Monday, December 7, 2015

Parjanya, O Parjanya!

Parjanya 

Parjanya or Indra refers to thunder God.

1 Dec 2015 - Tuesday
Chennai woke up to heavy rains and thunderstorms, we residents, watching out of our windows and praying “Oh no! Not again” or perhaps hoping “this time it wouldn’t be that bad”.

Opened the door to see the familiar Blue milk packet lying outside, hinting that the roads were commutable so far. Perhaps, it would be just another rainy day to scare and would subside in time. Perhaps it would be just another of those days that could be managed by working from home. Hurriedly, I logged onto my office machine to clear out the backlogs, just in case, there is a power outage. Two hours passed, the rains did show some signs of getting abated. The power didn’t go away yet. Slightly relaxed, I thought, looks like the Mets were right, it would be just moderate to heavy rains.  Perhaps I should now relax.  Sent some emails and shut down the machine and went off to prepare my breakfast (or may be brunch) now.
Soon, the rains picked up and I looked down to see my car getting drenched in the downpour. Cursed myself, I should have parked it in a better place, probably, with a shade. Promised myself that as soon as rains would halt, I would do the same. Anyways, increasing rains started worrying me now. Now I must do a marathon and finish all the pending work. Went to the kitchen and checked out the groceries. Probably sufficient to last for 2-3 days. Slightly relaxed, booted my laptop and continued working, occasionally, catching glimpses of the sky and surfing about weather forecast almost every hour.
It became almost night and rains did pause. Seizing the opportunity, rushed downstairs and parked my vehicle in a shaded parking. Came back and prepared dinner and debated on whether to continue working or just sleep. Feeling more optimistic, finished dinner and dozed off.

2 Dec 2015 – Wednesday
Very heavy rains and strong winds through the window woke me up early and made me immediately sit up straight. All the sleep vanished. It was very windy and I could see the clouds getting darker. The visibility was reduced drastically. Renewed fresh concerns in me and made me promptly open my laptop to finish my work in fast track mode. Now and then a few power cuts started making me more jittery. By noon, I was completely done with my work and sent out my deliverables through email.  Office communication just declared holiday for today. Made me feel relaxed as well as anxious. And then 10 mins after that, power went away. Close shave!

Now there was nothing much to do but just look out and witness nature lash its fury upon us and break its 100 year record. Is it a proud moment to witness ? May be I can later on say “ I was right in the middle of those historic rains”. May be it is not so romantic after all, especially, if you are the one stuck in it. Last day, it had rained more than the entire usual Dec month. Urgently, made some phone calls back home and apprised them of the current situation assuring them that I am in a better place in Chennai and they need not worry, and informed them of a possible telecommunication network break down.

I started racking my brains hard for anything that can be done, should the rains become worse. Looked at my mobile phone and was happy to see the cell battery as full, however, there was no network signal.  Made me realize the gravity of the actual situation. So this is it. It’s happening now. The worst rains in Chennai have landed now. Power is down, network is down. It is getting dark. What more now?


3 Dec 2015 - Thursday
Power came back admist the heavy rains. Well, it was not the EB power but the DG backup arranged by the maintenance team. Checked the internet for the various photos that started reeling in from different localities. Although it was easy to fantasize about those pics yesterday, but deep in  heart, never really believed or wanted it to happen. Waist deep water, Cars half submerged. Offices closed. Hospitals flooded. Roads blocked. No milk this time, outside the door. No newspaper as Hindu said they wouldn’t print it that day. AAI announced that Chennai airport is closed and would resume on 6th Dec only.
Again checked out the ration in the house and they suddenly looked much lesser than the day before. Consoled myself that someone would do something and it wouldn’t be that bad. After that, I happen to be lucky enough to be staying in a relatively, privileged society and if they can provide DG backup, they would definitely help to handle any worse situation.
With nothing else to do, turned back to internet and again got overwhelmed with the various tweets that brought out the good Samaritans in the city. Tweets regarding offering shelter and food to strangers, sharing important contacts, preparing crowd sourced maps of rain affected areas made me wonder if social media would actually be effective.
There were news of this being called national disaster and NDRF (National Disaster Response Force) teams being called. Navy and military columns being sent to rescue people. Food packets being dropped to needy.  Boats were being pressed into action. Thank God, Chennai city had good number of fishermen which ensured ready availability of boats.  
Yes, social media was also flooded with information on all of these and it was really working.
It soon caught the attention of the entire world and coincidentally, at the Paris climate summit happening at the same time, this was mentioned. Some blamed the civic infrastructure, while others blamed the lack of readiness. Some experts even went to the extent of suggesting this as an outcome of climate change, perhaps global warming. But, we, common man were more worried about the operations on the ground. Water rising to more than 6ft and entering houses had to be dealt with. Hundreds of people stranded at airport, railways stations and bus stops.
In my heart, I thanked myself of staying in a better locality where water logging was not there and I had power in my flat and was still connected to the world. But at the same time, also felt greatly sympathetic to those who didn’t share the same luxury and whose top priority was pure survival. Perhaps the army and NGOs would rescue them in time. They would be given food packets. Patients airlifted to other hospitals, students moved out by helicopters via naval base airport “Arrakonam” and alternate airport in Tambaram depicted that the situation was under control. News of around 70,000 people vacated in a day allayed my fears and heightened my sense of the respect for the volunteers. Being satisfied with the rescue measures, I went to bed.

4 Dec 2015 – Friday
Rains slowed and halted in afternoon. Various communications from different bodies truly showed the human spirit in those corporate companies.  Banks stated that they wouldn’t charge penalty if EMI was delayed, BSNL made landline calls free for a week, other telecom operators gave free talk time and data packs, MTC buses offering free rides for 4 days. Malls offering space to needy for shelter. IT companies ensured the critical staff and their families were moved to safer sites wherein they could help companies critical operations. I went out and refilled groceries partially. The fear of exhausting cash stopped me from stocking more groceries as ATMS were down. There were intermittent rains, sometimes heavy and sometimes moderate, which hinted that they would take their time and would not spare Chennai sooner and we better get used to it. The apartment pasted a notice that diesel was running out and now the backup would be restricted to 2 hours per day. Well, having seen the worst rainfall, power outages now hardly seemed to be the issue. What mattered now was planning for the worst. What if the rains did not abate ? How would be vegetables, milk and groceries be available to the residents. Will the government have enough food packets for us all. How would help reach the “island” city ? What if an epidemic breaks ? What if crime increases like it happened during hurricane Katrina in US ? Such wild thoughts and concerns continuously swept through the mind and we were just wanting to rains to stop briefly so that those wavering thoughts could also be silenced.

5 Dec 2015 – Saturday
Looks like rains stopped and airport started partial operations. But we couldn’t let our guard down. I rushed outside to the road with umbrella tucked in searching for ATMs. They were dead and I recounted the cash. During ordinary days, it would be sufficient for atleast a week, but in such crisis and panic situation, it just didn’t look enough. Still bought some vegetables and turned back. Water logging started receding and for the first time in as many days, saw clear skies and a very brief period of sunlight and optimism. Shops had opened hoping to make up for the last business. Saw some MTC buses and brought delight to our faces. But in a moment, the clouds turned grey and greyer and heavy rains started pouring in.
Cheated, I felt cheated by Parjanya. What more you want, Parjanya ? Did you not see our resilience and our patience and determination? Do you still want us to prove that again ? Ok, we will manage. It is not the first time. We will survive.

6 Dec 2015 – Sunday
Skies were dry except for few light rains. The fear was gone, the airport was more or less functional. I could see people packing luggages and leaving for Bangalore, Coimbatore, Kochi, Madurai and Delhi. One of the few ATMS had started working and after being in queue for 45 minutes, I was able to withdraw some cash. That soothed my nerves and I walked calmly back to my house.
Telecom signals came back, Power got restored now, Lifts started operating in apartment suggesting signs of coming back to normalcy.
Now, it is time to plan for office work. Office communications displayed the BCP plans for the week and advised ways to stay safe and healthy. It was good to see BCP actually in play and appreciated the hard work put in by the DR teams.

Lastly before going to bed checked the weather forecast. Met predicts more rains in the coming days but who cares about it anyways now!!!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Blank !!



A new chapter comes up!

A new ray of light dawns and illuminates the darkened path. A path that I had deliberately stayed away from, dreading the unknowns and assuming that time would guide me when it comes. Well, it has eventually come. Had always tried to picturize the moment and mentally prepared myself to confront it. You thought you would handle it. But life has its way of keeping you on toes every second. Every preparation that you had done goes for a toss! You realize perhaps this is the way of destiny testing you and you have to fight it and show who is the master. Even though you try hard to change its course thinking that you have all the means and resources at your disposal, but much to your surprise, life becomes the ultimate winner. Mocking you from behind, you feel the supernatural power that pulls you tightly to itself and making you powerless. You know you have the power to run but still feel numb and unable to move your limbs.
Where is your strength, man!! You thought you are different; you thought you would show to the world that you wouldn’t blindly adopt the path laid out for you. And now since you see the truth, you try to reason out as to why this is not as per the “standards”. What went different? You fail to find logic for it. You try to analyze the root cause and even that doesn’t help. You stop thinking. You give up. You resign and look blankly at the sky. Silence everywhere!!
And then you get it! EUREKA! The reason was always there. It is because it is not just you now and hence it is not in your hands. Somebody else is now a part of it. And you see that is not a question of becoming powerful or powerless. It is a matter of undertaking a different journey. A journey which can be experienced only when it comes and not before.
And then your power returns. You sense yourself regaining control over yourself, over everyone, over life. But Caution!! Did you say life? No, Life will go on. Have you forgotten “Zindagi Migzara”? It’s a matter of perspective not imagination. It’s a matter of accepting things and living it.
And hence stop planning. Stop racing. Let it come to you. For now, just go BLANK!



Sunday, May 27, 2012

IPL 5 Excitement Lost



The very fact that I tool serious notice of IPL only on its last game proves that IPL does not hold any more excitement for me, atleast for now. I have ignored this season’s matches to such an extent that I am not even fully aware of the finalists. Anyways, the ritual of writing a new post during every IPL season lures me to attempt yet another post.
This IPL has hardly anything new to offer except for the absence of Shane Warne. Very similar to IPL4, it now seems like a redundant offshoot of cricket that might become dysfunctional any moment.  There were reports of lowest TRP ratings this season initially, but we still have to wait for the full series to be over to make any kind of statement.
The only buzz that happened was about the match fixing blame games towards the end of the series. Perhaps these rumours were deliberately created to bring back the ex-IPL fans to make more noise and pull more disinterested crowd to the stadiums and screens. But this has come too late and will just manage to salvage the TRP for the final match only.
But one thing is certain. Observing the past seasons, one can definitely conclude that IPL without controversies is nothing. And people watch IPL just to stay in touch with the latest IPL gossips.The reason for the dwindling “fans” could also be that Indian audience has found the TV soaps more interesting than cricket and has stayed loyal to them.
It’s time that IPL is revamped with new sustainable features. And these changes must be new changes and not just increasing the teams or increasing the matches. Perhaps a little cleansing of the IPL can help. The Maximum sixes and MRF blimps can’t make one glued forever. Or else it hardly takes one season for people like me to stop watching the series altogether.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Battle won and lost


Here ends a long fought battle. Can we call it a battle? The peculiar thing about this is that I ain’t sure whether this was a battle in the first place and secondly I am not able to figure out who the winner is. Has the battle served its purpose? What was the purpose? Sometimes, it was not even clear who the participants were. Were there more than two sides? Which side was I on? Or was it just me fighting it against myself. Who were my supporters? Were there any traitors? 

The battle was fought without an aim or a strategy.There was no artillery or cavalry. The only sign of a battle having taken place was the damages that could be seen. The debris scattered around were the sole witness of the war. But, still it was difficult to ascertain the extent of damages or to find out which side the damages were more. Since, this wasn’t a normal battle, I kept wondering about the rules of the game. Would normal rules apply here? Or should I twist the rules or as they say “Change the game”.
For the moment,I don’t see any enemies’ flags. I can’t sight any approaching units. No sound of bugle or horns. Not even the typical “Get ready” or “Fire” commands. Have the enemies retreated? Does it mean our victory or rather, my victory? Or are they devising Trojan type strategy and will make a comeback? Should I let my guard down and relax?Or should I enjoy the peace, even though it might be momentary.

May be there was no battle at all. It was just hallucination, a dream or perhaps it was the lack of any battle that made me imagine everything. Was it a subconscious effort to fill the void? We all love to be occupied with something. If we don’t find anything, we desperately attempt to create an illusion of being full and thus ending up filling garbage.
My thoughts kept pondering over the way battles have been fought in our history and mythology. Did the heroes that emerged victorious also have the same feeling? Did they really feel ecstatic after the war? What did they do immediately after winning? Did they go back to the kins of the defeated and offered their condolences. Or was there a feeling of repent? It is of no use to compare this situation to others. This time is different. Perhaps it’s time to think beyond. Instead of being burdened by morality, it is time to go ahead and take the next step.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Savage Slitherers


I look around in the corner.
They are there, lying around, the slender and long black shapes, curled, twisted and entangled. Some are thin whereas some are thicker. It looks as if they are moving but close observation indicates they are lying still. Waiting to make a move!  What are these objects thinking? What are they waiting for? How long have been lying there?
Let me count how many are there. One, two...Oh! It’s difficult to count exactly, since I am not able to figure out the starting and the ending. Their ends seemed to be lost in the criss-cross. Their bodies are intertwined and it is impossible to separate one entity. What if they all wake up from their dream and start slithering all over here?
Long back, in my childhood I used to be scared of these creatures. In my town and villages, near the creek, I often used to spot them. Some of them even came close to my house during the rainy season.  This is the one creature that creates the maximum terror amongst us till date. Also, our movies and the stories have over hyped the terror. We are known for the land of the snakes. Perhaps that’s why I still accept snake sightings in streets as normal and just pass it off during conversation. But I must bet, I am still as much afraid of them as an American or a European.
Living now in a popular metro and in a posh area, the snakes are no more seen and I can safely walk the corners of my house, even without bothering to switch on the lights. I am not scared to look at any remote corner of my house or beneath the door. But still, the fear has not subsided.
They still haunt my dreams. They chase me there, almost catching me helpless. Often, I wake up in shock thanking God that it was only a dream. Every rope, pipe or wire that I observe in my room closely starts moving and approaching towards me. Which is why when today, I started observing the scattered network of wires from my laptop, charger, headphones, LAN wires, I was reminded of them.
They were all huddles together in the corner. The more I looked at them, the closer they resembled the creatures. Centuries ago, God created the snakes to scare its enemies. Today, we have these man-made snakes which do not hiss or slither, but can do the damages to the same extent, if not more. Perhaps, these are the real snakes and are more lethal. We must be cautious.


Thursday, September 8, 2011

The last arrow



The last arrow in the quiver goes away. This arrow was hidden.  Even though I knew, it was safely tucked somewhere. However hard I tried to look for it, it couldn’t be found.  Somehow, the arrow eluded me. But I was certain, the day would come and when this arrow would be discovered. And I kept waiting for it.  Even though the quiver was empty, I didn’t throw it away in anticipation of the last one. The quiver was constantly on my back all the while. It had become a baggage, rather. I had often dreamt of it only to wake up finding it empty. I needed the last arrow badly to try one last shot. All the previous arrows had missed the bull’s eye. My hope solely rested on the last one. As time passed, I became more and more convinced that this one would be the saviour. This one would finish up the pending work.

And the time came, the arrow suddenly appeared. It looked silent and innocuous as if it was in the quiver all the time. But I can swear, I hadn’t seen or felt it before. It was mocking at me. But, this was not a time to blame. I had to take my last try. With trembling hands, I straightened the bow, put on the arrow and tightened the string. 

Looking at the arrow, I asked myself. What if, this also misses the point? The arrow, which was missing all this time would again vanish in a moment. Why not just keep the arrow and avoid facing the truth? Atleast, the last hope wouldn’t die. Why did the arrow make me wait just to disappear again and this time never to return? 

I closed my eyes. Perhaps, it wasn’t meant to be.  Every arrow is different and every arrow has its own course. Every arrow has its own target and is different from the target we choose for them. The path laid for them has to be traversed by the arrow alone. Perhaps, it was time to let the arrow go and dump the quiver. I would feel lighter. The quiver started feeling heavier. I couldn’t bear it. 

I opened my eyes. The world looked different. It was all new. Encouraged, I took the aim and shot the arrow.

Monday, June 6, 2011

The war inside


 Once, a person gave me Rs. 100 and asked me to keep it safe as he was going on a long journey.  I deposited the money in a piggy bank, but in that act of doing so, my pet cat, “Madver” saw it. Later, I read in the newspaper that the person died due to an accident. Wondering what to do with the money, I still kept the money safe. Madver demanded that the piggy bank be broken and the money be used for the household purposes. I didn’t feel it was right as the money was not mine and someone could come any day in the future and demand the money on my friend’s behalf.  However, Madver couldn’t understand it and demanded it repeatedly that the money be brought back. I kept the piggybank at the top of my cupboard so that Madver couldn’t jump and reach it.

When all efforts failed, Madver thought of a master plan. It contacted its popular neighbourhood friend, a dog, “Zahe Anran” who always had been successful in his demands from his master. Adopting his style, Madver announced to me, one fine morning that she was going to sit outside the house and would not eat anything, unless the piggy bank was broken.

I never considered it seriously, but to my surprise, next morning, I saw all the nieghbouring cats assembled outside. Shocked by the reaction, I called up the animal catcher and asked them to take away the animals. The animal catcher van arrived soon and started taking away the animals. There was a loud shrill, meows,claw fights,  fur and blood scattered on the streets. Finally, they managed to control the situation and  most of the animals were taken away. Madver was caught at last as she managed to disguise in lamb’s skin and keep the catchers at a bay for a while.

 I was relieved but I didn’t  realize, it was temporary. Next day, I received a summons from the “Against Cruelty to Animals and Pets Department” of the city and was asked to explain my undemocratic and cruel behaviour. It warned me that any such future actions would lead to severe penalty.
On the other hand, similar stunts were seen in several parts of neighbourhood. The war had begun!

Oh my Madver, did I not feed you well enough? Didn’t I take you out for a walk twice a day? Did I not stay quiet when you dirtied my room? Why do you have to be so greedy? And such a coward to take those steps? You have lost all your dignity and all the respect that I had for you till now.

Monday, May 16, 2011

IPL new Avatar

IPL4 has come up with a new avatar and this time it has come without any controversies as compared to earlier seasons of IPL.

There has been no buzz this time. It has come down smoothly and has been going on in the same manner. Even though, the face of IPL has very much changed from its first version, it no longer enjoys the trademark controversies like Test vs Twenty 20 or ODI vs Twenty20, youngsters vs the legends like Dravid/Kumble, or cheerleaders' culture. No more FakeIPLPlayer, no more Preity Zinta hugging Kings of Punjab. And no more Lalit Modi's press interviews. We also miss Vijaya Malya dancing after a boundary. Where are the MRF blimps?

The players have been reshuffled and two new teams have come. We also do not have our Dada in KKR and no one is cribbing any more, their attention now focused more on Sachin and Dhoni, thanks to the latest World Cup victory. All the illogical things like the Pune team, not having a home ground, playing in Mumbai and Indore stadiums, are hardly cared by anyone.The captains of half of the teams are now foreigners, a "taboo" in the first IPL but now been happily accepted by our cricket crazy IPL loyal nation.

The live telecast of the auctions was the only one that generated some noise and since then, no one seems to care about who are losing and winning.

Have the audience had enough of cricket or Has the IPL become so ingrained part of cricket that it cannot be questioned any more or No one now gives a damn about the direction IPL is taking since we have now won the CUP and we need to take a short break from cricket?

The loyal fans have been decreasing and many now don't keep a count of how many matches a team has one. What we now remember is that when we go back home and turn on the TV, there's going to two teams and we just don't care who wins, yet we do watch the entire match.

Perhaps after May, when the TVs would go blank in the evenings, we would fill an emptiness in the house as if some guest has just left the house. Till then, we will keep saying 70 matches are too many.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Reaching the “Break-even” point

Today morning, when I woke up, it was a different feeling. Unlike other days, I felt neutral. I did not feel any emotional attachment to my past days or towards my previous lifestyle. The feeling of change had suddenly disappeared.
The transition was a big one as in the days following the change; I was a person fighting with myself, struggling with the unknown. The fight was between a student and a salaried individual. It was the differences between a young, unknown college and an established reputed college where an engineering graduate tried to master the “master” courses . It was the transition from Bangalore to Mumbai, shifting from being a flat tenant to a hosteller.
It was the change that I had been disliking since. I had been trying to somehow compensate the negative feeling of the transition with the fond memories of the past, hoping that this change is just a short break and the past would again come back with a U-turn. 
I had tried to count the days and got happier with each passing minute hoping that the two years would end sooner. Three months have gone so far and to me it seems like 2 years.  But today morning, I did not feel any such kind of disappointment or frustration. I simple felt calm, as if I had been in this life style for years. I no more missed the Sunday wherein I would lazily spend away time sleeping and relaxing.  Perhaps I thought, this new feeling is just a hallucination and would quickly go away as the day progresses and I would soon return to “normalcy”. But the “normal” feeling never came, leading me to the surprising conclusion that there has been a change yet again.
I knew the change would eventually come but never knew that it could happen overnight without any warning.
 Ok, now that the break even point has been reached, LET’S RUN THE RACE!!

Monday, May 31, 2010

THEY SAY “DREAM BIG!!”


You are allowed to dream, dream BIG, really BIG. They say you should dream. They say you are free to dream. So, you dream but little do you know that you are not allowed to achieve them. Because these dreams are not meant to be realized by you. It is only meant to be dreamt of. And do you know the reason why you can't make your dreams come true, even after being allowed to dream, dream BIG? 
I shall tell you the biggest secret of why you can't make your BIG dreams becomes BIG realities. 
The reason is very obvious but no one realizes it. In fact, the reason is the very same reason why you are allowed to dream. Does it sound strange? or weird? Isn't it weird that the same thing is responsible to make you dream BIG and also responsible to prevent you from making them BIG? It might appear weird for a moment but ponder for two more such brief and thoughtful moments and the truth automatically comes to light. This truth is the very obvious truth. And I shall tell you the truth right away but before knowing the truth right away, to better understand the significance of the truth, we have to digress for a moment and go back in history to the point when you were formed. The time when you were formed, you were in majority and you thought you won but you didn't realize that the majority is the least powerful. Adding to your ignorance that majority had won and was free, was this assurance that they would listen to you. They told you that the time had come for all of you to dream and dream BIG. And so you did. The trend of dreaming BIG has continued since then by every one of you without questioning at any point, this line of thought carried over from generations. It is as though you have accepted this as a basic necessity of life and freedom. 
Coming back to the truth which I had left midway to better understand its significance even after promising that I would tell it right away, the truth is that you all are still in majority and the truth is that you are still ignorant to the same extent as before and the truth is that you can do nothing about it. You can do nothing about it because you have never dreamt of doing anything about it. You have dreamt of all other things, but not this and that’s precisely why you will never do anything about it, even though continuing to be free and ignorant. This is the truth that you are free and ignorant. Free to dream the BIG dreams and ignorant of the fact that you can't achieve them.
Now, after understanding the truth and also after better understanding the significance of the truth, it's time to dwell upon the reason for the truth. Why can't you achieve your dreams, even after being allowed to dream? As I had already mentioned the reason was obvious, very obvious yet not being spotted by anyone. The reason that it was not realized by anyone of you was because none of you could do anything about it. So the obvious, yet unrealized reason is that you all are in a dangerous zone. It is dangerous because it is also the majority. It is dangerous because it is not the minority. It is dangerous because it is neither the upper minority nor in the lower minority. It is dangerous because it is in the middle. It is in the middle majority. They hate the majority. The reason that they hate the majority is also very obvious. The reason is because they are not the majority. And those who are not the majority hate those who are the majority. They are the ones who make you dream BIG and they are the ones who actually achieve them by preventing you to do so. Weird? I guess it is no weirder now. Instead it should be crystal clear. If there is still a shade of doubt in your mind and I know that it’s actually more than just a shade, as I knew you will not believe me, so I challenge you to achieve any one of your dreams, BIG or less BIG. And then you will believe me. You will believe me when you will be crushed by them at the very minute you think you achieved your dreams. And at that moment, you will realize that perhaps I am right. 
So can you never achieve your dreams? The good news is you can. The bad news is that after you achieve them, you cease to be the majority in the middle. You become them. Because the fact is that the middle is forbidden to achieve dreams.