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Showing posts from May, 2007

Living Hell

"Whenever Daddyji [that's how he was addressed] came back home from work or for holidays, we used to hide behind the doors, under the bed, just anywhere to escape facing him..." This forms part of a narration of someone I have known since age 13. I have heard of domestic violence and abuse, and always thought about it as something fictional until this close, heart-to-heart conversation with my friend. Lets call her X. X's father was an army officer. To the world, he was a man of honour who fought many a battle and won laurels for the country. To his family, he was the ultimate sign of terror. The abuse surfaced early on in life. As a toddler and as a pre-teen, X recalls how she often, unknowingly, walked into her father's room to see him invariably with a new woman each time. And each time she was flung out of the room with the choicest of abuses and beatings. Her mother who came in between was equally hit by this demonic creature who had reduced her to nothingne

Pink Delights

On Friday, I took off on a weekend tour of Jaipur. The trip was driven by impulse. I, my friend, and her two nephews, who are more like twins and devil incarnates, drove five hours into the night. This was my second visit to the pink city in three months and I have come to love Girnar colony in Vaishalli. That is where my friend’s sister lives. The place is so green, the houses so well constructed, the roads so wide -- it’s like a patch of oasis in a desert. Not an exaggeration. I wonder why Jaipur is called the pink city. The city hardly looks pink to me save for Johari bazaar near the famous MI Road. The bazaar is like the municipality market of any small town -- similar in size and pink in colour. History attributes the pink to the so called ‘brilliance of royal romance and Rajput hospitality’. Still a little disconnect again, but history is best left unrepeated. My favourite haunts in Jaipur are the Kilol, Anokhi and Fab India outlets. This is the place from where all of Delhi’s

Meglomaniacs

It's 2:37 am and I am thinking what the hell I am doing editing a story on money laundering. Do I care how much hot money is being laundered around the world? Do I care that that the success of the US's financial systen is based on money laundering? And just when I find myself disillusioned by illegal activities happening with such impunity around the world, lo comes the voice of a Swiss banker who says, "you know, it's not such a bad thing, after all...If in the 1970s taxes in India were 70 per cent can you really blame (industrialists) for sending their money to Switzerland?... black money actually gets it into the legal economy and invested in stocks and bonds, which is much better than having the money stay in the black economy and get invested in dubious enterprises". Now, I don't know but I think our sense of right and wrong is f***** up. And then, dealing with a bunch of meglomaniacs, who think they know best and write best is another professional haza

Ignorance Is Bliss

When Deepika mailed me the post below, I instantly told her I was putting it up on my blog 'cos I loved it. Her experience of intelligent friendships is remarkable, coming as she is from JNU, one of the most prestigious seats of learning in India. When I was in college back in my hometown, I was fascinated by stories I'd heard about the place, the intellectuals and the oh so romantic spread of the university with its rocks and trees and peacocks. I thought it must be such a coveted place to be in. Not that I aspired to be there! And then I visited JNU several times after I moved to Delhi. The more I frequented the place, the more demented I found the inmates. Cocooned in their world of bookish knowledge and self-sufficiency, they had no life. The impression was made worse by a bunch of them, JNU intellectuals ,who joined my first workplace the PTI. Parochial, warped and so full of petty politics, I thought they really were a disgrace to that prestigious name. I wasn't alon

From Deepika, With Love

Nothing intelligent about this... Some days ago I was chatting with one of my friends. As predictible it might sound but the coversation veered towards women (He being HE). I asked him 'What do you look for in a woman?' His reply on the Gmail chat reads something like this: 'Somebody who has a decent knowledge of sports and a decent knowledge of international affairs and national affairs. And somebody with whom I can carry an intelligent conversation for long hours.' I bet, if he can tell me who's Karen Hughs then I will resign from my job. Forget about international affairs, his knowledge of national affairs is quite pathetic. I mean, I am tired of listening to people talking about their love for being with someone who can engage in intelligent coversations. I studied in JNU where everybody thought they can be world leaders in carrying out 'intelligent conversations.' Cups of tea were consumed in Ganga dhaba even as youngsters in cotton kurtas and kolh

Back From Hybernation

Writing SOPs (statement of purposes) is quite a pain. By now I call them SOBs. They tire you mentally as you churn out 400-odd words on one topic. Why do admission seekers and fellowship programmers have such a thing called the SOP? I always falter while writing applications and the like. And this one proves to be the mother of all applications. Why can't they just have plain application forms with just a para devoted on it, instead of one writing paeans on the same? If one is going to spend lakhs of rupees studying a course, surely only a fool would be non-serious about it. Anyway, some rules just defy logic. I just finished my rounds of SOBs. I am not going to tell it all. In the process, I hybernated. Plus Delhi's heat and the inertia is not the right time for productivity... On the work front, exciting times ahead. A new recruit is the cause. Last issue, he rewrote and reworte and rewrote the cover story of someone, who is quite the 'grammarian' of the office. But

Evolution

This was the theme of the non-stop 36-hour weekend workshop our office conducted. Theory of evolution, actually, basing on how we were all jumping around like monkeys. Anyway... the trainers' aim was to transform us all into more productive individuals -- getting us all to talk openly about our problems, understand each facet of the organisation and interact with those whom we barely get to otherwise. The intention was good, no doubt! And so the whole office got together amid a Big Brother kind of setting. Thus, we were divided into teams, given our kitchen, tents, coupled with games, classroom sessions, mystery solving a la Sherlock Holmes style driving around the capital from 8 pm to 1 am chasing six clues, obstacle course, etc. Some nearly sacrificed their lives for their teams -- the casualties included a fractured leg, a hurt back, and a few cuts here and there, all in the bid to beat the other. Well, I had planned to bunk it all. But a phone call at 5 am from my young, enth

Comic Relief

I was showing my friend Deepika some photographs from a tiring training programme the office conducted (more on that later) this weekend and her typical first question was: why are you sitting so close to the phirang ? Trust her to notice the men around. So, I replied, "because he loves me and I love him." Came her next question, "how many are you in love with?" I replied, "They come and go like the breeze." "So, you stand grounded,” she asked. "I dunno.. one moment it is Tom Cruise, the other moment it is Tony Parker I want,” said I. "Enough," she retorted. "B ahut ho gaya hain , it's time you got married and I danced to meri yaar ki shaadi hain ." That’s Deepika and me. We suffer each other’s inane conversations all the time, which would sound as silly as ever to the one listening. But for us, therein lies the source of all our laughters… And men, have always been our favourite topic of discussion -- seriously, non-serio

Old Is Not Gold

When I watched 36 Chowringee Lane, I was quite depressed for days. I hated the thought of being old and, that too, alone. The movie was so stark in its depiction of old age and loneliness that you wish the years of your life stopped at the 30s. Now when I see my neighbour aunty Nora Das, I feel 36 Chowringee Lane is replaying before my eyes. Aunty Nora lives alone, her son and daughter live in the US. And she has no relative too. For the last one-and-a-half year, I have been seeing her doing the rounds of offices, roaming the streets and the markets trying to get her paperwork for getting a visa to the US. It seems the last time she visited the US, she overstayed so this time she is just unable to get a tourist visa. And for an immigrant visa, she has to collect all kinds of documentation! Last Sunday, the 75-year old and partly deaf neighbour of mine came to my place and discussed her problems for over two hours. Although she was overstaying her welcome, I didn't have the heart