sure how to read into all this. But, guess something's better than nothing. You might be interested in reading the following: http://www.telegraphindia.com/1061020/asp/frontpage/story_6895148.asp
About seeing people in jail - That's interesting!! On a different tangent, does it really help solve the problem?!?!
another person i would like 2 c jailed would be mannu sharma
i m thinking abt the same topic that u have written on during the last week or so.
but i do wonder, are other not-so-important and not-in-limelight cases also getting as much attention as these above mentioned cases r getting.
and u could have also included the judiciary`s strongness and above-the-government stand, as the supreme court of india defied protestors(including delhi and central governments) to continue the sealing processes indelhi against commercial properties in residential areas.
other important cases jessica lall nitish katara
Jimit: Yes I still trust our High Courts and Supreme Courts. I still believe that they are distant from the omnipresent corruption. And I believe that the day anyone loses even this trust, then that person will no longer have faith in the 'entire' system because as such, the administrative branch (politicians) are never dependable and are a hated lot. But thats not just in India, its practically the same everywhere. So yes, I still have faith in judiciary and I think a strong law&order system would guard the constitution and keep the corrupt officials in check. And yes, I do believe that we need capital punishment and other stronger means to control crime, as it instills fear in the minds of would-be perpetuators. We are still a developing country and have a long way to go, unlike other developed countries which have abolished capital punishment. Are you trying to say that its of no use sending people to jail as its not going to solve the problem, so lets just live with them?
* Aditya: Yes Manu Sharma - Jessica Lal case is another one thats not yet settled, what with Ram Jethmalani trying to sensationalize it and throw it off-balance. Killers of Nitish Katara too are at large yet and so are Manjunath's I believe. Before the sealing drive issue, the Supreme Court also intervened in the SC/ST reservations. I am sure you are aware of that. Do send me link when you write about this. Would like to check it out.
Mitesh: I perhaps did not put forth my point correctly. What I really am a skeptic about is how effective a deterrent these punishment practices are? Going by the criminal stats over the past years, it is of little use. But again, this is an endless debate with no black-white answers. While offenders cannot be given a free hand to go around freely, I do believe that our primary focus should be on things like: Fighting Corruption Revving up the Constitution and IPC Imbibing the correct social ethical values (Education System??)
Again, there are no guaranteed results in any approach.