Saturday, September 24, 2005

The Seventh Sense

As I proudly displayed the ppt presentation to my aesthetically challenged boss, the slide trickled down from the top, like the matrix, the tiny particles taking their respective places and forming the title page. The template was carefully chosen from a bunch of 'Andhra' related images. The subject, since you all are unaware, is a building complex for the Govt. of Andhra Pradesh, creatively titled "Andhra Centre". My boss stared at it and said, "ye niche kya kya photo lagaaya hua hai ?" As I patiently sold my idea, I could feel a glaze over his eyes, his brain refusing to comprehend the aesthetics of it. He said, "haan haan...wo drawing sab lagao, phir dekhta hoon"...The wall of the seventh sense, an entity as old as time.

I can imagine the stone age maverick Tim, sharpening his stone tools with his stone knife and heating the stone tip on the flames of the stone fire. As he put his final touches to the disparate image of 'Man Killing Animal', his quarry buddy Bob must have walked into the cave, stared at the painting and said,
"Why are you making holes in the wall?"
"It's art."
"Baah...sab bakwaas hai."

Haven't we all faced a situation, where our brain refuses to countenance an idea, when our apparent ignorance harps at our image ? When the other guy extracts joy from an article, a song, a dance form or a scenery while we gape sans cognition ? While I risk sounding arrogant and undesirably proud, I can confidently say that I am adequately high up on the scale to go ahead with this. I think it isn't a binary switch, or a DNA gene chromosome-thing that God forgot to attach. It is a pleasant scale (from one to ten) where the seventh sense displays its strength at varying levels. I think it follows the 80% - 20% fundaa too. I am sure researchers are devoting months into this issue, trying to discover a way to gauge it. So lets not get pseudo-technical, ok?

This concept of pseudo appreciation flows into the realms of music too. I feel this novel kind of pity (with a streak of amusement) when I come across an individual devoid of a beat and/or music sense. There are few images more counterfeit and pretentious than chinki (or non-chinki) dudes head-banging in a concert, out of sync with the song. I guess peer pressure can make one do crazy things. Back home (at Kharagpur), we encounter aspiring musicians and image-builders, who informally audition for a spot on the band. Bengal, with all its music background and rich culture, seems to have a lot of chlorine in its gene pool *. I have really come across gems every year, who refuse to stick to the rhythm, trip and eventually fall out of the music group. A good voice without a beat sense is as pointless as a blonde bimbo without you-know-what. At least an incompetent guitarist has a functional instrument to offer. A singer's larynx neither makes a good dish, or a showpiece. I wish I had the velleity to say it to their face (like Kramer) - "Why don't you just give up ?"

My dad relates these horrendous anecdotes of officers, playing Jagjit Singh tracks and wah-wah-ing endlessly. I am sure there is a buffoon living in your neighbourhood too, who elaborates with pride 'Uske chehre se parda sarakta jaaye...wah wah wah'. Kawaali and Shaayari are much worse, and I wouldn't want to drag them into the mud here. Maybe some other day...

There are quite a few of us, wondering "Why is a skewed image of Kali selling for over 1.5 million dollars ?" I wish someone would give the answers.

* quoted by Jerry Seinfeld

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Crow Water and Stones

[Dedicated to Doel Ghorai, the sparkling star of Sept. 2005]

You know, finding old pals of yesteryear doesn't have the same charm anymore. Where are the scented/non-scented letters, the euphoria of long years of absence, the delight of hearing a friend's voice on a crackling phone ? It is like the story of the crow and the pot of 'little' water.

Back then, papa crow smiled and explained how little stones plopped into the pot would eventually lead to a rise in the level of water. The little crow boy nodded and went about collecting the otiose stones and dropped them one by one. Eventually the level rose satisfactorily.
The little crow, his pot of water, his girlfriend all lived happily ever after without any thirst.

The End ? Of course not.

In case you are still interested in the analogy, the pals i am talking about are the little stones, whom I, the little crow, have to carefully choose and retain in the pot, so that I may enjoy the water, which signifies the fruits of true friendship. Too good huh ? Here is another one. The Papa crow is our conscience, asking us to act the right way. The stones are the efforts we put in, allowing us to taste the water. The impatient and careless ones add no stones, and expect the water to rise when they want it to (wow, this is fun).

Here's the final one. The water is actually various forms of communication. The papa crow is the ideology we follow that decides how well we stay in touch with our friends. He is ignorant. The water doesn't need help. The little crow does. He shouldn't drink more water than required, which would eventually make him sick. The right amount of water and the right number of stones would ensure that he doesn't remain thirsty, drunk or stone-less.

Ignoring the bakwaas, I feel this age provides us with tremendous opportunities for reinforcing relations. The snickering and giggling ones please understand I am not restricting this to ladka-ladki stuff. Around 400 of my batchmates passed out this year (yes, with degrees..not daaru). . Sure, my frenergy (friend-energy) peaked around July, when I carefully enquired about their health, their job. Now, the Abhinav Gupta's and Amlan Ganguly's have slipped out of my circle. Of course, an 'out of sight out of mind' attitude has its peculiar advantages. And is much easier to maintain too....

The Yahoo Msg! and Orkuts are great tools to make one's presence felt in another's zone. Forwards and birthday messages are a reticent method of doing this, where you can answer 'present madam' without attracting too much conversation. A tailored message requires a bit of effort and some brain-power. Mails are tougher, requiring an investment of time too. Phone calls consume money. and aaj kal signal bhi nahi aata....

Of course, Technology is not to blame. Nor is my daily schedule the culprit. A few years hence, my phone bill will (hopefully) be a makhhi in my overall expenditure and hence, not a great concern. Now, it is merely a question of choice. Not of chance. I decide. And act.

Saturday, September 17, 2005


These signboards have fascinated me for quite a while.
I wonder if it has an effect on ANYONE at all.
Exhortation of course, has suffered huge limitations.
Here are the top 5 signs I saw on the way to Shimla (which I plan to blog about soon).
Here Goes :





Monday, September 05, 2005

Requiem for Delhi

You sadden me my love
You don't deserve this
Your arteries are choking
Too many of them little worms
teeming, eating you up
Where are you headed Delhi ?

You were aura, you were power
You were grand, you were majestic
What have they done to you Delhi ?
The tumors have spread too fast
The blemishes have turned into scars
Green has turned brown
Blue has turned black
You were so pretty Delhi...

Poor disadvantaged unemployed sick
minority majority rural urban
They all have drowned you
Your endeavour to please them all
Has weakened you my love
The spark in your eyes
is no longer steady
RWA's can't help you today
Can I save you Delhi ?

Your heart silently chokes
Too many of them little worms
and more are breaching thy territory
Khakhi and sparkling white
Are raping you dear
You still smile bravely
and give them space in your heart
How will you survive Delhi ?

Will you survive Delhi ?

Friday, September 02, 2005

Tis the season silly!

[from the archives]
You won't believe the weather we are having here for the last few days. Weather is of course the quintessential conversation filler, but this one is exclusively about it. So I am obviating all the disgrace attached to the topic just for this piece. ok ?

The rains have always been unpredictable here at Kharagpur. The day would be sunny, all bright and pretty and WHAM ! We would have heavy rains an hour later - uprooting trees and pushing the cows and dogs to take shelter in our hostels. This year, the truculent batch of rains ended somewhere around mid august, in turn gifting us with ten days of light breeze and azure skies. We ignored mother nature for a while, too preoccupied with pseudo academic activities. Then, the new improved Kharagpur rains came unannounced.

It started off with a chilly night a week back. People dug out smelly blankets and hideous full sleeved t-shirts. The following day's breakfast session seemed like a day from deep winter. Handkerchief covered noses, majority of the students with unshowered hair and uncleansed body beneath it, double layered clothing and a few of those fashionably matched too. The tea that morning was relished like God's own nectar. God it seemed, was undecided about the weather he wanted to present to this forsaken institute. Hey ! He wasn't even sure whether to puncture the cloud and let the water pour down.

So it all froze in mid-air. Yes..Droplets so small, that they were too scared to touch the muddy ground, so lethargic that they waited for our skin to move through the air and tagged along. The clouds would neither cry their hearts out, nor move on with their life. They remained transfixed, not sure how and when to let go off their offsprings.

The dilemma seeped through our skins too, infecting our brains. Was the rain really umbrella-worthy ? A tough conflict between bearing the teasing drops on the face while having an umbrella in the bag and putting up such a strong defence for such a feeble foe.

We all waited. We all silently wished the clouds away. We wished that the classes would be suspended. We hated it. We loved it. It was the right thing happening at the wrong time, like most of the events of our lives....Imagine a slight breeze at one in the afternoon, pushing out all the stenches of the hostel room. Imagine the droplets bouncing on the sill, some bold enough to wet your feet. Picture yourself doing the thing you like best - reading a novel, watching your favourite Shahkrukh Khan or simply dozing off. Who would anyone want to read drivel about Summer Air Conditioning Refrigeration Cycles when the room is blessed with the exact humidity ratio and the dry air flow rate is just right ? It is one of those moments in life when you undergo a violent battle with your conscience, justifying the laziness, trashing thyself, blessing the weather, cursing the class schedule, repeatedly delaying the alarm on the computer, minute by minute, to the limit when you can't grant yourself a second of inefficiency. Here the class of IITians gets divided into two simple groups. Those who win the battle with their conscience and blissfully enjoy their free hours, and those who are bold enough to tolerate the ennui that IIT offers us, all paid for of course.

I am not really sure who has the last laugh. The one who enjoyed this miniscule fraction of his life, or the one who was productive during the same span of time. It doesn't really matter anyway. Does it ?