Friday, April 18, 2008 - 18:35
Chapter - I
"Oh no! You booked second a/c? I hate the a/c class in the train."
"What? I thought you liked train rides." said my younger brother.
"Yeah, I do.. but the people in the a/c class are just too pretentious. They don't let you be and chatter away to glory."
"People are like that everywhere. You have a problem."
" 'I did my engineering in IIT..', 'You know whats wrong with the American economy..', 'Here is my visiting card..', these kind of look-how-successful-im topics never comes up in the sleeper class. I don't have a problem, these people are so phony."
"You sound like a protagonist from a JD Salinger novel. But I think you are just intimidated shitless. Now willya hurry up... you only got ten more minutes."
I smiled at his remark knowing he was right and followed him into the station. As I was searching for the platform number he suddenly jerked me and said, "You believe in coincidence? You see that girl? She was standing next to me in the reservation queue when I was booking your ticket. She is gorgeous, isn't she?"
"Yeah, she is..."Chapter - II
"... my daughter." said the father.
"Here's my visiting card. Wonder the other passenger is boarding or not?" he continued.
I almost rolled my eyes when I took his visiting card and gave it a customary glance. "You are a doctor.", I said wondering was I supposed to add an rhetorical adjective like 'how wonderful?'.
"Yes", replied the doctor before I'd time to add anything. "I practice in the US. We settled there after I finished my medicine in India. In fact this is my daughter's first trip to India."
That explains the branded jeans, t-shirt and the petite figure I thought. And why she looked generally annoyed by the surroundings. It was a genuine first-time-in-India-ABCD look.
A tall well-built man entered our compartment followed by another stocky guy carrying the luggages. The later placed the bags under the seat and stood to attention. "Sir, the train will reach the destination at 0545 tomorrow. I'll be here by 0530 sir.", he said. Then he gave a proper military style salute and left.
The intimidation factor of the compartment just went sky high. A successful doctor and a high-ranking military officer.Chapter - III
".. you lucky bastard. She is traveling in the same compartment as you." interjected my brother while trying to get a better glimpse of her standing in the platform.
"If I were lucky she'll be traveling alone. I'm sure that old man with her is her father and he is traveling along." I said.
"Get her phone number ok?" remarked my overly optimistic brother ignoring me.
"Yeah right. Anything else?"
"You think this is a mere coincidence? The hand of fate has made you and her be in the same train on the same compartment on the same day. Don't blow this."
"If fate went to all that trouble for me then why should it matter what I do? If it was meant to be it'll be. The simpler explanation is that everything is a coincidence."
"Coincidence or fate this sort of thing never happens to me."
"You do realize that it can only be one of them." I said, wanting to change the topic.
"What are you talking about?" asked my brother taking the bait.
"Coincidence or fate. They are mutually exclusive. The world cannot both be chaos and ordered at the same time. You either have free will or not." I answered.Chapter - IV
"Are you going to be father?" asked the doctor to the Major. "I see you are reading a book on toddler care."
Actually I did't know or care whether he was Major or a General or a Sergent. No sooner than the formalities of introductions were over I took my upper berth opposite the doctor's daughter and began eavesdropping on their conversation.
"Yes, my wife and I are expecting our first child any day now." said the Major.
"Thank you doctor. I'm very excited."
"You know when I was a kid I wanted to join the military. I wanted to be an officer like you for the longest time. I don't know why I studied medicine." confessed the doctor.
The major let out a small laugh and said, "Really? Guess the grass is always greener on the other side."
"Really. I liked the discipline and the respect that goes with the military. Even after all these years when the other soldier gave you a salute I got goosebumps."
They both fell silent for a while, probably because of the doctor's candid revelations before the doctor spoke up again.
"So, do you know whether it is a boy or a girl?"
"No, we don't know. But I'm hoping it is a girl."
"Haan... of course!" said the doctor matter of fact.
"Its interesting isn't it. The father always wants a daughter and the mother insists that it would be a boy. Why do you think that is?" asked the major.
The doctor was silent for a while and then I heard some incoherent whispers. He was telling the major the answer to his question but he didn't want me or his daughter to hear it. I began to wonder what could possibly be so secretive about this.Chapter - V
"Haven't you heard of chaos theory?" asked my brother. As any self respecting engineer would agree, I had succeeded in getting his mind off a girl with physics.
"Yeah, are you saying events of the world only appear to be random? A butterfly wing flap is the cause of a tornado."
"Yeah, thats what I'm saying. Destiny."
"I don't believe in destiny... I think everything is just a coincidence."
"You don't believe in destiny?"
"Nope. Its a crackpot idea."
"For a guy who likes train rides it is pretty strange that you don't believe in destiny."
"What? What do you mean by that?" It was my turn to be bemused.
"Oops! there goes the green light..."Chapter - VI
"Couldn't sleep?" asked a voice from behind me.
I was standing outside my compartment in the corridor staring at the moon through the window. It was well past midnight and owing to my insomnia I was thinking about the riddle my brother made before boarding .
I turned around and saw the daughter strode to a stop near me.
"Yeah. I'm nocturnal." I said. "Looks like you are still adjusting to jet lag." I suggested noticing how fresh her eyes looked.
"Yes. I'm supposed to be fighting to urge to be awake... but I couldn't. Hope I'm not disturbing you."
"Absolutely not. I appreciate your company. I was just watching the moon. I love train rides because I can come out and watch the moon in the night. So how do you like India so far?" I asked.
She was silent for a while preparing her answer I presumed.
"I guess it is ok. This is my first time here and want to like it."
"But you haven't found out yet why people like it so much?" I asked.
"I want to like India, don't take me wrong.. but I don't have a good reason yet. My dad, for instance has nostalgia. He talks as if it is his destiny to come back to India."
I smilied at her comment and liked that she needed a reason to like. "Destiny! I don't believe in destiny."
"You like train rides and you don't believe in destiny. Odd combination, ain't it?" she said.
"What did you just say?"Chapter - VII
"Hey bro, I got the answer. Ifound out what you meant by train ride and destiny." I said into the phone.
"You must have got off the train just now. Did you not sleep?" my brother said sleepily.
"I also got her phone number."
"You are kidding me! Really?" I could imagine him spring up from lying down.
"And it was her who told me the connection."
"She did? What did she say?"Chapter - IX
"You are smiling rather lively. Whats the matter?" asked the doctor to his daughter.
We were all disembarking from the train at the destination and I was within earshot range to hear them talk.
"I think I'm beginning to like India." she answered.
"Wow! Thats great. Seems like this morning is a good start. You remember the soldier who was carrying the bags for the other person in our compartment."
"Well, he woke me up instead of him and gave me a salute this morning. I almost felt like a military officer." he said, smiling heartily himself.
Right then the major walked past us and greeted the doctor. "Good morning doctor. Pleasure to have met you."
"Likewise." he said. He then crossed his fingers and added, "Daughter!"
The major smiled and replied, "Daughter!"Chapter - X
"People like train journey because they are assured of the destination. The tracks of railway line is the key. People feel comfortable knowing that there is a system in place that'll guide them to the destination no matter what. It is same as the belief in destiny." I said paraphrasing the conversation I had with the daughter.
My brother was silent for a while, most probably wide-eyed amazed by the answer, and then continued, "The more disorderly the chaos the simpler the explanation."Disclaimer: Although I traveled with a NRI father & daughter pair and a military officer in the a/c coach some years ago nothing else in the story is true. As much as I would like this to be an inspiration by Kamal's movie Dasaavatharam, it is not.
It took only four years for this story to make the distance from cerebrum to paper. But finally I got the confident to have five characters and break the word limit I set myself.. I'm happy with how it turned out. And I almost forgot the dedication... this one goes to all my Pune friends.
Labels: Short Story
Thursday, June 07, 2007 - 18:07
Fear & Hope
Ali:knock knock neo!Neo:
how r u doing that? my comp is not even connected to the internet... how can u chat with me? and my name is not neoAli:yeah i know, i just wanted you to feel comfortable. u have a big decision to make today.Neo:
how big?Ali:"save the world" kinda bigNeo:
im dreaming this, arent i?Ali:no, listen to meNeo:
i know i was narcissistic, but this has gone far enough.. i need to wake up nowAli:ok, let me start at the beginningNeo:
yeah right.. like that is going to do me any goodAli:im not human. im an other species from a different galaxy on a mission to earthNeo:
stop flattering urself.. and im no jack bauerAli:ok, just let ur cynicism hang for a bit and listen to me.. i cant stress enough on how important this isNeo:
alright, u got my attention.. for now. what say u?Ali:i say, you have to answer me one question and on that answer rests the fate of the worldNeo:
wow! talk about pressure! go on, shootAli:is what you want to be in life, so different from your ancestors?Neo:
WTF! i dont even understand ur questionAli:what i mean is, do u think humans are you ready to take the next step in evolution?Neo:
why do u want to know? and how is it going to save the world?Ali:i want to know bcos that is my mission. i have to ask u this question and based on ur answer i take my actionNeo:
tell me all ur possible actionsAli:if u say u do believe in humanity then i help u.. if not, i terminate myself and let u be.Neo:
why me? why now?Ali:u were the chosen one bcos of ur personality and understanding of the human mind. you qualification as a doctor and a researcher were the main factorsNeo:
oh i see. u didnt answer, why now?Ali:it is the right time now bcos we predicted that humans will not be able to handle the technical adolescent. u'll destroy each other before u get past that stage.Neo:
hmmm.. and u r asking me bcos one voice of support is enough for humanity?Ali:and u believe in free willNeo:
yeah.. sure.. an advanced alien creature predicted the future on earth and came to ask me whether i believe i'll save humanity or not.. IN A DREAM I'VE CREATED IN MY HEAD.. yeah! i believe in free will!Ali:btw - last time we were here, we gave the apes "curiosity".. and practically set evolution on human in motion.. u better believe that tooNeo:
wow! so what r u going to do this time, if i answer yes?Ali:what do u think?Neo:
how the heck should i know? u r the advanced species.. who apparently survived the adolescence.. tell me what u do?Ali:i know what i have to do.. i have my orders.. first, i would like to hear what u thinkNeo:
so many things have to change at so many levels.. the answer might be simple but it is definitely not easyAli:ok, fair enough.. just give me a yes or no..Neo:
i keep thinking what if u r wrong?Ali:wrong abt our predictions of the world?Neo:
no, not that.. im sure we'll kill each other. what if, what u think might fix this world doesnt actually fix the world? and who put u incharge?Ali:lol.. excellent question! i guess if u trust me then u place all hope on me.Neo:
and i dont even know u.. how can i trust u and hope thing will work out?Ali:but thats the interesting thing abt hope. u have to lose hope to lose all inhibitions.Neo:
what do u mean?Ali:fear cannot be without hope nor hope without fear. if u trust me completely u'll become fearless.Neo:
ok, im with u so far.. but there is one more thing nagging me from that startAli:what is it?Neo:
i think this is just a dream. im hallucinating or something. and if im then what i do isnt real and dont have any meaning. r u in my head? am i imagining u to boast my ego?Ali:what if there is a way to find out whether this is a dream or not? will u do it?Neo:
yeah sure.. i already pinched myself... tried opening my eyes.. but it seems im stuck here with u in this chat window. tell me how to confirm.Ali:its really simple. can u do multiply big numbers in ur head?Neo:
no i cant.. whats ur point?Ali:well u r on a computer.. open the calculator and punch in some big numbers!Neo:
of course...No-Kids-Cry Phenomenon!LA Times June 9
More than 100 cases are now reported to CDC and officials about what's now dubbed as the No-Kids-Cry phenomenon. This unusual behavior among newborns was first reported yesterday in Los Angeles maternity wards. First it was believed to be an epidemic contained in the hospital, but apparently several cases has now been reported from New York and as far as Europe and Asia.
Kids affected by this syndrome albeit appear perfectly healthy are unable to cry at all. It is a rather large implication since the only way a baby communicates anything is by crying. At first scientists believed it to be a vocal cord paralysis of some sort brought on by a parasite or infection. On further diagnosis they were not able to find anything and now the only explanation left is a neurological problem with all the new-born.
Dr. Foreman, a neurologist from NY, commented, "the brain images on these kids suggest that the fear center of their brain is unresponsive. we are yet to determine what caused this, and it is too early to confirm."
Whether this is a freak of nature or the hand of God and whether this can be contained remains to be seen...
Labels: Dreams, Short Story
Thursday, May 31, 2007 - 17:40
Last weekend something amazing happened. No, not that you perverts. I did not get laid.. I'm still playing solitaire.. on my laptop(wonderful euphemism no?). I'm talking about this blog's page-hits on a day. It went down all the way to zero. Not even Google sent some searches on kamasutra this way. Guess its as close to a clean slate as a blog can get. So born again!
I care about you readers out there. I really do! So I'm going to give you made up reasons for the absence: I either had a writer's block or in bad need of a muse. Beaches, clubs and some lap-dances later.. found out it wasn't the muse. It was the regular good old block. The only way to get over this is to write about a favorite topic... what other choice do thou have than to rant about Women!
I know the argument is very Sigmund Freud, but if only boys mature faster than girls, we might have better chance and this ridicule
will actually sound fair. It is an already established fact that why we don’t get any.. is not our fault
. Combine this with the serious lack of requirements specification from the client side we men are on an uphill struggle to impress women from birth. Let me take you....
My mom always used to say "work hard, study well, get good rank and success will follow automatically". Didn't success also meant girls. So all I had to do was get first rank and the ladies will stalk me. In high school I could do a mean derivation of E=mc² in under 3 minutes, list the properties of benzene under chloroform, draw the female reproductive system with eyes shut.. but alas no girl followed me back home for "show & tell". Maybe because I went to an all-boys school run by celibate Christian missionary brothers. Only now I understand that the advice and choice of school was my mom's way of keeping me single until she can run a matrimonial ad. Women load the dice every step of the way.
"Chicks dig guys who is into art", said one of my friend not too after it dawned that my parents advice is ill-suited and I turned to him for advice. I took him seriously enough to improved my drawing & sketching skills. Only that, by "art" he meant something else. One weekend on Pubertyville a group of friends rented the special "art" video and watched it on mute... you would have mistaken the room for a wax exhibit. After that gentle baptism that every man goes through no guy can ever look at a woman without thinking about sex. On the other hand, the girls have their own sex education teacher(their moms), monthly reminders and paranoid-stricken over-protective brothers and dads who knows what goes on in boys minds. Thats cheating and totally unfair.
Its a no-brainer that most women like poetry. So I began a regime of reading books, a lot of books so I can think and rhyme like a poet. I blame the Y-chromosome because I can quote Hannibal Lecter better than Jane Austen. Albeit, I gained this holy wisdom. No man could ever grasp poetry and men only used it as a ploy to get into womens pant. Let me tell you women a secret.. a typical man does not count his worth on the number of tears shed or the number of people attended his funeral, but on how many women thought "he was so good in bed" in his funeral. You can hear Keats, Byron and Shakespeare turning in their grave right now. Thank you guys for trying to tell us that the playing field ain't level.
What women want and what kind of conversation interests them I asked my male friends. In Tamilnadu, where is come from, this art is called the art of "kadalai", definition is not unlike the Seinfeld episode on "Nothing"... the ability to talk or be with a woman for looong period of time without actually talking about anything in general or anything in particular or anything at all. I got nothing. A friend puts it this way, "a mildly sexual yet only flirting, intelligent topic, but still personal, yet non-invasive". I still can't think of anything. I know.. celibacy as a life-style is an option I'm considering. Don't be smart ass and say all men got to do is listen. We need a standard issue women-talk-decoder-ring to understand a comma or a pause.
Now I understand though my friends albeit were trying to help were just as naive as I was and were only good at pretending that they knew it all.
After reaching for advice and questioning self about the answers to life I turned to the next best thing. Femina and Cosmopolitan. Maybe womens magazine have an idea of what women want. Page after page I see/read they like 6 pack abs and muscles like Hrithik. So off to the gym I go. Did I tell you I belong to the species called software engineers. We are the newest hit species in the evolution of man. We are well-designed to stare at screens, use our brain, sit on our ass and move only our fingers. Homositonass Fingerus
is our biological name. We can try but a 6-pack ab is as futile as trying to escape Darwinism. Women just skip a few meals and they are in shape.
Yours truly like most guys my age with tamil parents from the 1980's is a product of love marriage. And I'm also a first-born. Damn those love-theme movies of 80's: from Alaigal Oyevadhillai
till date the movies kept raising the bar higher & higher. Sergei Bubka would have given up. Most will consider it a disgrace to the family blood and tamil community, so rich in love, to even think of arranged marriage. Imagine the pressure on us from the moment of conception till we go through puberty with like-minded-immature-friends and knowing the playing field is not level and we don't stand a chance and accepting the stereotype of "boringly good boy in glasses, educated nerd from the land of opportunity" and walking up to you trying to start a conversation... no wonder we choke.
Labels: Indulgent me
Friday, January 12, 2007 - 04:59
The long distance international flights are always grueling. 8 hours from Delhi to Paris and then the connection to Los Angeles which took another 12 hours. Ask any other professional other than a Software engineer and he'll buckle.. but for us young-energetic-IT-powered-engineers sitting in that tiny "Economy" seats sandwiched between strangers, snorers and wailing kids... is exactly like sitting in our small cubicles listening to colleagues and managers. We just open our little laptops, pop the headphones in and get transported to another dimension even though we are wedged like a stone on a truck tire. Hours of sitting idle,leaving a warm ass-print on the chair, swinging with girls on chat rooms and watching p0rn on our wi-fi laptop is the one thing that comes naturally to us and it has to pays off somewhere.
Lets start at the beginning. Pune to Delhi. I saw the most beautiful airhostess on that flight. Trust me, she might well become the next Aishwarya Rai. Hail Air Sahara! I swore on my laptop to never fly AirDeccan or the other cheap airlines when she smiled and said 'Some candies, Sir?'. BTW - we software engineers swear on our laptops like some people swear on their virginity. They are both the same to us. Full of unused features, clean and well protected inside a leather chastity.
Friends and bloggers alike, always talk about the interesting people they meet on long flights. Something like that never happens to me even though I've an eye, an ear, a mouth and other vital anatomical orifices open for meeting interesting people. I think its another curse on me that I've carried from my previous life. Besides the "never-get-a-window-seat" and "no-girl-will-ever-sit-next-to-me" curses. Even if the plane was loaded with models and supermodels, Im quite sure they will part way -like Red Sea did for Moses- just to let me pass through to a seat between Big Mamma and Yukosona.
The next leg from Paris to LA was as uneventful as the previous one, only longer. I couldn't see the Eiffel tower because I naturally didn't get a window seat but managed to glimpse the "HOLLYWOOD" sign when the plane landed at LAX. Career options, me thinks. Oh come on, I can at least write scripts for them XXX movies!
I was dizzy through many meetings on the first day at work because of the jet lag and I'm up all dawn today. So decided to write this. Oh, did I tell you about my new year resolution? Write more short stories, post more pictures and stop complaining about the lack of women in life. I think I hit the spot with this post!
Labels: Indulgent me
Tuesday, November 07, 2006 - 04:25
creativity ⊂ plagiarism
My phone has been ringing off the hook, comment box is flooding, and scrapbook is exploding, after the last post. Ladies, ladies... one at a time please. So in the interest of network congestions and blogger.com sanity I pledge not to indulge in these kinds of experiments in the future. Ok sisters?
Lets get back on track... blowing away common misconceptions about creativity using expletively inappropriate analogies. (this way yields more google hits than ever)
Today's mis-concept: Creativity is being original all the time.
Yes, it is not. Repeat after me.. Creativity is being wrong most of the times. And a lot of copying as well. Well, when you eventually get caught it is labeled as plagiarism, but until then at least it is considered original.
Lets face it, it is been proven already that there is no originality in the whole world. That is to say, whatever you are thinking right now at this moment has already been thought off by some other person in the past. Only when your work copies so many different sources at the same time that the one keeping count gets confused and lost, it passes the test for plagiarism.
For example, since dogs are one of the first animals to be domesticated by humans, "doggie position" is the only original position in the kamasutra. Rests are skewed/tilted/capsized versions of the same. (Of all the crazy animal-get-intelligence-takes-over-world theories I fear the dogs-taking-over-the-world most. Imagine the copyright infringement lawsuits and the settlements.)
Come on, 64 different positions for one act? We should know better. Least of all when it comes from a sage who lived in a forest in ancient India. He propably lived alone and suffered serious dysfunction for all I know. The dogs are going to have a field day when they can eventually think.
Labels: Indulgent me
Sunday, November 05, 2006 - 23:31
creativity <> f(human)
Creativity is what distinguishes human from animal, somebody once told me. I say blah! It is a very common misconception.
Creativity is not what distinguishes human from animal.
It is the fact that we have "sex for pleasure" that distinguishes humans from animals. (All thee Animal Planet nerds who are going "Dolphins do that too"... all I can say is, do they wear protection? Bite me!) So distinguish yourself from the animals...creativity follows!
Yes, have sex and creativity follows. You might think I'm way off track here, but have you ever wondered why the best ideas are born either in the bath
room or the bed
room? Have you? Well I have, and no points for guessing what is used common in both the rooms (deviants aside).
For example, why do you think I'm so bad at being creative?
On a completely different subject, I read this somewhere...
"The strength of a blogger, at any given time, is measured by the number of women who want to sleep with him. The magic is in the 'want' -- not the act."
So go crazy in the comment box ladies. Limited time offer. Who knows, you might increase your creativity in the process!
Labels: Indulgent me
Wednesday, October 04, 2006 - 04:59
If you are expecting a reason for my absence.. there are already too many words in english for laziness and me dont want to invent new ways of putting it. So its not like me don't have stories to tell, or pictures to post.. its just that quarter-life-crisis getting in the way.
I'll be back.. I promise.
Labels: Vini Vici Vidi