Thursday, 30 May 2013

The Golden Key of Freedom

It is a clear sunny day in the city of Rajkot with the forecast of temperatures ranging from 40 – 42 degrees Celsius with absolutely no clouds on the horizon. I've just come back from my driving lesson, and writing this post with the cup o’ tea Mom made in the morning but which I couldn't drink, because well, I’m a late person.

Now, it so happens that it’s my birthday and I've been fielding calls ever since the clock struck twelve last night. Friends started calling up then and kept at it till 3 in the morning and when I finally crawled into bed and seemed to get a few moments of blessed sleep, I was awakened by the sound my phone going off again. Not only my phone but three phones - all over the house, just for me. And it was 7 in the morning!

Who calls up a 21 year old guy at 7 am in the morning? In the vacations!

I’ll tell you – his aunts.

Yeah, so I jump out of bed with the enthusiasm of a koala bear, literally. I talk to my aunt and the first thing she says to me is, “So, now you have the Golden Key of Freedom! You’re 21!” and I went, “Huh?” partly because my sleep- addled brain couldn't make sense of what she was saying and partly because I didn't know what on earth she was talking about. So I asked her, and she said now that I was 21, I was a MAN! I could do anything I wanted, and nobody would stop me. I could be the king of my own life and Dad wouldn't be able to tell me what to do anymore. They said I could even go and marry anyone I chose, yes, you read that correctly, marry. And I again went, “Yes, yes aunty.” And kept smiling stupidly at the phone.

Image courtesy: Google Images.

It was only after I hung up and went to the washroom to clean up that I realized that what she said was true and a little frightening. I stared at myself in the mirror for a long time, looking into my own eyes. It was as if I’d gone into the past, the mirror - a window into my soul, my memories. I saw in black and white, the care of my father, the love of my mother the camaraderie of my sister and the support of my loved ones, the things that had brought me up to be the man I am today. I saw all this as if on film, the flashback in seeming slow motion but running in fast forward at the same time and I realized that things were never going to be the same again. I had left my adolescence behind and now I was old enough to shoulder my own responsibilities and be a man of the House of Dabhi. It was a strange feeling, a bit too much? Yes. But also a bit of pride in now being included among the elders of my house.

I finally watched the reel run out into a haze as I was brought back into the present by Flo Rida singing, “Can you blow my whistle baby…” I picked up the phone and said,

“Hello aunty, good morning…”

Monday, 27 May 2013

Where Is Spring?

This is the first time that I’m putting up one of my poems on the blog. The poem is titled similar to the post, ‘Where is Spring?’ The first line of this poem is taken from P. B. Shelley’s , ‘ Ode to the West Wind’ which became part of his lyrical play, ‘Prometheus Unbound’. Percy Bysshe Shelley is considered to be one of the most eminent Romantic poets of his age in English literature. In the above-mentioned ode, he has written  about the west wind rejuvenating the land after long months of winter. However, this poem describes the utter hopelessness and despair of the human soul that has no chance at redemption.

Where Is Spring?

If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?
If Grief is here, can Joy be far behind?
These are but sayings, to be said and forgotten,
For the life you see, lives in winter eternal;
Where suffering rains from the clouds of despair,
And the smoke of sorrow threatens every ray of hope.

This clammy dampness clings tight to me,
These uneven stones cut into my feet,
This oppressive darkness seizes my heart,
This fiery cold grips my very heart.
I can hardly see but I can feel –
This Darkness closing in on me.

I went for them, oh one by one,
Played cat and mouse just for fun,
I hunted them down and tortured them,
I made them bleed and made them beg,
For the mercy I was not to give.

Yes, I killed You and You and You!
But now of what use is the truth?
YOU are gone and I am here,
Now Grief and Fear and Death haunt Me!

These shadows steal upon me now,
Those dark shadows now jump at me;
That staircase never seems to end,
The roof comes crashing down on me.

I fear that I’m losing my mind;
No time makes sense, just the season does.
This – lonely night – of cold –
Goes on and on and on…
And now at last have I realized,
There is no spring for me!
- Brendan-Anton R. Dabhi

Friday, 24 May 2013

What’s my Caste to you?

Ever since I've returned to Rajkot, I've been getting this uneasy feeling. The feeling you get when unknown people, people you’re meeting for the first time, want to know your caste. I left this city after I completed school and at that age, I didn't care about all this, but now that I observe peoples’ behaviour, I realize that casteism is still very much prevalent in our society even though we might say that we've progressed beyond all this religious fervour and now we are secular and all that tripe.

Image Courtesy: Google Images.

Ever since I've started working, I have had to go and meet clients personally or talk to people before an interview or just basically meet a lot of people. I've observed that at least 20% of those people ask me my caste. I chuckle inside my head and tell them of my Gujarati heritage even though I’m a fourth generation convert. But, in retrospect, it’s quite disconcerting to see them nod in acknowledgement to my response because apparently, my family used to be in the upper-caste warrior class scheme of things. I wonder if it’s the same case everywhere, because the city of Rajkot is the third-highest in development in the state of Gujarat and if this is the case here, I shudder to think of what must be happening in other backward areas of this state and country.

Do people decide the character of others on basis of their religion and caste?

Are important decisions made taking castes into consideration?

Are business deals made this way?

Are alliances formed on the basis of such archaic traditions?

If that is the case, then I now understand how politicians and other so-called heads of the society manage to divide the people into groups for their own advantage. I now understand how self-serving fundamentalists manage to bring strife among the people by playing the caste card. I also understand how certain people take up the mantle of the lower-caste and rise to power on the wave of fervour under their feet.

The things that I've observed in the past month are very disturbing to me and I hope it is to you too, because if it’s not, I fear for the future of this country.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

The State Of Books: #2 – The Rescue

In the prequel to this post, I related the state of my college library and my thoughts as well as feelings about the same. I also mentioned that I would go ahead and relate the rescue of the books that some of us students attempted for the love of books.

So, it was all carnage and utter destruction when I first saw the library being dismantled. My only regret is that I did not take photographs of what happened there. It would have been more horrifying for you to see it for yourselves because apparently, “Pictures talk louder than words.”

The four of us and a few irregulars started picking up books from the great pile in the middle of the library and started classifying them according to their genres. And it wasn't like we only took care of English literature, we tried to get together all that was still intact and that could be repaired and used. We started restacking the shelves for those who wanted to buy the books and we picked up some books to buy ourselves, amongst them volumes that we had desired for years. Well, finders – keepers, eh? After all, we were only human and we also needed a little motivation to work in that pile of dust, rust, termites and falling cement that we used to call a library.

We went down to the basements to work as often as we could, between classes and even in the lunch breaks. It was a kind of longing to see the books put back in a place which they deserved or see them sent to a place where they would be treasured. Many of my friends also came and helped out occasionally, more in hope of finding some text or the other, rather than to do anything about the mess. But that was also for the best, for the more people who came down there, the more they used to buy books and take away.

After a couple of days of sitting in lectures all dirty, smelling and itching all over I decided it would be a good idea to get a napkin and a change of clothes. So I did that! Now I could go down there in all my free time and get back to the lectures all clean and fresh, albeit sneezing from the amount of dust I’d inhaled in that basement. Sometimes I felt like an archaeologist discovering things from the dust, cleaning them, classifying them and trying to restore them for future generations. Kind of gave me a sense of pride in what our group was doing.

Well, after a week or so, we had managed to save quite a number of books but we had lost a majority of them and none of us were too happy about that as you can well imagine. Now, we had to do one last thing; we had to collect books that would be useful to the English department and haul them there. The department was setting up a couple of shelves for this purpose to our delight and so we got working on which books would make it to the department and which ones would be sold off. In the end we managed to get a trunk load of books to the department and there they stand a proud reminder of our endeavours on behalf of literature.

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Rediscovery of the Old World.

Home - A place of rest and respite, there place where you go when you have nowhere else left to go. the place whose doors are always open to welcome you back.

Even though you may move on to bigger and better places, even though you might get settled there, even though you might enjoy your new home better than the old one, even though you might have better facilities there, even though it may be very convenient in all aspects… Someday you have got to go back home, to your city, to your roots, to YOUR place. It’s a thing deeply ingrained into the Indian psyche. We cannot, I think leave behind our own city for a new one, however better it may be, and even if we do, we like to come back once in a while and check things out for ourselves. Walk through the bazaars, stroll in the gardens, eat at the food-stalls and remark on the progress the village/town/city has made since we’d last been there.

I am exactly the same. I shifted to a new city three years back for better study opportunities and even though I loved my adopted city and hardly thought of home, there were days when I would miss my hometown so badly that I would just pack a single bag and hightail it back home over the weekend.

It’s like going on to discover the New World like Christopher Columbus. You land there, survey the place and feel, “This is good.” But after a while you’re like, “What’s going on at home?” That’s when you pack your bags, get a couple gifts for the Queen and sail right back into friendly ports. However decadent and war-torn the Old World may have become, it is still home and better than a few bags of potatoes and some tobacco. (If you know your history)

I studied for three years in Ahmedabad and now I'm back in Rajkot. I've realized the fact that wherever else I might choose to go, in the end I have to come back here. And it’s been a pleasure knowing my city again. In my first post, I wrote about returning to my city and wondering what to do. In case you were also wondering what I would do… I took the option of exploring my city again and I was quite surprised at the development that had taken place in the time that I was away. I learnt of things that were known to exist only in a Metropolitan and my eyes beheld such wonders that were not to be seen in the New World. I roamed in places that I knew not were even there and learnt so much in that one month that I was overwhelmed with awe for my own city, in which I earlier put not much stock.

I have even seen this tendency in a lot of Indians who live abroad. I'm not talking of those who were born of Indian parents in other countries, but first generation Indians who have migrated outside. I know of at least three such families who come to visit India every year. Even when I talk to some people who live abroad, they tend to miss their cities and wish to return, at least for a vacation, to stand on the land of their country, to feel the fragrance of her flowers, to taste the food of her hands and to sleep in her lap.

It feels really good to rediscover the Old World.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

The State Of Books: #1 - The Desecration.

In the last year of my under-graduate studies, they decided to build a new library in my college and clear out the old one entirely. I mean – Entirely! And they decided to sell out everything to the students who wanted them, at very cheap rates. That’s the good part, but then they emptied all the shelves, hundreds of books onto the library floor in a heap of pages, literature and precious records of human writings!

How could anyone permit such a desecration?

How could the college management not have stopped this horror?

How could the librarian have stood by and watched this entire event take place before her very eyes?

These were the most pressing questions weighing heavy upon my heart as I stood at the entrance to the underground storage area with tears rolling down my cheeks and blood oozing from my lower lip where I’d bitten it to stop myself from screaming out aloud at this violation of the temple of Education. My heart was wrenched in two as I walked into the chamber in a daze of abject misery of the horror perpetrated within these halls. I saw torn books, books without covers, shredded volumes, torn pages, unbound covers, half-vanished collections and scribbled manuscripts lying around. It was a scene of carnage and reminded me of the battle of Zutphen. Just as Sir Philip Sidney, the torch of English literature in his age was killed that day, the works of countless other authors and poets were layed to waste in that library. I could even for a moment of despair compare it to the destruction of the library at Alexandria or the book burnings in Nazi Germany.

Some of the other literature students who’d come along with me were also shocked at the amount of destruction that could befall a library that was the pride of the college in its heyday. It was unimaginable how much destruction could take place when you come to think about it and I wonder if I had not witnessed the fall of literature, an event that took place only a few times in human history. This was indeed a day that will live in infamy and will always remain one of my most disturbing experiences in life. People who do not read or write or have much to do with literature may think that I’m over-reacting, but ask a true bookworm, they will tell you that my pain is as real as the pain at the death of a family member.

However, some of the other literature students and I managed to get few of the books to safety, but that story is for another time perhaps.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

It’s all about the Journey

I, along with a lot of wise men believe that the journey is more important than the destination. Especially if it’s a family trip or a trip with friends. Any trip that’s filled with known people is definitely going to be more interesting than the destination. You plan a trip, get the logistics done, invite everyone you’re going to take along, confirm their presence, gather them at an extraction point and then you are Up, Up & Away…

It is actually necessary I think for a family or for a group of friends to take a trip sometime or another, it tends to build relations, understand each other better and also reveal facets of people’s personalities that one may not have seen before. I recently went on a family trip that included a bus-full of relatives from here and there and almost everywhere and I realized that I could categorize the passengers according to their travel moods; so here they are:

The Joker: The one guy whom everyone loves and nobody minds been made fun of by him. There’s always one joker in a family or friends group. He’s the one who kick starts the fun.

The Missing One: There’s always a person who has not been able to join and is feeling pretty miserable about it so they keep calling people to get regular updates and keep suffering constant heart-burn.

The Sulking One: The person who’s ego has been hurt because nobody, absolutely nobody asked for their advice while planning the trip. That person will keep finding faults with everything and sacrifice all the fun for a little sulk.

The Recluse: The one who is frighteningly quiet during the whole trip and keeps looking out of the window like some scene out of the Final Destination movies is going to play out. It creeps out the rest of the group and they tend to keep away from this person.

The Kid: There is always going to be a kid on a family trip; no way is your family going to stop reproducing for the sake of a trip so there you have it, the small person who is cute, takes advantage of it, keeps crying and makes life living hell for everyone within a radius of 20 metres.

The Fancy One: Then there’s the cool one with the shades and designer clothing who tries to act in complete control and behaves in the most sophisticated way even with the family who don’t give a shit for that nonsense anymore.

The One with the Short-Term Memory: The forgetful one or in other words, “The Ghajini” of the family who will keep losing things and not find them even say if they are in front of them or maybe under their seat.

The Disciplinarian: The teacher of the family who takes absolutely ‘Zero’ amount of nonsense from anyone and if they don’t like something, you’re not going to do it because you’re not half as scared of the grim reaper as you are of that person.

The Feeder: The well-loved mother of the family who will always carry enough food so as to feed the entire contingent for two years in case of nuclear fallout or a zombie apocalypse or a flash famine.

The One who Multi-Tasks: The responsible one and the person for all needs and purposes. That person can handle situations, work on the computer, stop the baby crying, talk on the mobile and help an old lady cross the street; all this while also shooting a couple zombies in the above mentioned apocalypse.

The Organizer: The one who’s really in control but also the most worried person on the trip who is constantly wondering who or what they left behind that they needed to carry along. This person will constantly be on the lookout for trouble and will be there to see that everything goes smoothly.

The Gossipers: The group that cannot stop chattering go on and on about people who are not there on the trip or sometimes people who are, but they just realize that late. They keep analyzing things about people’s clothes, attitude, manners, behaviour patterns, financial status and whatnot that should have probably got them into the cabinet of any government a long time back.

The Fussy One: The delicate and fussy one of the group who is always a bit irritated and shy and scared of everyone else on the trip. This person will require special attention, special food, special water, special everything… sometimes even perhaps another vehicle because people in this vehicle have had enough of that nonsense.

The Hated One: The driver is undoubtedly the most hated person on the trip because no matter what the conditions are and no matter how good the driver is and no matter how hard the driver is trying to give everyone a comfortable journey, the driver will always be cursed for being too slow, too fast, too clumsy, too bad, too rash or too something-or-the-other. Why? Because people just love to do that.

Well, these are only the types that I could identify in a glance. If you've noticed more types or have anything to add in these, please go right ahead and tell me, I'd love to expand my classification.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Making Melody

I think you've already guessed what this is going to be about. Well, yes it is. Music has always been the unseen friend and the soothing partner that has managed to remain behind the scenes and yet comfort me when nothing else seemed to help. Music, in the form of my guitar, sits in the corner of my room and waits… and waits… for days upon days and sometimes even a month because it seems to know, that one day, when nothing else is there, it will be the one to give me solace. And sure enough, there is always that one time when nothing seems to make sense and nothing I say or do or everything that happens seems hazy and that’s the time that I pick up my guitar and strike up a country tune – And there is peace again!

Music also helps in a lot of tense situations, not only to soothe nerves but also to improve people’s moods. That’s why in the days, my roommates and I used to put on some kick-ass music on our stereo in the middle of the night; just to get into the mood for studying till dawn. It is indeed the medicine for all ails:

Just broke up – Hit play;
Just got dumped – Hit play;                              
Just lost a job – Hit play;
Have to study – Hit play;
Getting bored – Hit play;
Missing somebody – Hit play;
Got to travel – Hit play;
Nobody to talk to – Hit play;
Stupid movie on TV – Hit play;
Can’t study – Hit play;
Want to party – Hit play.

So, whatever the occasion, music is a friend in need and therefore by extension, a friend indeed. Whatever type of music one prefers, if the music has truly been made with some shred of passion, it is always going to touch hearts. I would not like to name artists from any particular genres here, but some legends will always be remembered for their memorable gift of soul-touching music to the world. Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson, Bob Marley, Aerosmith, Carlos Santana, Cliff Richards, John Denver, Lionel Richie, Sir Elton John, Pink Floyd, the Beatles, the Diamonds, the Carpenters, Frank Sinatra, Kurt Cobain… and the list can go on even though it is rare for music to be remembered and cherished after so many years of it being produced. But these people have managed to live in the hearts of people long after they died and continue being remembered not only by the old but also by the young. These were the people who spent their lives trying to make good and meaningful music. It is this type of music that inspires people to do great things though this may not be apparent because as I said, music is the one pushing from the shadows, the unseen force, only heard in times of utter despair or complete peace.

Music has been my constant companion all my life. My grandfather was a pianist, my aunt is also one, two of my cousins are guitarists and I can play the guitar as well. Apart from that, I've spent the last three years living with two of the most promising electronic music artists I've seen and the best DJ in that city; who have bombarded me with such music that I've come to understand and listen to different genres and sub-genres of music that I was oblivious to. These are the people who expanded my horizons enough for me to write this piece you are reading today.

I will just leave you with a little suggestion:

“Good music is everywhere, if you can but learn to listen.”

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Yesterday – Today – Tomorrow…

I have this habit of writing down the things that either bother or intrigue me and these things often come flowing out in the form of something that you might call poetry. Since I realized that I might be on to something good here, I started arranging my thoughts because poetry is not just inspiration from the muses as much as the arranging technique, vocabulary and style of the poet himself/herself; or so William Wordsworth said. It has been around six years now that I've been writing stuff but only the past three in which I've received proper guidance from my cousin and literature professors to develop a style and to stop rhyming everything that I wrote. It was only then that I really started writing stuff that other people also seemed to think was pretty OK and not the childish nursery rhymes that I used to pass out earlier.

Now I often look back at my old poems and give a little nostalgic smile at how naive and rhyme-bound I used to be. Sometimes I also curl my lips up in disgust at some of the utter tripe that I’d written. But then I feel that it’s a part of life and that evolution or growth is an endless process and I realized that every few months or years when I looked back, I found something to laugh at, in my diary. This is now clear to me that however good you think you've become or whatever height you've achieved, there’s always space to still go ahead and do something better because as a species, we are always in the search of bettering ourselves.

Every few years, something or the other becomes obsolete, so is the case with knowledge. What we know today may be proven wrong tomorrow or may be presented with improvements to it. So, it’s impossible for something to remain stagnant and be needed. For example, water that has remained stagnant for too long develops algae and fungus and can no longer be used. But flowing water keeps cleaning itself and thus is vital to majority of organisms on the planet.

Thus it is not only change that is required but what is important is progress or moving forward. Because there is nothing like standing still. You either move forwards or you move backwards, there is no other way out. You stand still and are promptly left behind by the world which is progressing at an incredible rate. Especially in the AGE OF INFORMATION that we live in. Yes, I believe that the post-war and modern age are over, we are now in the age where information is the greatest tool as well as weapon depending upon its application. Communication is the key to any and all events taking place over the world and if you were to be left behind the times in terms of information and your surroundings, you cannot cope up with the world again and all you will be able to see is it’s bumper sticker that says, “Farewell sucker!”

This is what I think about keeping up with the times. If anyone feels otherwise or wants to augment what I've written, raid the comment box!

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Of Left & Right & Wrong & Right

They say, “Early to bed, early to rise…” OK I forgot the rest, but you know what I mean. But it’s getting nigh impossible for me to wake up before 9:30 in the morning because I don’t sleep before 3:00 in the night. And, I absolutely HAVE to wake up before 9:30 because my Car driving class starts then. Well, they aren't so strict about timings there so that’s cool but the horror starts after I sit in the car. I've just woken up, hurriedly worn something remotely decent while brushing my teeth, forgotten to comb my hair, with bathroom slippers on my feet, no tea in my gut and wearing the afore-mentioned Terminator shades to hide my red-shot eyes.

The instructor there at the institute changes every day so I often don’t realize who’s throwing instructions at me. This may be so either because my sleep-addled brain can’t pay attention to both, the instructor and the road or because I don’t care enough so early in the morning (without tea). You see, I’m not really a morning person. But due to my sleepiness, I've discovered my Superpowers, oh yeah! I can differentiate my driving instructors simply by the commands they issue on the road! How many people can do THAT?

So I've figured out that I’m being taught by three instructors on a daily rotational basis. Since I don’t know their names (obviously), I have made up names for them with their major characteristics.

1.)    Severus ‘Handlebar’ Snape:

So this guy comes in and says, “Start the car” in such a monotone that my hand automatically goes to the keys and as soon as the engine whirs, his hand is on the steering wheel. After that, his hand only comes off after we’re finished with the lesson. Along with the curt commands and almost dictatorial command over the pedals, I feel like I’m ‘LEARNING’ to drive the car on bloody Autopilot.

2.)    Michael ‘Pitstop’ Schumacher:

The man with the need, the NEED FOR SPEED. He just lets me pull the car out on the road and gives me free reign of the raw power beneath my legs. He sits back, turns up the volume on the stereo and asks me to hit it! This incredible teacher taught me how to brake and go without hitting stuff or rolling down slopes. He makes me stop – go – stop – go and then vroooooom… to the end of the road. Basically, I like him… a Lot.

3.)    Akshay ‘Joker’ Kumar:

Then there is the man who never stops talking and cracking jokes that only he understands and laughs on while I try with all my patience not to drive the car into a tree or the back of a truck or into a wall. While he’s not joking or spitting out of the window, he tells me to stay left, once even when there was a bulldozer coming up the wrong way. I swung into the fast lane anyway to avoid turning into bread and just missed being hit by a trailer from the other side. We had to stop while he took a moment to compose himself. He’ll never joke about THAT, I bet!

So, this is how I've been starting my mornings since the last week and will continue this routine for the next two. Hope my adventures continue to get even more interesting…

Monday, 6 May 2013

Oppa Terminator Style

I recently had my eyesight corrected through LASIK, i.e..  lens correction through laser. And for the next 15 days I had to roam about with dark shades even in the house, so as to protect my now-sensitive eyes from any damage. This was a great pain because even though you get used to them, wearing shades for the whole day and even while sleeping, is a bit over the top. But anyway, I bore that nonsense and now I'm spectacle free for the rest of my life after 16 years of constant companionship.

So, yesterday Dad took me shopping for all the new stuff I needed and after we’d bought the clothes and shoes and other things, I reminded Dad that I needed to buy my first ever pair of shades(Having acquired heavy-duty spectacles at a very tender age). And so we went to our regular optician and he began showing us a variety of goggles that had me completely confused as to which ones to buy. But as I was trying two of the shortlisted ones, Dad commented that they made me look like the villain robot T1000 from the movie Terminator 2: Judgement Day. Sure enough, I looked into the mirror and voilĂ !  I was a futuristic mimetic alloy sentient being come to buy some cool shades. And my choice was made! Obviously, I wasn't going to buy anything else that probably made me look like Salman Khan from the movie Dabbang. Come on, if somebody gave YOU a choice, look like a futuristic robot capable of changing shape or look like a buffed up Bollywood actor; what would you choose?

This would be a very easy choice for any self-confessed movie-nerd. There is absolutely no doubt that the Terminator series is regarded by some hard-core movie addicts to be a Classic. Oh yes, if you didn't know this, too bad.  The Terminator movies were possibly the first of their kind to mention the possibility of advanced machines gaining self-awareness and destroying human supremacy on Earth.

This idea, coupled with the indomitable and indestructible Arnold Schwarzenegger was a revolutionary and in fact a pioneering step in the cinema of the annihilation of the human race and the rise of the age of robots. As far as I know, it was only after this that more movies based on this concept were produced. Prominent among these films are iRobot, starring Will Smith and Transformers, starring Shia LaBeouf.

Secondly, even though the first movie in the Terminator series was not expected to make much money, it stayed at the top of U.S. chart for two weeks. This may be the direct result of casting Arnold Schwarzenegger in a role that required him to give no expression whatsoever. Perfect casting! Also he looks a lot like a robot sent back in time to destroy Earth’s only hope for a future. So yeah, well done James Cameron. For people born in the 90’s, the Terminator is undoubtedly their favourite movie of all time. You may not know this but I consider myself to be a connoisseur of good cinema (Even if it’s only I who say so), even then, to this day, my favourite movies of all time are the Terminator series. You may even verify that on my Facebook account.

So, Terminator shades? Hell Yeah!

Sunday, 5 May 2013

The Birthday Bump

So, we just celebrated my little sister’s birthday party and she’s now turned 19. She can now do all the stuff that adults can do but with the added advantage of even knowing what she is doing. Somehow that gives me feeling of pride in the fact that she’s all grown up but it also instills a fear of the loss of innocence in my kid sister. But I guess it’s pretty natural for an older brother to feel this way. Right? RIGHT?

Anyway, let me come to my point.

Why do we celebrate birthdays?

Why would we want to celebrate something that’s unquestionably taking us closer to death?

If we go to see the mechanics behind it, I think a lot of us will indeed find this tradition of celebrating birthdays completely pointless. There may be a certain justification to it such as that when we are young; it is celebrated as an occasion of growing in wisdom, strength and experience and when we are old, as a celebration of a life long-lived and of time well-spent in this world.

But, I ask, what if birthdays were a conspiracy. Yes, stop rolling your eyes and hitting your head on the wall for a minute. Please keep reading. So, what if this is all part of a great conspiracy by those companies who manufacture cards and gifts? You know, even the bakers may be in on this scheme. What if they have been keeping this utterly meaningless tradition alive just with a view to keeping themselves in business?

Wedding anniversaries may or not be happy occasions, death anniversaries may not be celebrated, brother’s – sister’s – mother’s – father’s days may be optional, but birthdays are bound to come around every single year and if the number of people who can buy cards and gifts around the world can be calculated, I’m pretty sure we’ll get a tidy sum of profit for a lot of companies every single financial year.

Many conspiracy theorists say that many of the ‘Days’ we celebrate are actually phony events set up and well-planned by corporations who mean to draw in the unsuspecting and socially conscious people who will celebrate anything from friendship day to valentine’s day, given that everyone else is also doing so. It is maybe for this reason alone that the following sentence exists:

“The Mass is Dumb.”

People, individually no matter how smart they may be, but as a mass they will always be dumb and be led by the smart guy wearing a suit and leading them on a tether to the slaughter. It is a fact that no man can live as an island, cut off from human contact, and as a direct relation to the same, he/she becomes part of the mass. And the mass is dumb.

Got you, didn't I?

Just think about this the next time you close your eyes to wish for something as you blow out the candle over you BIRTHDAY cake.


Saturday, 4 May 2013

A Happy Coincidence

Now, just as I was wondering what to do with all the free time on my hands, I decided to go watch the ‘Rajkot City Police & Jyoti Challenge Cup’ Football Tournament 2013, where my Dad was one of the organizers. Here’s the part where the Universe said, “You want to do something? Fair enough.” It so happened that the announcer at the tournament had to leave the city in an emergency and they had no backup. This caused something just short of panic among the organizers.

Who would speak now?

Who would make the announcements?

Who would declare results?

Who would read out advertisements?

Who would entertain the public?

At that moment my Dad said to me, “Brendan, take this list of names and go make the announcements – in English AND Gujarati.”
I said, “OK.”

I went right ahead and read the whole thing off. The Gujarati speaking crowd were quite impressed, even if it’s I who say so. The organizer’s then handed over the department to me entirely and I got promoted from audience to announcer.  It was a new experience for me but challenging nonetheless since Gujarati has never been my strong suit but I think I managed it and before long I was making other announcements and issuing instructions to people on and off the ground.

On the day before the quarter-final matches were about to be played, I started a running commentary during one of the matches and fortunately for me, the people in charge loved it. That gave me a certain modicum of confidence and I started giving full-fledged commentary in three languages: English, Gujarati & Hindi. I had now been promoted from announcer to commentator. It was fun to describe the fast-paced game in all its glory. 32 teams from all over the state of Gujarat in India had gathered to play in this tournament.

It was quite the adrenaline rush to put into words the passing of the ball, the sprinting of the players, the right or wrong tackles, the marvelous headers, the venomous volleys, the searing attacks, the solids defences, the arcing clearances, the diving saves, the occasional tiffs, the fleeting injuries and the fantastic goals that were the highlights of this tournament.

At last I had found something to do that I loved. I continued my commentary till the end of the tournament and I at the organizer’s after-event meet, I was declared the official commentator for the Challenge Cup 2014. And so, April 21-28 was quite eventful for me.

Looking forward to more opportunities such as this. I wish they would come like this:
“Knock! Knock!”
“Who’s there?”

Here’s hoping…

Friday, 3 May 2013

Endless Possibilities

Hey there world…

This is Brendan-Anton Raphael Dabhi writing his first blog at the age of twenty one because this is the first time that he has two months of actually nothing to do. So, instead of just eating, shitting and sleeping, he’s decided to put his time to this use – writing a Blog!

So, I've just finished my graduation and come back to my hometown from my adopted one. Seems strange: These roads, these lanes, these roundabouts, these gardens and these landmarks that I’m seeing today are but flashes in black and white film at the back of my mind. So much has changed; it’s difficult to say I know this city anymore. Now I’m back here, but I know not what I’m going to do with these two months on hand.  I will leave this city at the end of two months to pursue further studies in another university, but in the meantime: Mission ‘Do Something Useful’.

I could go out looking for a summer job, a place where I could be of some use. Where I don’t feel like dead-weight  This could gain me valuable experience or an internship certificate or a stipend or even a proper salary. But who is going to give me a job with a Bachelor’s degree? I could hope that some or the other local media house gives me a job but that’s hoping for too much entirely and I know it.
I could go out exploring my city once again, getting to know it, discover it once again. Get to feel its pulse again and perhaps feel at home once again. But I fear that two months are too short a time to get to know this place again and it will be heart-wrenching to leave it again once I connect with it again (It was hard enough the first time).

I could go out on a photography spree, my presently dominant hobby. I could capture this city in my lens and in my eyes before I leave it again because I know that this city has so much to offer the inquisitive and creative mind. There are small things everywhere that join together to make up this city. The small nuances, the behaviour of the people, the interaction of the mass, the structure of its buildings, the feel of the rush hour traffic, the soft breeze in the evenings, the flowing of its river, the majesty of its statues, the flight of its aspirations, the hopes of its young, the laughter of its children and the wheezing of its elderly are all part of the heart and soul of my city and even if I tried for a thousand years, I could never hope to recreate this place in my work.

So, at the moment, I have some options and I’m weighing the pros and cons of each with a view to coming to a good decision. If you have some advice, please go ahead and dish it out, I’m all ears!