Tuesday, March 27, 2007


Bore beyond
my eyes
Into my head -
See wires crossed
Neurons lost.
An inchoate mass
of ocean of thoughts
Rise in noisy waves
fall to a still-born end.
Strident voices
In a cacophonous cadence,
Shutdown my senses.
I arch tense;
Body spins -
masking the din.
Past, tense twirls,
quiet unfurls.
Senses rebound
coherent and sound.
Spy deep into my brain -
Beyond turmoil and storm,
In that lucid calm,
I'm all heart...and pain.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

The True Blue !

World cup is upon us, one more time. For someone who has followed all the world-cup closely since 1979, here are few of my predictions:

  1. The media, afflicted by slightly altered mad-cow disease (aka foot-in-the-mouth disease), would whip up the mob hysteria (#2 below) and portray as if the Indian team is made up of 11 Daniel Craigs, draped in blue. They would gently goad every other expert they could lay their microphone on to say that India is the favourite to win. And every one of gullible us would fall for that.
  1. Collectively, as a nation we will go into ecstasy when India wins a match, even if it is against Bangladesh and frenzy when it loses to far superior side like South Africa. After every win, the reporters from every news channel and otherwise, will interview a horde of supporters on the street, who will chant mindlessly, “jeetega, bhai jeetaga, India World cup jeetega”. Likewise, after every loss, the horde would want everybody’s head from the team, including the head of Kiran More, even though it does not matter if More has less to do with the team.
  1. Shah Rukh Khan will appear for Pepsi, Videocon, Vicks, Dog Biscuits, Brooms and whatever brand he could make money on and urge India to win with a fake emotions and urge Indians to support the team with faker tears. Last heard, marketing gurus from those companies are getting together to create a pot-pourri of blue motif – that has SRK, in blue colors, gulping all those down and making a clean sweep of the opposition (with that broom, of course).
  1. Every regional channel will ardently try to imbibe the fever; and do a poor copy of the original copy. You would the likes of Sadagopan Ramesh, Tinu Yohannan and Narasimha Rao (the cricketer) giving completely c(l)ued-in responses to completely inane questions from the completely clueless anchors. Yet, that would still be bearable compared to the motor-mouths!! (refer #6 below).
  1. The morning absenteeism at conferences in cafeteria of already highly productive IT companies will rise; resulting in cricket ball-talks shifted to the post-lunch work session. At the same companies, due to better connectivity to the net and better TVs, a lot more people will stay overnight and work; and claim late-work dinner and tea. The midnight-oil will be burnt to make the net-work.
  1. Motor-mouth Charu Sharma and his side-kick Mandira Bedi will be on again. They will, of course, ensure that they have their informed opinions heard ahead of experts, who have only played a bit more cricket than them. Thankfully, Set Max did not win the ICC telecast bid for the next umpteen years. But, yet again, the next set of motor-mouths would be as bad as the above two.
  1. MMs would interview slightly-drunk and slurring Indian movie stars at the ground ahead of the game. The IMS would go, “Yes, India will win, blah, blah” – goes to fit the tag line perfectly – you can take an Indian out of the streets, but you cannot take the streets out of Indian (refer #2 above).
  1. There will be horde of product-launches – all with a cricketer acting abysmally and endorsing them. And each one of the cricketer would be eulogized and their houses stoned. Some gullible (ref #1 above) would even believe that a cricketer did not turn up for a match, since he was shooting a commercial.
  1. Dravid, Pawar, Vengsarkar, Sehwag and Chappel will all maintain that Sehwag is one big game away from huge score. Unfortunately, that is (but hopefully isn’t) the game, India does not get to play. Last heard, Kapil was to be recalled to the team, since he is also a “proven” performer in the past. Gavaskar wont be; in any case, he'd be busy criticizing the Aussies for their ethos and their work ethics.
  1. Countless companies would seek viewers to SMS their opinion on Sehwag’s inclusion, as he’d play every match to reach that huge score in the next match. Everyone would make money off it, the business, the advertisers, the channel, the telcos and Sehwag. The billion blue folks would sit smugly, knowing that they have made a difference in Sehwag’s selection (team, not shot), through their SMS.
  1. Regardless of all the brouhaha, the Television sales would go up. Stupidity would become the currency and people would fall for any marketing campaign and go in for better TVs , in a hope to see all of the above with much greater and crystal clarity. I did.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Home Alone

Peter was tired – he could not clearly make if he was tired, sleepy or jet lagged. He was tossing and turning in his bed for a while. He had drifted in and out of sleep several times. But now, he was very much awake, wide awake. He had just returned from his business travel far east, where all his firm's manufacturing has been relocated to. Peter managed the supply-chain for his company and he was quite good at it; and very successful. Although he has been typically traveling at least once in a quarter, recently, they have been becoming more and more of an ordeal. The enchantment and the mystique of the Far East no longer held magic for him. On travel, he yearned to be back home and he had started missing his family more – it looked to him that travel made him realize how little time he spent at home with his lovely wife, Simone and their kids – (just) teen-age daughter Jess and their son Jamie. On the flight home, he had played his long-forgotten favourite band, Pink Floyd’s music on his iPod. The lyrics,

Home, home again
I like to be here when I can
When I come home cold and tired
It's good to warm my bones beside the fire
Far away across the field
The tolling of the iron bell
Calls the faithful to their knees
To hear the softly spoken magic spells

stuck and he replayed it over and over in his head ("Hmmm...I should get back to listening to them more often", he told himself). Come tomorrow, Sunday, he would be at Church hearing those soft spoken sermons, sitting close to his family. "Damn", he muttered, "if only I could sleep tonight".

He twisted around and looked on the other side – his 3 yr old son Jamie was sleeping against Simone. Jamie was special; literally he was a special child needing a different kind of attention and upbringing. Peter worried about Jamie a lot – mostly because, he had no idea what the future held for Jamie and if he would be independent, after they were gone. One saving grace for them seemed that he was the second child behind Jess; and hopefully Jess would be there for Jamie after them. But, Jess – Jess, Jess, Jess, he sighed aloud. He had stopped by her room, before getting to bed – she was asleep, but his lips seemed to be screwed in anger and brow arched in sleep – perhaps going through a bad dream. As he had stood by the door-way, watching her, he did sense some of the struggle Jess is going through – he had no time for her; and Simone was overwhelmed handling and taking care of Jamie. Even if Jess was going through some problem, neither of her parents would know; worse not only they did not have time, but were perhaps telling Jess on what she should be doing, without even understanding what she is going through. Deciding that he would spend some quality time with her this weekend, he had gone to closer her bed, bent down, looked at her closely – his heart swelled; he had softly kissed her forehead, adjusted the blanket – Jess seemed to cuddle up and relax in her sleep, lips uncurling and brows straightening out.

He sighed aloud again and swore – perhaps too loud, that Simone stirred in her sleep – she opened her eyes and smiled weakly at him. He already felt guilty to have woken her up, when he let himself in the first time. Now his tossing and turning had woken her up again. Peter was sure that Simone’s day would have been swamped working with Jamie, keeping up with him and various programs. As Simone drifted back to sleep, Peter continued looking at her – he ran his fingers through her hair; he loved her a lot and was constantly amazed at her dedication to the cause; although he could not recall the last time he told her that - that of his love and his appreciation. He resolved again – to create and spend some time with her. And with Jamie and with both of them. And with Jess. Simple, he realized, he just needs to spend more time at home.

This line of thought distressed him further and anguished him. Peter realized that he is not only going sleepless, but he was creating possibilities of waking up the family. He got up softly, paddled out – swallowed a sleeping pill and went and lay down in the guest room. As he slowly drifted back to sleep in the guest room, he thought tomorrow could be a different day. Atleast he was not in the foreign country amidst of a different culture and language. At least, he was home. In that knowledge, Peter slept… alone.