Sunday, April 23, 2017

Tale of cities

It's been a while long I've been here. Can't put excuses because they are lame, obviously. Nonetheless, I'd say I'd been mired into numerous things which I reckon have become part of life now. Another post some time would help me vent out these thoughts. For this article I'd begin to cut to the chase. I've been on the move for over a decade now and the genesis of this post comes from my different abodes I've resided at, opportunities I've had to meet people, work, exchange greetings among many others.

I oft hear from people how much they love their so and so town and would never leave it for air, weather, for surroundings, for opportunities and other countless yet unfathomable things. How can they be so awfully stubborn of one place and ignore to visit other places? Let's look at few things. Folks from Bombay say they can't move to another city, they love scrumptious food from street vendors. Folks from Indore are crazy about its small size, culture Indore have, palate tantalizing food. Take another one, people from Delhi: they are proud of Delhi. New York, people boast of how big New York is. 
I'll take potshot to each of the aforementioned one. Bombay has one of the awful weather in summers. Bombay's system to find rental apartment gives nightmares. Bombay's commute to Virar in rush hour can make you board next flight to your dear hometown. Indore, people are busy with anyone else's business. There are no good jobs or companies that hire talented people, or the profile which people are interested in. Indore don't get good newspapers like Hindu or Indian express of the same day by dawn. New York, people who live in New York would complain of expenses, yet same people won't leave NYC. NYC's job market is saturated and you'd find a lot many people from upstate NY or NYC in DC area. New York's sky rending apartment rates can only be bought in dream's dreams. Delhi, if you think you've had tough time from people of  neighboring states of Delhi then you don't know what's in the box in Summers and Diwali. Delhi's chhola-bhatura aren't good, same with Rajma Chawal, they are not. What more of Delhi, let's see. It is an epitome of unsafe place in India, yet people are so loud of this darn place. I can go on to vent my thoughts on this but I reckon you get the drift.

I've lived in a decent number (less than ten) of places with hopping on and off every two years in last six years. I've been to other cosmopolitan town(s) if not living permanently in a city for a longer period such as Pune. After a while I get bored of the noise, people, energy to explore city further. Weather too tends to get a tad boring. People who brag they live to close to beach and thus would not like to leave place. How oft they visit beach? All glossiness is mere to convince ourself, if not more. 
I don't feel like attaching myself to any city. City is good but that's it. DC is one of the beautiful place in early fall, early spring. Bombay is exceptional in December same with Pune and the list can go on with different cities in different countries. I agree I don't have friends, but again I make new friends in area where I go, talk or learn how to broach upon anything. Even with no friends how bad a new city could be? I know people living in same city for more than half a decade not making new friends, exploring city itself, visiting highly talked restaurants of town. 

Some city has awesome weather, some has exceptional transport, some has delicious food, some has little traffic, some is less expensive, jobs and such and such stuff. Am I being imprudent if I've not fallen in love with any city yet? Well, I don't know. I'd let my next destination guide, belie my comprehensions and see how my tale of cities flow through.

  











Saturday, February 18, 2017

Around DC

Since the beginning of this year I immersed self in reading. One of the reasons was to surpass my last year's book tally and also, to read the vast number of classics available through library at my institution. In this effort I got engrossed and detached with outer world. There were few places in DC I'd wanted to go and would love to visit again and again. 

Breaking the monotony I visited Library of Congress and Capitol Hill. I started my day at Library of Congress (LOC). I joined on time to get first tour. In there, personnel would took us through one of the rare collections of Bible, their manufacturing contents, the temperatures these treasures are maintained at. Over the tour you'd get to know meanings of different symbolisms in architecture - how sculptures are looking in a certain direction, various other props. Tour ends with an panoramic view of the library through a glass walled balcony. Library hosts one of the largest and rarest world's collections including inauguration hand written letters from very earliest presidents. If you're bookmark enthusiast this place is definitely recommended to you. The tour lasts for about 45-60 mins after which you're free to roam in library, read descriptions of different paintings and archives.

I was less interested in constitutional and America's history, thus hurried to exit LOC. En route to exit I found there's a connecting tunnel for Capitol Hill and made my mind to visit it. After security check and short walk I entered to the majestic Capitol Hill. It screens short documentary about brief history and importance of Capitol Hill in specific intervals. I grabbed something for lunch whilst there was time for next screening. As always the music in these short screenings is nothing short of incredible. Post screening there's was a tour of the Capitol Hill where personnel handed over earphones to entourage to listen to the vast array of information as they spoke. Tour goes at very decent pace through different architecture and its fallacies, halls, painters names, tomb's construction and destruction, 3D paintings in the tomb, castings of important figures of the nation, costs and plethora of pertinent points. Tour lasts for 60 or so minutes and worth very minute. While exiting I bought fridge magnet and left for LOC to get fridge magnet of it to add to my collection.

Such places are phenomenally fascinating to me like no others things. Having visited these I again buried myself into reading and been thinking where next to go and explore in DC. 

Happy long weekend. 





Saturday, December 31, 2016

Books read in 2016

With holidays mood set in, clock ticking towards the new year I'm gathering up my speed to read as much to add to the list I had decided for my resolution. I worked hard with all my might to read books more than last year, unfortunately, didn't succeed. Here's link to the list of books read in year 2015.

Books read in 2016:
1) The Fellowship of the Ring
2) The Return of the King
3) Fountain Head
4) Catch-22
5) Surely, you're joking Mr. Feynman
6) Barnaby Grimes phantom of blood alley

Currently, I'm reading Anna Karenina (translated by Constance Garnett).
Count definitely is not an impressive one. With all my zeal I'm committed to read more number of books. I'm looking forward to year 2017 with many new hopes, rejuvenated will to make the best of it.

Wish y'all a very happy new and prosperous year.




Saturday, December 24, 2016

Joy to write

I think this post might quench doubts in many people's mind oozing frequently, when they see someone share, publish a blog, or write a column. What makes people pen down ideas? This question could be flung to many enthusiasts who virtually take pen, write, become a medium to convey events, privation, joy, disparity happening around. Or in more dissuasive tone question is oft put: why people have a sudden spike of interests to become writer, author?

The mooted question is definitely worthy the attention it seeks. I'd attempt to touch it with broader strokes. First, the ubiquitous presence of social media has been pivotal in promoting writers, authors, journalists who were away due to lack of attention, waiting for the debut - the one opportunity that evaded endlessly. Empowered internet, social media gave an outlet to demonstrate skills and talent to the world. With constructive criticism many went up the ladder and few have achieved the unthinkable in short span of time.

Second, lack of time, laziness to literally write, buy a pen, paper have encouraged this. People can write what is on their minds in flight, bus, train irrespective of location. Write-up saved could then be processed, accessed from anywhere, shipped to anyone to edit and refined later on. Resistance is really small to overcome and thoughts could be easily phrased awfully, fancily while jabbing the keys. 

Third, the sheer need to convey feelings: sorrowness, discomfort, happiness, excitement, rush to quickly relay frame of mind to the world is surmounted by only a click away. Not only different moods, people wanting to share their experiences, guidelines on plethora of topics have harnessed digital writing to the fullest. Platforms like Facebook, Quora came into existence on the ideas akin; what became of them is another story. From movie reviews to new recipes one can test the waters and develop on them eventually. Shyness and fear to lose is minimal. 

Last and importantly, one is in constant drive to look new avenues to learn, start some thing. In search of those avenues few stick to writing, derive happiness from it. Writing enables to channelize enthusiasm, constant storms in mind, regular agitation, tiny ideas that bother, small ideas that may reform lives. It becomes a medium to know yourself, pass things which are unspeakable or shared with anyone. Writing brings to a zone of separation from outer world, of peace, of utter calmness, much and intensely needed in ceaseless onslaughts of life.  

Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas! 



Saturday, December 17, 2016

Mumbai

I think my blog shall be incomplete should I don't dedicate a post to Mumbai. Mumbai; I can go on and on about this city, where I spent nearly 2 years. There is so much spoken, written about Mumbai. City that attracts people, thrives on thriving people. People drive crazy to it and it also drives people crazy. Jobs, money, entertainment, travel, food, fashion, a city that ousts everyone in every possible dimension, absorbs anyone from anywhere, a host of million dreams, giving rise to million other dreams.

Mumbai, city of dreams, is known to many of us through the lens of cinema. Portrayal of Mumbai is with many Hindi movies begin. Shoehorned slums, packed local trains, Juhu beach, Nariman point with many other spots covered that are heart and soul of this vibrant city. Bollywood has its own major role in making this city immensely popular. Umpteen movie and TV stars reside here. It still pulls many aspirants providing a platform to get a foothold in the (in?)famous industry. Not only golden screen and silver screen, Mumbai has been a pivotal in making present day sensational news and internet content, namely through Times Now, AIB to put a few.
Colors, lights, celebrations Mumbai embraces anything. Regardless of the community, religion every person has a gala of time here. Ganpati, Durga pooja, Christmas or any other festival never goes without touching souls of residents. Seasons are pulse of of this town. City's most awaited seasons of the year, Monsoon, is heartily welcomed by its denizens and thoroughly covered by media. Stock markets send cheers and hurrays with its onset. In Summers, alphonso mangoes are awaited by thousands.

Mumbai has had her tough times. City has been through a lot, blasts in 1993, relentless rains in 2007, or the notorious attacks in 2008. Perennial spirit never wobbled. City didn't lose hope; enthusiasm didn't wear off. Every such unfortunate event has built the city stronger than ever before to withstand anything. People bonded in grief, sorrow bringing all together, making city to stand, endure even tougher and harsher times.
Everyone I've met says Mumbai has given them hope. A hope to drive through their tough times, life, reach greater heights. Smiles never departed despite back breaking travels, unaffordable residential prices. These things seem mere a spec in life, if Mumbai accepts them. Chaos seems to be an integral part of residents; noise, hustle-bustle become melody in life. Such has been the charm of Mumbai.






Sunday, December 11, 2016

Amidst all, peace has vanished

With the tremendous globalization, technological advancements in 21st century we've transitioned into a new era. An era that allows exchanges of ideas globally, cultures and many different things at a vast scale. The world never seemed so small and connected powerfully ever before.
The new generation of technology bestowed people with gadgets, ultra fast computers. They came with a bag full of excitement, fun, thrill to do reach new levels those were unachievable and unthinkable at the same time. New ideas poured in and tangibility happened to them. Success wasn't simpler before. Technological improvements revolutionized the way people view, perceive things. Medium through which the ideas are communicated metamorphosed really fast. Ways of communication changed. From landline phones to smart phones; from newspapers to e-papers, blogs; from personal communications to chat boxes; from letters to e-mails. They unarguably made things move at a super sonic speed. Smileys made the conversations smaller, for few might have lengthened too. These opened new avenues in education, sports for that matter in any dimension of life.

In this fast paced life things have gotten a bit intertwined and the pace seems not to slow down. Reliance on these new form of gadgets, communications and the ceaseless anxiety have its share of harm. I observe people tapping screens in elevators where no mobile service provider has connectivity; people picking up phone and saying "Yea, I'm in an elevator"; constantly checking social media in an underground railway; waking up every darn morning to check mails; walkways blocked due to sheer attention to mobile phones. We tend to be on toes every now and then, and yet not much seems to be achieved through this. What loss would be there if things be delayed for few minutes? The whole idea is to adopt these things and not to adapt ourselves to them.

The thrill that enticed everyone has now become thorn in the flesh. World has been limited to them, not in the figure of speech this time. Less interaction, utter impudence to any personal interaction where one is badgering with social media the other person. Subjects are limited to posts shared, photos on snapchat and trivial things that have now become mainstream. Meetings, performances being crazily distracted. iPads being purchased for time pass, mere status symbol, thereby defeating its purpose, if it had any? Milking these has become an absolute norm, one has imbibed in routine life. These have become more a root cause of heebie-jeebies than entertainment. A race to compete over such things, where one goes nowhere yet delivers the false sense of triumph.  I wonder how far things could change now and how we could go from here. All was well, will be well but amidst all, the peace has gone.



Monday, October 31, 2016

Burning chunks of self

One fine Friday evening whilst leaving workplace, colleague asked what plans do I have for the evening. As usual, the answer was nothing much and would get bored. She was surprised and asked why bored? I told her that I like being here and enjoy working. She chuckled and didn't believe. Ugh.

I like constant reluctance from task not getting complete. That resistance drives me nuts nonetheless, and I get on to it every minute. Even I leave work, in the back of my mind I think about some or the thing related to work and get on it next day. Not that someone has put a pistol on my head for task, but how else does one steer through the day? There is an incessant pull and push from the work. Sometimes I enjoy and sometimes don't, either way. A long day and extended hours of work are something I prefer being soaked into. Totally disconnected from any other thing. Sheer numbness and absent mindedness, Ha! I like to hammer hard myself, as a blacksmith does to red hot iron on the anvil with an indifference and shape it to be extremely tensile. I enjoy the bond I've forged with work and drown myself into the oblivion.

Infrequently question pops up in my head if is this really the way to go? Innumerable questions run ruckus in head. Loud noises. Din. Oft in despair I let them go. Perhaps that is the only way to overcome them? I snatch them out from my mind like the one in Harry Potter stories, toss them thinking I'm naive to face them now and may the sanity inside me gets better of me.

Mornings turn into evenings and evenings into pleasant nights. Time flies, days pass like a blink. No other thoughts. Hollowness, don't know if I've started to accept to it? Let it be like this and not rock the boat. Morning freshness transforms into tiredness after work. Heavy eyes from incessant illuminated monitor, body ache and fatigue from workout. The motivation to keep this floating. Facing another same day is nothing but an effort, equivalent to move a mountain and sometimes, cakewalk with utter delight.

Tonight I can't sleep even after a long, chilly day, crushed by thoughts. By the absolute silence of night my soul metamorphoses into embers, just like from a fire that struggled to stay alit in the hearth; for which new wood awaits and flame breathes in life.

PS: Wish everyone a happy Diwali and prosperous year ahead.
PPS: Turned 28 last week.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

A random Friday gets memorable

A lot has changed since the time we've moved to new office. Fridays tend to get bit desolate as the week prepares for week-end.
Few weeks back I was going nuts with deadlines of performance review. As scheduled I had a call with supervisor which went fine. Tiny tweaks here and there things got streamlined. I was about to wrap up from work then I heard foot steps and few chatters. Upon looking, I see dean of the department with 2 more persons. She knocks on couple of office doors to see anyone is there, but I told her none is around and are working from so and so place. With a bit disappointment she manages to pull herself and talk with other 2 people. Shows the terrace area and was about to leave.

Upon looking closely I realize the person she is with is a billionaire. But to me a billionaire is all fancy person with suit and bells and whistles. This person outrightly dismissed my view of a billionaire. Whilst I'm still in shock billionaire exchanged pleasantries addressing me as a young men. With that for the first time I met a billionaire in my life. After he left I opened my laptop to be sure I met the right person and was not in a dream.

I learned a lot that day, first, to get away with the stereotypes I've in my mind. I blame movies for these stereotypes though.
Second, most importantly how a normal day can get extraordinary. This happened when none was around. I could have whined Fridays are boring and yak-yak, but with those empty Fridays' office came an opportunity to meet a billionaire for which the chances were one in a billion had anyone else be around that day. Since then I am more inclined to embrace whatever it is, be it crowded office or totally empty office for I never know what awaits ahead and something of this sort can etch a golden memory of a lifetime.

PS: 23 Sept 2016 was the day

Thursday, September 29, 2016

When one says I am rigid

One of the top class hypocritical stuff I come across is when someone asks me what I like and having shared on it, one biting reply I get is I am picky. WAIT, what!?

I can write a thesis on my preferences and on each and every part I've got a snarky reply upon asked or sharing. Berth preference side lower in train. Aisle seat in flight. Warm breakfast, lunch or any other meal. Stitched clothes. This list is endless and can go on for any random thing. I get these replies from people who themselves are extremely adamant and shall not budge even a tenth of milli-meter in either direction. Yeah, surprised to know reality?
Let me explain, someone has made his/her mind for a vehicle of a certain variant and particular shade. Person would ask upon sharing his/her preference, after listening and having me/us go through all stuff the final verdict would be - I'm going to stick to the one I started on. I am like, kill me now and punch those stapler pins in my palm. Jeans? person has fixed his/her choice of color, design and shall try couple of options. After running through number of outlets, he/she would go to the first shop where garment of his choice is and was available. Food? If someone doesn't like sweet taste in food, believe me that dish is going to be untouched by that person throughout the course of meal on any given day.
This is applicable to any sphere of life - relationship, work, research, outing, traveling and you name it. This rigidity has sunk comfortably in everyone and yet I hear that over conversations from multiple people.

I've had these long conversations with people who say: "yes, yes, and hmm, ummm, Yea - I get it, I understand, No, you're saying correct" and hundreds of consenting replies, such as one gets from the most decent listeners of the world. After the phone is hung up, people are to do what they were and had decided. Yikes. And I'm choosy? Really?

I don't understand this. When I've had no such preferences I got replies as if I'm totally useless and don't try things. I don't know what is out there. I don't have any taste. I don't experiment and what not crap. I've no knowledge. I'm flexible. And now, this. This?
I hear I need to be more flexible, I've to be more open to options, I'm picky, go with the flow, yada, yada. Pfft!
Like everyone I too have decided my tastes. I prefer them and have developed them over numerous trials. I'm open if preference ain't there, I'm to go for the preferred one from the least preferred ones. Nonetheless, I yearn to try and seek plethora of things. Yet thrown are the barbs of me being inflexible.

When people say I'm rigid I'm totally out of words and can't do nothing but to gulp a huge sigh. Sigh.

Happy month end.




Saturday, September 10, 2016

Catching up with events in DC

By no means I'm connected to art, not even in the remotest way. I'm awful with drawings, writings, performances or any other form which necessitates creativity or, and ingenuity. I profoundly lack artistic skills. I never learnt, never developed or perhaps had them in me. Never did I focus or knew what art is until I saw friends engaging in poems and similar works.
Back in school couple of participation once or twice in Annual function at Ravindra Natya Grah or playground, but things never took off. For live shows I never had the massive desire to go to rock bands, nor I could know where and what to look out for such things. Also, given their location and exorbitant prices they were always a let go.

But sometimes there always comes a window of opportunity. There were mass e-mails at my earlier workplace regarding blood donation drive or, corporate social responsibility (CSR) or any other outing. Out of curiosity I never stopped checking them and one fine day there was one about an event at Shanmukhananda Auditorium, Sion, Mumbai. Ticket for the event fitted into my pocket, had heard one song from artists (Salim-Sulaiman). Given budget and charting into untested waters I opted for cheapest seat in balcony. Show was really nice and by the end of it aura was extremely enchanting. Loved every part of it except my colleague didn't join for he had stitches from an accident last night. Yeah, such is life.

With progression of time I started to keep tab on events and see if I'd really enjoy going or would I be able to get an idea or rationale behind any art?
Fast forward I moved to the national capital area (The District). In my proximity exist Kennedy center, University auditorium, stand-up comedy circuit, National Theatre among others. I have been to watch performances by Zakir Hussain, Hariharan, Anoushka Shankar, Vir Das. Yeah, I tend not to lean on loud or rock events. These people share stories of journey to the place, hectic schedule, thought process behind the piece performed. I love those short anecdotes during the performance. Simply charming and speak volumes about dedication, restlessness and mountain of efforts.

Next, I'm going for a show by Bill Burr. More than the person or event, DC weather amplifies the show's beauty by large magnitude. Relish walking in DC. I'm totally in for performances and always like to catch up with them. May performers share more personal and fun stories.