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Intentionally Incomplete

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I worked for a long time at an office complex in Mumbai which was quite swanky tip-top techy shiny. It was the worst possible location to set up shop  – it was next to one of the busiest junctions in Mumbai – it often took half an hour for a car to come from one side of the road to the other. It was ‘equally close’ to both railway lines, which meant that it was inconvenient to reach either.

The office was in this huge building complex which had a ‘nice’ canteen; fancy waterfalls and stone arrangements which had some aesthetic value (I assume); eternally suspicious watchmen who were either too fat to chase after anyone or too thin to hit anyone; and a ‘smoking room’ so that people could smoke in both voices (active and passive).

Given the state-of-the-art facilities, it was always a mystery to see in the office complex this swimming pool with refreshingly blue  tiles which was empty. I remember going to the office as part of an orientation when still a grad in early 2007. We were told that that pool was going to be completed ‘any day now’. The possibility of seeing colleagues go for a swim in full view of the entire office was intriguing, to say the least. Just another reason for all of us to be super psyched about starting our jobs.

I joined full-time in July 2007, and the pool was still empty. As the days went by, I  could never see any visible effort to help the pool fulfill its destiny. I’d seen these things happen in the past – something was constructed with the assumption that you’ll get clearance to build it but the permission was delayed / revoked, so the construction had  to be halted. The pool was often used to host small events with red plastic Neelkamal chairs and a podium with a mic which screeched at regular intervals. I heard rumours that someone threw a bucket of water into the pool (on a dare) but the water didn’t drain out, it stayed there until it evaporated but not before fostering a thriving ecosystem of its own – maybe that was the problem, they messed up the plumbing and were too bored to fix it. Whatever it was, it was a symbol of hope. Of possibility. Of red tape bureaucracy stifling people’s dreams. But mainly, it was a symbol of empty swimming pools.

I left the place in 2010, and the pool was still the way it was the first time I saw it. You could always depend on the pool to stay unchanged. Just the way it was, eternally un(ful)filled.

You can imagine my crushing disappointment, or at least as sense of anti-climax, when I recently found out that the pool had been left incomplete intentionally – one small tile had not been laid or one pipe had not been fitted, due to which the pool (and as a consequence, the whole complex) continued to be ‘under construction’. That apparently helped the owners save tons of tax.

There’s a lesson to be learnt here somewhere – The impact that one pipe/tile can have (Ek machchar …). OR, How an unfinished object can inspire in the unlikeliest way. OR, how ridiculous the whole thing now seems.

I feel cheated, but in a nice way.

Written by sujaybedekar

September 26, 2012 at 12:52 am

Zindagi ke safar mein …

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A ‘Senti’, as defined by people in IIT, is when a person voluntarily or under duress starts rambling on and on about how he’s going to miss people he’s spent ‘haseen lamhe’ with and who’ve given him the ‘best days of his life’ and all that.

This post is not that kind of a senti but more of a realization. A signpost, if not a milestone, which almost passed by unnoticed.

A fellow buzzed me last week – chap from my department in IIT (Aerospace). I’d been his TA in my final year in the Department Introductory Course (DIC – *snigger*), he said. I hoped that I had imparted a lot of wisdom and made the department interesting enough (well, tolerable enough) for him and his batchmates. To be honest, the TA-ship was one of the most enjoyable times in my academic life and i probably learnt more about the course then than when I did it the first time round. He told me that he was also the TA in his final year for the same course, was just passing out and was going to join (wait for it) a bank-offshore office.

Sure, there was the dual sense of anonymity and deja vu. But I also realized that with his batch passing out, the last batch of undergrads with whom I would have shared time in my stay in IIT was now exiting (excepting a few unfortunate ones, of course). In spite of being fairly detached from my college/ hostel/ department, especially in the past few years, it still made me just a little bit sad. Teensy weensy bit. And it also brought back this post I’d written when my B.Tech. batchmates passed out in ’06.

Time flies. And how!

Written by sujaybedekar

May 24, 2011 at 4:03 am

Posted in Finance, growing older, IIT

Rap it Up, Sheila

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The past few years have seen a deluge of faux desi people with punny names like ‘Hard Kaur’ and ‘Rishi Rich’ infiltrating the Hindi (Bollywood) music scene ‘like this, and that, and this, and that’. Their presence makes it merely a matter of time when we will have our own rappers with names inspired by sweets/candies, ’cause that has been the domain of politicians (Rabri, Imarti) for too long. If M&M’s can inspire ‘Eminem’, why can’t someone call himself/herself ‘Gems’? People could decide to go a level deeper (Ooo DiCaprio, you would like that wouldn’t you?) and call themselves Rock-n-Rola-cola or Mary Poppins.

It is a universally acknowledged fact that the English grammar & punctuation skills of Indians are far better than anyone in the world, Brits and Americans included. A testament to this is the virtual monopoly Indian kids have on the spelling bee championships, going where no child their age has gone i.e. words longer than 7 alphabets. The rap fad might end up affecting the literary value of our songs, though, and consequently that of our culture, our heritage and everything else that is s nice. Long-gone seem the days when Javed Akhtar & Gulzar would come up with unfathomable (but apparently quite awesome) lyrics like ‘geela … geela paani’ (wet … wet water) or ‘itni shiddat se I did something’ (I don’t know what this means but I think I did something nice). Today, a trend’s developing, where all songs have a few lines in English spoken really fast and aggressively, usually to indicate high levels of libido and/or rage. The rhymes, unfortunately, leave a lot to be desired. When the less famous Patel sibling (Ameesaa ben) pouts ‘Mausam bada hai Awesome’, I can’t help but cringe. When aliterations are reduced to stuff like ‘Lazy Lamhe’, I am but a touch saddened. When Himesh advises ‘Full-too attitude, de de tu zara’, I let it pass only because he’s in a league of his own. When I hear Sunidhi croon –

Silly silly silly sillee boys …. mujhe follow follow karte hain ….
Jab unke taraf dekhoon …. baatein hollow hollow karte hain

I’ll admit it, she probably has a point there – guys do have a tendency to follow women around and talk hollow stuff because they’re so bowled over by the immense awesomeness of the women being followed. This does not, however, justify coming up with such random lyrics, even if there’s Katrina Kaif wearing treacherous clothing just itching to malfunction as she does pelvic thrusts which would corrupt even the lai llama – the wisest and most chaste (chastest?) llama ever. Here’s the video I refer to, presented solely for academic interest.

Continuing on the same topic (the lyrics of the song), she goes on to say –

dil karta hai haule haule-se main khud ko gale laga loon
kisi aur ki mujhko zaroorat kya main to khud se pyaar jataaoon

This, however, is where I draw the line. What she’s essentially saying is that she’s so hot that she’s like totally in love with herself, like that narcissistic greek guy from the fables (his name eludes my memory, unfortunately). Anyone else will be such a disappointment for her that she’s going to ‘jataao pyaar’ on her own – i.e. please herself. I have to say that this is something which is simply not acceptable. Skewed sex-ratios are a real problem, people. Some magazine estimates that soon, there will be nearly 20 mn Chinese dudes, all spoilt rotten by their folks because they had no siblings while growing up, suddenly realizing that they have no girls to follow-follow or talk hollow-hollow. It’s alright if they turn to each other for solace and comfort – will be the best population control measure I suppose. It could get catastrophic though if China was to export it’s way out of this surplus as well! We Indians have just hit the peak of our demographic dividend curve, so we’ll get where the Chinese are, just a few decades later (as always). Given such a bleak outlook, is it really a good idea for girls – especially the hot ones – to indulge in or inspire others with such notions of self-fulfillment? Unless Katrina et al can assure us that it’s ‘just a phase’ and that ‘it too shall pass’, I strongly urge the social/moral police to stage an intervention here in the strictest possible manner. I’m pretty sure our culture is getting corrupted here somehow, and that should be good enough.

Although it might seem so, this post was not an excuse to have the video on my blog. Also, this rant does not wish to trivialize a matter as serious as this. It is high time we do something about it lest our children pay for our mistakes, even if it is the only known way in which parents can get back at their children.We need to do something, else it might get quite painful. We need to ‘chase ourselves‘, if I was to quote some borrowed wisdom.

We should probably look at the gender ratio issue too, ’cause I would be deeply saddened if my son (if/when I have one) was to end up living like an engineering college student without even stepping into an engineering college. Scary thought!

(Hopefully I’ll update this post with more examples of literary-mudder)

Ed: Just watched Tees Maar Khan, and all I have to say to the director Farah Khan is that Tees Maar isn’t sufficient punishment for the agony I had to endure. Tees hazaar maar will be enough though.

Written by sujaybedekar

December 22, 2010 at 7:23 am

Infidelity FTW

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When I first read this headline – “Mother’s Day makes wives want to cheat on their husbands” – at first I was like “WHAT?”. Then I was like “how in the name of everything that’s adulterous and naughty did they generate such statistics?”. I did a double-take when I saw that they picked up this data from a dating website* for married people. Then I did a triple-take (and a silent LOL-chuckle) when I read the website‘s tagline –

LIFE IS SHORT. HAVE AN AFFAIR.

It’s a pity I can’t open the website from India, but it makes me wonder all over again – Why do people get married at all? Why exactly do Americans get married and then find it necessary to fool around? Indians have the ‘excuse’ that arranged marriages are an ineffective method for finding matches for people (yeah, nice try). But, off the top of my head, I cannot think of any non-demeaning reason for such American infidelities, given the supposedly advanced state of their civilization and liberal thinking. I single out America not because of any bias against the country -it is the best country to be a citizen of, for now at least – but because it seems like most of the remaining ‘Western Civilization‘ seems to have done away with this annoyance by quite often choosing to not get married at all.**

Is physical and emotional fidelity supposed to be more like a fine print in any marriage nowadays?

(via kottke.org)

*I seriously doubt whether such a website would be allowed to even run in India. It would be demonized for trying to ‘put bad thoughts’ in the minds of ‘pure, married people’. Speak no evil, hear no evil, see no evil – that’s what we are supposed to do.

** Sorry that I mention this without any supporting links, it’s just something I read somewhere. Please feel free to search for stuff to prove/dismiss this (and send me a link if you find one for either)

Written by sujaybedekar

July 6, 2010 at 5:15 am

Now this is awkward

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The central theme of most (all?) teen movies is Awkward. You have

Gross-awkward (American Pie)

Horny-awkward (Superbad)

Lost-in-life-awkward (Reality Bites)

Man-I-f***ed-up-Awkward (Juno)

Growing-up-awkward (Adventureland).

[Update] Apocalyptic awkward (Zombieland)

Which is funny, because it never really stops being awkward as you grow older. It only stops being funny.

Written by sujaybedekar

June 29, 2010 at 6:24 am

Posted in growing older, Movies, stream

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