Sunday, August 31, 2008

Compromise at what cost

It happened for the first time in Bombay as the Hawaldar next to Gateway of India took the 20 Rupee note and walked away. I squirmed, felt uneasy and remained silent for the rest of the night. My sister narrated to the others in the car how I would start crying just at the thought of someone bribing a policeman. Maybe that was how I was when I was a kid. Maybe I had not grown out of it.

That was 3 years back. Today we had gone to India Gate to play with the fancy 10 buck frisbee while the Sun God chose to express all his warmth on an unusually hot day. After having had a good time, free of any inhibitions and terrible renditions of some song in 'Rock On' , we were on our way back and I jumped the red light. Then came the man in the dreaded Khaki outfit and asked me to park the car on the side.

With 5 others in the car, the haggling process started, he stated the laws, painted the facts, said everything possible to deter you from going to the court and asked us to furnish 400 Rupees. We started at 100, he squabbled a little more and finally we struck a deal at 200. The money exchanged hands and we drove on.

While I sit in the comfort of my house and write this piece, there is a sinking feeling that has engulfed me. There seems to be this great sense of loss that I cannot describe and I can assure you it is more than just the 200 Rupees debited from my Bank Account. It is as if I have started to compromise with my belief system. Today I let go of something that I cherished and held close to my heart, I don't know what it could be tomorrow. I was told "Such 'minor' acts can be condoned as long as you are honest to your conscience and do not commit an act that would hurt or harm someone else". All this is nothing but a compromise that you are making with your own way of thinking and the only thing that I can think about asking myself is Compromise at what cost?

It's frustrating, irritating and a lot of other such feelings that I am unable to express. There is a small token that my school gave me before I left, which is my most cherished possession. Today, I feel like throwing it out of the window because I have let down the faith entrusted in me by my friends and teachers. There are still many things I hold close to my heart but just like this I don't know how many other things I will let go of; These are the little acts of compromise that one makes to be seen as normal in civil society.

I just hope the traffic cops on duty can weigh heavy on us and tell us that there is no scope for discussion, the law of the land is supreme and no point in exploring 'other' options. We cannot get into the cycle of blaming everyone and everything in the system because it is a vicious circle. I failed the test of character, I can only hope that I can muster up enough strength the next time around to do the right thing.

What I know for a fact is that the next time I speak about corruption, I cannot get myself to make a convincing argument because I have not been able to practice what I have tried to preach. The sad part is, after a good night's sleep I will wake up without a feeling of loss. After all, I have 'Grown Up'.

Friday, August 29, 2008

First Day at Work

How was my first day at work?

Hmmm.. Green Grass, Blue Skies, Cool Breeze and my first ride on a golf cart. Let me see, Not such a bad day, I guess. :)

That is not even the point. I did my first interview today. This was just supposed to be a 'get used to your team' kinda day because I am officially starting on Monday. Little did I know that I would be asked to go interview a player. I don't even know what answers he gave as he stared into the camera waxing eloquent about his game, future and god knows what else coz I was nervously playing the next question in my head before blurting it out.

For the record, the gentleman, was Gagan Verma, ranked 1096 in the World Amateur Rankings, but if it is any consolation, leading the seedings this year in India due to some impressive performances in the last few tournaments on the Amateur Tour.

Fine fine, you will see a small mention of the tournament in tomorrow's paper and an even smaller mention of Gagan's name coz he finished runner up and it will not tell you that he is the same chap who got interviewed by Mr Natarajan, but one thing I can tell you is that 3 weeks down the line when you see him speaking fluently on Ten Sports, you must remember then that it was me who was goading him to give a few decent answers!

Whatever be the case, I am pretty chuffed about the fact that I registered my first interview today. Last I heard, Tiger Woods was wetting his pants at the thought of being interviewed by me in the near future. :p

Yeay Yeay Yeay

My Workplace


Ever wondered how many products and brands we end up endorsing in a single day. I made a rough list and there were more than 30 brands that I seemed to endorse just because I use them on a regular basis. And they say Shah Rukh Khan has the maximum brand endorsements...tsk tsk tsk. Let me tell you, I do all this for free. In most cases I end up giving the brands money for promoting their cause. I am sure that is the case with most of you and I have a sneaky feeling most of the women end up endorsing even more brands.

Here is a breakdown of my day that was( One of the weekends, a couple of weeks back, I reckon)-:

05:30 to 07:00

07:00 to 08:30

8:30 to 10:00

10:00 to 12:00

12:00 to 15:30

15:30 to 18:30

18:30 to 22:00

After 22:00

Sorry guys. Anything after 10 in the night has got to be restricted to the strictly private domian. I think one has to be allowed a certain degree of 'privacy'. Ah privacy, what a lovely word (Not!, but that is another issue we will tackle some other day)


Quite unbelievable. Hard to believe we are so strongly chained to this highly commercialised world. I guess the advertisements obviously make an impact on our lives.

Try it out yourselves and you will realise just how many brands you end up endorsing in a single day.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Where the mind is without fear

A few years back Just before I had joined college, I had gone for a short vacation to be with my cousin. There I had a very disturbing discussion with someone and it left me worried. I was frustrated to see so many believe that the very fabric of India is a facade and how inter-religious harmony is something that is a Utopian thought. I was told I was a kid who would grow up and understand the reality of life and how I would change my thinking accordingly. That prompted me to search for an answer and for a reaffirmation in my belief. I share with you the reply I got from my teacher. Ironically I got this mail on the 15th of August.


Dr Anuradha Ghosh-:

I have lived by what I believe and that is exactly what I teach too. It is so easy to hate and spread the seeds of disunity but difficult it is to fight for a just cause, for equality, freedom and dignity for all people no matter what race, caste, religion, region they might belong to. I was born in a family that suffered the ravages of Hindu Muslim riots during partition as our ancestral home was in Bangladesh. Yet my father as well as uncle never saw it as an affair between communities while all others do. The rise of fundamentalism the world over is only the facade behind which lurks economic and power interests of the ruling elites in all communities.

What we need as individuals is roti, kapra and makan. We have no answers when farmers commit suicide; we euphemistically term starvation deaths as deaths due to disease; we create a violent order and mask our failings as individuals to fight for justice -economic, social and political. We feel secure in a make believe cocoon world and target the weaker to feel ourselves superior. Hence the blind war over Ram and Rahim, chinky and non-chinky, and the thousands of divides that tear our beings apart in a world that has suffered so many ravages.

Yet my faith in the human spirit remains unchanged. I believe in no God other than the will to achieve goodness in our self.The future cannot shake you if your conviction lies not in championing dogmatic national/regional/caste/ religious interests. The more you read and think the clearer will it be as to where from such thoughts emerge. You are 18 and at your age there were the Khudirams and Prafulla Chakis who died for the independence of this land. One might feel to what end. Perhaps to create symbols out of their lives that keep talking to us in the form of myths and legends keeping alive the power that we have to write our own histories and change the face of the institutions that enchain us by creating spectacles of our lives.


While the country continues to burn from Orissa to Kashmir, I think what she had to say gains a lot more importance today than ever before. I just hope there are people out there listening.

P.S. Where in god's name have you disappeared ma'am? We need to get back in touch. Let me see if I can hunt you down!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Yol and the sands of time

1. Apin-:

3. Gautam-:


6. Mo-:

Dekh tere Sansar ki haalat kya ho gayi bhagwaan,

Kitna Badal Gaya Insaan !!!!


The first pic with all the cousins was taken in Yol, a wonderful little army town next to Dharamshala in Himachal Pradesh. It was probably my best vacation ever and this was in 94 or 95. The only one missing in this pic is Arti. If she had been there, I think it would have been the only pic with all the cousins together. We all have been together previously but a photo was never taken and whenever we made an attempt, invariably someone was always missing.

But yeah, if anyone of you is planning to buy a retirement home and has what in Delhi is called the "Approach", then get out there and book yourself a place in Yol. You will never regret the decision. Snow capped mountain peaks visible from the balcony, the pleasant weather throughout the year and the wonderful scenery all around, Yol is a place that must be visited at least once in your lifetime.

Add to that the playing facilities that are available and you will never ever want to leave that place. We were all so disappointed that the summer holidays had come to an end and we had to make our way back to the sticky weather of Delhi.


Talking about the sands of time, Apin is now married and with Arti set to join the club, time is flying by and of course that little matter of me being the next in line after them :X :D:D:D

Bollywood in Pakistan

There has always been a great deal of love between the people of India and Pakistan thanks to Bollywood. Yet, why it is still banned from public screening in Pakistan is still a surprise to me. Even shady Yana Gupta albums make their way to the top of the charts in Pakistan. Was it not Laxmipathy Balaji who became an overnight hero in Pakistan thanks to a group of young women singing from the stands "Baalaajeee, Zarraaa Dheere Chalo"

Then there was the famous slogan coined by Pakistani fans in the 90's after the success of Hum Aapke hain Kaun... "Madhuri Dedo, Kashmir Lelo"

This was during the height of perceived animosity between the two nations! When Bollywood movies are so easily available in the Black Market and on cable t.v. , there is no real need to ban it. Public figures in Pakistan don't think twice before expressing their appreciation for some film star or the other, then why can't the Pakistani people be allowed to watch the movies on the big screen?


Someone who has always been associated with Bollywood has been Nawaz Sharif. Yesterday I was watching his press conference where he was expressing his grouse against Asif Ali Zardari for not reinstating the judges who had been sacked by Musharraf. How did he go about expressing his grouse? This is what he had to say(sing)....

"Kya hua tera vada; Woh kasam, Woh irada"


An excerpt from a book I read recently-:

During the tenure of Narsimha Rao, it was widely believed, Nawaz Sharif was in love with the sister of a famous bollywood actor. A worried ISI, issued a circular that said that the R.A.W. was using attractive women for espionage activities and that public servants should be vigilant at all times if an attractive woman approached them. The circular also said that about 50 attractive women had been infiltrated by the R.A.W. into Punjab to organise honey traps.

The circular, to the embarassment of the ISI was leaked. The "Frontier Post" in Peshawar came out with an editorial which made an appeal to R.A.W.-:

"Why this partiality towards Punjab? Even we Pashtuns love attractive women. Send us at least 10 because we are dying to be honey trapped by attractive Indian Women"

The I.S.I., I believe is still looking for a place where it could hide its face for that incident.

Strange but true!

image courtesy:

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Where the President is called Jimmy..

It's a lazy Saturday afternoon and Garry continues to hurl a barrage of insults at me on GTalk. So I choose to shift my attention to the Namesake. Some things I thought I would share-:

The Best transformation: Moushami Majumdar, from the young girl who detests American Television to the one gyrating to Kamasutra beats on her wedding night.

Best One Liner: Irrfan trying to explain the intricacies of American Society-:

"With a President named Jimmy, anything can happen in this country"

The Most meaningful Scene: When Tabu slips in to Irrfan Khan's American Shoes and conjures up her first Great American Dream

The most well Acted Scene: Max and Gogol come over to visit Tabu and Irrfan. The East embraces the West. The differences stare you in the face.

Funniest Scene: When the Bengali Servant tries to explain how his heart will explode if he continued to run behind Gogol

Most Romantic Scene: When walking outside Victoria Memorial, Tabu asks Irrfan whether he wants her to say "I Love You the Aamerican Way"

Terrifying: The Wig that Kal Penn wore in the phase leading up to their India Holiday. It was worse than some of the hideous outfits that the beautiful Vidya Balan was made to wear in Heyy Baby.

Scary: There was something about the way that Tabu was informed about her Husband's death that made you wonder how one could live in a far off land away from family and the people you love and know.

Sekar Mama, I will miss you. I would have loved to spend a lot more time with you. To answer the question you always used to ask me, You are still my favourite Mama on that side of the Atlantic.

Scary 2: Again, the monstrous wig that Kal Penn sported leading up to the family's holiday in India

Most Thoughtful Line: "See the World, You will never regret it.

The End: What a drag, in a sense unfinished, but the director was staying true to the book and hence I would say that it was a good movie but not great

Tryst with the Book: I read most of the book sitting anxiously outside the dialysis room in R.R., in the first and second week of July last year

I am still to figure out what comes out of Gogol's Overcoat?

P.S. I might have missed quite a few moments. It was one such movie. If you have any favourite moments from this movie, do share it with me


I had gone to see this movie in Spice with Megs, Anuj and Sanjh. Another lot was watching the same movie in JAM. What was important was the fact that I chose not to exercise my right to vote( a crying shame) for the Club elections. In the presence of Mrs Pranava Manjari, the Lingua Franca elections were taking place and all reports seemed to suggest that the turn out was very sparse.

The results, thankfully represented the sentiments of most of the members. Rupali was wisely elected the President and Sid the Vice President. They did one helluva job, managing everything they were involved with in college along with this post. Good on you guys!

Friday, August 22, 2008

World Champion, eh? No big deal !

Back in 2001 when another one of the usual days in school had just finished and I was trudging across the road to catch an auto I saw my mom standing outdside school.. Hmph, now that is never a good sign. Anything that isn't usual, you must always be wary of it. But what unfolded was truly one of the more magical days in my life.

My mom had come to pick me up to take me to R.R.(army hospital). Doesn't sound that great does it. You must have patience people! Viswanathan Anand was visiting the patients in R.R. as part of a promotional activity for N.I.I.T . My Uncle, an army doctor had duly informed me mother and asked her to bring me over to the hospital. Maybe a chance meeting was just possible.

By the time we reached R.R., the chance of a private meeting with Vishy had all but vanished and everyone had assembled in an auditorium where Vishy and his wonderful wife were to address the gathering. I thought to myself, something is still better than nothing and as long as I got to see him in flesh and blood I had nothing to complain about. Before the two of them had an interactive session with the audience, Vishy was scheduled to play a game of chess with 10 people simultaneously( He wasn't the world champion for nothing!). The players were a mix of patients and some senior army doctors and one of them happened to be my Uncle. While one by one the players sat on stage there was one seat vacant.

Yup you guessed it right! I was prodded by my aunt to go and occupy that seat because there seemed to be no other taker. There I was, a ninth class student who had just graduated from shorts to trousers playing against the World Champion. Vishy himself game me a hand and with that smile that never leaves his face, asked me to take a seat and we were all set for the 10 simultaneous matches.

There is something that has to be said about the fearlessness of youth....Looking around me, I gauged the situation and figured if he really had to play 10 matches, there is only so much he could think. I began to secretly fancy my chances. Vishy came to my table, gave me a hand and said all the best. He probably thought I was a little kid and he should go easy on me. I was the proverbial Wolf in Sheep's clothing. He should have read the look on my face for it was screaming out "Anand, you are in for a fight". I started with the classical King's pawn opening setting up the board for a three move mate.

A few iterations (enough time for my mood to go from amazingly effusive to abject dejection) later, Anand stuck his hand out yet again, this time to say well played although I knew he was saying to himself "This Schmuck seriously thought he could beat me??HOOHOOHAHAHA". I was the first of the 10 players to lose. The only consolation being that the rest of them followed suit.

The terrible part was that my Uncle was the last one to lose and he still gloats about that fact till date. His gift, a chess board, personally signed by the Champion. I use the same board to defeat my uncle again and again and again each time he chooses to chance his luck. Tough luck, Colonel !

As Vishy was making his way out of the auditorium, I was sitting in one of the aisle seats and he gave me a warm smile as if to say, maybe next time you will get the better of me! I am still waiting for my second shot at him....

I played against the best player in the world and a true sporting hero and I am darned proud about that :-)


On his way from Coimbatore to Chennai by train early in his career, Vishy was asked by a fellow passenger what he did for a living.Vishy replied " I am a chess player"

Wearing a slightly bemused look on his face the elderly gentleman said " Young man, you must do something steady in life. You cannot build your life playing chess unless you are a Viswanathan Anand" !!!!

image courtesy: The first one courtesy Tribune India and the not so pleasing cartoon courtesy Susan Polgar's blog

Friday, August 15, 2008

The Silent Stud and the Bimbettes

Dl 1 P B 5117

There is something about a bus ride that always leaves you with a smile when you reach your destination unless of course-:
  • The bus is over crowded
  • You are accused of eve teasing
  • An oversized lady decides your toes are just perfect to balance her 90 Kg frame
  • The driver decides to try and understand the effect of Newton's law of motion
  • You feel the sensation of flying while trying to disembark

So, like I said, if that is not the case, then you are doing just fine. So when I decided to take the bus from C.P. back to work I am glad I did not regret the decision. Why a bus ride always fascinates me is becuse you get to observe so much around you in the bus and there is a lot to amuse you.

Eavesdropping is something I can never resist and thankfully I cannot switch off from my immediate surroundings. So I was privy to this conversation that two young girls, Neha and Ritika from Amity(college) were having-:

Neha and Ritika are listening to the radio and one of the songs from the abnoxious music album of Singh is Kinng is playing

Neha: Kat luks nyc in a sari in this song

Ritika: She luks nyc in anything yaar

Neha: Yeah, I know, She is bomb

Neha: I imagine Akshay and Katrina wala song sequence in my head.

What, What the hell is wrong with you lady, why would you imagine Akshay and Katrina in your head. Surprisingly the conversation never veers towards Katrina's nose, which I must confess has got to be the sexiest nose in the industry. Conversation resumes two red lights down the line-:

Neha: What will we do in TGIP

Ritika: Foodcourt. baithenge wahan aur kya karenge.

Ha! Now seriously, who does that? Go to a mall just to sit in the foodcourt( no no guys, I am not pointing an accusing finger at anyone of you)

Ritika: Oh, did I tell you, I loovved Ugly and Pagli! Mallika acted so well, specially in the second half

Neha: Of course yaar, what else do you expect from Rahul Bose?

Neha: You know what, I almost ended up not going for the movie because no one was ready for a mass bunk. I mean, why would they want to sit in class and study? I just don't understand!!

Ritika completely ignores the above and picks up the thread of conversation from Rahul Bose-:

Ritika: I even loved Pyaar ke Side effects. If only Rahul was handsome he would have been a superstar.

Whoa! Ouch! In Rahul's defence, I think a lot of intelligent women are head over heels for him.

Neha: Hmm, I loved Ranvir in the movie

Ritika: Yeah, Ranvir and Vinay are just brilliant

Neha: Did yousee Mithya?

Ritika : Yeah, I did yaar.

Neha: I think it was ok. Although it was an intelligent movie I really did not like it.

Hmm... agree with Neha, Mithya was not a good movie. It was a crappy movie hiding behind the veil of new age cinema. Sue me, for I expect a little more colour and a lot more humour( dark or bright) in a movie which has such a brilliant cast.

Getting back to the bus, besides a couple of people engrossed in deep conversation, there is of course the silent stud wearing those tight body hugging flaming jeans, leching shamelessly at any woman who does not have a moustache.

The arguing conductors, the usual fight for change and the enterprising young men who think they are the Smartest Alecs in town letting out the usual excuse, "Staff". May I add, they were unceremoniously 'discarded' at the next stop.

I think I would love to study Behavioral Science

Alas, my destination came and my journey came to an end.

and as Amit says-:

Shabha Khair, Shubh ratri, Good Night..

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Be the Change

We have the power to be agents of change and we must not let the opportunity go by. Our country stands at the crossroads today with an exciting future in front of us but as we usher in the change we must keep in mind that without equitable development we can never hope to be a successful nation. As youngsters we have the power to be 'facilitators' of this change.

A group of Students from a Medical College in Chennai have started a wonderful organisation called Sangam India. Their main aim is:

"To adopt one disadvantaged community at a time and to guide it toward self-sufficiency and to provide support for a higher standard of living. They are especially focused on children, who are the leaders of tomorrow. They aim to foster in them a strong sense of civic responsibility."

They are presently working in a place called Ramavaram, a slum area in Chennai. Their operation mode is fairly simple-:

They use a "buddy-system" approach with the children to provide positive role models and to be able to pay personal attention to individual children and their specific needs. By organizing constructive and educational activities, they hope to combine education and value-based learning with recreation and team-building.

You could play a small yet pivotal role in helping them achieve success and enable them in carrying out their work in other parts of the country and also get many more young people to be involved in such a task to help society.

They need your help in whatever form possible to be able to bring about visible change. It could be in the form of-:
  • Financial Assistance
  • Books for Kids
  • Medicine
  • Clothing
  • Toys
  • Voluntary Work

Please help spread this message and do try and do whatever you can to help them make a difference.

For further information do visit their website

If you can help in anyway please do come forward and extend your support. You could contact Rifa Khan, an active member of the organisation-:

tel: +91-9962001234 (Chennai Number)

Alternatively, you could contact me on +91-9818224774 or reach me through email at

For years I have used this quote, again and again and again on various occassions but I cannot think of a more appropriate line than this at this moment-:

"The future lies in the hands of those who believe in the beauty of their dreams"

-Elena Roosevelt

Do spread the word. Be the change.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Why, GOD, Why?

Thank god she is beautiful !!

Beauty and Brains.. The Twain shall never meet. It's not like our beauty queens are much better anyway-:

Priyanka Chopra and the famous Beauty Pageant Goof Up

Venue: Miss World 2000, Final Round, Millennium Dome, London

Question: Who is the most successful living Woman

Priyanka's Answer: Mother Teresa

Fact: Mother Teresa passed away three years before Priyanka Chopra delivered her answer with such poise and grace on stage. Maybe she meant that Mother Teresa still continues to live in our hearts

Result : Priyanka Chopra was crowned Miss World.

No wonder then that Priyanka did not think twice before acting in a movie called Love Story 2050 with a red wig in one sequence!

O! How they con us with their beauty..