Monday, January 26, 2009

Just another holiday?

All this while I had been looking forward to this long weekend...(I mean I always look forward to any break from the humdrum of work life) ... I knew it's Republic Day, 26 Jan, but all that mattered to me was that it was on a Monday and it extended the breather I needed between the taxing Monday to Friday routine.
It is unfortunate.

Here I am a young Indian woman in her mid-twenties, in a way representative of the nouveau urbane Indian populace that juggles with some-what equal ease between corporate boardrooms and cubicle spaces, domestic and international airports, state transport buses, autorickshaws and air-conditioned cabs, paranthe waali gali and pizza hut, idli dosa and pasta arrabiata, dandiya-raas and discotheques, lehenga-choli and Guess attire, and other numerous dichotomies our fast-paced lives are caught up in thanks to the big mad race of LIFE itself.

So far so good, but, am also an Indian who is proud of my rich cultural heritage and ashamed at the religious disharmony; delighted at the technological advancement and disappointed at the abject poverty, overjoyed to see how Indians are recognized worldwide for their prowess in various industries and fields and upset at the guys who spit "paan" on the stairs of the Metro station. I hate the politicians for their inaction and salute the armed forces for their heroism.

I feel, I feel strongly, I argue, I blog, I even shed a tear or two when I see the heart-wrenching scenes of devastation on TV but I do nothing. I am representative of the nouveau urbane Indian populace that slams all politicians at the first provocation but does not want to join politics. I blame the system, I ask for salvation, I detest corruption but I choose the easy way out as an IT professional or something that secures my life. I do not want to write the civil services exam, politics is a dog's game, social service can become messy. My house is dirty, and I want to clean it but I don't want to get my hands in scum. I am responsible for my parents, need to plan for my kids, have a family to look after. The larger mass is frankly not my headache. I am aware of what's going on but I cannot do anything to change it. It is not in my means. Imagine if big industrialists, moneyed goons, educated bureaucrats all fail, who am I?

No, I and millions like me, the vast majority of the youth today, are not completely wrong; we argue too well. There's a reason why there are people-elects, there's a reason why there's a democracy, there's a reason why the legal system is in place. I cannot be held accountable for others' jobs. I maybe guilty of inaction but atleast I am not doing anything wrong. I am a seeker of change but sadly do not see myself as the agent of change.

And thus, year after year, 15th August and 26 January come and go... some patriotic songs on the radio and patriotic movies on the TV channels..else just another holiday...

Monday, January 19, 2009

Lost world...

It almost seems as if I have lost the world. I have to check the dates on the blog to see when the last time I thought of blogging for a positive experience was.

The fact: I have lost my phone.
Another fact: I am not the irresponsible kind but once a while my cell phone does find a way to get out of my reach.
Third fact: I have never ever lost my phone before this, which takes me to the ultimate fact: I am very depressed and miserable.

Now, down to the gory details, not that there are much to boast of. An innocent trip to the rest room in the midst of a hectic Monday noon. Not-so-innocent bystanders. I leave my phone there. Come back after half an hour to find nothing; I am sure it was gone in 6 seconds (if not fewer).

Aaargh, it’s a terrible feeling. I hate misplacing things. Lately, I have acquired the forever-victimized syndrome, and this incident brutally reinforces it. I mean what the *&^%, why me?

My dear phone, with all the numbers, pictures, wall papers must be by now a proud possession of some dumb a##h*&^.

Yeah yeah, I ought to be careful, why should I curse somebody else, my fault, I was not responsible enough and blah blah and blah. What the hell, is it a crime to expect basic honesty from people? Why should I always breathe with caution? Nobody or nothing is safe anywhere. Even in the expected security of an office, I should move around as if I am moving in enemy territory, keep all my belongings tied to myself with the paranoia that I don’t know what I’ll lose where.

I am damn pissed. When is judgment day; is there is any hope for retribution?

Thursday, January 15, 2009

A vital chord...

A vital chord, once upon a time dearer than life itself,

That was strained yet hopeful,

Twang … it snapped as I watched aghast today

The reason so simple, recurrent, so obvious

The doer blissfully oblivious.

I don’t know if the two broken pieces

Will ever come together like they once did.

But even if the ends are tied

The knot shall ever remain.

And this day shall mark the end

Of an era well loved and lived

Well fought and defended

Ill fated and cursed.

Thus shall begin a new period of

Mutual exclusion and the search

For inner peace and self respect.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Far from the madding crowd (and any signs of civilization) - Siruseri

Yes, Siruseri - a place in the remote districts of Tamil Nadu, India and a few light years away from Chennai (that's around 40-45 kms) is my new work place. Our office recently moved to this to-be-swanky place to create it's largest IT technopark, which basically spells doom for city residents like me.
I don't care if the IT park is an architecture wonder in the making or has the famous Saravana Bhavan (a fantastic brand for yummy south indian delicacies - i love south indian food) or symbolizes the future of IT infrastructure in India and Asia - my personal problems are way too many for any of the listed reasons to compensate the inconvenience caused to many of us who travel to this place at all god forsaken hours.

Day 1 spelled the first letter of the word Disaster. Vish and I had perspired enough from 9:30 AM to 10 waiting for the company bus to arrive our stop at 9:45 (you see, we had dutifully found the routes, timings etc. but no preparation is enough to face life). Finally, when the familiar white and blue monster did show up at 10:15, the driver didn't let us in, saying in a very dismissive tone, "seat illa", tamil for "no seats". We saw another bus and decided to chase true filmy ishtyle we rushed into an auto and asked the driver to follow the bus. After having chased the bus half way round the city and having caught up with it, we got the now-familiar response "seat illa". After this we went to another office to catch a shuttle at 12:30; beaten and half-dead we reached office at 2:30. The bumpiest, dustiest and the hottest ride of my life.

I must admit that even after all that we had gone thru, the sheer size of the facility amazed us; the cool and well designed interiors of the office were a delight but like I said the road to the goal did not seem worth it!

The subsequent days have been more organized with only initial settling down hiccups but the 3-4 hour travel every day, the running after buses, the tension of missing "the" bus even after standing for 30-45 minutes at a stop, the odd work hours to choose from (6:30-3:30, 2:30-10, 8-5, 11:30-8:30 and what not), the unavailability of PCs in a shift that suits you and the unavailability of buses in the time window that you have a PC make work life way too complicated.

As of now, I am in a project that provides me with the opportunity to do value-adding work, is professionally executed, has a fantastic client and an approachable management...all this does make me forget during the office hours the tryst to get to work and then get back home , but the holistic picture of life is left wanting for some more, a little here and a little there...and I hope for the best!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Ringing in the new

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow;
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.
Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light:
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.
Ring out the grief that saps the mind,
For those that here we see no more;
Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.
Ring out false pride in place and blood,
The civic slander and the spite;
Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.
Ring out a slowly dying cause,
And ancient forms of party strife,
Ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweet manners, purer laws.
Ring out old shapes of foul disease;
Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.
Ring in the valiant man and free,
The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
Ring out the darkness of the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be.

- Alfred Tennyson (1850)

Here comes the new year bringing with it the smug hope for change and end of all that is not wanted. And that is the best part of the ringing in the new and ringing in the old.

The new year’s eve was spent in the comfort of home with my family and therefore was less noisier than some of the previous ones. This has been a fantastic year personally and professionally. As I introspect on the year gone by, I am proud that I have worked well and partied hard. No regrets…not that I make major resolutions! I make plans as life happens so am unorganized and organized at the same time.

If I try to draw up a list of some things that I should do, it would read like this (not necessarily in any order of priority):
  • Blog (more) often.
  • Stay fit and slim, which includes diet control and regular exercise – No more last minute gyming after an all-year hogging spree.
  • Grow my hair (a secret desire since childhood to have long flowing hair - never accomplished).
  • Factor in more time for reading…a passion that has been ignored for some time now, mostly due to my laziness!
  • Learn basic conversational Tamil.
  • Keep in touch with friends regularly (a safe excuse to orkut and fb).
  • Keep updating this list as and when required (So this takes care of all that I should do but can’t remember!).
Wishing a very happy new year to all :).

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Spread the word around…Guess who’s back in town…

And that explains the brief hiatus on the blog.

I am back home, with my folks in Noida, after almost two years and it’s been simply wonderful. Nothing feels like home…having been away for such a long time, the whole experience of homecoming has been awesome. It’s so comfortable to slip back to the old days’ holiday lifestyle…lazy mornings, late baths, no cooking, mommy’s food, dad’s pampering, endless ringing of the phone, incessant chatting with relatives, neighbors and friends (the antiseptic life of U.S. of A where your neighbor is also a complete stranger was getting to me) and all the Indian delicacies, shopping, mall hopping (sorry, this is common to all geographies) and the continuous banter and fights at home with my darling bro.

The only difference this time is that my hubby is around…but I guess this fact hasn’t changed much. Vish has easily become a part of our small family except for the VIP status he enjoys when it comes to selecting the menu for the meals and small things here and there. My parents are still getting used to the fact that he is as normal a kid as their other two kids and can live without all the attention he gets ;).

In these two weeks, have caught up with relatives, friends, neighbors…there are so many changes but all superficial…nothing’s “really” changed. Thank god for that! My baby nieces now go to school, some college friends are beautiful (and am not sure if dutiful as well) wives, some school pals are proud mommies, the neighbor’s kids now have beards but they are the same people I have known for years. The distance of two years have not dented our relationships, we met like we have always met. Ditto for the cities…Noida, Delhi and Ghaziabad, where I have spent almost 25 years! There are more flyovers, metro connectivity has increased, lot of construction, infrastructure enhancements for the Asian Games due in 2010, bigger malls, better brands, increased auto fares but the spirit is the same…raring to go in the midst of the crowds and the dirt, in the midst of the peak hour traffic and the non-peak hour lull, and in the in the midst of the extremes of devastating poverty and disgusting opulence.
For good or for bad, I guess nothing “really” changes…

Am back in Chennai from the week starting 01/05 and it will take some effort to gear up for the work routine again but the party never ends…I just take a break!


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