Friday, June 22, 2007

Postcards from Jamshedpur: The Zoo

There are only so many things that can be done in my town. We decided (rather I decided and forced others, nothing new) to visit this place which was the object of such fascination only a decade ago. Only the coaxing and cajoling and waiting took long enough so that we neared closing time when we got there. Nevertheless we did manage to get up close with some animals before that and I'll present a brief pictorial proof.

The rabbit showed us the way

The elephant was there to welcome us

The duck posed with the quacks

OMG!! The bear attacked us!

New generation of croc hunters

Eco friendly dino. 100% vegetarian.

Emu. Just in case you doubted if we really visited the zoo. And boy these birds are big!

And you doubted that?

Then they lived happily ever after. I love happy endings.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Immediate Concerns

This template I have used for too long. Been thinking of changing it. Would have, had the net at home been even a hundredth as fast as in IIT. Here you lose the patience to do things after a while.

In the meanwhile, getting back here has inspired me to raise this near dead blog back into life. Do have a read if you can spare the time.


A day or two back I had to get a passport photograph taken. I went in at the wrong time when the shop was about to close and the reel for day had already been sent to develop. I was told to return the next day. The next day I went there and reminded them this. The guy looked at me and said,

"Look at you. Unshaven, not wearing a shirt (tees don't count). Yesterday you were ready, today you are not. Come back tomorrow"

I couldn't help laughing. I could have told him that this photo isn't going to be sent as a marriage portfolio. (Look there's this guy who looks like a bear and even dresses to prove that, how can anyone marry him? ) Even if it is I'm not about to marry his daughter. I could have gone to another studio too to get the job done. But, seeing how sentimental he was about his job, and by extension his subject, I decided to give him a chance.

Next day I walk in all shaved and dressed up (which means wearing a shirt in my world). He leads me to the chamber. He switches on the blinding lights. I get all watery eyed and ask for time to adjust. He waits and takes the picture after a while.I come out and rub my eyes to take away the pain. He looks at me and says, concerned,

"You spend too much time near TV, or computer?"
''Lately, yes'', I respond. Bemused.
"Your eyes get strained too easily. Go check with an optician soon enough", he added.

Now that is all round care. All you want is a photograph and you get advice on grooming and eyesight. Small town thing I guess. Everybody concerned about everyone else. And everything else.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

A Drift

It is never a good idea to talk about people. Praise leads to flattery, truth goes down bitterly. From where I come from, friends don't feel bad if they are not acknowledged, they feel embarrassed if they are. Try sending someone a birthday card, or present a juvenile thing like a friendship band, and wait for the wrath to fall upon you. I love it that way, where you don't really have to say, prove materially what others mean to you, they just know. I know.

Which is why I won't talk about people here. There are many things I've wanted to say to many people. Somethings I have said, some for fear of being misunderstood and being accused of showing a condescending attitude I have held back. Rightly so, for who am I to preach? Preachers I have grown to hate, and I don't want to hate myself. There are things I wish would change. The idol worship, the 'king's clothes syndrome', the desperation for things unnecessary, the perennial wannabe behaviour, the pretense, the fickle ideals, false self consolations ; there are just too many of them. I have wanted to say to many people, what Lester Bangs said to William Miller in 'Almost Famous'.

Lester Bangs: Aw, man. You made friends with them. See, friendship is the booze they feed you. They want you to get drunk on feeling like you belong.
William Miller: Well, it was fun.
Lester Bangs: They make you feel cool. And hey. I met you. You are not cool.
William Miller: I know. Even when I thought I was, I knew I wasn't.

This means much more than you might think it does. Unfortunately there aren't enough William Millers around. Probably all the pretenders get around and make a world that seems real to all of them. Probably I'm a part of of that world. I'm fighting with all I've got to get out. Only that I really can't get the people around me to come with me. The worst it leads to is frustration, something I have learnt to get over soon enough. I'm glad I didn't end up disliking many people, I wish the many would have been any. I wish the same with me, although I know that hate is often reciprocated.

The easiest explanation would be that everyone around is growing up and I'm lagging far behind. Suddenly people are becoming possessive of their 'private life', a phrase to cover up all the cheesy messages and mails and other secret correspondences, and a friendship worth years becomes an instant liability to protect these new acquaintances. Everyone of which is a prospective partner for life. A premature obsession with money is becoming an epidemic. Some yearn for fame to add to that. Reconciling and waiting for the right time are out of fashion. Probably the side effects of ambition; I'll never get to know. I never want to know.

Or, of course, all this could be an immediate effect of listening to The Ramones in loop, with part of lyrics being highlighted and flashing before the eyes.

When I'm lyin' in my bed at night
I don't wanna grow up
Nothin' ever seems to turn out right
I don't wanna grow up
How do you move in a world of fog
That's always changing things
Makes me wish that I could be a dog
When I see the price that you pay
I don't wanna grow up
I don't ever wanna be that way
I don't wanna grow up

Seems like folks turn into things
That they'd never want
The only thing to live for
Is today
I'm gonna put a hole in my TV set
I don't wanna grow up
Open up the medicine chest
And I don't wanna grow up
I don't wnna have to shout it out
I don't want my hair to fall out
I don't wanna be filled with doubt
I don't wanna be a good boy scout
I don't wanna have to learn to count
I don't wanna have the biggest amount
I don't wanna grow up

Well when I see my parents fight
I don't wanna grow up
They all go out and drinking all night
And I don't wanna grow up
I'd rather stay here in my room
Nothin' out there but sad and gloom
I don't wanna live in a big old Tomb
On Grand Street

When I see the 5 o'clock news
I don't wanna grow up
Comb their hair and shine their shoes
I don't wanna grow up
Stay around in my old hometown
I don't wanna put no money down
I don't wanna get me a big old loan
Work them fingers to the bone
I don't wanna float a broom
Fall in and get married then boom
How the hell did I get here so soon
I don't wanna grow up

Ramones - I Don't Want To Grow Up

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I wish I could quote Shakespeare or someone suitably profound and quotable that people quote to add gravity to their views. But, for now, The Ramones are all I have.

Even with all the vices I might have, I yearn for innocence, ignorance. Even if it is forced. Someday probably they'll yearn for it too. Before it's too late.

Monday, June 04, 2007

It takes all sorts

Vaibhav's winning performance in college category of Mahaquizzer led to us having 500/- to spend in Landmark. As seniors, the choice of books to take was given to Lath and me. We needed no second invitations to rush to the sports section. Unfortunately 500/- is not a good enough amount if you intend to buy books other than those from Vishwa Bharti or Mir publications. That explains why at least the last 20 books I've read haven't been bought by me.

Given the scarcity of choices, for Steve Waugh and Lance Armstrong do not come that cheap, we decided to buy a book called "It takes all sorts: celebrating cricket's colourful characters" written by Peter Roebuck. Regular Sportstar readers and cricket column followers would be very familiar with the famous journalist's and former player's name. I like his columns and the title of the book, apart from having all c's in the description, did sound very inviting.

In retrospect it was a great buy. The book is all anecdote, a collection of the columns Roebuck has written over the years. And since it is a book, the columns are the better ones he has written. The book though has a theme, to discover the strength of character and the focus in a cricketer at various stages in his career. As the title suggests, all sorts of players are taken. From those who became legends in their lifetime to those who lost focus and gave up their game before they could make it big. From those who played with the greatest pride without once thinking of the rewards, to those who betrayed their country for that extra bit of money. Those who led a private life, away from attention, to those who cashed in on their fame showing great disparity between their exploits on the field and off it.

The best ones though are those that touch emotions that people don't imagine cricketers as having. The one on Hansie Cronje after his death chronicling his rise and ultimate fall and the probable redemption in death and another one on David Gower where he is portrayed as a person knowing his limitations and playing his best within it, knowing he can be no Boycott as far as averages are concerned, yet everyone else wanting him to be, are a great read.

After reading I spent hours wondering what my sporting anecdotes would sound like and what they would reveal about my character. What stands out? The premature end to a cricket career with a bouncer or the winning hat-trick in a footer match with a goal down? The unfinished dream of having a rugby match after having procured the ball from NZ no less or the endless skateboarding lessons to peers and the run down the LT slopes during the treasure hunt? The shunning of swimming pool without properly learning to swim or the overly enthusiastic tennis court trips, sometimes twice a day?

Probably the sum total of all these.