Cursed cities

Tears welled up in my eyes as the images flitted by on the screen. A brother venting at the camera for the loss of a sister – a sister who had gone out to buy a rakhi for him. An inconsolable mother asking for the culprits to be hanged in front of her eyes for killing her daughter – a daughter for whom she had all the dreams in the world. A father snatching away a mobile phone from a relative, asking him not to tell his daughter that her brother is no more. A father bemoaning the loss of a son-in-law, a husband whose wife does not know he is dead. Students who went to buy books, children who fancied a hot snack amid the light Hyderabad drizzle. August 25th marked a black day in all their lives, a day they would never forget, a day of lost lives and dreams.

Bomb blasts are everyday news if you’re an Indian. But this is so close to home that it hurts more than the others. It’s time my city fell to the curse of the metros in this country. A curse, perpetrated by cowards who kill innocents in the name of religion and region. Cowards who cannot put forth their needs to the establishment through the right channels, who resort to such weapons of terror and pain. All I can do is hope with all my heart that all this blood that has been shed will not go unanswered for, that those who did it will be caught and justice will prevail.  It’s only a hope, but it’s still hope.

And very close on the heels of these terrorists, on being a veritable pain in the you-know-where, are a new breed of insensitive warts called news reporters. I don’t want my news to come from a father who’s just lost his child. Or a man searching for his loved one among mangled remains of the dead bodies in the hospitals. I can wait a few weeks for them to mourn in peace and then recount their tale if they have the heart for it. I wonder what differentiates these media hounds from that bird of prey sitting near a malnourished child, waiting for it to die, so it can live off its remains.

I’ll be honest, I might take the day off tomorrow or I might work from home. I’m sorry, but I’m not some resilient Mumbaikar who can jump back into the daily routine like a jack-in-the-box and show up at work on time, as if nothing happened. I’m just a scared Hyderabadi whose sense of security has been blown to bits. Whose only claim to fame till now was the Charminar and the IT industry. Whose claim to fame now will include bomb blasts and bloodshed. I cannot return to my life nonchalantly when fellow Hyderabadis have lost lives. It could be me next.

And as the Buddha looks upon this city from his seat in the middle of the Hussain Sagar, a sense of irony drifts in the air that one of the blasts occurred right at his feet, in a park named after his birthplace. The Gods have a weird sense of humor, indeed.

And yes, to you, cowardly abomination of hell who perpetrated this act: I’m not a saint or a great leader to say I forgive you. I don’t. I won’t. The day will come when you will be at death’s door and I swear to you, it will not be easy. For you, the only ordeal worse than death will be your judgement in front of the Almighty, when you will be condemned to burn in hell for all of eternity. I cannot forgive you. I cannot give up my right to hate you. So, damn you. Damn you to the ends of damnation.

  

P.S: Very emotional outburst? Yes. Because it’s my city and it hurts.

P.P.S: We celebrate Onam tomorrow. But a festival is the last thing on my mind right now. Not when 44 families are cremating their dead.

I’m it!

Tagged. By Madame Rusty Neurons (which is misleading because her neurons are anything but rusty!) . No idea what the tag is about. So me will make it about me. Simple.

Also tagged by The Great Eagle. This time there are rules for the tag which I’m conveniently choosing to ignore.

And I hereby declare this blog a tag-free zone. Woe to ye, if you tag me.

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. I like referring to myself in plural. So you know there are multiple people who should be kicked for writing on this blog.

. We like referring to myself. Period.

. We believe the best accompaniment to any food is hunger.

. We would enjoy doing mistakes only if we didn’t have to learn ‘lessons’ from ’em. Takes the fun out of mistakes, doesn’t it?

. We like travelling. Corollary: We hate packing and unpacking.

. We like cakes. Especially unbaked. Cake batter rocks! And I don’t care about you, Salmonella.

. We used to like chocolates so much that, right now, we can’t stand it.

. 7 points and we referred to food thrice already. Guilty as charged!

. We judge. Left, right and center.

. We believe in girl power. Pink rules!

. We realized last night that sonpapdi belongs to the candy floss family. It’s another matter that no one quite agrees.

. We’d die without books. All 3 of us.

. We’re very very very paranoid about identity theft. We have no idea why.

. One of our dream jobs is to be a librarian in the world’s biggest library. If not a librarian, we’d be happy if someone just let us live in the above mentioned library.

. We trust the alarm in our phone beyond normal levels. You could convince us that there won’t be a sunrise tomorrow, but you can’t convince us that our alarm won’t go off at 7 AM.

. We need alarms to get up at 7 AM.

. We need alarms to get up. Period.

. We sometimes wonder what we would have done if Bill Watterson hadn’t invented Calvin or if Garfield hadnt been drawn or Fred Quimby hadn’t produced Tom & Jerry. We’re sure we would have died due to lack of laughter.

. We’re sure resistentialism exists.

. We love saying profound things. We intend to bring out our own book of profound sayings. Contributions welcome.

. We don’t do tags. This is only the second tag (the first one being on books!) we’ve ever done in our lifetime of blogging (which spans around 3 yrs now).

. We don’t like tags. They make us think.

            

Phew! There. Done it. And now the best part – I tag the Princess (sweet revenge…muahahaha!) and Sharan (since I didn’t see the word ‘tag’ on his most recent posts). Nithya, congrats on the near escape since I see you already have loads of tags on your blog (I’m much disappointed, fyi).

Folks, I know I haven’t been around to all the blogs in my blogroll (and the others in my Bookmarks) – please to excuse me and give me some more time to catch up. I badly need this job to put the gourmet meal on my table. What all a person has to do for the daily masala dosa, no?

‘When I was a kid…’ Chronicles

*yawn* Ooops, sorry! I just read my own post below and fell asleep. So watch out!

 

When we breeze through life these days, don’t we at times think life was much simpler when we were kids? As if the entire world got complicated over time while we have still remained the same? All the speed around us, the mad rush to go nowhere, the less times spent smiling, more times spent frowning and then worrying about wrinkles on our face?

But deep down we all know that it’s not only the world that changed and became complicated. We did too. We grew up. Oh, what a mistake!

Childhood was a simpler time. The biggest worry was the Half-Yearly exams (the Quarterlies were light and the Annual exams were a cakewalk) and the hardest time of the week was a Sunday evening – because that’s when you realize you need your white canvas shoes to be white by Monday morning, the white shoe polish bottle is empty, the shops are all closed and there can’t be a last ditch attempt at whiteness because you used up you last bit of white chalk. Not to mention the admonishing you get from your parents for your exemplary planning and memory when it comes to school activities. And then there were the little punishments for not using black ribbon on your plaits on a Tuesday and forgetting your Hindi homework book at home (well, its homework! so I left it at home! duh!). Oh, and those times when you were the class monitor and had to write the names of the talkative kids on the blackboard? Used to feel like someone made us the President of the USA and the entire world (which had all of 58 noisy kids) was at our mercy.

Weekends were completely spent on the street, playing with the other neighborhood kids and all games were uni-sex – including gilli-danda, seven stones, cricket (coconut tree branch bats, rubber ball, coconut tree sticks as stumps and girl batsmen get runners and girl fielders don’t have to field. Oh, the boundary for a four was a dustbin), bambaram (top, in english) and the all famous, hide-and-seek. Thanks to living in office quarters, one had an entire block on flats to hide at, jump out of and basically get lost in. The worst that could happen is you end up seeking 5 times in a row because of some kid or the other who always hid well and came out last; not very surprising given there were around 10 hiding in various nooks and crannies of the building. Those were games. Not Minesweeper or Age of Empires or Solitaire (that’s my entire knowledge of computer games right there!).

Sleeping in on a weekend was never an option then. Not because our parents said no, just because it was more fun getting up early and getting straight into playing without wasting time. Saturday mornings found us knocking at our Christian neighbor’s house at 6:30 AM asking permission to pluck flowers from their huge Pavazha Malli tree – it was fact among us kids that Christians dont use pavazha malli for their prayers and so it was their god-given duty to let us pesky kids shake their tree out of its roots trying to make the flowers fall. Armed with huge steel vessels, the little army of 8 yr olds used to run amock in that little garden, vying with one another for picking the most flowers. And next? Sit in front of one of our houses, needle and thread in hand, and string those little flowers back to back. All this when our respective fathers were still getting ready to go to office, so that we can keep the garlands ready by the time they turn up at their respective puja rooms to do the morning puja. We had timetables to follow, mind you!

Breakfasts, TV and lunch later, we all get chucked out of the house by our moms who want an undisturbed siesta. You’d think we’d be bored out of our wits, sitting out on a hot afternoon, not able to run around and not able to watch TV. But no. This was the perfect time to raid mango trees. More precisely, steal mangoes from the mango trees in every single house in the entire street. My own house was neglected because no human being could eat those mangoes raw – they were sour beyond normal levels and we ended up winking at each other involuntarily when the eyes twitch due to all the sourness. In a gang of 10, we used to take turns to disturb our moms once to beg for some chilli-salt mixture to go with the mangoes. I’ve had umpteen raw mangoes since, but not one of them tasted as good as those we used to steal, wash in the moss-lined overhead tanks, break open on the granite washing stone (8yr olds cant be trusted with knives, you see) and eat it right there, in the sweltering heat of a summer afternoon, under the shade of a huge mango tree. Life felt truly blessed for some strange reason.

So why am I suddenly all nostalgic about my childhood and submitting you to this endless monologue? Trust me when I say this, I do not know. Last night, all these memories just flooded my tired brain (remember the elf with the hammer?) and I so longed to go back to those streets one last time and see my 8 yr old self, playing marbles (goli gundu!) on the street, concentrating real hard on hitting my purple marble into the little goal-hole or see me hiding from the seeker behind the rundown Lambretta in the space beneath the staircase and come out covered with cobwebs and whitewash, sheepishly grinning on being caught, wondering how much more dumber I could be to hide in such an obvious place or swinging on a swing made with rubber tyres strung together, hanging from the branch of a neem tree.

Like they say, inside all of us there is still a child refusing to grow up. But hey, the day that child decides to grow up is the first day of the beginning of your end. So hold on to those childhood memories and if you’re really lucky, you can live it again through your own kids.

 

And if I don’t post tomorrow,

HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY, dear readers! Here’s to this great country, her past, her present and her glowing future. May we all make our country proud in our own little ways and cherish this independence which we more often than not, take for granted.

On jobs, xml, blog and thank you

garfield_neverwrong.jpg

Ever been through those times when your brain feels wrung out, squeezed off of all good things, lying dead and drab inside a head that feels equally pounded, say by an elf with a 2 ton hammer?

Been through a time when you have 101 windows opened up in your laptop and all of them are work-related? Like, not even a Google window where you’d think of weird things to search for, like all your colleagues’ names (and see what weirder things turn up in the results)?

Ever had this feeling that if you see one more line of code or one more compilation error you will seriously open the window behind you and defenestrate your laptop, even if it means you’ll lose your job (or maybe because you do want to lose your job)?

When everyone around you seems perfectly jobless while you, and you alone, have to slog and slog and slog as if the mere thought of you not working will cause the world to come to a ghastly end?

If you answered in the negative for the above, you’re missing something in life (‘coz after all, having a life isn’t the only thing about life, right?)! But if you know exactly what I’m talkin’ about, then God bless your poor soul and welcome to the club.

So why exactly am I rambling on and on about drained brains and the joy of working? It’s ‘coz when things like the above happen, one is ever so thankful for having a blog! The perfect stress-buster, the punching bag, the squeeze toy to relax your fingers and palms and the mushy little pillow to cry on. Where you can talk talk and talk and the world has no choice but to listen (and wisecrack, but let’s not go there) and sometimes the world talks back to comfort you or just to say ‘tough luck, bud, but I don’t feel sorry for ya ‘coz I’m worse off’.

I don’t have any special occasion on my blog right now, no 300 or 400th post, no anniversary, nothing. But for some strange reason I’m happy I blog. Happier that you read whatever I blog about.

So, thank you readers, for being there.

Thank you, dear blog, for being there.

And I will try my best not to get this mushy next time around. I blame it on the xml files and the database queries and the design documents and the central server that takes 20,000 years to open up one silly process definition and the source control tool that has more problems than a drowning man about to fall into the jaws of a hungry shark.

Image Source

About the image: Long time no picture on my blog. And I’m in the mood for a cool cat and who better than Garfield?!

Open Letter season

Dear Lady-who-sat-next-to-me-in-the-autorickshaw,

Nice perfume, but must you be swimming in it? For once, I didn’t mind those toxic exhaust fumes from the vehicles around.

Unbearably,
Me.
                ***************

Dear People-who-make-fun-of-Rajnikanth-and-‘Sivaji’,

I couldn’t care less, so shut it. There never was and never will be a bigger entertainer than him. And you know it.

Superstar-fan’ly,
Me.

                ***************

Dear Folks-who-think-Harry-Potter-is-for-kids,

Grow up.

I-wish-I-were-at-Hogwarts-ly,
A Muggle born.

                ***************

Dear Mr.Edward Lear,

I’m extremely sorry. For what? For this –

There was once a steel box on the table,
It was shiny, sleek and definitely very able.
But it only had rocks,
For ’twas just a box!
Moral? Nothing! This ain’t no Aesop’s fable!

Un-Limerickally,
Me.

                ****************

Dear Missing-candle-at-home,

WHERE THE HECK ARE YOU WHEN I NEED YOU THE MOST?!!

In the dark,
Me.

                ****************

Dear Second-green-light-on-the-modem,

Stop blinking and stay put on green. I have a blog to update!

Unblinkingly,
Me.