Sunday, September 16, 2007

Although It Started On Friday, But..

The topic of discussion on every table in the cafeteria was common; about India Vs Pakistan cricket match in the 20-20 World Cup. Everyone had an opinion about the best possible strategy as if the blue brigade had no captain.

A footballer to the core, I hate cricket from the bottom of my heart. But when it comes to India Vs Pakistan, a craziness grips me. For me, and for billion other Indians, perhaps it is the only way India can take revenge for all the wars and numerous terrorist attacks.

I asserted "Don't worry guys; India has never lost against Pakistan in World cup. Our players are going to rip their bowling apart".

But then a friend revealed the reason for his skepticism "Man! don't forget today is Friday, और जुम्मे के दिन तो पाकिस्तान को इंडिया सपने में भी नहीं हरा सकता".

That was a beamer, and it was enough to silent me. I have never heard or seen India defeating Pakistan on a Friday. And this jinx has always hounded the Indians.

On my way to home I bought 4 cans of beer, to drink the certain Indian defeat. India started batting. With first wicket of Gambhir, I opened my first can. The bad omen was working. With every wicket that went down, I went high.

Utthappa and Dhoni played some magnificent strokes, but for me there were just fillers before the inevitable. The Pakistan bowling attack winded up the blue boys for just 141 runs, a pathetic score by any standards in this shorter version of the game.

Now it was the turn of Indians to bowl. Pakistan lost a few early wickets. With time, the difference between the balls remaining and runs required increased. At one point, when 58 runs were required for just 32 deliveries, I felt as if India had a chance. But with the omen on their side and few great shots, the green brigade reached 141 with two balls to spare, that too of Sreesanth (needlessly agressive joker).

First one was a dot ball. Forget it! On a Friday Paki's can hit a 6 even on the last ball let alone just one run. Sreesanth now bowled the last one. This time the batsmen hit to the short cover. The fielder swiftly returned the ball and before I could figure out anything else it was a run out. Yes, It was a tie!

Unbelievable! Every Indian on the screen had gone mad. I was jumping and howling like crazy, but then I stopped fearing neighbors would come over. It was already late, 1'o'clock in the night. Wait a minute... What time? That means Friday was over, it was Saturday morning. The omen had passed. The Indians were there to win and they finally did it in style with a score of 3:0. You read that right! Its not a football or a hockey score, but a cricket score.।

Although the match started on Friday, but it ended on Saturday :-)

"Chak De India"

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

No to Fire Drills, Yes To Life!

There was an old lady in a village who used to live alone. She always had a fear of robbers. The villagers assured her that whenever she will call for help, they will immediately come over.

One day the villagers heard the lady shouting "चोर चोर". They quickly gathered outside her house to catch the thief. But to their surprise there was no one else other than the lady. She said "I was skeptical wheather you people will turn up for my help but now I am happy as you have put all my doubts to rest". The villagers were very disappointed.

One fine evening, the lady again raised the alarm "चोर चोर". This time no one turned up for help. Next morning villagers came to know that the robbers had looted all her valuables and had beaten her Black and Blue. That was the Fake Alarm Effect.

I was in a team meeting. There was an important discussion going on. Suddenly, we heard a sharp and shrill sound of the fire alarms installed in our office building.

I exclaimed: "Oh No! Not again".

Everyone had a disappointed look on their face. My manager was quick to react as he feared the worst, A Fire Drill.

Manager: "Puneet, can you please check if this is a false alarm for a fire drill."
Me: "Fine. if it's a false alarm I will come back to inform But if there is a real fire, then please don't expect me back"

Everyone in the conference room laughed as I went outside to check out the situation. People outside had a grim look on their face. The guard told me with full seriousness that it is a fire drill and everyone is required to leave everything as it is, and reach the lawns as fast as possible that too without using the lift.

It was actually disappointing as I, like everyone else, would be required to stand in the sun and learn the usage of fire extinguishers. This happened for the 6th time in my small career of 4 years.

I sincerely hope that in case of a real fire, the alarms will sound differently to convey the right message. Otherwise in all probability like that lady, I too will become the victim of Fake Alarm Effect :-)

Share your experience of fire drills :-)

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Are you an Impotent like me

It was the Saturday evening of 25th August. I reached home around 10 min past 9'o'clock, to catch the elimination results of the Gala round of Indian Idol. My favorite show on Sony entertainment channel.

I switched on my Television only to find NDTV 24x7 running. There was a breaking news of twin explosions that rocked the city of Hyderabad in the evening and around 40 people were feared dead. I had no time for details as I had already missed 10 mins of action on Sony. Not sure of the channel number I started surfing with the remote. All the news channels that I encountered in between had the same story of blasts.

At last, I reached my show but got upset to find my favorite singers Amit Paul and Chang standing in the middle of the stage. They were voted to the bottom two and one of them had to leave the competition. Finally the name was announced and the person who had to leave the competition was Chang. Of course he was not as good as Amit Paul but definitely better than the others. There were tears in the eyes of many in the audience and must have been the case with many of those watching the show on TV. The show ended with a superb departing song from Chang.

I took a deep breath and started surfing the channels again. Another news channel "AAJ TAK" reminded me of the blasts that became oblivious to me during the show. Mutilated bodies of the dead lying in the pool of blood were shown. Many people were running around to find out weather their loved ones are among the unfortunates. There were 43 casualties and around 100 got injured.

I started feeling butterflies in my stomach and a sense of guilt dawned on me since I preferred to watch a singing competetion over the news of a terrorist attack on my country. Over the years, the terrorists, with the help of the Indian government, have done their job pretty well. With every attack they were not just able to murder many Indians but also kill their compassion and sensitivity towards human sufferings. They have turned India into an impotent nation where the simple rule of demand/supply does not apply just to the commodities but also to the human lives. With the supply of Indians being the highest in the world, their value is the lowest.

Now the terrorists should target countries like U.K. where the whole nation mourned when 35 people were killed in a tunnel blasts, where people refuse to accept terror as their destiny and demand to live with honor and pride.

As far as my guilt is concerned, I don't have to worry. A couple of more explosions and it will also fade away, forever.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Tables have turned

I was resting with a few final year students of MNNIT after an extremely tiring game of Basket Ball. My favourite sport whenever I visit MNNIT Allahabad (my home and my almamater) and and last week was no different. As always... I wanted to know about the placement scenario of my college, to show both curiosity and seniority :-) .

Me : So... how are the placements going on?
Student : Pretty Good Sir! Around 350 out of 500 got placed in the last 15 days.

Me : That is amazing! And how many Infosys took?

In all these years my curiosity to inquire about the placements in Infosys has not died down. It was exactly in August of 2002, when I appeared for the selection process of this supposedly dream company for campus placement. Not sure weather on knowledge but definitely on marks I fulfill their criteria of 70% aggregate including that of 10th and 12th standards. Around 150 students appeared for the written test but only 90 cleared the first milestone including me. I was nervous and excited and was still a step short of getting into the top organization of the country. In the interview the HR dragged me into a debate of "Authority vs Responsibility". The technical guys grilled me by covering all the topics except the ones that I knew. The interview lasted for around 45 mins which I surely flunked. In irritation I decided that 'some day... I will buy out this organization to take my revenge'.

In reply the student showed me his index finger.
Me : My GOD! They took 100 this time.
Student : No Sir! They took just one.
Me : What! Just one? But Infosys is a mass recruiter and I read somwhere that it has plans to hire a few thousand this year.
Student : But Sir, how could have they taken anymore when just 10 students appeared for selection and that too the ones with lower grades. Even civil engineers refused to appear.

Me: How many were in the panel and what was the eligibility criteria?
Student : A panel of 20 came and the criteria was 60% aggregate.

Somehow I felt very happy to hear that and dropped the idea of buying out Infosys. Afterall my juniors have taken my revenge by rejecting the organisation.
No doubt that the times have changed and Tables have turned.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

I Luv U…. Bitch!

I was dying to visit my home-town, Allahabad, after a hectic project, which I finally manage to submit just an hour before catching the train. The demanding timelines and the hectic schedule had drained away all my energies. But the mere excitement of a week-long holiday with the family and company of my brother generated some extra joules that kept me going in the extremely hot and humid compartment of Rewa Express.

The Plan for the week ahead was already in place. I have to only sleep and eat and visiting those boring relatives was out of question even if mom insists.

The Auto stopped in front of my lawns. The sound of the autorikshaw was pretty loud in the serene campus of MNNIT, but still no one came out. Finally we knocked and my mom opened the door smiling. Papa also came out of the drawing room. But when I got down to touch his feet… I noticed something small and black behind him. It was moving swiftly and was apparently upset because two strangers have barged into the house. She was a bitch…. a black bitch.

Me: Whats that thing?
Papa: A female

Female for sure, but looks more like a country dog than a Labrador.

Me: How old is she?
Papa: A month and a half and we bought it 25 days back.

Looks smarter than her age.

Me: And may I know what her name is?
Mom: Cherry!

What! She doesn’t look that sweet to me to be named cherry. Actually, I was not able to understand the need for a pet, that too a bitch. I mean, I too like pets but only in a zoo.

My mom went inside the kitchen and brought something… which she kept it in front of the new member of the family. It was milk with torn chapattis in it. And my Dad started caressing her and brushed her back. And here I am, excessively sweating, back after two months working day and night in the office and no one is thinking about me. And this bitch has already started to share the food and love of my parents. Will she also inherit my Dad’s wealth? Don’t want to think about that right now.

On my father’s insistence, I took my hand closer to cherry to touch her, but she opened her mouth as if she will eat my finger. I stared at her and grinned “Excuse me! I belong to this place since last 27 years. And you, not even 27 days. So don’t even dare to think of replacing me”.

My whole next week plan was screwed up. I had to get up early in the mornings (which of course I used to detest) to take Cherry out for a stroll, so that she can attend her natures call. She had a unique taste, other than milk and bread, she used to prefer clothes and papers lying on the floor. Slippers are her personal favorites. So I had to keep a watch on her. I also gave up my shorts and started wearing jeans at home, in this hot weather, in order to avoid any bitch bites. In all she was a problem that I have to live with for the next one week.

On Wednesday afternoon, after having her lunch Cherry was taken out by our servant but in a hurry to play she tried to get in the lawn through the bushes, and landed herself on a brick. I ran outside after hearing painful screams. And there she was, on the grass, limping. She could not keep her rear right leg on the ground. Fearing the worst, I carried her immediately to the radiologist. The X-ray showed a hair line crack. The Doctor gave an injection and bandaged her leg. Somehow I did not realize that my whole Wednesday evening went in this.

On Friday evening, when I returned home after meeting my friends, Cherry literally jumped on me, grabbed my trousers in her mouth and moved briskly around my legs angrily, as if she was trying to say that 'She missed me'! I was so touched that for the first time I felt as if there was no gap between us. Then I sat down, brushed her back, looked into her eyes and for the next half n hour kept on assuring that I will never leave her.

That was a false promise. On Sunday, I have to catch the train for Delhi, again leaving everything behind, my family, my college. And when I will be back again after couple of months, Cherry will be taller and stronger. She will neither remember me nor my smell and will welcome me with loud barks. Then I will have to make her fall in love with me all over again.

For now, its time to go and check how she is doing. But before that, I have to change my status for pets on Orkut.

Pets: I love my pet(s)

Thursday, May 31, 2007

1857 - Concept of a Nation and Fight for Freedom of Mind

India celebrated the 150th anniversary of its first fight for freedom struggle against the British rule. To commemorate the occasion, numerous functions and meetings were conducted. Number of articles were published both in the electronic and the print media to educate people about the events that took place, 150 years ago, which shook the very foundations of the British Empire, an empire where the sun never used to set.

But then, why we celebrated a revolt which not just failed to drive the Britishers out of the country but in the end was also brutally crushed.
A revolt which was started by the sepoys, not exactly with the intention to free the nation, but to fight for their religious sentiments. A revolt where Rajah and Rani s participated to free their own estate from the Englishmen and the concept to free country never occurred to them. A revolt which was unplanned, mostly around the region of North India(from Delhi to Calcutta), with masses never into it. Was it bound to succeed at all? No! Never! But it was successful in something very subtle, starting a chain reaction to free the Mind of the Indians and build the concept of a Nation.

Let’s understand this concept by looking at the medieval Indian history. Before the British Rule, Indian political map consisted of small provinces and Riyasats, with a lot of infighting. The concept of the nation never existed. Masses had to serve the king and the boundary of their country kept on changing with every battle moreover the population was strongly divided on the basis of caste. This made now India (the then golden bird) very vulnerable to the invasions.

Different invaders came and ruled the nation on their own terms, murdered in masses, plundered the Indian culture and looted and destroyed not just materialistic wealth but also mental wealth. According to some historians, the library of Nalanda University kept on burning continuously for 15 days.

The Indians were under subjugation and slavery for almost thousand years. Whoever was the king the masses were subjected to torture and slavery for generations. So much of oppression over a period of time ultimately lead masses to give up, not just physically, but also robbed them of their thought process and the Indians lost their confidence and identity.

What would have happened, had the revolt succeeded in driving the Englishmen out of the country? Then the people, who were mentally in shackles, would have been enslaved by some other regime or ruler.

This would have gone the same way, had East India Company not come to rule. The first mistake they did was to give one name to a broken Nation and that was INDIA and unknowingly they passed the same concept to the masses.

Then came 1857, when although different faction revolted against the Company and for different reasons, but for the first time people saw a huge Empire, which was till now considered to be immortal, being challenged. Slowly, over a period of time, the thought process started becoming independent. Post 1857, lot of leaders and reformers start coming up in different parts of the nation who were ready to pull up those who were down and instill awareness and self-confidence. This was the time to steadily educate and engage masses to be a part of freedom struggle. It was a very slow process but the only right step towards complete freedom and self reliance.

Even though the Indian freedom struggle, post 1857, was largely non-violent, but it became a mass movement. Non-cooperation, civil disobedience and quit India movement were the perfect examples of mass participation and was an indication enough for the British Raj that it is impossible to slave a nation for long with free minds.

So, Lets get together and celebrate the anniversary of 1857 revolt, because it was not just the first fight for Freedom of India but also the first fight for the Freedom of minds and building of a nation.