Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Well, thankfully.....

The world did not end.... Neither in that Rapture thing, nor in the manner i knew it.
And my phone is safe (just in case anyone actually believed i'll smash it, Smiroff isn't Doc and Doc). Vodafone and Nokia went the extra mile and some to sort the problem for me, though it still took 4 days. I wonder if they are nice to me because I am loyal to them or I am loyal to them because they are nice to me. Most of the world has a register full of complaints against these companies, i have hardly any!! I guess it works both ways with a bit of good luck thrown in. Plus, for Vodafone, i am a revenue center by way of sms - 60% of my phone bill is sms. They will go out of the way to sort out the matter for me!!

Nomophobic, as the all knowing (well, almost) Mahesh tells me is the fear of being out of touch due to loss or misplacing phone. I guess i would also qualify for this, by means of my anxiety was not able to send out sms messages.
When some people did not care to check why i haven't replied to their messages for 24 hours, i felt life wasnt worth living. Koi kisi ka nahi yeh jhoote naate hain, naato ka kya......When 3 people called to ask where are you, no sms for 3 days, life was better. Yuhin kat jayega safar saath chalne se......and then all was well. Expect for the small matter of losing a lot of settings, applications and saved email addresses (in hindsight, thats not a bad thing).

One thing this problem made me do was to speak to people. I cannot reply to queries by sms, i cannot ask anything by sms. For far too long, i have managed to avoid the concept of making small talk around the real agenda of the call. But now i had to do that, and it isnt a bad thing to do. Just a bit counterproductive, thats all.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

End of the world....

As i know it.

Since morning, i have not been able to send any SMS from my phone. Just stuck in the outbox, never moves to sent messages folder. Everything else working fine. Maybe the phone's fault, maybe Vodafone. Last few days, it sent out the same message repeatedly. Its like a colleague's illness last week - loose motions one day, constipation next day.

If this doesn't rectify by tomorrow, i am going to smash my phone. My friend Smirnoff agrees this is the right thing to do.

Sent from Rachit's phone

Monday, May 16, 2011

No words to describe.....awesome ghazal!

Ranjish hi sahi dil hi dukhaanay kay liyay aa
aa phir say mujhay chhorr kay jaanay kay liyay aa

(Let it be anguish, come still to torment my heart

Come, even if to leave me again)

pehlay say maraasim na sahi phir bhi kabhi to
rasm-o-rahay duniya hi nibhaanay kay liyay aa

(If not for our past association

Come to fulfill the rituals of the world)

kis kis ko bataayengay judaai kaa sabab ham
tu mujh se khafaa hai to zamaanay kay liyay aa

(Who else must I explain the reason of separation

Come, despite your displeasure, to continue the ceremony)

kuchh to meri pindaar-e-mohabbat ka bharam rakh
tu bhi to kabhi mujh ko manaanay kay liyay aa

(Respect a little the depth of my love for you

Come someday to placate me as well)

ek umr say hun lazzat-e-giryaa se bhi mehruum
aye raahat-e-jaan mujh ko rulaanay kay liyay aa

(Too long have I been deprived of the pathos of longing

Come my love, if only to make me weep again)

ab tak dil-e-khush_feham ko tujh say hain ummeedain
ye aakhari shammain bhi bujhaanay kay liyay aa

(Till now, my heart suffers from some expectation

Come to snuff even these last candles of hope)

Friday, May 13, 2011


Rachit : C.G.Road chalenge?
Auto driver : haan
R : kitna lenge?
A : meter se maalik.
R : acchi baat hain.

We set off.

R : accha bhaisaab, yahan ahmedabad main, aap kisi marathi auto driver ko jaante ho kya? Uske auto ke peeche 'jai shivaji' likha hai, uska naam bhi shivaji hain?? Maninagar main rehta tha.
A : bhai yahan pe das pandrah hazaar auto driver hain. Aise kaise kisi ko jaan sakte hain na?
R : haan vo to hain, main to bas chance le ragha tha.

I know this sounds stupid but this, or a similar conversation, is what i have had with 3 auto drivers on this trip to Ahmedabad. Similarly when i had come to Ahmedabad 2 years back. But still havent got anyone who would know him. Next time.

Shivaji was an auto driver in Ahmedabad i had met in 2007, when i had camped here for over 45 days. It was the 'Jai Shivaji' sticker at the back of his auto that had attracted our attention to him and then our marathi connection made him the designated driver for the rest of our trip. On subsequent trips to the city, i would call him and again he was the designated driver. It was nice talking to him, hearing his plans on how his kids would be educated, how he had got a new ric, some incidents with his in-laws and so on.

Sometime in early 2008, he called me saying his number is changing. I am sure i saved his new number. Sometime in mid 2008 there were bomb blasts in Ahmedabad, 2 of them in the Maninagar area. I tried calling him, but always got the message that this number doesnt exist. He has also never called since then. So i am asking auto drivers. I don't know why its important to search him. But it just is. Lets see.


I have 4 hours to while away. There is a 5 pm show of 'Ragini MMS' in the lounge theater of Big Cinemas. 400 bucks.

But what comfort!!! Nice sofas, ample leg room, nice head rest..... Some of you would have loved this!!!!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

I think.....

People who come to theaters to watch a movie and talk, should not be allowed to enter, or thrown out. Especially women. More so in Delhi.

People who come late into the hall, then take take out the ticket to see whats the seat number and then create a ruckus reaching thier seat ought to be shot. And they bloody ask, what happened so far???

Couples need to be clearly asked are you going to get cosy with other during the movie, in that case please take the last row, not the centre seats in the middle rows.

Network jammers in theatres would be a good, if drastic idea. Even after years and years of the theaters requesting patrons to switch off /silent the phone, well, it rings and they talk.

Going alone to watch a movie is cool - only problem,there is no one to go out in the interval to get food!

The Osama killing sounds so much like a mafia hit. The Navy Seals is Omerta personified. The Godfather using all his powers and connections to make it look like something other than what it was. Murky, nothing adds up, too may loose ends. Unsubstantiated stories - which our news channels have not just lapped up, but added thier 'analysis' too.

No, we cannot take Abbotabad type action against to take out the people responsible for crimes in India. One, we havnot fed and fattened the Pak army or government with any aid (estimated USD 20 Bn since 2001). Second, our politicians just lack the will to do anything about it, honestly, lets get good bulletproff jacket first. (Though honestly, did anyone care for my opinion on this?)

I am guessing next week Indian news channels will be busy with election results. I expect DMK to stay in TN, Left to be out of Kerala and Bengal and maybe India. Assam, i dunno much.

Its time i document my life with my car. Just completed 2000 kms. So many things to say : the initial getting to know each other, the day of love, valentines day, the honeymoon, the small tiffs, the comments and compliments and so on. Lets see.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Of faith, love and engineering….


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This is Ganga kinara, the Banaras waala. On an official trip across Uttar Pradesh (again!!!), I got a chance to wash all my sins of my life. During my stay in Varanasi, i visited the Sankatmochan Hanuman Mandir (which is in a locality named Lanka!) and the Kashi Vishvanath Temple and also witness the Ganga Arti that has been a daily ritual on the banks of Ganga for centuries. This is where i washed of all my sins completely by dipping my hands in the water. No I did not take a dupki (implying a holy dip) in the water, simply because its too polluted.  A lot of people did, like members from the group of Sikhs from the pic below. The faith people have in the river, its Godliness has to be seen to be believed. The whole atmosphere is such that I am sure even an atheist will end up praying here.


Diyas (clay lamps) being set adrift into the river as prayers for Ganga Maiyya (Mother). Apart from fulfilling any wish you may have, this practice helps the river look beautiful at and after sunset. You can see, lines and clusters of such diyas (mostly set adrift from the boats) and there is a general warm orange-ish glow on the surface of the water, none of which was unfortunately captured by my phone camera.

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Preparations underway for the Maha Arti. There are 6 small ‘pattas’ on which young pandits perform the actual arti. One large bed is set out behind them where all the singers and musicians are seated. The preparations take well over an hour as the 6 things are decorated with flowers, lamps and so on. All this while a dteady crowd keeps building up and they are kept engaged in the proceedings by the bhajan kirtan.


The audience. Some people hire boats and get the best seats in the house – front view of the entire setup, while others take up the stairs, floor, ledge and other chairs provided for the devotees.

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The Ganga Arti. The feeling i had during this was of peace, inside me. Outside it was loud, noisy. Listen to the din in this video. I think this is why it is called as divine. This is why all those foreigners call Varanasi a holy city. Guess this is why religion exists, it manages to create this escape from life.

I was to experience similar peace 2 days later, at the Dargah of Sheikh Salim Chishti at Fatehpur Sikri, near Agra.

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Having done all the vidhivad poojas and offerings in temples across Varanasi, i reached this place which claims to fulfill any wish if you offer a chaadar for the mazhaar and tie a thread on the windows. Again once you are in the chamber, around the mazhaar, there is some sort of coolness, an eerie silence despite the noise around that just engulfs you and you forget what you had planned to wish for (believe me its difficult to decide that when your wishes are driven more by greed than wants). Legend has it that Emperor Akbar and wife Jodhabai was able to get a child only when they conceived in the saint’s house and hence in respect of that this dargah and the entire city of Fatehpur Sikri was built. The Chishti family till date stays nearby and are buried in the grounds next to this dargah.

Both the places, the most amazing (and common) thing was the belief amongst the devotees. And they believe everything thats said about the saint – like how his 6 months old child could speak and ask his father to give Akbar an audience. One may argue i believe Ramayan and Mahabharat too, but that's mythology, this is history and closer in time. But if we have people believing in Satya Sai Baba’s miracles in 2011, might as well believe a 400 year old act.The devotees are very sure their wishes will come true. So even i’ll believe that.

Now all i have to see is if my pilgrimage results in collaboration or conflict between all those i have prayed to. In the next leg of my pilgrimage, i hope to pray at a church and a gurudwara (hopefully at Amritsar)

Love and Engineering

I am hoping someday, someone will explain to me why the Taj Mahal is a romantic place, a monument of love and so on. To me, it was just a rich man’s indulgence, albeit a brilliant piece of engineering. Amazing symmetry. Most importantly,the platforms, the various ledges around the monument, distance from the main gates, there is something very “made for photography” about it. or maybe from painting point of view. Whatever it is, it must have taken some amazing level of imagination, visualization, design , planning, scheduling and implementation to build what is after all someone’s grave. You know, we always heard of songs and poetry praising the Taj Mahal as the monument of love and all that, but there are some poems that have also called the Taj Mahal an insult to the poor man’s love.

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If you ask me, the real monument of love is the fort at Fatehpur Sikri. From what i learnt, Akbar had 3 official wives and 365 unofficial wives (and he still needed help with getting a child !!!). In those days, wives were apparently very obedient, especially when the husband is an emperor. so when Akbar moved his home and office from Agra to Fatehpur Sikri to be closer to the Sheikh Salim Chisti’s house, they all went with him. Now if you see this house, you will see most of it is designed to ensure all wives (atleast all official ones) stay with the utmost care, in surroundings reflecting their own backgrounds (they were Hindu , Muslim and Christian. My guide was sure there would have been a Sikh one as well, had Sikhism existed at that time). I think that much effort for people who are alive is a greater indication of love than a beautiful grave!


The Hawa Mahal , the tower of which was used by the Hindu wife to pray to the sun, by the Muslim wife to see the moon on Eid.The queens spent most of their days in this place because it is very well ventilated and and accessible to the courts and Akbar's rooms and all other entertainment avenues – like the game of Chopat played with young girls as the figurines that move from cell to cell.


Akbar’s bedroom. This one had bed made of stone as, as per the guide, a wooden bed would broken more often, what with the 300 odd wives Akbar had. The platform in front of the bedroom was where Tansen would sit and sing for hours together. His competition with Baiju Bawra also took place here when it seems Tansen’s singing of some particular song led to lighting up of earthen lamps and Baiju Bawra’s rendition of Raga Malhar bought about rain. Some people believe this. There was a very interesting air cooling system in this room where water could be stored under the bed and flower petals were put into it spread the fragrance.


Akbars offices – Diwaan – e – aam and Diwaan – e – khaas. The gardens you see earlier used to be the grounds where crowds used to stand and listen to Akbar speak from his throne in building in the centre. Guide says Akbar had a dabbang voice and one could hear it to the point from this snap has been taken. I think acoustics of the place were effectively used if that is true. 


Buluand Darwaza and the Jama Masjid.

This monument was by far the best of the historical ones i have seen. Neat, clean well maintained. There are some 84 classrooms (see all those small arches?) where until recently children of poor people studied.

Akbar later again shifted to Agra and then to Delhi due to political reasons but often visited this place. The entire city around, the marble dargah were later built by his son.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Its almost 3 A.M......

1. I'll have to add a label 'Insomnia' to the list....... Though oflate i admit m sleeping early most days (by my standards, by 1 AM or so.....)
2. The optimists will realise the netas are working together to take all of us on a ride to make sure Anna Hazare induced fight against corruption fizzles out. Its simple tactic : the honest man (civil society, wtf!!!)says yeh neta chor hain, we will draft the Lokpal Bill. neta sets up / accuses the honest citizen's representative, honest citizen loses motivation and interest. And so the story will continue. Will be glad if i am proved wrong - the Lokpal Bill will never be passed, not in my lifetime.
3. Kate and William are man and wife, and more Indians saw that happening live on TV than Britons. Funnily, most of my friends on facbook, twitter, colleagues and people i know were sick of the hype and did not watch the ceremony. Not to say i am connected to the universe, but if i were to take a sample from my connections, i am sure i can contest that claim. Honestly, who the f**k cared?
4. Sri Satya Sai Baba is dead. Till he died, i thought of him as a dhongi baba. Only when he died and the scale of love and devotion he commanded became apparent that i realised, he must have been a real leader, a friend, a counsellor, a facilitator, if not God.
5. The priest at the Shiekh Salim Chisti Dargah asked me to pray whichever way i prefer. He will listen to the voice of your soul (wats english for mann??) I asked him how to pray after I looked around to see if there is any specific manner i have to pray. They say all wishes made here come true. They say the same about Kashi Vishvanath Temple, Ganga Arti and Hanuman Temple at Varanasi. I visited all these places last week ( A pilgrimage on an official tour - separate post later.)

Lets see.

6. Hey! India is the world cup winner!! It was the stuff dreams are made of.....
7. Anyone else been to Delhi Airport's Terminal 3? I wasnt able to make out if it was an airport terminal or 1000m race track. You just walk and walk and walk..... Unless you are business class. Then they have golf carts dropping you to the gate. Someday, i'll ask GMR why they are so cruel to not have any coffee shops near the gates.
8. ok, good night.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

No regrets…!

I follow this blog by Mr.B.Raman more for his views on current affairs. Today this uncle put up a nice song, worth sharing.


No! Absolutely nothing...
No! I regret nothing
Neither the good that I've done nor the bad
All this is much the same to me!
No! Absolutely nothing...
No! I regret nothing...
It is paid, swept away, forgotten
I don't care about the past!
With my souvenirs
I lit a fire
My sorrows, my pleasures
I need them no more!
Swept away the love affairs
With their tremors
Swept away forever
I leave with nothing ...
No! Absolutely nothing...
No! I regret nothing
Neither the good that I've done nor the bad
All this is much the same to me!
No! Absolutely nothing...
No! I regret nothing...
Because my life, because my joys
Today that begin with you!