Thursday, July 19, 2007

You're Beautiful

A tremendous attack of writers’ block has beset me ever since I got my lappy. I think it has something to do with the way I keep confusing it for my fragile first-born. I stare for hours at the beautiful shiny surfaces that gleam with the light of joy reflected from my eyes. I run my fingers along the keypad, thrilled by its virgin sheen and I just can’t bring myself to hurt it with harsh keystrokes. I’m absolutely infatuated with it; and every time I sit down to vent my frustrations about some publicity stunt or ponder about the infinite nature of human stupidity (as Einstein had once put it, for all the ignoramuses out there) all the words seem to get tangled up and suddenly all I can think of is whether my keystrokes are light enough and whether I’m abusing my touchpad. I just can’t get properly angry or feel whatever passion may be required for whatever I’m writing on. And unless every key feels what you’re feeling, it’s just not going to sound right!

Yeouch! I’ve been shaking my legs without remembering I have my lappy positioned between my stomach and my thighs, at an angle of 35 degrees. I think I just had a nervous breakdown.

Ah that’s better. I decided not to get so physical with it after all, and have currently restrained myself to the extent of keeping it on the table. Ah my beautiful baby!!

Here’s a poem for it

Beautiful lappy, so shiny and grey

Manufactured in my heart to stay

Who for such dainties would not shop?

Lappy of the evening, beautiful laptop.

Beautiful lappy – who cares for ipod?

Or digicams or funky phones without cord?

Your 120 GB hard drive sure makes me happy!

Lappy of the evening, beautiful lappy!

[ p.s. For those who haven’t figured it out yet, that was a self-confessedly pathetic imitation of “Beautiful Soup” from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

If you’re interested, it goes:

Beautiful soup, so rich and green

Waiting in a hot tureen

Who for such dainties would not stoop?

Soup of the evening, beautiful soup.]

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Talk (version 2)

My last post on the topic of the environment triggered various responses from those who cared to read it. Some saw it as hypocrisy, some as a noble thought, some others as yet another useless been-there-done-that crusade with a half-life of max one day. I feel I need to say a few more words on the issue.

See the topic itself is such that it is difficult to approach it without some sort of cynicism. Much has been said, much has been spread, much less has been done. From hopefuls to the crown of Miss Universe to presidential candidates to multi-millionaire celebrities, everyone has a take on it; everyone has pearls of wisdom to offer. Therefore, another voice shouting out the same thing doesn’t really have much of an impact, to put it mildly. Every now and then some school or the other will organize some presentation or the other on the topic; every now and then news reports of global warming will act as fillers between celebrity wedding coverages and bomb blast reports; every once in a while some sort of protest march against poaching or felling of trees will go on somewhere. We have become as used to them as to the cause itself, and as dismissive of them as we are of the actual threats.

But does that mean no one should do anything about it? Does that mean the lectures, the marches and the school projects for EVE must stop? Does that mean the organizers of the beauty pageants must stop taxing the poor little brains of the models on display with predictable questions on the save-earth-crusade? Does that mean no one should make any noise about it for fear of being labeled “politically correct” and “hypocritical”?

Of course not! Every bit counts. I can almost see the involuntary sneer when my reader reads that done-to-death phrase. But the fact remains that in spite of all the negative vibes associated with it, the dissemination of information through the spoken or written word is still one of the most important steps in dealing with major problems. Every time we roll our eyes over some brainless beauty rattling off rehearsed lines on global warming, every time we struggle to stay awake at some boring presentation in school on the ozone hole, every time we come across Cameron Diaz advocating power conservation on vh1, a tiny bit of it sticks in our minds, the part of our memory dealing with the issue gets reinforced. If someone keeps telling you over and over again that you’re doing something wrong, a vague feeling of guilt is bound to develop – and you won’t be allowed to forget about it in a hurry if people around you keep on making the right noises, no matter how clichéd, no matter how boring, no matter how redundant. It is necessary. It is necessary to keep talking about it, to yak, yak, and yak until everyone knows what’s going on, until it is so firmly imprinted that people will unconsciously switch off the taps and turn off the lights on leaving a room. That maybe a small thing. But it’s important. It’s important to show people what they can do without having to stick out their necks. Then when that basic level of commitment and concern has been reached, one can talk of further activity.

Obviously not every person on earth can become a crusader for the environment. It is not possible and no one expects them to. But the least they can do is modify their lifestyles a bit, a little bit. What they can do is know what’s going on, so that they can tell their kids. It is not right to underestimate the power of the cliché. See not all of us are in a position to do something major like go on tree-planting missions. I am a student, and scoring in tests and chilling out with friends will obviously take precedence over collecting plastic bags from the roads and supervising their recycling.

But at least I can spread the word, at least I can express my concern for the earth and my solidarity with those who are trying to make a difference by talking about it, by incorporating tiny changes that I’m asking everyone else to, till I’m in a position to do something more about it. ‘They also serve, who only stand and wait’.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Yesterday Once More

When I was little (disambiguation: refers to my chronological age, and not to size, therefore, no revision of tense is necessary), my aim in life was to be a bus conductor. In my five-year-old eyes, nothing in the world was as beautiful and as fascinating as the dirty worn out leather pouch that jingled with coins whenever the revered Great One passed by. The Great one himself, complete with his ubiquitous khaki shirt in patches of dark and light demarcating the perspiration-prone areas clearly; the dirty khaki trousers or shorts depending on the season; and that world-weary look as he flipped through a bunch of fresh tickets in his hand with his thumb – little did he know with what starry-eyed admiration a little girl was regarding him. Whenever he reached out his bony hand to give us the ticket, I would eagerly grasp it, look at it reverently for a few minutes, and then keep it tightly clasped until we returned home, never mind if it became soggy with sweat and the fascinating numbers became blurred.

At home, my brother and I started a collection of these tickets – every remotely familiar face who dropped in would first be politely ushered into the drawing room by us good kids, and then requested to part with any bus ticket that he might have the good fortune to possess. When we had collected a sizeable number, we tied up the bunch with the typical fluorescent orange rubber bands and then pretended to flip through them with as much expertise as we could muster, all the while demanding “ticket, ticket!” in a flat monotone.

I don’t know how or exactly when he the charm began to fade. Perhaps it was triggered by the fact that the bus conductors invariably found me within the acceptable range of cute and insisted on pulling my cheeks or tugging playfully at my ponytails. The fact that the god would descend to the level of familiarity was compounded by the fact that I hated the feel of grimy, sweaty fingers on my face (in fact, being quite the little miss snob, I used to wipe it off in front of them – the fact that I only evoked an indulgent laugh due to my cuteness only meant a severe admonition at home) – and so the aura of divinity surrounding the Bus Conductor gradually wore off.

Soon more acceptable ambitions replaced the aforementioned crazy one – teacher, computer engineer (at that time all I knew was that it was the in thing and sounded excessively funky), author, veejay, astronaut, explorer, aircraft designer and so on. As I grew older my ambitions kept getting modified, and now that I have embarked upon the path of engineering, I can at least lay claims to some sort of direction to my career. Physicist or computer engineer or investment banker – the delight of the jingling leather bag doesn’t quite figure in the scheme of things. Nevertheless, whenever I see a bus ticket, it never fails to bring a smile to my face.

Saturday, July 7, 2007


For a change, an absolutely deathly serious post

It’s there in the disappearing greenery. It’s there in the noxious fumes choking our lungs everytime we step outside. It’s there in the airconditioned rooms we flit in and out of, in the aerosol cans we spray our deo with. It’s there in the crunch of coke bottles under our feet. It’s there in the crackle of a plastic bag getting blown this way and that on the road. It’s there in the thermocol diorama depicting global warming at school exhibitions. It’s there in the computer left on even when not in use, the gtalk status beside the yellow dot saying “away”. It’s there in the light left on throughout the night because the studious one has fallen asleep over linear algebra. It’s there in the bath water overflowing because someone is too busy talking over the phone. It’s there in the TV being perennially in the standby mode because it takes too much time to start. It’s there in the two-minute journey to the next block by an ac car to avoid tired feet. It’s there in the concrete jungle gobbling up land minute by minute, it’s there in land being reclaimed from the sea to satisfy it’s voracious appetite. It’s there in the last spasm of a dying musk deer, the last breath of schools of fish trapped under oil spills, the diminishing numbers of migratory birds, the rapidly vanishing habitat of the giant panda.

It’s the cry of the earth. Can you hear it?

Do your bit. Save our planet. Please. Time is running out...