Archive for November, 2009

Afternoon Roar – dealing with a dreadful haircut

I have endured great misery, cried myself to sleep, never met friends on that weekend, begged my friend to pin it up with tiny black hair clips and tried endlessly to make some aesthetic sense into the mess they create. Having suffered more than my share of bad haircuts, I found freedom. I have been liberated from the tyranny of the breed of bad hairstylists. Never had a bad haircut in the last five years.

I always walked out of Bounce, Lavelle Road, Bangalore feeling on top of the world fabulous. Long, lustrous, ultra smooth, layered, with the just the right bounce, gorgeous, below shoulder length hair that would put a Pantene ad to shame. You have to get a haircut in Bounce to feel what I am talking about. I am sure many would agree with me when I say, “No compromise on haircuts.”

Cut to Kottayam, Kerala. I guess good fortunes don’t cross inter state boundaries. After my haircut I was greeted by the same emotions which frequented my mind before Bounce – sadness and misery. I am in vogue with the season. The layers in my haircut resemble a Christmas tree. I asked for nice razor cut bangs, now my face looks like a square box. I paid close to Rs. 250 to look like shit especially during the holiday season. I reassured my mother that my hair really grows fast. Parachute advanced oil would be my trusted aide during this holiday season.

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Uber Creative Home Decor

Spend the entire morning surfing this site. Every time I am about to close the browser, images of superbly creative and crafted furniture or the hanging candles tug my heart. One more addition to my latest personal weakness – An Indian Summer. The ingeniously crafted home décor and furniture on this site would have you pining to do up your home once again.

I love home décor and wooden crafted furniture. Love everything about them – the creativity, the simplicity, the texture, the color, the design, the cuts, the emotions that they bring into a home. My ideal Saturday would be visiting a home décor store. Ikea, home décor at Fab India, the Wendell Rodrigues store in Goa makes me go weak in the knee.

My passion for home décor and Indian furniture started when I moved to India for my education. Since then everything I see, I save an imprint in my long term memory for my own house. Last nine years (education+work) life has been divided between crammed up hostels and single room paying guest accommodation. My weakness for home décor has prompted me to hunt for my own one bedroom apartment in Bangalore. Unfortunately that never materialized. Yes, I must confess, my 101 reasons why I should get married, one of them is home décor/ doing up the house. Well, joy multiples in sharing! No point sitting in my single room alone with hanging candles, exquisite linens and pillows on a Saturday night. Till I have my own house or find a better half to pay for the expenses, I will continue to sigh heavily when I see uber creative and artistic home décor.

26/11- guilt pangs

Continued from this post

The fervor was illuminating, the desire was pure and I couldn’t wait for class. Saturdays and Sundays classes. The timings were 9am to 4/7pm. The first weekend was mind blowing. I learnt I knew jack about the system. My claim to fame seemed to be sub standard kindergarten knowledge of the polity. Day one , I was salvaging my inner monologue ranting on about what the hell I was doing.

My class was a small room packed with twenty five of us. Took down notes on rural India, government initiated rural schemes, foreign exchange, economics, geography. I haven’t used a pen to write anything but post it notes after college. It was a struggle to spell and write fast. Topics on rural India were overwhelming. As classes progressed I saw a visible distinction between my fellow civil servant aspirants and me. I scanned the class and assumed that majority of the aspirants were middle class/ lower middle class families touched by miniscule waves of urbanization. I hate labels but yes some were typical geeks. There was a world of difference between them and me. Our ideas, speech, outlook, our sensibilities. I could talk, express my views about foreign affairs of India but they knew the real problems. The problems faced by the 9th planning commission headed by abc under the guidance of xyz. I knew who the music director of Slumdog Millionaire was.

Being a slave of globalization, weekends are very precious. The second weekend I forced myself to class.The knowledge was overwhelming, my eyelids were battling sleep, I was tried, I missed Saturday and Sunday night outs. The fervor which earlier illuminated was flicker of light. There were numerous books to be read and memorized. I was unable to balance work and studying. I would stare at the books and decide to go to bed. This routine went on for few weeks. Eventually I dropped out of class as I could not manage dealing with lousy working days and memorizing the recommendations of the 8th planning commission.

I still have guilt pangs. I always wanted to make it to the Indian Foreign Service. But I did fall short of the energy and blamed it on work. On the brighter side, the restriction age is 30 and four attempts. I still have three more attempts. I quit my job two months back. Contemplating whether I should give it another shot. I can’t afford my fervor to fall short this time. Every time I hear about 26/11 I feel all I did was talk just like everyone else.

Life returned to normalcy but I still can’t make peace when Sandeep’s father’s words at the memorial service which frequent my mind and what I see in the news. I recently read a tweet from Rajdeep Sardesai which read – every shithole in the country, theres someone whose making a positive difference. May their tribe increase.

26/11- the new emotion I learnt

I was in Bangalore when the attacks happened. Was in front of the TV when the first shooting spree in Mumbai was reported as an internal gang war. Soon, the country woke up to an impending sixty hours of horrendous terror. Restless, I switched from one news channel to another. Watched every news report, analysis, press conferences and live coverage endless trying to comprehend the terror unleashed on the city.

As day one progressed, the intensity and the intended magnitude of terror sent tremors to the world. I went for work but the attacks loomed over all our minds. We discussed and contemplated all day. Feeling helpless, I made few calls to friends working for the media in Bangalore to know whether there was anything I could do. Could not find any means to contribute.

As night progressed, I saw a familiar face in the evening news. I last saw him last three to four years back. That evening’s breaking news was the death of Major. Sandeep Unnikrishnan. In the face of tragedy humans turn into numerals and statistics. Numbers tend to disassociate the emotional quotient of life.

Few days later, a memorial service was held at Frank Anthony Public School, Bangalore, for Sandeep Unnikrishnan. He studied in FAPS. It was an open event. My friends and I took off from work to attend the memorial service. Common emotions trickling through everyone’s mind was immense sadness, very unfortunate that he got shot, feeling awful for his parents. I entered the school ground and was overwhelmed by a tsunami of emotions that rushed within me. It was heart wrenchingly beautiful.

My perspective, patriotism, priority changed that day. I learnt about Sandeep’s zeal, his deep rooted, undying love and committee for his country. Friends and teachers recalled Sandeep’s antics and his student life. I tried very hard to control my flood gates. Sunglasses, looking down at the ground none of these tactics worked to hide the grief or the reality. The crowd broke down intermittently at the memorial service.

Sandeep’s father said a few words. And that’s when the flood gates rushed open for many of us. Heart wrenching to watch and hear a father recall his son. I learnt a new emotion. That of grief when combined with valor, pride and patriotism. It is amazingly powerful, dynamic and can change lives.

Next few weeks, frustration and disappointment consumed me. Terror is such that it shakes the foundation of everything you believe in. Sandeep’s father’s words and a vehemently sobbing mother frequented my mind. It never made peace with what I was seeing on the news – Ram Gopal Verma visiting the Taj, comments from the Home Minister, senseless banter from the ministers, bullet proof jacket scam, power struggles within the state which affected the NSG and much more. All we do is talk. We talk and talk and repeatedly talk.

Most of our lives returned to normalcy within weeks. Over a period resilience and patriotism covered everything that was inadequate and inefficient.

I signed up for coaching class to write the Civil Service exams. Rewinding for clarity – I thrive on news, foreign affairs was always my specialty. After the terror attacks, the moves of the external ministry left me bewildered. I decided I wanted to be in the system, join the Indian Foreign Services. The clarity I had at that moment was soul strengthening. The fervor was illuminating, the desire was pure and I couldn’t wait for class.

(to be continued….)

Afternoon Roar – the Leak that didnt sting

For once I thought that justice would prevail. Very disappointed to know that the Liberhan that after spending Rs 8 crores over a span of 17 years, there has been no penalizing action against any of the accused. Such is the state of affairs at the helm of Indian politics. The Liberhan fiasco highlights the numerous redundant committee and commissions that remain docile in India. Crores of Rupees spent on investigations without any credible action oriented agenda. It’s high time that the government outgrows its practice of starting committees and commissions. I read a tweet from Vir Sanghvi which said that commissions and committees are started for the sole purpose of giving employment and housing to retired judges. I absolutely agree with him

Afternoon Roar – the Liberhan Leak

Today unfolded the intense, high power voltage drama dipped in irony and sautéed with satire. I just love Indian politics! The Liberhan commission report and the leak will feed us well into the next year.

The Liberhan commission was set up to investigate the demolition of the Babri Masjid. It was set up ten days after the demolition under the Narasimha Rao government. The commission was headed by Justice MS Liberhan, former chief justice of the Madras High Court.

After 17 years, 48 extensions and Rs 8 crore Liberhan commission finally submitted the report to the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on June 30, 2009. The commission was expected to submit the report within three months. The figures tell such a shameful story. Seriously 48 extensions. Reports claim that the commission had to endure tough times while probing the demolition under the NDA years when LK Advani was the home minister.

BJP has been plagued with internal power struggles and severe unrest within the party and RSS. As the dust began to settle down with LK Advani stepping down and his successors chosen; the Liberhan leak sent turbulent tremors inside the BJP. The after effects of the Liberhan leak was felt in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha as both the houses were adjourned due to the uproar caused by the BJP MPs.

We (the common man) knew the NDA government was behind the demolition. No matter how intricate the tales, stories and rebuttals were woven by LK Advani and his colleagues, their cherished ideology of Hindutav will always continue to haunt them. We spent 17 years and Rs 8 crore to get a 900 page report which had to be leaked to know that the NDA was behind the demolition of the Babri Masjid. The people of this country can redeem their money and integrity if the criminal conspiracy charges against LK Advani and seven others which were dropped by a special CBI court a few years can be resorted.

“A planned leak to divide the Opposition” – Sushma Swaraj, BJP Leader.

Sushmaji, I think you guys in the BJP have done a phenomenal job of backstabbing your own party members with such panache. The Congress really does not have to scratch its head to figure out how to divide the Opposition further. Too late for any damage control. Hey, while you are thinking of an immaculate damage control idea, pick up the phone and dial Modi.

 

26/11- in the name of resilience and patriotism

Came across this link on ibnlive.com

http://ibnlive.in.com/videos/105760/zindagi-live-2611-martyr-maj-unnikrishnans-father-speaks.html

A short interview with Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan’s parents. Heart wrenching to see his parents. His father hit the nail – the bitter truth. At the end of the day, the parents carry the inconsolable grief of losing a son.

Sandeep’s father says his son is a victim of politics. Can’t imagine the irrepressible grief that the father and mother carry in their mind due to our laxity of the Indian government and power struggles in politics. The patriotism trump card alone cannot cover the unbearable loss.
“How you do want to remember your son”? This was the question asked by journalist interviewing the parents of Sandeep Unnikrishnan. What kind of a senseless and insensitive question is that? How can you ask any father how he wants to remember his own son? Especially under circumstances where the parents are trying so hard not to break down in front of the viewers. Sensible questions you could have asked –

  • A year after the terror strikes, do you think the government has learnt any lessons?
  • Do you think our government is soft on Pakistan?
  • Many children from Sandeep’s school, FAPS, Bangalore has been so inspired by him. They are contemplating joining the NSG. That must make you feel so proud.

I think the voices of those who lost their loved ones during the terror counter operations have to be heard. Their pain has to be felt by every citizen for change to creep into our system. Resilience and patriotism should not cover the laxity and corruption in the government. More air time should be given to voices that need to be heard than a Ritesh Deshmukh (son of ex-CM of Maharashtra Vilasrao Deshmukh) taking 30 minutes to explain why Ram Gopal Verma and himself were present when officials were surveying the damages at the Taj.