The difference in the cities is left in their tourist profiles too. While the
The difference in the cities is left in their tourist profiles too. While the
“Grow up!” These are perhaps the most heard two words in my life. Mom and dad have perfected a look when they see me physically, or a certain duration of pause over the telephone to convey this message. Sis has perfected a grunt that means grow up. Best Friends worry that their children will call me “Grow Up Banjo Uncle” (poor kids. They will think my name is Madhurjya G.U.) But the worst is that these days even juniors have started saying it. Sometimes it is, “it’s a long time since then. You should grow up.” At other times, it’s “you won’t change. Grow up”
The problem I believe is that I have the Peter Pan Syndrome like a true blue Sagittarian. We refuse to grow up. We do not like the world of Grown ups where everyone is so serious, a world where friends meet to discuss the latest pay hikes or the last car they bought. Eeks, I’ll suffocate and die in such a world. Peter Pan rocks.
But sometimes there is some rub off effects. I have begun to act like grown ups in certain areas. I throw tantrums if I see people wasting energy or water. We are pooling a car to office, instead of taking separate cars which people appreciate saying, “you guys worry about company financials”, but which in reality is another way I can help the environment. The Housekeeping in my pseud upmarket and uptight hotel thinks I am crazy as I do not allow them to change my towels and bed sheets everyday. A Peter Pan would do the same things without throwing the tantrums perhaps, but then what the hell.
Someone heard this and told me “So you are an idealist?” Holy Cow!!! No way!!! Neither do I want to be. I think idealists are great people if you find them. I have met many along my journey and typically find them of the following types.
The True Idealist – passionate about a cause. Goes about his work without bothering about what the world thinks about it. Some of them might turn into page 3 idealists, yet they do their basic work. Some of course are fraud idealists getting an idealist cloak to get into Page 3.
The Could be Idealist - these guys have the same qualities as idealists. It’s only that they haven’t found the cause they want to fight and so they go about their normal life. If a cause is not found soon, they will never become one.
The What If idealist – These guys typically have sold their souls to family, money, career or something similar and every night in their beds they lie and feel sad about the good that they could have done. But then they go to sleep because the next day they have important meeting to attend.
The One Day Idealist – The What If idealist lives in this dream world where he says, “One day I will go back and do what I wanted to do and change the world” Normally that never happens. This guy is more miserable than the What If Idealist depending on whether he really believes in the One Day syndrome or is just using it as an excuse.
The Please Call me Idealist – These are the ones that are most common. They will tell everyone, whether they want to hear or not, that they are great people, capable of extraordinary things, it’s just that they are stuck in a mediocre life. So they will crib on and on how they deserve more than they have and how they are waiting for the things to fall in place and they wait and wait and bore everyone around them to death.
Me? I’m just an ordinary guy leading an ordinary life. :)
Why does one write? For many reasons I guess. Maybe the writer wants to make sure that there is someone who cares for what he has to say. Maybe the writer wants to propagate his views on the others and make the world into what he thinks is a better place and maybe sometimes the writer writes just for himself. Recently I have been getting a lot of brick bats from my friends over my posts in this blog. The icing on the cake was perhaps the comments on the poem published a few posts back. From juvenile to pathetic mush, I have heard everything about it. On the other hand, I have found others say they were ‘moved’ by it. And of course, there were the usual; “what makes you write such stuff? What is your hidden pain?”
But criticisms from close friends, even mild, may seem scathing to the writer. So I decided to take stock of what has become of this blog and what it was meant to be in the first place. When I started off, it was just an effort to keep in touch with friends, tell them where I was and what I was doing, which new places I had visited. What was the latest ‘banjoness’ I had indulged into. I was travelling around, putting them up on my blog, enjoying it. Slowly there were comments on the post. I hardly bothered to respond. But then someday without my knowledge it became a responsibility towards the readers, to respond back to them. Yes, I might have chosen to remain the same, but I have never agreed on doing something half heartedly. Slowly, the orkut syndrome struck. Just like people worry when they do not receive scraps for some time, I began to worry if there were no comments on a certain post. “Was it bad? Did I offend someone?” The joy of writing was slowly going away. I was slowly beginning to write for the audience, not for myself.
The blog is a happy blog. I have tried to keep it that way. If I look back, the last year has been a mixed bag of emotions. I have seen the lowest depths of depression and stress. I have ridden on the seventh heaven as friends have given me good news about their lives. All in all, I have tried to remain as awesome as ever and keep the posts similar too.
This is my last refuge. I do not know when was the last time I actually checked every setting and clicked a beautiful picture on my own camera. I do not know when was the last time I read a really great book without anything else worrying me. I haven’t added a single awesome song, except for latest Hindi movie mp3s, to my once amazing music collection. People make choices when they enter the corporate jamboree. For me, the choice has chosen me and to respect that I solemnly assure you I shall write as long as I write for myself. These days I do not have the time to carefully edit my posts, check every grammatical construct and every spelling. These are raw, straight from the oven, mostly post midnight posts. And I like them that way.
Death. We all wonder about it sometime or the other. And some of us worry just a little more than others. He belonged to the latter. Death was always the most intriguing part of life to him. He often wondered about life after death. Does the soul really exist? Is there an afterlife?
To him death was romantic, comparable to the very best of Keat’s poetry. To him it was like standing on the edge of a cliff, watching the thin line that divided life and afterlife. He loved the feeling. He knew in death lay the glory, the answers to life’s many problems. And in death lay the beginning of many more. Yet, he loved death.
He always wanted the end to come announced, so that he could look at it in the eye and embrace it like a long lost brother. The transition – it should be peaceful. And then one day it happened.
Death stared at him in the eye. And unlike everything he had imagined, his life was not flashing before his eyes. There was no darkness that was slowly descending. All he could see was a light. Something in him fought; fought like there was no tomorrow. He reached out for the light, it was near; yet it was beyond his reach. He reached up, searched for a word. For the last time he moved up to call out - and kept on fighting.
As strong hands pulled him up, he realized how beautiful life was. How greater it was compared to death. Life, it wants to live. And that is the greatest truth of them all.
(Based on a true story)
In lonesome nights in distant lands;
A face shines brightly in my heart.
The clear skies speak of things unsaid;
Of the world that made us part.
It was deathly still that night;
The night you left me to my fate.
But my heart still calls for you;
From heartache to heartache.
Caesar’s wounds wept in
And Brutus paid with his life.
My wounds, my love are for you alone;
To save you from all your strife.
I do not know if you'll remember;
All that we did for our sake.
A man misunderstood walks alone
From heartache to heartache.
My wishes are all with you;
May you find peace some day.
Or maybe it was yet another game;
Which you just wanted to play.
It’s easy to find love they say;
In the midst of painted fakes.
Your fake smile is all I recall;
From heartache to heartache.
I have always loved spam mails. When I am really really bored in life, I go to my spam folder and read those mails. Gosh! I miss those days when I could have the luxury of time to spend an hour reading how I could satisfy baby or just help poor Mrs. Tikku from
“hiiiiiiiii just got ur mail, u must be very busy with your job neways thanx 4 ur reply what to do we r not destined 2 carry forward in the matrimonial way never mind I hope your search 4 the right one ends very soon in fact to tell the truth I wish my parents' search also ends up soon too so that I can carry forward my plans 4 da future . I hope I can expect mails from u .I dont ne problem in carrying out friendship ,do in4m me when u get ur desired partner and keep mailing its really nice to get mails 4m u as I dont have ne net friend , ok more in the next
bye n take care.......................”
Now this is a post about an amazing movie. The inside scoop from Planet Hollywood is that it was to be named Ice Age – The Prequel but there was a falling off between the producers and therefore in a moment of panic the studio named it 10,000 B.C.
The movie has its problems. For example, the dialogues were written when the Writer’s Guild at
The story tells you how Manny the mammoth’s family was lost. Now the men of those times called the mammoths Manac (hence the name Manny) and hunted them. (Remember the cave paintings?) So there are these typical bad men who cage the Manacs and make them work as horses and the Manacs are really upset about it. After all, they are mammoths, not horses. They actually like the hero’s tribe which just hunt them for food and you know it’s like the honour before food kind of movie. The hero of the movie is the great great grandfather of the kid in Ice Age. Now there’s the tiger too. The hero in the movie saves a tiger, who surprisingly is a vegetarian and is the great great grandfather of the tiger in Ice Age (from its mom’s side). So you see the story slowly building up.
The story is set at a time when the earth had not split up into continents. So you have the Latinos, the Caucasians, the Africans all living side by side in the middle of someplace that looks like
And now about the great Tik Tik. He’s the nice guy in the movie. He gets hit by an arrow or something and within a night recovers completely. We were sure after the movie that he had an affair with the witch doctor/village wizard Old Mother who supposedly can send her breath across miles to do CPR on the heroine. And here is the spoiler alert. Tik Tik will die in the end. But what our snoops tell us is that the dying scene was done by our own KJo.
Don’t miss it.
Normally I hate conducted tours. You get clubbed down with all sorts of holiday tourists with most of them trying to figure out if there’s any freebie that they are not having. For example, I have heard tourists in Jaipur looking at the Hawa Mahal and asking the tour operator, “So where is the special Rajasthani snack that’s mentioned in the brochure?” (Well, to be fair, we all do that. That’s human nature.)
But the point is that while at
But sometimes, it pays to be on one of these conducted tours. Let’s take for example the case of the desert safari here. I believe it’s a trip worth taking if you are in the
So before anything else you must leave the city of skyscrapers that tend to be forever growing upwards and drive down a road that’s as smooth as 98% fat free margarine at a speed of 160 kms/hr to hit the desert sands and of course be in time for the belly dancing.
The first thing that you should do in a desert safari is wish that you had been brought up in a Calcutta that was building its Metro Rail and loved its potholes or you had gone to a college in Rajasthan or Bangalore which were so hated by the authorities that the approach roads resembled the roads of World War II ravaged Europe or you had cycled down a paddy field with 10 villagers and their dogs chasing you thinking that you were the chicken thief. (Well, I had done the first two but just added the third in case you fit the description). In case none of your wishes have come true, you MUST pray to Dharam Paji and the other screen Gods of the 60s and 70s. Or if you are slightly westernized, you might pray to Gregory Peck. But trust me; it requires the blessings of a Dharam Paji. After all, you need to live to watch the belly dancing.
So you start with the dune bashing. It’s submitting your life at the hands of a crazy driver on a four wheel drive, (the one who drives at 160 km/hr) and remembering all the Chambal ki daaku movies which had a definite scene with the villains chasing the hero (or the other way round) on a jeep across the desert (that’s where the Western movies come in handy) Trust me it’s not easy. It’s like the worst roller coaster you have ever been on. One moment you see a huge dune rising up in front of you and the next you drive straight into it. So you realize that the seat belts are actually there for a reason. But when you drive straight into the shining sun it’s an experience worth having. And obviously you are going to the belly dancing.
So typically after your inside has been churned and churned again by this ride, you finally reach a nicely set up camp which is supposed to give you a taste of the world that was. You take pictures dressed as a Sheikh and hope if they threw in an oil well as a freebie that would be just awesome. And you look at the stage set for belly dancing and wonder.
But before that there are a couple of other things that you can do. You can go in for a camel ride. At the cost of being racist, I must say I find the camels of the Thar far more gentle, friendly and well mannered. You can go for the Henna painting on your hands or go and splurge at the amazingly overpriced souvenir shop and also buy your ultimate Arabian fantasy dress if you know what I mean. And you wonder if this dress would be worn by the belly dancer as well.
But before that there is Sheesha. The Europeans call it the Hubbly Bubbly and the Indians call it the Hookah. In fact, whether you’re a nicotine addict or not, it might just be a good idea to sit in the middle of the desert with the seesha in your hands, waiting of course for the belly dance to begin.
Now unless you are absolutely inattentive, you must have realized by now that the phrase belly dancing has appeared quite a few times in this post. Well for every Indian male, the typical idea of a Middle Eastern Belly Dance comes from the repeated viewing of the movie Sholay, but for certain people the connection is a bit stronger. If you have attended college and have a few extra pounds around your waist, you probably have been through it. You are the one who is picked up in the senior interaction sessions and asked to do the belly dancing. So I guess if someone decided to finally lay the questions in his mind to rest and understand for once the intricacies involved, you can’t blame him.
In most of the conducted tours however you will be disappointed. It might just turn out to be a Lebanese or an Eastern European dancer well past her prime doing the regular moves that had been age old secrets carefully guarded by the pelvic thrust specialists of Bollywood. But in the chill of night, when you hear the music and see the dance, you might just realize that traces of an art form still remains hidden waiting to be explored.
There are ways to get away from the formatted patterns of a tour. You can lie on your back and hear the sands sing to you. You can ride the camel, forget the really uncomfortable jeans and sing to yourself, Ajeem o shaan Shahensha, you can watch the sun set, imagine yourself to be in a land centuries ago where you were yet to light a fire to keep the wild animals of the night away.
And yes, the other good thing about conducted tours. You get good Indian vegetarian food. And yeah, that’s something important. Trust me.
To be very frank, I could not think of any other title for this post. One more flight, one more new place to work in and one more time zone and there I was on an Emirates Flight. Anyway, though the air hostesses on the flight were really cute, I believe that our girls on any of our domestic airlines will beat them hands down in the matters of courtesy, customer responsiveness or plain efficiency. It was really appalling to see the way the ground staff of Emirates at the
But the in-flight entertainment channel was unbelievable. It had the latest Hindi movies. It had Scrubs and to top it all off it had a Bengali Mithunda movie. Now I miss those gems. He was THE crime fighting Inspector who warned the goons the first time, next time they met he would send them to the hospital and if the unlucky goon met him the third time, he would be sent to the funeral pyres. So there was Mithunda waging “Yuddha” or War against the goons.
In fact, he so inspired me that as soon as I landed I went ahead and took a cell phone number that was the James Bond signature. 007 – Thank God they haven’t made it a special number yet. On the way to the hotel, I wondered at the city’s skyline. What does it take to build a city in the middle of the desert, to make flowers bloom out of nothing? It seemed at last the genie from the bottle had finally come out and granted people their desires. Maybe at $111 a barrel and rising, oil is the new genie. But interestingly Dubai is the least blessed of them all in terms of oil.
Whatever the movies might say, good men normally finish last. That’s why you have an
But then like Gabriel I see a gentleman smiling at me. He comes near me and asks, “Indian? Lost?” Never have I been so happy about my Indian appearance. So here was Abhay who gave me a lift all the way to the hotel. He was from Goa; I had just come from
Abhay, here’s all the very best to you. Maybe we will meet again one day.
Statutory Warning: If you are a gum eater like me, get your own stock. A packet of Wrigley’s sticks cost the same here as a can of Pepsi.
Yes, it’s official. I need a woman in my life right now. At least for a month. To understand my craving for the female company you need to understand the background. No, I am still sane. I am not feeling any pangs of loneliness as most of my friends are rushing to get married. Most of my convictions in life remain the same. But one thing has changed. My location. I am in
Now Life in
So my plans of
So in case you are reading this and satisfy the gender requirement and are ready to travel to
Else be prepared for my cribs about not having a woman in my life in my
My closest friend and family will vouch for me that I do not remember dates – be it birthdays, anniversaries or even the last date I went out with the lady for a dinner. Now all of these are important things and I admire those who can remember such details. But I can’t, much to the irritation of everyone around. In fact, of my innumerable annoying habits, this finds a place on the top of the list. So these days when normally a friend calls up to say, “Madhurjya Banerjee (note the use of the full name) are you forgetting something?” I usually start singing Happy Birthday to you. Works 9 out of the 10 times. It doesn’t work when you forget that 14th Feb is Valentine’s Day and start singing Happy Birthday.
Anyway, to make a long story short, on 10th March, exactly a year ago I started this blog just after I had cast my lot, made my job and was about to embark on my India trip. A year from then, I am sitting in a hotel room overlooking the beautifully lit up
Thank you all for taking the pains to visit this blog, leaving your messages and tolerating me.
Happy Birthday bloggie darling.
When Mom and Dad or friends used to speak about
So I landed up in
Anyway, on the way I made a stop at the BITS Pilani,
So touching a landmark, I move on, leaving myself to the hands of fate and my driver. But slowly things began to look up. I finally got to hear once again the cuckoo frantically calling its mate. Spring was in the air. A season I had forgotten existed. The air was refreshingly fresh after living in Mumbai for some time, and to top that, there was not the smell of fish, (tantalizing or irritating, depending on which side of the palate divide you are)
The winding road up the mountain slope was no different from the others I have seen across
The Guest House I am staying at is far from the maddening crowd but also home to a very caretaking caretaker who will not let me venture out without a car between 7:00 pm in the night to 7:00 am. So in the late evenings, often I can have the luxury to just sit and hear the insects singing their chorus in our backyard after I hear the stories of all the places he has worked in. Long walks on the roads that forever go on and on. It was a nice feeling; to be out of a city that is always hurrying.
To be very frank, I actually intend to travel out of
My blog has always been a very private blog, the readers being restricted to BITSians and IIMBians and mostly batch mates amongst them. So the other day while I was in the factory, a friend pinged me to tell me about this.
Now that’s interesting. People actually take an interest in reading blogs of people they do not know anything about. Makes you feel like an author doesn’t it?
He counted the coins he had in his pocket. The few crumpled notes had already been counted and recounted several times over. There was no way he could afford it. Exasperated, he wondered why things had to be so costly, especially the things he wanted most. Frustrated, his anger turned to her. Why could she not like something much simpler, say for example, bananas? Bananas were not costly.
It all started few days ago. They were walking down the road and she suddenly saw a fruit cart passing them, and almost to herself she made a comment, “I love pomegranates.” He knew it was stupid, but that statement kept ringing in his ears.
He never knew how costly those damned fruits were till he causally walked over to the local fruit vendor in the nearby market. Being good at maths had its advantages. He quickly calculated the number of samosas and candies he would have to sacrifice over the next month to be able to afford it. “Promise”, he told himself, “next time mom gives me pomegranates, I will never say no.”
So on her birthday he actually bought it exhausting his savings wrapped it in a nice packet and went off to meet her.
Everyone from the class was there with expensive gifts brought with the money their parents showered on them. He gave a smirk and smiled at the idea of how he had saved his own money to buy her the birthday gift. She would love to have it. He knew that for sure. When he gave it to her with the small card that read, “I remembered. Not from my parents.” She laughed. He was on top of the world. But then he could not believe his ears. “Nice joke,” she said, “Get my gift to school tomorrow.”
Within an hour he excused himself and got out of the party, taking back his pomegranate. He was sure she wouldn’t even notice. Tomorrow he would ask mom to pick up something.
Birthday parties of your first crush can be an exciting, exhilarating or an utterly humiliating experience. Sometimes it does none of those things but just puts you in front of reality.
So as he ate the pomegranate that he bought for her, he realized good food like good advice should not be wasted on unworthy people :)