July 31, 2001

where the mind is without fear…

mahesh found it surprising that i had never come across this poem by rabindranath tagore before…

Where The Mind is Without Fear

Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high
Where knowledge is free
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments
By narrow domestic walls
Where words come out from the depth of truth
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way
Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit
Where the mind is led forward by thee
Into ever-widening thought and action
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake

after i read it, i too was surprised for the same reason.




July 29, 2001

i guess it was time…

i have resigned from zdnet india. my last day here will be august 24, after which I will have two whole months to myself before my marriage.

funny, its just like vacation after school before being promoted to the next class. only here, school started a month after graduation (july 1995) to five years later (august 2001), with not a single more-than-four-day break between classes.

now that i have two months to myself, there are many things i plan to do. i’m going to list them here, bookmark this page…and perhaps november 24 (if i can smuggle some time for my journal on the eve of my wedding) i’ll do a check on how far i could fulfil these…
(these are not necessarily in the same order)

  • update my journal *regularly*
  • learn to drive
  • read a LOT…comics, magazines, novels, more! (dont want to lose touch with technology trends either)
  • cooking
  • catch up with my friends – sanjeev, jayashree, prakash, gulnar, gourav, malini, deepak, siy, satya and many others
  • catch up with my dear dear granny and all my cousins and uncles and aunts
  • brush up my hand pottery and paint
  • freelance
  • watch lots of f.r.i.e.n.d.s :-)
  • shoot pictures
  • plan for life after marriage (ok ok, WIPE that grin off your face X-(



July 21, 2001

why should i be afraid of the police?

at the police station one afternoon…

police: WHAT SORT OF AN ADDRESS IS THIS? WHO FILLED THIS FORM?
me: excuse me! just because you’re the police doesnt mean you can raise your voice and talk so rudely. besides you aren’t even in your uniform!!
police: well, who filled this form anyway! it’s the wrong address. do you expect the police to waste time hunting down your house??
me: hmm, ok, sorry about the address. it was the passport agent who filled the form. BUT you have no right to treat us like this. you aren’t doing me a favour by verifying my passport.
and just by the way, didnt you notice the telephone number also mentioned in the address? you could have saved your three days of hunting by simply calling that number you know…
police: i detest these passport agents. they just loot money from suckers like you. why couldnt you get it done from the passport office yourself?
me: yeah right. i just saw how you extracted rs 50 from the man who was just here…you just show a yellow piece of paper and say its for police “savings”. you dint even allow him to talk…had he refused, his passport would be lost in one of your files…
police: hmmm, anyway, what are you going abroad for?
me: i’m getting married
police: have you ever been in jail?
me: what?
police: arre baba, have you ever been in jail? do you have a case on your head?
me: well, (seething now) not yet…
police: (pointing to the picture in *my* form…) is this you?
me: of course it is me, who does it look like to you!?

20 minutes of unwarranted mental torture. but of course, this conversion is just how i would have liked it to be. The dialogues by the policeman however, have not been edited by me.

i have always hated two kinds of professionals: doctors, and the police. today i had to go to the police station for my passport verification. i was unwell and the fever, since two days, was steady at 102. it was raining and i was feeling drowsy and irritable with the medicines i was asked to take.

all the way my father lectured about how i should shed away my hatred for the police, and that the last thing my family wanted was trouble because of me…i have this uncanny habit of speaking the right thing to the right person at the right time. only, that’s what i think it is.

so, it was a deal then. i promised a complete bias-free approach, and we were in the police station soon enough. the real conversation that took place between us was something like this…

police: WHAT SORT OF AN ADDRESS IS THIS? WHO FILLED THIS FORM?
me: huh! (how can they be so predicatble!)
achchan: (interrupting me) uh oh…i did tell the passport agent to fill in the correct address…i’m sorry about the trouble you’d to take.
police: i detest these passport agents. they just loot money from suckers like you. why couldnt you get it done from the passport office yourself?
achchan: (not allowing me to answer) well, it takes a whole day…we can’t really afford that much time you know…
police: hmmm, anyway, what are you going abroad for?
achchan: (again nudging me to shut up…) she’s going for a vacation to europe, that’s all. she’ll be back soon…
(i was angry with my father for the lie he told…it wasn’t necessary!! i was beginning to get up, anyway it was he who was doing all the answering. but he forced me back on my seat, gesturing that it was alright.)
police: have you ever been in jail?
me: what?
police: arre baba, have you ever been in jail? do you have a case on your head?
me: no, not yet
police: (pointing to my picture…) is this you?
me: yes.

the 20 minute ordeal was finally over. my father had a lot of explaining to do. according to him (and a few other ‘elders’ in the family), it is best not to meddle with the police. hmm, so is telling them the truth called ‘meddling’? no, he said. but the common opinion is that the lesser the time spent at a police station, the more hassle-free your life will be.

sorry, but i don’t get it yet.

first we make beasts out of the policemen, then we make liars out of ourselves. there seems to be a big mistake hidden in this picture. where is it?