Monday, March 27, 2006

Pride and Prejudice.

Lush green meadows, impeccably architected castles, a serene cloudy weather, and the fresh dampness of rain in the grass. If these don’t inspire you to be poets and artist, don’t even try you will never be one. There's something about nature that awakens the artist in everyone. To complement all these factors imagine a beautiful romance in the midst. This was too much for me to handle. Well, these are my thoughts in my complicated head when I watched "Pride and Prejudice". If you are not able to decipher them.. chill ... you never will... I usually can't..

I usually am impoverished during debates relating to romance. According to me that’s as good that I will get about it. But a romance in the midst of an arranged matrimony... wow that was something that really caught my attention. I could find striking similarities between the present day South India and 15th century England.. Phew.. how primitive can we get... I guess either we just hold on to our traditions so tightly or it’s just that "we don't have the finesse to make things work" if you are catching the drift ... cool... I cannot confess in a more polite manner. We just want to make life easy..and let our parents do the "elementary" things in our lives. yeah right! whatever that meant... The protocols that these guys follow to get married was really cool. Where else would you get the permission from your future in-laws to go down on one knee and propose for marriage! That was really cool. The activities were like perfectly legalized and licensed flirting.

The story revolves around the Bennet family where Mrs. Bennet the mom tries to get her five girls married. She sometimes reminded me of Nagesh in Michael Madana Kamarajan..the same cribbing and melodrama involved. The story introduces Mr. Bingley who is a wealthy estate owner from London and his friend Mr. Darcy who tags along with his friend to "check out" the girls. I guess 15th century England was more open minded than what we are today. They were allowed to socialize and gauge for themselves about the potential suitors.
The story begins as usual with the Bennets especially the heroine Elizabeth Bennet writing Mr. Darcy off as a snob, a man filled up to the brim with pride. Well I guess it is a trend in girls to think reserved men are snobs. It is my observation that this trend is prevalent in complete magnitude even today. What is with these girls.... They attribute every trait of a man to the ominous male ego! Well I am no judge of hypocracy but I feel that there is a lingering sense of insecurity in every man which is portrayed as a snobbish behavior. So next time you find a guy snobbish, give him another chance! I could totally relate to Mr. Darcy and I really meant it when I told my friend that "there is a Mr. Darcy in every one of us".

On the other hand, Elizabeth Bennet was filled with misconceptions. Just like most girls, she was judging Mr. Darcy very early. The ability of girls to judge immediately really amazes me. It only takes a spur of a moment for them to judge you. Its either experience" or just pure hypocrisy. I must agree strongly that there are exceptions to this case but as everyone would suggest, exceptions are a small percentage of the sampling database. I am just lucky to be acquainted with a lot of girls who fall into the exceptions category (this declaration was made sincerely to keep me away from physical harm... so thanks for your consideration he he..). But, I believe Kiera Knightley has performed beyond my expectations and really given meaning to this part. I feel that there is a Elizabeth Bennet in every girl only varying in degrees. These are the characteristics I feel make them simply irresistible to us men.

Well the happy ending eventually takes place after Mr. Darcy spells out every detail regarding the misconceptions of Liz Bennet in a two page letter which sparks the dormant love in Liz's heart for Darcy. This is just great.... I guess all guys should take a lesson here. Be clear and verbose and you would be understood.. Phew... what a mind job...In summary, I consider "Pride and Prejudice" to be one of the best romance movies that I have seen lately. It really makes me wonder...
Would I find my Elizabeth Bennet? Only time would tell ......

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Trekking ! Yeah Right !!

I am a novice to this very concept of having a "get away" weekend and will always remain one. What are we trying to get away from? Peaceful nights of sleep? Sumptuous food at home (or anywhere for guys like me!)? Entertainment in movies? Shopping? Are you kidding me! Well this is why I am perplexed at the very thought of walking around in the woods where creatures are hell bent at making your lives miserable and the sheer physical exhaustion of the entire episode....
Ok, now that I have your attention, let me try to put things in perspective. People are different.. Period! their mood swings are like a pendulum whose oscillatory motion can never be expressed as a simple equation. Nah ... not by any scientist. Well then, what is it that drives people crazy enough to leave behind all luxuries of technology and wander about in jungles? I guess "monotony" is what kills them. Yeah this is a fair assumption don't you think? Drrrrrrrring.... Wrong Answer! its just that during the very process of existence they just lose it.
It is at this point that someone told me... "you'll never know till you try it". Oh, ok... Being the Egotist that I am, I couldn't handle this... So I decided to go for a "Trek". Well I got my first chance to visit Kemmangundi water falls which is about 100Km from Chickmangloor, Karnataka. Voila, I was there and ready for my first treking experience. I was in a huge group (20 odd) and they had come prepared with stuff like antiseptics, bandages, salt? and other first-aid stuff. I just thought to myself "Are these guys goin for a war or somethin?" Well, I just kept my thoughts to myself cos these guys were serious trekking enthusiasts and I didn't want to mess around being a minority in the group.
So, it happened. We embarked on a trek which was supposed to be a 9Km trek one way. I just said to myself 1hr or so... thats ok.. Well it turned out in the end that it was a really bad assumption. The start was great.. We walked through the woods in a man-made trail. I already started to feel good about my decision. The view was great. Gives you a feeling that you are bonding with nature. The view was something like this.
All said and done, really I couldn't accept the passion these guys had for this ominous journey. Well I was already half way there so I couldn't back out. We reached a small stream where the water was just ankle deep and it was about 5m wide. the group halted and everyone was asked to apply antiseptics on their legs by the head of the group! Well he was the head cos he had been on more of such nutty adventures than anyone else. Well, being the engineer that I am, I immediately began interrogating him on the reasons for this pristinely unnecessary act. He simply said "Do you want the leeches to suck all your blood?" Man... Leeches... what sort of trip was this with slimy creatures sucking the life out of you? Well, I just did as I was told. Cool... no leeches when I had crossed..
Some of them had one or two sticking in their feet and they just put some salt on them and the leeches fell off... "Wow that explains the salt". I began thinking how you would feel if a sack of salt is poured on you...poor leeches they had my sympathy. The experienced person asked us to save our salt cos the best was yet to come... I was just reminded... " The battle of Helm's deep is over... The battle for Middle Earth is yet to begin" (from the Lord of the Rings). trek was beginning to feel like an epic now..Just when we walked a few yards, the sheer contrast of some of the shrubs were really amazing... They had these cute little chilly like thingies...
After some time, we came to a hill which we had to climb. I was impressed with the view we had. It was almost like the clouds were a silky blanket for the entire hill...
Then the battle for middle earth began. An entire strech of marshy paths infested with leeches... We fought relentlessly with all the salt we had and Hoorah! we were victorious. Mankind was saved by the wrath of leeches. Well after all this we got a glimpse of our destination! Wow, it was worth a sight. Lightning flashes entered my head as if punishing me for not having done this earlier....
I believe the sheer feeling of fighting all odds makes trekking special. After we got back, I slept like a log and didn't budge an inch. I guess it was worth it! Now I understand why these guys lose all their sanity and embark on these trips. I guess they just want to end victorious and the reward is sheer beauty of nature! Well, I got my explanation but I really would rather watch National Geographic on a huge TV! Now, if anyone raves about their trekking experience, I can always say ..
"Been There... Done That..." Cheers.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

A story

Hey guys... I came accross this story in a time when I was down mentally...This gave me a lot to think about... About why we perform? What is performance anxiety and stuff...Even if it doesnt make revelations for you, I hope this would atleast get a smile to your face.

This teenager lived alone with his mother, and the two of them had a very special relationship. Even though the son was always on the bench, his mother was always in the stands cheering. She never missed a game. This young man was still the smallest of the class when he entered high school. But his mother continued to encourage him but also made it very clear that he did not have to play football if he didn't want to.But the young man loved football and decided to hang in there.

He was determined to try his best at every practice, and perhaps he'd get to play when he became a senior. All through high school he never missed a practice nor a game, but remained a bench warmer all four years. His faithful mother was always in the stands, always with words of encouragement for him. When the young man went to college, he decided to try out for the football team as a "walk-on." Everyone was sure he could never make the cut, but he did. The coach admitted that he kept him on the roster because he always puts his heart and soul into every practice, and at the same time, provided the other members with the spirit and hustle they badly needed. The news that he had survived the cut thrilled him so much that he rushed to the nearest phone and called his mother. His mother shared his excitement and was sent season tickets for all the college games.

This persistent young athlete never missed practice during his four years at college, but he never got to play in the game. It was the end of his senior football season, and as he trotted onto the practice field shortly before the big play-off game, the coach met him with a telegram. The young man read the telegram and he became deathly silent. Swallowing hard, he mumbled to the coach, "My mother died this morning. Is it all right if I miss practice today?" The coach put his arm gently around his shoulder and said,"Take the rest of the week off, son. And don't even plan to come back to the game on Saturday. Saturday arrived, and the game was not going well. In the third quarter, when the team was ten points behind, a silent young man quietlyslipped into the empty locker room and put on his football gear.

As he ran onto the sidelines, the coach and his players were astounded to see their faithful teammate back soon. "Coach, please let me play. I've just got to play today," said the young man. The coach pretended not to hear him.There was no way he wanted his worst player in this close play-off game. But the young man persisted, and finally feeling sorry for the kid, the coach gave in. "All right," he said. "You can go in." Before long, the coach, the players and everyone in the stands could not believe their eyes. This little unknown, who had never played before was doing everything right.

The opposing team could not stop him. He ran, blocked and tackled like a star. His team began to triumph. The core was soon tied. In the closing seconds of the game, this kid intercepted a pass and ran all the way for the winning touchdown. The fans broke loose. His teammates hoisted him onto their shoulders. Such cheering you've never heard! Finally, after the stands had emptied and the team had showered and left the locker room, the coach noticed that the young man was sitting quietly in the corner all alone.
The coach came to him and said, "Kid, I can't believe it.You were fantastic Tell me what got into you? How did you do it?" He looked at the coach, with tears in his eyes, and said, "Well, you knew my mom died, but did you know that my mom was blind?" The young man swallowed hard and forced a smile, "Mom came to all my games, but today was the first time she could see me play, and I wanted to show her I could do it!"

Always Remember This:
Somebody is very proud of you.
Somebody is thinking of you.
Somebody is caring about you.
Somebody wants to talk to you.
Somebody wants to be with you.
Somebody hopes you are not in trouble.
Somebody hopes everything turns out all right.
Somebody wants you to be happy.
Somebody can't wait to see you.
Somebody loves you for who you are.
Some body is glad that you are their friend.
Somebody wants you to know they are there for you.
Somebody needs your support.
Somebody will cry when they read this.
Somebody needs you to have faith in them.
Somebody hears a song that reminds them of you.

Hang in there my dear friend, there will always be that somebody who believes in you and never give up.
God bless.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Dancin in the Rain ???!!

I was in deep slumber when the thud of a thunder woke me up. I was instantly reminded of little Grethel in Sound of Music. Nanny Maria explains the reason for thunder and lightning that the lightning says something to the thunder and the thunder replies. Little Grethel asks innocently "Why is the thunder so mad?" Yup, I had the same feeling that very instant. Why is that, our mind associates its feelings with nature? Why do you feel happy on a beautiful morning during spring? Why does your mind feel at peace when you see beautiful flowers bloom and birds chirping away at dawn? Why oh why does the rain bring out mixed emotions in you?

I am totally intrigued about the simple phenomenon of precipitation having a huge impact on the human mind and how it feels. I was just entering Bangalore the other day by road and man what a sight? I felt I was entering the realm of evil! The skies were densely overcast and lightning raging from the skies. For the first time, I felt I was about to face the wrath of nature but it was just another rainy day! I guess rain produces mixed feelings in you because of the varied intensities with which the heavens pours down. Its just like forest gump experiences in Nam... there is rain which pours down straight... there is rain which pours sideways... there are times when the rain defies all laws of gravity and pours upwards... The people on Hosur raod would definitely relate with that. Phew... really where are those good old days when your hearts skipped a beat when you saw silver droplets of water on the window sill? What has happened to those good old days when you wanted to get out and get wet and literally Dance in the rain???

I guess people have become so monotonous that they have forgotten what it is like to be in ecstasy when the skies shower the earth with pearls of life. We have entangled ourselves in the so called "worldly affairs" that we really have forgotten that "rain" is so beautiful. It had inspired so many poets and they used its beauty to create masterpieces. I feel its got a lot to do with the perception of people. Have people forgotten how it feels when on a rainy day... we are cuddled at home and mom makes those fantastic pakodas and fragrant chai? Have people forgotten that it is this time of the year that you yearn for your beloved to be next to you cuddled up in front of a fire? What's with this world?
Thinking in a global perspective, I feel that the prayers of all farmers in Karnataka and Tamilnadu have been heard by the lord himself and he has, with all his might showered his "love" on the planet earth. Well, too much of anything is bad... be it love.... remember fatal attraction??? Wow... its amazing how world teaches you the fruits of moderation.
People define fun in parties where a "rain dance" is arranged. Well they step into an arena with sprinklers and have fun showing of their skills in dancing... well now they have their chance... The heavens have provided them with a free arena to shake their whatever ! But what do I see? These people are running indoors away from the rain ... Yeah right! some sort of pseuds... If you ask them, they would say its dangerous, risky, disease prone etc,. These people need to make up their minds! Well as long as there is rain, we would still have kids running out to enjoy... and moms shouting at their loudest to bring their kids back inside.... Its a wonderful world isnt it?
I am reminded of a phenomenal statement "Life is like a rainbow. You need both the sun and the rain to make its colors appear".... Cheers and have fun !!!!!

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Potpourri of Thoughts (Basically Time pass)

Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one. - Albert Einstein

In this utopian planet, the only species bothered about deciphering cryptic illusions are us humans. Have you ever wondered why we do the things we do? I am sure many would relate with the thought that we are all stuck in a truly metastable state of mind synchronizing with the events which takes place around us. The inkling feeling to be different fades away with time and we become one with the "clan". It takes a lot of effort to be different in this beautiful life of ours.

According to Dennis Wholey, "Expecting the world to treat you fairly because you are a good person is a little like expecting the bull not to attack you because you are a vegetarian". The crux of the issue is that everybody lives their own lives according to their perceptions towards life in general. With this existent difference in perception and opinions amongst mankind, we are always in turmoil struggling and continuously fostering the phenomenon "survival of the fittest".

To simplify the issue lets take a simple example. How do we know that the color red really looks red to different people? It is just because people have been bludgeoned with knowledge. When a child is molded to perceive a sense of color, the whole room is filled with objects of that color and the teacher repeatedly rambles that every color the child sees is red. Imagine if a teacher told a child, "All apples are red in color". Then if you show the child a golden apple and ask its color the child would definitely say "red". From this example we realize that the initial conditioning that mind faces, makes a difference in how we perceive things. With all this knowledge inside us accruing as we grow up, we fail to understand the abstract and true knowledge of self.

If you are reading this line, you are as lost as I am in thoughts of your own. This was one of the main reasons of this blog. An interesting thought: - "Failures are divided into two classes - those who thought and never did, and those who did and never thought". I truly prefer to be of the latter type and who knows that sometimes crap like these make sense to a lot of people including me. Are you wondering what to say? Well don’t say anything because "Silence is one of the hardest arguments to refute!"

Sometimes we are so bogged down by petty failures that we fail to see the bigger picture. Rabindranath Tagore said, "If you cry because the sun has gone out of your life, your tears will prevent you from seeing the stars". I believe we are aching because our "self" feels let down. It is amazing how some of our characteristics surface beyond the heaps of knowledge just to save the day. I guess I am getting nowhere with this discussion....

I believe, I have been a successful failure in streamlining my thoughts and hence the title.

I will end this potpourri with an interesting thought. "Everyone has inside of him/her; a piece of bad news ... The bad news is that you don't know how great you can be! How much you can love! What you can accomplish! and what your potential is!!! ... and the good news comes when you realize it ... :-)


Thursday, October 13, 2005

Peter Pan!! Where are you??

Since when did your lives become routine?? You get up and stare at the mirror and see a Zombie staring back at you! You just ignore that ugly sight and go on with your daily ablutions and finally drape an attire and then again look at the mirror just to check if the zombie is gone! Hurray! Zombie just made an exit and an engineer is staring at you. Then it occurs to you, did I just wear the same dress a couple of days back? Oh, well Whatever! and you stroll off for work!

The story continues at your work place when your outlook calendar beeps a reminder for a meeting. You go to the same conference room and listen to people jabbing and cribbing about the same thing again and again! Phew what a mind job! At that instant you realize you've grown old! You are shocked at this revelation and helpless because you really cannot do anything about it! Then you tend to ask yourselves, where is the "child" in you. Whenever I hear people say things like "there is a child in everyone", I am totally pissed off. I have to rephrase their statement saying "there WAS a child in everyone".

The other day, I had to do some major time pass and decided to watch "Peter pan" the movie. As I saw the movie, I felt the child in me being resurrected and I began to dwell in thoughts about my child hood. Nostalgia all the way!! You recollect the millions of stuff you did everyday. When some "grown up" said "I'm bored", you would put up a sincere interrogative expression to him and ask Huh? What does that mean? The entire day would be spent as if you were over charged with stimulants! Oh the excitement of being a police in police-robber (a really trivial game with made-up stunt artists (us!) whose parts were played by our gang impeccably). The sheer thrill of trying to mock the sound produced by a gunshot, the innocent claims that the make-believe bullet had just scraped through and so we were still alive (in the game!). Any physicist watching the entire episode would be going "How the hell"! Ignorance was truly bliss....

How did that child in you disappear? I guess in the process of gathering knowledge, which was rather forced on us by the community we live in, the child just made an exit to Neverland. What is Neverland? The adult in me explains that it is a make believe place featured in a kids novel authored by J.M Barrie "The adventures of peter-pan". The child in me who was resurrected at that time started off with praises for Neverland! He started telling me that it is a place of dreams, with no grownups around to tell you to come home for food, with no Nerdy class teachers providing horrible assignments and projects.

I guess when we evolve in this world; we just go through phases which are very unique in themselves. I do not intend to criticize the life of an adult. The life I am currently living has a lot of things I like, for instance the freedom to do what I please (of course, with freedom comes responsibility). So, I guess in the process of "growing up", we sometimes forget how to have fun! I know most of us will find the very thought offensive! Just think about the zillions of weekend rendezvous with friends lead to a stalemate when it comes to discussions on what to do next. You get on the phone with a friend of yours, after a brief exchange of status updates; you get tongue twisted with the phrase "what else is going on??”

These are the times when I am reminded that in the make believe world of Neverland, everyone would have a "Tinkerbelle" prompting you to do fun stuff all the time! I think this is the time we need our guardian angels or fairies to nudge us to go out, get dirty and have fun! Yeah you could be strictly morose to the idea and refuse the very idea that fairies exists and lead a monotonous life, technically perfect. Every time you hear yourselves say, "what else is going on??”, just stand up and yell out "I do believe in fairies, I do, I do". You'll find yourselves having fun even if it means you've embarrassed yourself and your friends in public... Hey such a stunt is fun too...

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Cheer up! It’s Christmas!

It’s about 7AM in the morning and the sun is barely rising itself to the horizon. It’s as if it sulks like any other kid on a beautiful day to get up. Have you ever wondered, if you personify the sun, how it would feel to be getting up that early in the morning? Nyways... it was a beautiful day. The streets were covered in a thin layer of snow (it really doesn’t snow too much in north Texas). I had to hurry to my bookstore for my job and was walking briskly. Something amazing happened then, which has changed my outlook towards life.

There was an old man draped in a rather heavy jacket and he was using the shoveling machine to clear the road of sleet. He stopped his machine as I passed him and he gently said with a beaming smile: "Good morning young man, merry Christmas". I just stood there, not knowing how to respond and I guess I gave mixed signals to him as he reiterated himself to me. This just brought a smile to my face and I wished him back saying "merry Christmas". This moment was so profound that I began to deliberate... why is it that this doesn't happen in India? Are our people so cold hearted that they look at every other human being with suspicion? Why is it so difficult for us to smile in public? The whole day passed by with a tingling feeling in my heart. I just had a wonderful day. I felt everyone were rejoicing "life" in general.

I began to think.. is it the weather? Or the festive season? I guess it is neither. It is just pure and basic courteousness. Why can’t we Indians be as courteous as everyone else? I guess we have our own reservations about things. I guess the word "good morning" is rebuked by everyone strongly. The reason for this may be our schooling system where the kids get up coherently and shout in chorus "good morning miss/sir" every time a teacher walks in to the class. Phew... I just hated that and I loath it to this day. Why can't kids be taught to just say "Hi". That is the word they are predominantly going to use...

Getting back to the festive time I was in, it was really special. Wherever I went, people in their jocund moods smiling at everyone and stuff. it was really such a pretty sight. I guess a valid reasoning for this is that, on Indian roads, there are so many pedestrians that your face would begin to ache if you kept smiling at everyone. This is why we, in India save our greetings for acquaintances and friends. This seems to be a very logical reasoning.

I began to wonder if there was a specific season when we celebrate in unison. Well if you think about it, at any given point in time there is something going on.. Life is just too busy for us to think about trivial issues such as courtesy and stuff. When I had made my peace with "not being courteous" to everyone, a similar thing happened to me today in the morning. As I was walking to take my bus to work, a police constable was cleaning a car (it was a "***" car meaning that the car was for a commissioner or a higher rank). He just smiled at me and said "good morning sir". I was shocked beyond belief. It was almost like deja-vous. I have seen him stand there before but had never had a similar experience. I guess in all these days he had seen me walk by, we had developed a bond like an untold acquaintance or something.... It was phenomenal... I smiled back and wished him.

Now I realize, we are just as courteous as anyone else. We just take our time in getting comfortable with situations. Coming to think about it we as a race are the most adaptable of all. Can you as an American to settle down in the most obscure village in India? I am sure he'll go nuts before you can say "nuts". But we are there everywhere. There is a saying that every third person you would meet in the world had to be a Chinese or an Indian. We can adapt to any situation, country and people.

We should also have a unified festive season when everyone is just happy... period... does a lot of good to our minds. My notion of Christmas has got nothing to do with religion but it is just a global season of happiness all over the world. It'll be nice if we have more of such seasons. I guess as Shakespeare’s play, we are "a man for all seasons". We are getting there and I am ready to wait for the day when not being courteous to strangers becomes a thing of the past... What say guys ??????