Tuesday, September 06, 2005

No time to stand and stare

The one thing thats been eating up my mind for a long time now is the fact that i dont seem to have a life anymore. My day starts and ends with work... rather going to work. A few years ago i would'nt have dreamt that i, of all people, would go to work on a holiday! But sadly its happening :( Its amazing how we are sucked into this quagmire that is corporate life(or lack of life). It starts off slowly with a saturday at work and then slowly a sunday too and after 1 month you end up spending your weekdays, weekends and all holidays at work! Hell i've seen a few people who come to office on holidays because they cant visualize life without those cubicles.
I always believed that all those articles and stories about people burning out and stressing themselves out were exaggerated.. but after a few weeks of corporate life i can already see a few on the spiral path to burn out. I now truly understand why people flock to yoga and all sorts of spiritual stuff to rejuvenate themselves. I've realized that living in a cubicle can really screw around with your mind.
A few days back, Amma was in Chennai and i was showing her my apartment. The moment she went to our balcony the first thing she noticed was a nest on the tree. This particular nest was hardly 10 mts from the balcony but i had never noticed it until she showed it to me. I had however always noticed the large grandstand of the Madras Race Course whenever i went to the balcony. This might not mean anything to most people but it saddens me. To me it means that i've lost the habit of noticing the small things in life. Sadly we need grand and large artificial structures to arrest our mind. A small and delicate thing like a nest isnt good enough for us. All this reminded of a poem from my school days. This poem called "Leisure" captures my state of mind.
Leisure by W H Davies
What is this life if, full of care, We have no time to stand and stare. No time to stand beneath the boughs And stare as long as sheep or cows. No time to see, when woods we pass, Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass. No time to see, in broad daylight, Streams full of stars like skies at night. No time to turn at Beauty's glance, And watch her feet, how they can dance. No time to wait till her mouth can Enrich that smile her eyes began. A poor life this if, full of care, We have no time to stand and stare.


Since moving to chennai i havent really done any travelling apart from the lone weekend that i was in kerala. Kerala is a place i would love to go to anyday, but never live for more than a week.
Back in school, going to Kerala was a yearly pilgrimage for me. Every summer i had to pack my bags and leave for a month to the green paradise of india. Paradise it was.. but for a week. After a week with hardly anyone of my generation to give me company, i wandered endlessly in the fields catching dragonfly's and erthworms and chasing birds. I resembled a cow set out to graze in the fields! The major problem was that everyone around had some work or chores to do. From milking the cows to cracking open coconuts. From mending the fields to catching the hens! Everyone except me had work.Added to this i had to live in a village which had no TV till 5 years ago and no cable tv till last year! The place was so quiet i could hear my own breadth.. if the crickets would shut up.
But this visit was a lot different. I was there for exactly 30 hours and i had only enough time to meet my grandparents and to savour tasty home cooked food. In fact i was longing for more time to spend there. My grandparets are 80+ to 90+ years old and though they suffer from the effects of old age they do their own chores. Puts me to shame. Seeing them live their life i wonder why we live in such dense concrete jungles when all we are doing is getting sicker by the day. Kerala, even today is so pristinely beautiful and clean ... i wonder how wondeful it was when they were in their prime. They live to such ripe old ages because they live a clean life. I guess the average life expectancy of the vilages in kerala must be around 80+. And that too without access to proper medial care! Now i long for those same summers that i spent hating the place.
A lot of funny incidents are happening lately. I'll one day devote an entire post to them. But for now savour this. With Hutch giving away free SMS i was tempted to use it to the maximum. So one fine day i hammered the inboxes of a few friends with lots of messages. Pissed of at my spamming one of them complained that what i was doing was "Network Abuse". And that prompted this reply "Network ab use ho raha hai, abuse nahin."


Chennai - The moment i alighted from the train i felt that i belonged here. There was something special about the place and i could sense it. I had been to Chennai many times before but this time the air around me was different. This time it was the sweet smell of expectancy.
I immediately recalled the last time i sensed something similar. It was 4 years ago that, on a similar day, i set foot in Hyderabad. From Vizag to Hyderabad and then to Chennai. I seem to be slowly but steadily climbing the "city ladder". The rung from Vizag to Hyderabad was a big one for me. Vizag, though a bustling city in its own right,is by no means any comparison to Hyderabad. Hyderabad was big but not impersonal. There is a great culture to the city and the people. During the 4 wondeful years i spent there, i absorbed a little of it and enjoyed everything about it. Now its time for another rung. This one promises to be a much smaller step. Chennai and Hyderabad though poles apart have both won my heart.
There is something about the way a city wins you over. Hyderabad does that with its ancient laidback culture. The 'chalta hai' attitude is so pervasive that you will get swept away by procrastination even before you realize it. Chennai has its own style of doing it. Its people are intellectually stimulating while being dizzying fanatics. Its climate is pleasant and sultry at the same time. The roads appear wide sometime and like dingy lanes at times! Its a land of two faces and while you may love or hate it, you cant be indifferent towards it.
I have however come to love the culture of this place. One of the things very high up my wishlist is to learn tamil. Being born a malayali will certainly help but it seems a long time before i can really give the auto drivers here a piece of my mind in Tamil. I would love to use the slang like the way some of the guys here do. I am also amazed at the way the movies shape the colloquial language and the slang here. Thanks to a few really helpful colleagues i am making brisk progress in this regard and will one day be using "maccha" and "mapalai" very effectively.
Leaving behind friends, college and hyderabad was tough but Chennai promises to make up for it. Only time can tell if it can.

The lost blogger

Logged onto 360 after i think 1 month. Found a whole lot of new features here! Been trying to write about the rapid changes going on but havent yet found the patience or the will to even try. Let me see if i make any headway in the days ahead.
For starters i've slowly growing a liking towards Chennai. Then there are the numerous stories and wonderful incidents to note down. Not to mention the loads of friends i am making! And most importantly the wonderful people i am living with. WIll have to write about all these... phew.
And finally I am changing the rules of my blog. Everything is allowed. Even names But no cribbing

Multitasking required...

Many things happening at the same time can really confuse you. As of now i am supposed to leave my dear college and my life of the past 4 years and move on to the professional phase of my life in 10 days time. I have a lot of packing to do. Lots of movies,music and series to copy and move around. Btw got a brand new hard-disk(160 gigs) a few days back. Added to these are the unending trips to library,labs and caretakers for the no-dues. As if these were not enough i also have a report to complete (ouch...dont get me started on that). I wonder how i cannot get confused with all this happening at the same time! Just writing about them seems to confuse me. Hope i finish all these tasks.I just found Graham Greene's "Stamboul Train" among my books. Been a long time since i read that. I wonder what it is with books and trains. My first encounter with books(novels) was around trains. Every year during our annual vacation to Kerala i got to buy a few books for the train ride. This was the only way to keep me silent during the journey. Trust me, a kid can be quite a handful on a train if he is bored. And this yearly ritual continued till the books changed from Tinkle and Chacha Chaudhary to Enid Blyton and then to Sidney Sheldon. But i always felt a connection between trains and books. And i just remembered that my last book from IIIT's library was Anita Nair's "Ladies Coupe". Hmm..there is something worth exploring here. But i better get back to more pressing issues. After all i have a lot of things to do.*Witty incident*This particular incident happened in Vizag. A friend who had come down to Vizag and was experiencing the humid climate for the first time remarked how different it was from Hyderabad's climate. And i instantly quipped "Yes, Its a sea change from Hyderabad!"