Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Gentlemen's Battle

The country is in a frenzy. Every way you turn, your ears definitely could catch a word or two about tomorrow's BIG match - the mother of all battles. Oh! oops! battle did I say? Pardon me for sensationalizing it. You see, I have been tuning on to those innumerable TV channels where they are giving "Eat Cricket, Sleep Cricket" advertisement tag a run for their "runs".

Which Japan? What Daichi? Libya - where? Gadaffi? Oh is he the 12th man in any Cricket team?  We sure are going to turn deaf ears to everything else other than cricket. Make hay while the sun shines. Who knows when next India would face Pakistan in a semi-finals WC match? Everyone seems to take this wonderful chance - our honorable PM has invited his counterpart. Mr. Ambani seems to be spending 5 Crore for a special screening, TRP ratings, advertisements - weird and preposterous!! An umpire wanting a loo break. At the end of it all, aren't we having fun and banishing our boredom? Yeah! I hear someone complaining about the absence of Ms.Mandira Bedi. No sleaze this WC my dear!

Well, I am digressing. Whats raking my brain is the so-called Gentleman's game and the projected 'mother of all battles 'morrow. Isn't it a bit ironic. Sport in Roman era was ritualized fighting wherein the weaker was killed or mutilated. Cricket serves as a perfect sport to vent out the aggressive drives of our 'gentlemen' in a harmless manner. No! I am not overlooking Sreesanth's aggressive gesticulation or Harbhajan's swearwords coming out faster than his doosra.

But comparing it with the sport popular in the other parts of the world - The Soccer; the adrenaline pumping and heart thumping game; cricket is a peaceful one. Cricket; at a given time; has two players having bats; let me call them clubs which could easily break bones or the ball at the slight nudge can break tissues and spill blood. Not to forget those sharp wickets which could be easily maneuvered at the slightest provocation or those silent bales which can knock off as they get knocked off at any given opportunity. Yet, we have not come across such incidents; though one can put up with sporadic incidents and sledging which essentially are mind games.

The humble way a batsman walks away from the crease; without hesitation; clutching his bat close to his body; helmet off; appeases the opponents; the way you want to silence a blood-quenching spirits. Remember the lame duck cartoon shedding tears and nodding in disapproval on your TV screen whenever a bastman got out for duck? Or the way a bowler goes down his knees with disgrace when his deliveries are all converted to 4s and 6s..much to the joy of the jubilant batsmen.....Maybe thats why this game; devoid of violence is a gentleman's game. Imagine soccer players armed in a similar manner?

Sunday, March 27, 2011

3 Cheers!

Well, let me get straight to the point. I complete 3 years of intense, passionate and active blogging today. I was fiddling with the thought whether to mention about it or not.

You know, these numbers dont really mean a thing now. It was those early days when we went berserk with number of hits on the page, the number of comments, who wrote most number of posts in a month, the tags, the rankings, when would we get all those awards (see my sidebar, I have pinned up awards as a defense personnel would pin up his medals)..................A drop in visitor count, drop in comments or non-receipt of a particular award would mean the world going down; a self-check if you are a good blogger or no; a SWAT on whats lacking in you! And then the whole lotta bandwagon to jump in - WW, 55 Fiction, Blog-a-ton....Thank heavens I didnt fall into any of these...  It seems so funny and senseless now.

And now; 3 years and 250+ posts later, these days its just about myself. I do not care for numbers. Many came by, many left; their fragrance linger in the air....Anyway, this post is not to celebrate my 3 years. But a chance to thank each one of you who have been in this space; left your mark. The love of you all, the ideas exchanged; affecting and molding a part of me in the process. Not to forget those wonderful friendship I made with some of you; which goes beyond this space.

A whiff of fresh air which oozes beauty, fading the pessimism. Thank you one and all for reading me, for your honest and genuine views. For putting up with my writing - a sloppy attempt to talk to the world and share my ideas. Well, I am still trying....and the mediocre ways to capture the world through my eyes and sharing with you all...

It has been one heck of an awesome journey, impossible without you all. So 3 cheers to each one of you for making B Log what it is today.

Hip! Hip! Hurray!!
Hip! Hip! Hurray!!
Hip! Hip! Hurray!!

Friday, March 25, 2011

What? There's nothing in here

Well, I am bored. Its not that I have nothing to do. Tons of pending work. Appraisal time in office. Self appraisal, feedback to peers - busy times ahead. Got to use fancy words like proactive, diligent, seamless, independent, assertive et all. Yet, I dont feel like writing them.Sigh!!

My mind wanders and my fingers stroke the key; ALT-TAB between appraisals, facebook, blog and Google. (Typing facebook gives me a red wavy underline. They better include it as a noun in the Oxford English dictionary)

Well, you know its got to be there when you verb it off. I hear this in office quite often. Facebooking is better than orkuting da. So must be the word Twittering. No! no! I am not on twitter yet. I go paranoid hearing people having lakhs of followers. My good friend says she just has less than 590 followers and that number is negligible it seems. I just responded with a :-)

I might not get even a mosquito to follow me! Aah mosquito! I thought Sachin got out in yesterday's match due to mosquito menace. Two or three were hovering around him while he was batting and the poor soul was shooing them away. What if Sachin is God, he still has that meal for those mosquitoes.

Whole of India probably came to a stand-still yesterday; at office as well. 6 huge TVs were not enough! I was begged not to speak anything derogatory or discouraging about team India. Its not that I am unpatriotic. Its just that I cant fake! Well, they won; else my husband would have cursed me.

Looking around my bedroom, I better organize few stuffs here. Its messy but I am bored. I think lazy is a better word. I have many books to read. One of them is a collection of beautiful poems; another Paulo Coelho's. There is this The Language of the Goddess - book on European pre-history w.r.t archeology and also my D7000's manual. When would I read all of these?

Need to replace my laptop; would go for a MAC this time. Need to order, take backup of data from this laptop, charge my iPod, buy a battery charger plug for my Xperia and get a SD card of larger capacity for my camera. Pending! pending! pending!

What have I been doing then? Staring at a blank wall or this laptop screen; lazy bum I am! I am told I spend lot of my time online; but the truth is I dont! I just stare at the screen! My laptop and I are "Until death do us apart". Obviously my husband detests this darling of mine.

I am not blogging much either. My frequency has reduced; a blogger friend asked me why have your reader numbers dropped? numbers again! He was doubtful if I stopped visiting them; he reminded me how at one point I had lot many readers. You know how it works here - you scratch my back and I scratch yours.

I could only read if I get something substantial out of it - knowledge, entertainment or joy! But I have not stopped visiting anyone. Its just that most of them have vanished from blog world either because they got busy with something else or they moved to shorter and smarter world of Twitter. And yeah no more creative juices flowing in could also be the reason. Whatever, if any of you guys have read till here; I pity you.

You might have realized now that there is nothing substantial in this post. I warned you with my title!! Insignia does get into this zilch mood once in a while :) and I feel nice when my fingers are playing on this keyboard and aah I am so in love with this laptop. Got used to her so much that I can close my eyes and still type on everything right. But she has reached her expiry long ago; I am still clinging onto her because I am attached to her. But I will have to let her go. Soon! and welcome the new man in my life - The MAC

Blogging is therapeutic as always. It does better job than a masseur. I am done!! and I am gone!...


Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Some smart wit had rightly labeled us Indians as a race that suffers verbal diarrhea. Whether its a joy or a sorrow, we have to express ourselves, no matter what. Crib, rant, flaunt, gossip to our heart's content.Few are like me; a minority who would rather listen and observe quietly. Observing such wide variety of talkers is as interesting as traveling and photography :) After much observation and analysis, I have categorized these chatterboxes to distinct varieties.

 Image at http://mszigzag.typepad.com/

The I, Me, Myself

Its not difficult to find such folks. They do not worry about common interest, being courteous, time, place, situation, these types are thoroughly immersed in their self happily under the assumption that their affairs and adventures are interesting to all as they are to them. They do listen once in a while, but they would sure have a counter reminiscences for every story uttered by you; where they would sprinkle generous amount of glory

The Crushers

The insult throwers. They have that sad pleasure in pulling down everyone. No one appeals to them and nothing could satisfy them. They find faults at the drop of the hat. Their words are laced with poison and they can make a kill with their taunting cruel words. Not one to listen, they can chatter incessantly when all we could hear is abuse and profanity. 

The Road-rollers

They never ever stop, not for catching a breathe, not for interjections, not for questions. Other person's opinion? Whats that? Nothing could dither them, no display of boredom, no yawns or smirks, not even a frown. Try interrupting them, one can be sure of getting trampled just as a road-roller.

The Tube-light brigade

Subject of mockery and ridicule; but rather likable.  They take some time to understand what others are talking about, they need little more time to warm up; when they understand they positively glow bright. They get into the jive and throw in their own accounts but by then others have moved on; and they grapple again!

The Anecdoters

The darling of the lots, revered and respected. These types have exclusive fan clubs and others wait to hear them. The above types often fancy themselves to be of this kind. But the genuine ones can be made out; their vast knowledge, their repertoire of interesting and enriching experiences, the story weaving capability such that it enchants the listener and thus increasing the appetite of the listener wanting for more. These coupled with requisite voice, modulation and expressions so that there is no boredom and monotony. What sets them apart is their knack of shifting gears once they get the slightest hints of boredom.

These are the real conversationalists. What is it that sets them apart from talkers? Is it their talent to make the listener feel important? Or is it their versatility? Or their knack of gauging the listener's interest? Or the combination of all these along with that unknown X-factor? Maybe, that is why most of us are just talkers but not good conversationalists.

So which category do you fall under?

Friday, March 18, 2011

The remains of the lost empire - Hampi

Continuing on my Hampi sojourn........

As highlighted in my previous post, one thing I noticed was everything made out of stone, obvious!

Those are the ones that now give us a glimpse of pomp and splendor. Anything apart from stones, have been burnt and destroyed. The stone sculptures which resembles Gods were also vandalized. 

A large area probably court of law/stage? The wooden columns are all long gone; what remains is the platform

Guilty ought to be punished. Where? Just outside the city hall.

Massive entry doors of the palace. I looked behind and lo! the hinges were also carved out of stone.

Queen's bath fully equipped for shower as well.

The bazaar near the Vijaya Vittala temple. The town had 7 bazaars, each bazaar meant specific wares and goods.

The Tungabhadra river behind the Vijaya Vittala temple complex.

The King's balance consists of 2 carved granite pillar. It seems every year the king along with his 2 wives sat on one base plate while gold and other precious stones were placed on the other plate equivalent to their weight. They were then distributed to the people. Such extravagant lifestyle!!

The famous Vijaya Vittala complex.  One of the best preserved ruins.

A closer look at the gopuram.

The famous stone chariot. Symbol of Karnataka tourism. This chariot is carved out of a single stone and is a temple by itself. It has idol of Vittala (Krishna) carved on its sides. It seems this chariot was carved out as the royal family wanted to pull chariot as part of festivals and other occasions. Phew! so they thought carving a chariot out of stone was easier than making it out of wood???

Yeah, so this chariot stays at one place but its wheels can be rotated at stationary. The royals used to rotate the wheel; this was equivalent to them pulling a chariot. The wheels are jammed now and are chained so that they are not rotated so as to preserve them.

The famous musical pillars. There are 7 such elaborately carved pillars that support the temple. These pillars in turn have 7 minor pillars representing the 7 notes the representation instrument. When struck, they produce varying sounds based on what it represents - wind, stringed or percussion instrument. It seems that dance performances were held for royal family and their associates and these pillars served as musical instruments. These pillars were struck with sandalwood drumsticks and they produced sounds of veena, tabala and other traditional instruments.

Why isn't this a wonder of the world yet? Sadly, we dont get a demo of these anymore. These pillars are damaged; they sere handled without care by guides and others who showed visitors how music is resonated by using stones to tap them. They did not allow us inside this complex as well. :-(


The bazaar

Bidding goodbye to the Vijaya Vittala temple complex.

If I could travel back in time, I would want to travel to this period when Vijayangar was at its peak. When travelers from Rome and Arab marveled at the beauty and the wealth abounds. When the city was appreciated for its charm and wonder - lakes, waterways, gardens and fruit trees.

I want to travel back in time to that period of magnificence and abounds; to the city that eye has not seen nor ear heard of any place resembling it upon earth - to the lost empire of Vijayanagar.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The lost empire - Hampi

One word to describe my feeling - OVERWHELMING.

Such rich heritage and architecture all bound in one place. No one leaves without astonishment and awe after witnessing all those marvelous architecture, culture and heritage that was once the Vijayanagar empire. 

Each and every item needed for everyday life then is carved in stone - the weights, the massive doors, the beams, the Gods, the bells, the culverts, the canals, the plate to serve food, even the musical instruments are carved out of stone. You can see why - Vijayanagar is all surrounded by hills and mountains, barren and rocky. These mountains served as natural fortress and provided the much needed raw material - the stones. One one side is the much needed river Tungabhadra for civilization.

The town was made to be self-sufficient - temples, quarters, rest area for travelers, community hall, kitchen, bathing area, stables, wedding halls, recreation area, court of law, punishment yard and nobleman's quarters. You name it and they had it! Having read about the richness of Vijayanagara empire(precious stones being sold in bazaars and on roads heaped up like vegetables), I had this long waited wish to visit Hampi. It took me so long to finally experience the richness called Hampi.

The kingdom was so powerful that none of the kings lost their life in war battle; no one dared to wage war with them. Their death occurred due to diseases and old-age. Krishnadevaraya died due to gonorrhea; they were connoisseurs of women and art. This one weakness led to the decline of the Vijayanagar empire much later; when Krishnadevaraya's son-in-law fell for a wicked political conspiracy by the Deccan Muslim confederacy.

 We spent one entire day at Hampi; yet left with lots more to explore. Hired a guide who told us a lot about its origin and the background of each temple and its architecture.

The Virupaksha temple complex. On the right is the group of Jain temples.

The Sasuvekalu Ganesha - sasuvekalu means 'mustard seeds' in Kannada. This monolithic stone has Ganesh in the foreground and behind is the carving of his mother Gauri.

The gopuram of the Virupaksha temple at a height of 49m. This temple predates the Vijayanagara empire. We could see musical instruments used during those period. The main God is Lord Shiva and this temple is still used for worship and thus is the oldest functioning temple in India since 7th century. 

Inside the temple; at one corner at the rear is the inverted shadow of the gopuram - the pin-hole camera effect formed due to a slit on the wall.

The English restored major portion of the temple during their rule in India. One such instance is the beam installed here during the early 1900s to support the massive pillars. On closer look; you can make out the "Made in England" tag. Its strong and functional even to this day

Long before Michelangelo painted the ceilings of the Sistine Chapel, the people of Hampi had painted the ceilings of the Virupaksha temple with rich stories of the Ramayana with elaborate details. Its legible and clear even to this day. One can not help but marvel and your eyes can never say enough!

The world famous bazaar street where gold and precious stones were heaped up like vegetables in front of the Virupaksha temple. The Chinese traded silk for gold and precious stones while the Turks and Arabs traded horses with them. What we see now is a dusty lane showing no signs of splendor and pomp that it held once. Behind these makeshift shops are the centuries old buildings belonging to then era. Efforts are in progress by the ASI to reclaim them.

The Kadalekalu Ganesha - Kadalekalu meaning 'Bengal gram'. It denotes the belly of the Lord which resembles a Bengal gram. It is monolithic and the idol has been destroyed. The belly and the right hand were destroyed by the Muslim invaders. The effort to restore by ASI was challenged by the Kannada poet Shivaram Karanth. He was against restoration so that the generations after us never missed the history and its originality.

Ugra Narasimha.

Remains of foundation of what earlier housed quarters for travelers and noblemen. Travelers came from far away lands. They were well taken care.

Lotus Mahal temple. Served as a recreation area for royal women. Its architecture and decorations are a curious mix of Hindu and Islamic style.

Elephant stables. The mid one has a Dravidian style gopuram. Found alternatively are the Islamic and Jain style gopurams - Nonreligious and secular.

Hazara Rama temple complex - carvings of the story of Ramayana.

Well laid aqueducts and canals to supply water through the town.

Remains of what used to be the palace. The palace was built of wood; which was destroyed along with others when the Deccan confederacy  attacked the empire. 

Plates on which food was served. Hmm.....

Stepped tank also called Pushkarni. This tank was delicately excavated so as not to damage the intricacy.

Remaining in the next post :)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


Note : This is a work of fiction. Every time I try my hands on poem reflecting an emotion; I have been asked if its my personal experience. No not necessarily :)

He pursued and begged;
He cried and yearned;  
She gave in with a Yes,
lending her support to
fill his vacuum.
He said he'd love her, forever
He said he placed no one above her,
He said he needed her till his death,

A day arrived; when he remained silent
She did not know
that the silence is forever
How could she?
when the change was overnight
She did now realize; his
was not a need, but a want
that lasted until 
He found a new love
She being now stale

He hid away; in silence
scared to face her
chicken hearted that he was,
gutless to tell the truth
a spineless worm that he was
avoiding her; while
She kept waiting
unaware of his decision
She kept waiting
for him to come back to her
when she tried to talk
he remained silent
when she learnt the truth
he chose a mere 'sorry'
when she demanded a reason
it was loyalty, to his new found love

Leaving her flabbergasted; he ran away
Coward - thats his name

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Whats your number?

Neha's Number Game has prompted me to write this piece. There she talks about how people are crazy for comment count, fans count and visitor count on twitter and blogs and facebook and such. I am not going to talk about these things, we know the obvious.But this post induced a thought process - NUMBERS.

How significant they are throughout our life span. Who invented them? They are so complex and confusing! A constant source of worry and nervousness from the time we come to this world.

From being a healthy 3.2 kg baby to gradually growing up in days, weeks and 12th month to celebrate the 1st birthday. Counting the 1st, 2nd and 3rd milk tooth while constantly monitoring the KGS and the INCHES.

Numbers and more numbers - Time of birth, date of birth play a vital role in deciding the child's future, compatible spouse and the career!! The years add up and the child grows, basking in the affection people shower and playing with toys; temporary relief from digits and numbers; though vaccinations and immunizations doses given at specific month and year.

Not before long, the child is put to school and his affair with numbers continue. But all affairs are not joyful isnt it? Starts his affair with 1 and goes till 9. So far so good. Then the child is taught the magical number of 0. His affair grows exponentially; hundreds, thousands, millions. The numbers are manipulated - add, subtract, multiply, divide, square, cubed.........not enough? His numbers are no more rounded off but they come with decimals.

The numbers dont confine only to his learning - his class room is numbered; he has a roll number, his question papers are numbered; his marks!! Aaah how could we forget that? The magic number of 35 - the number to obtain a PASS would no way be appreciated by his parents and teachers. Thats a BAD number. He has to aim for 90+....Still not bad.

Higher classes means more numbers. Rational number makes sense. But isnt it cruel to make sense out of irrational numbers? Cruel cruel world! How baffling it is when taught that "imaginary" number had a value! Integration did not mean "combining" anymore. Geometry and trigonometry rule the roost; where numbers and alphabets are related; there is 'e' and then there is 'pi'. These are constants but the child is clueless about its value being derived by describing a nonlinear curve! Whatever one  has to memorize their value up to its 15th decimal level.

College time - ruled by internals, marks and GPAs. More numbers during entrance exams - cut off; percentage and such. Numbers - ruling the life - sometimes praised; sometimes cursed. Numbers - sometimes embarrassing; sometimes elating. The real test after graduation; hunting for job. Numbers dont leave you there as well. Interview questions revolve around them - "1, 4, 27...what is the next number in the series?" or a puzzle - "How can you divide a round cake into 8 equal portions with 3 cuts?"

Numbers my dear! They eat up ones life; they are benchmark throughout - good, better, worse; efficient, productive, smart....They size you up! "Whats your number?" means how much of money you intend to see as your bank balance before retiring. Whats your CTC? Is your organization CMM level 5? Is it in top 10 of Forbes Best place to work?

Is the number done with? No! Get married by 30; have 2 kids, get a decent flat for 50 lakhs and a car for 10 lakhs; retire at 58. Work hard throughout towards your appraisal so that you get a rating 2 in a 5 point rating and get a 15% salary hike!

Numbers everywhere; numbers throughout. Deciding the course of life, stalking you for the rest of your life. Well....how would life be without these numbers? NULL!