Monday, May 28, 2007

Of time

A few days ago, the Mother put her foot down. 'Up at 6 AM and to bed at 11 PM' she growled 'Now that's how it will be. The day you disobey, I clear up my stuff and leave this apartment'.

Though the daughter laughed as if Charlie Chaplin had just given a live performance, she knew the Mother meant business.

'Your eyes. Who is going to take care of them? More than 12 hrs a day in front of this computer/TV combo? You aren't getting any younger, you hear?'

'But' the bleary-eyed daughter said meekly 'I don't feel sleepy at 11 PM, ma'.

The answer was a roar 'No questions. And yes, you will get used to it'.

I watched non-chalantly as my mother marched victorious into the kitchen after delivering her ordinance.

As expected, 11PM in bed was a nightmare. Tossing,turning, listening to sounds of waterfalls and birds, counting to 100 and back, thinking of boring people, remembering class 10 geography - nothing helped. What made it worse was the soft snore from my mother's side of the bed.Moi was was awake as an owl.

As the clock struck twelve, I realized I had just witnessed the bloom of a new day. And then, it began. The thinking, that is.

How soon time passes us by! It seems like just a few days ago when I joined the company. It's been over 7 years now !

The passage of time. It marvels me how each day passes by unnoticed. And before one realizes, months and years have silently flown past. All too sudden, one is on the death-bed, wondering if one's life was well-lived, well-loved and well-served.

Self-discipline is a key element in making life chart the course we want. Bernard Shaw said something to the tune of 'If you want life to take you where you want to go, you need to do the groundwork to make it happen. Else, be satisfied when life takes you where it wants to go, and don't complain'.

Procrastination is my evil twin. I have been planning my higher studies for so long that I can't even remember when it started. I'm still at zilch. While I watch my peers and juniors going places and feel jealous, I make promises that I'll get there myself. And then I conveniently forget about it.

The same happens when I see models on TV. I work out for two days, then stop - 'Where is the time?'

I'm not letting the vice outmaster me. One strategy that has worked for me is advance mental preparation. I set in my mind a date when I plan to work on X. I constantly remind myself about it. By D-day, I'm all set.
It's slow, but surely steady.

Signing off here with this quotation:
'In reading the lives of great men, I found that the first victory they won was over themselves. Self-discipline with all of them came first."

-- Harry Truman, 33rd US President

PS : The clock in the photo is located at Kanazawa Station. It displays time via the control of the fountains behind it.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Of Kaushambi Layek

Not feelin' very positive today, after reading this in the newsie this morning.

And now there's this theory by the police.

So many lives are lost everyday that we've stopped caring about death.

This piece of news brought with it a feeling of helplessness, maybe it's the organization-connection.

Like everything else in the world, this will be forgotten in a week or two, except by Kaushambi's close family - who worked behind the scenes to build up her career.

What made the nagging hurt worse was that I asked several people about this today at work, and apart from one, no one seemed to care about it - in spite of Kaushambi having worked with the company for two years.

Boy, that sucked.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Of bands

Yesterday was eventful at work.

Around noon, the office was full of hush-hush whispers.

'It's come !!!'

'Really ? Lemme go look!'

*giggles, squeals*

Phone calls to all people known and unknown - 'It came ! And it looks good. Yes, sure treat this evening saar !!!'


*sob followed by choice swearing*

'I'm gonna kill him one of these days'
'saala usko main...'

'I quit'

*severe banging of the telephone receiver, followed by throwing away anything in sight*

The cafeteria was full of 'Did you know what he got ? top band! ' followed by deeply inhaled gasps , 'Is he really that good? Maybe he just schmoozed adequately' and resigned sighs.

The annual appraisal ratings were out yesterday.

And yes, I called my mother to tell her the good news. Thank you, God !

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Of cheap publicity

It was with amusement that I read the 'vela special' edition of the local newsie on Apr 13, 2007.

The 'vela' is the annual festival in our local temple. It's a great opp for the locals to socialize, for those far away to re-unite and for the newly-rich to flaunt all their new toys.

Not long ago, our village - called Puthur - was a haven - a place where we actually felt like family. We had elderly people to approach when advice was required, friends to kill time with, and above all, our Goddess who kept us in good shape. Peace.

And then, time changed everything. Except the Goddess.

People went to the 'Gellf'. They built big houses and drove big cars. They stopped studying - why waste time when the oil mine spews cash? They drank expensive booze. They married rich women, who brought in more money. And all this sudden wealth had to be displayed. What better place to do so than at the temple, where everyone was sure to notice?

The latest cheap stunt was the material printed on the newspaper. Probably anticipating that noone would pay for material worth less than the paper it was written on, the proud fools distributed it for free.

The 2-sheet avatar of trash was covered with news about the local 'ungills'. Photographs of the authors - as big as the all-foam-and-no-beer articles themselves, competed for the reader's attention. To be fair, a couple of the articles were indeed scholarly. But for the most part, the paper had stupid rich men talking about the history of our village, the current who's who list, members of the temple committee - all stuffed up somewhere in the mess of carbon. Which was all good for publicity.

Except that they got all their facts wrong.

Anyone who lived the village for some time knew how well the articles were embellished. The boozers determined that their fellow boozers and their families were 'authentic' locals. The rich smugglers who donated more to the temple were the people to be proud of! And several not-so-vain families that had actually lived there for over a hundred years were quietly sidelined.

Hear this - someone donated Rs.35K to the temple for the festival. Another 'Gellfie' saw this and I guess his ego just underwent brain surgery - he ran back home, returned with Rs.55,555, and promptly donated the money.

Sometimes it makes me wonder how far people will go to get some attention. It is a universal truth that everyone wants to be loved and appreciated. But how ? And at what cost ?

I guess that's the problem with having no education. It shows up as a lack of culture and common sense. Noone in the village thought of getting somewhere on merit and earning publicity. All they could do, was to buy some really desperate journos and have them print utter nonsense. They even made God an instrument for their vanity ! How cheap is that ?!

Oh, and before I sign-off, here is another piece of trivia. The locally unemployed men - which includes most of the local men - are the largest supporters of the breweries in Kerala. No matter what the occassion, everyone boozes. People can be born or dead, married or divorced - let the booze flow, yeah !

The icing on the cake was when my grandfather expired a few years ago. As per our traditions, there is a ceremony on the 16th day of death, which helps the departed soul rest in peace. All the belongings of the deceased are disposed of, and it is a very sorrowful event. The catch is, it needs a 3rd-party to be present, someone who is not related to the deceased. We approached an elderly local, around 60 yrs old. He consented, and on the eve of the ceremony, he sent home a piece of paper - it simply said '12 bottles of chilled beer'.