Life's Lessons - Part 1
Just want to bring a smile to the reader's lips - and an occasional thought. Will try to stay away from controversial topics - rather create my own! And would definitely welcome comments. :-)
The inspiration behind this post has been in the running for more than 9 years now - so I guess that creates some sort of record in procrastination. Of course, when the idea first occurred to me, there was no blogosphere, but even taking that into account, it's almost 2 years since I have started blogging, and that also is a long time. Anyway, the most recent inspiration for this post is a recent news item that I came across - about some rich American(the way US economy is going, it will stop being a tautology soon) leaving about $300,000 to his three dogs. Yes, Dogs. And they say it is a dog's life!
I was first exposed to Messrs Calvin and Hobbes in late 80s, when they appeared every sunday in The Telegraph Magazine. I couldn't make any sense of their antics then - all I saw were ugly dinosaurs (now that's redundant - when did I ever find a dino handsome / beautiful?), or spaceships (I am not a sci-fi fan, except for comic sci-fi like H2G2), or a tiger that was sometimes stuffed, and sometime, well, a tiger. Then there was a long gap before I came across a whole book around 1995, courtesy some dear friends who were running out of ideas to cheer me up during my dialysis days. And I discovered the magic!! It has never failed since to bring a smile to my lips AND make me think, simultaneously. If P.G.Wodehouse is unadulterated beauty and elegance of English language, guaranteed to make you laugh whichever page you open in the book, Bill Watterson is that rarity who looks at everyday life with an uncommon lens, turns conventional wisdom upside down, and in the garb of a six-year old terror kid (and his sympathetic, if sometimes uncomprehending tiger) asks questions and makes observations that we as adults would be glad to shove below the carpet.
Shifting residences has its own hidden costs, beyond the ones incurred on packers and movers (hopefully not shakers) and the increase in rent. One such cost was revealed to me today morning when I went for my first haircut in this locality (the earlier one being a good 10 km off). I spent almost 2 years' worth of haircut on just one haircut today. And am now trying to justify the same to myself. May be my readers can help.
Nov 18 is a rather special day in my life. Precisely 24 years ago, we got our first TV set home that day. Now you may think of me as some sort of a weirdo for remembering such a date (especially when I cannot remember the birthdays of close friends, at least on time), but let me explain....there is a good reason not to forget the date. Nov. 19 is when the Asiad started at New Delhi (remember Appu?) We got the TV just a day before - as JIT as it gets. Of course, you may wonder why I remember the date when Asiad started. Its because it was also the then PM, Mrs. Indira Gandhi's birthday. And even at that age, it seemed too much of a coincidence to me.
It was one of my childhood fantasies - to respond with an "Absent Miss", when my turn would come during the roll call. It just seemed a fun thing to do, but somehow the steely glares of most of my class teachers did not allow these thoughts to get out of the box at all.
We had a good dussehra break at office, and I went to Visakhapatnam (a.k.a. Vizag, a.k.a Waltaire) to spend some quality time with some relatives. Let me elaborate. My father's elder brother is now settled in Vizag for close to twenty years, and apart from him and my aunt, I have there a cousin sister, two cousin brothers (with matching sisters-in-law), a couple of nephews and a neice thrown in for good measure. In all these years, I have never visited them, though we have met on family occasions like weddings etc. The overall effect was that I did not know about the existence of my younger nephew (all of 5 years old) when I planned this trip, and that, more than anything else, struck me as being absolutely unpardonable. Little wonder that my uncle / aunt had actually stopped asking me to come over after innumerable futile attempts over all these years.
I think I have become dull. May be I have joined the corporate rat race without even realizing it. And I am doing all the running I can do to stay at the same place! What else can explain my lack of activity on my blog? I wouldn't go so far as to suggest that my creative juices have dried up (calling my writing "creative" would indeed be creative) :-) but there is a mental fatigue that prevents me from thinking beyond my work these days..... and I am not sure I like that.
I guess I have really been out of touch with my blog, and its few precious readers, and the wider world as such, for quite some time now. The last time I tried accessing my blog was on reading newspaper reports about certain blogsites being blocked. I couldn't....and felt my prestige enhanced manifold - finally some demonstration of keyboard being mightier than the sword. Today I was generally surfing (after ages), and found to my horror that I am no longer a threat to my country. This is disappointing - they should not dismiss untapped potential just like that!
The day could not have started at a brighter note, what with the winter sun at its glorious best at 10 in the morning. So it was hardly surprising that things went downhill from there on. Life doesn't really take into account niceties like it was a sunday, and a day before my birthday (for some unfathomable reason, I am more excited on the day before my birthday than on my birthday itself - may be it's the stuff about aniticipation and all that). Anyway, my journey downhill began with the discovery that the missed calls were not missed - none of the three receipients had bothered to call me back. How I wish these modern gizmos didn't have such advanced features - like telling you that someone called up while you were sleeping, and may be you should return the call. Or the features should be advanced enough - the phone grabs you by the ears and doesn't let go till you return the call - basic manners, you see!
There is neither any sweetness in this post, nor any light. My manifesto does proclaim that I will try to stay away from controversial topics, and the reason I am posting this particular post is that the topic is not controversial enough - at least not in the mainstream media as I know (and avoid) it.
May be this topic is closer to my heart than the general reader, but do check out the link below for a thought-provoking discussion on whether there should be "market" for organ transplants.
I watched Ice Age 2 yesterday. And thoroughly enjoyed it. Rolled in laughter, so to speak. Which might have disappointed my mother who could never fathom what I enjoyed in cartoons but always hoped I would grow out of them. Well, I have grown out of a lot of things - both vertically as well as horizontally - but not my love for animations. :)
I did it yesterday. Bunked office. Just like that. The decision was taken after realization dawned on me that you cannot add anything to, or subtract anything from, infinity, and expect a difference. So a day playing hookey would basically make no difference to the volume of work on my lap(top), but it has the potential to recharge me for the endless monday mornings lying in wait. Now it is saturday evening, and while I am not very sure whether I am recharged enough for monday or not, what the hell, I had fun yesterday. Watched a movie, reached TGIF well in time to legitimately claim the free drink at Happy Hours, and slept at 10 p.m. In this day and age, you can't really ask for more.
Remember the party? The link in the title is an interview with the candidates from Paritran that contested the recently held assembly elections in Tamil Nadu. Underscoring the difference between reel and real life, they did not win any seats. But my friend, and amateur psephologist, Sameer Nair, tells me that the percentage of votes polled by them is not at all bad for a new party. It managed 5.4% of votes in Annanagar and 6.4% in Mylapore. Thanks, Sammy, and do add more analysis if you feel up to it.