Monday, October 20, 2003

Current music: Kahin door jab din dhal jaaye

The following short story is based on this photograph that I came across recently.

He squinted his eyes as the September sun beat down upon him, the streets of Paris were fairly empty at this time of the day, save for the artists lining the road. He carefully arranged his canvas and cleaned the brushes meticulously. Painting was his second love, the first, his petite wife Marie. In another hour, it would be teatime and he smiled to himself as he remembered how she would bustle about in the kitchen, the gloves on her dainty fingers, the smell of freshly baked cake and how she would chide him for spending so much time with his paintings and so less time with her. Now he had all the time in the world, but she was long gone. He tried not to remember what had happened that fateful day, the wooden casket, hushed voices, she looked so beautiful even then, lying there, then moving from Marseilles to Paris, he was still angry at her for not letting him paint her portrait. Off late, his finances dwindling, he spent his days taking up odd painting jobs at the corner of Rue 10 close to the Champs Elysées and as evening drew near and the light grew weaker, it was a long walk back to a grubby studio apartment .

“Bonjour Monsieur, will you paint this one for me”
He looked up to see a gentleman holding a photo. “Its beautiful, where is this?”
“The Li River in China, its astounding isn’t it?”
“I have never seen anything like it before, its almost ethereal.”
“So will you do it”
“Oui, oui, certainly Monsieur. You could come back tomorrow evening, it will be ready then.”
“How much?”
“25 euros?”
“Done. I will be back, I am Jacques, Jacques Petit”

He studied the photo carefully, Marie would have loved it. She loved water and anything to do with it. The easel was up now, he started mixing the paints. He reflected on the man in the boat, was he alone or did he have a family. Maybe beyond the mountains, there would be an old couple just like them, a bush-lined pathway and a cottage with roses and vine climbing up the wall just like theirs.

Quick deft strokes, he was lucky that his hands were stable even now. The café nearby was filling up, some of them watched him while at work. At first it used to irk him, but he had gotten kind of used to it. He decided to do a bit of the mountains and pack up for the day.

Early next day, coffee and a baguette at the bistro and back to the painting. He painted best in the cool morning air. A fresh mix of paints and now he worked on the boat and the light within. A talented photographer, he mused. Once in a while he stopped to rest his back or reflect on his work. The clouds and the sunrise now. Sunrise? He checked himself, or what is it sunset or late afternoon? It had to be sunset he decided, just like his life, nothing to look forward to, his odd painting jobs wouldn’t last forever, business was slow and people not too trusting.

A small group of tourists had gathered about him, chattering excitedly. He smiled at them, habituated to such situations by now. Monsieur Petit would be here soon. A small signature in the corner and he had finished.

“Good evening, all done?”
“Yes Monsieur, here have a look”
Jacques Petit did not speak for a few seconds.
“You did not like it, Monsieur Petit?”
“You are brilliant. I deal in house interiors. Will you work with me?”
“You are being kind. But I do not like such jokes”
“I have never been more serious. Come with me, we shall talk things over”
“Wait, Monsieur Petit, I have a question. Is this sunrise or sunset?”
“What do you think it is?”
“Well, I thought it was sunset, maybe I was too hasty in thinking so. I feel it must be sunrise, and the man has a good catch in his boat”
A small tear fell onto the painting, he continued, “Thank you, thank you Monsieur, for the promise of a new dawn in the twilight years of my life.”

Marie would have loved the painting too. She had liked watching the sun rise from their little cottage by the sea.

Friday, October 17, 2003

Right now, for me, astrology is not exactly crap but not to be taken too seriously either.

Mondays to Saturdays the reading sequence in the city edition of the newspaper is always Garfield - Beetle Bailey - What Your Stars Foretell - the rest of the toons - Movies

Sundays it is the weekly forecast i.e Ganesha says - Cartoons - the amazingly witty Jug Suraiyya , and some of the other good stuff they manage to churn out for this day.

Mondays to Saturdays, the planetary configurations signal all horrible things for the day, accidents, misunderstandings, fights, bad health. And every day, I wait for it to happen and wait and wait and wait (assuming your headphones jumping up and smacking your nose is not an accident, I dont know how it happened, so does that make it one?)

On Sundays, abra-ca-dabra, the planets miraculously arrange themselves in a pattern that favours me, they rant and rave about the following week, how it will be the greatest one I have had in a lifetime, all due to my past generosity (ahem ahem), wishes will come true (well one kind of did recently), finances will improve (though I cant see how, unless I raid a bank or I have a on-her-way-to-Saint Peter's great-great-aunt), and other such building-castles-in-the-air promises to a Piscean.

(I write hopelessly long sentences, by the time I come to the end, I forget where I started and why I wrote it, just like in LOTR where you have to keep going to the map to get a hang of the story,what with the characters that keep wandering off and indulging in battles.
See I told you I am toooo verbose)

Coming back to the point, I see no harm in believing Ganesha, whadya think? and like Vinaya pointed out, I know what NOT to expect, Mondays - Saturdays.

NOTE : The blogger apologises for the crap she is churning out these days. Over the weekend, she will sit down and search for the apparently missing and not-at-all-funny-bone that contributes to seriousness and maturity in outlook (funny? this is humour at its suicidal best, I rather like the term suicidal best, dont you?) 1** 2 +++

1**: In my best possible maharashtrian accent with emphasis on the 'd's and the 't's and the 'wh', "But what to do, I am like this only"

2+++ : Should search for a down-with-verbosity bone as well.

Thursday, October 16, 2003

I am a die-hard Google fan. I cannot fathom how people in this industry and with no access to the internet can manage without this search engine or any other search engine for that matter.

But off late, Google has started to assume this site is
1) a marriage bureau
2) spooky

I am not sure if the two have a connection, not experienced enough to comment on the same.

I get frequent search hits for "tamil/telugu/maharashtrian/bengali bright grooms" (all thanks to my frequent posts on the cultural diversity in India) and secondly, much to my chagrin, "haunted places in pune" ( hmmphhh :(( ) . For those who have met me, do I look like a ghost, for Pete's sake?

1) Any Jeevansaathi organisation wanting a link on my site?
(no advertisement tariffs applicable)

2) Any ghost-busters out there willing to pitch in for me?
(I am ready to dish out a fortune, I meant a fortune cookie :)))

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

My friend Rashmi expects a post every day :) , so this one is specially written for her..

What is it with men and arguments ?

We have a number of newsgroups on the intranet, with categories ranging from humour, rent-buy-sell to C++, Perl programming etc etc, the usual stuff you would get to see in most software companies. What makes interesting reading is not the contents posted there, but the conversation threads that any particular article triggers.

Examples would be : Whether so-and-so article has been categorised properly, how Mr XYZ did not find Article A in the humour category amusing, whether full names should be used while posting, or the correct way to park bikes (with diagrams, mind you), why Mr ABC writes z instead of s, and similar blah blah blah...

The point is, these are not always frivolous discussions, they can turn verbally violent at times. With quite a bit of exaggeration for effect, I can very well say that if words could bite, there would have to be a resident doctor on duty, 24/7.

I agree that everyone is entitled to his opinion, but do you have to have an opinion or rather argument on everything? Give the poor guy who posted a break, man.

Now, I on my part, do not want to trigger a debate, but I noticed that no female participates in this opinions ki maara-mari.

Hmm, anything to do with a general live-and-let-live temperament?
(These do not include Ekta Kapoor's scheming, wicked and crooked saas-bahus-bhabhis-devranis-jethanis)

P.S: The newsgroups make for good entertainment !!

Thursday, October 09, 2003

I am supposed to be happy today, some good news after a long time.
But all I do is stare at the desktop and think of the consequences.

The tangled wires connected to my machine
Like my life at present, complicated, too many twists, too many turns
I try to sort them, looks like one will have to be pulled out
And with that, one of my dreams is sure to die

Wednesday, October 08, 2003

I always have this humbling experience after attending a certain ongoing training session in my office. Twice a week, during that period of time, overwhelmed by the amount of technical stuff I dont know and have yet to master, I feel like the most useless and worthless person on earth.

Everything else seems so frivolous, this blog, stupid worries such as whether I will actually lose weight in the gym, what dress to wear, mindless conversations

Technical geeks scare me. They make me feel that being interested in stuff other than hardcore techno stuff is a sin.

I am extremely down in the dumps today. Monday evening will be a repeat show.

One man's meat is another man's poison. I couldn't agree more.
I definitely need to do some soul-searching soon.

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

Although I am not too much of an adventurer, I like travelling and visiting new places. People, cultures, languages fascinate me. I guess I would fit in snugly in most parts of India or for that matter, the world.

Below are some snippets of my recent trip to the twin cities of Hyderabad-Secunderabd

The Hyderabad Chronicle

- A prequisite for enjoying a new city (I have been there 4 times before, but its still unfamiliar) is some sane transport infrastructure and if possible, enthusiastic companions. Thankfully, I had access to a car and the latter is my cousin's family. That includes my 5 yr old cute and extremely naughty nephew, Siddharth, whom I endearingly call Pillu Popat (a kid parrot) because he enjoys imitating everyone in sight. This smart kid, also has a photographic memory and ever since this incident, he has not allowed me to touch his coloring books too. The one thing, his little brain just does not fathom, is why people go to office and not to school. Curiousity, thy name is definitely Siddharth

-We decided to watch a South Indian movie. At the VCD library, my sister asked for a movie that she pronounced Olooi Poyuthe - Bengal meets Tamil Nadu. The librarywalla was obviously confused and I corrected her with my limited Tamil gyan. Nope, no luck, he did not have it, the librarywallah then suggested a Telugu comedy titled Nuvvu Naaku Nachchaavu (Google zindabad, I hope this is the right one). On asking him the meaning, the hirsute, 5ft 11 inches, enormous bellied guy, was actually embarassed. He looked at my cousin's husband straight in the eye (there was no way he could have diverted his gaze, the latter was flanked by two ladies) and replied in heavily accented Hindi, "Meiin aapako pasanda karatha huun". It took me a lot of self-control, (I was/am a lady remember?! and my face is expressive at all the wrong times), not to burst into peals of laughter. Anyway the movie had English subtitles and turned out to be pretty good

-When in Andhra, do what the Maharashtrians, the Bengalis and but naturally what the Andhra-ites do. We had a Maharashtrian meal (my cousin was missing home) at a place called Jowar Bhakri, attended a Durga Puja fete, and had delicious sambar, curd rice, lemon rice, amongst other South Indian fare at a restaurant called Annalakshmi. Ethnic decor, Carnatic music, a typical South Indian ambience

-Long drives, filter coffee, malls, shopping, the bangle stores at Char Minar, sleeping at 2pm, waking up at 12 noon..the body clock had gone haywire.

-Drinking garam chai at a wayside dhaba at 12:30 at night and trying to figure out where exactly in India you are at the moment, is great fun.

Hmm, if this is a life très ordinaire, how is one that is not?

Monday, October 06, 2003

366 days ago, on a boring Saturday afternoon, I created this blog, with no other intention but to while away free time. Gradually and unknowingly, I took to it seriously, sculpting it, shaping it, like a potter with his clay.

Looking back, it has been an interesting journey, a self-discovery of sorts, making new friends and learning quite a bit in the process. I talked, laughed, cribbed at times, while my fellow travellers listened. Thanks, people, for giving me company.

Possibly someday, when there will be nothing left to say, I shall abandon the journey before I reach the destination and this part of me will shrivel and die before I do.

Till then, all I can say is, enjoy the drive...

Current Music : Goodbye - Air Supply

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

The lethal combi of 28-adults-1-baby and a candle-lit venue

Allow me to continue with my post on parties, venues and the works.

I personally feel that candle-light dinners are no good for people other than those blinded by love. The absence or presence of light really does not make much of a difference then.

But for a bunch of rowdy home sapiens,(the mini homo sap was better behaved), it does. I almost fished out a noodle from a colleague's soup bowl thinking it contained chutney.

And then the ambience, that comes attached with a candle-lit venue on a hilltop, the sky above, the gentle wind, poolside tables etc etc.

Imagine there is a guy out there, and believe me there were lots of eligible couples yesterday, who has waited for months for this moment, his hand on hers, the other fingering the ring in his pocket, about to pop THE QUESTION and that very minute, on the next table, from one end, the leader of the pack, his vocals chords stretched to their limit, "Kisiko rice chahiye kyaaaaa". Did I hear a bubble burst?

Next time, I dont care if it looks like a Philips tubelight showroom, but as a service to the romantically inclined, I shall be opting for 'brighter' venue,