Sunday, September 14, 2008

Driving glory

The below details are absolutely non-fictious.Any resemblance to any living or dead idiot is as intentional as possible.

“I’ve got a fast car…..”.Whenever I hear that famous Tracy Chapman song my mind conjures up the pleasant image of a cool guy in a flashy red sports car ,a ‘scorpions’ tune on his lips,wind in his hair etc etc.Nowadays the image remains more or less the same except that the dude is now replaced with a dudess (cool female of the homo sapiens linn. Species), a ‘scorpions’ tune on HER lips, wind in HER hair etc etc.Duh?
It was a couple of weeks ago when I was cruising along in my not so flashy car when something red and in a terribly tearing hurry whizzed past me (overtaking from the wrong side too) .Was it a bird ,was it a plane….no… it wasn’t superman either…at least not the man part. I was literally shaken and it took all of my presence of mind (whatever little is present )and incredible skills (incredible as in you wouldn’t believe they’re so bad )behind the wheel to keep my poor car steady. The joker in the red Skoda Laura was a 40 something lady, generously built and nourished …and generously made-up, decked under a couple of coats of heavy make-up in an apparently not so successful attempt at looking younger.The finer details of the creature of course registered only when the Skoda rather hesitantly skidded to a halt on the red signal ahead.(For a moment I wondered whether the bull would actually get turned on by the red light and cut through it).But she did know at least some of the traffic rules it seemed.
.There was a time not so long ago when you got angry at female drivers because they were too slow.You kept honking away to glory and the only discernable result would be a stinging in your ear.The sari or salwar in front would be absolutely unfazed, and when you finally go past them they’d give you a frosty look as if to suggest that honking the car horn was either plain indecent or only for emergencies. There was also a time when a women driver basically meant an elegant lady in some ‘feminine’ kind of vehicle –Maruti 800s,fiats ,santros etc.But now you have these characters riding anything you can imagine from bikes to SUVs and riding them as recklessly as the guys do!The worst part is you can't even cuss them freely …no matter how wrong they may be!The liberated ‘Bharatiya Nari’ is surely going places…

disclaimer 2
This blog is pure nonsense and readers are advised to take it as such.I am not sexist, racist or any of the similar despicable ‘ists’ except maybe a bit of an eternal pessimist.

Friday, July 4, 2008

The agony of Immobility!

The last week I was reminded of ‘without glasses’, one of the classic essays of Robert Lynd I had read in school. It was a rather more grave situation…my normal existence itself was in question.Anxiety was seeping into the cores of my heart with each passing minute.I was sad, angry ,confused and helpless….I was literally immobile.
No I didn’t have a paralytic attack or a catatonic attack and neither did I receive my credit card bill….I was without my mobile for a day.24 hours of pure unadulterated ‘immobile’ agony!

Flashback (Try to imagine it in black and white…feels more flashbackish)
I was trying to act a bit too cute for my age, attempting a ‘long jump’ across a not so tiny puddle decorating the centre of a road on my street…I did cross over a la Anju Bobby George, but my dear mobile had other ideas as it decided to take a casual little dive from my shirt pocket into the muddy waters below.

For a brief moment time stood still (as did yours truly), then with palpitations progressively increasing in amplitude and frequency, I ditched out my poor wet little phone from the evil sea (ok..puddle…but you must understand that the melodrama was quite suited to the context, considering the terrible ‘existential angst’ I went through in that moment of despair and by the way that ‘existential angst’ bit was borrowed from a friend who of course used it in a more spiritual context).The mobile was dead. As dead as a dead mobile can be.

The next few hours, I flitted between sanity and my true self, trying to figure out what best to do next.The brave person that I am, I managed to pull myself together to get a bit proactive.So now here I was holding a hairdryer in my not so sure hands waiting to revive my little baby.I had hardly embarked on the operation when I saw the LCD screen getting a bit wavy like a Salvador Dali abstract….Eureka!!!Apparently heat can damage LCD screens !! Well that was that …I had added insult to injury (or death ,I wasn’t sure ).So I decided to play it safe.I disassembled whatever parts I could disassemble and laid them under the fan for an overnight drying session.After all ever night is followed by a sunrise and all that crap.

Well the sun didn’t rise to the occasion this time. My reassembled phone refused to breathe. I would’ve tried mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, if I new which part of the mobile was the mouth. Anyway, I trudged to the service center and handed over the corpse to the morbidly obese guy behind the counter. His acromegalic face had a striking resemblance to the ‘great Khali’(and for the ignoramuses among you who don’t know Khali, tune into ‘Headlines today’ or ‘Aak tak’channel anytime, anyday )
“Had a bath with the little guy?”queried an amused looking Khali.The irritating grin on the guys face made me want to turn him into a corpse too.
“No,fell down..into a puddle”
“Hmmmppp…you should be careful.These are delicate things”
“ will it live?”
Now Mr Know it all’s face was grim “Nothing can be said now..I need some time”
You’d almost think that he’ll also ask you to arrange some blood, and intimate all the near and dear mobiles.
“How much time?” My voice felt abnormally desperate.The last time I felt this was when my wife went home and I asked her how long before she’d come back.Of course then I was hoping for a lengthier duration!!

“Come back tomorrow ,same place, same time” The nutcase was seeing too many TV shows.

End of flashback (Back to Eastman color)
So that’s how I ended up in catatonic stupor, biting my nails to glory.It’s like Robert Lynd says in his essay (which is basically about how the author had to spend time miserably without his spectacles), you don’t even need to use your mobile, but just knowing that you can use it if you want to gives a kind of emotional security. It’s really amazing what all you can do with this little gizmo.
Well anyway miracles do happen…little ones at least. The next day I met the ‘Khali’ look-alike, he had a grin and some extremely good news to offer me.My mobile would live to ring, sing, sms and mms another day.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Bloggers' block therapies – pros and cons!!

I’ve been quite inactive on the blogging front recently.Work has been hectic ,family commitments ,conferences….none of the above actually…just plain lazy.It’s what they call the bloggers' block.I just have to put finger to keyboard …..and lo and behold …my brain suffers a power failure and turns blank.(The ‘blankness’ I must admit does tend to pervade the insides of my brain a big part of my waking hours even otherwise!! ). Of course it isn’t like an earthquake striking the literary world…a little landslide mebbe :) …I mean .I’m sure my ‘nobel’ prize (or prizes) can wait a few more years…..or decades.Thing is ,I still haven’t really decided whether I want my ‘nobel’ in medicine , peace,economics or literature.Being a dermatologist,Medicine is a distinct possibility if they include acne and baldness as the major public health problems of the 21st century.Peace is also a definite possibility considering that I’ve managed to remain married for more than 2 years .Economics ..well micro finance is after all the ‘in thing’ and as far as ‘micro’ goes ,no better adjective to describe my bank balance!!).Anyway ,considering the possibility that my blogger’s block would lead me to literary depression, I started researching the net for easy- fixes …..
The number of sites offering advice on the above subject is astounding to say the least.I’m sure that in due course ,bloggers’ block will rank right up there with impotence and love -conundrums as far as advice columns are concerned.Some of the gems I milked from the internet cow..
Sure ,jotting ideas for your valuable blog and going to the potty when you feel the need…two things that just shouldn’t be delayed…
Yessir!In my case it would be changing one kind of shitty writing to another kind of shitty writing …I’m sure they wont smell much different!

Great!I thought the whole idea was to find how I could end the rather long break.C’mon advise-giver..go take a break!!
Ah Dawn…one time of the day I haven’t met face to face in a loooong time.My ‘dawn’ is basically a extreme case of efficient multitasking and time management.Getting up somewhere between 7:30 and 7:40 and leaving for the hospital somewhere between 8:00 and 8:10…..personal hygiene sessions (Ok in plainspeak…brush ,shave ,potty,bath,dressing… in varying orders depending on my mood ) and breakfast,all crammed into a lovely 30 minute blitzkrieg.And you expect me to type in a few words in between?!!I have heard crazy people waking up early in the morning to go jogging…but blogging??!!Gimme a break guys!Besides ,I really don’t understand those nutcases who wake up at ungodly hours and do ungodly things like jogging or walking…I mean it’s not as if the sun will feel bad if it doesn’t see your loony head first thing it pops up!God gave us the cover of darkness for rest (and for underhand activities) lets stick to the scheme of things OK?

HEE HEE HEE…pass,next please.


Now that IS one of the best pieces of advice I found…but I suppose I’ve been steadily following this beautiful bit of philosophy subconsciously over the last few months already!and anyways, there’s a limit to what even I Can stoop!

Well,I’m a man of great principles.I stick to my stand…shitty drafts will remain shitty…no de-shitting stuff.

Not bad…in a short while I’ll have a whole bunch of headlines and blissful vacuums following them.Maybe I’ll write a blog displaying the imaginative headlines I cooked up!

Yeah sure…soon they’ll be starting ‘bloggers anonymous’ and other support groups for depressed souls suffering from extremes of bloggers’ block.Most of my friends being doctors,the only blocks they’ve dealt with are pertaining to various tubes and arteries in the body…not much to write home about!

Nossir….what if I ‘subconsciously internalise’ what some of these great dudes have coughed up…a la Miss Kavya of the ‘Opal Mehta’ fame.

11)…Hey wait a minute….I FINISHED A BLOG!!!! lets respect my right to laziness and discuss the issue later!

(At least I stuck persistently to the ‘lowering standards’ bit!!!)

(Jokes apart,there are quite a few interesting sites on the web for people into serious writing ,a big chunk of the sincere advice listed above is from a beautiful piece written by Chanpory Rith …sorry for the sarcasm mate,but I suppose all’s fair in blog ,love and war..especially blogs like mine that suck!!!)

Tuesday, January 1, 2008


We had a rather informal get-together of our batch of 94 ,medical college Trivandrum a day before new years eve……8 long years after leaving the hallowed passage ways of our alma mater.8 years is not a long time I guess…but long enough for people to change in so many different ways.
I mean think of it …in times of yore when we guys got together,in a short while the majority would be semiconscious (booze being the appetizer ,main course and dessert) and whatever legible conversation that did take place was mostly about girls,girls and girls ….specifically in that order.This time the only girls we could talk about were our own wives ( which isn’t a very exciting topic for discussion anyway ) and because of the former irritant the latter issue regarding some more interesting liquids didn’t even arise.
Many of the ladies had changed too..from goody –goody types to married goody-goody types.Some remained the woody –woody types and some remained the moody-moody,broody –broody types.
People who would break into song ,invited or otherwise (mostly the latter ) kept blissfully mum for the whole period and people who wouldn’t open up even at gun point were pouring out words like a leaking roof in the monsoons .
The last time we met, making a phone call meant waking up a drowsy Manoharan or Prasad (our hostel caretakers ) and requesting humbly for the key to the phone lock…. A key which would open a long session of unadulterated ‘panjara’ if the dialed number was located in the ladies hostel.Now everybody had mobiles and blackberries….but sadly not a bit of good old ‘panjara’ .
We even called each other by our official first names ,which was strange because we actually had forgotten that some guys had real names on the college record and not just the often superlatively imaginative nick names.

Initially everybody did seem a bit stiff as though being stiff was in fashion.
Ultimately though ,through the thin film of age induced pseudo-maturity our basic instincts shone through (wow…sentences like that make me feel ever so nearer to the literature noble).To put it in layman’s or laywomen’s terms we started gossiping freely.Soon the conversation was drifting comfortably towards….‘You know that guy married a foreigner’ or vice versa and ‘That guy married for money’ to ‘Guess who got divorced’?(I personally thought that the third in the list was the luckiest )and believe me guys are just as good at gossiping ,if not better.

I left a bit early coz little Nadia was getting a bit cranky (think of it… earlier I rarely used to leave college functions early not even if I
felt cranky!!) and we had to drive back all the way to Cochin ,but I really wish I remained till the very end.All said and done things change …..and the changes are sometimes good, sometimes bad…like life itself..but meeting all these people after so long did remind me that there were times when life was definitely much less complicated!!

(dedicated to the batch of 94 ,MCT ,Trivandrum…..whacky,cool…the best!)