Saturday, April 30, 2005

2 Across

Adnan liked going to school. He loved the chalky untidyness of the teacher's coat, the moist feel of the wooden benches in June, and the smell of crisply ironed uniforms in the dreamy monsoon air. Adnan was a boisterous young boy. His tall, strong frame and crisp ruffled hair made him seem to be a person with an athletic inclination. It was true that Adnan did well in sports, however where Adnan really excelled was on stage. The sight of thundering crowds of eager students electrified his pulse and mystified his booming voice, spreading an undercurrent of simmering enthusiasm within the already buoyant crowd. Adnan now on the cusp of manhood really wanted to win 'The Subhash Chandra Bose Public Speaking Contest' in his final year at school. Balancing his academics and his secret meetings with Reema, a 8th standard student at his school was not easy - and to fulfill his burning ambition of winning the competition Adnan really needed to work his socks off, turning every minute into a fruitful effort towards his three objectives for the year.

It was another late June day when Adnan was returning from his evening Public Speaking class. He had to rush to the nearest cafe where he could have a cuppa with Reema and then proceed towards completing his Math assignment. Pedaling furiously he was passing by the local public garden when suddenly his sandal broke. Already being 10 minutes late for his appointment he uttered a sigh of despair. Suddenly much to his surprise he saw seated at the corner a cobbler. Adnan was a regular in this area and seeing this new entry in that previously desolate corner he was absolutely overjoyed. He even sensed divine intervention to solve his already over-burgeoning problem list.

Proceeding towards this god-sent workman Adnan presented his plight in the form of a Nike broken at the side to the cobbler. For a cobbler who did not exist till the day before, he had a pretty neat setup. A PVC cover, a rubber-tyre mat on which he sat and even a small broken foot-high stool for the customers to seat themselves. Adnan handed over his now-broken piece of footwear to the discerning tradesmen and proceeded to occupy the jaded looking stool in the corner. The cobbler had sharp small eyes, a small mouth and strong experienced hands with the wrists almost blue by the excessive projection of the veins. His skin was dark and hair, crumpled and dry. Such was his appearance that if one were ever looking for an example of indistinctness, this would be it. Had it not been for the bright, blue cover that spread out above him, Adnan would never have noticed this quite unremarkable personality.

Without uttering a word the cobbler set out to complete his job. It has been days, Adnan thought, since he sat like this, unoccupied and with nothing to do. He thought about his future - near and far. He thought about Reema. Their relationship still in it's nascency, was heading in the right direction he thought. He really believed in long steady partnerships and this one was something he thought he would cherish forever. Reema is a sensible smart girl he said to himself and if I am to be someone in life I am going to need someone like her. Adnan harboured ambitions of completing his board exams and then probably applying to an American school to do his sophomore years in. He heard the silent clanging of metal to metal as the cobbler sharpened his tools. Adnan noticed a local tabloid strewn near the cobbler's apparatus. Adnan smirked as he thought how the illiterate entertained themselves looking at the half-nude pictures of international models and local struggling actresses in what he termed as 'sensationalism to the core' journalism. He was not surprised to see the page showing posters of latest movies opened and the pages containing the contests and crosswords lying seemingly neglected in another corner.

Among a sea of personal ambitions Adnan couldn't help but notice the pitiful sight the cobbler made. His trousers were frayed at the edges and his dark-checked shirt was stained in a number of places by grease and mud. Even the strong hands had small, almost invisible cuts and those frosted, white lips even in monsoons made Adnan feel as if the cobbler had a physical condition of some sort. Adnan suddenly remembered his quest for attaining the Winners medal at Elocution competition. He thought he could use this cobbler as a euphemism for the country's deep-rooted problems. He could visualise his speech being a sharp direct attack on the country's much hyped value system. He could see himself saying that this deep-rooted belief system which our ancestors say to be our strength was in fact our weakness. Considering the cobbler who had everything a man of success needs. First of all a strong physique. He seemed to be sincere and hardworking and looked to have good analytical and problem solving skills. If the country's education system was any good it would have immediately picked up this extremely qualified individual and equipped him with the necessary skills so that he could improve not only his but also the quality of life of everyone around him.

Adnan thought that people blamed the non-availability of jobs, the corruption of politicians and the lousy apathetic governments at every stage of the administration for their extremely poor circumstances. However they failed to realize it is they who have brought the said people into power and it is their state of mind that the government reflects. He thought availability of jobs was not a problem, however it was the paucity of appropriate high end skills among the applicants that failed to get them well paying jobs which would alleviate their worries. The apathy of the bourgeoisie ensured that the government at the centre was a function of the funding powers of the super-rich and the ignorant ballot of the illiterate poor. He would say that the only way to ensure the nation's progress was to ensure that the poor stop cursing their present situation. The poor had to be made to realize the importance of education, provide them with high quality education and infuse within them the idea of dreaming big to ensure self-progression. The poor had to realize that the only way out was not by voting for a different leader each time in the hope of a saviour but to realize that the nation has enough capability to produce more Mashelkars and Kalams who conquered the world from seemingly poor beginnings. Education was the saviour he would say and proclaim that unless the poor realize the importance of self-help they would never get anywhere.

Suddenly he realized the cobbler pushing his neatly repaired right sandal into his line-of-sight. Immediately emerging out of his ephemeral dream Adnan paid him the five rupees as he still tried to gauge what could have been if every such poor illiterate citizen was ably employed. However soon shoving aside these thoughts he turned to more pressing matters and tried to think of a reason to convince Reema of his late arrival.

Adnan pedaled along as his strong frame gradually faded over the long winding setting horizon. Somewhere near the jaded stool a few papers ruffled in the monsoon air. Amongst them lay the crossword page. 2 across being the only word not filled. Later in the day an eight grader would write 'Barista' in the 7 blank boxes in a separate copy.


Tuesday, April 26, 2005


Finally commentThis gets the boot and I switch to haloscan. Sad all the old comments are gone ....

Saturday, April 23, 2005

The Blogger Boys

Remeber - New bloggers blog hard! So check these out !

  • Ganesh

  • Aditya Pethe

  • Shriniwas
  • Those Little Red Shoes

    Pitter Patter Rain drops fell through the sill,
    Voices squealed in my head of many a rainy day,
    When the streets filled up, water by the bay
    When the leaf turned over for a greener day
    And life stopped, it's beating heart perfectly still.

    I remembered the day when i breathed a foreign air
    In a town of life, a town of vibrancy,
    A place that fluttered on the cusp of joyousness
    A place where lips would cup and minds glistening
    Would lay open their cards, hands down.

    Wondrous places lit up my eyes and coloured my face
    Trembling drops around me crashed
    When around came those pattering soles
    Amidst a trip of green and blue
    And vanished around the corner without a trace.

    My eyes followed the tiny prints
    Around the corner into the next street
    Where beyond in the mud lay the source
    Of much splattering and thumping
    As the lonesome pair enjoyed each other

    Splashing a wand of colour to the fading eye
    Conjuring up a tempest of emotion in thy heart
    Much wonder what two worthless feet can do,
    They can make the heartless seem worthy
    And life doesn't seem all about i,me and my.

    Just when those stomping soles were firmly tread
    Suddenly came the squealing noise,
    Followed by an awe-struck voice
    As it saw those soles,and the now broken bud
    Those pattering feet in the mud
    Earlier blue - now turned red.


    Wednesday, April 20, 2005

    Welcome Aboard !

    Real pleasure to welcome aboard Kapeesh(a.k.a maverick) at far niente!!! and Harshad at The Devils Own .... Two fellow COEP fellow bloggers from FE. And yes they are intrested in quizzing too. So here's hoping for good times ahead !

    Saturday, April 16, 2005

    For all You Billy Joel Fans

    Hey, check out this amazing flash video by Ye Li a student at CalTech. And yes, thanks to the guys at TechFest '05 for the recommendation.


    Friday, April 15, 2005 Bandey - Naye Vichar

    Lit Blog, Sudarshan, Anand, Niranjan, Ashish.
    Turns out most of these guys are real gurus. A real privilige to have them on the roll.

    Monday, April 11, 2005

    Puneri Wins the World Cup !

    Lisa Sthalekar

    I know how we indians have this annoying obesession of picking out some far out NRI who has achieved something and hype that person so much that he is suddenly remembered that he has a penninsuar region somewhere in Asia that has 1 billion people talking about him. Well i usually despise such a thing. Case in point Bobby Jindal.
    However i just could not resist it when i found out Australia's second highest scorer against India in the Women's World Cup final was a lady called 'LISA STHALEKAR' who was born in 1979 in PUNE. Hurray !!

    I think she is the first Pune born person to hold the World Cup for Cricket in both versions of the game. And BTW if Lisa Carpini Sthalekar says she doesn't care a bit about India, don't be surprised !

    (PSST : To find out more click here)


    Saturday, April 02, 2005

    Jim and The Stroke of Good Luck

    Never has anyone been so after me to do something than certain female members of my family who insist that I take some immediate counter-insurgency methods to ensure that the weapon of 'mass' does not destroy me. There we wide suggestions on the table right from going for a jog in the morning, to doing yoga, suryanamaskar, doing exercises etc. I finally settle on joining the gym as I thought that way I wouldn't be under the ever watchful eyes of the same pre-described member/s. So I went up to the local Gym to enroll.

    So this lady tells me to come in the evening where she would get me an appointment with a certain 'Sir'. So I turn up in the evening to find this 'Sir' to be some sort of a 5-foot version of the dog in Tom and Jerry. Short, puffed up in the chest, and yes probably used to running around behind hapless prey like me. So he takes me to this super-secret locker room and asks me to strip. Then he like goes on measuring every freaking circle he can make around my body. I realize I had parts like uppper-abdomen, lower-something etc etc. which turn up radii which they shouldn't So he goes on rattling numbers and saying 'oh no ... oh no ...' while I stand there guessing at what the ideal number should be. Then he tells me to get dressed up and takes me to this weird machine where he sort of asks em to put my fingers around some sort of handle and asks me to wait for some time before he happily chirps around with the petite little receptionist about Abhishek Bachchan's look in Yuva. After I am thoroughly engrossed in listening to this extremely stimulating discussion the machine in my hand suddenly starts beeping and starts flashing some numbers. I even manage to see a few short forms rattled of here and there - you know like a pattern design. He again conjures up that grave face of his and starts shaking his head in some sort of deep contemplation. 'He says that your BMP is 30, that is too high we must do something... good u joined. see the effects blah blah....'. After much deep thought and after a second of asking someone I find out that BMP stands for body mass percentage, which turns out to be 30% for me. Then he gives me my card like a menu card to wholesomely devour. For starters we have bending, stretching.... for main : 3 set this 2 set that and then just as warming down you have to go up and down the stairs 5 times. Now unfortunately this particular gym is located in one of the newer constructions thereby having a good 6 floors and thereby going up and down 6 times even by the ever-present tempting lift was too tiring.

    I finally settled into the routine of skipping some or the other part of my daily three course 'meal' and later promptly feasted myself to those amazingly hot and yummy samosas in the nearby sweet shop. The affair wasn't going to last for long. Even if I liked working out, listening to 'dhoom machale' everyday (both versions promptly played back to back at least 7 times) would have been motivation enough. I celebrated my separation with an extra samosa and told the initiators that I had suddenly become extremely academically oriented and wasn't getting enough time to study. That was the only way out really and it worked. Now that it seems that the effects of gymming have worn off and people desperately trying to convince me that even my neck is getting thicker have succeeded in ensuring that I restart my quest for biomolecular destruction.

    However this time I chose something that I hope I will like. Today my friends was my first day at the wonderful art of trying to behave like birds and imitate the wide variety of insects that we have been fortunate to co-exist with - in water.

    Here's to a good long stint in H20 + Cl2. May the neck grow thinner!