Dad.

How do you deal with the concept of Father’s Day, especially when it coincides with the week of your father’s death anniversary? This is that time of the year when the question bothers me to no end . I am not someone who is really into celebrating days dedicated to my kith and kin, though I am certainly not against others doing it. The simple reason being that one doesn’t need a separate excuse to celebrate and honour such relationships on any given day of the year. But given the unfortunate coincidence of this particular occasion, I can’t exhibit the same indifference. May be it would have helped, even if Father’s day was observed in some other month.

I was still young,when my father expired and grappling with that was no mean task. I still remember that day- he had been in a tremendous amount of pain in the weeks leading up to it and the suffering was relentless and continuous, no-holds-barred, until one morning when the moaning stopped, giving me a false impression for the briefest of moments,that his endless pain may have relented a bit, allowing him to get some sleep. Relent it did,in a permanent way of course.The elders spoke of his death being a liberation of sorts from seven years of unbridled bed-ridden agony and distress. He had passed away exactly a day after my Tenth standard board exam results were announced. It was almost like he was waiting to hear that his eldest son managed a first class. I was just about average in school, so my marks were nothing to write home about and though I wish I could have done better,it did give him that bit of a consolation which was pretty evident in the way he reacted to the news. The last couple of years of my dad’s life were so overwhelmingly sad and tragic, that they have paved layer upon layer of painful memories of him being in the line of time’s unforgiving fires.

I have now spent more years in my life without, than I did with him being around. And that absence is filled with numerous what-ifs centred on his hypothetical presence. These what-ifs have been around right from my childhood, even when he was alive, but bed-ridden. I would look at my friends- and their dads- dropping them to school on scooters- this was my favourite wannabe-day-dream back then. I lived in the hope that some day he would be able to walk and take me around for scooter rides in the town. It was probably the innocent optimism of that age which refused to accept that he would never be able to do that again, but  eventually, reality of his day-to-day struggles became so stark that those hopes would ultimately disappear.

Somewhere beneath those multiple layers of painful memories,however, lies a cocoon which houses my earliest recollections of him. Of an embodiment of the joie de vivre, a man full of energy and enthusiasm unparalleled among his peers, friends and family members. Of being the favourite uncle of my cousins who were in their teens because of his wonderfully avuncular nature. That by default made me close to them and the bonds which had their roots in those days have only gone from strength to strength. It is something that I have always cherished deeply.

Fond memories of him animatedly narrating the ‘where-were-you-when-it-happened’ stories of the victorious ’83 world cup campaign and the thrill of knowing that India had actually been champions at one point of time, in the backdrop of the grim 90s of Indian cricket, those moments are still with me. Or that day when he gifted my first cricket bat which then made way for endless hours of airplay- me holding the bat, imagining random situations and swinging the bat away to glory, much to the irritation of my mother. I wonder if I would have been this crazy about cricket, or for that matter, have more than a passing interest in other sports, if it wasn’t for the kind of initiation he provided. And life would definitely have been a lot less interesting without that.

He was known as a very good man in the true sense of the word. When allotted a home, next to someone who wasn’t known to be a very good neighbor, in the residential quarters of his employers, many cautioned him against moving in. But him being him, he insisted that if one is good and without prejudice, there is no reason why anyone would pose a problem. And he stood vindicated on that. Goodness always begets goodness.There are many other little anecdotes like this, which made him extremely popular among his friends. He was pretty much an extrovert and this reflected in his delectable sense of humour which endeared him to so many people. His skills at hilariously mimicking others’ voices was one more aspect of that very trait. Introverts like myself know what value being an extrovert holds. At least I always wish I was more open and I wonder if I would have turned out to be a different person under his guidance.

He was, for the most part of his life, a very optimistic and spirited personality,despite the odds he faced. Even after a failed surgery on his spinal cord which resulted in him becoming paraplegic, he continued to work and support the family. Eventually as his health worsened because of other related complications, he had to be put under continuous medical care. His spirit was only broken when his company terminated his job on medical grounds. That was the day which left him mentally shattered, and in a way, was the beginning of the end.

However, the goodwill that he generated during his active days came back to help us in different ways, including, but not limited to , my mother getting a job, which without any doubt, helped her in bringing me and my brother up. In a way, his personality has been the key benefactor of our lives during the tough times.

At various important junctures in my life, I have wished he was alive to witness them and continue to do so. What I also wished for was to not be in a position to make some decisions for myself. The luxury of having your dad decide some things for you is something that I have always missed. I call it a luxury because at some level you know you are doing the right thing and your dad is holding your hand.  And trust me, that is an assurance like nothing else in the world.

p.s. I’ve been going back and forth on writing a post of this nature, because I am somehow very apprehensive of writing something as deeply personal as this. It took quite a bit of mental-hurdle clearing on my part to speak my heart out on this subject.

 

 

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That pale blue dot…

From this distant vantage point, the Earth might not seem of any particular interest. But for us, it’s different. Consider again that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there – on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that in glory and triumph they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner. How frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity – in all this vastness – there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.

The Earth is the only world known, so far, to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment, the Earth is where we make our stand. It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.

Carl SaganPale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space

As I sat watching the final episode of ‘Cosmos- A space time Odyssey’ hosted by the awesome Neil deGrasse Tyson, Carl Sagan’s thoughts on the vastness of the universe and our place in it were played out even as every word in it made its way directly into my mind and heart with such evocative precision. How brilliantly it puts everything in perspective. There is a certain comprehensiveness to what Sagan says, that to say anything additional would just end up meaning redundant. As we unearth more and more truths about our existence, our evolution, our place in this universe, one thing has already been established: that we are just a random,infinitesimal pixel on the canvas of this ever-expanding universe. But ( as a cousin of mine says), may be, just significant enough to be aware of our place…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beats

I think it was this beautiful song, ‘Ik tara’that I was listening to,as I waited patiently for the local train which would take me home from work. With the eyes on the platform, ears hand-in-glove with the earphones, peak-hour crowd ambling along restlessly, train chugging along carrying another set of passengers to be offloaded but not before being smothered and disregarded by all those people waiting to get in and grab that much-coveted seat causing a commotion before the commute back home,life was as run-of-the-mill as a Ravi Shastri-tracer bullet. I didn’t even get a feeling.

There’s probably another guy lurking somewhere around me, watching me silently, observing my every moment (from who knows when?), probably keener by a whisker when I take the phone out of my pocket to satisfy my screen-swiping urges(if there’s a scientific term for that, please insert here) or to scroll through an always active twitter timeline. He is also, most certainly,least interested in what I am doing with the phone.

Thats when the train slows down enough for people to force their way in without even bothering for the passengers to disembark- of course- all hell would break loose if one isn’t seated. Standing and commuting is an inconvenience of unimaginable proportions. Standing and commuting is for losers. Standing and commuting is for the weak-hearted. Standing and commuting is for those accused of immigration fraud by the US government.Standing and commuting is for the.. okay,I probably lost my train of thoughts there. Of course, if there’s anyone who’s right on track, they are those smart-and-indolent-as-hell commuters who spare themselves the agony of sailing against the Tsunami of people gushing out of the train- they simply drop that piece of cloth,newspaper,book, lunch box-whatever it is that they deem to be associated with them- or whatever isn’t precious enough to be out of their possession for a few seconds but precious enough to help them grab that seat. (Some unwritten rule in the unwritten constitution of Indian public transport etiquette says that any unreserved seat or berth in any means of public transport- from a bullock cart to a long-distance train- can be reserved by dropping anything belonging to the dropper of the said instrument of reservation who is also one of the numerous claimants to that piece of priceless real estate( whose worth is directly proportional to the crowd and the distance of the journey and actually not the price of the ticket) and that will be enough to lay claim to the comforts of a seated journey. In case there’s a conflicting and opposing claim made by a competing traveler, one can always go to any lengths, use any means, including, but not limited to the following options:1. A spirited debate 2. A slanging match 3. Getting involved in collar-pulling eventually leading to a fisticuff 4. By out-threatening the adversary. Of course if it is Delhi one can always make timely mentions of the power derived from their parentage(aka ‘tu-jaanta-nahin-mera-baap-kaun-hai’). Best is to have an intimidating physique. Usually that settles matters in the most peaceful manner. Anyway, I digress.

So as they go about reserving their seats through the window, they’re waiting to troll the hell out of another set of hapless people who’ve just about sailed through the said Tsunami and made it alive-dishevelled and scampering- only to find that all of the seats have been taken. Including the one at that corner which was available until the last fraction of a second when some mr.smartypants-from-hell drops his piece of cloth from outside the window,presenting a troll-face to you, and boom- its gone.

Only that, what’s gone is not just a place to sit in a crowded local train packed to bits for a 20-minute journey. That was the hollow sound of my heart skipping a few beats, a sound rushing in to fill the silence from the beats that had stopped playing in my ears, as the pocket suddenly feels empty and the hand reaches out for what is usually ensconced in there day in and day out – that connection to the rest of the world- that provider of gratification to restless fingers- that player of music to a soul perennially hungry for food- that source of a million jokes and a billion hashtags-that piece of a ticking scorecard- that piece of metal and glass and gloss- that iThing made by that company- that company which goes by the name of that fruit- that fruit which is supposed to keep that doctor away-that doctor or any doctor who has nothing to do with any of this…

And that, my dear friends, is how someone stole my beloved phone.

Its like you’re bitten by a snake and you don’t know that for a few seconds, but the moment you realize you’ve been stung, the pain shoots through your veins, leaving you paralysed in thought and action. Well, at least thats what happened to me as I ran around aimlessly hoping to see it dropped somewhere, spouting some gibberish to a squatting commuter ( which reminds me, this is another category of spirited commuters- who’ll take to the floor if their tsunami-sailing goes in vain) while somehow managing to convey to him that I was asking if he had seen an iPhone lying somewhere unclaimed.(Duh! An unclaimed iPhone, what was I thinking!) The guy then reacted in a manner that I don’t have words to describe. Simply saying “no, I haven’t seen any phone lying around” could have done, but no,empathy is for idiots. As I turned around blowing off the salt on my wound, I requested another gentleman with a legacy-phone,physical keypad and all, if I could use it to make a call to my missing phone. As he generously handed it to me, I struggled to dial my own number. Not that I didn’t remember it, but my fingers just wouldn’t move. Seeing my little struggle on that keypad, the gentleman offered to dial it for me. And in a very “what-else-did-you-think” manner, told me it was already switched off.

****

The last few days, I’ve been trying to come to terms with the theft of my smartphone. It’s an empty feeling. When you’re outside and want to listen to that song thats playing in your head. When you want to tweet your frustrations or bad jokes or something that nobody gives a damn about.When you want to check the score. When you want to engage in more whatsapp chatter. When you want to routinely put your hands in the pocket to feel your phone. When you want to click a cute moment with your 4 month old niece. Its a disconnect. It’s a massive wave of withdrawal symptoms. But, at the end of the day, its not a big deal. Life goes on. ‘Ik tara’ plays on again, popping up as the first song from a playlist in shuffle mode- this time on your laptop.

P.S. Hell no, life doesn’t just go on without a smartphone. I’m right now bisecting the line joining the two horns of a dilemma on whether I should surrender to my impulses and urges and get that new phone here or order it in the US and ship it to a friend who’ll get it for me next month.

That elusive thing called attention span

Its been quite some time now, that I’ve been dealing with plunging attention spans. Dont think it was like I woke up one fine day and discovered that I couldn’t focus on a thing for too long. Its been on a gradual decline I guess. I struggle to read long articles at one go unless they’re something I am really really interested in, otherwise there’s the ubiquitous ‘read later’ option that I choose to stalk myself with- be it on all the desktop browsers I use, or my smart phone. And then they lie in cold storage- in my instapaper feeds. Google reader (earlier) and Feedly (now) are other avenues to this problem. And read later I do, much much later. And I don’t know what transpires in between. Too many things vying for my attention?Yes,but I rather think it is a case of a fickle mind getting fickler by the day. I have caught myself looking at the same tweets on my PC, phone and tablet within a space of a few minutes and right then I do feel its crazy,but that fleeting moment of realization is quickly relegated to the background and crushed to death by some new link or a tweet or a joke which someone has made somewhere. If it happens to be a link to a long article, it is instapapered-off again. Rinse, repeat. That, ladies and gentlemen, is my online life in a nutshell.
 
And it is not just the online aspect of my life that seems to have been impacted. I used(it hurts to use a past tense here,but I’ll have to admit) to be a voracious reader of the newspaper until, I guess, late 2010 or early 2011. Then a long-term onsite assignment happened. And a smart phone was bought. That was that. I was keen to keep my newspaper-reading habit going, so I subscribed to the WSJ print edition there, but it ended up being a disastrous marriage. There were many reasons to it, one of them being the lack of a long enough commute to office, but I wouldn’t deny that super fast internet connections and the smart phone resulted in other extra-marital affairs, which, ultimately killed my relationship with the paper.
 
There would be times when I, in all my virtual glory, with the laptop on one side, tablet on the other and the phone in my hands, all their wires criss-crossing each other, entangled with each other and plugged into the power outlet ,have felt slightly like a patient in a hospital connected to all sorts of life-support systems, probably struggling to get a real life outside this complex web of the virtual life.SIGH.After returning to India, I was hoping that my old marriage with The Hindu would be revived. Revive it did, but I found myself fighting off the smartphone once again which would barge in between me and the newspaper, fuelled by whatsapp notifications and that irresistible urge to scroll through the twitter timeline and all other such distractions emanating from the phone.Probably like a second woman gate-crashing into your date, someone with whom you intend to get into a long term relationship. (On deeper thinking, I realize that given my history of scoring dates with girls,or the lack of it, its highly improbable that a second girl would want to barge in, let alone finding one girl wanting to date me. Anyway, I digress).I also notice that the reading sessions have now become labored,rather than free-flowing, a bit like a boring marriage well into its second or third decade.Also,more often than not, the 60-80 minute commute is not good enough to finish the newspaper(which was not the case in my pre-onsite days). (Did you see what I did there? A glaring contradiction of sorts where I first try to make a date-analogy and directly go on to make a two or three decade old marriage analogy to describe,umm, probably the same thing, but I digress again.) On weekends, I lie down on the couch with the newspaper hoping to do full justice to the time in hand, but it is a matter of time before i hug the paper and scroll away shamelessly on my phone. Much like hugging your beloved and exchanging flirtatious glances with another girl. 
 
One more thing I catch myself doing these days (I know I’ve used too many ‘caught myself’ instances here, but yeah, I’m trying to be honest) is that I am just reading through entire paragraphs without anything actually getting into my head. Well,because my mind is still pre-occupied or distracted with something else that had my attention just before I had embarked on reading the article. And then I shake my head in helpless frustration and go back to square one, with the equivalent pain of having to drill a hole into my brain to make way for what I am *actually* reading right now.
 
I’ve never been as voracious with books, but of late I’ve made my attempts to rectify that, and have picked up a few books on and off. Here too, I’ve failed miserably with some, by abjectly surrendering and abandoning half-read books. Though to be fair to myself, I think I’m doing slightly better here given the generally fickle state of my mind. And I hope to persist with this until I make book-reading an instinctive habit- something that I don’t have to struggle with. But then, there are many other factors to it, I guess, like the type of books I pick up, how I manage my time, and above all, a genuine interest. 
 
Mainly, I am just exasperated that may be I don’t spend enough time thinking and understanding things. May be I am just sipping and taking random bites and not ruminating enough, not doing any cud-chewing of any sort at all. And that is impacting my ability to write. Which I really want to do. Whether anyone reads or not is a different question, but at least to pander to my sense of satisfaction, I want to write, I really do. All this intake of fast food, in the form of twitter, instagram and other feeds are probably destroying my appetite and I would love to exercise more control over it and be able to just switch off from these addictions without having any withdrawal symptoms.  I have made a beginning by taking facebook out of my life, and I have to say I have succeeded to some extent- as in I was able to not activate it again for about two months until one day when a best-friend-couple got engaged and *I had* to login and wish them on the relationship status update even though I had made them known my best wishes from roof-tops in real life. Sigh. What a loser I am to think that I need to balance my real-life with my virtual-life. Of course I did de-activate it again, but now I am in a position where, at least once in 10 or 15 days, I reach out to that awkwardly hidden spot inside my mind which houses the urge to login to facebook and see the writing on people’s walls. When the writing on my wall is quite clear. Damn,too bad these walls are not taken down by Mark Zuckerberg’s geeks on de-activating an account. Quite cleverly,(I’d rather say sadistically) they have left the option of re-activating it anytime, pretty much like a shady drug dealer enticing a former addict who’s going to rehab knowing very well when and where to find his dope if he really wanted to. That said, I don’t want to completely give up Twitter, because it is actually a very very funny thing to be on- I’d rather adhere to a strict,uh, time regimen instead of continuously scrolling through tweets.
 
Anyway, so thats that. This is probably the lid going off after months of pent-up frustration from plumbing new depths of the attention span graph. I really hope there’s an end to this.
 
ps1: I’m sorry if those marriage-affair analogies were in poor taste. Thats me trying dark humor, which, I admit may fall flat. 
 
ps 2:And I had to mention this- the drug dealer analogy was a nod to Breaking Bad. Which may be cheesy again. 😀
 
ps3: In a classic case of #meta, I had attention span problems while reading the final draft of this post.
 
ps4: These postscripts were not brought to you by Sony.( Sorry. Couldnt resist a bad one after seeing PS2 and PS3). 
 
*Runs away*

 

Kitchen Kitsch

As an adult human being capable of reasoning out (in most cases if not all) and making seemingly proper decisions, I also back myself to accept that certain things are just not cut out to be done by me.Note how I am using a passive voice to shift the blame completely on the things.Cooking for instance. Despite my best efforts(best,purely on basis of a personal perception,others’ views may vary!), somehow this activity has not succeeded in impressing me with all its ‘purported’ pleasures,as evidenced by people like Sanjeev Kapoor or the guy at Vahrevah or for that matter the numerous number of food blogs on the interwebs.  My relationship with the culinary chores can best be described as one of the love-hate kind,with hate being the overwhelmingly dominant feeling.

Like every other relationship, this also keeps having its highs and lows. The highs are achieved with great finesse especially when I am out to make upma or variants thereof-that much derided,much despised dish which for some strange reason has a special friendship with me. I’ve also had a good rapport with making pasta,but then we both got so bored of each other that now I have completely stopped meeting err making it. Classic case of familiarity breeding boredom if not contempt I would say. And strangely the very same familiarity with upma hasn’t bred anything yet.

Now the act of cooking rice is one facet (if you may) of that relationship where one wouldn’t really expect to see any lows, but not with me.One fateful day,armed with a mind riding high on the glories of a powerful mix of jet lagged home sickness unleashed on self after having returned to Dallas from  an India-based vacation, I  resigned to the fate of having curd-rice with some pickle for lunch. The god damned whistles would just not come.Instead what happened was the aroma of rice burning under pressure engulfing my living abode,at which point I only thought something was fishy about something in the apartment. And then it went BOOM-the realization that the odour was in fact emanating from my kitchen.

Utterly aghast, I then proceeded to turn off the stove and unravel the mystery about what on Earth could conspire against a simple attempt at cooking rice. As it turned out, I had just omitted a simple but crucial step involved in boiling rice- that of adding water. What I was staring into wasn’t just brown/black burnt rice, but an abyss , a bottomless pit of hopelessness into which I had plunged after enjoying a 3 week vacation when I had  the luxury of the choicest of home made cuisine without having to enter the kitchen but for more helpings of the deliciousness that was being served. The magnitude of damage that mega fiasco did to the pressure cooker was just unimaginable.The poor utensil still bears those slight marks of carbon reminding me on every single occasion, “WATER IS NECESSARY FOR RICE TO BOIL”. Or anything for that matter.

But then as I look back at that incident, I just tell myself, “may be I ended up making FRIED RICE,quite literally” and shrug it off in a smug kind of way. Quite luckily,I’ve always been surrounded with people who cook well. In India,I never had to stay outside,so it was never a problem. After coming to the US too, I’ve bumped into roommates who cook well. I just do my bit by taking over the dish washing duties. And of course the occasional upma/pasta/daal. Actually,as I type this I realize that I make decent curries with potatoes/cabbages/cauliflowers and green beans too. But thats about it. Cooking,clearly is not my cup of tea!

Updates of the general kind

Since I cannot bring myself to think deep enough and come up with a blog post on anything of significance, I just thought I might just come up with something that elaborates on the aforementioned topic of this post.

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Holiday season? Not quite.

Thanksgiving to New years is usually when the clients take it easy and there are no strict deadlines staring into the eye. Not in my case this year. Its been a crazy one month with issues cropping up everyday and the bane of weekend on call support adding its own flavors.Just when I thought the system was getting stable after the go-live ,all such notions have now been charred beyond recognition ,in the raging inferno of day-to-day issues.Which is one more reason why I cant wait for Feb, when I’ll be off on a vacation to India for 20 full days. A trip to LA has been planned with colleagues for the Christmas weekend, but I’m assuming it will be frantic from the word go.

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Trip trappings in Texas

Talking about trips, I have undertaken quite a few in the 15 months of stay here in the US. Notable ones include the ones to New York city, Chicago ,Yosemite national park ,San Francisco and the Big bend national park down south in Texas. Which is pretty much almost all of the places I have seen so far. I leave out Las Vegas here because apparently no visit to that city is complete if you haven’t covered Grand Canyon and the Hoover dam in the same trip. Having seen these cities, I now crave for visits to the wilderness. National parks, hikes, and the like. Places like the colorado springs in Denver, Niagara falls, the grand canyon are on the bucket list of tours to be undertaken before I return to India for good. Also, my heart craves for an eyefull of the splendid fall colors.The Eastern Sierra ranges in northern california ,the Smokies in Tennessee and New Hampshire in particular are bestowed with the splendor and resplendency of the full glory of the season’s colors.Being stuck in Texas means one has to fly out to these destinations and that leaves little scope for last minute planning,whereas in California or in the north/east coast or for that matter the midwest, one doesn’t have to plan too much in advance. Renting a car and driving down is always an option. Not so with Texas with its large tracts of barren lands, one-day-per-winter of snow,merciless summers and a non existent fall season. May be the only good thing here is the absence of state taxes,interestingly for a state which is an anagram of that very word!

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Attention span problems

Blame it on Facebook or blame it on Twitter, but my decreasing attention span is a clear and present danger, raising its ugly face everytime I’m confronted with any post/article/link of a substantial size requiring my attention for more than 5 minutes. Yes, its come down to such depressing levels. Once a voracious reader of the newspaper, I find myself struggling every morning to keep myself focused for more than half an hour. That I dont wake up early enough and that I dont have a long enough commute to office for me to spend time on a paper,unlike in India, may be valid reasons, but I’m quite sure it has as much to do with my ability to devote attention lasting long enough. Which is probably one of the reasons behind me not being able to think deeply enough on any topic worth its salt and present those thoughts in the form of a blog. I must also shamelessly admit that I’ve had to return a couple of books to the library without reading them fully,after having kept them for the longest permissible time,using up all the renewals. I seriously need a way back into the books and I have no idea how.

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Serial Killing

I’ve never quite been a TV show person. Back in India,I’d miss no chance to troll the hell out of  my folks at home while they’d be busy watching their favorite shows on TV which made me an utterly undesirable element during the showtimes. And that kind of instilled a generally negative opinion on TV in my mind. That seems to have changed in the recent past, thanks to some people I follow keenly on Twitter/Facebook, who have pretty good tastes ( or tastes I appreciate) when it comes to matters of art and music. Of course it is a very subjective thing, it could be argued,though. All of which means I have developed a taste for the american sitcoms and TV shows and I must admit being swept off my feet looking at the production values and the high quality of programming on offer. So far I have completed all seasons of 2 shows, one being the intense drama,Prison Break( they dragged the last season a lot, I felt though.) and the other being the quirkily funny Arrested Development. Used to watch Two and a half men as well, but have stopped after it lost its sheen. Pun intended, for sure. Currently I am catching up with How I met your mother, which has 7 seasons in all but I don’t see putting myself through all of them. In all likelihood, I’m not watching season 3 onwards which is why I did myself a favor and read a pretty good gist of it all in wikipedia. On my instant queue in Netflix are Breaking Bad, Mad men and 30 rock, not necessarily in that order. And oh yes, did I forget to mention that I find ‘Friends’ to be highly over-rated?

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Thoughtful considerations

Considering that attention spans in general are decreasing, and it is not an isolated phenomenon, I’d guess it would be good to end this post here,being mindful of the fact that I need to exercise some mercy on whoever chooses to read this post. More later!

A post late by 3 months.

To begin with a cliche,I’d say a lot of water has flown under the proverbial bridge since the last time I blogged. In fact why is it that I feel so every time I post a blog? So much that it is a bit like making a come back every single time. But this post is not about why I cannot write more often.This is a post that should have come around 2-3 months back. Only that the thoughts got lost in a flash flood of sorts.Which kind of brought down the bridge.Bad one. I digress.

Coming back to the water and the bridge,yes, a certain world cup was won to satiate almost a billion crazy maniacs of the game and the team. This was something that could have provoked a post from me, being no less a fanatic myself. What instead happened was I read so much stuff from so many people, that everything that could have been said about ‘the’ match was done to death by every blogger worth his or her salt. That said, it was nevertheless a unique occasion. Here I was alone in my apartment (I live with two others, one chose to go to his brother’s place and the other chose to go apartment hunting on that day-the latter mostly out of a fear of jinxing our team just by watching them play!), shouting and screaming and cursing and clenching fists and gnawing throughout the course of the match, finally culminating in that magnificent six over the long on boundary,accompanied by that slick twirl of the bat by MSD. And then I erupted in joy. A feeling that had never been felt in reality before; a feeling that had only been dreamed of, a feeling  we all had only wondered about. Here it was. What followed was high decibel screaming and a subsequent  mental delirium of sorts  which was to last for a few more days until it all gradually sunk in. When the dust seemed to settle a bit on the state of my mind,when it looked like I could sit down and gather myself and word my thoughts, it felt like a frustrating drought of a verbal nature.Words vanished like clouds on a drought-affected land,mind resembling a parched landscape. I had read so much from so many sources, it seemed like I had nothing different to offer in the form of one more blog post… after all  it would have been just another drop in an ocean.

Most part of last year, I spent aspiring for a couple of things to be precise(among many other less-interesting ones, of course). One was a purely professional one- that of traveling to the US for a long term assignment and the other was about India winning the cup.Once the visa was obtained,I was reasonably certain that an on site opportunity would materialize sooner than later, but the second one was prone to becoming a pipe-dream, especially since I had seen 5 previous world cup dreams crashing like a lead-balloon.

Never did I know that I would live to experience both-simultaneouosly(not to say I had any imminent threat to life!).Although I’d’ve preferred the company of a few friends during that moment of triumph,celebrating it in solitude was interesting in its own way. For I didn’t really feel like I was alone. There were those scores of people I was following on Twitter. The entire world cup was watched in the crazy company of some very funny and equally mad tweeters. Every single incident evoked a whole gamut of emotions on the timeline and it was one heck of a substitute for the lifeless,cliche-ridden and banal commentary that was on offer. Testmatch Sofa was also frequented upon,by muting the commentary from the live stream.Tuning into this website offered a very irreverent,funny and sarcastic point of view on the proceedings.It was like watching a dubbed movie or something.OK,not quite the analogy I was looking for but you get the drift,don’t you?

The journey from the knock-outs, goes without saying, was one roller coaster ride. The quarter final against the Aussies started off as a sleepless night-before,progressing as a nervous,gingerly first innings as Ricky Ponting guided them to a tricky total. It was then time to go to office, and the next couple of hours were destined to be totally unproductive from a work-perspective. It was an exercise in venting out all possible emotions even while trying your best not to let them out in a way which would make the clients aware of such feelings. This was the most tense I would feel in the entire world cup. The last over was watched streaming on one of my desi co-worker’s mobile with utter disregard to the download limits his data plan imposed.Nobody cared as long as we were winning.

Pakistan was an entirely different proposition. The hype back home was understandably maddening and over-the-top and I was kind of insulated from all that frenzy the media created in a way. That I didn’t have any TV here helped. However, an Indo-Pak encounter in a world cup is nothing like anything.(no, this sentence wasn’t sponsored by micromax or karbonn or whichever brand uses that as a tagline). The fever gets to you. What I experienced on that day was something I will cherish for a long time to come. We were a pretty formidable number of desis at the client’s place. A couple of influential Indians working with the client had enough authority to book a meeting room and screen the match live for our sake. Heck, they even sponsored snacks, drinks and a post-victory pizza for lunch!We did try our bit to help the Americans understand what all that fuss was about too. Work and deadlines and time- everything came to a standstill. Only those hysterical bunch of Indians packed inside a room seemed to be moving about crazily. The clients,had resigned to fate that no work would be done that day,irrespective of whether we were going to lose or win.It was very nice of them indeed.

To abruptly end with another cliche,the final of course,as they say, was history. I still cannot muster the words to describe that match.