Friday, October 30, 2009


There's something magical about prayers. And there's something magical about this universe. Not a revelation, I know. I'm neither the first person, nor will I be the last person to reaffirm the fact that there's more than Gravitational force that keeps this universe together.

I keep forgetting it everytime. But thankfully the mystique of someone's omnipresence doesn't elude one for a long time. Again this is something that I have exprienced in past (at one point exactly similar to this) and yet I forgot, yet I lost faith, yet I felt miserable, yet I blamed, yet I accused, yet I shouted my lungs out . Yet I mistrusted.

The reason of the temporary despair: Around evening- after the computer repair guy left, after half a dozen guests stormed into our home to wish us a 'Happy Diwali'(!!), after my friend asked me to a search a name for our team, after my mother came in for the fourth time in my room(and this time to positively rebuke) asking me to come in the hall to say the customary Namaste auntyjee-did I realize that I couldn't locate my cellphone. No issue! "Scrappy as I am, must've left it here somewhere" thought I. Besides when you have an angry mother standing right on top of your head who wants to drag you in front of a couple of middle-aged/aged conservative ladies so that you can play the perfect little miss sunshine, you have no choice but to put the less important issues like searching your cellphone(the search of which resulted futile even after fifteen odd minutes*panic*) in parenthesis and comply. And so for next two quarters of an hour I wore my fake smile and sat quietly listening to their prattling. But honestly, I didn't listen to any of it. My mind had already drifted. I was mentally tracking (or at least trying) all those places where I'm most likely to have kept it. I thought of a few, but it's hard to excuse youself out of a conversation (hugely one-sided as far as I am concerned) when you're trying to play miss goody-two-shoes! Funnily enough one of them tells me, everytime she visits, that apparently I have become..err..well rather nubile now! That is not odd. But what's odd is the way she keeps insinuating my mother that now she needs to be extra protective of me. "Kudi te jawaan ho gi hain aapki"(followed by an (un)intentional wink,which for some reason always turns out to be an eye irritation). Yes,yes! that's my mission in life-fooling around with lafandars who hitch-hike from one bus stop to another, don monkey-washed jeans teemed with fluorescent pink/orange/green shirts, wear gothic wristlets/fuck bands, look obliquely at you and sing 'Aashiq banaya aapne' Honestly! :X
It is not a surprise that this lady in question is a parochial fuddy-duddy who is convinced that the sole purpose of a woman's existence is to get married, cook, clean and rear children. But then I had read somewhere that it is the mark of an educated mind to humour an opinion without accepting it. Her family does that. My mother does that. And now that I've knowm her for years, so do I. But I must not be so nasty, because howsoever unprogressive she might be, she still is so warm and sweet to me.

So, anyway after these people left, the reckless hunt for the cell began, with no positive results. The habit of keeping the cell on the silent mode came as a slap on the face. After an hour and half worth of turning the house upside down it was hopelessly accepted that-in Britney Spears's words-'Oops I did it again!'
The thought of losing a cellphone is not as painful as the thought of losing it thrice. Thrice! And this time from within the house, under our noses. Under my nose. A year ago when I got this cell I promised that I'm not going to lose this one. I won't fail this time. I'm not going to be tagged careless, negligent, lackadaisical yet again. But I did.
When I lost my previous two cells, was upset-yes. But I got over it in the blink of an eye. My first cell was special(obviously!) but honestly I was relieved when it got lost. Ever since it came into my possession, things got awry. There were fights, unhappiness, acquiescence. No, I'm not getting superstitious here, because I'm dealing with facts. The cell got lost in a bus and as my college life aka bus life had just begun my parents thought that there was a distinct possibility that I'd lose it again so on someone's suggestion they got me a cheap model. That was my second cellphone which I grudgingly accepted. I hated it. It was a nondescript, boring model with no FM radio, no camera, no recorder, no likeable features at all. I resented it so much that in my lexicon the word cell was superseded by- Sony Ericsson cheapest model. I used this replacement everytime I spoke of my cell. Well, it was not the cheapest model,but to me it was. It was like "Hey, you wanna call home na, call from my sony ericsson cheapest model", or "Yaar tera naya number mere Sony Ericsson cheapest model mein nahi hain, give it to me asap", or when someone asked "Hey whose's phone is ringing?" I'd reply- "Oh! that would my Sony Ericsson cheapest model!" This phrase had gotten so inextricably associated with me that when this cell got lost I actually missed saying this phrase more than I missed the phone. And I know that however irritated they pretended to be, my friends miss it too ;)
More than a year ago, similar incident happened. I couldn't find my Sony Ericsson cheapest model and I panicked. After a troubled rummaging of the house it was declared lost. The spectrum of suspect zeroed down to the housemaid. But thanks to her irregular attitude towards coming to work, she didn't come on the day my mother intended to confront her. But wait a sec, did I say, she didn't come? Oooh! The plot thickens. Why would she do a bunk for no particular reason? The unsung Miss Marple awakened in my mother. But thank god before she could foray into this matter I found it in my jeans pocket and the impecunious, frail woman was saved of what would have been a fake accusation. But Lo and behold! Less than a month later I again lost it. This time, forever.
My father uses a phrase pretty often-Third time lucky. With this hope and belief, they got me a new cell. Like the previous time, this time also I expected a cheaper model-and ashamed as I was-I actually wanted a cheaper model. Cheaper than my Sony Ericsson cheapest model. But this time they got me a natty Nokia model. It was beautiful! I loved it from the moment I set my eyes on it. I would not only sleep with it, but also give it a share of my blanket during winters :)
Life more or less got back on the right track ever since I got it. It always brought me good news. And when not good, then at least not bad either. It got exalted to the status for which the first one was too jinxed and the Sony Ericsson cheapest model-well, it could've only dreamt of it.

So, today as I sat all torn up after losing my baby, it was nothing short of a paradise lost. All the memories. The spontaneous-college-fun videos, the no-cam-but-let's-pose-anyway pics, some beautiful messages, some amazing calls that still reverberate in my mind. The head-enhancement that has half deafened me lay in a nook, in hope that as soon as the night falls I'll unite it with it's counterpart so that it can get on with deafening me completely, not knowing that it might never happen again.
I, on some levels hoped that I'll find it the way I found my Sony Ericsson cheapest model. But then my mother said that she called on my cell and someone picked up and cut the call brusquely. The thin ray of hope faded. And I did precisely what the helpless lesser mortal does. I started a tirade against God and destiny and very hackneyed dialouges that begin with why-me. It is strange because I'm kind of an on-off believer. Mostly on, though.
I have a habit of making all sorts of promises when I'm desperate. I swear to do things if I get what I want. It worked when I was a child. 'God, I'm sorry! Please give me back my rubber (eraser to a prissy; such lah-di-dah people would give you very patronizing looks if you say rubber instead of eraser because apparently a rubber is a condom) and I swear I won't ask mum to buy me big babool for a week. I used to find my rubber the next instant. As an answer to my dilemma of disappearing and reappearing objects my mother used to fob me off with credible tales. She used to say that "When you misbehave, God takes something from you as a punishment and keeps it safely in his garden and as and when you realize your mistake and apologize for it he returns it to you". That's fair, I used to think.
But today when it didn't happen today I thought it's fair no more. Maybe it was nothing more than figments of my imagination. Although I got back an awful lot of stuff by praying,apologizing and swearing, but then hey! they didn't coin the word 'co-incidence' just like that.That was childhood codswallop. If it was true then then it should be true now. That's how the validity is checked. Superstition due to inability to trust oneself, that's what it is-this worship and all. So, it is established once and for all. There's no God and for argument's sake let's say even if there is one-what good is a God who cannot bring back a cellphone!
As I was thinking all this, I decided to write a blog on this. To key down my despodency, to proclaim my newfound profanity. I mentally jotted down the work that was needed to be done tomorrow, unnecessary trouble..uff..and then I thought of all those people who'd break their ribs when I break the news to them- Hahaha..again? Again! LOL! ROTFL! LMAO! You're eyeing the world record, aren't you? Hey don't discard the soldering wire so soon,it's not your cellphone! Are you still single because you haven't found someone who has a lost-after-a-year quality? So is this an annual event or are you planning to break in into semesters? Guess what's common between you and Ross? He has three failed marriages..and you-Hahahaha! huh :x
(My facebook status already shows some gracious comments that my dear well-wishers have posted). No, these thoughts didn't help calm my mind. But then something did. It's surface was gleaming. It read- 153 missed calls-Home (yeah, that was me!). The first thing I said before jumping up and down,all dignity forgotten, was-" Come to mama!" :)

And that my friend is how fairy tales end :)
Although the mystery of the phone being picked up by an arbit guy still remains a mystery. My mother stands by it. She says she heard it, never mind the call history. She also says that she srcutinized the bed with an eagle's eye-it was not there. Instead my staunch believer of life-is-stranger-than-fiction mother has a most regaling plausible explanation. She says that the man after hearing her voice obviously panicked (yes of course mamma ;) ) and threw the cell from the open door of the balcony. "But, that's not possible..if you look at the angle in whic.." "No no, I'm telling you, this is how it must've happened. Only if you stop fussing over my circumbulation in your room, I'd have actually caught him red-handed" she rests her case with indignation. :D
But nevermind the physics behind projectile motion, I honestly don't wish to tell her that she must've hallucinated. Sherlock Holmes mom with absurdly far-fetched tales is so much more fun than the regular mom :D

As for me, I feel bad that my mother still suspects the guy. Worse that even I buckled under pressure and suspected him for a moment. Worst, I got tilted towards sacrilege for few moments.
The thing is I was much closer to God as a child, so it was easier and faster to communicate and hence the delivery was instant. Of course I alone am responsible for this drifting apart. Thus, this is all the more belittling. The fact that one is always given a second,third,fourth...zillionth chance, the fact that God always listens and answers should be met with gratitude. I make crazy promises. But a promise made is tanatamount to a writing engraved in stone and has to be fulfilled because I swore I would do it. Be it staying away from chewing gums for a week, or being bereft of the pleasures of the social networking sites till..well, I'm not mentioning till when!
So this post is actually serving dual interests. Apart from quenching my long quelled desire to write, this also is a prelude to a self-imposed sabbatical from the networking sites. Not that it would make much of a difference. I more or less communicate with the same set of people in many other ways.

Ciao till I find something worthwhile to blog about-so long!

PS: Listen to Julia Roberts- Eat.Pray.Love
Listen to Neelanjana Basu-Pray.Swear.Pray :)

Saturday, October 17, 2009

light, light, more light!

For a philanthropist the biggest festival, is undisputedly life. But in the beautiful country of India, where I live, a certain festival is larger than life.
Out of the conglomeration of a multitude of festivals that are attributed to the Indian soil, Diwali stands out for the shear amount of grandeur attached to it.
Diwali or Deepavali has never been a personal favorite (it's Holi :) ) but I can't deny the fact that when it comes to vastness and magnitude of festivity Diwali wins hands down. Mainly because this unlike many other magnificent festivals is not region specific. For example, the joy of kite flying festival is restricted to a few western states, I'm still oblivious to most of the South Indian fiestas, or even North, East and West for that matter. Yes, that's correct; not just religion specific, most of the Indian festivals are region specific. But not Diwali, for it is celebrated across the lenght and breadth of the country. It may vary in the way it is celebrated but not in the essence.

I was afraid of Diwali as a little girl. I was afraid of the firecrackers. The fear intensified when once a cracker rocket burnt a big hole in my petite new dress-that I was wearing! Thankfully the skin missed it by whiskers but the fear remained. I remember how I would lower the curtains, stuff my ears with cotton and skulk under the bed as the mean boys outside would burst cracker after cracker-the noisiest ones. For me it always meant, and will always mean, diyas, sweets and here comes my favorite part-rangoli!
The brilliant fusion of lights and colours. Both meant to enlighten our souls and brighten our lives. I still stay a hand's distance away from crackers. And thanks to the ecological concern, I can now refrain from setting money ablaze without inviting quzzical looks from the people who're on a temporary noise pollution rampage. Oh, but I make an exception for fuljadis :)

On the flip side, Diwali means my mother would go on a mad cleanliness spree to spruce up the house. And the first victim is-yes, obvioulsy my room! Bed and study table-I understand, but what's the point in doing up the cupboard! I rather like the mishmash in my closet. Whenever I open the cupboard, the clothes come rolling down as if to welcome me :D. It's fun that way. I always tell her this. "I'm going to mess it up again anyway, besides these are the home clothes!" These are the magic (funny, how it rhymes with tragic ;) ) words that start the play button- " You are not a child anymore, how many times do I have to tell you, what would you do in future when you're on your own, what would people think of you,all you do is sit in front the computer, you're not studying as well...blah blah blah". The rebuke would always include plenty of surprising/shocking citations. Only my mother can somehow correlate lazing around in the summer of '05 to the culprit cupboard in the autumn of '09!

Oh, I'm sooo in a mood to blog, but mother india needs my help in lighting the diyas. And I better go before not paying heed to her is correlated to getting up late in the mornings :D

PS: Happy Diwali, humans and non-humans :)
PPS: I luuuuuurve my rangoli :)

Monday, October 5, 2009

Physics Degree

I went to crossword yesterday, after a very long time. What a shame! I live less than a minute's walk away! The thing is that there are four crossword vouchers in my possession since my b'day. And I've decided to put these to good use. Which is why I've vowed not to spend these on crime books, something that is characteristic of me. For a change I want to buy a book, that can be read again and again( No, I already have hp series :) )
So, I headed straight to the new arrival section. Four newspaper articles, three television interviews and one radio chat later I'm very keen on reading 'The story of my marriage'. I wish to believe that Bhagat's going to deliver what he has promised, this time round. Couldn't spot it. Asked a store guy. He told me, in way one talks to a five year old when one is trying to mask one's exasperation with an air of fake patience, that it hasn't released yet, but will adorn the bookstores very soon. Silly me. OK. Lesson learnt. When you spread the newspaper every morning, try to actually read it!
So anyway, since I couldn't find anything that I'd want to read again and again, my vouchers still lie idly in my once-cluttered-now-clean drawer. I wanted to buy something from the literature section. Actually a good compilation of plays would've been it. It has been a long time since I've read plays. Couldn't find the book. I can be very picky at times. Honestly, it can be safely said that I'm more picky than most of the customers anyway. The more I visit crossword these days, the more I find Landmark's collection richer. But that place isn't half as comfy as this one is.

On a carefree sunday evening, during the mad rush hour, even a panglossian wouldn't be hopeful of finding a space to park herself (or himself;know it doesn't matter, but why run the risk of being called an agressive feminist). Vaise, I'm both. Agressive. Feminist. But not both words placed next to each other in an alphabetical order. Yeah, so where was I? But anyway, I guess I was lucky to find an empty place near the toy section. Pleased at my discovery, I wondered why these fools would rather keep standing than sit on this vacant seat. And just a moment later I knew why. The little fancy table next to me was not just for tasteful rococo furnishing. It was a help desk of toys section. I 'm unable to decide what was more uneasy. The riotous kids who made a racket or their mothers who darted glances at the title of the book that I was reading. I was secretly happy that I picked up 'Almost Single' from the rack and not '20 and still a virgin'. And now about this. This isn't looking good. Seriously. There was a time when I actually gave a very disdainful look to books with such titles. I would roll my eyes at friends who'd rather browse through romantic section, than tagging along with me at the crime or science section. I'm telling myself this, again and again-this is most certainly not looking good.

Some forwarded mails are singular and superb. I liked this one very much indeed.

It concerns a question in a physics degree exam at the University of Copenhagen:

"Describe how to determine the height of a skyscraper with a barometer".

One student replied: "You tie a long piece of string to the neck of the barometer, then lower the barometer from the roof of the skyscraper to the ground. The length of the barometer plus the length of the string would equal the height of the building."

This highly original answer so incensed the examiner that the student was failed immediately. The student appealed on the grounds that his answer was indisputably correct, and the university appointed an independent arbiter to decide the case.

The arbiter judged that the answer was indeed correct, but did not display any noticeable knowledge of physics. To resolve the problem it was decided to call the student in and allow him six minutes in which to provide a verbal answer which showed at least a minimal familiarity with the basic principle of physics. For five minutes the student sat in silence, forehead creased in thought. The arbiter reminded him that time was running out, to which the student replied that he had several relevant answers but couldn't make up his mind which to use.
On being advised to hurry up the student replied as follows:

"Firstly you could take the barometer up to the roof of the skyscraper, drop it over the edge, and measure the time it takes to reach the ground. The height of the building can then be worked out from the formula H= 0.5g*t squared. But bad luck for the barometer".

"Or if sun is shining you could measure the height of the barometer, then set it on end and measure it's shadow. Then you measure the lenght of the skyscraper's shadow, and thereafter it's a simple matter of proportional arithmetic to work out the height of the skyscraper."

"But if you want to be highly scientific about it, you could tie a short piece of string to the barometer and swing it like a pendulam, first at the ground level and then on the roof of the skyscraper. The height is worked out as a difference in the gravitational restoring force T= 2 pi square root(l/g)."

"Or if the skyscraper has an outside emergency staircase, it would be easier to walk up it and mark off the height of the skyscraper in barometer length and then add them up".

"If you merely wanted to be boring and orthodox about it, of course you could use the barometer to measure the air pressure on the roof of the skyscraper and on the round, and convert the difference in millibars into feet to give you the height of the building".

"But since we are constantly being exhorted to exercise independence of mind and apply scientific methods, undoubtedly, the best way would be to knock on the janitor's door and say to him 'If you would like to have a nice new barometer, I will give you this one if you tell me the height of this skyscraper'."

The student was Niels Bohr, the only Dane to win the Nobel Prize for Physics and the teacher in question was Rutherford.

I loved this person's name as a teenager. Still do. Because it sounds like my name- in progress :D
I love Mr. Rutherford's name as well. More so because I loved the play that we had in our syllabus at school- The importance of being Earnest. :)