Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Dog's Life

Looking out the window...
The world seems lively.
A mutt sleeping unaware, 
Another frolicking in the mud. 
Kids! Running around laughing; playing with a ball. 
Oh! Where is my toy? 
I chewed it off, didn't I? 
The green shrubs - beckon me; to sniff and pee 
Why? I love that scraggy little doggie there, 
wagging his rope like tail. 
He likes playing with me. 
But I am not fair, am I?
I pounce, I push; unaware of 
My build and weight.
But that jolly good fella
Waits for me to come by
To play, to jump, to sniff, 
Each day. 
Now as I watch from the comfort of my cozy home, 
I know I want to be out there...
Jumping and running and getting dirty....
That's dog's life! Sigh!!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Frame by Frame

There comes a day when you get to action cleaning and dusting up the house. Thats when you do go near those shelves and drawers that didnt exist all these days.

Well, thats what I did over the weekend and no, the house is not sparkly clean. While de-cluttering one of the drawers, those stack of photo albums beckoned me. I knew if I fell for it; my resolution of cleaning up the shelves and drawers that day after procrastinating for months will break. But it was too tempting not to pick those stack of photo albums. And there! the flood and tsunami and hurricane of memories rushed......Those were the days...

Simple days. Our lives were simple, our needs simpler. Or was it? But I was a kid and everything seemed so simple. The very act of posing for a family picture itself. It was an orchestrated process. The best clothes on, polished shoes, oiled and well combed hair, face powder and finally not a smile on the lips, but a serious look. The drama reached its crescendo with the photographer's arrival. A skill mastered after several attempts to pretend totally unperturbed of a camera. Well, your heart almost skips few beats shows the innate consciousness of the big black box present right in front of you. No! but dont look there. The look of unconcern took the most elaborate preparation. Look casual is what the photographer would say. Are you kidding me?

Ready-1-2-3...The moment the click of the big black box goes off was a moment of huge relief. The huge funny grin dropping back to that natural smile, shoulders slumped down, beads of sweat in the palm wiped on the sides of the shirt and skirts and the attention position broken. After that is the waiting time. The photos and negatives would arrive after a week or so. Anticipation and excitement. The brown envelope will be opened with care to reveal the frames in negatives and finally a few best prints chosen from the best.

The glossy prints would grab the attention of the entire family - moving from one hand to another. Appreciation, admiration, a few comments and ultimate satisfaction. And then, the prints would be safely encased behind a transparent plastic page of a photo album; to be secured in a cupboard as a family heirloom for generations to come. The best ones might end up being framed and find itself at the mantlepiece of the living room like a prize.

Like this one - though its a cutout of Rajnikanth.

Out of your reverie!!

Back to the present. Everyone has a camera and so everyone is a self proclaimed photographer. I dont feel animosity towards that unlike few who swear by who can be called as a "real photographer". That warrants a separate post. But there are times when its super annoying.

The excitement to capture every mundane thing is life deserves applause since people do seem to appreciate simple things in life - like eating an apple. Err...yeah. God bless you girl! You are the few lucky one out in the world who is blessed to afford and eat an apple. But taking a picture of yourself eating an apple? Is that so important? Thats ok; its you and your apple. But expecting likes and praises? Aahh we all crave for attention isnt it? Its so orgasmic!  How about adjusting the frame, the filter, the lighting all in your smart phone while others are patiently holding that smile on their face in the name of taking a group portrait?

Photography has moved from being an art to a tool now. And thats not bad at all. Everyone has a chance to freeze a golden moment from their life and everyone pauses to notice the beauty around to capture it in their camera if not for anything else. It has evolved from a defined precise moment to seamless never ceasing means to capture everything and anything. Shots after shots - whimsical stored in your handheld device never to be revisited again instead of a few frame by frame moments encased in those albums to be revisited and felt nostalgic about once in a while.

Ah! now I need to take a selfie with Gypsy. I'm off!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Rain, Coffee and Book

Now who will deny such a lovely combination? There would be few things in life that will give you instant gratification. Something that makes you happy; cuddle yourself and feel everything is so flawless. A feeling of contentment, a feel of all is well and a feeling of immense satisfaction even though nothing was wrong in the first place!

The rains, a mug of steaming hot coffee and good paper back book - never disappoint you. The monsoons in Bangalore are not as severe as they would be in Kerala. But still its blessed.  They are isolated and rain in patches here in Bangalore and unpredictable. The rains do cause inconveniences. Broken branches, uprooted trees, knee high puddles and vehicles wading in those waters. But hey! rains are rains! Its not the rains that are trouble; but lack of our civic infrastructure.

Anyway why am I digressing? So rains!

I've always managed to take a road trip during monsoon along the Western Ghats. The 300 odd km trip to Mangalore or sometime the 500 odd km upto Kundapur does work wonders; especially during the rains. The numerous tiny water falls gushing out along the road, the tall and dense trees, the windy slippery roads, the tall mountains shielded by grey clouds....its all to die for!

Even without a road trip, The aroma of the wet earth is to die for. The pitter patter sound on the roof, the drops on the window grills and the outburst of drops falling from leaves when the wind blows. The dull sky can be put with; the lush green trees makes up for it. Add in a mug of hot coffee! Voila! you have heaven at your feet. A senior manager in my previous company noticed my way of holding my mug of coffee during a casual conversation. It kind of shocked me - he noticing such a simple irrelevant thing.

But yeah! holding a mug of coffee safely with both your hands - feels safe, secure and all the world all to yourself, feeling the warmth of that precious liquid while taking in the aroma. Later did I read that it reveals your traits! So the coffee - sip your coffee sitting in the balcony with a favorite book in your hand. In your comfortable pajamas while it rains.

Gray clouds, soft whistle of the wind, the constant pitter patter of rains, turning page after page of a book. Not a digital reader; but a real book. A book whose pages you can turn; the smell of the paper, the colorful paperbacks or the hard bounds, the words you can scroll your finger through. Old and battered and yellowed pages maybe - but a real book.

These makes you forget all the pain, the troubles. You tend to think of love, happiness, forgiveness, sharing and caring. And why? I dont know. These three are always a winner!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

I'm Aging

Everyone is!


I have noticed changes in me that is telling me that God! I am aging...faster than I thought I would. I think this is what everyone will go through and I should not find myself anxious. I am just going through the natural process...Am I?

For one, I strongly feel my profession stresses me more than what other professions could to other people. Again, wallowing in self pity and consoling myself. Not really. The bloody MNC corporate world doesnt leave you unless they have squeezed the last drop of juice out of you. Peer pressure or the lack of it? Create one. Competition, criticism, back stabbing, manipulating....

Who the hell influenced me to take up engineering? Its making me old, bored and zombie like. It is all like finding fool's gold now. We the software people have taken an oath that we would remain sophisticated slaves for generations and savvy beggars. I would rather go begging - its tax free! 

These days, the slide and spike of rupee is more interesting to me than Tom & Jerry. Of course; I want the rupee to slide whenever I am selling my shares isnt it? How self centered I can be? The price of a kg of tomato worries me more these days. And yeah; why do I read political and economic news than enjoying Calvin & Hobbes? 

Isnt something terribly wrong here? Or is this how things are with people growing old? Unwanted worries of life, am I still attractive to my spouse? Oh the belly fat? Will he/she be bored after a while? 
Waking up with "Oh! today is the last day to pay my credit card due and I have no enough balance left!" is such a sad thing. 

My mirror shows gray hair and pigmented skin. I turn around and see a slight bulge near my waist. I get angry sooner, I cant see humor in tough times. Nor can I take few things light. I think twice to show my middle finger to morons who spoil my day. Never thought about the consequences anytime ever. But now I do. Why? 

Fear of losing the earning that pays my home loan? Fear of losing my identity? Fear of not being able to live my dreams fueled by money - traveling, photography? Fear of facing the fear? Thats it! Compromise, collaboration, diplomacy....BULL CRAP!!! 

Why to worry about staying at home without a job? Worried about compromising life style? Worried about education going waste? Worried about boredom? I dont know! 

These are all the confusions and questions for which I dont have an answer. I do know I am not alone. Oh yeah! I know very well I am aging. Because I dont show interest in listening to a new music as I used to. I feel tired waking up, lying awake and going to sleep. I am being pulled into responsible (sic) roles! CRAP! 

All go to hell!!!! 

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Being Human

What does being a human mean? What are those characteristics that defines us a human?

We behave in various ways. Some of them influenced by our surroundings - be it people, society, culture and norms of the land. While some of the behavior are your own. While some behaviors are ordinary; few others could invite surprise, disbelief and shock. That happens when you go out of the behaviors defined and accepted as a norm.

But its a hypocritical world isnt it? Whats normal and whats not is defined by those in power. By those who believe they have been vested powers to uphold the virtues of HUMANS.

Whats happening in Gaza? Iraq? Syria? Why does one group think they are superior and have the right to the land, the resources and existence above all? Nah...let me not get there. We know the reasons behind all these right?

Let me stick to my personal experience. Few days ago; I had to transit through one of the middle east country on my way back from Morocco. Its not hard to guess which country it could be. I had 14 hrs transit time and thought it would be better to get out of the airport and explore the city. I enquired how these things work even before I left for Morocco. The airline agreed to sponsor my accommodation, meals and transport for that day of long transit.

On that day; the experience was horrifying. I did expect since the arrangement of getting a visa sponsored by the airline and you are at the mercy of the visa officers and all that is expected. Lets say I was prepared. But what I wasnt prepared for was the attitude and treatment of South Asians there. Well, the bulk of that country's labour class comes from India, Nepal, Bangaldesh, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Philippines...And so; is it natural to be treated worse than cattle?

Be it at the immigration queue where couple of queues were made to wait for an hour. An hour! yes when the officers were wiling away their time talking to each other. The other queues which didnt boast of these labour class population were served in no time. The scene I saw once I passed through immigration made me sad.

The harsh summer sun showing no mercy to those hundreds of construction workers, airport support staffs, drivers and cleaners....Do these group get treated the same way as a first class citizen? No and why should they? They knew what they were signing up for isn't it?

Well no. They don't. Their passport confiscated, forced to live in sub standard conditions, no holidays or medical leaves. Above all; they are looked down like worms. Camels get better treatment than these migrant workers. All because they want to send some money back to their families in hope of a decent life. For these countries, these men are resources - liability.

Aah I see I have deviated from my thoughts. I didnt feel good those 10 hours there as a visitor, mind you. Coming back to being human. Language, culture, religion, practices, geography, ancestry, economic ability - do all of these define who is superior and who is not? Do these define who is entitled to health, peace, happiness? Why cant it be simple?

Why is the inequality? I watched a couple of very sad and brutal documentary recently. One - the working conditions and life of South Asian migrant workers in Qatar. The video ends with - 4000 people from India and Nepal alone would be dead by the time the first ball is kicked off as part of 2022 FIFA world cup. The second video of infant kids bought for as low as $500 from Bangladesh, Pakistan.. being used as Camel Jockeys in the Emirates. These two videos are very disturbing.

"Humanity" is not a quality of human beings. They are found in abundance in animals.