Tuesday, December 15, 2009


The bus rocked to a halt on the dusty road. A handsome man in his early thirties appeared from within wearing a proud smile on his face and a uniform on his chest. As the dust settled down and the smell of wet mud greeted him the story of his life played in his head. Born into a peasant family as the first of five children, he lived a life filled with pain and strife. His family lived in abject poverty. He had even seen abba attempting suicide at one point when the family was under a pile of debt.

Being the eldest son, it was incumbent upon him to rescue the family in its hour of crisis. His idea of a steady income was a government job in the army. For a poorly educated 6 footer with broad shoulders and the heart of a lion, joining the army as a sipaahi didn’t take much. A couple of physical exams and he was in.

With the little money they received every month and privileges the family subsisted. Initially, he visited them once in a year. It warmed his heart to see his family in a better place than before, because of him. He was a proud son, both of his house and the country. But one question he couldn’t answer for himself was whether, being a sipaahi in the army was a service to Hindustan or a profession. If it were a profession why wasn’t he looking out for something which paid better? If it were a service to the country why was his family’s welfare involved?

Years drifted by and he found himself married with children. The days were long and he literally counted down days left to meet his children. The idea of ‘service’ seemed more like a delusion which the exuberance of youth had cast over his mind. He wanted to get back home to his family. He’d much rather do what his father did for a living than live his life. But the government had other plans for him. He was commissioned to fight the war. There was death all around him. His buddies had been killed. They were his brothers in all the years that had gone by. He felt a rush of blood in his veins. The will to serve his nation drove him day and night. He fought bravely among men who were ready to face death head on. He lived to see the enemy slain. But all did not end well.

Euphoria over the victory soon died down and the shine of the badges on his sleeve began to fade. He decided that life needs a change for the better. Leaving a part of himself behind, he packed his bags and bid adieu to the institution which parented him through his youth.

A shrill noise brought him back to his senses. It was the bus driver honking. He dragged his bags down the steps and pointed to his seat. The bus conductor reached under the seat and took out a pair of crutches. The cripple balanced himself on the staff and set out towards his village. A young boy stuck his head out of the bus speeding past him and waved at him crying ‘Hero!

This post is inspired by an incident a friend narrated.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Ava Illa Illa Neruppu Thaane Nenjila


Life as a grown-up sucks big time! That too when you are working and living alone there is a certain routine which you get sucked into that is the exact opposite of fun. My life is a boring routine. I have only one thing to tell my maa when she calls me in the evening and asks me about work. 'Work is work'. Both of us are so tired of that answer that she wants me to quit and get the hell out of this shit-hole. ( Pardon the profanity)

Since I cook my dinner and painfully wash vessels afterwards i find it impossible to get out of bed in the morning.The worst part is that if i miss the company bus in the morning i will have to take two autorickshaws to reach my office. It is particularly difficult during winters because the weather will send a chill down your body which is difficult for a pure-bred Madrasi (so to speak) like me to me to handle.

The Story

A couple of days back i woke up as usual. By 'as usual' i mean that i had enough time to brush, get dressed and leave the house so that i can board my bus. (Notice the distinct absence of the word 'bathe') As fate would have it the entire ordeal of having to get out of bed was yet again trivialized by us missing the bus. And by 'us' i mean myself and my roommate.Every time we miss the bus i get pissed off with him. To be honest the poor guy does no harm. But i get so annoyed with him that I'll blame him for all my woes.I wonder why.I also wonder if he'll ever read this. I hope he doesn't.

Just as i was imagining sitting next to a short man covering himself with a dirty blanket and smoking beedi in the auto, magic happened.

At a certain distance along the road a woman dressed in traditional attire appeared out of the fog cover. It was as if the universe was telling me that she was the one. She was the goddess who could dispel the cloud of cynicism and anger over all my thoughts.Darkness was making way for light.

She was so fair that you could miss her feet in the fog and imagine her to be an angel floating. I noticed she was wearing a scarf and all one could see were her eyes.Her hair was tucked into the scarf.All except a few strands which caressed her cheek.Her geometry would make the palms of sculptors itch for their tools.I can't paint. I wished i could at that moment.

As she approached me i got this strange feeling in my abdomen,which i thought had died forever.I felt a strange warmth which soothed my body in the morning cold.She calmly stood next to me and i was about to be pushed over the edge. I was one glance away from getting down on one knee and telling her that the sight of her that morning was by far the brightest moment in the past few months. I wanted to hug her in the most decent manner possible. It was the moment that i fell in love with, not her.

But before i could even close my mouth which was wide open, a man in a leather jacket on a Pulsar stopped next to me. She hopped on, hugged him and they zipped past me.

Ava enna thedi vantha anjala

Ava illa ippo neruppu thaane nenjula..

Monday, November 23, 2009

One man's gain...

I am a ruthless capitalist. I believe in aggressive business strategies. Capitalism is along the lines of Darwin's 'Survival of the fittest' . If someone has to over-power, exploit or even eliminate in order to profit in a business venture one should do so without any qualms. An environment which harbors incompetence and laziness such as communism will destroy man's urge grow intellectually. The urge to compete which makes us human (and animal at times) is what drives our lives. Life should be a challenge willingly accepted. Clearly i have always been against egalitarianism. And then i took up a job.

Today (even as i am writing this post in my cabin at work) a strike has been declared in my company. There are angry workers downstairs who are protesting for an increase in wages. An average worker earns Rs 4000 per month with a minuscule increase per year. The manufacturing sector is notorious for drastically underpaying workers. It is common place to constitute a majority of the workforce with contracted labors and have only a few permanent employees. The funda being that permanent employees are entitled to pay hikes and other perks whereas contract laborers are eligible only for flat payments. .From the company's perspective that is a lot of money in the bank.

In the last few months of living alone and fending for myself i have realized how difficult it is for a man with an average salary to survive. The cost of living is sky-rocketing and basic requirements for living are difficult to fulfill. It is impossible for a family to survive with only one earning member and a sum of at least Rs 20k is required per month. I have friends who struggle to make ends meet with their salary and it is quite saddening to see them depressed all the time.They fuel a machine which feeds on them and there is no way out.

So here i am, torn between what i have always believed in and what i am seeing first hand. I am neither the inflicter nor the affected. Will things always remain that way? Should one man's gain really be another man's loss?

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Bittersweet Home

It has been a month since I left Chennai (the greatest city on Earth) for a job in Gurgaon (read Gud-gawn) and the city has already put me through a whirlwind of emotions. Being a spoilt Chennai vaasi the distinct flavor of the North was appalling at first. The common man’s bladder sets off at the sight of a wall. The lack of color is made up for by the salivary coat of paan and tobacco. I do not deny the existence of such artists in the South but I haven’t seen as many. If you have travelled in a share auto you’d imagine that, logically, the maximum allowed capacity of the vehicle is 8.But I have had the opportunity, misfortune rather, of travelling with 15 other co-passengers! The guy who smokes his beedi no matter who is around, the woman who has three children and is barely in her twenties and the ‘chick’ who sits on your lap are regulars in the auto. Traffic rules have been done away with and the roads have descended into complete anarchy. Road accidents and the fights ensuing them are a common sight. Pollution levels are so high that a stroll on the street will result in the deposition of a thick black layer of dirt on your clothing. These glaring imperfections irked me for over a week and I was sinking deep into a state of depression.

And one evening when I was hunting for paying guest accommodations (which was, back then, a part of my routine) my entire perspective about moving to this crazy city changed. An old couple, who ran the paying guest accommodation which I wanted to enquire about, coaxed me into having dinner with them without asking if I was going to move in or if I was even interested !All this because, I’m far away from home! I knew for a fact that they were not feigning to lure me into taking up their accommodation, because they are very well to-do. Due to other circumstances we couldn’t move into their place but that meal opened my eyes to the fact that no matter how disparate North India and South India are the undeniable truth is that we are all part of one large country with common traditional values. All the time when I was cribbing about how wonderful Chennai was and how different Gurgaon is from Chennai I had been overlooking the fact that we as people are the same. We have always welcomed our guests with open arms. (We overdo it by extending the hospitality to terrorists and refugees but that is a different story) I realized that people define cities and not its infrastructure. Of course there are a few people here who are unpleasant but practicality suggests that it is better to be grateful for the good and ignore the rest.

So, the city now seems to be a lot cleaner. The share autos are not crowded; the way I see it, they’re running at ‘optimum’ capacity to save fuel for our future generations! And everyday I have pointless conversations with total strangers because I’ve learnt that people here love to talk and are totally uninhibited, which I personally love.

There is always home away from home. We just have to look for it.

Friday, July 3, 2009

And I bid thee adieu my love....

I love her. She is the most amazing thing on Earth. Her peace,calm and quiet will never cease to amaze me. During times of crisis and waves of distress she rests. I can't hug her. Yet somehow i feel her warmth.She is a work of nature, painted with the colors of time. She has moulded herself over the years to suit changing times. Yet there is something about her that is unvarying. She treats her guests with nothing but kindness and love.They end up becoming her own.

She is a body of knowledge.She taught me all that i know.She has given me all that i have. The bond we share is so deep that separation doesn't hurt. For I, shall carry her with me wherever i go. And I know deep inside that she will be waiting for me.

I can smell her scent right now.I can't tell her i am leaving.She won't understand.She can't understand.A love affair of 21 years which will last a lifetime.My city.My Chennai.My love.I bid thee adieu.

Sunday, June 21, 2009


This poem is perhaps the best that i've ever read. The words are so simple,yet they convey a lifetime's worth knowledge.


If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you
But make allowance for their doubting too,
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream–and not make dreams your master,
If you can think–and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ‘em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it all on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings–nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much,
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And–which is more–you’ll be a Man, my son!

–Rudyard Kipling

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


This is an excerpt from a telephonic conversation between two of my close friends which i later came to know .

Romeo: Machan life eh confusing ah irku..

Thala: Yen macha? (as if he cared)

Romeo: Anjala enna wuttu pogitta macha

Thala: yaaru un girl friend ah?

Romeo: aman macha

Thala: aiyaiyo!

Romeo: Enna machan

Thala: unaku thani kooda adikka theiryaathe enna macha panra?

Romeo: ...

Monday, April 20, 2009

Article 49-0 and Why you shouldn't consider it

In the past three days i have received close to ten e-mails about the Article 49-0 of the Indian constitution. According to the article a person can go to a polling booth and 'vote for nobody'!
A person can get his finger marked and convey to the presiding election officer that he/she is not voting for any of the candidates. The significance of the number of '49-0' votes is that if a candidate wins in a ward by, say 100 votes , the polling will be considered valid only if this number is greater than the number of '49-0' votes. In the event of the number of '49-0' votes exceeding the winning margin there shall be a re-poll.

This is definitely a better option when compared to not voting at all. Instead of some random party worker impersonating you and casting your vote, it is better that you openly declare your disinterest in all the candidates.However there is a flip side to it.

In a multi-party democracy where a hung parliament is very likely , especially this time around, the idea of a '49-0' vote should not be encouraged. A responsible voter should ,in my opinion, keep in mind that an unstable government is a huge threat to the country.Elections are an expensive affair and a lot of money goes into it. An indecisive electorate will greatly hamper economic progress and result in a slow-down.

Ideally one should vote for the most able candidate.If all the candidates in a constituency are inefficient in the voter's opinion it is better to vote for the party/alliance which can form a stable government at the center rather than refraining from voting or fueling uncertainty.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Un Question de perspective

Watching the trees pass by,feeling the scorching sun and inhaling the smoke spewed by buses along the OMR a strange feeling engulfed me.My journeys back home from SSN will soon end.Nostalgia is a word that i am not particularly fond of.It takes away the beauty of the present and lets it slip-by. But there is a part of me that reminisces about those days of innocence, when i stepped into college without a clue about what was in store for me or what was beyond it.My first two years in college lacked direction and purpose. The college provided me with endless opportunities to have fun and i took all of them.Those were times when the earth spun faster and i was stuck in a moment. I was in awe with everything that surrounded me. I found my peers fascinating. There was more to learn from them than my professors. I was born again.

But somewhere down the line i realized that there is life beyond college and it was time to wake up from the deep sleep that my college had put me into.A vision of what i ought to be doing few years down the line was at the heart of everything i did. A sense of responsibility slowly crept into my system.I grew.

But due to a very questionable effort towards reaching what i set out for, I crashed and burnt.I died.My vision remains a hazy dream. And just like how an infant cries at separation from the warmth of its mother the thought of leaving college scared me a little bit.The heart cherished the familiarity while the mind questioned it. I was not in the place where i thought i 'd be and i didn't have the slightest clue as to where i would be in a few months from now.A part of me questioned my judgment and perhaps the vision itself.

The secret behind success is to see opportunity in times of adversity. My predicament unnerved me for a while before i realised that it was after all a question of perspective. I can either choose to be the infant or the man who sees possibility and is excited by it. The world is filled with opportunities and in every opportunity there are several possibilities.All of which is waiting to be explored!

From inglorious semester results to unlimited classroom fun and wonderful people,life in college had everything.I have learnt more about myself than engineering itself . The best is yet to come and life in SSN has only made me wiser by experience.
It is definitely the end of a chapter.But it has opened up an entirely new one.

Born again.Waiting to grow up.