Monday, December 31, 2012

See you on the other side

So another year marches towards an end!
Time to set new resolutions and also check whether the one's from last year have in fact been followed up on.
In a way it is like receiving your report card for last year's assessments a day before the start of the next assessments.

Two of my resolutions from last year were:
# Blogging
# Learn to play the guitar
I am happy I did both, but then again there were a few things I missed!

The entire protocol of setting resolutions and then taking up responsibilities to get them done is a huge learning in itself. It is surely one journey that more than meets the eye.

If you think about the entire life cycle of a new year resolution. It mostly starts with that pang of self realization "I need to learn this, this totally goes into my new year resolution list!!"
Now if these pangs dawn quite often, chances are that you would have a huge list and at the end of the year you would have covered less than 5% of it.
Now there exists a second category of organized people who trim down their resolution list into a more logical one. This significantly improves the chances of realizing most of your plans.

The entire process of realizing a goal is possibly the most enriching part. There are so many pit falls and resurrections. It teaches you to let go of dear methods and embrace new styles. You often end up attaining a goal at the cost of  your obsessions. But after you have attained the goal if you look back on your journey, it makes you realize how you unknowingly touch-based a lot many other goals that had not even made it to your resolution list. The sudden rush of joy on having attained them is pretty much like that time when you found some forgotten money in an old denim.

Let me use my blogging resolution as an instance.
All these years I had my major e-literature footprints on micro-blogging sites. So when I decided to move onto full fledged blogging I realized how all my micro-blogging activities have killed the blogger in me.
Micro-blogging is all about condensing an entire thought into just 160 characters or so. Once you have a couple of regular lines and a punch line, your micro-blog post ends! It is true that the entire activity is very intriguing and grows on you after a while. Now, should you decide to migrate from micro-blogging to blogging, you realize that your entire blog post is getting completed in one paragraph. From there on whatever you write is going to be an unnecessary extension or exaggeration. The micro-blogging concept is like a state of mind, which gets etched so deep in the psyche that no matter how big an idea you had in mind, you ended up condensing it into two-three lines!

So in the end, Blogging ended up teaching me the process of layering a thought and unravelling it gradually over many lines and pages. I am no literature-expert but I do believe that my sister and all of you would agree with me that it is surely a different art altogether. The process being a much longer and engrossing one, taught me to stay focused for a longer time. That also means, the next time I read a novel I realized when the author was actually unwrapping a nice plot and when he was going around in circles!

On my quest with the guitar it just made me realize how fat and inflexible my fingers really are.

No matter how many of your resolutions remained untouched this year, prioritize whether you want to carry them over to the next year or rule them out. Beginning tomorrow write a good 365 page book. We always have a choice!!

Have a great year ahead everyone | Move ahead, protected by the green from the grays of life, and windmills for thrust!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

All over ME!

I have been busy writing something over the last few months.
Writing, getting the grammar checked by someone, getting the facts checked by someone else, and finally accepting/rejecting the changes and getting it edited all over again. The cycle just goes on.

On the whole it was a thoroughly boring process. In fact since I am still working on it, I would rephrase that as "On the whole it is a thoroughly boring process". And one of the best things (perhaps the only one) about boring times are, that a majority of your brain gets like a time off ! Pretty much like Russel Peters' "My brain is on screen-saver"
When the boring gets bored, the bore gets boring. And yes it does bore a deep hole in your brain and chances are you might exhume something witty, funny or bizarre.

So while I was performing this battery of boring tasks, a portion of my brain started pondering over the professional and social protocols of getting a work done by someone. I mean obviously I was tempted to get my whole work done by someone else.
Now if you want to get your work done by someone, you would obviously choose the best person in the business, to do it. Given a chance, I would have asked Hafeez Contractor to complete my Engineering Graphics assignments. But given my limited access I used to ask the person with the best hand-writing to help me out.

Down the years and more importantly over the last couple of months there is this one thing I truly realized. If you want to get a certain work of yours done, it is very important that you invest substantial time and effort on it yourself. Yes I know you would probably say "Hello!! That is why I am getting the work done by someone else in the first place". But trust me it never works. By having someone else to get your job done you would probably have a nice end product, however that product would not be you. Just like building your own house on a plot of land versus buying a ready to move in apartment. The end product is nice but after the initial charm wears off, you wish that window was a bit larger and that door was not there.

Condensing a superfluity of emotions, beliefs and understandings, I believe that :
Being involved in your own project gives two distinct advantages.
One, you have laid its foundation stone and started it from scratch. So obviously you know it in and out.
Two, it has your personal touches. It has YOU written all over it.

At the end would you not like to build a product which would have your point of view?!
Being a music fanatic I realize this stark difference all the time.
Let me know if you find any cover version of "Wish you were here" which actually sounds better than the original.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

They really moved their tail for us

An organized public transport system possibly started in the early 1800's.
Before that there were certainly transport systems in the form of river transport. And even before that I think it was Moses, who parted the sea and enabled public transport.

The reason why I decided to write on this topic is something that I will eventually come to.
I am sure we all have  happy and terrible memories in public transport systems.
I don't frankly remember my first bus ride, but I do remember my first long distance train ride. I was fascinated to see those rows of upper, lower and middle sleeping berths, and those tennis ball like ash-trays embedded into the walls.
My first flying experience is etched pretty well in my memory. However calling air travel (low cost carriers or premium ones) a public transport system was sacrilege.

My first plane ride was a largely different experience though. India had just got its low flight carrier segment and 90% of the flyers on these jets were first time flyers.

Let me tell you how the drama unfolded.
Back in those days low cost carriers had this concept of "no seat numbers" on your boarding pass. Aero-bridges were also scarce (maybe reserved for the premium carriers). So passengers had to board a bus (air-conditioned ) from the airport terminal to the aircraft. Now if you are a smart person what you would not take a seat in the bus, instead hang near the door. That way, once the bus stops near the aircraft, you get to be the first person to jump out and run towards the aircraft for a good seat. As a matter of fact, the way people rushed for a good seat was quite a  spectacle. The only comparison I can possibly draw to this, is that of my school-days. Yes we used to rush to the school bus for seats, once school got over.The person who ran most fiercely to get a seat beside the wings (guarantees zero view) would be labelled the jack-ass on board.

The ambience inside the cabin was sheer pulsating.
People with window seats had this GLEE all over their faces. Even though the plane was grounded they would keep staring out of the window like an astronaut looking down from space.
Middle seat passengers had that "Runners-up"expression. Over the years I have come to realize that this is the worst seat but back in the day it was a somewhat good seat, since you could lean over with great difficulty only to see absolute white clouds splashed all over the window. What can you do, life is hard!!
Aisle seat passengers notably had two expressions. It would start with "what would I not trade to get that window seat" and eventually graduate to "wait till the window seat prick feels the need to visit the rest room. He would have to go through me and I am absolutely not going to cooperate"

Like I said it was a low cost carrier, so obviously you would not be served food. At best you could buy them at literally sky-high prices, only to realize that they taste just like the way they taste on the ground. The drinking water was COMPLIMENTARY!!  People used to drink a lot of this free water and then make a lot of trips to that snazzy wash-room in the middle of the sky. They say that a considerable amount of airline fuel gets wasted from the flushes made in washrooms. I am not sure about the science behind this, but if it is true I think I have an explanation for the "Low cost carriers are not profitable anymore" phenomenon.

The seat-belt!! Yes you heard me right. The seat-belt (which has now attained popularity) was a mere fad those days. Why the hell should I need a seat-belt when the plane flies so smoothly. The run-way tarmac is free of pot-holes and humps, and so is the air. We are used to driving on roads which look like the surface of Mars, and if we can adjust to that kind of on-the-ground turbulence, air turbulence is a bliss!!

The plane landing was the moment of truth. Did it OR Did it not!!
There would be a lot of reassuring resounding tones of "Oh yes it has landed" coming from the aisle seat passengers, speaking from all their years of no flying experience. The middle seat passengers sit clueless, while the window seat passengers are busy assessing the situation outside. Finally when the plane does hit the ground everyone breathes a sigh of relief.

My first flight experience was on a vacation to the Andamans, which is a huge island in the Indian Ocean.
Almost everyone on the flight were first time flyers. The onward flight was such an excitement for everyone, that at the end of it when the plane actually reached the Andamans, everyone was completely spent. It was a funny realization that their vacation had actually just begun.

As for me, I was one of those smart-asses who got a window seat \m/

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


So this is how it starts.

I understand that I am a decade late from foraying into blog-space.
But what I feel different about is:
Given that blogging is all about writing, I was never away from it.
Over the last 10 years I have been writing a daily diary. My daily diary however is not quite the quintessential diary that most people possibly write. I do not gossip all over my diary, neither do I make routine calculations of expenses.
For me the diary is my thought dumping ground.
It started as my haven where I could write my life and no one would judge me. With time I began reading out excerpts from my diary to a few close friends and I could say they enjoyed it. This got me thinking.
Should I write with an audience in mind?
If I do, how would that hamper my writing?
Would it kill the independence? Would it make me ruminate unnecessarily over censorship of my data?

Any person who  loves to write is fiercely protective about his story.
He hates it when society decides to be a guardian.
Freedom of speech is one of those fundamental rights which gets largely misused by both parties.
The writer often sensationalizes an issue on purpose. Pretty much the Rakhi Sawant of writers.
The audience on the other hand often joins the band-wagon of hate, quite unknowingly.
And the best part of all this is: either way your story becomes a run-away success

I genuinely wonder if renowned authors would write the same way as they do, if they had no audience in mind? Just a few sheets of paper and a pen, without boundaries.
Surely authors do write for themselves. That piece of work would be the pure Orange juice that comes straight from the orange and not from the tetra pack carton, laced with preservatives.

Monday, November 26, 2012

I start here

The best of thoughts come during the most unusual hours. While riding, in the shower, right before you fall asleep (too tired to get up and pen it down, and the next morning you definitely forget it).
It's not like you have a thought hour. We have study hours, work hours, some disciplined people even have bathroom timings. You can study, work..blah during these hours. But what about a dedicated hour of the day when you sit down with a nice leather bound diary, a crystal fountain pen-to pen down some nice thoughts.
That thing never happens. When you get a nice thought you are not in a position to note it down, and when you sit down to write, good thoughts continue to elude you. And they elude you more, when you especially go hunting for it.
So what is the connection inbetween them?
I guess I would have to say:
You don't catch a nice thought, a nice thought catches you.