March 31, 2001

yippppeeeee!

i have a roomate, and a new friend :-)
daniela luecke

daniela and me




March 30, 2001

an unexpected guest

disclosure: when i was a kid, and the then-towering-above-me aunts and uncles would ask “beta, what do you want to be when you grow up?” my reply was always ready, “an autodriver!!”

seeing the surprised and amused expressions on their faces, i tried my best explaining to them that “autodrivers get to travel around for free, you see! and then, they get to meet new people after every passenger gets off. the best part is, they never know who’s going to get in next, and they can always learn something about the passenger seated in the rickshaw (because they can hear the conversation, if there’s more than one person) and they also get paid after everything!!”

suspecting that they haven’t really believed what i said, i’d make a stern face and add, “and because there are no women rickshaw drivers around.”

well, i did not become an autodriver. for that matter, i still havent learnt driving.

but i still love meeting new people, especially if i don’t know anything about them, be it introducing myself to my neighbours, speaking to the maid next door, the autodriver, the storekeeper or the dabbawallah.

my interaction with foreigners has been limited to very short conversations with
a) the director for chip (worldwide) magazines from vogel verlag, dr gerald o dick, who visited us in india when we started chip, and took the entire chip team (we were about 10 then) to esselworld.

b) a lovely coffee + interview with kenneth keniston, deepak’s close friend and a very active member of MIT’s project for globalising local language for computers in india.

c) the 20-minute interview with adrian cowderoy, director of the multimedia house of quality, uk, at the QAI-SEPG seminar at bangalore last year. i was to interview the speaker at the seminar that day, but i’d reached late, and it was not until lunch-break that i realised that they had changed the speaker who was scheduled for the day…i was in the wrong hall!

well, an interview with the speaker i *had* to submit when i got back to itspace. but when i walked up to him, he was rushing to catch a flight back to bombay in 30 mins. i quickly suggested i could drop him at the airport, since my office was on the way (well, in truth, it was a wee bit out of the way, but well, duty calls! ;-) and that’s how a got my 20-minute interview with a very surprised adrian, in the taxi to the airport.

but all these rather abrupt interactions just left me very curious. what would it be like to spend more time with someone from another country? or to live in a foreign land?




March 28, 2001

i too can drive!

“you’re too impulsive to be a driver, you think of hundred things at one time, and you’ll go and crash into a wall”

this i was told at a very young age, and it did the unintentional trick. the thought of learning to drive a car, intimidated me forever. even when i tried riding a cycle, there was this huge (imaginary) truck that would appear out of nowhere and i used to jump off my cycle, often hurting myself, or if i was on the road, bruising my ego.

i love speeding in a car or on a bike, but as long as i’m on the back seat. (except when on a horse, its my favourite animal, and i just know i’m good on one)

when i think of the more urban modes of transport, i dream of riding a bike to work, and it has to be an enfield machismo. maybe i’ll not see this happen, but i certainly will never ride on a kinetic honda, or the other more feminine ones…eby used to laugh at my dreams, but i promised him i’d get over my fear of driving, and ride a bike.

but though i sometimes prefer to let things take their time, i had no idea how i’m ever going to put myself in the driver’s seat.

today, i did just that. i went go-karting :-)

watching the drivers zoom past on the tracks was really scary, my hands and feet felt cold and clammy. i used to feel like this when i was scared of using escalators at any airport or shopping mall. but i got over that at crossroads, when hari forced me to take the escalators at least six times. i was exhausted by the fear and effort it took, but i managed to get rid of the phobia finally.

“NEXT…!”

it was my turn. the voice jolted me out of my endless should-i-or-should-i-not-go-for-it questions, while my trembling fingers handed the guard the four-laps-card.

as i got into the kart, i could barely hear my colleagues cheering me, but i knew this was the only way. just then i remembered that years ago, i’d learnt swimming this way…by just jumping into the water. because if i was in there, i had to survive.

four laps later, i was shaking with excitement. i loved it! and it was only once that i brushed against the rubber-tyre-barricade. my speed result showed 14kmph.

everyone laughed, but so did i.

twenty minutes later, i was doing my second round of six laps, this time it was even smoother. i was confident and a little liberal with the accelerator…26kmph.

yes it was just a game, but i think i learnt far more than the fun part. phobias can never bother you for long, as long as you know that you want to get over it.

all you have to do is dive right into your fear.




March 24, 2001

i’m free from the circle!! finally :-)

there’s no better way to get rid of a memory than confronting it, re-living the moments all over again, and consciously. the circle *has* to be complete. and when your mind is made up, half the battle is won.

so when my colleagues at office decided to go to the disco at LeoPolds’ last evening, i agreed. there were about 18 of us when we reached our meeting point at mcdonald’s. while i enjoyed the company of my friends, i remember telling myself constantly, “its ok, you can.

the ‘circle’ had started from that disco at colaba a little over five years ago; meeting the ghosts at the end of the circle was difficult, but i won. the battle lasted for less than five minutes. no gods to help, no friends. strange, just then, everyone decided to move to another disco down the road.
sometimes, i’m amazed at how well we know a certain moment is to come, its just that we don’t know when.




March 21, 2001

ah! a toast to better breakfast

i hate white bread.

every morning and evening, we used to have bread and butter in the cafetaria to avoid indulging in other oil-rich snacks, except wada-pav of course.

slowly, we (mahesh and me) got rid of that routine. we are ready for office by 8:30 am (well, mostly) and then he comes over so we can have a huge steaming cup of horlicks and brown bread for breakfast. i have nothing against brown (wheat) bread, i was told its also very nutritious.

but again, i could see that just bread and butter can become part of routine very soon. and since i don’t have a refrigerator, i cannot even think of buying perishable items. the sting-y red ants in my house don’t make it any easier, or i’d love to get nutella, the chocolate spread (is that what’s its called?).

so yesterday, i invested in a non-stick tava, and this morning, we had a hearty, yummy breakfast of golden-toasts, and horlicks :-)




March 17, 2001

the truth can get really bitter

the MRI scan says everything’s absolutely normal.
i am disappointed, and perhaps also disillusioned.

how can an MRI-scan dismiss what x-ray reports have shown for almost over four years? so who do i believe?

one thing’s for sure: acupuncture is out.

as per the conditions set by my mom, i will now have to have faith in ayurvedic medicine.

blechch!




March 15, 2001

hmmmm…

q. What could be worse than suffering from a seemingly life-long disease?

a. being unable to diagnose what it is.

after seven years, three specialists, a month-long yoga course, a brief attempt at ayurveda and an ongoing acupuncture treatment, i finally spent rs 5,000 for an MRI scan.

i wonder why this question kept popping up in my mind:
were the five thousand rupees important to me, or was it the diagnosis?




March 14, 2001

don’t think of the pink elephant

posters are being put up everywhere. mata amritanandamayi or ammachi, is in mumbai again.

two years ago, i was so curious to know more about her, that i left office early one evening for the satsang in powai. even 20 minutes before i really left from office, i had no idea i would go to meet her. my parents did not know about it till 1:00 am that night (er, morning), when i managed to get out of the 4,500-plus-packed ground to call home and inform them of my whereabouts.

i could see the longing to be happy, to be at peace in everyone’s eyes, tears too, while she hugged each one of them warmly, whispering something into every ear. the magic worked on me too! i had come all alone, and when i finally got to see her, it was 3:30 am. i wondered how i would ever get back home (my father refused to even talk to me, and i deserved it). even as the excitement of meeting her slowly faded into reality of how i would go home, a baby’s high-pitched cries jolted me out of my senses. i turn behind, and there! it was saroj, one of my friends from college, and all three generations of her family! i was seeing her after almost three years, and what a place to meet! i almost believed in god that night.

this year, sanjeev’s mother said she would come to stay over at my place during ammachi’s visit to nerul. aunty said she visits her every year, like the several other thousands who do.

hmmmm, what is it that draws people to her? why does the calm in a temple (or a church) overwhelm us?

crowds never cease to amaze me, just like the human mind, which has thousands of things running through at the same time. imagine what it must look like if you are detached from it all. suppose ‘thoughts’ were streaks of bright red, and you are at a railway platform, or a train:

one person = one mind = 100 bombarding thoughts (at the same time)
100 people = 100 minds = 10,000 bombarding thoughts (at the same time!!)

now, what happens when the 100 minds are forced to think of the same thing…even if it has to be a pink elephant(!?)
(boy, i can have a wild sense of imagination, not to forget my ability to visualise even as a person speaks, which has landed me in embarrassing times so often :-)

today, a dotcom that reported news, views, and all the juice claimed to have uncovered some of the country’s dirty juicy defence secrets. the news has rocked the parliament, and the entire country. buses, trains, elevators, everywhere people are enraged, ashamed of the government they voted for.

would the indian defence ministry really be so corrupt? has the dotcom found a unique way to get itself funded? whatever the truth, the deed has been done. without giving fair time to justify their claims, we let a pair of investigators brainwash our minds, and lead india to this mess.

strange, what brings us peace, can also cause a tehelka.




March 12, 2001

1998: bangalore love story, act 1

dear deepak and malini,
happy wedding anniversary :-)

three years ago, i left for bangalore — it was a few hours after we finished production of the first issue of chip.

it was my first real journey, alone, on the udyan express to bangalore. i attended mamu and mal’s wedding, and boarded a train back to mumbai a day later.

my first taste of independence :-)




March 11, 2001

trevor found me too!

we watched the movie pay-it-forward this afternoon. thirty minutes into the movie and i knew the “world is not shit,” thanks to the few trevors around.

one of them, happens to be my best friend :-)




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