Tuesday, December 30, 2008

as 2009 trips by...

It is the 31st of December 2008 and the best I can do now, on this Wednesday morning, is take a look back on the year that was. Its been a remarkable year for the world and India alike with lots of important things happening this year. Its been a remarkable year for me too, with lots of important things happening in my life too.

2008 has been a year of trips for me. If I look back at this year, I realize that of the 365 days, at least 50 days I have not been at home, been out on trips and this excludes the days I spend at home in Mysore.

The year started off with the new year party that concluded in Coorg. A group of 9 guys(from college) in one car and two bikes headed towards Coorg from Bangalore. We camped in a very nice "home stay" kind of arrangement near Irrpu falls the New Year extravaganza happened just outside where we stayed with a bon fire and music being played off my car.

The next major trip was towards Goa with almost the same gang(well almost because this was a gang that consisted of my engineering classmates and not random guys from college). Another group of men set out towards Goa in a Qualis. As far as I can remember, we were about 9 guys, all cramped into one car as we headed towards Goa. One hell of a party the trip that was.

Another trip of importance before the rains hit India was a trip to Ooty. This trip had 4 of us head (3 of us lokal boys and another NRI) towards Ooty to meet another friend who runs a business there. It was a week end trip but one of extreme enjoyment because it involved night travel in the Ghats and a drive in a Honda Civic and royal hospitality at that friends hotel.

In the mean while, I had completed the few regular trips home, a couple of trips to Tumkur to meet Dr. Tango(Reason), trips to Mekedat and Muttatti falls with friends and colleagues alike.

In the August of 2008, when I usually celebrate my birthday, I was on another trip to Goa. This was one trip with extreme highlights. First, this was the first trip that I was involved in which had women in it. I have always been of the school of thought that women on trips are a major responsibility and the fun level and enjoyment level is dampened by the responsibility that accompanies. However, after this trip I am still under consideration of my promotions. Second, trip also had me drinking just a couple of beers on the whole 4 days(and not one bit of booze on my 26th), which for me is an achievement in itself because I again come from a school of thought which says that drinking is best enjoyed on trips when tomorrow is never a concern. This trip certainly is one of the best trips I have ever had in my life for reasons more than one.

I followed up this trip with another trip, this time to the beaches of Karnataka with a gang of 10 people. This was another lot of fun trip as we saw breathtaking beaches on the west coast of India. Gokarna, which has always been a place that I have dreaded and almost have respect out of fear for was so good on this trip that we ended up spending about half of our time here.

Next major trip I had was pretty major even by my standards. Me and "the tall mallu" took a week off from work and we headed on a road trip with destination unknown. 9 days with most social contact with just one other person is a complex situation. Trips sometimes can be more frustrating than usual times because there will be times when one will have to do something which he/she dislikes doing because the others will be interested in doing something. So the "frequency" match is very vital on trips. And this trip, like few others with this "tall mallu" was another wonderful experience with treks, train rides, bus rides, auto rides, lorry rides, truck rides, trips to the police station, sleep in the railway station and cheap and sidey lodges, a visit to all the major pubs in vizag and beaches in which there was not a human soul in the two kilometer radius. Another highlight to this trip was that we didn’t carry a camera on purpose (well actually, I dislike the concept of cameras on trips and the tall mallu would have carried one if he had one) and hence I have no proof of being on this trip. :)

I have also gone on a couple of trips to friends’ weddings. One trip to Bellary and another recently to Davengere to attend Homo’s wedding. On both the trips, “Mysore Baba” was present and hence the highlight of both the trips.

In a couple of hours, I am heading towards Chikkamangalore with another set of friends to welcome 2009.

Purse - Check
Watch - Check
Cell phone - Check
Car Keys - Check
Jacket - Check
Charger - oh fuck!

All Set, preparing launch sequence.




Fade to black

(Lights on)

Its a dark balcony. Not really a balcony because this has lots of windows to be called a balcony. There are ropes dangling between the walls where lots of mens’ under garments are hung. The yellow bulb is glowing bright but the walls are cast with the shadows of the underwear hanging on the ropes. A man is sitting on a table with a pack of cigarettes in his hand. Just as he lights up, his brother walks in.

Man: Howdy!
Brother: Wassup?
Man: Here (offering him the pack)
Brother: (Takes a cigarette, lites it up) Thanks brother, but I finally want to quit
Man: Me too. Lets do it together.
Brother: Alright, henceforth lets never meet for a smoke ever again.
Man: Sounds good.

(They take a couple of drags)

Man: Even if we meet and I see you smoking, I am going to go away.
Brother: Me too

(Couple more)

Brother: But that also doesnt mean that we dont smoke when we are not together right?
Man: Ofcourse (smiling)
Brother: It doesnt matter what you do. I am not going to smoke, and you better not smoke when I am around. Thats all this deal is about anyway right?
Man: Ofcourse. I am going to set a good example as your elder brother.
Brother: (smiling) and I will be a good brother and respect you so much that I would be scared to smoke in front of you

(Stub their cigarettes)

Man: Alright, thats the deal then (stretches out his hand)
Brother: Deal

(They shake hands)



Man: The deal is that we stop smoking right? when does this apply from?
Brother: I dont know, you decide.
Man: Tomorrow?
Brother: Alright
Man: (Lighting up one cigarette) So alright, here is my last cigarette
Brother: Mine too

(Fade to black)

Friday, December 26, 2008

Good India

I was riding back home late yesterday night from work. Bangalore has become awfully cold these days. For someone who has lived in this city for more than half my life, this is the coldest I have experienced here. Coldest winter they say. But I don’t think it’s cold only because of the weather. Either ways I have found myself a pair of biker gloves and an ordinary looking fake Ferrari jacket since I re-took my riding in an attempt to become a biker! And started wearing shoes which I so dislike wearing.

But like I said, it’s not just the weather. Today, riding a bike at hours close to midnight is a risk one must be willing to take. A risk to one’s life so to say. Hazaar drunk drivers buzzing on the streets in Bangalore jumping traffic signals and hitting one ways alike. And the cops are busy checking if people have a valid insurance. The whole cops scene is such a farce I tell you. I have come across numerous scenes of utter comedy. There would be a traffic jam and an ambulance stuck in it but these traffic cops would be busy filling their pockets round the corner under a shady tree where no one can see them, almost surprising travelers as they pounce and take away the keys, much like how a hungry lioness would snap an innocent deer. Or there would be two people fist fighting it out on the street and the sheepy constable would be a mere spectator. Drunk drivers apart, these are the days of terror. With 26 11 et all and the India Pak war on the verge and all that jazz happening in the background, the air out there, especially in the evenings, when it gets kinda dark is spooky in its own way. You never know if the biker next to you has an AK47 and would start shooting at will the next moment, or the car ahead of you is going to explode in mid travel, or the truck behind you is carrying a dozen terrorists. India has gone to dogs! The world has gone to dogs!

Thats when a thought occured to me. Just extrapolating the events occurring now, in another 6 months, India goes to polls. If at around that time, if a war breaks out between the two nations (or the third world war with religion being the cause for it), then I am sure India will not have a leader. Congress ready to wash its hands of the dirty shit and with no polls and no one to take responsibility, it could be a disaster waiting to happen. This is the time when the world needs a revolution. India needs a revolution. A movement which is way bigger than any war for freeing India from its foreigners. A war for freedom, my freedom, your freedom, everyones freedom. I would want to go home at midnight on my bike with the secure thought that if I dont reach home safely tonight, it would only be because of my stupidity. I would not be under a drunken bus driver wheels, I would not be beaten up by 5 goons who do away with my bike my cellphone and my ATM cards and my gold chain. That’s the freedom I am asking for. To go out to a bar with my girl and have a drink without being scared about coming back in one piece. A freedom to go to a Road transport office and get my drivers licence done without being harassed. When I am old and retired and I want my Providant Fund money, I want to freedom to not worry about standing in a line ispite of my health condition a hundred times before I get less than half of what is due to me. The freedom to be a part of "Good India" of numerous cultures, languages and traditions, the Ram Rajya and not a part of corrupt, painful, bureaucratic, filthy "Bad India".

A revolution is all it needs.

Those were the days when news papers were just a dream and communication of the ideas of the "leaders" who emerged was the biggest issue. Today is the world of internet and cyberspace and we are in the edge of conquering the telecommunication sphere. The world has shrunk from a size 44 to a size 11. Everyone, even half way around the world is just a button press away. So sending the word out to the people is not a problem at all. So it’s a matter of a real man emerging and leading the movement towards "Good India". Would that leader emerge? Is that leader born yet?

These were the questions I found myself asking as I reached the gate of my building. I had reached home safely today. Tomorrow is a new fight altogether. The was locked from inside. I kinda feel all my neighbors in my building dislike me. Even tho I see to it that there is no loud music or late night parties at my place or smoking anywhere in and around the building, they seem to be very hostile towards me. I guess its the bachelor tag I carry with me. So I have to park my bike outside, jump the wall to get inside MY house and go to sleep. This is the freedom I am left with to enjoy!

Friday, December 19, 2008


One of the strangest things happened the other day. One of my “My firsts”. I was at home in the night with my car and bike both parked at work. For someone who detests using the cell phone, my car and my bike are the only outlets for me to have any contact with the outside world. There were my most preferred (read only) modes of transportation I have ever known in my life in Bangalore. Until Recently. Until recently I found the luxury of an auto.

The auto as its called here in Bangalore is, I have figured out recently is the best mode of transportation one can use for an inter city travel. Its safer than a bike, faster than a car, simpler than a bus and definitely not as "healthy" as the bicycle (but I some how find it very funny when I hear of friend's friend's friends using bycycles to commute to work, play etc .. I dont know why… its just way too funny...). And its kinda not as expensive as one assumes it to be (or atleast I assumed it to be). I kinda feel I am the king when I am sitting in the back of an auto. I tend to put on the "The chauffer driven busy person" look which the chauffer driven motherfuckers usually tend to have. And for once I dont feel pissed I am in a traffic jam. I am in a jam alright; but I am not the one shifting gears, honking horns or clutching the clutch. And most auto guys tend to put on a conversation if you are willing to talk. There again, a choice of entertainment. If required.

I am just coming off a pretty long trip to Vizag[took off from work for one week straight and went in search of my soul like everyone who go in search of their souls... not sure where to find it though]. This trip had me taking the help of public transport mostly(unless I was made to walk, swim or climb up and down treacherous terrain). The different thing about autos there is that they have this "shared" thingi going on. You can share auto rides. So usually you will in an auto with strangers. Its kinda unbelievable how many people can fit into an auto. I have, on record, been a part of an auto journey for nearly 25 kms with 10 adults and 2 kids in the auto from beach road to Bhimulipattanam. One hell of a ride. I loved it!

The other advantages of travelling in an auto:

• Smoking is a pleasure because you are not thinking about driving along with smoking and also the ventilation is best in an auto (I must make a point here in saying that smoking is injurious to health. I am just listing the advantages of an auto, not bad habits of people. And an auto almost always has a light to offer)
• In case of an accident, the crowd usually is on our side (Its amazing how the auto drivers group together when one of them is in trouble)
• You can never be caught for drunk driving( and its fuckin 2000 bucks if you get caught drunk driving fyi)
• Parking is never a concern
• Cell phone conversations are simpler.
• If one auto has mechanical trouble, there are hazaar others around.
• Most autos have pretty actress on their walls (which is good in a sidey way. The women have to cheer up… cos I have seen autos with men on the walls as well… these are the gay driven autos I think)

May be the traffic situation in Bangalore could improve if we introduced the concept of shared autos. Anyway I see school autos loaded with kids. Hundreds of them fitted like the soap counter in a departmental store. If we can all fit into once such auto everyday and commute, then metro rail can go kiss my ass!

But for now, its sad scene(almost teary… the other day it took me over an hour and a half to get from the end of MG to touch old madras road thro indranagar… an area I have lived 3 years in and know pretty well the in-roads) on account of the metro and my "The chauffer driven busy person" look thats in fashion these days.

Shankar annange jai!!