Thursday, October 29, 2009

Farting away to glory!

I happened to chance upon a really great blog by a guy called chronicwriter.  He has put up some really funny stuff.  He has written one post about farting and i just had to share it with you guys.  I loved the pic of George Bush and Colin Powell and also the names he has coined for various types of farts.  Check it out:

It is indeed funny how we find the act of farting so embarrassing despite knowing that each and every person around us have also been farting all their lives.  Even the bloody topic is so taboo.  All this when it is one of the most natural acts in the world.  And not that we can help it.  When it has to come, it just has to come!  Wouldn't it be great if we could all stop getting so conscious and treat it like something as normal as, say, a hand gesture....  Imagine office meetings punctuated by people bending to one side in their chairs and letting it rip.  hahaha

In this stressful world, maybe it would even be therapeutic if we could learn to relax our buttocks and actually enjoy the act.  This could be a great way to let off some steam!

One of my friends in school had a nasty habit of holding out his hand and asking any nearby person to tug on his outstretched finger, and then letting go.  The person holding his finger would end up feeling so violated and would have to wash his hand a few times atleast!   :-)

Check out this clip, supposedly from a thermal imaging camera at some airport (dunno if it is authentic, but it sure fun to watch):

And completely besides the topic, check out this one too, quite nice:

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Aching to break free

Boozy called to say that he had to work all through the national holiday on monday, when everybody else was at home with family and friends hogging on Diwali sweets.  Often in the past he has worked through Friday nights and weekends, struggling to keep up with deadlines.  That conversation got me thinking about the freakin insanity of the whole thing.  Doesn't the "work to live, not live to work" concept hold good anymore?  I have seen friends in equity sales, investment banking, or for that matter, in many arbit profiles, burning out by the minute.

In our whole distorted ordering of priorities, we end up giving such a ridiculous weightage to achieving (or holding on to) a fast track career, that we actually stop living.  We used to have so much fun in college, with little or no money in our pockets.  But then we walked on a programmed path towards becoming an engineer/doctor/CA/MBA/Businessperson and entered the rat race.  No, this is worse.  This is a shit race.  We are all turds in a fkin shit race, gettin flushed away so fast, without getting a chance to leave any kind of mark. 

Even just in my limited social sphere, i know so many young people who are unhappy with what they are doing.  I'm not talking about people generally cribbing or being greedy for more.  I'm talking about the unhappiness resulting from wanting to do something different.  Something more meaningful or fun, or something reflecting our innate nature and individuality.  And i'm talking about the kind of people who can never be at peace with the fact that they are working on a pre-designed job description in a pre-designed grade structure, and knowing that they can be effortlessly substituted by another dummy in a tie and a good shirt, who'll probably do the job as well, if not better.

I'm not in any way trying to suggest that a corporate job is bad.  If you have a job profile that you like and are getting paid to your satisfaction, it can be really great.  Promotions, bonuses, responsibilities, status....lots of good things to look forward to.

But if you are continuously unsatisfied and are pining to do something else, which will probably give you much more happiness and peace even if it is at a lower income, i hope you are lucky enough to have the courage to make that change.  I'm still working on tightening my balls enough to finally break free.  I want to give a shot at some long standing plans.  If they dont work out, i know i'll be able to pick up a job again, satisfied that atleast i tried.

And that situation need not be all bad.  For example, the place where i work is amazing.  Bosses are great (though you cant have the same bosses forever....who knows if there is gonna be a terrible one in the future), culture is nice, have some good friends amongst the colleagues, etc.  This is the kind of place where I can work for 20-30 years without being desperate to move.  But inspite of all that, for a long time now there has been a constant unhappiness lingering under the surface.  I know i have to try doing something on my own.  And i know i have to explore my creative side.  I just have to do it.  Its now or never.  There's a lot of clarity about that, but its still so damn difficult to take that final call....

Why are silly things like losing a year or having a gap in our CV so scary to us?  One of the things we are probably most afraid of is falling behind our batchmates and peers and being thought of as a laggard.  Fk it all.

This one is from the eyes of my friend boozy, and is for every person stuck and slogging it off in a deadbeat job...


Aching to break free...

I get out of my home and
There's an eerie calm on the street
I head towards the station
Dragging my tired and aching feet

It feels so strange to climb
The railway bridge all alone
Noone pushes or gropes me
Or even tries to flick my phone

Even the train pullin in slowly
Has a lazy air around it
No need to hunt for a toehold
Its so unreal...there's place to sit

My heart is sinkin fast
As the office block gets closer
The security guy signing me in
Seems to whisper "what a loser!"

Project reports & Status reports
& data analysis spreadsheets
Deliverables & deadlines
Hammer down like drum beats

The dull glow from the monitor
Lights up my swollen eye sacs
The keyboard rests on the monster
That I've grown instead of 6-packs

I am utterly exhausted
And my poor back needs some healing
But all thats nothing compared to
This deap-seated unhappy feeling

My tired body and weary mind
Are screaming out a warning
Yet, what am i doing in office again
on a beautiful Sunday morning?

The only great thing today is
I dont have to stand in line
The coffe machine, the photocopier,
food counters & urinals are all mine

But I wonder where i'm heading to
Is this what i'd set out for?
The momentum has somehow built up so
Things dont make sense any more

Get an email from an old friend
Has some pics of the good ol' days
A guitar, drums, beer bottles,
Great buddies who've parted ways

I wanted to play guitar and to write..
I wanted to do something cool
Something to pour my soul in
But i'm sitting here like a fool

The empty feeling inside me
Is screaming out a warning
Yet, what am i doing in office again
on a beautiful Sunday morning?

- Vivek Rao


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

2 weekends 2 trips - part 2

1-4 Oct: Sangli - Kolhapur - Saundatti

My mom has been speaking for quite a while about going to Saundatti to the Renuka Mata (who is our "Kulaswamini") temple.  Since 2nd was a public holiday a plan quickly got formed.  Since i rarely get out for religious trips, mom also made plans for a puja at Narsobachi Wadi near Sangli.

Bhau came down to pune on sunday, 27th, just a few hours after dd and i returned from our mahabaleshwar trip.  Mom had demanded his presence for Dassera on monday.  On tuesday bhau, mom and dad drove to kolhapur, while rashmi, chiu and i moved to my in-law's place at karve nagar.

Thursday evening we left for sangli in a hired tavera and reached narsobachi wadi by 10pm, approx a couple of hours after the others had reached from kolhapur.  We stayed at Ved Bhavan, a nice two-storied structure constructed by Sharad Upadhyay (Rashi Chakra) for conducting puja's, yagnya's, philosophical discourses, etc.  The pic below shows the hall in which the puja was done; there is also a yagnya-kund there.  Pittya had also come down in the car, and after a spicy dinner prepared by the caretaker couple, we chatted for a while before hitting the sack.

The puja started early morning the next day and was over just before noon.  Then we took darshan at the beautiful Dutta temple on the Krishna riverbank.  After that it was a half hour drive to baby (!) atya's place at sangli.  In the evening we went to the famous Ganapati temple in the heart of sangli; it is really worth seeing.  It is quite spacious and clean, with a beautiful idol that can be seen even from a few km outside.

Since the car couldn't seat all of us, dad and pittya took a bus to kolhapur while we drove down.  Rashmi and i were visiting after 5 years and in fact we were seeing yogya's wife and kids for the first time.  We hogged on some fantastic khichdi made by Rita maushi and then relaxed.  The whole attention was on the two Aditi's, both looking absolutely adorable.  A.Rao is 1yr 1m old, while A.Chavan is 1yr 9m old.

We left early next morning for saundatti, the car totally weighed down by 5 'healthy' individuals and a completely packed boot.  It had started raining heavily in many parts of maharashtra and initially it was very tough going because our windshield wipers were quite screwed up.  Luckily we managed to get the drivers side wiper changed at a small village on the way.

We had been told that the saundatti temple is closed from 1-4pm everyday, and so we took a small detour to see the Gokak waterfall.  What a sight!  Fed by the heavy downpour upstream, the waterfall looked like an angry monster.  You can check out a couple of great videos on my brothers blog on this link:

There is a rope bridge on the river just before the waterfall.  It seems to be quite strong, reinforced by steel cables, and one concrete pillar roughly halfway across, but you have to walk on wooden planks which have gaps between them and the whole bloody bridge sways as you walk across.  It was very scary and real good fun.  The roar of the waterfall and the sight of the dark muddy river thundering past below makes it a nicely terrifying experience.  My dad had given us strict instructions not to go on the bridge, and so bhau, rashmi and I promptly went.  We went halfway and stopped at the pillar to enjoy the sight.  Then rashmi and I actually begged bhau to go back to the riverbank and to a nice small temple (see pic below) overlooking the waterfall and click a photo of us standing on the bridge.  Poor guy obliged.  :-)
You can barely make us out on the bridge though  :-(

We ended up spending too much time at gokak and reached saundatti by 4:30pm.  On the way one of my uncles called from kolhapur to inform us that there was a really bad flood situation in karnataka and south maharashtra, due to which many roads near and around belgaun had been closed off.  Saundatti is approx 65kms from belgaun and we bacame a bit apprehensive, but pushed on.  There was water everywhere in the fields on both sides of the road, and the small streams we crossed were full.

On reaching we were shocked to find that the temple was not closed in the afternoon and had just been closed at 4pm!  We somehow talked our way into getting inside for a quick darshan.  There were only priests inside, bathing the goddess and starting the puja.  We got real nice almost exclusive darshan for a few mins and then we had to get out.  There was a brief bad scene when some super aggressive beggar women started harrassing my mom for money, but we escaped.  The pic below shows the mandir kalash.

We were all really tired by now and the drive back seemed to stretch on and on.  The heavy rain wasn't helping at all.  I had been driving all the way since 7am and by the time we reached the highway near belgaun i suddenly started feeling damn exhausted and handed over the wheel to bhau.  We reached kolhapur by 11pm, extremely fatigued, and just crashed.

The next morning we woke up late, had a superb breakfast of some speacial wada's pittya got for us.  Then we were off to the famous Ambabai temple for darshan.  After that were visits to Avi mama's and Nilu mama's places, and then we left for pune.  Reached home late at night, with the wonderful prospect of monday morning hovering just a few hours away....

The whole family of 6 had gone out together after ages.  Overall a great trip.

Monday, October 12, 2009

2 weekends 2 trips - part 1

26-27 sept: Mahabaleshwar

Dd and I spoke over phone on friday and suddenly decided to do a quick mahabaleshwar trip on sat-sun.  I just wanted to get out for a while.  He was on a months break between jobs and was actually quite bored with sitting at home.  Understandable, since his work life is usually quite exciting: stressful days with heartbeats linked to the markets, followed by evenings at some uber-expensive bar, "servicing" some client or the other.

It was a short trip; he picked me up at pune at noon on saturday, and we were back in pune by 7pm on sunday.  The best thing was that we had no agenda whatsoever, and just did whatever we felt like.  I think we were just driving all the time, but since the roads were great throughout the trip, that was very enjoyable.

At night we boozed (dont we always) and had a nice looong chat.  We were anyways jabbering away during the whole trip as a good drive, like booze, makes for good conversation.  With dd it is always familiar territory and we probably said a lot of stuff that would have already been spoken before on some prior occassion.  We are both major cribbers, and most of our topics have that common thread running through!

I hate to admit this, but we ended up doing a lot of romantic stuff together:
- we took a horse carriage ride on the tableland
- we picked a motel room with a bathtub
- we ate chocolate fudge from one plate
- we shopped in the mahabaleshwar market (not hand in hand)
- and to top it all, we went boating

That horse carriage ride was such a big fraud.  We were promised to be taken on a 45 minute ride and shown 10 "points".  The smart-ass carriage boy we got bombarded us with arbit bollywood trivia related to pachgani and mahabaleshwar.  "....amir khan came out of the water here....raj kapoor had a sexy scene there....karishma and amir kissed under that tree...." etc etc.  And from time to time he kept turning back with a wicked grin and asking us "You married?  All married couples come here and enjoy!".  The bas*&%!
He must have said 'enjoy' atleast a 100 times.

He finished off the ten points in the first 5 mins and completed the round trip in 25.  When we asked about this he asked us to spend 20 mins walking around clicking pics like other tourists.  Actually speaking we weren't all that sad....we had anyways been just hanging on for dear life as the carriage had been bucking around like a wild bull in heat.  I dont recommend that ride to any fellow spondylitis sufferer. 

We had one amazing find in the trip though.  The next day, on the way back, we stopped at Parsi Point near pachgani to take in the beautiful view and hog on some super delicious wada pav.  The view from that point is that of a flat piece of land surrounded by mountains on 3 sides and a lake on the 4th.  Looking down, we noticed a surprisingly large temple approx in the middle.  Feeling curious we decided to explore.

We took a small by road from Vai and made our way towards Chikligaon, a small hamlet where the temple is situated.  On the way we passed "Dhom Dam", where entry is absolutely forbidden since the terrorist attack on the Taj.  Beyond the dam is a Boat Club.  The name is misleading as there is actually just a tiny jetty-like structure and a couple of small motor boats.  The caretaker of the neighbouring godown takes tourists on joy rides on these boats.  I'm shit scared of water, but dd forced me into a life jacket, and then into a small motor boat for a long ride on the lake.

The view from that boat club is mind blowing!  Pachgani and mahabaleshwar are really beautiful and all that, but this view was phenomenal.  Amazingly picturesque and serene.  Dd and I will probably always go there on every trip to mahabaleshwar.

A few km onwards, we reached the temple, which is really very large as compared to the small hamlets that surround it.  Chatted with a talkative priest there, had darshan, clicked a few snaps and we turned back.

We reached pune by around 7pm and hogged on lots of chaat outside my building.  That was the first chaat i had after shifting to pune and it felt great.  What a way to end a great trip.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Glorious monday morning!

I see so many grumpy faces in office today morning....and just because its today morning!  Are you feeling the monday blues too?  Why???

Its a  beautiful monday morning and there is loads and loads of work to be done!  Dont you feel the excitement of a full days work schedule surging through your veins?  Doesn't it add meaning to life?  Doesn't it make every rupee lying in your bank account seem sweeter, cause you have really earned it?

Breathe in deeply and let the challenges of a glorious monday morning give you a high that no single malt can.  Walk up to your boss and demand tighter deadlines, tougher tasks and complex deliverables, cause you can do it today.  Repeat to yourself that you can do it today!  Slap yourself tight in the face and let the sting remind you to be grateful that you have a cushy office job and a good home to go back to.

Just think... for the next 5 days you dont need to waste time, just lying around watching can instead:
- look forward to waking up nice and early after just 5 hours of sleep
- look forward to the restful hours of commute where you get a chance to rub shoulders (and several unmentionable parts) with your fellow countrymen
- look forward to toiling till late in the evening, excercising your grey cells, pushing back your thinning grey hair
- look forward to 5 days of energetic activities like
.......intellectual masturbation to cook up crappy ideas
.......desperate class participation to liven up dreary meetings
.......healthy bouts of back stabbing with colleagues
.......self-respect-crushing directives to juniors
.......and to top it all, some delicious ass licking of customers, seniors and influential secretaries!

So i say, cheer up, cause its a glorious monday morning!