Friday, February 6, 2015

Smile, You’re Alive !

Many of you would have heard about the worse traffic situation in Bangalore, and would have even been a mute spectator in story sessions, where people tell stories of how it took them so long to traverse normal distances, or how meticulously they plan weekends or evenings keeping traffic scenario in consideration. And during those sessions, if you happen to live in this place, then you might let those sounds reach the brain, otherwise even you won’t know where they vanished just after falling on eardrums. But I’ll tell you something other than this. The phenomenon may sound weird, but it’s not.

Ever since I moved to this IT capital, I noticed few things that are different from our financial capital. For me since comprehending Marathi was not so easy, therefore Kannada is akin to solving Irodov. However, the idli and dosas in this place are mouth-watering and the coconut is revered entity. I guess, liquor shops would be the only place where coconut is not present in any of its form. Footpaths are as wide as they could be with huge trees leaving negligible space for roads, and the weather makes walking out of AC rooms irresistible. Of course, not to forget the traffic. The life of Bangaloreans is so much wound around this word that one could understand only after spending some time here. The roads are predominantly occupied by huge Volvo buses and Indica cars, and they both in unison make traffic congestion even worse as if they have a relatedness that drives them crazy at the same time. Unlike Mumbai, one can board the bus from any point, irrespective of whether it is a bus stop or not, for the bus drivers gladly respond to the hand waves by halting bus right in the middle of crowded road. But this generosity is not ubiquitous. Barring the friendly bus drivers, most of the other people as a result of perhaps their crawl on the streets almost daily, choose to speed up whenever and wherever possible. Even a 20 feet open stretch is not spared and speed breakers are rather insignificant.

All this makes life tough for pedestrians. Crossing road is a nightmare in daylight, and if this is the situation for so called humans, just imagine what it would be for street animals, many of them shrieking and dying amidst human rage to speed.

Few days back while returning from office, I saw a skinny individual, who looked to be in his late twenties, dressed up neatly with nicely combed hair and dark eyes holding a sign and standing in the middle of the road. Yes, he was standing right in the middle of the road which is among the busiest ones in the city. His intrepidity attracted attention from everyone who saw him, and left most of them with awe. As we approached this fellow, my cab driver hurled abuses that made me realize that possibly Hindi was driver’s mother tongue. But perhaps, he didn't knew how to read English, else his reaction would have been different. The sign board above the head of this person read, “Smile, You’re Alive”. As people read the message, he eagerly gazed the onlooker’s face expecting a smile, with one on his own.

The smiling man with the sign board was infectious; everyone left him with a smile. Fearless of the speedy wheels mounted with iron skeletons, he was standing there to spread a wonderful message. He certainly would have been aware of the risk he had taken to pull many of us out from our calendars and mailboxes, just to remind that we were alive. Despite of smoke, sound and headlights, he was smiling and making others smile.

Life is a gift from the Almighty, and perhaps we can payback with smiles – how many we bring on the face of others, and how much we could have for ourselves. Amazingly, the most unique aspect of the smiling face is the transmission power - people catch it at a lightening pace. Smile is a human attribute that manifests Divine, and therefore let us smile as much as possible, and thereby spread it even more.

Smile,
You’re Alive.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

House Hunt - II

Strings of guitar were struck, laptops were geared with speakers, cake was gently placed, and our photographer was in no mood to miss any moment. It had been just 2 days in our new flat, and we had started to gel with the rest of folks staying there. The fun that started around midnight continued till 4 in the morning when we heard the bang on our front door. The abstainers amongst us reached the peephole, and then opened the door. Residents of that apartment were pretty upset from our deafening melodies, and had come to register their justified protest. They threatened us to vacate the place which instilled no sense of worry from the rest of the crowd except from us - the two new residents who had luckily managed to get a roof on their head.

The life paces, and soon we were moving with the flow. Although there were few occasions when we found our sleeps were disturbed, with nightmares hitting us more often than usual. But me and my roommate never discussed it and were fine ignoring them, for we thought about them only when the body was drenched with tiredness of day’s work. The same continued for days and weeks, when one day I shared about this repetitive dream and the reaction that I got from him opened the corridors of horror on which we had just stepped in.

Can two different persons have a same dream? And if by coincidence it happens once, is it expected to repeat again? Well, to be honest, these unanswered questions and a few answered ones, had started to haunt us. We often felt the disturbing presence of an unknown while we were asleep, and the repetitiveness of the experience lead us to believe in it, even when we were awake. We talked non-stop on the subject, and tried to convince many rationalists how we were confronting the unknown. Many gave a scientific justification, while others laughed us off, but none dared to spend few nights in there. Since there was a kind of conflict between what we had believed all our lives, and to what we were witnessing, we found it better to curtail the talk and work hard to move out from that place quickly as possible.

In the daylight, there were few people who were no less than the ones that invaded our dreams. Yes, those were the people who were having two things, of which we needed one badly and unfortunately always got another. The first thing was our money which we had given them as security deposits, token amounts, etc for our previous flat, which was to be refunded when we vacated the house. And the second one that we got from them was lame excuses for delaying the payment of the money. The trust levels of their talk and expectation of getting our money back were at nadir, when we took a different, not so polite approach. And after few long days, rough talk loosened the deceitful and despicable clutches, and we spent no moment idle before we grabbed our righteous refunds.

While the hunt for new place was on, we were learning interesting stories about our present residence. Simple stories with weird conclusions had become a routine. Even our maid tried to put in some dust in our ears, for what all shall we do to get rid of the situation.

There are times which pass so quickly that we don’t even notice, and also there are times that appear to be still. We were putting all our energies to move ahead of the situation, but every time we looked back, we found that we were still at the same place. The monsoon had just hit the island city, and lightening had made it worse. Frequently, there were power cuts owing to heavy downpour, when thunder played its tricks. I have always felt that it is the thought and the belief that drives us, but with this 27 day long experience, I realized that it is also so easy to lose control over the mind. And when this happens, be assured that it’s not going to be simple anymore, because that’s when weirdness creeps in and messes with your entire circuitry, just to teach one important lesson, that is also an adage that, ‘’the only thing predictable about life is its unpredictability’’.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

House Hunt - I




Often when we’re asleep, the tensions and commotion of life fade away from our brain and it takes us to delightful journey across the hidden treasures of our sub conscious. The beauty of these treasures is heavenly, if they happen to portray the pleasant side, and so magnetic that we start contemplating their possible happenings in the awakened world. And for few, dreams do come true. Today, mankind is proud of such dreamers that transformed their dreams to reality for the betterment of the world.

Also, there is another kind of dream that takes us through a roller coaster ride of anxiety and fear, and we often end up screaming loudly in dream but wake up to a pin drop silence with beads of sweat on our forehead. That’s called nightmare, and like the former, they too come true.

It was July 6, 2013 when I got a call from my broker who had helped me get a flat in the vicinity, as I was to vacate my place on completion of the term of rent agreement. Me and my flat mate had thoroughly analyzed the available options and finally chosen a place for which we completed the pre-possession formalities well in advance. We were to shift on 8th, and all things were set in place when we received a call that taught us an important lesson of our lives.

As the voice on the other side told that we could not move into our new apartment, for bachelors were henceforth banned in that housing society, we certainly foresaw the troubles that were lying ahead. With 36 hours at our disposal, we were supposed to find a new place in Mumbai, when a sizeable amount of our money was in the hands of this fellow who could not keep his words even after we had paid him the token amount. We flipped through our contact list, called our friends and after 12 hours had arranged a temporary accommodation that was supposed to house us for a month, after which we were move to our final place.

(To be continued….)

P.S.: “The only thing predictable about life is its unpredictability.”

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Cycle


As a kid, I knew only one meaning of the word ‘cycle’, and it was certainly an important possession that ruled my evenings. However, prefixes kept on varying, from tricycle to bicycle then motorcycle, and these days, a totally unique one, Project cycle. When the latest prefix got significant in a sense of daily encounters, it altogether gave a new dimension and meaning to the word cycle and hence some pondering became inevitable.

Cycle that symbolizes one of the greatest inventions of mankind, the happiness of parents when their child first strokes the pedals of tricycle, the joy of a kid that comes on the first ride with no training wheels, and the energy of an enthusiast performing stunts with his bike got altered into the paradigms of IT jargon. Keen over the multiplicity of the word cycle, the imagination hovered over the grounds of lingo and then landed on the term ‘life cycle’ that boggled the mind enough that it pedaled a way for this blog.

Upon looking further through the windows of my browser, many interesting facts, tales, designs and theories surfaced that portrayed the universality of cycle or rather universality in cycle. From being the symbol of an Indian political party (ruling Uttar Pradesh currently) to the Tour de France competition, the cycle has its imprint on several realms, either in figurative or literal terms. As per a theory in Physical Cosmology, Big Bang is described as the birth and Big Crunch as the end of a universal cycle, and the Puranas adding further to this states the occurrence of numerous such universal cycles. The Space - time Continuum also talks about the relativity of space and time and their corresponding cyclical nature. These arguments of science and religion prompted the usage, universality in cycle.  

And at this juncture keeping the above mentioned in view, the word cycle ceases to exist within the scopes of air filled rubber circumferencing metallic spokes, rather it manifests into a shapeless cloud full of droplets from infinite sources that govern something as huge as the universe. The cycle in literal terms is the repetitive occurrence of events, like the waves on a shore striking the land repeatedly. Just wonder how waves glide over the sea, push the land, retreats humbly and then charges again with the same roar, riding on the strength of sea. Truly in waves, nature justifies the words of Giacomini, that what goes down must come up.


Saturday, December 8, 2012

Dreaming in Kalahari


In the continent of Africa, there is a place that inhabited life for centuries yet got being labeled as a thirsty land- the Kalahari deserts. No doubt, the deserts do support life in many forms but the Kalahari is a special case. Unlike the heats of Sahara or the colds of Arctic, this place supports a variety of flora and fauna than is expected out of a desert. And so, there thrives a human community, preferably called as the San people. This tribe has lived here for decades and their bond with the place has grown stronger with each passing day.

The life of the boy was very similar to that of his family, except for the feature that he was a dreamer. Living in a hut made up of mud, stone and straw, the boy had gained a little knowledge about the world outside. Due to his keen interest in the language, he had learnt many dialects that prevailed in the adjoining regions. At the age of 17, he had started thinking about the world as a magician’s creation. When he had looked upward at the sky, it appeared as if it’s a void overhead, but then he came to know that there is something called earth’s blanket of air that enveloped this pretty planet. When he sat outside his hut gazing the plants grounded in the soil, he never knew that they all were living species. In his notion, the stars came, and went somewhere when the sun arose, before he became aware that they still were very much present in the daylight. The wind across the deserts had often created mirage, to which he was familiar now.

In his entire lifetime, the only man-made thing that he had seen flying was a kite. And Zaheer was fond of watching it, rather than flying himself. He loved when the kite rose upward, with fliers trying to cut another kite’s string. And as soon as someone would cut the string, a moment of ecstasy began for him. The very sight of kite flying freely with the wind filled his heart with joy, maybe because deep inside he too longed to sway freely, without any string holding back.

The days passed by and much of his life remained the same when one day, he woke up to the sounds of pacing roar. He had never heard this sound before in his life, and within seconds the sound grew louder and louder. The tribesmen ran out of their huts fearing danger and gathered nearby, when each member whispered prayers for their safety. But Zaheer was busy gazing upward. After few moments of silence, the sound came again but this time, it was not the sound alone. The crowd saw a huge dragonfly with abnormal wings flying over their huts with two similar dragonflies following it. The tribesmen thought of it as a sign of God’s displeasure and started fearing for their lives, but the boy watched them as they flew. Zaheer noticed one such dragonfly coming down with a flame on its tail. And when the sight of fire trembled most of the tribesmen’s heart with fear, Zaheer ran in the direction of its fall. The people called him back but he ran as if no string was holding his back.

And soon he saw a man inside that huge flying object that bumped into the sand with fire starting to envelope it. The injured man tried to crawl out, when Zaheer ran for his help. The man looked different from his attire, and looked like a fighter with wounds on his head and arms. Zaheer pulled the fighter out, and soon the helicopter disappeared into the flames. The 17 year old Zaheer was still in the state of shock and excitement, when he heard the fighter’s clarion’s call for help. Zaheer pulled the fighter under the tree and ran to call his people for help. But when he reached there and narrated what he had seen, the tribal leader frowned and yelled at him for helping a soul that he considered to be evil. Zaheer was again hit by surprise and his adolescent mind demanded reason for considering the fighter as evil. Knowing the time was crucial, the boy ignored the clan and ran with water in his ostrich’s egg shell. The fighter was still alive, breathing hard, when splash of water rejuvenated him little bit.

Zaheer never knew the exact reason that made him go against his own people, but he thought maybe it was the action of a rational mind. But instead, the reason was a bit different. The boy was so fascinated by the flying objects that when he saw a man inside it, he reckoned the fighter as a noble soul empowered to fly, which was contrary to what clan’s leader had thought. For that entire day, the fighter was recovering in Zaheer’s hut unaware of the fact that entire clan had abandoned this young boy. And soon the air force traced the location of the accident when next day, other aircrafts came for rescue and enquiry operation. The fighter was expecting that his people would come, and when they came, he asked the boy to make a wish that he could fulfill to pay his gratitude.

Zaheer thought for a moment and to fulfill his fascination that came with flying objects, he asked for a ride in the helicopter that once he had thought of as a huge dragonfly. The fighter amused by the boy’s wish ensured that he could keep his words, and Zaheer was all set to fly.

With sand and dust flying all around, Zaheer rose above the earth into the skies. He was looking at his hut that gradually looked like a tittle on his village. He was flying above the heights ever touched by the kites, and with a pace that could beat the fastest bird in the sky. And the ascent was so favourable, that when the boy descended into his village, the people held him on their shoulders and treated him in a way he was never treated before.

The Kalahari saw a brilliant example of the man’s desire to attain something. As it is rightly said, that when you really want something to happen, the whole universe conspires so that your wish comes true. And same happened with Zaheer as well.


-Arpan Khare
 Mumbai

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

23 Days in Mumbai


Ever since I landed in this City of Dreams aka Mumbai, my conscience got escalated to a new level of the realisation that every single breath carries with it. Yes, the single breath means the sand in ones unique hourglass and portrays the paramount potential of those minuscule grains. And as history stands, the one who’s ever succeeded in mastering the trickle of this algorithm now hold a place in the city’s affluent bastions. The place respects competition and has bound more than 20 million by the single thread of its spirit.

Traversing on the snake roads across Sahayadri ranges, with windmills of the top and rain-washed greens on the landscape, I was cheerful when I encountered this signboard. After many days of feeling illiterate on Kannada dominated streets, I saw something (other than English), which I could read and connect to. Though written in Devnagari, it was a Marathi word “thamba” that made me aware, that we were very much into Maharashtra. Witnessing how the darkness lighted tunnels came and lasted for short but anxious periods, we were moving across the beautiful place called Satara City, dwelling amidst lush green mountains under scenic cloud cover. On the roadside, I remember the sight of the bushes coming out of a fossil driven junk (once a Car) parked in a garage, saying that even this pollution causing vehicle could not withstand nature from turning it green.

Out of my particular interest in history of royals, I was wondering how once these rivers and mountains framed borders, and how I had just moved from a region once ruled by Tipu Sultan, into the strongholds of Chattrapati Shivaji. And along with several other things, how these two had a common enemy- the British. And that reminded me of a couple of news articles, of which one was about a document some British agency had created, listing the best Generals they had fought in the last century, and Tipu Sultan had his well deserved name there. The other was about bringing back a sword, named as Jagdamba Sword of Shivaji Maharaja that is well adorned in the Royal Collection Trust in London. I was thrilled by these antediluvian memoirs when I noticed the skyscrapers that bought me back into the vertical realities of this spherical world.

Occupied by the notion of wild jungles en route getting replaced by concrete jungles, I looked around my new work city. I knew the purpose behind my deputation to Mumbai and that of course dealt nothing with forests or climate of the place, but somewhere I had started missing the airs of Bangalore.

Soon started a life in the new city and sooner started the office and it’s been like flash of time to day 23. No doubt the pace keeps me running, but I kind of have started enjoying it. And that’s the trait of adjustment our evolutionary ancestors have bestowed upon us and how well have we learnt to live by it.

Monday, September 24, 2012

EN ROUTE ... .. .




As the sun shines with the chirrup of small birds and the whisper of breeze, the road gets crowded by its rolling natives and life accelerates. The flyover has lost the relevance of its name, and trees are choked from passive smoke. And amidst all this is a man who rushes on to hit the thinnest hand of the clock. 

The cab crawls on the road, and I read the traffic police’s clarion’s call, citing family’s wait. With smoke and fumes down the lane, I see the stack of flowers and incense sticks. And soon comes the Ganesha temple with devotees in a long queue; and every day, unfailingly is an old woman at the gate, with stretched hands eager to listen that jingling in her pouch. And after hundred men ignore her, comes that delightful jingling coin, which brings smile in her eyes and blessings on her lips. Nearby is the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited campus, with tricolour fluttering on its top reminding about the immense contribution this organisation has made in our country’s growth. And past few hospitals and 5-star hotels, I reach my office and the work begins. 

This 15 km journey, which takes nearly an hour to complete is a colourful display of life; the way life dances on the streets with shackles of money being tied at its every step to those unbound. And en route, reminds me of these famous lines by Whitman, 

“I carry my old delicious burdens, 
I carry them, men and women, I carry them with me wherever I go, 
I swear it is impossible for me to get rid of them, 
I am fill’d with them, and I will fill them in return.”