Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Confessions from an Oakley view point.

A stranger in Radio Shack, Dallas picked me up and said "Genuine Oakley Sir! made out of a secret alloy, which is why its called X-Metal, each glass is unique and has its own serial number" He lets out a whistle and says " man! this must've cost you 300$"

My master, Bharath takes me back from the stranger and says "No sir, you are wrong. Its Genuine Oakley! made out of a secret alloy, which is why its called X-Metal, each glass is unique and has its own serial number. Cost me 275$ and if you include tax is 300$"

Thats my master for you. He likes to brag about me.

Hi! I am Oakley, Bharath's goggles and his "preecioussss". My master is on a vacation for a week and so I decided to blog on his behalf. You may be interested to hear from a fly on the wall in Bharath's house. You got the next best thing. His goggles in his drawing room..err.. in his, pants, dustbin, commode, bedroom, car. Ya! My master is absent-minded. He constantly keeps forgetting me. I sometimes think without me the bungling fool is like Betram Wooster without Jeeves.

Consider last week for instance. When master decided to go to Mayajaal with his girl for a movie. He could've kept me in his car. But he didn't. He absent-mindedly carried me inside. Why would he need a poor goggle like me in a dark movie theatre. Given his companionshipman ship.. err, he could have missed the movie and gone somewhere else. Instead they both went to a movie theatre and still missed the movie ( yuk! yuk!). I yelled at my master when he kept me down in the seat. I knew he would forget me. And he forgot... the blind idiot... the stupid crazy Tarantino groupie kept staring at the screen and completely ignore me!. Me a genuine 300$ Oakley. Separated from my master because he wanted to see a movie called Kill Bill Vol.2. Damn Tarantino and damn his stupid fans like my master..

Around 600 people watched another movie in the same hall, the next show and one kind gentleman picked me up and gave me to the theatre manager. I was terrified. I didnt know if I would see my master again. And where was my master..romancing and galavanting! He seems to have forgotten his first love (sob..sob).

The next day evening, who comes to pick me up? Not my master!!! but his dad. The slob.. the lazy slob... emotionally blackmails his dad to pick up his leftovers. Someday I'll put down the shutters when he is driving. he'll know then.

This is not the first time we have been separated. When we first got engaged in Dallas, I thought he was the one. But little did I know he was an absent-minded one. He has forgotten me in temples, relative's house, friend's places, Madras Pavillion restarants. I have fried in the Dallas sun for days together when he forgot me in the car. He wore (down) a rolce royce like me for stupid cricket matches. In Pune, he forgot me in his office, his scooter, chat stalls. In Madras he forgot me in his grandma's place, marriage halls, car (again), friend's house (again).

My master's dad took me away from him and put me in a locker. But then "she" came into the picture! My master started taking me out again. He bragged about his "precioussss" to "her". All the time !!! Completely disrespected his "preciousss". Until finally the Mayajaal incident happened. Master's dad took me away from master..forever! And put me in a locker.

Serves him right! The fool. The dork now drives around with a cheap 600 rs. "cooling glass". He looks like Livingston without me.

Friday, September 24, 2004

Anything is possible

I would be remiss in my duty if I did not document my adventures last week. I work in Bangalore and my parents live in Madras. My travels back and forth between Madras and Bangalore is part of a highly automated system. My dad books the ticket, my mum keeps the bangalore-madras ticket in my wallet and gives the madras-bangalore ticket in my hand when she drops me off at the station. This whole ticketing thing is transaparent to me. I am oblivious to the 'ticket' factor. If the Checking Inspector didn't come, I wud've assumed a spot in the train was my birth right.

Every Friday after I board the train to travel from Bangalore to madras, I look into my wallet and say "voila! there is a ticket there". Its always there!. And to me its like magic because I never get to know when my mum puts it there. It like my own surprise party in Coach S-8 upper berth number 46. Open my wallet and wow! a ticket errupts from inside.

As I left one sunday night to bangalore, An error in the system caused my mom to put the next sunday's madras-to-bangalore ticket in my wallet instead of friday's bangalore-to-madras ticket. There was a weeks time to rectify the mistake but then someone had to know about this glitch in the system. On friday morning the day of my travel, my dad calls me up and says the bangalore-madras ticket is with him and I have the return journey's ticket in my wallet. I was thinking "what ..ticket..wallet...you guys put the ticket in my wallet.. you gotta be kiddin man.. i thought the tickets arrived there by magic"

It was 9:30 AM in the morning, when my mom decided to conduct a spot audit in the ticket department and found this error. My dad called me at 9:32 AM. My train was at 10:45 in the night! So I told my dad like Dennis Hopper in Speed told to Keanu Reeves, "you have little over 12 hours to do something.. what do you do dad! what do you do"

You wouldnt believe it!!!! my dad did something about it! He networked. He faxed the ticket to me and called the station master at bangalore about the situation who re-assured that I would be taken care of. As the day wore on and lunch was consumed, I quickly forgot about "wallet ..ticket" imbroglio . At 5:00 Pm, I again got a call from my dad who had done the incredible. So incredible that I laughed out loud " you gotta be kiddin me".

My dad had spent the morning further networking and his friend's friend's neighbor's friend's neice's boyfriend's friend's uncle's cousin was a Railway Guard in the Madras Bangalore express. the train left Madras at 1:30 Pm and reached Bangalore at 8:20 PM. The hour of glory arrived upon Mr. Selvaraj, Guard Bangalore express. My dad gave him a packet and told him "a person called bharath will get this from you in Bangalore station". So there ran Selvaraj on a speeding train (Bang exp approx speed 60kms/hr) carrying a sensitive document across the iron curtain. The fate of the entire country, apart from the 4 square meals I have during the weekend, rested in his hands.

Bang! 8:20 Bangalore City Junction, I met Mr.Selvaraj and got the envelope from him. It was a straightforward encounter; no bullets fired, the old man just handed over the envelope and went to collect his yellow bag(which could've been his lunch prepared by Ma' Selvaraj). I walked to the nearby restaurant with beaming face. the future of the free world was safe in my hands and ya.. Mom's food could still be consumed!

Moral of the story children: With a little ingenuity, anything is possible in the 11th hour. Otherwise there would be no need for a 11th hour. it would be 1st hour and then straight away someone'll blow the whistle.

Monday, September 13, 2004

Evening at the Beach

There is no better place than the Marina beach to spend a Sunday evening. But! you've to be there early enough, umm.. lets say around 5: 00 PM to avoid parking problems. Ever since I was born and I could pronounce b e a c h, Marina has been the place, I've wanted to visit every Sunday. There is no better place for free entertaintment than good ol' Marina.

Ya! It used to be dirty. I have seen it pretty nasty during the late 80's and mid-90's but thats gone now. Ever since Sheila Rani IAS started the "Operation Marina" sometime around 1991, the cleanliness situation at the beach seems to be on the upward curve. Sheila Rani was quickly booted when the Govt realized she was committing a goodness.. or a neatness, whatever the crime was... it was considered worse than murder. The govt then decided to clean the beach itself; but there was a catch; not catch-22 by lets say catch-n. Anything the govt had to do, it first needed to postpone, whatever it had to do, by atleast 5-6 years.

Its mandatory!! In our country, no action will be taken unless that action had previously been contemplated and postponed due to administrative difficulties. If something has never been debated over and postponed indefinetly, then they will first postpone that activity so that the next time around, it becomes qualified to be implemented. These politicians have goodwill ..mind you. So dont mis-interpret them when they postpone seemingly logical things like "de-salination". they are simply following the rules. So Sheila Rani paved the way for the first slamming down of clean marina and 6 years later they genuinely made it clean. Now I am not saying its spic-n-span-singapore clean. But they really make an effort. This sunday I spent about 2 hours at the Beach, with my parents, uncle and other 'near & dear' ones. and I was thinking " boy! this is too neat to be free".

There is this really huge "Jumbo Jetron" Screen in the beach. They show Live Cricket games in it. I have seen games here and believe me the atmosphere is electric. I think people will come in ships and park it near the shore, this weekend, to get a glimpse of the action when India meets Pakistan on Sunday.

My parents have been visiting the beach for close to 27 years. When they are in Madras they spend 2 hours in the beach every weekend. Most of the hawkers know them, the lady who sells flowers is like a family friend. I, myself, have listened to some 'sad stories' and inside gossip from a guy selling 'masala bhel'. The 'masala' guy, as I call him, has told me numerous stories, some of which could be true, on police encounters, secret visits by VIPs in the night etc. Someday I'll document these stories and release it as a book :-)

Beach is a pleasant place for any conversation. Once you put a sheet and sit down with 5 people and start the 'gabber', 2 hours just pass by in a flash. You can see variety of folks there. My parents favorite past time is to sit on the pavement and comment about everybody who walks by. The fat wife and the slim husband, the couple with 5 children, the nagging mother-in-law accompnying a couple. The beach is a soap opera by itself. My dad spends his 2 hours weaving stories about various people. I used to love the stories when I was a little kid. I really thought they were true. Nowadays I know they aren't true, but I still love them anyway. Its kind of a test as to how much a person's imagination can run amock, by just seeing 2 people in the beach. My dad will weave a story just by seeing them. The story will contain an imaginary family background for these people and how unhappy they are after they've have had 5 children and how the girl is wishing away the nagging ma-in-law.

As the sun sets and dusk arrives silently, the beach becomes a delight. There is the red cut across the sky as if somebody had ripped apart the sky with a knife. The sun's fading light makes the clouds glisten until it dies down into darkness. It reminds me of my childhood days when I used to come to the beach just to spend time in the water and maybe buy a kite. As people grow older they stop going near the water. I spent almost an hour in the water a week ago with a friend and I remembered how good it was. Everybody should do this more often. Regardless of what anyone thinks about the beach the cleanliness, the jaundiced 'molga bajji'. the Marina Beach will always be Madras's treasure and Thank God for it!

Monday, September 06, 2004

Krishna Jayanthi

It reminds you of those small little legs running from the front door into the puja room .. doesn't it ?

My ma draws the Lord. Krishna legs in a jiffy. She must've learnt it from my grand'ma. I have been recently told by 'someone' that krishna legs can also be put on the floor using the hand itself.

Some years ago we used our neighbors infant kid to draw the krishna legs on the floor. We just dipped his legs onto the 'kolam' white 'maavu' vessel and made him slowly walk from the front door to the kitchen.

Sweets and other food items are the best part of krishna jayanthi, which is also called as Gokulashtami and/or Janmashtami.

These ladies seem to have the start time synced up for sweet preparation. My great grandma' living 3 streets away from where my mom lives.. has a stop watch with her. Come the time and she will blow a whistle wich will ring across all parts of the world. Its not the traditional whistle but its more like a "coeeeee" shout that tarzan does so often. This whistle reaches the ladies across the planet who are eagerly waiting in the patio/balcony for the "coooeeee" kick off.

At once, all the ladies, including my grand'ma and ma rush from their balconies to the kitchens and get down to work and start preparing sweets n' stuff. They work for hours and hours to produce food stuff by the tonnage. The empty vessels, lined up the previous day, slowly start getting filled up. Phone Calls are made to check the progress and status of other women in the world. Almost always somebody is running behind time on "Mysore paak".

There is always that "oooh! i put too much of this in that".. like my mom! put too much of mundri (kaaju) in the sweet. But these mistakes are restricted to the younger folks. The older ladies never make mistakes, its all fine tuning for them! They work on specialized items which the younger ones are still learning. My grandma' has attained levels of perfection unknown to many of her contemporaries. This krishna jayanthi , she calibrated the "murkku" contents to 'atomic' and 'sub-atomic' levels and made sure the salt-spice-other stuff mixture was perfectly mixed. A little less salt neutrons on the circumference and my granny would get kicked out of her country club presidency.

Bang! at 6:00 clk my great grandma' blows the whistle like gandalf throwing lightning from his stick! And the women stop preparing sweets. Its time for Lord Krishna to be invited for dinner. The men enter into the action now and start performing puja.

Meanwhile , deprived hungry kids like me, unaware of the process related issues, are still waiting for the payload. The payload comes at the blow of the third whistle by which the men folk claim that Lord.Krishna is done with the sweets and the lesser mortals can have a shot at it.

Boy! the delta-time between the third whistle and the contents of the vessels decreasing cannot be measured. As the phone network get jammed by ladies who are calling each other to ask " how did this come out".."how was this". We get to dig into the payload and tell them real time. Still they are unsatisfied.. these women. They send out the men folk to other houses to collect samples of sweets and savories prepared elsewhere to determine their relative grade point average.

For me it dont matter if its a sample from outside or the real thing made at home. I can eat them all. Here I am back in bangalore with loot from home. I look at the big packet of sweet lying in my kitchen and I am thinking, " in 2 days baby! you'll all be mine". I then let out an evil laugh b4 I start to work.

As I started back to Bangalore, I couldn't help feeling a little misty. My heart was heavy. These functions do this to me.. you know! These traditions and functions have survived for 2000 years. Now thats a long time. We have been invaded a thousand times, earth quakes and all that.. But still the people kept going with these functions! Thats because they wanted to.

Now the battle is within. Somewhere between checking real estate values and stock quotes the software engineer generation may one day simply stop celeberating. They will just stop. Contrast that with todays older folks doing their bit to accrue karmic benefits and the future looks a little sad. 50-60 years from now this grandma' generation maybe gone and the new generation will be saying " oh! Deepavali. That was cool while it lasted. But we don't celeberate it anymore. Some dude who wanted press attention rebelled against crackers. Another dude filed a law suit againt anybody cookin sweets in residential areas. Lighting candles is banned by the state law. Sure we still have autorikshaws emitting lead-loaded-smoke, cigerrete smokers just puffing out every body outlet, children working as labourers in agarbathi and match stick factories. we didnt wanna stop these daily activities to celeberate a stupid one off deepavali. we just blew off deepavali itself."

Traditional functions depended heavily on women to carry them through to completion. With advent of the career women these functions are threatened by lack of support. Men don't share the work load either to keep it going. Men are lazy! Men watch MTV and read arbit philosophy, playboy mags and just watch everything die. I am actually afraid to be part of the generation that killed it all.

Are we the video that killed the radio star!