Saturday, July 23, 2011


If you note the date of the last blog I have written, you will come to know that since long my writing has become more and more sporadic. The thing to wonder is, even I don’t know what or who to blame this thing on, because I do consider writing an important part of me. And how this important thing is slowly getting eradicated is a cause for concern. I can blame it on the usual,
work stress, getting busy and all but lets not get into that.

As with great authors and amateurs alike the rains are a good source of inspiration to rekindle the flame.

In Mumbai the rains mean a lot of things to a lot of people. Lot of rains means more water and consequently less water cuts, good crops and consequently less food prices, potholes and consequently more car breakdowns and maintenance bills.

I consider myself a true ‘urban’ite and so the single most important thing on any given working day is to face the prospect of wading through the traffic chaos and reaching the office on time. Twice - one for each trip to and from office. Good crops and no water cuts be damned.

In the nine months since I have learnt to drive, I have become quite numb to reckless drivers and the slander of fellow drivers alike. It pays to have your car centrally locked, to switch on some music and try to relax as much as the roads and fellow drivers allow you to.

In the rush to reach home, I particularly regard pedestrians walking on the road with utter disdain. Same goes for the cyclists too who are driving at the middle of road. At times you actually do not care whether you bump into them a little, purposefully or not. They are no more than utter nuisances which impede our speed and safety while reaching home.

So on this particular day it so happened that I was stuck in a jam on a rainy evening. It was one of those jams in which even the seasoned abuser and honker just gave up and sat quietly, reclining his/her back fully which otherwise would have been on the edge of the seat, ready to pounce and start a series of verbal volleys somewhere else.

I was no better and I obviously was doing the same thing as described above. I did one better and had my hands resting behind my head and just using the clutch and brake to accelerate the car a few centimeters ahead each time. Just another day at office.

Or so I thought.

Slowly, the dumper truck, which had broke down came into view just around the signal. These dumper trucks have a tendency to break down during rush hour with alarming regularity causing much agony to other drivers. Fortunately, I could see that the road ahead was clear and the traffic was zipping ahead from that point onwards. But I had a good ten minutes to myself with just my ipod to give company.

At the signal, the useless pedestrians try to cross the road even though the government has built a foot over bridge just above them. The pedestrians prefer trying to get killed each time rather than walk on that bridge. It so happened that I saw a old man standing on the edge of the divider trying to cross the road each time he could see a gap in traffic. But as with most, he had no luck crossing it. People younger were having a tough time and this old man was in for a long wait. I could make out that he had probably realized the same thing.

Tough thing for a old man to be standing in the rain with just an umbrella for protection and trying to cross the road.

When that old man was just ahead of me I took pity on him and stopped my car so that his ordeal would come to an end and all the other fellow drivers would have one less useless pedestrian to deal with. And then it happened.

Like a newly hatched egg, out of nowhere a small head bobbed up. The little kid’s small but agile eyes carefully peering at my direction. That small little head disappeared again and the old man meanwhile started to step down the divider.

The other drivers behind me had started honking. But the driver besides me had stopped too. Her facial expression was just like me, trying to get this over and done with.

As soon as the man was on the road, the small little head had bobbed up again. This time holding one crutch which he rapidly rested under that old man’s shoulder. Now they started to cross the road. The old man’s face flinching each time he had to take the step. The little kid just held the old mans hand and walked ahead of him with the same agile and sharp eyes looking out for any miscreant driver that might ruin the task at hand.

After a full minute the task was over. The gentle look of the old man and the relaxed eyes of the little kid was all I got as a token of appreciation for my good deed.

It was enough for me. Enough for the driver besides me. And enough for me to break my shell of arrogance.

Being a good human being had taken precedence now.

Damn the drivers.

Life goes on in the city as it used too.

Friday, September 10, 2010

A visit to the clinic

This whole year has been pretty hectic, writing has taken a backseat and circa 2010 A.D has almost come to a close. I have been involved in a couple of other things both professionally and creatively. So let’s rest it at that.

Now you tend to realize the gravity of the population problem when you have to wait endlessly at the doctor’s clinic, but along with that agonizing wait also comes an opportunity to watch the people, who along with you, are waiting incessantly too.

The first thing that I notice is the sheer number of babies. All colors, caste and creed. Some staring intently at me and some staring intently at my blackberry and the naughtier ones who are trying to snatch it from me. They have no burden of behaving in a civilized manner and are probably behaving much worse at the clinic than they would probably do at home. Another baby meanwhile, with huge blobs of kohl applied on her eyes and a peck on the cheek, is holding my finger with both of her hands and looking at it with eyes as big as a pear. She was probably comparing the sizes of our respective limbs with my size seeming impossible to her, maybe she was also secretly trying to calculate as to when her limb would reach my size or equivalent. As the baby grew tired of wondering, she did the next best and put my finger in her mouth trying to bite.

As the mother was desperately trying to pull her baby towards her, who was still trying to cling to my finger, I was noticing other people around. Thankfully none were looking very serious at the moment. There was this particular woman who I think was from a small village or town as she had all proper ‘ghungta’ done with vermillion in huge quantities splashed on her forehead or whatever that was visible of it at that moment. The thing which never ceased to amaze me was that she was managing to hold two babies in one hand, vegetables and medical reports on the other and looking absolutely ill at the same time. It was pretty evident that it was the mother who needed a fair amount of medical attention but apparently she had her hands full with other things.

Along with the agony of waiting was the irritating sound of the blaring T.V which was playing some ancient movie at that time. The hero kept alternating between the elephant and Jackie shroff. But I had to admit that after waiting outside for one and a half hour and being forced to watch that movie, I was mighty disappointed when the compounder changed the channel for IPL matches barring us from watching the end of that pitiable movie which had somehow engrossed all of us including me.

My time waiting outside was almost one and a half hours and my meeting with the doctor lasted about 5 minutes. After coming out I took my medicines from the counter and left for home. As I was introspecting I realized that it was nice to have a look at ordinary people once in a while, observing them, learning lessons and observing those little nuances which make us one in this vast land of varying caste, creed and color, even if it meant being tried to be bit upon by babies who had no teeth.

Life goes on in the city as it used too.

Monday, December 07, 2009

The Realization

He walks, but you mostly see him run in the morning. He never exercises, but when you see him you realize that he hardly needs it. His words can probably melt a woman’s heart, but all you can hear is his own heart panting.

This is not your metro-sexual model on a jogging trip on a big green sprawling garden.

This IS your average mumbaikar on the run to catch the office bus/local train.

This situation is repeated daily in the life of this particular mumbaikar. As his office timings have changed he is still in the fine tuning mode of maximizing his morning slumber vs. catching the office bus. He does not make it usually, but he says to himself that things will work out eventually and catches an auto-rickshaw. It costs him around a hundred and fifty odd bucks for a one-way ride most of the time.

He realizes that it is a sorry state of affairs and that it cannot continue. But he takes out his wallet, checks the cash and leaves his worries for another day.

The next day he makes it, the following day too, but not the third day.

He has been observing this particular girl for a better part of the week. She is not pretty and neither is he eying the girl as he is already committed. But he has no choice as they cross their paths daily, albeit in the opposite direction, on the foot over bridge.

In the meantime he misses the bus three times out of five in a week.

As he is traveling in the auto, suddenly it dawns upon him that there is a connection between him, the girl, the foot over bridge and the office bus.

Maybe this realization came because he was reading too much Dan Brown, Frederick Forsyth and John Grisham throughout the month. But maybe he had suddenly experienced his faster than Darwinian rate of evolution with regards to his observation skills. He reasonably surmised that his observation be put to test as the meter in the auto touched a hundred rupees.

He got up early, wasted less time and he knew he was in time to catch the office bus. As he was walking towards the over bridge along came that girl, he saw that he had crossed her while he was more than halfway towards the length of the foot over bridge. He caught the bus that day. The next day, although not deliberate, he succeeded in getting out just in the nick of time. He saw that girl again, this time she had the lead while they both crossed, he missed the bus.

Throughout the week he had put his idea to test, and he came to realize that whenever she had the lead on the foot over bridge he ended up missing the bus and paying a hundred and fifty odd rupees.

One can keep time here without looking at the watch, he said to himself.

Glowing in the warmth of his new found revelation he crossed the girl the following morning, this time he being in the lead, and gave her a small but genuine smile.

Why had he smiled is a mystery to the girl even today.

He makes it to the bus usually nowadays.

Life goes on in the city as it used too.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Home again


City of dreams

The more I find reasons to hate it, the more I realize how unique this city is, how this city is like no other. You may hate it, you may abuse it but the soul of the city never hits back. What it does though, is slowly engulf you around with the same soul you curse and find faults with, and lets you breathe it ever so slowly, and within some time, before you realize, you are in its magical spell forever.

I had gone to Gurgaon for fifteen months, could never settle, the economic crisis filtered down into my professional and personal life and my subconscious like a little scared child asked me to run back to Bombay where I knew, it will find sanctuary for sure.

So with a new job I came back here. The difference in me almost immediate. I have started,writing again, to listen to music again, to crib about the water problems again, to loudly abuse fellow passengers in the local train again etcetera. I was slowly becoming whole again because I was home again.

Welcome back! The city says, and I silently oblige.

It's good to be back.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Dusting off the old.......

I am terribly busy. I want to blog, there are a lot of ideas running around my head but unfortunately I cannot find the time. I have also shifted to a new place, so that too is a new set of problems which I shall elaborate some other time.

Since I cannot write anything new at present, I just thought of dusting off my shelf and link some of my old articles which time has forgotten. Hardly anybody parses through a whole blog (with the kind of hectic life that we have made for ourselves!)

I have linked some blogposts of mine which I think are interesting. Although it is not necessary that you feel so.

Just sit back and enjoy a ride through time.


A visit to the marketplace after a long time

Long walk to freedom

The Smell of Phenyl

Another day in the train

The official guide on cracking the kbc