Saturday, June 25, 2011

The tale of a Cawnporia Traffic Signal


Hello…I am a traffic signal perched high and colorful on a crowded junction in the heart of the industrial town of Kanpur. I call myself the Cawnporia Traffic Signal because I like the anglicized version of my city’s name Cawnpore…which has many traces of the British era like the Elgin Mill and the Hallet hospital…It makes me feel British which also happens to be where my ancestors came down from!

Today I would like to introduce you to the bustling world of Cawnpore. I take pride and shine in my brightest reds when people refer to me as the only signal in Cawnpore town. Yes, it’s lonely up there in this town where I haven’t seen another of my kind in a long time. It seems like the authorities were playing some ridiculous joke by just getting only my poor self. Cruel they are for separating me from my kind, because we signals usually travel in larger numbers. However thanks to the age of communication, and all the angry birds flying around I do get to hear from my brothers across the different parts of the country.

Well, but the sight I get to see daily is surely a rarity. Not many of my brothers in other parts of the country see the kind of action that I am fortunate enough to witness day in and day out.

For starters, the sight of my town is not a pretty one; from where I stand the earth below looks like it just let a quake rip through its surface exposing the nascent earth below to the surface. It is earth mostly with traces of gravel and all dug up as if they were getting farmers to sow seeds here. Well what it should have been is bitumen and tar to make what they call ROADS!

When the rain gods smile it seems like I am the only one smiling along ‘cz I get cleaned up and cool down after being exposed to the scorching heat for months. God save the poor people below. My brothers in Mumbai tell me that they have poor drainage there and so rains are invariably trouble for their people, but I am sure I would win that wager hands down ‘cause I don’t think it can get worse than dear ‘ol Cawnpore. When it drizzles in this tinsel town, it is water, water everywhere - rain water, sewage water all of it! But I sure would love a fresh coat of paint, have been wanting one for such long time now…tired and disgusted I am of all the gory red saliva I get showered with by those darned uniformed men who man my post.

My brothers from other cities tell me how they have all these vehicles travelling away from them on the left side and towards them on their right side ever so meticulously. Somehow I have not yet been able to grasp how that works because I can’t seem to see anything of that sort in my locality. Back in my Cawnpore, all those wheeled buggies seem to charge in from all directions and at times I have cattle also trying to weave through the chaos. But one thing I must acknowledge about my beloved Cawnporians…nobody seems to mind the fact that they are being charged into from all directions…they rub bumpers, exchange scratches but they just carry on without bothering too much…very accommodating they are. I hear from my brothers in Haryana that there such exchanges end up in blows, however there they do end, whereas down south I am told they argue and create a lot of furore in a very sophisticated fashion until one party pays the other! I love Cawnporians!

If I could change one thing about my Cawnporians it would be their fascination for sounding horns. At times it gets very painfully loud. Somehow I get the feeling that in the driving schools from where they have learnt their navigatory skills, they were instructed to use their horns instead of brakes…its worst when people use it instead of their accelerators though.

Well I better get back to flashing my reds and greens…but hold on...if you think my taking time out to welcome you to my little town would have affected the scheme of things here…please…nobody really looks up to me here! Alas!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Expectations


everywhere i turn
seems like all i see

everyone i meet
seems like all i hear

every time i breathe
seems like all i inhale

are EXPECTATIONS

folly it was mine to imagine
all of 'em were for me by design

hobby it has become mine to deject
all of 'em who from me did expect

why
why now
why them
why this
why ME

if i need to be
humbled
belittled
ruffled

spare the ones around me

is it ‘cz that’s what hits me hard

i am
humbled
belittled
ruffled

now spare the ones around me

i have been hit very hard

the burden of unfulfilled expectations
it weighs me down
it strains my brow
it pains my vow

expect not and fulfil nothing
will it only be a hazy dream

in expectation of no more expectations
i rest to dream that hazy dream.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Resolute Resolves


Handful broken resolutions in couple of months and i once again reiterate the importance of making resolutions. Every year, in fact every month i indulge in the art of making resolutions. The list of do's and don'ts for the month substantiated by that horrendous wishlist of mine. Thanks to my incorrigible self though, the list survives and makes it to another month's shelf.
I look towards every month as a chance to start afresh. The 1st of any month is a blessing to useless mortals like me to make my life seem not-so-worthless. A peek into my wishlist and you could find cliched wishes like waking up at early bird timings, working towards physical conditioning and the like, but the starred points i am proud of are points which make me look less normal, leaning towards being 'enviable'. Not wanting to hear (from those who might risk reading this)that my wishes come a cropper when pitching to be branded 'enviable', i shall not divulge the details of my list. Allow this poor soul to live in its own sweet realm, convinced that its wishlist is unique and one that everyone should yearn for.
However, i shall continue on my discourse of the perks of making a resolution very well aware of the fact that its resolve would wither away before it ripens to bear fruit. This reminds me of the movie, 'Bucketlist', a must-watch for people who have never jotted down resolutions or conjured up wishlists! Resolutions give a deeper insight to your meandering life, it helps you navigate your ship called life!
Pick a resolution and make your start-of-months more exciting and worth looking forward to. We all do eagerly wait for the month to end to lap up those monochrome payslips, what about the start-of-months??
Resolutions help build up belief in all things called HOPE! When i realise that my new resolution did not last even 21 days [which i am told is the minimum time required to enforce a habit into your routine], i HOPE when i resolve to re-try next month things would change.
Resolutions are food for bragging! Bragging is about being all talk and no deed and when i make a resolution, like say, i decide to grow brains in a week, i make sure i tell the whole world that i'm growing brains this week and garner all the stares possible. Limelight is something that bragging always carries along and resolutions feed it.
Access, respect and repute in any Anonymous Recovery Group (Overeaters Anonymous i'm told is the in-thing) where making resolutions figure high in their 12-Step Self Help courses is another gain of resolving to resolutions!
As i ponder for more perks which definitely do exist, i resolve to pen down more in the coming month. Keep watching this space for more benefits of resolutions and in case you don't find anything soon, you'd know why!

Happy Resolutions!!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Firemen Tales


It was a long week at the NY Fire Department. Fireman Jack and his chums had been working straight for the last nine days. The summer of NY topped with some highly erractic coincidences of fire accidents had taken its toll on the seven firemen. Jack and his chums had made it a point that they went out almost every evening that long week to make sure that they were in high spirits and don't lose the tempo as the 9-day week waned away. Today was different, today they were unwinding - celebrating the end of another week of fire-fighting!
Cribbing was not something these young lads, who had joined the force mainly due to compulsion, had encouraged, but a stinging remark, a joke on the Chief or the Captain was always a must-have during their weekend celebrations! This was, as they justified, the little joys in their otherwise morose existence, the ray of light they yearned for amidst the darkness cast by the smoke at work.
Today was the day for such trivial joys, so lo they finally cleaned up their act and put on those neatly pressed clothes which they seldom got to strut around thanks to the ever-so-generous force's uniforms which had become second skin to these fellas. Aboard couple of wagons and off they set to 'The Grill' - 'Barbecue and Beer till you give up!' read the billboard outside this joint. Why not said one of the chums!!It did look like a league outside the penny's worth that these freshmen firemen earned, but they were looking forward to indulge tonight and no worry or thought could break their resolve.
Glancing to the sides, feeling out of place they swiftly swooped down on the empty table. They were in for a shock. Not something they had expected on a day like today, but fighting fire all day long they were prepared to take on such suprises head on!
Perched on the table next to them was the proposed butt of the evening's jokes. The Chief and the Captain were out at what happened to be their usual watering hole. "Alas! There sits our joke being served on a platter alongside,while we starve for the little scoops of mirth we so yearn for" sighed bespectacled Beejay. Well guess that's not what the doc ordered for these boys who had painted their faces black in the fires across NY city all week long.
Not the kinds who try and hide from their superiors on a social outing and since the old fellas sitting across the table weren't really what one would call blood-sworn enemies, they walked up to the Chief and the Captain. A passing thought speeding through the minds of both groups. When people who have spent close to 20 yrs on the force rising from the ranks to such prestigious posts share their watering hole with a bunch of freshmen firemen just out of college, something must be terribly wrong! Jack and the boys realized that they were tearing holes in their pockets and definitely the Chief must have felt that these boys earn way more than what they need.
Nevatheless who would have thought the oldies would have welcomed the freshmen to join them for beer! Breaking all myths, the group of seven freshmen firemen and their grandfatherly Chiefs shattered the decibel levels of the place and managed to win the wager with 'The Grill' as they cleaned up all the barbecues and beer they had to offer!
Some night it was for the boys and to this day they recount the night they boozed with the Chief and the Captain bridging all divides of hierarchy!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Dissecting Impressions


No not with the limited reach of the cognitive capabilities of the human mind, I would recommend a good serving of the famed Holmes-Watson duos’ deductive might, oodles of Supermanly determination and a pinch of joblessness to taste as the main ingredients needed to make a meal out of understanding the enigma called a ‘female mind’. Some people live their lives in the quest for answers to their numerous questions, while few others engage their lives trying to find the questions to the answers nature has already presented them with. The slugabed that I am would obviously park me in the latter zone and which is why I have taken this bold step into uncharted territory.
Biology is a subject I personally enjoyed a lot in high school thanks to the lavish scope for conning tongue twisters it presented me. But then that was school and 11th grade was a totally different ball game altogether. The advent of the science of Dissection made sure that only the passionate and patient ones remained. The rapid thinning of the boys interested in the subject was hence no surprise.
Mastery of this science calls for absolute precision, meticulous observational powers, attention to minute details, patience to fend off the fiends of distraction for long hours and of course a good pair of motor limbs. Save an occasional shriek you come across when a dead frog jumps into life, our friends from the other gender have what it takes to go the dissective distance.
Not surprisingly our womenfolk have gone on to manifest their dissective skill set in areas outside the jurisdiction of Biology stretching far into the mundane trivialities of life!
To help you see the picture I’m trying to paint, allow me to darken the hues a little more.
Remorse and ignorance are invariably two major feelings a guy would encounter when he commits the sin of raising subjects like ‘first impression’ as a part of casual talk. This talk ain’t any clumsy just-for-the-sake-of-it conversation subject, not when ‘tis posed to a woman. As the list of the details of that darned first meeting are unraveled the poor guy realizes how futile his 20-odd year’s sentence with him was when compared to the 30-odd minutes this lady needed to fold him inside out. It then appears as though all the cosmic forces of nature have taken time off to join the lady in dissecting the guy and his ‘first impression’; they cleave, rip and make such surgical incisions of his character that are simply unimaginable.
Now all of a sudden those long uneasy silences, those distant glances at the restaurant ceiling and those furtive glances to check if she’s looking don’t seem all that unimportant! Torn to mono-syllable acknowledgement of his ‘first impression’, his sin dawns on him and remorse engulfs him!
An impression might mean the taste that lingers in your palate for us lesser mortals, but for the species called females, it’s more than that, it goes to even the flavors used. Its dissection on special order! Guess some of my answers and many of your questions have been put to rest thru’ this discourse!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The Four lettered sailor

[The contents of this blog could be classified as Parental Advisory, so request exercise of discretion in taking the plunge]

The guy on the street foul mouths the driver of the speeding roadster; the desperate loser attributes his distorted luck; the seductive girlfriend eggs on her reluctant boyfriend to go the distance; the reviewed silences his reviewers; the excited winner of the darned reality show expresses her astonishment on actually being crowned the bitchiest of em’ all; the average English-speaking ruffian across the road prefers to use it as a substitute to the well acclaimed punctuation of the Queen’s language. Different tones, different circumstances, different connotations, that is what the four-letter F-word, ‘FUCK’ has come to be.
It’s funny how acronyms are shaped, how they are twisted and turned to look normal! Else how could a protocol from the era of monarchy have given birth to this genius of a slang word? Something that deserves even more pondering would be that not many of the consumers of this brand of language know the roots of this commonplace figure of speech if I may say so. In the Isles of the Great Kingdom, where men had to seek consent of the Kings for their marriage, in an era where concubines and mistresses were not classified as abnormal no matter how shameful they might have been, ‘Fornication upon Consent of King’ was a custom that was not what you could categorise as illegitimate. One single meaning it had and a not so abnormal one during the times it was coined, no matter how morally low an act it was.
What has become of this protocol is definitely worth a laugh! As people say one bad remark stays put in spite of the numerous good you might have done to cover it up, it always shows its shameful head in a crowd, it’s the same with language. No matter how many beautiful words it might have gifted to mankind, it’s the bad ones that stick. I doubt if the acronym FUCK stood for ‘FOOD upon Consent of King’ or ‘FAITH upon Consent of King’ it would have given us this modern day adjective dear to many. FUCK has stood the test of time, though beaten, weathered and torn by the turbulent and changing winds of usage and lifestyles. Definitely some seeds of our ever-so-colorful vocabulary of the times would stand this same test and bloom in colors not conceivable at this stage.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Backpacking Diaries:London

An ardent fan of the greatest writer to be born out of London, this wreck of a writer does but deserve to imitate the legend in this account of the great man’s birthplace!
So here goes…
Act I Scene 1: The Queen’s capital
The task of blending thine self into a country new to thine feet is but one of the simplest of tasks if thou haileth from the mystic lands of India. And the capital of the Colony is no different.
Thou art reminded of thy first lessons in English which thine Grammar teacher bellowed into thine ears.
Thou art reminded of thy road rules, thy sporting cultures, thy administerial setups, and thy past.
I wouldst like to term it the lasting ‘British side-effect’.

The Victorianesque buildings, the ever-so-silent Thames, the good ‘ol Abbey, the numerous variants of London bridges ,Mr. Big Ben, the Tower of London, the Cathedral’s all stacked up against the modern wonders like the London eye, Madame Tussaud’s, the Underground give a taste of the British prominence of the past and dominance of the present.
Rich in history, tradition and stories of the past, every nook and corner of the most expensive city of the world has a story of its own. London is where history originated for most of the third world countries. It is home to the legends of war, culture, sport and of course royalty.
The city is studded with monuments like the Nelson’s column, the National Gallery where I got my first taste of Michelangelo and Da Vinci; statues of World leaders, memorials for the Women of War (WWII) [see pic]

Londoners take pride in a lot of their assets and rightly so. To name a few it would be their ‘Underground’ – MIND THE GAP as its punch line yells out, their cabs, their football clubs, their tea (Devonshire and Cornwell, two adversary counties who stake their claim at being the original ones), their health – you can’t help but notice what you could call their fitness fetish. Everybody runs, running is not a hobby, its more of a habit they relish in. The whole of London looked like a set of a Nike ad with everyone from people in business suits to the average man on the street ipoded and running. Truly sport is a true form of uniting a country.

There’s a lot for us Indians to learn from the British when it comes to being proud of your country. One chapter they left out on purpose during the colonial teaching days.