Thursday, November 24, 2011

Love at first sight

Tim and Helen fell in love with each other the moment they saw each other. Of course they did not know it at that time. At that time they thought they hated each other’s guts.

As the two lawyers sat on the opposite sides of tables with their clients; all they could think of how they hated the very presence of other. It did not help that the couple that they were representing, Mr. and Mrs. Markham, were hell bent on fighting each other to the last penny; with the result that the lawyers were automatically at each other’s throat 24X7.

Sometimes Mrs. Markham would have a renewed interest in something that Mr. Markham was favoring such as the Mongolian vase that they bought five years ago. So she would call Helen who in turn would call Tim at one in the morning to discuss the issue. They would keep on fighting till one of them has their way. Similarly, Mr. Markham would have similar urges to lay claim over something that Mrs. Markham simply could not live without such as their black Labrador. So Tim would call Helen in the middle of her yoga sessions and have one of their spontaneous shouting matches, known for their ferociousness and tenacity.

Their next meeting was not in even such amicable circumstances, if there could be something even worse than that. They were in a car accident. I don’t mean a car accident case. But a live car accident of their own! Well, to call it an accident would be an exaggeration as Helen’s car had just bumped into Tim’s. No dent or anything but a minor scratch that wasn’t, under other circumstances, even worth mentioning but they just couldn’t let go of the opportunity to be at each other’s throat. Thankfully, an elderly gentleman passing by interfered to bring peace to the two or else I am sure there would have been a homicide case to boot.

The next time they met, the circumstances were a bit more docile. They were involved in the divorce of the sweetest couple they knew in their entire career. There were some minor differences amongst Mr. and Mrs. Raina on which they were not adjusting with each other. A bit of adjustment was all that was needed to get this marriage working. Otherwise, they were a perfect match for each other. Not only in terms of qualifications; but their temper and affability to all resembled. At times they were opposite to each other but as they say “Opposites attract”. That was certainly true in their case. As it happened, the way they ran things was exactly opposite to the Malkani couple. One day, Mrs. Raina was going through her collection of CDs when she started to sob suddenly. When Helen enquired as to the cause, she saw a Bob Dylan track which was Mr. Raina’s favorite. Similarly Mr. Raina could not contain his emotions while looking at the dummy bison trophy that they had gotten from their trip to South Africa.

It was then that Tim and Helen decided to join forces, as difficult as it was for them to acknowledge each other without sneers or snorts, to get the couple together.

The day that the Rainas decided to forego the idea of divorce was a momentous occasion for the two lawyers and they made an exception to have a gala celebration with just the two of them at the grand central hotel. Each made a vow that this was to be a one off exception and that they would be loathe working on the same side again in the future. Except that it wasn’t and they weren’t.

Another year or so passed before the two met each other. And it wasn’t in one of their usual spots vis the corridors or courtroom or bar rooms or in library conducting research or in a Constabulary supporting their “victim”. It was at an art gallery, of all places. Incidentally the two of them were invited by a common friend, which they didn’t think would exist but did. Not knowing any soul other than each other, and being the least bit interested in art, they decided to pass the evening by chatting with each other. It was at the chat that they realized that the two of them shared more than a common art friend and a profession. They both loved hard rock and despised Justin Bieber. Both were a diehard fan of continental cuisine, loved travelling and going on adventure sports. There were traits in which they were as opposite as they could be. But more often than not, they were like a purrfect match for each other. The two of them could feel a growing sense of elation at having found someone so similar to their own selves. But even now was not the time that decided to get together. Although, after the “Art Gallery Incident”, as they fondly used to call that evening, they began to going out more often. They decided to keep it casual. They would go out for a lunch, for couple dinner dates and so on. Though, after some time Helen started to became restless as she was genuinely beginning to like Tim a lot and wanted to take the relation to the next level but was getting exasperated that Tim wasn’t picking the hints she was throwing for becoming more than just “Friends”. He, she felt, was more than happy with the casual relation that they were maintaining.

Then one night changed it all.

It was a wonderfully clear night. Perfect for an outing. That night they set a dinner date at a fancy new Italian diner in their vicinity. They ordered foie-de-gras and sparkling white wine. They started to talk on a wide variety of topics, pending cases, new amendments, friends, family etc… until they came to the section on future. It was then that Tim dropped the bomb on Helen.

You know what? It was a good thing that we decided to keep things casual. It gave me enough time to explore various opportunities. I think I might have now found my true one.

Uhmm… said a shocked Helen.

In fact, I think I will propose to her soon. And I think I will do it in a slightly different way. People give rings in proposals. I would like to give her a pendant or something. That would be amazing, wouldn’t it?

Yes. That would be swell!

Rest of the evening passed without any further mention of the proposal and that night, for the first time in years, Helen cried her heart out. Then she resolved, she would be absolutely supporting of whosoever Tim chooses and never reveal her emotions to him.

Another week passed before she heard from Tim again. He called her up on Saturday evening to fix up a dinner date. He had some exciting news to share with her, he said. Bracing herself she went to the dinner.

I kind of told her that I am planning to propose!

That is wonderful news. How did she react?

I…I… I haven’t told her in exact words as yet. Just dropped some hints. I am planning to propose to her with this locket. Do look at it and tell me how is it?

He gave her the heart shaped locket. It has T and H etched on the surface in beautiful calligraphy. Sighing, she turned it around to see another carved on the back with the inscription “Love you Always”.

Open it. Said an excited Tim.

She opened the locket to see a small cutout of Tim’s face wedged on one of the sides.

She almost dropped the locket when she looked at the other side to see a small, heart shaped mirror showing her reflection.

Confused, she looked up to Tim… Only to find him on his knees!



 “Wow granny! That is such a wonderful story” exclaimed the ten year Naira. “Did you know the couple very well”? “Well you can say that they were very very close friends” replied grandma, fingering the golden locket with the initials T & H on the front and a small heart on the back.

PS: Apologies for such a long gap between the posts but had so much to do that I couldnt find any time for the posts...

PPS: This post marks the completion of my 101 posts... yipppeee!!!


PPS: The rest of the Johannesburg/South Afria diaries will follow soon!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Johannesburg Diary – 1

As a part of a project, I was required to go to Johannesburg. Being in the line of profession that I am, traveling is an inevitable part of the job. I loved to have this opportunity to visit the country.

Hence I thought of putting a brief travelogue for the trip. This would be a series of posts in which I will describe some of the focal points of my journey. If, in the process, it helps some souls; all the better for me!

So here it goes… ‘Johannesburg Diary – 1’

We left India on a Sunday. Our flight schedule was arranged in such a way that we would reach J’burg on the same day (as per local time). Our total travel time was 13.5 hours; with in flight time of around 11.5 hours.

We had a brief stopover in Dubai. While landing in Dubai, I switched on my in flight camera and watched it for a couple of minutes prior to the landing. A lot of ‘deserty’ vastness. The inside of the airport was, though, a different thing altogether. The Dubai airport is huge in size with a lot many departure gates. So a lot of walking area! And all the major brands have a presence in the airport. All the major food icons, fashion icons and not to mention those in-numerous jewelery shops; all that made The Dubai airport a big shopping mall with an in-built airport. :D


The stopover being a brief one, I did not get a chance to stop and have a closer look and feel of the things. So my plan is on my return trip, I will try and make an extended stopover to enjoy the airport even more.

The we sat for an arduous flight of around 9 hours; after which we landed in the OR Tambo airport in J’burg, SA . One thing which struck me was the wide and bold combination of colors they have used in the airport and even on their own self. More about that later.

 

So we had booked a hotel for the night before traveling to our next destinations, a town around 120 odd kilometers outside J’burg by the name of Secunda. We had a hotel booking there but we would leave in the morning as we were advised against traveling in the middle of the night anywhere in SA. Again, more on that later.

Our first stop in SA was at ‘City Lodge Hotel’ at the airport. Despite being aware of the fact that the hotel was remarkably close to the airport; being unfamiliar, we had booked a cab driver to take us to the hotel.

Unfortunately, the driver didn’t turn up. So we were uncertain as to what to do next. Fortunately for us, a very helpful airport employee took us to the hotel; which turned out to in the same building structure as the airport itself. That close!

So we stayed in the hotel for the night, enjoyed a nice buffet in the morning and set off to Secunda in the morning for our next destination – Graceland Casino and Hotel. Boy! This was looking like a fun trip already!



Thursday, August 25, 2011

Anna Hazare - A beacon of hope or A mirage of desperation?

In light of recent events, with Anna 'ji' Hazare fasting unto death (I hope not!); I started googling to get a view on what the blogosphere thinks about the God Man.

Following are some of the snippets of the articles which I got from the net and their links have been provided alongside for purview of the complete article.


As a Corrupt Indian, who has got Driving License, Passport, Registered sale deeds, Registered FIRs with police for accident insurance etc, I make this request to Anna Hazare.

Sir, Look around you. Every one around you is corrupt or have been tolerant of corrupton in their own way. Don't fast unto death for creating one more institution, one more policeman. We cannot keep monitoring ourselves. Our institutions need to be transparent and people need to be honest to some extent. That's the only way we can fight corruption. Let's all fight for it.


If Cervantes, the Spanish author who created Don Quixote four hundred years ago visits India today, he would be amused to see the ruckus being created by Anna Hazare. However, he will be aghast how his character could go out of control and create the current mass hysteria sweeping the Indian continent, unless he digs up why Adolph Hitler could whip up something similar in the pre war Germany.


If the government gives way on the ambit of the anticorruption bill, chances are Hazare will, too, and his planned hunger strike that is the focal point for the marching thousands will not proceed. It is all significant, to be sure, but these are not demands or differences that are going to change how most people in India are governed, regardless of how it turns out. Whether Hazare or the government prevails, the result should still be a positive for the transparency of Indian democracy though perhaps with a slight difference of degree.


There was an article in The Hindu today by Arundhati against the movement for Janlokpal, she’s eloquent as usual, and she misses the point, pretty much as usual. In this article I am trying to talk about the points she raised and hopefully when we are done we might have a broader perspective of this movement than what Arundhati has projected.

Arundhati’s most important gripe seems to be that the people in the movement are raising slogans like – (a) Vande Mataram (b) Bharat Mata ki jai (c) India is Anna, Anna is India (d) Jai Hindi. Would she prefer if they said (a) India Hai Hai (b) Indian govt murdabad (c) Jeeve-jeeve Pakistan, when they come out on the streets to demand that the Indian government creates a better system for our people?


If there is anyone in today’s India that would receive more scorn than the pedophile and the baby-murderer, it is he who does not provide the fullest support to Anna Hazare and his Jan Lok Pal campaign. So much as express a smidgen of doubt about the “Second Independence Struggle” and be prepared to be digitally and socially mauled, unfriended, unfollowed, drawn, quartered and subject to death by a thousand cuts. “Congress agent” “Traitor” “Jealous of Anna Hazare’s success” “I cannot believe you are the same person I once respected” and “What have you done for the country? I am bunking work and sending SMS and have you done that?” are just some of the more polite responses you should expect to encounter should you not be a member of “100000 Indians in support of Anna Hazare”. This invective is ironic considering that Team Anna and its supporters, being so zealously possessive of their rights of dissent (and rightfully too), would be expected to give others the right to disagree without making them run the gauntlet.


PS: I will keep on updating this post as and when I get newer ideas or images on the topic.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Free? To do what exactly?

This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 23; the twenty-third edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton. The theme for this month is FREE.













Free to do what exactly???

PS: Found this really awesome strip... Have a look:


Images Courtesy: unbelievablepainting.blogspot, buzzpicturez. wordpress, Youth for Equality, scrapetv.com, asset2.learnhub.com, msmagazine.com, lilithgallery.com, xkcd.com
The fellow Blog-a-Tonics who took part in this Blog-a-Ton and links to their respective posts can be checked here. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton. Happy Independence Day!






Sunday, August 14, 2011

India @ 65!

India turns 65 tomorrow!

Got these pretty neat post from yahoo which I am sharing here. Original can be found here and here!



Images/Data Courtesy: facts.randomhistory.com, www.cia.gov, sree.teck.in, www.neoncarrot.co.uk, www.indif.com, www.real-factsabout-india.com, www.indiafolks.com, www.pratheep.com, www.economist.com, in.news.yahoo.com

Friday, July 22, 2011

Revenge

This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 22; the twenty-second edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton.

The moment she saw him, she was overwhelmed with all the old emotions that she had been trying to suppress for years now. She began to feel sick in the stomach and could not help feeling short breathed. She could immediately remember each and every detail just like it was yesterday.

Some 12 odd years back, when she had just entered her first year of graduation. Belonging to a small town in the eastern UP, the big city of Mumbai was like a dream to her. She could not believe that she was able to convince her parents to let her go to such a big city. Her parents, while not very rich themselves, were not exactly poor. They had a sizable amount of agricultural land and led a comfortable life with all modern amenities. Even then, it was a task for her to convince her parents to let her pursue her dream of higher education.

So the first day of the college came and boy! Was she excited? She went to college and began regular studies. Very soon she was able to establish a close group of friends. Of course, being in Mumbai, very soon they started going out for various parties; some even extending to the early hours of the morning. Despite all the partying, boozing going on around her; she used to maintain that humble air about her which most people took her as being shy.

It was at one of these parties that she met Vikas. There was an instant connection between the two and she felt that she could easily talk to him. He seemed to be a nice guy. That is until the midnight of 14th Feb, 1999.

As her friendship with Vikas developed, they started going out more often. But she was still hesitant about anything further because of her small town, cautious upbringing. And she discussed this with Vikas as well, who said that he was fine with this. But apparently he was not. After the V-Day party, he took her for a midnight drive. Being unfamiliar with the city landscape; she did not know the area well. Vikas stopped the car at a lonely place and forced himself on her. Try as she might, she could not get herself away from his clutches. She was shattered after the incident while Vikas absconded from the city. And she could not even create too much ruckus about it else her parent would have cut short her studies and that would have been the end of her career, much before it even began. So she kept the things to pretty much herself and maintained a low profile for the rest of the time.

But that was the day which scarred her life forever. That day was the reason that she pushed herself so hard that she would not have time for anything else in life. That day was the reason that despite all the psychological counseling she still needed sleeping pills every night.

And all those memories flooded her as she came face to face with Vikas on her flight from HongKong to Sydney with her feet still aching in her Jimmy Choo stilettos and the LV bag refusing to stay in position. So, she purposely dropped her purse in Vikas’ lap to let him establish the connection. But all she got was a smile in return. Bloody man didn’t even have the courtesy to hand her bag back to her. Absolutely no trace of recognition! How could it be that while that one incident has scarred her so badly; Vikas seems to have forgotten her completely?

That could not be right” thought she. And it was then that she saw him sipping scotch and a plan began to form in her mind. She requested the air hostess to switch her seat to one next to Vikas.

L: Hi! I am Liz. What’s your name?
V: Hey! This is Vikas. So what do you do Liz?
L: I am a director with a multinational entertainment giant. I handle a lot of fortune 10 clients and their advertisement campaigns.
V: Hmmm… that sounds interesting. I am into an NGO for social welfare of poor and illiterate women. Teaching them how to read and right, among other skills.
L: Wow that is so cool…

And the conversation continued so on for next hour or so with more drinks being ordered. Being a teetotaler, she did not drink but ensured that Vikas had plenty of it. When, after another hour or so, she was sure that he had stopped moving, she pulled a nightcap on his eyes, switched off the lights and whispered to the air-hostess “Poor guy… dead tired… Please ensure that nobody disturbs him till the flight reaches Atlanta… not even in the stopover at Sydney”.

She de-boarded at Sydney and went to the luggage section to pick her baggage. Where she was standing, a boy was asking his mother “Mom please help me with 6-Down. A seven letter word. Best served cold.” “I don’t know honey… please let mama check the baggage out”.

Revenge” offered Liz “Revenge is a dish best served cold!” 

"Thanks ma’m” said the boy.

Liz walked away with a new spring in her steps, stopping just long enough at a waste-bin around the corner to throw away the freshly emptied strip of sleeping pills…

Images Courtesy: thefarpoint.org, blog.30dollardatenight.com, chinatownconnection.com

The fellow Blog-a-Tonics who took part in this Blog-a-Ton and links to their respective postshere. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton. can be checked here. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

You are a workaholic if...

1. The only way for you to remember birthdays and anniversaries is through your outlook calendar 
2. You are trapped in a kidnapped flight on way to Afghanistan and having been safely rescued, the first thing you do on getting a network signal is checking your mail. 
3.You make a ten page flowchart, and cross reference each node, to prove that Harry Potter universe just cannot exist. 
4. You consume less food/water because that would mean wasting time going to loo! 
5. You feel irritated that laptops are not allowed in movie halls. 
6. You can’t remember the last social function that you attended.
7. You wore a faded shirt to the seventy fifth anniversary of your parents
whereas you regularly get new suits tailored only for office wear.
8. All your relatives and friends have forgotten your name and refer to you as ‘That Guy’.
9. You feel that hobbies are something which are done when one has spare time.
10. The only time you've had off in the last three years was to attend your favorite uncle's funeral. 
11. You let the janitors out of the office before the start of the working hours and let them in after everyone has gone home. 
12. You have used “This is the last time I am working so late” at least three times last week. 
13. You cannot understand why people around you seem much more interested in talking among themselves instead of listening to you telling them about your new job. 
14. You tried your best to reschedule wife’s delivery to facilitate your client deliverable.


15. You slept off the joyride. 
16. You wonder why you cannot sleep and eat at the same time. 
18. You bought a Bluetooth headset so that you carry on a meeting while being on the call. 
19. You feel guilty when not working or doing something fun. 
20. Your idea of a family reunion is arranging a videoconferencing on skype for all the members. 
21. You actually went to a bookshop to search the very much talked about ‘Face’Book. 
22. Your playlist has not been updated for last 10 years. 
23. You bought an I-Pad for situations where you can’t work on laptops. 
24. You tend to send meeting appointments and subsequent reminders for lunch date with your wife.
25. You feel Baba Ramdev is a waste of time and 15 minutes of power nap can solve all the ailments and bring world peace. 
26. You actually have a spare sleeping bag and change of clothes in your office.
27. You did not see that number 17 is missing.
28. Now you scrolled back to check and are now smiling :D

Images Courtesy: ba6alah.wordpress.com, wildwomanfundraising.com, careerwatch.wordpress.com, sleepzine.com.

PS: I know #27 & #28 have been done a number of times earlier but this being my first list based post, I could not resist it!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Book Review: Darke – Book 6 of the Septimus Heap series

Caution: Spoilers ahead!

Having read the first five books of the series earnestly, it was for quite some time that I had been waiting for Darke to come out.

I wouldn’t say that the long wait was a wasted effort; though the book fell short of expectations. At least in my case.

To give a brief background of the storyline; the main protagonist of the story is Septimus Heap. The series follows the adventures of Septimus Heap who, as a seventh son of a seventh son, is supposed to, and partly does, have extraordinary magical powers. After he becomes an apprentice to the arch ("ExtraOrdinary") wizard of the series, Marcia Overstrand, he must study for seven years and a day until his apprenticeship ends. In the first book, he is known as Young Army Expendable Boy 412, until his great-aunt, Zelda Zanuba Heap reveals his true identity. His adventures are placed in the context of the warmth and strength of his family, and developed alongside those of Jenna, his adoptive sister, who is heir to the throne of the Castle, the community where they live. The novels, set in an elaborate fantastic world, describe the many challenges that Septimus and his friends must overcome. (Courtesy Wikipedia)

There are six books in the series: Magyk, Flyte, Physic, Queste, Syren and the latest Darke; in that order.

Now to the latest book.

In this volume, Merrin Meredith, apprentice to necromancer Domdaniel and now wearing his two faced ring has decided upon himself to setup a Darke Domaine in the castle and overcome even the Wizard Tower, with the help of his faithful THINGS. This Darke Domaine grows outward from the palace and is now threatening to overwhelm the entire city. Septimus is worried about his Darke Week where he must encounter the Darke and successfully avoid being lost in it. Unfortunately, the ghost of Ex-extraordinary Wizard, Alther Mella, has been banished Marcia Overstrand, the current Extraordinary Wizard, in a mistake and is not present to help. On the other hand is Princess Jenna in a tiff with the Port Witch coven. Beetle, on the other hand, involved in the entire charade in more than one ways: Having a crush on Jenna, past association with Manuscriptorium, association with Marcia etc.

Positives of the book:
  1. The character of Beetle has been developed a lot with a good ending for him, for a change.
  2. Since both Jenna and Septimus are coming of age, 14 years, in this volume; they both are coming to terms with the expectations that they have to fulfill – Jenna as the queen to be and Septimus as the possible candidate for Extraordinary wizard.

Negatives of the book:
  1. While a lot of talk and impression were given as to Septimus having to go into Darke Halls to retrieve Alther, that bit went off fairly quickly and I felt that it could have been developed on at all. Especially since it seemed that visiting Darke Halls was all the more urgent for the removal of Darke Domaine.
  2. More than usual detailing on Darke Domaine; at times felt it to be too lengthy and kept on going on and on.
  3. At times Jenna and Septimus seemed a bit more childish. But I guess that can be explained as being a part of adolescence.
  4. I was kind of looking forward to see more of Syrah and Jim Knee but they both were absent throughout.

A very surprising element was when Marcellus did something which I would have never expected him to do. That was a real nice bit.

Though, all in all a nice read and I will give it a 3.5 out of 5 rating.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The ingenuity that is IIPM

Let’s cut to the chase. We have all heard all sorts of stuff about IIPM, haven’t we?

I was reading through the various posts that I have subscribed to and came across a piece on IIPM written by my batch mate. The post can be read here.
 
That post got me to search a bit more on the topic, and by topic I mean IIPM, and by IIPM I mean Planman, and by Planman I mean Arindam Chaudhary because it’s not like they are different entities.

See that’s the beauty of it. On the face of it, it may seem like so many different entities. But it all boils down to the one and only stakeholder of that system: Arindam Chaudhary.

So, courtesy Google baba, I started surfing for the various forums and blogs with active discussions going on about IIPM. What I read astonished me, really! I was aware of some of the things but have never kept track of it all and it seems like so many things have been happening in IIPM’s context.

Some of my observations:
  1. I am not sure about the actual education imparted to students, but looking at how vehemently they oppose anything showing IIPM in even the slightly negative light; I am bound to feel that either they are paid to be so or IIPM is a bigger cult that KKK or Masons etc ever were. Fanatic zealotry was the word which came to my mind, and which I do realize maybe redundant exaggeration but that’s what my first impression was.
  2. Why is it that despite there being so much people are accusing an institution of and so much activity going on; the government or the education ministry has not taken a strict enough action against the concerned person.
  3. While we are talking about Lokpal Bill in general, I feel that IIPM deserves a dedicated ombudsman of its own!

And despite all that is visible, or rather not visible but claimed in the advertisements, the institute has the audacity to sue Caravan Magazine, Penguin Publishers and Google for Rs. 50 crore for damaging its “repute”.

Do read the following post at Jam Mag which started all the brouhaha on IIPM. Though the post has been long removed from its original, rightful place; there still are soft copies available (Courtesy Google dev)

A useless observation, search IIPM on Google. Apart from the innumerous IIPM and branches and subsidiary and sister concern’s sites, not a good word anywhere!

Some of the very good articles that I read on IIPM and are a must read for everyone are:
Wikipedia articles IIPM (Look at the controversy segment) and IIPM Controversy 

Images Courtesy: jobsearchingblog.com, iipm-india.info

Disclaimer:
Some people are trigger friendly. IIPM, on the other hand, is sue friendly. Hence, whatever I have written is of my own volition and my own viewpoint. Nobody else is responsible for it.

PS: I am not writing anything about the special "connection" that IIPM shares with IIM because an IIM being my alma mater, I feel that it might seem a bit biased. Rest assured, there are several standing jokes, not only at IIMs but at all other institutes with regards to IIPM; none of which I dare mention here because of the facts mentioned in the above paragraph :)

Friday, June 17, 2011

A colorless life!

Sunder is your average 7 year old kid. He lives with his parents. His parent migrated from Munger district of Bihar to Delhi more than 10 years back. They wanted to live the great Delhi dream of earning more than just their bread and butter. He has two siblings, a 12 year old elder brother and a 2 year old sister. Like all the kids of his age, he doesn’t want to study. All he wants to do is to roam around in Delhi, from this street to that street, sampling different kind of foods, playing different sports etc.

Except that in his case, he doesn’t have an option to study since his parents do not have enough money.

Sunder lives with his parents on the pavement around the roundabout in front of Jaypee hotel. They get all their postal and other communication delivered at pillar number 237, opposite Jaypee hotel; on the Dwarka – Noida metro line.

He roams from this red light to the next red light, at times even chasing a sympathetic looking lady in the car; hoping that this excursion might end up with him being a rupee or two richer.

He gets a different takeaway order every day, as they have to beg a different food stall owners for previous day’s leftovers.

In the name of clothing, all Sunder has a two shirts, which are by now so ragged that it is difficult to decide what color they originally had been. He has three pajamas which he wears in rotations, just so that he gets a feel of wearing something different than the usual stuff; though for all it matter, they are as different from other as a grain of rice in a pile. Though, he has a special set of clothes for some special occasions. A shirt, without holes, which might have been navy blue once upon a time but now is a faded blue with the face in beard in cap just barely visible. His trouser hangs only an inch above the ankles and can still be recognized a denim style.

What color do they have in their life, I wonder? If it were in my power, I would like to bring more color and joy to their lives; and not just the crimson color of their blood when they are hit by a runaway vehicle which crushes them in their sleep.

Image courtesy: wakasmir.com, cribb.in




PS: Do visit HP Laserjet site

Saturday, June 11, 2011

The other day

This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 21; the twenty-first edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton.
For this narrative, I am trying a little trick that I picked from one of Jeffrey archer’s short stories.

I will try and narrate a day in two different ways, how the things would have been different were one thing or the other turned out differently.

Janu didn’t want to wake up from his sleep. It wasn’t that he was feeling sleepy or anything. How could one with four others lying on a single cot in the hot and humid climate of Delhi, with nothing but the sky as a cover over their heads.

No. he did not want to wake up because of the tedious day which he knew was lying ahead of him. All he wanted to do was to keep on lying on the cot and not having to beg on the streets for once. But if that is going to fill his belly, then begging he would have to do. It’s not like he had any other option. At 7 years of age, there aren’t many employment opportunities for him. Well come to that, post recession not many opportunities for anyone. And having been separated from his family since that unfortunate incident 2 years ago hasn’t exactly turned the things in his favor either. How he longed for the day when he would be back with his family, or at least free of all the troubles and be able to have a normal life.

The other children in Janu’s group had similar background as him. All separated from their families at different ages, and for different durations. With parents who half of the time couldn’t care if one of their litter was lost or at the other times didn’t have necessary resources to search for their child. One thing was common in all of them. None of them, in their wildest dreams, could ever imagine getting back together with their family. Such was the plight of their being, having lost all hopes of ever reconciling with their brethren.

Today, the bhaiyya managing his group of 10 children came early to the shelter, if you can call two cots under the New Delhi station bridge a shelter. Not that he used to come daily, anyways. Bhaiyya ji generally did not come that early to the shelter. He used to come to the shelter on a weekly or a fortnightly basis to collect his share of the “collections”. Even when he used to come, it would be in the evening and in time for his “Get Togethers”.

So when Bhaiyya ji came to the shelter that morning, everybody was a bit surprised but so much used to him that they didn’t expect a lot different than the usual. But little did Janu know that things were about to change for him.

Bhaiyya ji announced that there was to be a rally at India Gate and that he needed a couple of children to take with him for begging and some low level pick pocketing if need be. This would also be a treat for the selected kids as it would mean a higher collection, equaling higher personal share as well as chance to scrounge on a whole lot of leftovers of the various kinds.

Janu was the first to think of volunteering and for the first time, felt that being young of age helped him somewhere as people were still bound to give him alms as compared to other grown up kids.

Now the two ways to proceed forward in this story are Gates of Hell and Heavenly Bliss, in that order.

Gates of Hell
Janu was so sure that Bhaiyya ji would pick him from the crowd. Bhaiyya ji, on the other hand, had different thoughts. He picked up two teenage kids who, due to malnourishment, looked younger than their age.

I too would like to go” piped up Janu before he could stop himself, not that he really wanted to stop anyways. He was sick of being in this shelter or the New Delhi Station. Sick of all the sweat and abuses from people hurrying to their destination. He wanted a respite for a day. This, however, did not go down well with either Bhaiyya ji or his fellow mates, who looked as if they could kill him.

“So we have an outspoken one amongst us” chided Bhaiyya ji. “Perhaps some other time, but not today. Meanwhile I hope that you all can teach him a manner or two about addressing elders or you all would have had it.”

Moments after he left, all the rest of the kids gathered around Janu and began to beat him blue and black for bringing them so close to facing the wrath of Bhaiyya ji. Once done, everybody left him to nurse to his injuries and went off for breakfast. Every movement was a pain for him and he was not able to see from an eye. Not willing to take a chance of standing up and then falling down, Janu decided to keep on lying down till his body got partially used to the aches.

When, finally, he felt like being able to move, he went to to the eating area only to find that no breakfast was left for him by the others. Cursing his luck, he set towards his begging spot lest someone should take that too away from him.

Fortunately, or not so much, such was not the case and his spot near the red light was available for him. And so he began his day of begging the young and old, women and men, people in big cars and in small cars for whatever amount of alms. This being Monday was a normal day, unlike Saturday when he would be expected to wear black costume and carry a small pail with some oil in it. Or on Tuesday with Saffron attire and a plate with Lord Hanuman photo and incense stick.

So he sat on the corner when a white van with dark mirrors stopped on the red light. He made nothing of the van or anything. Suddenly, as the light turned green, two hands shot out of the van and pulled him inside. Before anyone around had any chance to react to the sudden development, the van was gone taking Janu with him; never to be seen in that area ever again.

A week later, an unidentified dead body of a boy was found dumped near old Yamuna Bridge. The boy was approximated to be around 7 – 8 years of age and had multiple bruises on his body with his rectum torn open, suggesting gross sexual acts committed to the boy.

And to think, it was the thought that some other day might be luckier for him; which used to keep him going.

Heavenly Bliss
Just as he had hoped, Bhaiyya ji picked the two youngest kids in the group, which of course included Janu. He felt the happiest that he has been in days.

Hopping in the back of a van with Bhaiyya ji, Janu and Kartik began to count their blessings and wonder what they would do with whatever extra money they are left with in the evening and what all would they see at India Gate. They had never had the chance to be away from their shelter or Station.

As it happened, the rally at India gate turned out to be a baba teaching his followers the best techniques to exercise in the ancient Hindu manner and how to cleanse the body of all that acts as a contaminant. While baba was not even the main event for Janu, it was the horde of people milling around to get a good look at baba, so that they can tell their friends that they met The Baba, without actually having to exercise. Even the weather was helping them out with the usual scorching sun replaced with slightly cloudy skies and fair wind blowing across the place. That alone made being out in the open more bearable than he could have hoped for.

With so many people around baba and his entourage, not to mention all the families out there, Janu soon realized more returns than he had ever been able to. To add to the bonus, there were several vendors around offering a wide variety of snacking options to families. It was more than a feast for Janu and Kartik as a lot of families were buying a lot of stuff but not being able to consume all of it, would pass them on to the loiterers. Once, he was even able to convince a memsahib to get him a packet of those fancy chips that are shown on the TV. An aunty also gave him a small car that her toddler was refusing to play with. The highlight of the day, however, for Janu was when he stumbled across a 5 rupees coin lying on the lawn. He decided to keep that a secret for himself and not having to share it with Bhaiyya ji. What a wonderful day this has turned out to be! He got to have loads of collections, food different from the regular daal roti and a return gift of a 5 rupee coin.

All those thoughts about a lucky day, this, he thought, must be it!

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