Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Accidental experience ...

Witnessed a small accident today … and got intrigued by 2 separate experiences of human psyche !

I was in a cab at Marine Drive, going towards Nariman Point around noon today … when a Skoda comes in from behind at full speed, cutting lanes abruptly etc and bangs into a taxi in front of us which had gently stopped at the red light. Skoda couldn't brake in time and tried to avert the collision by taking another abrupt left, but still couldn't avoid it.

Good thing - No casualties at all. Taxi’s tail light broken, and some dent in the back (thankfully due to those strong steel bumpers in the Fiat Taxis). Skoda’s body heavily dented but obviously the driver seemed to be unmindful or bothered about it.
Now, there was no mistake whatsoever of that taxi driver, but the Skoda driver gets out and starts abusing the taxi driver cussing and accusing him of applying sudden brakes etc.

1. That taxi driver seemed to be a calm person. He showed no signs of panic or retaliation to the Skoda driver. Got down, observed his damage, gave a huge smile to the Skoda drivers rant and got into his taxi and drove off.

2. The driver of my taxi, an aged man, spoke his words of wisdom when I showed my anger towards the Skoda guy. He says “Saahab jaane do, aisa hi hota hai, kuch faayda nahi hai kuch bolke, garib taxi waalon ka hi kasoor nikalta hai …” “Par yeh saale logon ko saza milega, aise hi marenge ek din accident mein …” When I said what about the damage, he said “kuch nahi saahab, aap logo ki foreign gaadiyon mein kharche hote hai bade bade … hamari fiat taxi mein mast hathoda maarke body theek ho jaayegi aur  light 100 rupaiye mein mil jaayegi chor bazaar se :)”

Two things that struck and intrigued me in this 2-3 minute experience were that victim taxi driver’s huge smile and no signs of any retaliation (which is rare in this stress laden city of Mumbai) and my taxi drivers kind of a curse (bad-dua) for that Skoda driver (probably which came from his personal experiences of helplessness against such people).

Yea and also that chor bazaar mein 100 rupaiye mein headlights mil jaati hai :)

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Lance Armstrong - a neutral point of view !

Before I begin to write about this topic, let me make a few necessary avowals. Firstly, I have never been an ardent fan or follower of Lance Armstrong or the cycling sport in general. But being a sports enthusiast (read as junkie) I am aware of his grandeur, his achievements, his phoenix act of rising from cancer, his LiveStrong charity that seems to be doing great social service, his book that evidently has inspired many and of course his shameful and disgraceful doping act … Secondly, this post is a quite loonnngggg and might give the feeling of a rant as most debates do when there is only one person talking (Nope, I don’t have any intentions to incite comparisons with Arnab’s News Hour ;)) …

Okay, so now that Lance has confessed about resorting to banned performance enhancing drugs and thereby abusing the sport, it puts all speculation to rest. All the subsequent uproar in media, on social networking sites is understandable.  Everyone is venting out their anger and branding Lance with choicest of allegations and punishments. Maybe not been overly connected to this sport gives me a chance to ponder over this objectively and I do not agree with all of this bashing. Obviously, this is only my personal opinion and I wouldn’t force anyone to agree with this… (This is the third necessary and most important avowal ;) ) just hope that it gives a different point of view to ponder about.

To begin with, I agree that Lance has cheated the sport, and cheated it big time, cheated repeatedly and  unabashedly without any remorse … This is definitely a fraud, a fraud to the sport, a fraud to his national representation, fraud to his followers and biggest fraud to his honest competitors who might have got one up on Lance had he not doped. He has deprived them of a fair chance to glory! So, go ahead and brand him a cheat, brand him a fraud … initiate all legal actions against him, strip him of his titles, strip him of his endorsements … but what I don’t agree with is branding him as a bad human being, accusing him of not meeting your expectations and betraying your trust, spreading ill comments about his charity and so on …

Let me start with meeting expectations bit and I would like to discuss it in general for all sports persons or celebrities. Invariably all of them get weighed down by the expectations from their fans, the media, the so called experts and every TDH. What we forget is that at the end they are human and although they might have been lucky to be able to make their hobby as their profession, all of them are into their field as much if not more, for earning their bread as much for satiating their hobbies. For people who say that it’s their fans who make them famous which helps them to make more money … I would like to differ… it’s their consistent performance, their hard work and their commitment that has brought them the fortunes. The love from fans definitely works as fuel to motivate them … but all the endorsement and sponsorship is only due to their accomplishments in their field. (There are still millions of fans of Rohit Sharma, but unless he proves himself in the middle I don’t see him making the quick and easy bucks!)

When any sportsman gets into a sport and starts doing well, people start liking them and the admiration gradually leads to hero worship. But the problem here is that aren't our expectations as unilateral as the bonds company makes you to sign when you join them as a fresher? Whenever a legend supposedly fails (be it doping or leaving one club and moving to another club or their love life or alcohol abuse etc) we hear people say that how could he break our trust? As a fan I idolized him, how could he betray our love? Media harps about him defying the code of conduct that comes with being a public celebrity … Brethren, just tell me one thing, have you discussed your expectation with him and got his agreement that he will fulfill them? Has he agreed to the hero worship at this cost? Does he want to be idolized with such close scrutiny or he would just rather continue his sport as a profession and also live his life on his terms? Why do we all unnecessary get all sportsperson into this unilateral contract? I don’t think any sports person comes to us and asks us to be their fan. We should stop being so demanding as fans because at the end of the day they are also humans like us and might have their vices, they are not doing this for us, it’s their profession, so rather than raising them to unreal heights and then making demons of them we all should keep our expectations realistic!

Sorry for this detailed rant about expectations, but using this I want to come to the more pertinent point of branding Lance as a bad human. Brand him a cheat, but a bad human I am not sure … now firstly let’s be frank and agree that we all do cheat at some levels and walks of our life … all of those who are branding him as a bad human … I am sure many of them would have cheated to forge some proofs to save their income tax … many of them would have cheated in some way during their academic career to ensure good results for them or help their friends (copying assignments, helping in practicals, during  exams etc)  … now if cheating makes one a bad human …I don’t think you will find many good humans around. When I raised this point during a water cooler chat, one counter argument I got is the proportions of cheating in context are different … also this is something everyone does. Okay, then again, who has decided which cheating assumes a higher proportion and which one lower? If there is some wrong that is done by a majority does that make it a lesser wrong??

I am not saying that even if you cheat you are a good human being. What I am saying is that branding someone a bad human being should be a sum of many facets of his personality and conduct. Not just the one which is sensationalized. Per me (I repeat, this is my personal belief) collectively adding up his misdoings and the positive impact he has had on the society through his book and his charity … I will stop short of branding him as a bad human! (I am not a journo, and sitting here in India, my opinion about the positive impact of his charity is based on what I have read on the internet. He has been able to raise millions through his charity … and about the positive impact his book has had on cancer patients is a widely known fact).

I am not trying to cover his doping by glorifying his charity … I already said that he should be subjected to all the legal proceedings; but a person can resort to cheating in the heat of competition and he should be put to trial for that cheating bit only … I know with the lies he has been vehemently producing to defend himself all this time, it’s difficult to believe any of his other acts!!! Even his apology on the Oprah Winfrey show was more like an apology of getting caught rather than actually feeling sorry for doing it.

My point is only that we should first understand and consider him as human as us, not judge him against our expectations but judge him rationally vis-à-vis his actions against the rules of the sport, and not belittle his contribution to society.  We will find many legends who don’t have any black spot in their career (I would like to call it professional career) but wouldn't have given back to the society or made any difference (outside the sport). It’s a grey area as to which one is better … but why get into comparisons in the first place?? They did what they felt was right and Lance did what he felt was right … (I know I know you guys are already eager to comment that we all are doing what we think is right J)

Anyway PEACE OUT peepz !! Take Care and keep kicking.

~ hiren

Thursday, December 20, 2012

My outburst for the Delhi gang rape ...

I don’t think it’s just about Delhi or Gurgaon or Haryana … there are such dastardly incidents happening all over the country … and every time such incident happens which fortunately (or unfortunately) gets some media attention … there will be candle light vigil, a dharna somewhere .. a protest somewhere (all of these invariably only where there is media present … ) … It’s been more than a year for our very own Mumbai’s Amboli double murder of Keenan and Reuben which started with eve teasing by drunkards … more than a year on … the case is still getting taarikh pe taarikh … despite accused identified … witnesses present and 2 MURDERS …

What we need is a touch of autocratic behavior … our democracy is got to a point where it’s hindering the very purpose of the same … free life!!! What we need is officials taking ownership and pride in their duties and responsibilities!!! What we need is not just center and opposition debating this in parliament but ministers attending the court proceedings of such cases … that will make a difference!!! What we need is all of us to stand up and not just stand there looking at such inhumane acts happening!!! What we need is not just likes and shares and comments … but a sense of being a part of the victim and then reacting to this situation!!!

Alas, like many, at best …. even I can just vent out my frustration here on fb for now … but hopefully will have the strength to stand up and not just stand by … if I find myself witnessing such an atrocity!

About the delhi case, hope the media coverage remains till the accused are sentenced and doesn’t lose focus if India will win tomorrows T20 against Eng and take badla …

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Yet another "so called" New Year ...

its over 2 and a quarter years since i have posted anything here ... but i do miss this virtual world of mine at times ... anyway just dropped by to wish you all a happy new year (not sure if anyone even checks out this page anymore :)) .... hope this year pans out to be New not just literally and calendarily ;) but also figuratively ...

~ take care peepz

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Hungry ????

Guys (sorry gals, i m not a sexist but you would have better options :)), what do u do when, on a nice, sunny, lazy Sunday afternoon, you find yourself starving and craving for good, healthy, home cooked meal; something other than ready to eat meals, pastas, jacket potatoes, baked beans, curd-rice etc.

I was in one such dire straits (which unfortunately is the case every 6 hours with me here in Swansea :)) today ... and was contemplating to go to a nearby (so called) Indian restaurant. That’s when heavens decided to smile my way and help me out of today's craving. I was unexpectedly enlightened and like a programmed robot went to the kitchen and prepared a finger licking, hunger satisfying, scrumptious and healthy feast... I am jotting down the recipe below … so mates, go confront your hunger with this weapon …

Besides, friends, I am sure most of you all will be tempted to lift this recipe and post in your blogs or forward it to many others… (ceedy, I know that by now, you would have also thought of a nice title for posting this recipe on ambrosia ) … Don’t worry peepz, please feel free to spread this recipe without any fear of plagiarism … I believe that GOD has enlightened me so that I can pass this life saving message to as many hungry, helpless and lonely souls … I think I was the chosen ONE for this noble deed.

I request not that credit be given to me for this recipe when you guys spread it but I do request you all to ensure that my fiancé doesn’t come to know that I can do something in the kitchen. Hope you all understand the repercussions of that. :)

So, here goes the recipe:

  • Take half an average sized onion and dice it finely,
  • Take one average sized tomato and chop it into tiny pieces,
  • Take half capsicum (green pepper) and chop that too finely,
  • Take some cucumber and cut it into small thin pieces,
  • Take 2 bowls of sev mamra* in a big salad bowl
  • Add the chopped stuff into the salad bowl
  • Sprinkle some salt and some chat masala to that
  • Take 8-10 pieces of grapes (not too sour not too sweet ones) and chop it into small bits and add them to the salad bowl
  • Mix the contents in the bowl well
  • Squeeze half a lemon into the bowl (readymade lemon juice can be a substitute:)) (aint I talking like Sanjeev Kapoor ??? :P)
  • Mix the contents in the bowl well again …
  • Now sprinkle just a small amount of sev as garnishing (coriander leaves would be a good idea too but I didn’t have it at home:))
  • Take a glass of Tropicana Orange Juice (not the plain one but the one with pieces of orange) to drink while relishing the feast.

Now savor your meal directly from the salad bowl. I repeat DO NOT transfer contents in another plate or bowl to eat; eat directly from the salad bowl. This enhances the taste and reduces the number of utensils to be washed :)

Well, the dish can be called as BHEL … actually SUKI BHEL (dry BHEL, since there are no chutneys). Remember that the grapes and lemon squeeze deliver the killer punch.

Cheers peepz,
~ hiren

*sev mamra = "kurmura + sev (in hindi)", "puffed rice + spicy dry indian gram noodles (in english) :D"

P.S. My naivety is so obvious in writing up recipes … I should have clicked a picture of the bhel to augment my recipe … but I was too starved to NOT to eat and click pictures for the blog :P Maybe next time when heavens decide to smile my way again :)

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Imagination ....

"Only if one had the power of imagination ... the possibilities are simply endless ..."

I was watching a documentary today and realized that most of us would restrain our imaginations by weighing them down with the odds of getting them to life. However, the impediment can be our limited knowledge of things or our risk aversion nature ... whereas the realm of fantasy wouldn't be impossible after all...

Only if we had the power to overlook the feasibility aspect and let our imaginations run loose ... that would do wonders ... amazing wonders ...

Lucky are those who have the gift of pure imagination and vision.


P.S. I have said this hundred times ... and here i go again ... have been off blogger since long now ... but want to get back to it ... back to penning my thoughts ... back with narrations of the zillion things that have been happening in my life ... hopefully this post can be the stepping stone to the resumption ...

Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Pulley ...

Since I am light on work nowadays; I am attending quite a few interesting and enriching training sessions that get conducted in my organization. The other day (a few weeks back) I was attending one such session on something related to business presentation skills.

After the initial introductions, expectations from the course etc, the instructor threw a sudden missile at us. She said that each one of us had to come to the podium and recite a poem. (What???? Are we here to read out poems?? Are you nuts???). Well, seemingly, this poem recital exercise would enable her to evaluate the vocal aspect of our presentation; she was trying to check the following five qualities of our voice – audibility, clarity, stability, modulation and control. (Did you ever know there were so many aspects about how the way we speak?? :))

Just as we all were staring at each other’s faces, not knowing how to react to this unexpected attack, she stated “I know all of you must be feeling weird; but trust me it will be fun.” she said with a smile, coming over to our chairs and handing each one of us print out of poems. “Take 5 minutes to read the poems, understand its message and mood and present it to rest of us.” In the following 10 minutes all of us were preparing for the recital, strategizing the pauses to be taken for emphasis, the pitch variation to be done as per the mood etc etc... and then actually reciting the poem multiple times in our heart :) it was a feeling akin to last minute revisions during the exam times.

After 10 mins, the instructor snapped, “So, who will go first? ... No volunteers? Okay, let me pick. Hiren ???.”

“Yea ... hmmmm .... yeaa ... sure...”, grrrrrrrrrr....

The other 7 people attending the course started giggling and I started my long walk towards the podium ... upon reaching there, I stood with my eyes refusing to see anywhere above the floor, for the first few seconds ... and then somehow, I managed to recite (read as narrate) the poem and there were claps all around. [That’s the benefit of a corporate crowd; you can get claps for craps too :))]

Okay, I won’t bore you all further with the session details. The intent of this post was to put up the poem that I had got to recite. It was a nice poem titled “The Pulley” by George Herbert. It has got a nice message and the simplicity of this message did strike me. Usually, I am not that much of a fan of poems, but liked this one [maybe because I had no option but to read and understand it :)]

The Pulley
by George Herbert

When God at first made man,
Having a glass of blessings standing by,
Let us (said He) pour on him all we can:
Let the world's riches, which dispersed lie,
Contract into a span.

So strength first made a way;
Then beauty flowed, then wisdom, honour, pleasure:
When almost all was out, God made a stay,
Perceiving that alone of all His treasure
Rest in the bottom lay.

For if I should (said He)
Bestow this jewel also on my creature,
He would adore My gifts instead of Me,
And rest in Nature, not the God of Nature:
So both should losers be.

Yet let him keep the rest,
But keep them with repining restlessness:
Let him be rich and weary, that, at least,
If goodness lead him not, yet weariness
May toss him to My breast.

p.s. Manallii reminded me of a quote, which describes this poem perfectly. Coincidentally, I had posted this quote around same time last year on my quotes blog.

“Your worst days are never so bad that you are beyond the reach of God’s Grace and
Your good days are never so good that you are beyond the need of God’s Grace ...”
~ Anonymous

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Quiet & Relaxed ...

Since a few years now, I had my eyes on her. Her voluminous figure was repulsive. Moreover her meticulously detailed and sometime philosophical talks didn’t entice many. But I had fallen for her from the time I had heard about her chaste inner beauty from a few friends who had acquainted with her. For 3 long years, I tried many a times to get together with her but couldn’t succeed. But finally, our destinies converged a few weeks back; I saw her leaning prettily over a shelf at a bookstore. She was a bit overweight alright; but her striking face accentuated with hues of red was entrancing. I simply walked up to her, held her hand and got out of the store and the rest as they say is history ...

Okay, okay, gals don’t get upset or jealous!! I am just talking about a book here. I still am very much single and available :). Now, this is the first time I am writing a review of sorts for a book. Earlier I have recommended a couple of books as passing notes in my posts. But this entire post belongs to the book I just finished reading and which still has me under its binding spell.

In today’s fast paced world of short sophisticated stories, succinct narratives and innovative fictions, a 930+ pages epic based on a real life story might sound like a boring proposition. I guess I too would not pick up such a book unless I hoped to use it as a pillow (both literally and figuratively). But I had heard and read so much about this literary masterpiece that I had been itching badly to subject myself to the torture. And glad I am, that I did that to me.

Well, Shantaram is a real life inspired but fictitious account of memoirs of the author – Gregory David Roberts, an Australian fugitive who lands into Mumbai after escaping from a prison back home. Once into Mumbai he just falls in love with this city where he makes many friends, lives in Mumbai slums, deals in drugs, runs a first-aid clinic for the poor slum dwellers, finds a father figure in Mumbai's mafia, finds a few friends who could die for him and vice versa, makes a few enemies who entrap him, has near death experiences in Mumbai jail, joins the Mujahideen war in Afghanistan, becomes an important part of the mafia gang in Mumbai and zillion other things ... and did I say learns Hindi and Marathi?:) Okay, by now you must have at least realized that this book is a roller coaster ride of a plethora of emotions – trust, love, betrayal, respect, friendship, sympathy, blind faith, power, conviction etc etc etc

This one sure is right up there amongst the best prose (cant term is as the best since Bourne Identity is a tough competition :)) I have read. There are loads and loads of sentences and paragraphs in this gem that you would just want to engrave in your memory and quote them somewhere to impress others by its richness of literature and also some interesting philosophical focus. But the highlight of this book is the thoroughly detailed account of the writer’s adventures. Some of them are so comprehensive that you actually begin to feel the surroundings and start experiencing the feelings of the protagonist. For instance, after reading his ordeal at the Arthur Road prison in Mumbai; you will shudder even from the thought of spending a day in that jail. Similarly his depiction of the Mumbai slums and the entire south Mumbai area made me wonder sometimes whether I actually live in Mumbai or not.

This book is a must buy for book lovers, it is a captivating thriller sprinkled merrily with human emotions, interesting philosophy and descriptive writing. Mumbaikars will surely find a connection with this book owing to the scrupulous description of many of the city places with “Café Leopolds” being the prominent of all :).

On the flip side, in my view the book has two snags – firstly, it surely is HUGE, but, once you start this voluminous autobiography it starts growing on you and enchaining you in its grasps. Secondly, it has some open ends during the narration which might be a turn off. But most of them get clarified towards the end. Alas there are a couple of them still which I am wondering about (or did I just missed a few pages while reading the book in almost sleepy state)

Btw Warner Bros have bought the rights for making a film on this book in which Johnny Depp is slated to play the lead role while Amitabh Bachhan is slated to play the mafia head who becomes a father figure to the protagonist.

Lin Baba ki Jai Ho!!! :)

Ciao friends, tc,

p.s. the title of the post is the literal disintegration of the word “Shant - aaram” just in case you are still intrigued :)

p.p.s. now I have my eyes on another femme fatale and this one is not a book :)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Emotional Atyachaar

I am glad to be ending my writers block with a short story. Well, here is my first attempt on writing a short story from a picture. Hope that it is at least bearable and sensible to some extent :) Earlier, a coupla times, I have tried to write something from 3WW word prompts ... but writing from a picture is a first of its kind for me. Looking forward to receiving honest comments from you guys...

I have been inspired for this post from stories by ceedy and sameera who have participated in the Ascension Short Fiction Contest running at the Jason Evan’s blog. The story cannot be of more than 250 words and has to be inspired from the given picture. So here is my rather naive attempt at it; and of course I am not submitting this amateurish entry to the contest. Although, just couldn't resist the urge to post it here.

Update: - Thanks to all your motivation and inspiration ... I did submit my story to the contest. It is entry #98 in the contest :-)

The below picture is the prompt given by Jason Evan for the Ascension contest.

Emotional Atyachaar
by Hiren

"Don’t ... I said Do NOT. Dare you step on the escalator!!!" shouted Karla at the top of her voice.

"Why are you doing this to me? You very well know that I have to get to her in time ... she ain’t going to wait for me even a minute after 9:30." I tried to plead with her while hopping on to the escalator...

"You have to make a choice today ... its her or me this time ... either you get down from the escalator or you don’t see me again..." she shouted beating her previous decibels record and ensuring that all nearby eyes gave me obtrusive glances.

"arggghhhhh .... GOD save this world from the emotional blackmail power of girls ..." I mumbled beneath my breath as I reached the first floor and got off the escalator only to take an about turn to the flight of stairs going down...

"Okay miss drama queen, happy now??" I teased her after sauntering down to the mezzanine floor where she was standing with a triumphant smirk on her otherwise innocent face.

"Darling, you are such a sweet heart!!!" she said restoring back her innocent smile.

"Anything for you dear; so which stupid hindi movie are we going for?" I mocked her again whilst thinking about the aftermath of missing the last Metra train to my town... 40 dollars cab fare to AMC, 50 dollars to drop her home, 100 dollars to reach my home :-(

Monday, December 15, 2008

Titanic ....

heyaa people,

Apologize to be absconding for so long ... was engulfed with many unavoidable agendas viz. umpteen weddings ... a couple of friends been back home from US for vacation... and yea work as usual... Now I am a bit eased out with all the weddings done with... albeit they have left me with another agenda of losing the kilos I gained during the last 3 weeks :)

My trip to north india was a pleasant one... will try to upload some pics from the trip ... special mention for two serene places that I visited in this trip – Golden Temple and Lotus Temple ... wonderful calming experience...

Thanks to all of you who were concerned about my well being during the Mumbai mishap... by gods grace all is fine with me and my near and dear ones ... I was in Delhi during that time ... just hooked on to the news channels all the time ... This terrorist attack was surely not just another one (as we Mumbaites seem to be used to them)... this one for sure has left back deep scars which will take time to heal...

Anyway, will catch up with all yaa blogs soooon... till then check this pic out... speaks a lot about the current recession and slump...

More later, till then take care !!!

~ hiren