A Long Long Journey

Back after a long long journey to my homeland BIHAR. Well, now my hometown is a part of the decade old state Jharkhand, but I still like to say, "I am from Bihar". Adds a sudden twist to the conversation and strikes fear in the heart of the other person.

For the past 18 days, I have been travelling by train, bus, car, auto rickshaw, cycle rickshaw, motorbike, bicycle and on foot. Altogether I travelled approximately 5500 kilometers in this trip. I met almost all my relatives. It was fun. It was exhausting.

The adventure started a tad too early when we found out that me and biwi will be sharing the same seats. There is this system with the Indian Railways wherein they give one berth to two people. They pocket both their ticket charges and pretend as if they have obliged us by letting us travel on their holy trains. Quite a scam.

Anyways, we made the best use of our resources. Me sleeping the whole journey and biwi guarding our luggage. Not exactly a chivalrous attitude from me but then I had not slept for two nights before that. I would like to thank biwi a ton for the pain she took those two days.

Reached home. Relaxed for some time. Biwi went in the kitchen to help mom and I went out to meet my childhood friends. Being with your chaddi friends is quite a different feeling altogether. You never feel embarrassed to talk about anything under the sun. We had loads and loads of bakar for full 5 days. Talked about our school days and what happened after that. Am missing those 5 days already.

Had a wonderful Diwali with my family. After some 10 years, I was back at home with both my younger brothers for Diwali. Sharing time with your family is one thing you never desire in you childhood, abhor in your adolescence and miss a lot when you are out of your home. It felt awesome to be together after so long.

We went to biwi's home (Jamshedpur) after Diwali. Going to sasural is a treat for any Indian male. You get the treatment deserved by a king. And that too without having to do anything. Sometimes I feel awkward with the respect and pompousness with which I am treated there. I am never treated so royally anywhere else. But then I go with the flow and, invariably, always enjoy my stay there.

From there we drove down to my Dadighar, Ranchi. Met all my relatives there. Was a very happy reunion. Saw dadi after a long gap of 2 years (after my marriage). She had not been keeping well and looked very frail. Hope I can see her again.

Driving back from Ranchi to Jamshedpur through the Maoists infected jungle in the night was an experience in itself. I had strict and clear instructions from Papaji. Drive continuously without any stops and don't even slow down for the potholes and the rough patches. Was an exciting journey.

Next day we left back for Deoghar, my place, as we had to go to my naani's village for Chath. Chath is the all important festival in Bihar and I was there for it after a gap of almost 8-9 years. This trip for Chath requires another post and I will write down my experiences asap.

Coming back from my naani's place, biwi decided to go back to Jamshedpur for a week or so before returning to Bangalore. She had some work there.

So there I was two days alone in the train. But it was a blessing in disguise. I finished reading two books I had wanted to read for a long time now - 'Straight from the gut' and 'Loosing my Virginity'. I will be posting my reviews in a day or so.

It has been three days since I have reached back in Bangalore but I am still to come out of the hangover of my long journey. Hope to come out of it over the weekend and get my life back on track.

What is Friendship?

Today I read an amusing mail. It described what is friendship all about in a very cool way.

Check it out:
Friendship is not about "I am sorry";
its about "abe saale galti teri thi"

Friendship is not about "I am there for u";
its about "kahan marr gaya saale"

Friendship is not about "I understand";
its about "sab teri wajah se hua manhoos"

Friendship is not about "I care for you";
its about "kamino tumhe chod ke kahan jaunga"

Friendship is not about "I am happy for ur success";
its about "chal ab party de"

Friendship is not about "I love that girl";
its about "saalo izzat se dekho tumhari bhabhi hai"
I have also experienced these and some more (sometimes the hard way, with a whack on the bum). So I decided to spread my gyan among all agyanis of the world.

Here is what I have learnt from my friends:
Friendship is not about "Don't worry, failure is a part of life";
its about "baanki sab to theek hai... Mona mein ek jabardast movie lagi hai, kal ka morning show chalein?"

Friendship is not about "Don't do that";
its about "kar le yaar... apne baap ka kya jata hai"

Friendship is not about "Don't go there";
its about "chal chalte hain.. mauj aayegi"

Friendship is not about "Don't be a nag";
its about "saale agle baar bola to @#!$@ tod loonga"

Friendship is not about "Don't feel hurt. I never meant it that way.";
its about "saale... aansoo kya baha raha hai. senti marna band kar"

Friendship is not about "Sorry for being late";
its about "Kaminon... pata tha mujhe. Mere aane se pehle hi shuru kar doge sab."

Friendship is not about "Hope I am not disturbing you so late in the night";
its about "abbe... tere liye khushkhabri hai. Supreme Court ne gay rights ko Hari jhandi dikha di hai."

Friendship is not about "Sorry for not calling you for so many years";
its about "aur bhai... suna bataye bina shadi kar li aur ab to bachche ki bhi taiyaari mein ho? Saale, kamine, @#$%^&&**%#@$#@@$$"
Please share your gyan too.

I am the new face of the blogging community!!

Damn Cool!! I knew my day would come. People would know me and acknowledge my writing skills. Oh! I love my life!!

Today when I saw this girl reading 'The Blogger' magazine with my snap on the front page, I couldn't believe my eyes. Please pardon the low clarity of the photo... it was taken on my mobile.

Thanks a lot to all those who read my blog!!

Gandhi minus the Mahatma

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi - one of the most enigmatic personalities in the history. A man with different shades when viewed at different angles. Well, he was human after all.

Different people had different perceptions about Gandhi. I, on my part, have had different views about him at different stages of my life.

When I was younger, I had loads of issues with Gandhi. Why did he not save Bhagat Singh? Why did he let the partition happen? Why did he not support Netaji? These questions had skewed my perceptions about Gandhi. Believe it or not, I was a part of that population of India who hated Gandhi.

Now I think of him as a man who was a great human being. He may or may not have been a great leader for our nation. I am still trying to figure out if his policies gave India any better results.

He was a man of many names : Bapu, Gandhiji, Nanga Fakir, Mahatma. But the name that really stuck to him was Mahatma, a great soul (he was first called a mahatma by Rabindranath Tagore). Was he really a Mahatma, a saint? I don't think so. Nor did he, I suppose.

He was a common man (the mango man, aam admi), with an uncommon resolution. He made his mistakes. He was proud. He was honest. He was adamant. He was understanding. He was naked. In short he was all that we are, a normal human being.

But then what made him the superhuman we are supposed to think him to be? The press? The Congress? The skewed historians?

Dunno for sure. India needed a hero to look upto after Independence. Every fledgling country does. So we had our very own George Washington. History was written according to the directives of the rulers of the land (the Congress) and the historians, true minstrels that they are, godified Gandhi. Maybe Gandhi would have liked this. I would like to think otherwise, but then who knows. He didn't stop the angrejs from executing the non-believers in non-violence (the Bhagat Singh fiasco), did he?

Hmmmm.. so Gandhi was not a real mahatma. Why the hell then did so many people followed in his wake?

My answer to this question would be his honesty. I came to this understanding when I read his "My Experiments with Truth". He tells us the truths that demean him, his character and are bound to hurt his family and friends. He tells about all his mistakes from stealing to indulging with his wife when his father was dying. All these when he knew he was being followed by millions of people.

It was written in 1920s when Gandhi had become a public figure. People had started believing in him and his principles. To write an autobiography of such sort could have been a big political blunder (a la "Jinnah" by Jaswant Singh). But still he went ahead with it. Ah! History would have been rewritten if the Nehrus and Patels would have been Adwanis and Singhs.

What my point here is. it takes immense courage to do so. Specially when you know people are looking up to you as their mentor. I salute the man for the truth-and-nothing-but-the-truth principle that he followed.

According to Gandhi (in the Introduction to his book):

"It is not my purpose to attempt a real autobiography. I simply want to tell the story of my numerous experiments with truth, and as my life consists of nothing but those experiments, it is true that the story will take the shape of an autobiography..."

I believe these are the words of a man who considers himself to be honest to his conscience. These are the words only Gandhi could have wrote.

I know Gandhi had his share of controversies. Sure he had his shortcomings. But still, he was better than the breed of gullible politicians we have today. Maybe we need a Gandhi again to clear this mess we have managed to pull ourselves in.

The Lost Symbol - A big apology

The Secret is how to die... proclaims the first line of the book. But then, may be, Robert Langdon has forgotten how to die. He rises from the ashes again this September 15th and raises more questions than he answers.

I once wrote about a book :

The book is a very big promise broken down by the commercializing tendencies of the increasingly capitalistic world.

I feel this is apt for Dan Brown's new novel. Dan, probably in search of making a quick buck after the humongous success of The Da Vinci Code OR under pressure from his publishers, is back with 'The Lost Symbol'.

'The Lost Symbol' promises a chase against time through the chambers, tunnels and temples of Washington DC.

But all it delivers is a huge and arbitrary discourse on the lost wisdom of the Ancients. It reads more like an encyclopedia on the symbols of the Old than a thriller which is unputdownable.

My main concerns with this new installment from him are:

1) This time Robert Langdon is just a caricature of what he was in the older novel. No doubts he solves ancient puzzles but the solutions are very mundane and not exciting as they were once.
2) The premise over which the novel is built is not so convincing. Does a search which ends in finding nothing (both allegorically and physically) really deserves a 448 page book?
3) The discourse on the Holy Scriptures and its allegorical symbolism to modern world is not what I wanted from a Dan Brown book. If I wanted that I would have seen God TV.
4) The book has a feel of being hastily compiled with loads of information about older Orders but with no real storyline.

At the end of three days, reading this monster of a book, all I felt was :

this book is a big apology for all the holes that Dan Brown drilled in Christianity with his The Da Vinci Code.

And that apology costs some 480 bucks.. Damn costly apology, eh!