Friday, November 25, 2005

Busy, busy, busy...

The last week and more I have been busy, busy, busy. Very busy. So, busy that I did not have a chance to be embarrased by my last post. I have had one event after another to manage and many of them falling over each other.

Its when one is so busy, so tied up... that one dreams a lot. And every night I get bizarre dreams. Dreams which are hard to describe really for they are so surrealistic. They make so much sense, it seems, when you are dreaming ...but when you get up, the entire scheme is lost!

Another thing has happened. A bunch of around 7 dogs have found home in front of my gate! I look up an down the road and there is not other dog sleeping in front of any other house. Maybe its because they see that I am very careful with them... never showing any intention of harming them. In fact, when I drive in my car to the gate, some of the dogs just lie there, sure that I would never run my tire any further. Sometimes, I have to get out and ask them to move!!

In a way I like this trust. Something, which in this very busy period helps me slow down.

Monday, November 21, 2005


Originally uploaded by trngam.
Its been ages since I drank well ( much). Well enough to get drunk. Its been ages I did it alone. And I did it today. All because I saw a face in the bar that made me feel like staying on. All i went was to pick up a bottle of coke (from a bar. The shops were a little away). I saw this face, this smile and I knew I must stay back...drinking for an excuse.

So, I settled. Not sure what I was upto. Our eyes met many times but my heart already scarred would refuse to do more. It would not let me speak. It would not let me smile. It would not let me change my body language. All I needed was a miracle because I was doing nothing.

Is it not exciting to be attracted to someone who is smiling with everyone? Is it not exciting to be excited with someone who everyone is smiling with? Is it now joyous to see someone who is always smiling and has this look which says I am exploring the world... will you join me?

But I am scared. There is this thing called reality. There is this thing called tommorow's agenda. There is this thing called your weaknesses. Everything pulls me down. And I am scared to repeat life... knowing that life has never tried to be too kind for too long.

I want to bow with respect. I want to say you are sweet. I want to touch. I want to go home dreaming with home. I want so bad and I want so much... that I am scared for not getting it.

So, I stay quiet. In the corner. Wondering if love will ever come my way. I want to call my friend and talk to him about this feeling but his wife picks the phone. I cannot talk to her. She will be jealous. I try to get hold of my friend's work place number but it just rings.

I want to tell him I can feel love. I want him to tell me 'I understand'. I want to tell him that 'can I try and look stupid?' And I want him to tell me that yes ' You are already stupid not trying'.

God! Why does this happen to me at this time. The need to touch is so overbearing that I may well become numb soon. The need to hold is so high that I may well fold my hands and sulk. The need to laugh, cheek to cheek, is so much that my face is burning with blush!

People are so beautiful. But beauty so selfish. It hides in bodies, minds and events. Wish it was the air I breathe. That way I could do it, without anyone seeing what I was upto.

And i would inhale deep and deep till my heart fills to the brim.

For now, I will sleep. Knowing that I can love, for another day.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Worldviews. The fantasies and otherwise - 1

I am always ready to be corrected. Since day one on this planet my views have changed so much that I am sure we can never be absolutely correct in any perception unless we have met and seen everything. Below I talk much of America... even though I never been there yet! But note!

When I was young, very very young, I saw these three hiker foreign girls walking past my house. And it seems that I told my mom - " I will marry these girls". And till date my mother beleives that those words are the reason why I am not married! Of course, beleive me that is not the reason!

Anyways, we were quite influenced by US when we were kids. It meant freedom and if you had some special 'miniority condition' it was an even more special issue. This freedom became an overriding condition. Even if I felt bad about Red Indians being beaten in US movies, Chinese & Japs being joked about; men trigger happy to kill each other to prove that who is more man - freedom was it all. And American merchandise was well accepted with all its stars and stripes.

And as is special to people in India ( those not affected by power), a sight of single farang man or woman in the airport, station or street would always melt my heart and I would feel like extending my hand for any help they needed. They just seemed so fragile - irrespective of how tough they were. I suspect this is the same original feeling that people in Thailand carry.

We grew up with lifestyle where we try to collect as many American symbols and sometimes would argue on behalf of total freedom.

But inspite of the exterior, my heart did not lie in the US. The thought of going to US scared me. I was intimidated in my head about people with strong opinions, ready to express it at short notice. I was intimidated in my head about people who would not accept the child in me, in the name of being a self-sustaining individual adult - and seeking help was considered a bane. I was scared that I would not be able to join their party because I did not have enough dollars in my hand.

So, America and its influence caused my life to split into two streams. In my view it was hard to be loved in the US! But its idea of freedom was something which came easy on the tongue and we would talked of it almost by reflex. My family is a mix of people in the cities with relatives abroad, those in villages, some rich, some relatively poor. So, to one section of my cousins I would project the US in me and to the other I would share the rest.

My heart however lay in Asia. Here I imagined I would always be loved. I would fantasise being a monk in a monastery in Tibet searching the depths of truth. I would imagine going to China and learning martial arts and being part of a warrrior team which would travel around the world protecting the oppressed. It hurt me a great deal when I heard that India had a war with China! These were thoughts which would never be spoken though with the modern city cousins who decided your rep. It would be the American stuff we would talk of, for that was fashion.

But us local cousins and mates, whenever we got a chance, would see every popular local movie, Jackie Chan & Bruce Lee movies that appeared. We would never miss any of the epic movies, especially about Hanuman & various other Gods. I saw them all. While at the same time I would enjoy watching the war and westerns from US. The first ones would touch my heart! The next ones would excite and be used to boast about how much we connected with the new world. Anything local was ... well out of fashion. However, to my fellows in hostel and 'not so modern' cousins we would fantasise around the local movies, jackie, martial arts and the power of our Gods. These were kept hidden from our cousins from US.

When some relatives would travel down from the Americas the first and most important thing we asked for would be Jeans. With jeans on your leg you were in. We would preserve it like gold till the next one arrived.

When in hostel, my set of Jeans, stickers from US, marker pens etc. etc. were prized possesions.

As mentioned earlie, my family is a mix of people in cities, people in villages, rich & poor. Now, when I was in hostel I had a choice of which relative to visit during those short holidays (may parents were in a far city). If I was keen on entertainment I would visit my relatives in the city where we would talk of all new foreign movies, watch TV, listen to disco music and act like we were far removed from the local culture and liberated and we used to argue and argue. This family would have visited abroad few times and would have enough goodies at home brought back. When I used to visit this family - I would enter the house, and sack out in a room. The relatives would carry on their business, while I would spend time with the kids.

But if I was hungry and if I was feeling lonely I would go to my aunts place in the village. There as soon as I would arrive she would make sure I get food of my liking with at least a stack of 20 rotis & lots of rice - all stacked up. I could eat like hell then. She knew why I came and never questioned it. She would pick my bag and all clothes would automatically washed. Instead she would bring me clean shirts and pants which belonged to my cousin. She would talk to me non-stop as I ate and did not care if I was concenterating on the food. My cousin would immediately be excited and the next thing we would do is to go to the fields for a bath alongside the tubewell or river. And we would spend hours just doing that. We would first talk of all the scandals in the village and make a list of the movies we will go for and people he will introduce. I loved it like anything. And in turn I would explain him the mysteries of the modern world which I never visited. Most of them just my personal versions. But still, as I said, I would come here only if I was hungry for food or feeling lonely. Else, it was to my modern urban relatives.

This split life was very much part of our upbringing but it would change drastically as I grew and saw more of the world.

Note, when I use 'America' above its loosely used for the entire Western world. So, how it was then. And I will carry this on in the next post.... on how I found there is more to this world than met our eyes. And how my American cousins started turning to India, while I turned to the world.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Still Waters

Originally uploaded by trngam.
Last night was the second consecutive Saturday that I came home late. On the way I saw the quiet Ulsoor Lake and wished I could stop and sit besides it. But the gates are locked and the fence runs all around its periphery. For a moment I felt that the still waters was missing our company. But neither of us could do anything about it. The fence between us.

Well, I have good memories of this place from earlier time, when we would philosophise on the banks of this lake. Well, there were a lot of naughty things happening too in this place, but that was not something that caused us any real hassle. We always found our little space!

At least I got some memories, the new set of people in Bangalore do not even know it was possible once to do something like that.

They are happy with the huge shopping malls that make up their weekends. Even if its about driving through dense traffic. That's progress here.

Its more about what rests on the shelves of your drawing room and less about what you did in life.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Love whats in your face, and not only whats in your mind?

Two thoughts struck me today.

First, do I have to listen to people who speak for the poor and downtrodden when they never seem to show love for anyone within 10 metres from where they stand and sit?

Does the world have any other choice but to regress into extremism, with terrorism challenging almost every other country in the world?

Eventually both thoughts got entwined in my head.

The first thought rose when I heard this Indian Environmentalist on BBC Hard Talk today, who I have never seen smile, or show signs of benevolence - at least on the TV - just a perception. I have many friends who do social work and they are darlings. But I have known a couple of social workers-influencers who really can stretch your nerves. Like they mis-trust everyone who has crossed the poverty line. They never listen to the person next to them or at least give some ‘benefit of heart’ without taking the discussion to extremes and putting the other into some box of errors – especially if you have been doing your daily work without reading the papers or daily opinions. All because of their love for someone 100 kms away & sometimes 10000. Is that a good approach? How can you be a just person when you cannot ‘save’ the person in front of you in the name of 100 'dying' elsewhere? Or maybe that is fair...? - I am still brooding.

Same thought about terrorists. How do they justify one innocent person’s death against the death of some other in another time? How can someone who can kill an innocent person ever claim tommorow that he or she can love another human or be loved?

Now, when I think of social workers, my view is not really a general opinion. I really respect most I have met. Its only a few who can get on my nerve.

Now, considering a few people who have faced injustice, I have felt extreme anger on their behalf too, wishing the worst for those who may have caused it. Almost ready to condone any extreme action.

But in either case I know that once I slap a person without reason… or a reason that says – sorry, I have nothing against you, but I need an innocent bystander to sacrifice for my Gods – what do I call my God?.

Well maybe all this is nothing to do with any big thoughts or morals and is instead just got to do with survival? And some people are sure that they are going to die forever. While you & me will die just temporarily?

Now, the last point. Why do I take up the few odd social workers and terrorists-in-general as subjects? Why not the mighty Bush and other criminals of state? Because the latter are people that we anyway target as the public. Nothing new. It’s a fight without confusion. But social workers and terrorists are working on my emotions – telling me that if I do not side with them, I am being unjust to someone some where. Irrespective of whether I behave well and just with every single person I met the whole day… and they in turn destroyed half a dozen self esteems? Sometimes it’s a bit like blackmail?

For very long, I have kept the view that all mass communication is best ignored or kept in ‘doubt’ zone. As layman we can never hope to grasp the statistics ... but through blind faith in onw who preaches.

Why do we not simply, focus on that person in front of us. That’s the only truth me and you will ever have control on. The rest is one big political/social game in this world today.

And if each person chose to be respectful, kind, straight forward and truthful to the other would that not eventually make the world a better place anyways? From the very rich to the very poor. From the very left to the very right.

All we need to know is that we can be loved? And then we would be ready to die for our fellow being?

Monday, November 07, 2005

"Delhi is not far away"

The capital city of India - Delhi- has many a nice things about it. The Taj Mahal is nearby in Agra. Its got big roads and is the centre of power. The Sikh taxi drivers are good fun friends to chat away with and the food there is always plenty, warm & cheap. And I have had many a good friends who have lived there. Many of them, when we are together, have a big heart and ready to go a long way for a friend.

But still... an idea to visit Delhi always depresses me. It just makes me feel so estranged. Something disturbs ...

Today, I read an article in the Deccan Herald paper that kind of expresses what I feel. Having read it I feel much at peace ... like a mystery unlocked.

Link to: "Delhi is not far away" by Vijay Nambisan, Deccan Herald 7th Nov 2005

Friday, November 04, 2005

The end of holidays

Brigade Road

The holidays are coming to an end. And I think the rains have eased too. Sigh! It’s been eventful. Last two nights we stayed up late with a vengeance. Have not done this for long. Even though Bangalore bars close at 11 pm ( so that the authorities can sleep well & be healthy … to do what?) we strolled the main streets for long, chatted with strangers, before we settled into a coffee shop and then later to our friend’s hotel room where we chatted on meaninglessly.

Vidhan Soudha. The parliament building. Looks better when lit in night. Not lit in this pic. .

Like mentioned in Kitjar’s blog from KL, I too see many more farangs here in Bangalore, than before. This time the young ones. Guys and girls. Most likely they are on the way to or out of the 5 star discs/party events at the time. Lot of elders is also around and I suspect they know Bangalore more than I do. Its always good to pick up a chat with them, because they always have some interesting stories to tell about their time in India before and today.

Of course, there are the regular groups of middle-eastern guys staying up late – always parked next to the shops selling ice creams and milk shakes. I am sure the authorities love them for that.

I started homewards around 2 a.m. in the morning. And on my way got this reminder of the recent Bangalore downpour. Of course, the pic is from a parking lot so hope no one was actually hurt.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Wish you a happy Deepavalli!

Its Deepavalli today! And people began this evening going all guns - bursting fire-crackers and with a display some cool fireworks in the sky. Each year I see some real nice effects.

Well I managed to capture some pictures of the fireworks in the sky this evening. But... then I captured some lightining too! And sad for many, it rained putting an end to the firecrackers today.

But knowing people, they will not rest until all their firecrackers/fireworks are exhausted. And so tommorow will be another day of fun. Especially for kids.

But for now, I am sure the stray dogs must be very glad. Because they really hate the firecrackers.