Monday, June 29, 2009

Cycling in Bangalore - Adventure of sorts!

Yesterday I saw a guy with a super cool bicycle and on a whim decided to get one for myself. I am not exactly honest when I use the word "whim" for it was some thing that I was always wanting to do though I never quite thought the eventual decision would be so quick and it surprised myself. I would like to think of myself as a little cautious and not prone to spontaneity of this variety. In the end, unless one finds oneself in a situation that tests some prejudices and stretches them to their elastic limit, one can't really know oneself. There are some mental blocks that as human beings, we develop and persist with quite unreasonably and to our loss and discomfiture. When we break out of those shackles, it is a pleasant feeling that takes over.

Now coming to my new bicycle, it is a Hercules Ultima Shox 6 SP. I don't know the technicalities pertaining to the vehicle for as I write this, its only the second day that I have it in my possession. I wanted to commute to office and did that today with reasonable success. 12 kms in 45 minutes in the morning and 1 hour in the evening traffic is, I suppose not bad for a start. Its an adventure of sorts navigating Bangalore roads with a bicycle.

One never knows what lays next. Is it a forlorn horse looking terribly bored or a buffalo suddenly about to shit? The roads seem to abound with possibilities; something akin to a tight rope walk after which the feeling is like that of an elated circus performer. Where rules are only on paper and signals exist to be deceived unscrupulously, the stage is set for a dramatic act of juggling. Indeed, I shall not be exaggerating if I say so. So, when I started off at 6 in the morning, I was thoroughly excited and when the mission was accomplished, I was ecstatic with joy.

The evening was even better and I grew in confidence. The Sun was blazing and the path was winding; the cyclist in me was up to the task. This is certainly one adventure that every person should attempt - in the interest of the environment, to conserve non-renewable resources, to have some exercise and fun at the same time. I hope that this new found love of mine keeps me enthused in the near future with her stupendous ability to invoke pride, respect, admiration and joy- that intoxicating combination that turns a person on and gives a "real" high!!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

A cute little encounter

A Saturday morning - a little chilly with a nice and gentle breeze...a disappointing start to the day for me when I learnt that Gayle and Co were out of the reckoning for the T20 World Cup.

After having my breakfast, I was on the way to the park in Jayanagar 9th block, it was nothing unique considering that it is my weekend routine for lack of a better pastime. Some incidents, the way they transpire, on first sight don't look extraordinary and on the contrary appear perfectly plausible and routine, but on retrospect have an aura and halo about them that one can't find it easy to just forget them. They lend a brightness to an otherwise dreary and boring existence particularly if our mood verges on the despairing and insipid side. So, if you get the context I am trying to place this post in, read on...

On that particular street, one of my favorites in the area - there is a sense of indifference to beauty. People don't seem to admire it as intently as I like to think, I do. They appear too preoccupied. Rather, I think city folks are in general too preoccupied anytime, rarely finding time to indulge in something for themselves purely for pleasure and amusement.

Enough of digressions...let me come to the point. Try to imagine this if you can, for I am not sure, I would be able to do complete justice to this post and the encounter in question -

A huge dog that was quite menacing in its proportions was held on a chain by a boring guy. The guy was oblivious to his surroundings and must have been dreaming. He was standing with the dog on one side while on the other side of the street, another dog, small and undernourished, was walking by with its owner, an old woman. The two dogs met and there was the usual reaction, only this time, the small one was really scared. The big dog was growling and pouncing, trying its best to get out of the guy's control while the small one was struggling and dragging the old lady further into the pavement on the side.

Meanwhile, a girl, (she must have been under 25) was about to start her Honda Activa as a gentleman, presumably her father, told her that he was ready to go. She was on the side of the street close to the big dog and had been witnessing this with a keen interest. Silently, almost in a whisper, she asks her father - "Oru nimisham irukkela" - in chaste Tamil. (translated to English as "Can you wait for a minute?") Gently with agile, light and quick steps, she crosses the street and almost immediately, (rather too soon to be almost shocking) the small dog in a cute fashion, jumps up to her and tries to cuddle. It was very spontaneous and was like love at first night.

They were all over each other like two kids fighting or playing with each other. I could not figure out what caused the dog to behave like that for I am sure it was a stranger to the girl . Their affection towards each other was unbridled and went on for nearly 4-5 minutes. Nobody seemed to notice this spectacle except me and another guy in the terrace of an adjacent house who was having a toothbrush in hand. The girl and the dog spoke to each other without any need for words. We humans, even with the benefit of words rarely understand each other and often, end up with assumptions, suspect, back bite and take each other for granted.

Not frequently do you come across such sights, very unusual in their spontaneity and nature, unexpected if your mood is not great for a weekend. But that encounter was something special. It had beauty written all over. Was the girl good looking or not? - I can't reollect for she never removed her helmet and I was a little too distant to notice her exact features but her act certainly was! In the end, the old lady had to restrain her pet with some strength and resolve to prevent it from running away with the girl. She quickly walked back across the street and with some style and gusto started her Activa and whizzed past me in no time.

I think I saw a hint of sadness in the face of the big dog, the natural bully, while the guy was well and truly awake. In my riveted attention, I forgot that I could have used my mobile to capture the cuteness for things of beauty are joys forever. Aren't they?

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The 15.

Here is my list of 15 books after seeing this post from Shefali.

To associate one word is very difficult. Let me try though -

  1. Epic - A fine Balance, Rohinton Mistry
  2. Shock - Blindness, Jose Saramago
  3. Wit - The picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde
  4. Poetry - The Writer's notebook, Somerset Maugham
  5. Life - Commentaries on Living, Compilation of J Krishnamurti's gems
  6. Philosophy - Under the Net, Iris Murdoch
  7. Incredulity - One night at the Call Center, Chetan Bhagat
  8. Brilliance - Midnight's Children, Salman Rushdie
  9. Depression - The Brothers Karamazov, F Dostoevsky
  10. Sadness - Tears of the desert, Halima Bashir
  11. Genius - The remains of the day, Kazuo Ishiguro
  12. Frenzy - Disgrace, J M Coetzee
  13. Confusion - The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown
  14. Adventure - Power of the Sword, Wilbur Smith
  15. Dreams - Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, J K Rowling
Thanks Shefali :) I enjoyed recollecting this!

A birthday to remember!

A birthday comes once every year and who wouldn't want it to be memorable! I just wrote the most cliched sentence...

My 23rd birthday certainly turned out to be - cliche or not...I wasn't able to believe my luck when I got a mail saying I had been invited along with 49 other lucky participants of the Sunfeast Marathon, to dine with Deepika Padukone. The mail was drafted with precision and had all holes covered. Like a man shouting from the roof top, I announced it to all my friends and relatives. When the day dawned, I even did the unthinkable and went to a nearby salon and surrendered my face to the lone soul t
here. I have no clue what he did. There was facial, ayurvedic massage, bleach etc etc and I let him do as he pleased for half an hour and came back feeling something akin to surprise and elation. After all, I had survived the experience :)

When I reached the hotel, I was almost literally sailing in the clouds hoping to get at least an autograph from the star. Starstruck - I was the quintessential definition! I met Ashish and before I could gather myself and adjust to some weird behavior on the part of the ho
tel staff, the whole team was everywhere wishing me. There was no Deepika Padukone but here was a team that had taken every effort possible to cover their tracks and planned the whole affair to such perfection. Team work is often bandied about carelessly but if I am asked to give an example now, I would remember June 8...

There were balloons, a delicious cake and my team wearing big smiles. The affection and warmth I felt then, can hardly be put into words. Having fallen for a neat little prank, I hated myself briefly, though I guess I am using the wrong word here.

This post might sound confusing. Indeed some occasions bring out the child in us however otherwise the advancing time might lead us to believe. It was one such day and I am glad that, I am part of a team like this. Bangalore is all the more beautiful when people make it so!!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Run Bangalore Run – When the city was vibrant with joy!

“My race is just about to begin. Where are you?” a middle-aged lady on the phon
e presumably talking to a friend who had promised to come and encourage her. Nothing else can better sum up the energy that was on show at the Kanteerva Indoor Stadium, Bangalore on May 31, 2009. It was a day that the city had been waiting for. In an exhibition of uninhibited enthusiasm, a huge crowd of people, young and old, from all walks of life gathered on a Sunday morning to run. Several categories were there to participate in – the open 10K and the Majja Run being prominently successful!

A motley group of Non-Governmental organizations espoused the messages they wanted to get across. They ranged from being very specific to the very generic as a sample few of them that I can remember follow -

“Save sparrow, save Bangalore

“If I can’t learn the way you teach me, will you teach the way I can learn?”

“Challenge autism”

“Let us knock out poverty”.

“I run for a cause bigger than the finish line”

I think this is the biggest achievement of the marathon and the organizers. Apart from emphasizing the importance of fitness, this goes on to show that volunteering is not as alien to the urbane and the young as is widely perceived. While most city folk on a Sunday morning would want to get up late and unwind, an event like this doesn’t happen often.

It was exciting to see many kids running along with their parents and wearing big smiles on their faces. I was initially at the entrance observing the crowd as it poured in. The glimpses of conversations – at times eloquent and at times subdued and private, the acknowledgment of a wave of the hand and the spirit of bonhomie that prevailed in general in a cosmopolitan city, I was like a silent spectator to all these, always listening and never retreating into myself.

As the wheel chair event kicked off, the holding area cheered in unison. Strangers’ cheering one another for the sheer joy of it is a rare sight and hence warrants mention all the more. I had, in a moment of spontaneity, prepared a chart with some messages that I felt, would be relevant to all fellow Bangaloreans. Pinning it on my back, I ran too, one in the sea of humanity that swept me with its rhythm, a tide that knew no class, caste, age and gender.

At the end of it, I felt immensely happy. When I heard a guy frantically asking what time it was, to measure himself against his standard, what more can I say? I salute the spirit of the city and wait for the next such event!