Saturday, September 25, 2010


Probably one of the most controversial subject in the modern day world - INTERVIEW! There is a popular philosophy in the corporate world today - "How many interviewers does it take to screw an innocent interviewee??" And the answer is "None. An INNOCENT interviewee is screwed anyways!" But the crux of the matter is...... "What is expected from an interview?"
As a popular ad goes.... "Is the purpose of an Interview the assessment of what a candidate knows or what he doesn't?" Isn't it so true. I mean I understand that an interviewer looks for certain parameters in a candidate that is of essence to the company. Let us accept the fact that a job is NEVER offered to losers. It takes some passion and some brilliance in any candidate who aspires for a job. But lets ALSO accept the fact that not ALL the interviewers feel that way. All of us are aware that we live in a world of cut-throat competition. A Dog-Eat-Dog situation does exist but that does not mean, making a person meek and shallow with a sense of I-know-nothing-and-I-am-not-fit-for-a-job kinda feeling is really UNPROFESSIONAL. I have friends and relatives who are managers and who do recruitment as well. I also understand the fact that every person who selects the candidate is also under some kinda pressure - of performance, selecting the right person, managing funds and so on and so forth. But a seasoned person who does recruitment would have already borne the brunt of pressure... And at least under "HUMANITARIAN" grounds one should see to it that the other person shouldn't feel like "Why-the-hell-did-I-enter-this-room" kinda feeling.
There is a million dollar question that comes at this point. "What does one expect out of an individual?" Well... If someone could decode that then all our problems are solved. Even a zillion books cannot answer this one correctly. Indian engineering institutions concentrate mainly on the curriculum and not on the overall development of an individual. After all its "THE PERCENTAGE SCORE" that really DEFINES a person. I mean what kinda parameter is that?? I know people who do not have a great academic record but trust me "They can make MIRACLES happen". So coming back to the point, It is the FCDs and the 80%s that matter the most. A student NEVER worries about the ISSUE until he enters the final year where he well "Has To Face The MUZIK", but can't something be done about it? 70% of the students who pass out are not fit for employment, says MR. N.R.N. They lack the basic English knowledge, the means to socialize, the way of communication and the list continues. But have we ever wondered why we have put ourselves in such a situation?
India boasts of having the second largest "EMPLOYABLE" population. But are we really "Employable"? Lets put our thinking caps on for a second and try to figure out the root cause for this problem. We NEVER look to come out of our comfort zone. We are all VERY comfortable and we are SATISFIED. Thats what makes the person who gets through and the one who does not something SPECIAL. Now, all this stuff is making a simple discussion about an Interviewer's perspective too GYAN kinda stuff. Why have an academic perspective while recruiting a fresher? A common answer that most Interviewers get to hear is "My academic performance is not an index of my abilities". It might be so common that I know of a few people who were requested NOT to give such an EXERCISED answer! But what can a poor fresher answer to such a question? If he had known the answer he would definitely have scored much more than what he has presently scored.
Now that I have finally taken up the matter of "The Curious Case Of a Fresher", there props up another million dollar question, "What SHOULD a fresher know?" While one interviewer might look into the depths of one subject the other one might look into another. There arises NO question of one's interest in the subject while it comes to choosing a job. An electronics topper eventually ends up in a CS company while an average CS guy might find himself in an electronics company. And not even "Caught in the wrong job?" boasting can help us on that front. If one is LUCKY(luck = being at the right college + having a GREAT placement cell + some amount of divine intervention) then the experience of an interview is a SWEET one, but most of the freshers today have to go through HELL(hell = depressing interviews + rejection + feeling-of-being-a-failure + not-having-an-offer-while-their-friends-have-one).
As the world has its way, the interview decides relationships, conflicts within oneself and with the relationships and finally the hardships one faces "In Pursuit Of THE FIRST JOB". The relationships suffer as one comes to know the true face of one's importance in the relation(REFERRALS - coming up in the next blog post). Also we feel sad when we do not succeed while the others around us do but we feel sadder when the OTHERS are our friends! An interview for a fresher is a once in a lifetime experience, so its up to the individual to make it a rewarding one. Lets accept reality - the process WON'T change. So instead let us change. They want an academic record, let us possess one. I mean not all of us can be toppers but hey the corporate world is not made of toppers. There is place for lesser mortals too. A decent score would suffice i guess(What is a decent score? *Scratching my head in confusion*). And then... BUILD A PERSONA. The fear factors should be abolished- NOT the Khathron-ka-Khiladi-types, but the fears of attending the interview. Developing a good English toolkit is a super skill set to have as well. Aptitude and most importantly ATTITUDE is all that matters.
I hope someone comes up with a how to IMPRESS AN INTERVIEWER cause I have not succeeded though I have attended a lot of interviews out of oh-well "In Pursuit Of My Notion Of A Right Job". But "THE DREAM JOB"- the name suggests it all!!!! "It always is and always will be a DREAM"... No job can give you the complete satisfaction unless of course if it is your PASSION.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT ANYONE??????????????????????????????

Monday, April 5, 2010

A BROKEN HEART- My first short story

Murugan was a specialist cook. Not that he owned a classy restaurant at Juhu nor did he own a chat shop at Andheri; his was a makeshift shop at the Chattrapathi Shivaji Terminus- in short called as the CST. The shop was a dingy corner of the station; the place where the strong stench of urine caused those travelling by AC coaches and the likes ruffle their noses and curse the government endlessly for its apathy and hurl a few abuses at the people who were responsible for the stench. The shop was propped up with two bamboo poles and plastic gunny bags to give it a ‘hut’ish look. A bucket with clean water was placed on the left side where the customers could wash hands and another bucket of clean water with a steel tumbler chained to it made up for the drinking water. A broken down creaking wooden table made for displaying his daily wares which usually were Idlis softer than rose petals and lush green chutney righty salted which made him a favorite among his customers. Sometimes, he also prepared vada which usually sold like hot cakes; weekend specials included different types of dosas for which he used to prepare three different kinds of chutneys- red, white and green.
Murugan’s customers were usually porters, second class travelers and a few late night revelers who looked to stomach some good food at low prices. His daily routine included getting up at 4 in the morning, pour the gluttonous white batter onto rounded pans and immerse in steaming water to cook them into delicious idlis. A boy usually helped him with the chutney; scraping the coconuts and grinding them to a slightly watery paste. On days when business was really high, the water level used to increase considerably in the chutney. He would then wrap the idlis with banana leaves and put them into a stainless steel container securing the lid tightly to ensure that they remained soft and fluffy. He had carved quite a niche for himself and was a happy and content man for a migrant into Mumbai.
On the fateful day, Murugan as usual got up at 4 am, but felt very sick; he didn’t feel like going to work but remembered that it was the month end and that he had to send in money to his family at Chennai. He also had to settle his sister in with a nice groom and that required a lot of money too. He had big plans for his sister- a handsome groom with a government job with a decent place of his own…….. He reluctantly went about his routine, all the time mulling over his childhood and how his parents would pamper him at home whenever he fell ill. He went down to his usual corner in the ever awake station. He salaamed the guard at the corner who mockingly came over for a free meal of idlis and chutney. Murugan hated these people as they had a free will over him. But what could he do? Powerless as a refusal could land him out of the station and cost him his dear place at the corner which came free of cost (of course! Nothing’s ever free; his idlis and chutney to the guards took care of that part!) and all those food inspectors and so called ‘moral’ people who had all the interest in the world for the health of the people had to be taken care of too. Only that they took money and refused his idlis; a bit expensive by Murugan’s standard, but he was helpless.
The morning whiled away uneventful with the usual flow of customers, the hustle and bustle of the station with the world rushing away in some unknown frenzy. As the afternoon wore on, the commotion suddenly increased with a certain panic added to the frenzy. Murugan first heard some faint sound. Was that a gun that went off? At first Murugan thought that it was some mad pickpocket who had tried to outrun the police who had fired in the air to scare the hell out of him. But as the firing continued with the sounds getting louder and louder with people scurrying helter-skelter with manic, harried and pained expressions, as if their whole life depended upon how fast they could run and how loud they could scream, Murugan’s fear rose and so did his adrenalin. He did not know what to do; the guared had dropped his plate and rushed in the direction of the gun shots. Murugan quickly left his dear post and ran for cover. He jumped into the small space between the staircase and the passageway. He was unseen by the people on the platform running madly for dear life but he could see the goings-on through the small hole that some kid had dug out while playing hide and seek waiting for a cancelled train.
He saw the guard fall crying with agony; the guard whom he had despised, the one who used to relish his wares first thing in the morning, the one who had two five year olds and a wife who was suffering from anemia. He was unarmed, but yet he had moved in to save the old lady at the counter when a stray shot hit him square of his chest. Blood splattered everywhere. Murugan’s eyes welled up. Tears started rolling uncontrollably onto the dirty floor and his stifled sobbing continued endlessly. He saw the marauders; with backpacks and guns in hand, firing away indiscriminately at anything and everything. Many a life was wiped out; unaware that a father, a brother, a sister, a mother, a child, an uncle, an aunt, a friend…… a HUMAN cried their heart out for the life that was extinguished: not knowing why, not knowing where, and not knowing how. Murugan sensed them inching closer to his cocooned hideout. He prayed to all the 33crore Hindu gods and even chanted the names of Allah and Jesus; he did not fear his end, but the thought of deserting his longing sister and ailing parents made his spine chill.
Goosebumps erupted at the back of his neck, elbows and knees. His hands became numb with fear, his eyes became shrouded with tears of sorrow and his vision blurred. His tongue seared with pain each time he bit it to stifle the sound of his sobs. His entire body screamed with agony, the thought of death is a terrifying one, and Murugan got a taste of it that day. Then suddenly, as if miraculously, the foot steps that had threatened to loom towards him faded away in a distance and so did the shots. He lay there covered with dirt and grime, his own sweat, tears and urine sticking onto him; clinging on for dear life, still uncertain of his fate. He gathered all his will ad energy and took a peek, and a ghastly sight greeted him. Bodies lying everywhere, blood smattered over the floors; babies lying beside their dead mothers, heart wrenching wails and screams filled the air. The smell of blood, anguish, despair and death wafted through the station. There lay amongst the dead, people of all sizes, the young and the old; the theist, the atheist and the agnostic: irrespective of religion, cast, creed, color or sex, they lay in heaps of gore and bloodshed that would make even the strongest hearted person weep his heart out.
Murugan was but weak and helpless; fumbling outside his place of safety, in a state of confusion, guilt and shame. Confusion because he was uncertain whether the worst was over or yet to come; Guilt because he felt that he did not deserve the luck that had eluded the others and Shame because he could not help protect all that he loved in this city which had fed and watered him. He walked amongst the dead, ghostlike. Few of the survivors scored helping the injured who screamed with such pain and agony that made Murugan believe that death was a better option to pain. Ambulances rushed in and teams of doctors and paramedics arrived. The place was suddenly ablaze with harried people rushing through the pell-mell; stretchers carrying the dead and the injured. A doctor helped Murugan on a wheelchair and made him sip hot coffee. Murugan wanted to say that he was fine and he could find his way back home but words wouldn’t come out. He was led to a hospital where he made to lay down, wear clean clothes and served food and water. That night was the worst night in Murugan’s life. He was marred with the visions of what he saw, the sounds of pain and aguish, the hands that pleaded help and the guard who had laid there not moving a muscle. He screamed and wailed, twitched and turned; a wild madness gripped him. He wanted for the first time in his life to hurt the people who had destroyed not just the things he loved but also his character.
Murugan felt something sharp prick the side of his spine and when he woke up the next morning, he was bathed and sent to a doctor who gave him an endless lecture on how lucky he was and how the Almighty had thought he had to to live on and make the souls that had passed away to rest in peace knowing that someone somewhere had lived and led a full life because of their sacrifice. He wanted to scream and scream until the doctor went away but he knew better to shut up. He was later discharged that evening, given a pair of shirts and trousers which did not seem to be new, some money with which he had to start his life afresh. The marauders, he later learned had sneaked into a hotel and it took the police more than 2 days to free the people held helpless in the hotel. The TV screen splashed their faces which reflected his shadow 2 days earlier or was it the same even now? Murugan had not set foot outside his house since the day he had returned. He had not shaved, not bathed nor eaten anything since then.
A week later, an unshaven Murugan prepared the idlis in the usual fashion, but they were not the same. They were not as soft as they used to once be. The chutney did not imbibe the same flavor it once held. A scared and timorous Murugan made his way into the station. The guard that he used to salaam everyday with 2 idlis and a bowlful of chutney was replaced with another harried looking one who was just as afraid as he was. He could not see any of the old faces that he had gotten used to. The station had changed. It was teeming with police. He was told by the police that he could no longer have his shop there. He moved his makeshift setup across the station, away from the crowd. Murugan no longer had the usual charm over his customers. Even the few who came his way went away complaining that his food was terrible as he had to reheat and sell the left-over. His sales started to dip and Murugan started to despise the very profession he once loved.
Murugan’s state of sleeplessness continued. Finally he decided to pack up and leave the place for good. He wanted to go home- to his unmarried sister, his loving parents and the people he knew. At the whistle of the train he took a last glance at the corner that had been his home for years which now stood secluded and morose. Murugan looked at his hand and saw what he saw every time he looked at them- BLOOD stained all over. Shaking his head and boarding the train he realized why his idlis had lost their tenderness……………………………

Thursday, February 18, 2010

“MY NAME IS KHAN- And I am NOT a terrorist”

Now, if ever there was a genius businessman, it would have to be SRK. No Ambani, N.Murthy or Mahindra could ever employ what he did. And what a mix of ingredients- autism, terrorism, religion, hurricane, airport fiascos and last but not the least “The Prez of America himself!!!” ; I really couldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t watched the movie myself.
Mastermind at wooing audiences; Create a BIG BIG hype about the movie, talk about the project years on end, rope in the heroine who made him the hit he is today, “Partner” with his best friend, K Jo the director, put in “The Dharma” banner and have the movie produced in the name of “Gauri Khan” and “Heeroo Johar”, Make statements that endear you to all my MUSLIM brothers and sisters worldwide and last but not the least- bring in patriotism by making the movie a national issue and mingle it with politics……… All I can say is….. “GENIUS”……...
Of late, the trend seems to beckon all actors to establish their acting credentials; the trick is to perform roles of physically or mentally challenged people; put in some emotional stuff about how difficult life is for them and bang, awards galore, critical acclaim and crowd appreciation- And being “Emotionally charged Indians” for totally unemotional reasons, it has proved to be a blessing in disguise for the “Indian Filmmaker” time and again.
MNIK, the name of the movie itself, is a certain crowd puller, with Islam being the second largest religion in the world according to Wikipedia; the name pulled them like bees to their hive. I saw more than half the theatres filled with Muslims first day first show. The movie shows SRK to be a loyal Muslim who offers namaaz irrespective of the place and people religiously; even goes to the extent of deciding that a certain person at a dargah has elements of terrorism in him- amazing for a person with Asperger’s syndrome; which according to Wikipedia(, has connotations of High level Autism which makes it a serious disorder, where people have difficulty in social interactions, exhibit repetitive behavior and mannerisms and are very unreceptive to change.
The movie brings in religion in more forms than one; the incident involving a hijab, marrying a Hindu, killing an innocent because of the religion, being renounced by his wife after that, people declaring that he wasn’t able to meet the Prez ‘cause he was a Muslim and all that jazz; trying to prove that its not the religion but only the people who are responsible and not all people who follow the same are to be blamed……… A Desperate attempt I would say…….. Agreed humiliation is a part an entire set of people undergo but such is the price one has to pay for another set of people who are continuously engaged in disrupting societal harmony; how many times have we seen an entire family paying the price, being put to shame and humiliation, for a folly committed by just one member of their family?
“Meet the President of America and tell him that you are not a terrorist”, and off goes this person with social inhibition making friends on the way, which CANNOT happen even after lifelong therapy and treatment (take a peek at the URL I have attached earlier); has the capacity to understand so much that some people he had met earlier were stuck in a freak hurricane and needed his assistance; a person who barely understood his wife and child had feelings for unknown people is beyond my realm of understanding. One more intriguing thought that does not cease to escape my thread of questioning is that how an affected part of the United States of America was left unattended to; even by the media itself and it required a certain person to awaken the civic authorities; agreed even the Americans have their fair share of problems, but come on, for Christ’s sake ;), this isn’t Yediyurappa who’s in command!!! It’s Mr. American President, whose administration as of now has problems dealing with the finance but certainly does NOT lack in civilian aid! Might take some time, but certainly does not require a mentally unstable person to remind them.
Last but not the least of the things that have gone astray; A Muslim, mentally ill person finds it difficult to meet the President of the USA; how touché; How many mentally stable, well to do, Citizens by birthright, people with REAL problems can meet the president of the USA easily? Come on, now isn’t it obvious why there is so much security surrounding ‘The’ US President… How many attempts have been successful in assassinating the Prez? And given the recent list of Islamic terror strikes, forget the president, any other individual would feel insecure; obviously, after we get to know the person, we might be able to decide, but certainly NOT at the first instance. This part of the movie was so “Indian”, that when most of the crowd was like weeping their hearts out, I was like….. WTH???
Hmmm, the bit about the Shiv Sena fiasco, again, a Master at work I would say…. When the whole of the police was behind guarding theatres and SRK’s business, the terrorists had other plans…… Now after that, the whole line, “My Name is Khan and I am NOT a terrorist”, begins to sound so damn corny………. Well, what the hell….. when the other billion on the other side believe that SRK is one of the greatest Indians who have ever lived, the fact that the movie does less than anything to support the same, goes unnoticed………
“My Name is Khan”, surely, is one hell of a cash in on “The Vulnerable Indian”; and boy how SRK managed to showcase it; “I am an Indian first and then a Mumbaikar”; Now haven’t we heard another TRUE, REAL and a TAXPAYER Indian say this……. Only one of them can be true and the recently concluded SA test series where he played his heart out only proves that he actually means what he says….. “Being an Indian” is way different from “Being a TRUE Indian”…….. One should not club politics and business but who cares…. Here’s an example of politics turned into business…..

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Remembering 26/11……

Hmmm…. Its been quite a long time since I last blogged…. Too bad I can’t seem to sustain it. What with all the madness that comes across at college and class that I am left with very little time to do anything else. But, there should be no excuses at all I guess…. As Indians we all tend to EXCUSE ourselves out of any of the commitments that we might make. Not only that we also tend to FORGIVE and FORGET.
As is the case with most of the court trials, this one too seems to drag on like a 70’s hindi movie. There seems to be no relevance as the story is spinning way outta track….. BAD DIRECTION! Though at first we were all enraged, shocked (you can include all the adjectives that u might have experienced)…. when we saw the audacious gunmen creating a virtual hell in the financial capital of India. We lost lots of people, people from all walks of life…. This was one place no bribery or corruption worked, there was just one place to go and the wild gunmen decided which way it was supposed to be. The sadness of it was magnified when we lost brave police officers and a brilliant, gallant and young commando. It is horrifying for me to sit in front of my terminal and recount what I saw on tv…. Imagine how the people who went through, experienced or met gruesome fates at the helm of the happenings would have felt? The media converted the incident into a Bollywood movie…. I feel enraged and ashamed even today that I sat and watched through the news listening to words like “The Drama unfolded…” or “The story so far…” and things like that. How can they call it a story or a drama? I mean it really is sad and outrageous that when people are going through hell the media call it a drama. A drama or a story is unreal; it is only stating things in a visually attractive way… But going by the visuals of the 26/11 attacks, I can hardly believe anybody could fancy them to be attractive.
I wouldn’t want to go into the details of the horrific turmoil that shook the very foundation of humanity and which also opened the deadly face of terrorism. Even after a year, we are sending dossier after dossier to Pakistan which in itself must make it clear that they have their hands full at the moment- what with all the internal disturbances which itself is facing; terrorism is not sparing even its own parent, it’s a shame… Perhaps this is how old parents feel when their ungrateful children drive them out; after they are fed, watered and cared for! Now what? How many of us even remember the faces of Omble, Sandeep and Karkare? It is sad that out of the few who really did their duties properly aren’t even remembered. It is even sadder that we not only forgot the martyrs but also the incident itself. We have now seen the country where a man was caught on camera along with hundreds of witnesses testifying that it was the same who with a gun in his hand wreaked havoc on the streets of Mumbai, and where is he now? He is now as I understand having the best food in his life, demanding luxuries like a Tv set for watching India-Pakistan play and throwing tantrums which even celebs do not! How much more complacent can we get?
It is time we stopped ADJUSTING! We adjusted ourselves to the British, we are adjusting ourselves to corruption and all the lawlessness that happens right in front of our eyes and we will adjust to all situations that endanger us as long as we are not the victims. And when we become victims we start BLAMING! We are not bloody politicians to do the blame game. Whichever news channel u surf, u can see people clad in kurtas and other traditional attire, speaking in idiotic accents with crazy language usages that would only put us to shame and make us wonder – “Did I really vote for this clown to sit there and talk nonsense?”
In no other country is there such a huge tolerance level. The US still remembers 9/11. Its still hunting for the people responsible. They don’t really care they are hurting religious sentiments – All they are concerned is about the safety of their people. Now isn’t it really the primary concern of any government? They didn’t care if the person was a president to a certain country and they didn’t care if he was a celebrated icon world over. All they cared was about the religion of the person since it is known world over and has been proved time and again that it is only people from that religion who are causing havoc. I do have friends hailing from the same religion and I do feel sorry for them since it is really sad that they’re subjected to this indecent inequality but as my friends themselves put it “We have to suffer what a few of the unfit people who call themselves to be the workers of God do. But actually, our God only says what your God does – love life and life shall love you!”
A famous poet once wrote “let me be by the side of the road and be a friend to man!”, we have embraced that to the last literal and have become what we are today. At least, let us make a simple start by taking some time out and remembering those who gave their lives away not just as an honor to their memory but also to remind ourselves that we should not forgive and should not forget those that held us and our country to ransom!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Review: The Kite Runner

Books are a man’s best friend. How true! You do not have to adjust to it unlike a few friends you might have but instead the books will adjust themselves to you. Now those are the one’s we refer to as true friends. I find it ironic that most of the Bollywood movies show the cool guy to be the ‘one-who-rides-fast-bikes-and-ruffles-girls’-hair-and-has-the-name-as-Raj’ types but in reality the smart guys are the ones’ who actually read books. Well if you’re an idiot who doesn’t know anything but just ride a bike and fight a rogue you don’t have any other option but to stupidly ruffle your girl’s hair!
Having said that, I recently read a not so recent book, The Kite Runner; not finding time during college to catch up with the novels is such a frustration, trust me! This is a one-of-its-kind-book that I have read in a long time. The author Khaleed Hosseini, an Afghani who was granted political asylum in the U.S is a truly gifted man. He spins in a web so intricate and so strong that you will hardly know whether you’re reading a book or watching a movie. The most astonishing part is his ease with human emotions. He knows exactly when to break or make a person.
Set in the 1960’s Afghanistan, when it was under monarchy, the book spans across 3 decades and traces the life of Amir, the protagonist, through the different political situations in Afghanistan. But eventually you will find that he is not the ‘only’ hero! You may have read Sydney Sheldon’s fast paced, the super-smart women kind of novels, or the Jeffery Archer’s politically and satirically motivated ones’ or even the cult symbology and religious blasphemy of the fame of Dan Brown but I bet you wouldn’t have come across a more true to life novel which would have made you think! ‘Thought’- now that’s the key word! You read a magazine, or the newspaper, or watch the news or even the saas-bahu rona-dhona but would you say any of them have given your right part of the brain any work? Agreed, you grab information, you calculate, you emote; but you never think! You read about a bomb-blast, feel sorry for the people and feel relieved that it wasn’t you; you read about the market soaring, you calculate the next month’s grocery; you watch a movie with a lot of sci-fi, you ogle at the hero/heroine, worry about their fortunes throughout the movie and come back as if it just changed your attitude towards life but later realize that it is not the case; but here, you do the unthinkable- you think! You think about Amir’s life, you think about Hassan’s misfortune, you do not just feel sorry- you think; about the circumstances which led to it, about the situation, about the selfishness and goodness, about bravery and cowardice, about the people of Afghanistan and then you COMPARE! You compare it with your own life, you introspect- you find out if you’re Amir, Hassan or Sohrab!
Amir is the only son of a rich Afghan father, whose mother dies at childbirth. They’re served by their loyal servants of more than 40 years, the paralysis struck Ali and his son Hassan. Amir is nothing like his father: a soccer player in his hay days, a strong Afghani, who always stands for what is right and the one who is respected by everybody. Amir was weak, fragile, low of self-esteem and most important of all he was Baba’s (his father’s) son who is his mother’s killer! Hassan was better in everything Amir was good at except in education, being a hazara, he is denied of education. The childhood of the two boys is filled with fun and frolic except at times when Amir has to show his dissent towards his baba’s liking of Hassan- that’s when traces of Amir’s dark side comes to the fore. But Amir’s chance of redeeming himself in his father’s eyes comes in the form of the kite flying tournament. Amir was really good at it and with the aid of Hassan- who is not only an expert gauge but also the best kite-runner: the ritual that follows the kite-flying competition wherein the captor of the last fallen kite-which is a medallion, a souvenir, is the person who goes home with the most coveted appreciation.
In the winter of 1975 when the kite-flying tournament is held, though Amir wins the tournament, he is confronted to make a choice that changes not only his life but the life of many others. He is held with not only a terrible secret but also the guilt, of cowardice, his inability, his helplessness and also his selfishness. The story then travels across to the Russian invasion of Afghanistan, and the family of baba and Amir are forced to escape to America. Here Amir grows up to be a fine young man amidst his other Afghanis. His flair for writing stories from his young age is nurtured and made to realize through his baba’s unwavering devotion and love towards his son. Though Amir has to think about his career as a budding novelist, his intrest in the beautiful general’s daughter, Soraya Taheeri, who is an outcast because of her explosive past, his ailing baba, he is never free from his guilt. He is blessed with a wondrous wife in Soraya, a promising career, but the loss of his baba, leaves Amir to fight the new battles that come along on his own. He is recalled by his old friend, Rahim Khan, who tells him about his past, his truth and also his chance at redemption.
The book is stunningly simple in its language, powerful in its human traits, characteristics and emotions. Its take on the Taliban lays the gives us nothing but the naked truth of the sufferings and torture of the people in the name of religion. How even the people of the same religion are ashamed the goings on and about the self-righteous people with murderous intensions and insomniacs and psychopaths who pleasure violence and killing and thinking that they are doing the work of God!
Most importantly, we relate to the protagonist, his weakness, self-centered attitude and his guilt. He is in a lot of ways most of us are. We fail to be bold, we fail to stand up to the people who trust us and have faith in us, we fail to understand ourselves and most importantly we fail to understand our mistakes. A lot of us may carry our mistakes and guilt of not rectifying the same to our graves. But we fail to understand that a lot of us have a choice – a choice of redeeming ourselves of our mistakes. Amir takes the chance and redeems himself of his mistake, his guilt and his weaknesses. But given a chance and a choice, are we prepared to redeem ourselves, is the question that rings as we end the book.
‘The Kite Runner’ is a must read book and a movie of the same name was also released in 2007 by the director of ‘Finding Neverland’ fame. It garnered one Academy award nomination and two Golden Globe award nominations for its exceptional story, screenplay and cinematography. For those of you who are of ‘Raj’ types or the non – readers, I suggest you watch the movie and try to understand the satisfaction that is derived from redeeming ourselves of our mistakes. As the author says, ‘There is a chance to be good again.’

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Eternal Matrimony!

Today is a day to behold, to cherish and feel special about ourselves. Not because we’ve done something great; not something because the world which we live in has done something historic and ground-breaking; but just because WE are fortunate enough to witness the grand marriage that will happen only after another hundred years- the marriage of the celestials; the marriage truly made in HEAVEN!
Many times the Sun- the male; the yang; has cajoled, proposed and even begged to marry….. The Moon- the female; the yin; has been ever alluding him. But the promise of the sun and the beauty of the moon; his power and her intelligence; his aura and her calmness; his fiery will and her unwavering serendipity; could not keep them apart for long. It became evident to everybody that the moon couldn’t say no this time round.
But the moon had her reasons I guess. The Sun was the Emperor’s Son, ruling the vast kingdom benevolently. The moon is but a common man’s daughter. Virtuous and pure of heart she may be, but it’s only a matter of time before the fire would die and there would only be the wailing waters for the moon’s stupidity and her loss. Her mother- Earth could only stand by and watch; after all whoever had the gut’s to defy or in this case deny the king? The king is an impatient and ruthless man; though he may be the protector, the benefactor of many; he too has his limits. The gaunt face, the fiery will, the exuding power, the effortless charm- all pulled the moon into an infatuation so strong that she eventually took the bait.
In that moment of pure innocent love (or lust?) she lost herself in his embrace…. To his power and all things that made him great! He inched closer… all the way not losing sight of her, he lost himself into her and she unto him…. For what seemed like an eternity they stayed together, slowly and effortlessly and they slip into ecstasy. And at the moment of eternal happiness the Sun presents the Moon what every women desires, a magnificent ring, the light glinting feverishly and precariously in a god-like halo. They do it again and again and the whole aura of their oneness is seen, cherished ,blessed and revered by the minions, the power-less creatures who are spell bound by this super natural bliss!
But the union lasts for only so long and the Sun has to go back, to his duty, to his rule that even he himself cannot bend, to the other beneficiaries and promising the moon that he will return; but it’s the moon who understands, that sacrifice is the ultimate power which not even love can overpower; the sacrifice that will light a billion lives, provide food, happiness and all that is good that the nature can afford to give……… for she knows that one day He will return….. Even if she has to wait……….
And what do we, the powerless minions, who say we understand the holy matrimony, we understand the sacrifice, we understand the natural bliss, do if we were the moon or the sun………………………………..
I know what we would have done………….. We would have been selfish, we would lose unto ourselves in our hour of ecstasy but would not have lit a billion lives………………………………………………………………………….
We would have RUN!!
Even in this era of technological revolution, the era of scientific development; we are overawed, we are overpowered; we are mystified with nature’s might. We might as well remain in nature’s good books if we have to remain beneficiaries……. Of all that nature has to provide, of all that nature has to bestow…..
In the hope that ONE day….. We might look back and appreciate what a fine work the hand of GOD has done!!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


The police station in India holds no great sight to the beholder. A big white arching board ‘nameplating ‘ the station, lots of people; at times one could find a sentry with a rifle holstered (in case of some high ranking official making a visit) and a meek doorway- all the makings a sight foreboding to the harmless visitor. Ever wondered what a harmless visitor wanted from a dingy police station?

THE PASSPORT VERIFICATION! You may be the richest man around, or willing to make ‘small arrangements’ with the officials, but whatever may be the means, you had to visit the police station! Its nothing like the Bollywood movie station which is clean, orderly, with a few police officials, the ones with huge mustaches, rotund bellies, jovial faced(or hard faced),ready to help the public(or otherwise) who are present. One thing that you notice when you enter the station is the astounding disorderliness. My god! Even the Brownian Experiment of randomness would take a backseat! A chaos exists but unlike the one you may have ever witnessed- this chaos if you could call that is somewhat subdued! Another thing that you can see is that there are a lot of people in uniform or without it but seemingly official looking standing for as long as one can remember. There are only a few desks with fewer chairs. Three or more burly police officials stand at the side of what seems like a reception or query desk without any indication for being one. One has to with certain uncertainty enquire about the passport verification process on which one will be directed to a passport sections (believe me! we really do have such a section in each station). But this will turn out to be another dingy cubicle in the dingy station. An official with oiled hair and neatly groomed mustache seated at a table would ask you to produce a telephone bill (a recent one and a one which is a year old), this I presume is your address proof; and also your marks card (Xth STD) with two passport size photographs, this is supposed to be our age and photo verification respectively. You’ll be asked to write a statement saying that you do not have any criminal cases against you anywhere in the country. This done you will be asked some obvious questions which you would already have mentioned in your statement- your name, address, livelihood etc. (In my case the most absurd thing was my father’s name, because he was speaking to my father using his first name for more than 10 minutes with my father making it clear to him at least 3 times that I was his son in that time interval). After that, he picks up a form, uses country glue to crudely stick the photographs lopsided at a threateningly irritating angle, glue trickling all over the neat photograph you would have produced. With his large fists and even larger force your photograph is pounded. This will not only make it rotate by a few more degrees but also your face becomes somewhat distorted and batterered in the photograph. This ritual is repeated in another of the big ledger books of yesteryear moneylenders’ fame (Ever thought of computers and computerization?). We are asked to sign on our own photographs (to this day I don’t understand why?). Once this is done, you’ll be taken into the room of the station in charge (he DOES have a room and a dedicated desk at his disposal! How lucky!). The room has a board on the wall with numerous handcuffs, a Gandhi photo frame and an almirah of paper work. A collection of dilapidated rifles adorns the entrance (I guess a lone guy with an AK-47 can tear down the place in the blink of an eye). There the supervisor takes one look at us and signs in lopsided handwriting.

The policeman who had rough-handled our photographs will then ask for ‘tea-charges’ (purely unofficial, without a receipt and of course doesn’t even come close to a bribe). But this ‘tea’ my friend will cost you more than 1 full bag of Red-Label tea powder- anything below 100 is rejected and only after you have provided for the ‘tea’ can you leave for your business.

But beyond everything else you will notice how oblivious the rest of the station is to a harmless visitor. The lone cell at the end of a dingy corner will be home to pairs of beady eyes for god knows how long. Three or more people will be seated on a bench that can hold only two, presumably brought in for questioning. A constable can be seen hitting a youth accused for attempts to try and impress a girl (love failures-like suicide attempts and some insomniacs-stalkers) if you are unlucky (or in case you like violence- lucky?). A few more eavesdroppers and some convicts or whoever they might be being led from the lock-up and are given breakfast. A talk about murder, rape or a report about a thief or some deceased is always the gossip.

I have not always been drawn towards policing people- but after this verification process any aspirations of stepping into that khaki uniform just vaporized into thin air. I’ll always remain the harmless person who visited the station for a procedure that would allow me to visit foreign lands and allow me to post more blogs of things which I might find interesting. I may be being mean, but in reality a lot of us are really scared and in a sense may be in awe of the few who are brave enough to opt for a job that kills the emotions- love, kindness, and shame. How many of us can slap a fellow so hard that his teeth might fall off and return to our normal selves unperturbed? It’s definitely not my cup of tea!