Livinghigh: July 2006
Thursday, July 20, 2006
Livinghigh was here at 12:54 AM / (1) Comments

Ban Bane

The question which most of my blogger buddies and friends who know that I blog, ask is: doesn't the government understand that this ban on blogs is a serious contravention of our Fundamental Right to Freedom?! Evidently, the answer is not. This is the third straight day of the ban on blogger and other blog-engines in India, and the Delhi government is still to come out with a proper statement. The government still insists that only 20 or so 'religiously extremist' blogs have been censored, while the ground reality is a total blanket ban.

So what's with these jokers?

Time to look into the mirror. I've been the goody-goody guy for as long as I can remember. The only time I seriously broke the law was when I was in a car speeding along the East-Coast Road outside Chennai, drunk like a fish, and doing some pretty bad (on hindsight) making-out in the backseat. So I got scared when the police pulled us over then. Today, it's different. Today, there's outrage. And honestly speaking, it still hasn't sunk in completely. I was arguing with a friend yesterday when he suggested that blogs were banned and that's why I couldn't access mine - I told him, it was idiotic to think of that drivel in India - and barely five minutes later I had to eat crow.

They say that mainstream media has been following up on the Blog Ban. Well, evidently, they haven't had that big an effect. Maybe, when push comes to shove, they look at the statistics: as far as population figures go, how much do bloggers actually compromise, anyway? And in looking at the numbers, that's where they slip up and fail to realise that they've compromised on the Fundamental Rights for all. The way I express my fundamental right may be different and more advanced technologically than the method adopted by a voter from a village in North Bihar... but my rights are no less important, no less sacrosanct than his. And that's something that the mainstream media seems to have forgotten in its tame coverage of the blog ban, and something that the government doesn't seem to care about at all, in this age of Reservation.

There are more kinds of terrorism than just bombs in a train.

Monday, July 17, 2006
Livinghigh was here at 11:40 PM / (4) Comments

Just another Manic Monday...

Yesterday, I came to know that someone I'd interacted with passed away in the train blasts here in Bombay. It was strange to realise. As I told the Love later on the phone, it brings the blasts all that closer to my doorstep. Earlier, even though I was scared and shocked, it seemed like: "O, it's happened on the Western Line, but I travel on the Central line..." It's just not that way, anymore.

Tushit Shah used to work at a firm called TAIB Securities, in Worli. I used to talk to him on the phone at times, asking for inputs on what was happening in the stock markets, what sectors look good, and other shop-matters. He would always be nice on the phone, and never treat me like the pesky journo that I was. And he would be nervous about coming in front of the camera, but would graciously acquiesce, nonetheless.

Thank you for everything, Tushitbhai, and may God bless you.

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And on a different note, I must confess that I'm liking my new job. Must confess that I had some misgivings before I started. Didn't want to be a toady to anyone. ;-) Was it all those classes in ethics in ACJ that I snoozed through? Maybe, maybe not. But I didn't want to be a toady. The good part is, I'm not. The good part is, there's so much scope here for taking charge and improvising. Of running things in a disciplined way. I wonder if I'm a harridan at the office. I can be bossy at times. (Poor A!)

Oops, I also know that my current boss knows where I blog, so David, if you're reading this, I'm gonna ask you to let me go for that Andhra tour.


Thursday, July 13, 2006
Livinghigh was here at 1:41 AM / (2) Comments

Clockwork City

It all happened like clockwork. I sit down. The train lurches forward, a jerk, another one even sharper, and I'm chugging along. And my eyes scan the overhead luggage rack. Clockwork orange, red, blue, green, yellow, purple, vibgyor.

It's been a little more than twenty four hours since news of the bomb blasts ripped through the city, perhaps even more piercingly and with even more deadly effect than the blasts themselves. I was lucky: I saw the whole thing unfold in the relative safety of my office, watching the TV channels unfold their stories. So much confusion: seven blasts or eight, seven stations or eight, handmade or RDX, Srinagar or Pakistan, dead or alive? Questions simply didn't have any answers, and since going home with the city panicking around us was out of the question, the only consolation (it seemed) was walking over to the Press Club for a spot of whisky. But after the whisky finished and news came in that the Central Line was working fine, trains were running, people were going home, it was time to trudge back to that imposing Victoria Terminus, Living World Heritage like the city it belongs in, and stand on the platform, waiting for a train. I sit down. The train lurches forward. I look up sharply at the luggage rack.

Like clockwork.

A friend drives his car over Peddar Road, and listens to me patiently, while I explain how I felt travelling on the train last night and this morning, after the incident. How I was scared with this strange feeling of uncertainty, which was in a way even more discomfiting than knowing (but then, that's such a cliched thing to say, isn't it?). He shrugs and replies, "It's all Fate. You can't worry about that. Hell, anything like that can happen right now, if it's meant to - " and he swerves dramatically on the road, to prove his point, "You can't stop it if it's meant to happen."

"Is it really all that simple and easy to explain?" I scowl, refusing to believe that that's all there is to it.

My friend nods in agreement. "Yep. O, you'll have the TV channels interviewing people, and the people will say that the government should have warned them in advance, and the Opposition will demand the government's resignation, and all of that will carry on for a week. After a week, you'll get used to it. You won't even bother about the train."

"I haven't bought my First Class Pass yet," I reply, "Think this was an omen not to?"

He shrugs and grins in reply.

I have nothing to say to that. After that not-so-enlightening conversation, I took the train again to come back home, and once again, like clockwork, I looked up at the luggage rack, at the bags, umbrellas, tiffin cases, satchels, briefcases there, and silently prayed that none of them was a bomb in disguise. Perhaps my friend is right. Perhaps, a week later, after all the TV interviews are over, after the CBI or whoever takes the investigation into its shady recesses, after the Opposition has gained enough mileage for the forthcoming municipality polls, all of this will indeed be over. Dawood and Shakeel have flown away. We may never even know who the perpetrators of these blasts were. A week later, as Bombay resumes its clockwork pace, we may simply be rushing foward and backward to work again, not sparing a look at the luggage rack, not caring, not fearing, not hesitating.

A week later, perhaps. Not tomorrow, at any rate.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006
Livinghigh was here at 9:38 AM / (7) Comments

Magg-num Opus

The idea behind World Peace and making a good batch of Maggi noodles is much the same: patience and good stirring. Sitting at home the other day, and was making Maggi on the microwave. Tear packet. Heat small amount of water in micro for 1 minute. Break noodles into crumbly little piece and Dunk, Dunk, Dunk with your fork. (Imagine umpteen little Nice biscuits being dunked into tea and you'll manage.) Sprinkle Masala evenly on top. Reheat concoction for 3 minutes in micro. remove and stir and mix with said fork. Place bowl under fan for 1 minute to cool, and then guzzle.

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This was the first time I'd made Maggi using a microwave. Admittedly, there are stranger ways of cooking that 2-Minute Noodle that revolutionsed Indian snack-foods as we know it. Once upon a time, I knew a strange Punjabi who would soak Maggi in lukewarm water, crush the crumbly bits till they got softer in the water, mix the Masala in it, mix some more, stir, stir, stir and then stire some more. Eat and pretend to like it. We didn't have a stove that worked in those days, you understand. And since Maggi was cheap in those days, and we were poor, the nutty Punjabi made it his staple meal.

With people like me who don't know how to cook, Maggi comes as a lifesaver. Rather, as a facesaver. I don't know how to boil rice or make tea - considered the essentials of Living Alone in A Big Bad City. All I know in the culinary department is to mix cornflakes, whip up a neat Maggi and.... no, that's all.

Favourite style of having Maggi: Cheese Maggi, though that may not be very conducive right now, with my jogging avatar. ;-)

Maggi Style not tried out yet: With fried egg on top. I've heard loads about it, and am pretty curious to try it. Only problem: still don't have a stove, and you can't get a fried egg via the microwave.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006
Livinghigh was here at 10:39 AM / (5) Comments

Washed In

Rain, rain, Go away
Little Johnny wants to play

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Welcome to Bombay. The place where it rains insanely. Caught a firsthand glimpse of that last year, and it looks like this time around it's not going to be any different. So yesterday, I tramped into the new office, soaked to the skin, cursing and ranting, and telling the receptionist, "Hey, How are you? Horrid day outside, isn't it? O, and I'm going to work here from today. Who are you, again?"


Well, not quite that rude, but you get the point. Today, I bought myself a blue umbrella in the subway opposite VT. My stooopid black NIKE raincoat is in a bedraggled state and isn't protecting me anymore! Aw, shucks. So, I buy this light blue, pansy-looking one for a hundred bucks. pansy, but cute. I love the colour blue. Stooopid vendor asked me whether I was looking for a gents or a ladies' umbrella, and I curtly said ladies' to him. Ass. So what if I like blue on my umbrella, instead of drab black? I've seen guys with pink umbrellas - and I don't even own a pink shirt, which is considered the epitome of Metrosexuality!

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In the meantime, I sit in a half-deserted office, with one late Kate limping in every half-hour or so. And I'm chatting online on msn (now called, Windows Live, by the way), while blogging. It's a PR guy's life, I suppose. Am catching the ropes fast!