Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Baahon mein chale aao....

“You know what Indians love more than discounts? Fighting for discounts.” – Heard on TV.

I love going to Crossword. Books are things of special attraction and so specious shelves with neatly arranged books with crisp-as-a-potato-chip covers are irresistible. These days, bookstores like crossword are usually housed in a mall. I may use any entry into the mall but I always come out of it from Crossword.

A bookstore is not as much about destination as it is about the journey. It’s a discovery tool. I run through the shelves, often twice or thrice soaking in the tantalizing visual appeal and guessing how things must be within the covers. It’s as if hundreds of gorgeous, glamorous temptresses are simultaneously vying for my attention. I look at some in passing, hold my gaze a moment longer at some, stare at some, caress a few in my hands and open a few to cast their spell on me even further. I play, I tease, I avoid, I lean, I listen-and regardless of what I choose to do, most of them are willing to go as further as I am willing to let them. I let myself be charmed and for someone who looks for ‘balance’ in most things, how I carry myself at a bookstore is an exception.

Today, as usual, I look around the shelves. I am not looking to buy anything. Then, I see ‘The Ascent of Money’ by Niall Ferguson. I’ve heard good things about it so I pick it up. My journey is still on and I move to the biographies section. There, in the second row is a title I’ve been waiting to arrive- ‘A Shot At history’ by Abhinav Bindra and Rohit Brijnath. Bull’s eye, the book’s taken! I’ve always felt that Crossword doesn’t keep too many non-english titles, not in Mumbai at least. As if to prove me wrong, I see a collection of Gulzarsaab’s 100 poems. In no time, the book moves from the shelves to my hands.

I am now holding three titles and I keep looking at the covers. One is a fine athlete’s story of excellence told by a master of his craft and then there’s this poetic wizardry of a legend. Choices are automatic. ‘The Ascent of Money’ will need to wait. As I put it back in its shelf, its neighbors give it a teasing ‘welcome back’ smile. I stand staring at the shelf. Jealousy is more seductive than attention, isn’t it?

I come out of the store with two books in my bag. How I will find the time to do justice to both of these is a question I am not worried about just yet. Just yet, I feel like I am carrying two worlds-of and by the people who are their own benchmarks. My world is richer!

Often, I think what a book does to you and what a bookstore does to you is quite the opposite. In a varied but focused existence, a book opens new worlds for you. In its varied and inviting existence, a bookstore opens a new you to the world!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Humne kya khoya, humne kya paaya?

My short US visit is coming to an end. I(along with a couple other engineers) were here to support our client through an important release and though I didn't expect much of myself, I am happy that my team did a great job and made valuable contribution to this client. It has been hectic 7 weeks here but now that it's coming to an end, my team has every reason to feel satisfied and celebrate. It's friday night and we have just returned from the office, One of those rare days when we know there is nothing pending for tomorrow! One of those occasions when we will be happy we won't be needed. We fly back home on Monday and I can't help reflecting upon this journey and how far we have come in these 7 weeks. More importantly, how far we have made this client go in these 7 weeks. 

Content and excited, I call home. Wife fills me in on the kid's progress. She tells me how he has started picking new words, how he mimicks her sometimes, that he has learnt to climb down from the bed, how he is getting friendlier to strangers, how he....

I listen intently with much joy but quickly a throbbing pain grips me. I realise what all I am missing--and man, ain't I missing a lot! True, it's only been 7 weeks but as a colleague puts it--7 weeks away from a 15 month old is an awfully long time if you count the percentages!

Alas, how far have I gone in these 7 weeks!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Crime and Punishment!

Something happened a couple of weeks ago that triggered a big debate at home. Here’s what happened:

A cousin of mine recently got engaged (the arranged way). Now, this fellow is a few years younger to me and though we aren’t close by any means, I know him as decent, straight forward guy. He is very highly educated and works for one of the very reputed MNCs of India.

When we got to know of his engagement, we all were very happy. Parents and sis attended the ring ceremony, and all of us were looking forward to his marriage in December.

Two weeks back, we got a call from his mother (Who is mom’s cousin) telling us that the engagement is called off. Reason?  It came to light that the girl had an affair with someone in the past and also had a physical relationship. Also, this entire thing was brought to my cousin’s attention by the girl’s ex and when asked, the girl confessed to everything..

When our initial shock settled, everyone at home started giving their opinions.  We were naturally disgusted and everybody concluded that at the very least, the girl should have confided in my cousin and told him everything right when the engagement was being finalized.

When I started thinking about it more seriously, I tried to look at it from that girl’s point of view. I wasn’t being sympathetic to her (infact, I am enraged at her) but the point is that if I were a girl and if I had a (physical) relationship when I wasn’t married, what options I had if the relationship didn’t work?  The more I thought about it, the more I realized that it is almost a crime to be involved in a relationship (being a girl) before marriage if the relationship doesn’t work. If I have a failed relationship, it is difficult for me to fall in love again because how would I trust any other guy? So, I decide to go the arranged marriage way where atleast the families or backgrounds are generally known. In this case, while arranged marriage procedures are going on, the question is do I confess about my past to my future husband? If I don’t, I will carry so much guilt (and the risk of him or his family finding out in some way). If I do tell him, what are the chances that he will still accept me?

I don’t sympathize with that girl. She made a mistake and she should face the consequences. My point is that are the consequences that she will face, in accordance with her mistake?  We don’t know, she may already be repenting for her mistake and wants to correct that and lead a more mature and normal life. As a society, do we give her a chance?  

I am afraid not, especially when the person in question is a girl.




PS: While I was raising all these questions at home, Sister raised a brilliant question. She said that if she was engaged with someone (the arranged way) and if we got to know that the boy had a physical relationship with someone in the past, what would be my reaction?

That’s got me thinking. I specialize in asking difficult questions but do I have the courage to answer them?  Honestly speaking, I am still finding an answer. And maybe that explains why we are the kind of society that we are…..


Friday, April 18, 2008

Quote of the week!

From the on-screen ticker during MTV's 'Kickass Mornings' Show:

"Kolkata whips Banglore, Mumbai wanna kick Delhi's ass!!
How is IPL any different from MNS? Seriously!"

Monday, April 07, 2008

Tum aa gaye ho....

Wife delivered a baby boy last friday(04-Apr). Both the mother and the baby are fine!!

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Game On!

Have been taking extensive weekend travelling since past few weeks, mostly by trains. Been having very amusing experiences and below is the most recent one:

A big family with about 5-6 kids aged 6-10 years is my neighbor. The kids are playing ‘Dumb Charades’. A boy stands up to start explaining the movie name given to him.

He starts by pointing outside the window.
Group: Earth?
Boy (with guttural sounds and shaking his head): Urgh
Group: Zameen, Platform?
Boy (continuing his guttural sounds and shaking his head): Urgh
Group: Tracks?
At this stage, the boy’s eyes sparkle. He gestures that the word is related to ‘Tracks’.
Group: Iron?
More sparkle in the boy’s eyes. The word is a synonym of ‘Iron’.
Group: Lokhand?
Yes, that’s the word. Boy is emphatic but the group is clueless. A word called ‘Lokhand’ in a Hindi movie name?
Suddenly, someone from the group has an inspiration. ‘Shootout at Lokhandwala?’
There you go, the boy gestures!

While the group continues with the game, I have a thought. If I were to act out this name, I would have gone for the word ‘shootout’. I think most adults would have. Primarily because it is easier to explain that word rather than explain a word like ‘Lokhandwala’!

May be we adults play to simplify, the kids play to complicate!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008


Someone sent me this via email today:

New words added to dictionary --- Bucknor & Benson

Bucknor: (n) (adj)
1. Temporary blindness leading to missing out on the obvious.
2. To be at the wrong place at the wrong time.
3. Situations leading to grave judgmental errors.
Usage: I feel bucknored by my boss; Life often throws a bucknor at you.

Benson: (n) (adj)
1. Something that legitimises a severe bucknor.
Usage: First they bucknored me and then they bensoned it! I am toast.
Also see bucknor .