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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Rains

By all accounts, we haven't been having enough rains this year. Forget the boffins in their white coats, even you and I know there's not been enough. Long articles, pictures--speaking thousand+ words each--of scarily dry, cracked farmlands and old, craggy faces, lined with worry, looking skywards with turned palms shading their forlorn eyes, have done the rounds in newspapers and magazines of all hues. So right, we know we haven't been having enough rain. Many "responsibles" have been identified, chief among them being our old friend--or foe?--El Nino; I wouldn't, however, put it past the ISI blackguards to have had something to do with this calamity... Cool

I love the rain, make no mistake. As much as the next man, sure. The darkening skies, the air laden with moisture, the blowing wind--if any--sweetening with the smell of the earth, the falling temperature--anyone living in Delhi will know the pleasure of that--and then the downpour, if it reaches that category that is, since it happens often in Delhi that the early promise peters out to some desultory pitter-patter.

The rush of heavenly waters... well, coupled with some choice edibles--pakoras, for one--and steaming mugs. Supplanted by conversations that amuse, instruct and elevate--okay, I got carried away there--just plain talking shop would do very well, thank you. What a way to "time pass"... So, why is it that rains give me what the boffins call in their arcane tongue the "heebeejeebies" (with great respect to my favourite author, Wodehouse)?

Let me pull the covers off that secret: Traffic.

You drive in Delhi? I am sure you will identify with that. You commute in some manner in Delhi? You will identify with that. It rains for an hour and boy! traffic is bludgeoned into less than a crawl. If it rains harder--as it did around end-July--there's so much waterlogging on the roads that even buses are submerged. Unbelieveable.

It happens every time. Rain. Waterlogging. Standstill traffic. Why? The last time this happened, last Friday, Aug 21, I had to drive through nearly two feet of water for a short stretch. I could feel the car struggling--and its not a smallish hatchback with a correspondingly small engine--to make it through. I saw other drivers debating the wisdom of attempting that. Many were turning back... God knows to what better situation! And like I said before, if it rains any harder, buses go under. I learnt from a cousin of mine that his usual cab ride from home to office--yes, he is one of those now-made-famous BPO-tizens--of about 75 minutes stretched out to an incredible 400 minutes that Friday! Awesome... er, awful!

And then there were the trees that fell on Aug 21. The newspapers had it as 90-odd done in by that 98kmph squall preceding the downpour (yes, that evening it did reach that category with some gas to spare!). And pretty hefty ones fell too... not just your shrinking slim-fit tree-lets. Maybe they are so used to the dryness that their roots have dried up too, snapping easier perhaps? Certainly the abundance of concrete has put paid--and is putting paid--to the roots reaching out hopefully for some deeper parts of earth. A bit of wind and phut! they go. Poor things! And so many lay about over the next two or three days--maybe some are lying around still!--that plenty of traffic issues were caused by them too.

So there. We simply are not willing to make any changes anywhere such that these rain-caused mayhems stop. Apparently NDMC and MCD do plenty but nothing happens. Do they at all do anything?

On a only slightly tangential item, have you seen some of our national capital roads? To digress a bit, I was once told just after moving to Delhi that there are three classes of roads in this city, in descending order of state of their repair (or, in the classic measure for roads, the chiknapan compared to Hema Malini's, ahem, cheeks--not my own, I swear! Honest, this was by one of our rather rare but hugely entertaining central ministers and who will remain nameless here and if you can't guess who that is, well, tough luck, O Rip van Winkle!):

1. Central Delhi roads, or the ones maintained by NDMC, in and around the heart of our power centre;
2. South Delhi roads, or the ones where the elite and the posh live (no, I am NOT de-baiting this one here... later, maybe? Wink);
3. And then the rest of Delhi

Perhaps the central Delhi roads are indeed a trifle better than the South Delhi ones but the latter are surely in tatters (so the former are not too better off)! You drive through some of the so-called motorable roads and lanes of Nehru Place and I assure you that you would soon need to invest in:
1. New suspension system for your car [request for price]
2. Repaired digestive tracts [request for price]
3. Strong cleaning agents to clean the insides of your stomach off the insides of your car [these you can get from your friendly neighbourhood kirana store].

Why on earth can't these and many other roads be repaired, and more importantly, maintained in good repair? Isn't this anyone's priority? I was appalled when even during the last general elections these weren't attended to (my theory is the sitting MP knew he was in for a drubbing so he didn't care).

Gentle readers, I guess this time around my stuff here has been a trifle serious. But I tell you, I had to get this off my chest, driving as I do an admittedly short four and a half kilometres everyday through the moonscape of Nehru Place... and other places.

And on that note, I bid you good night. Until the next instalment, adios!

Tue, August 25, 2009 | link          Comments

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Among other things

Our friendly, neighbourhood giant seems to have lost it. Apparently--simply because I personally haven't seen it--there's been an article published in some "official" journal seeking to break our country up into many, many pieces. And knowing them and the way they function, this is possibly the official stance too. Wow. Seems they're burning up in the emotions wrought by the green-eyed monster by our democratic polity, however imperfect may that be. They say, "these Indians are overly proud of their so-called democracy! Let's break 'em up!". 

Somehow I get the feeling that these guys are living their days backwards, each day they are harking back to the past in every way. Oh, barring their amazing manufacturing capabilities of course.

They apparently say, in their slightly difficult language, ek dhakka aur do... talk about wishful thinking!

Only if these oafs were actually thinking they'd have realised the folly of their "plans". And if the retards there had actually let their people be free as we are, well, their ideal could be realised right within the boundaries of their own country! Suppression of human rights, restricted-to-neutered public freedom and downright oppression coupled with total muzzling of the semblance of a free press have ensured complete news blackout. If any of the factors were to be reconfigured, things would get fairly hairy for our mad neighbours. As for us, I think we should let them be, letting them stew in their own fragrant broth... while we get on with our lives, enjoying their cuisine when the mood is upon us!

More importantly, I managed to see the movie "The Hangover". Boy, what a perfect ride that was! A rip-roaring trip, laugh-a-minute escapade. Apparently the movie has grossed many times over its budget of USD 35 millions. Well deserved, too. A great time-pass. Talking of which brings me to the writings of a blogger, an expatriate living in Mumbai and working for one of our national dailies. Apparently she--oh... her gender slipped out!--had never heard of the term "time pass" until she reached the shores of our fair land. She says in her blog she learned this term here and she wonders how on earth can people just pass time without putting every minute to use, striving towards a higher purpose!

Now I say, what a loss! She has obviously not lived and she is getting the benefit of a terrific lesson here. Of course, anyone could argue with any number of points on the presence of leisure time in Western society and the perfect use of such spare time for leisure time activities by most people. Everyone needs a break once in a while, a long laugh without feeling guilt. If one were to lead a life devoid of any entertainment and a space and time for some release, that person would be merely existing and not really living.

And talking of movies, how can I not touch back briefly on ringing mobiles in theatres? It happened this time too, two different people let their phones ring loudly and I think one of them at least spoke too. What asses! May the blight strike them and their tribe decrease!

Leaving the demented neighbours and the mobile-maniacs aside for now, I draw your attention to the clock thats ticking away merrily. Closing time is nigh and I need to wind up here. So with a cheery What ho! I go... only to return in some days... and until then, adios, amigos!

Sat, August 15, 2009 | link          Comments

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Rambler on the prowl!
Achtung! The irregular blogger is here again. The question of course is, what on earth am I going to write about? I could perhaps envy the regular bloggers who seem to find something or the other to write about day in and day out. But if I were to spend time envying how would I find time to write?

There are a myriad thoughts, sure, but which to corner and make my own for today? I waver, I waffle... going so far as to say, I dawdle. Should I pick that... nah! not good enough, I say. Then should I pick that? No... that's not good enough either! Then? Back to square one. But wait. Why is that always a 'square'? Why can't that be a different shape? Say, 'back to triangle one'. Sounds snappy, that. Better still, 'back to cube one'; fewer syllables too besides being 3D in visualised splendour. And then the mind opens up to it... the whole panorama of geometric figures swimming in front of the eye, some pretty, some snappy and yet some that are just beguiling.

One interesting--to me, certainly!--aspect of my spanking new site is, who are these visitors? 260+ of them? To let you onto a closely-guarded secret, a goodly 50 or so of them are either my family members or me myself... and a few that have told me they have taken the trouble to swing by on my telling them to indulge me... all told, that would stack up to no more than 70 or 75... then the rest? I would like to thank them personally, shake them by the hand, offer them a steaming mug or a frothing jug of their choice for having taken that trouble. But hey, am I glad you visited! Cool And please continue doing so when the curiosity gnaws at you, you can't take it anymore, and feel overwhelmed to know what is going on here after all.

Blogging, I'm told, is a passion. And my sources are seemingly impeccable. Yet the taste is still growing in me; perhaps it is an acquired one? Of course, if I were a racy columnist masquerading as the Fake IPL Player--or wasn't it so?--then I wouldn't be short of a flaming page or two of highly combustible material. But being a 'normal' bloke, I can hardly offer glowing coals instead of staid words. I muddle on.

[Aside: Would you believe it? I wrote a few more paragraphs just now and then a careless twiddle of my thumb and I lost the blasted thing altogether! There's none of that Ctrl+S here; a 'Done' masquerading as a substitute. And I neglected to tickle that to my eternal sorrow! Who knows if I can capture those priceless words of wisdom again! They're designed to amuse, instruct and elevate.]

I do not wish to model this blog upon those written by journalists of great repute; they comment on issues that confront us and move on to the next passing one. But then neither do I want to give that right to comment up:if the mood were to take me I would certainly comment, a purely personal insight that may or may not resonate with you. I realise I need to be more of a 'sayer' rather than being worried about you the reader... Does that sound arrogant? I assure you that's not the intent at all. All I want to say here is that I need to be more of a 'sayer', if you get what I mean, to have a thing or two to write about here.

[No, it is not happening. Those words that flew off with that careless thumb-twiddle come back not to me. I mope, I scratch my head... and I graft!]

The other safe zone is of course the Pet Peeves one. There are so many burgeoning, there are so many thoughtless perpetrators of unspeakable horrors that I cannot possibly run out of subjects. Just as a passing mention, let me touch upon one that surely would have caused you some quantum of grief sometime, somewhere: ringing mobiles in theatres.

There you are, perfectly in harmony with that softly sliding arm in yours, that packet of popcorn going well--they better do coming at the price they do!--the actors up to their scripted antics on the screen and you running multiple threads in your mindrocessor... when the shrill film-song ringtone trills out and the receiving oaf actually takes the call right there inside the darkened hither-to cozy theatre.

Dash it! Your spell is broken, the reverie torn asunder, that sliding arm withdrawn in a hurry and the popcorn possibly jumping out of the Extra Large packet. The idiot of course carries on a conversation in loud, uncaring tones until a few deserving citizens hiss as a dozen mother-snakes disturbed from nursing their snakelets, that were now in the process of being deprived of their quota of 8 hours of the dreamless. You probably join the hissing, shooting a few pieces of popcorn from your mouth that land on the coiffed head in the row in front of you.

There are two reactions possible: one, the offender has the remains of civility yet left in him and he ceases and desists soon enough, or, the more possible two, the oaf actually takes offence at the hissing and lets out a few choice ones. After this, things could take a turn for the distinct worse and you could do well to get the car keys ready to make a quick getaway.

What I wonder about is of course this: Why couldn't such idiotic cinema goers reset their mobiles to buzzer or silent mode? Surely this bit of technology is not beyond their admittedly severely limited 'intelligence'--this should be renamed 'stupidence' as distinct from 'stupidity' which implies deserving some sympathy--to do? The feature to reset your mobile to either buzzer or silent--yes, I acknowledge you are so important that switching off the phone would cause the BSE to crash, airlines to lose business or the Ambani brothers to find another reason to file yet another lawsuit--mode and let the paying public get their money's worth! And if you, gentle reader, fall in this category of the uncivil ringing-mobile-in-theatre lot, well then, this is indeed meant for you. No offence but hey, could you live and let live? Please?

Friends! I think I have managed to write a fair bit. Rambling, more like. But that's the way it is for now. And, honestly, I will work hard at finding stuff to say... though regularity could be compromised! Till then, have several good ones, and adios, amigos!
Tue, August 4, 2009 | link          Comments


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