Saturday, April 3, 2010

Of Vision and Illusion

VJXKM Sukumar was an astronaut. We'll call him Jack. Why? Well why not? He is a decent guy. Of course we can call him Jack. Ok jokes apart,we'll call him Jack beacuse he looks a lot he looks a lot like Jack Nicholson. The famous hollywood actor. Only Sukumar was darker in complexion, coming from the southern parts of Inda, his face was different, and he was thin, very thin. But otherwise he was exactly a Jack nicholson look alike. On the IGS(International Global Spaceship) he was testing the new american discovery, the USITC(Ultra spectacular inch telescopic camera). This camera could take pictures of stuff that were of an inch size from the space.

He was an extremely patriotic guy. He had decided never to forget his roots when he left his small village of kapapideru...

When told to test the camera, he decided that the first picture he would take would be of his very own coutry, the country that he came from. India. He would use photoshop to write 'I Love India' below the picture. He would take the picture and send it home to his parents. They would laminate it and hang it on the wall. And be proud of his sons achievements.

He started humming 'jana gana mana..'as he fixed the camera on the octapod. 'Damn it what was the 3rd line? Why do they write national anthems in local languages? They should have written it in engish. It's damn hard to remember something without understanding a word of it. Bloody India, nothing but stuffed with hypocrisy.'

'You lift my spirit, take me higher, make me fly,

Touch the moon up in the sky, when you are mine

You lift me higher, take my spirit, make it fly,

Where all new wonders will appear'....

he started humming...

What the hell, I am is going to take a picture of something 1 inch in size. Who is gonna care whether it is of indian soil or soil of sahara desert. Lets pick something from US. After all, that is the soil that gave some meaning to my life.

Lets see...USA, District of columbia, Washington DC, there is the NASA HQ...well lets move a bit awy towards MT Rainier. Zoom in more....there it its a stream of ants...very symbolic thought jack..he was not sure of what but he knew it was symbolic....he took the picture...picture of a proud ant red with passion..why should it not be red? after all it is a plump and posh american ant...not the poor hungry ants back in india....he makes a crooked face as he looks out of the SHMG(Special hardened magnifying glass) towards india...the sun was rising on INdia...yuck, people will by now start looking for a suitable place beside the railway track to shit..disgusting...he looked with forlorn eyes towards US. He could see the other side of the earth too with his SRP(Satellite refracto panograph). NIght in america...the people are kissing and partying and drintgin beer...what a life...

He opened the letter from his parents about a week frm the time, he had returned from space.. Its about 8 months from the day he took that picture of that ant. He had seen the letter last week, but he had a very busy week. He had just returned from IGS and the successful testing of USITC was among the many feathers in his cap.


We are so happy for you. We have not heard your voice for a long time. But we see your pictures. In magazines, newspapers. You have become thin. We are very proud of you. When sugandha showed us the picture u had taken from up there, it came in all the newspapers here, we were really very surprised. It was written that it was a picture of something in america, but though the picture was not very clear, we could understand that it was the picture of our small red house. We knew the first picture u take cannot be anything other than your house. And u proved us right. U so loved your house in clidhood. We still remember that day when u creid u r eyes out when u r father got a transfer and u would not go anywhere leaving the house. And then the transfer got cancelled. We expalined to sugandha that u had to tell them that it was something american becuase u work for them. Then everyone saw the picture carefully and agreed that it was the picture of our house alright. But u made a good joke of them. U know u r bravery have become famous here for how u took u r house's foto and passed it for something american. The young people one day took out a procession in your name. The local communist leader has also said that he would donate 4 lakh rs to us in your name for u r patriotism and anti-american stance. God bless u son.
Mom and Dad.


Don Bosco School, Liluah, Virtus et Labor, Mrs Maiti's Disciple 1st, Discpline 2nd, Discilpline 3rd...they form some of my most cherished memories. No, i don't remember my first day in school, but one thing i do remember is that i did not cry, i was actualy very excited. Dad took me to a smiling, bearded old man,'This is chacha, and everyday u are to take his bus to school and return to him after the classes.'

My uncle, borda for me, used to take me to the bus stop on his cycle (this continued till my 10th class). From there chacha's bus to school. School was from 9 to 2:30PM. And school was fun.

Today I am only left with some scattered memories of primary school. Actually our primary school and a major part of high school revolved around football. We played football all the time. In the morning we got some free time before classes started, then there was the small tiffin(15 min break after the 1st 3 classes), big tiffin(about 50 min break after 5th period), and another half an hour before senior school got over. We filled these free time with lots of football. We played with small rubber balls, balls that were actually made for cricket. Sometimes even tennis balls. In senior section it was on very rare ocaasions that we actually played with the object that is actually globally known as a football.

We had two almost fixed teams. The main players of the opposite team were Tanmay and sinchan. Whereas our team had Rakesh, Arindam, Rahul and me as the main players. Other players used to come and go. These were tales of primary school. In high school, all of our students got jumbled up in sections. And these best friends of mine became a bit scattered. Rahul and me were great buddies in primary school. We shared a great understandin in the field also. Same with rakesh and arindam. High school saw new friends coming in. And old friends drifting apart.

Slowly the warring football teams evolved into a bengali and a non bengali team. Almost always, the bengali team was much stonger the nonbengali faction. And we had to lend them players to maintain a balance. As a rule we always won.

We had a strange custom in our football. Let me elaborate on the bell stucture of our school. Big tiffin ended with a bell. About 5-10 min after that bell was another bell by which we were all supposed to be in our respective lines in the assmbly hall. If you are still found to be loitering, dire consequences await you. So coming back to football. As soon as the first bell was rung, football transformed to rugby. The person who had possesion of the ball in his foot used to pick it up in his hand and made a mad rush towards the opponent goal. And it was then that anarchy used to break loose. Torn buttons, shirts, sleeves were commonplace occurances during the rugby period. Thankfully this rugby lasted for only 3-4 mins, because we all had to return to assembly hall by the 2nd bell.

We had great moments and great plyers in our league. Rajib, Santaneel, Ritwik, Subhayu, Abhishek, were other stars that our league was proud of. Rajib was famous for his 'Gola' shot. That was a directionless, meaningless yet immensely powerful shot. The diretion of the shot depended on the direction he was facing when he recieved the ball. If he was facing the side line, he would hit it towards the side line. If he is facing his own goal he hit it towards his own goal. And he used to hit it with so much power that it was actually like a canon ball. Hence 'Gola'.

Arko and Soumabho were famous for thier bull like tussle. Both of them were huge. And invariably, both were placed on opposite sides. When they came face to face, the ball was lost somewhere and they were left wrestling each other like two sumo wrestlers or like two african bisons.

Ritwik used to run like a bull. You give the ball to him and he used to dart through the field like an angry bull. He was always as straight as a dart.

Subhayu broke his leg sometime in between. In the later stages of his healing process he used to walk around our goal with that plaster in his leg and any stiker from the opponent knew that they may as well have thier leg broken if they get a kick from Subhayu. The safest defender our team ever had.

Subhayu once hit the ball very hard and it landed perfectly on the head of some faculty of the technical section. It had definitly hurt. He pocketed the ball and waited for the culprit to come forward. A ball those days used to cost 2 rs. But even that was a luxury for us. after a lot of pocket hunting we realised that the whole team did not have a cumulative amount of 2 rs. And we sent Subhayu to face the noise. And he did go to that sir. And came back with a solid print of a hand over his cheek. He was bhagat singh imporsonated for us.

Kuntal was the mudmaster. He was a average player in ordinary. But he rose to extraordinary echeleons of football as soon as it rained. He was a wizard with the ball in the mud. He slided and slizzled past hapless and apprehensive defenders to safely deposit the ball in oppenents net. He was the MVP during the monsoon.

In monsoon most of the times we used to play in the assembly hall. However this was not allowed. Balls often drifetd in to the technical section and was gone for ever. On quite a few occasions people were caught and punished. Me? Well, i was a 100m sprint specialist.

Football was what we went to school for, atleast till ninth grade. Actually after all this football, the fittest of us became extremely tired. This showed during tutions and homework. As board exam neared,parental pressure increased, chaos increased in life. And hardened footballers slowly started to lessen their zeal in the field.

I too took sanyas dring my +2. I plyaed on rare occasions. But the madness remained. Football had crept in our veins. Whenever i see a field i feel like jumping in. Whenever i see people playing football in that field i stare at them, till they move out of sight. Football still causes viens to become excited. It still causes the adrenaline to rush. Today, my legs shout with protest and plagues me with muscle pull, strain and stuff whenevr i become ambitious enough to step in to the field. But memories of that time of 'soccer all day' never fails to bring a smile in my face and cheer in my heart.

I wish we could take the field once again, one more time and see to the end of that non bengali team, or that team of sinchan and tanmoy, once and for all... What say rakesh, rajib, arindam, sourav, subhayu, santaneel, ritwik....What say guys???

(If all of you were in our team then who hell was in thiers????)

Hyderabad Blues....

This one is called . . THE BIG BANG...

Yes that was his ambition. To become an astronomer. In his early days, the sky fascinated him. So, in moral science class as his teacher asked, what do you want to become when you grow up? He said, "I want to be an astronomer." Sounds boring. Sounded interesting to him then.....

Well as fate would have it, he turned out to be a short, fat, mechanical engineer, who converted to software industry. Sounds even boring?? Well it really was.... :(

It is 6 'o' Clock at hyderabad now. And the hero of our story is waiting for completion of the mandatory 9.15 hrs in office. He minimises the window, stares at the desktop for sometime. Nope, hopeless even the scecnic beauty of the himalayas fails to motivate our hero to work some more. He gives a cursory glance towards the bottom rght corner of the screen and does the calcualation that he has been doing every 2 min now, frm 5:30 pm.

Another 1 hr has to be spent..then he can go back home. Lie down embrace the only lover he has, close his eyes and relax for some time. He would mumble all his days woes. But for his chivalrous character he would have even shed some tears embracing his lover. He simply loved his pillow, the only lover in the world our hero has at present. :'( ..

The article he was reading mentioned that every now and then, you should try to focus your eyes at the farthest object that you can see from your cubicle.....Just to reduce strain in your eyes...strain that is generated when you stare at you monitor for a long time...

The farthest thing??!! Can he see the sky from his cubicle?? he never noticed or tried...he suddenly wanted to see those varied constellations that he once searched in the night sky....ursa major, minor, andromeda, hydra.......when was the last time he looked at the night sky for those???He could'nt remember...He suddenly smiled, laughed at himself.....the farthest he could see was the HR's cubicle, yup his PM's cubicle was also visible......The Sky.....nowhere in sight..........

eWork - no works. That’s how my project is known among onsite folks. What is eWorks? Well it is a cluster of 7 applications which are used for tracking various marketing needs in . (This is how I introduced my project in front of the client during their recent visit to Hyderabad).

- What is work that u do from here?

- We maintain and support these 7 applications. Add new functionalities to the already existing applications in the form of change requests, handle several data issues, and take care of tickets that the actual users raise when they face any problems while working with the applicarions.

What followed was a twist of the lips and nod of the head.

- Great said todd. Keep up the good work. We depend on you people. A forced smile and then they move on to the next cubicle.

Big deal!! They go back home with remembrance of several brown girls in salwar kameez and even more blurry brown faces of over enthusiastic, smartly dressed guys who talk in a funny English accent about God knows what….But they love India, Poor hungry India. Incredible India!

That was my fifteenth, in a row. A big wide one, bringing tears to my eyes. The yawns are going beyond my control. Tears are now flowing down in a steady stream from my eyes. Suneela notices that.

- Why are u crying? What is wrong? She is epitome of concern and care.

Rajeshwar, rajesjwari every pounces on me with interest.

- i am sad, says i.

- Do not joke, since u have come back from home, u have become quite, u do not speak so much, and now u are crying. What is wrong?

- i bbbbroke up with my gg ggg girlfriend...i cannot control myself anymore..i break down..sob sob...

Show is over. People go back to staring at their respective monitors while the restless hands plays on the hapless keyboard.

The startling green of the Khajjier valley stare at me from my desktop. There was a light drizzle. Annie stayed back in the car. The great boss(a frnd) lingered through the pine his lower back imitating a pendulum in action. The umbrella looking teenie compared to his humungous physique. Borda, sourav,

me ventured into the wet meadow. A little appehensive of the tricky mood of the many roaming horses.

Sourav unleased is always a treat to watch. He was dancing and jumping in the rain, borda always edging him on, reminding me of mera naam joker. I the quintessential photographer, was ever alert of the crazy antics of sourav and borda, to capture them in my camera.

It was fun, dancing around in the rain, barely using our umbrellas. Mountains have their own serene, mystic beauty in the monsoons. The huge moutains playing hide and seek with the clouds, creates an eerie atmosphere.

A cup falls and breaks somewhere in the floor. Some people clap and rejoice at the destruction. The species who can rejoice at destruction. We all rejoice at destruction. Not only Taliban or Al Quaeda. Some rejoice when their worst enemy gets destroyed in that football match against that some XYZ team, some are more sadistic and rejoice when they could successfully decimate some foriegn captives. Animals are much simpler. They only know love or hate. They do not know to disguise love with hate or hate with love.

My desktop again stares back at me. Almost with a sarcastic laugh. It's the laugh which the girl gives to her endless list of lovers, who know she'll never be their's. Khajjier mocks me. Tells me. O u pseudo adventurer..that is all u will ever have of me. An hour of ur life u have spend in admiration on my meadows. u have admired my grass, my mountains and how those clouds flirt with me. Then u capture me in a camera. Sit in that sophisticated cage of ur s. And u think of me. If u like me so much, then come to me...profess u r love for me..and stay close to me..and i'lll show u that i can also love u back. I may not be the brainy, self rightous species u r. But i have my ways..I can make u happy...come to me..if happiness is all u want.....

'Something is really wrong with this he is blankly staring at his desktop'