Friday, March 27, 2009

The Apology

Experimental, in a way;


She looked at his tear-stained face.He hadn't stopped crying since she came. She knew it would be ok with time, he would regain his composure, she just wanted it to be as soon as possible. She was frightened. She had never seen him cry before.

"Blood pressure abnormally high. My God, she's sinking. Nurse, NURSE!!!"

They went for a walk. The garden was so refreshing, in the cool winter days. It's going to be ok, she assured him. Things would be fine. Count on me.

"She's going into cardiac arrest. We will need to do an emergency operation."

He was smiling by now. She was quite pleased with herself. I can convince anyone, she thought. Just a little bit of reassurance, it always works. He's just a kid...

"Too late. Too late. Inform her relatives."

"You hate me, don't you?" The parting remark caught her by surprise. Her face froze with shock, as the taxi sped away.

The door swung open, a man stepped in. He saw the immobile figure lying on the bed.

He turned back & bitterly regretted the impulse which had made him say that. Ah well, I will apologise, he thought. She always listens.

The man stood still. The doctor looked at him quizzically.

They told him they had no idea where she had gone. She had just packed up and left.

The doctor asked him gently "Did you know the lady?" "I thought I did", he replied.

Vanished without a trace. It was hopeless. No one knew of her whereabouts. He searched & searched in vain.

"She passed away very peacefully. More peacefully than most".

He heard her whispering softly. He heard her peals of laughter. Most often he heard her voice - clear, limpid, as smooth as the waves gently crashing against the sea-shore.

"What is your relation to to the deceased?". "I never could figure that out myself" he replied.

He felt he was going mad. Loneliness would kill him. He had to be surrounded by people all the time. Life had to go on.

"Is there anyone whom we can inform?" "I am here, now", he said.

He had seen her walk into the hospital. Here was the chance he had been waiting for. Soon, it would be all right. He would know peace again.

A woman came into the room shouting "Did you find her?" and stopped. She spoke no further.

"Yes, she was admitted a few days back. Not too long, so the Doc tells me. Ah well, the poor woman..."

"You are still waiting. Is there something that you would like to do?" "No, now there is isn't"

The doctor stared at the man. In his wrinkled face he saw a young boy, terrified. He could not comprehend what the boy realised - tha the apology had taken too long in coming...

A Prayer...

Reach for the morning Sun, the gently blowing Breeze, the azure Sky, the sweet caress of your Parents' hands on your cheeks...

Smile unrestrained, with the hopeful anticipation of better things to come, with the promise the future brings, with the innocent enthusiasm of a baby at peace with the world...

Talk to your friends, relieve their pain, each one who is agonized for bearing an untold story inside him, they are still there, they haven't walked away...

Trust the aut0-rickshaw driver to get you home, trust the watchman to be up & vigilant at night, trust the intention, trust the person...

Let Go.
Let go - fear, doubt, guilt, regrets - let it all go; State the obvious; Become an open book...


Monday, March 23, 2009

A tribute to Anthea Bell & Derek Hockridge...

Rather an odd tribute, one would think.

But I am a die-hard fan of the Asterix series. The kind who can quote call-outs verbatim; Many of the issues I do not even need to read; I can play it like a slide-show in my mind.

Which is why it never ceases to amaze me how wonderfully Anthea Bell & Derek Hockridge have translated an essentially French series (in language, but more importantly, in character as well) into full-blooded Queen's (Dictator's?) English, while preserving the spirit of the original.

The first thing that strikes me are the names. The Bard, a torture for the auditory senses, is named Cacofonix, while the old gentleman with a pretty & young wife is named Geriatrix (incidentally his wife is the only major village character which is never named in the entire series, apart from the village itself - YES, the village is NEVER named in the entire series!) Dogmatix is one of the best-named characters - He's actually a very dogmatic character (witness his howling whenever a tree is cut)

The names of one-time characters are even more mirth-inducing. Many of the British characters are named after esoteric taxes - Getafix's British druid friend is called Valueaddetax (in Asterix & The Goths), while a trainee legionary is called Selectiveemploymentax (in Asterix the Legionary). Another favourite name is Courtingdisastus (in Asterix in Corsica); The pun on his name when one of the Corsicans warns his sister about flirting with Romans is too funny!

The beauty lies in revealing something about the character through his name and always ending it appropriately - ix for the Gauls, ic for the Goths, us for the Romans & a for the Ladies. So you have a scheming Gaulish traitor named Uptotrix (in Asterix & The Banquet), a tough Briton chief (in Asterix in Britain) named a after a line from Hamlet (Mykingdomforanos) & a decadent Roman Governor named Varius Flavus (in Asterix in Switzerland).

And now. the repartee, the conversations, the lines. One can go on and on and on, but to pick out a few: (Warning: Read the original, to get the full drift of the remarks!)

Asterix in Switzerland: The entire sequence in the beginning, when Vitalstatistix sacks his shield-bearers, is a sublime classic; Some sample lines:

"The Chief will lose his standing in the tribe if he throws his weight around like that" (In a reference to Vitalstatistix falling off his shield)

"The Chief is bent on getting a good angle on things. Proves what you can do if you have got the inclination" (Asterix & Obelix are carrying him on the shield; He is in an inclined position because of their height difference)

"He's just serving half a pint of mild & bitter" (Obelix alone is carrying Vitalstatistix like a waiter, Vitalstatistix complains of feeling like a half-pint chief & being a mild man who is now feeling very bitter)

Asterix in Britain:

"He's been removed once, but you mustn't shake him too hard even if he asks you to" (Obelix says this for Anticlimax, Asterix's first cousin once removed, who had previously asked Obelix to shake him by the hand)

Asterix & The Big Fight:

Cassius Ceramix, the Roman stooge chief after challenging Vitalstatistix to the Big Fight, says "Gloria Victus! I turn my back on you" & turns around on his shield, after which his shield-bearers turn & he is facing Vitalstatistix again.
"No, not you! If you also turn back, then I get back where I started!"

Asterix & the Banquet:

Obelix is interrogating the traitor Unpatriotix; He ask's him which place the Romans have captured & taken Asterix to;
"I don't care whether you have ordered rum or not! You don't soften me up like that!"

Asterix & The Secret Weapon:

One of the village ladies argues with Cacofonix:
"Oh, so a woman can't be a bard"
"No Ma'am, shes barred from being a bard"
He gets bashed left right & centre.
Asterix observes his black eye and remarks:
"No holds barred, eh?"

Genius. Pure genius.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

XL Memories I: Kung-Fu Ganjeshwarnath...

An XL superjunior, known to me only as "Bitchy Offliner" suggested that writing about Sundays was toooooo boring.

"Pray expound", he beseeched; "On thy wealth of experiences at XLRI; The rich cultural heritage & legacy which you left behind"

As always, I fell to the occassion.

I wish I had something glamourous to write about. Perhaps something like this:\

A teetotaller for 2 years
Didn't attend a single wet night
Passed out as the Batch Topper
Got drunk in the final convocation wetnight
Danced as he had never danced before
Proposed to the love of his life at Dimna, as the sun rose
She look'd down to blush, and she look'd up to sigh
With a smile on her lips and a tear in her eye


Instead, I will write about my 1st year XL room-mate, Aditya Jhawar and an incident which still brings a smile to my face.

It was in the sultry summer days (July, perhaps). I was sitting quietly in the room, doing some assignment. Jhawar had gone for a bath. The second time that day. My God. Even once was a drag for me.

After he came back, I heard a buzzing sound in the room. Made me feel really queasy. I look all around, petrified and then I SAW.

The most gigantic insect I had ever seen. It menacingly circled over my head; I almost shrieked. A fresher who has live all his life in a metro is not the most formidable of opponents for a creature like that.

My face was convulsed. Aditya couldn't figure out what was wrong. He just saw my dazed countenance and was mystified. I pointed a trembling finger toward the apparition and managed to sputter out "udhar dekh".

Aditya spun around. He sized up his adversary. They circled each other for quite some time. Aditya was galvanised steel. He had turned into a leader of men. It was him and the Insect. A fight to the finish. Winner take all. No pity. No mercy. No regret.

Aditya took out his Brahmastra - the towel which he had just thrown onto his bed. He began wielding it like a champion of champions, cutting currents of air with the sheer impact. His eyes never wavered. It was death to the man that lost his nerve.

The Insect darted towards him. A brutal frontal assault. Aditya spun around, unperturbed. His towel was still drawn at the ready. Every muscle tense. Waiting for the right moment.

The Insect swerved & went to the rear. It caught him by surprise. It was a split-second. I shouted at precisely the time when it was about to deliver a killing blow, Aditya just turning around, towel in hand...

I opened my eyes. Aditya was standing, beaming. The Insect was nowhere to be seen.

Kung-Fu Ganjeshwarnath had vanquished the oppressor. The world was at peace.

A good Sunday...

Its been a good Sunday so far.

To begin with, I went for a brisk walk. On the beach. 45 minutes. My place to Juhu Chowpatty. 5 km. I have had so many concerned people telling me to shape up. My well-rounded personality is a potential health hazard.

Then I got my hair sheared. It was a sugarcane field in miniature. Took a great load off my mind. I know why Dilip Menda is so stress-free these days.

Then, I started this blog. And I already have two comments, by two valued people.

Just Googled for songs with the title "Sunday"
There's one by Sarah Brightman called "Tell me on a Sunday":

"Don't write a letter when you want to leave
Don't call me at 3 a.m. from a friend's apartment
I'd like to choose how I hear the news
Take me to a park that's covered with trees
Tell me on a Sunday please

Let me down easy
No big song and dance
No long faces, no long looks
No deep conversation
I know the way we should spend that day
Take me to a zoo that's got chimpanzees
Tell me on a Sunday please

Don't run off in the pouring rain
Don't call me as they call your plane
Take the hurt out of all the pain
Take me to a park that's covered with trees
Tell me on a Sunday please..."

A fresh beginning, sans fresh promises...

This declaration is more for my own self, than for anyone else:

I, am not blogging, for any of the following:

1) To give the world a fascinating peek or sneak preview into my life, my thoughts, my opinions
2) To re-start from where I had left off 3 years ago when I became too lazy to update my blog
3) To find an outlet for any frustrations that I may have in life; broken dreams, broken relationships et al

And as to the reasons for blogging, the blog will justify itself...