Moved up from 43 now..Currently at 50.

Will I go up, will I go down? So many questions, so little time...


Its interesting that I can get more visits in one day by posting a comment at GB's Blog than I can manage by other nefarious means. Hmmmm....


When someone calls you, and you cannot pick up or you are on another call, you call them back when you are free.

But what if they are calling to wish you or to congratulate you? Then, do you call them back? Or is that considered soliciting?

Any answers?


Definitely getting my Mojo back, little by little.

Finished an entire book in one sitting, after a very very long time. So what if it could be classified (somewhat) as chick-lit? It was a little cliched, the plot was wholly predictable but in the end, it was a blast. You knew what was coming, you just wanted to know how it got there. The Zoya Factor, by Anuja Chauhan, is one of the funniest and timepassiest books I've read in a long time. More power to Indian authors like her. And she looks good to boot. Somebody should put her pretty face on the telly rather than Mr. Obnoxious.

Do read up in case you get a chance.

So who then?

What with all the uproar surrounding Marathis and Maharashtrians (and it being something that I am quite passionate about) I thought that I'd put in my tuppence on it.

What I will write is nothing new. All that has to be said has been said, far more evocatively and much more in depth by far more influential people. However, that does not mean that I have to keep quiet or not speak. How else is there any chance of me being heard?

I am a Mumbaikar. Or a Bombayite. But it is my right to refer to myself as I want. I will not have any one telling me what to call myself. I am an Indian, true. But if that has to be expanded upon, am I not an "Earther" first? Am I not a "human" first? Wasn't the planet here long before the idea of India or Mumbai or VT or Churchgate? Thus, shouldn't my priorities be first and foremost towards my planet and towards all other peoples before to any one organization or idea. But the whole idea seems so huge; how do I associate myself to a concept of being true to humankind first, and to others next? My method to it is simplistic to a point, and probably mistaken, I am true to myself first, and to others next. I do not do what others want me to do, I may not behave nice in a social setting, I may not acquiesce to your viewpoint just to make you feel better. But I do what feels true to me. Sometimes I do make nice, true, but you must realize that I do it only when I am convinced of the need for it. Others' considerations are secondary to the fact that I have to be convinced of it. In turn, I do not ask for you to play nice with me. I am ready to listen to your viewpoint and grant you credit for the same. I will not rabidly turn on you, trying to convince you of my ideas and I only ask that you do the same. The only time where I might disagree is if and only if, I have hard, cold facts to back me up. On ideas and ideologies, you are free to think. And it is this freedom of thinking that has in turn influenced me to live in India. Of course, the money is more in the Middle East. But I somehow feel oppressed. As if I need to watch what I think. There will come a point in my life, where I will be sufficiently worn down enough to realize that earning 2-3 times of what I am currently is a big enough reason for me to tone down my thinking. Or that, if I tone it down for a period of 2-3 years, I can then come back and then 'think' all I want. But I recognize the fact. And if (when??) I compromise, it will again be of my own choosing.

Which is why these Shiv Sainiks drive me mad. Who gave you the right to tell me what to call myself? If I'd been around when you were doing your protests 30-40 years back, then yes, you might have some claim as to what I did or did not do. I am not against the party. They hold a special place in Mumbai folklore, and I am not denying the fact that they might have done some things for the benefit of the people one upon a time. But how long can they run a party on what is essentially a 30-ro year old plank? Case in point: Refer to the recent 'hilarious' video of Uddhav Thackeray being interviewed by Rajdeep Sardesai. He again and again brings out the point that we will not let anyone seperate Mumbai from Maharashtra. Who has ever raised this point? I find it very similar to the Pakistanis' "we will not want to fight a war on this issue" campaign of disinformation, wherein they raise the flag of war over and over, just to keep people incited. And what can people on the other side do? India cannot deny the fact that it does not want to fight a war, but neither can they agree because then it seems that a war was what we had in mind in the first place! It is a similar case here. The other parties can neither agree nor disagree to this statement. Just to keep in perspective, the issues that the Shiv Sena is raising in a world of Ipads and Androids is one that was initially brought about when the 4004 chip by Intel was released and when BASIC was just an idea in Bill Gates's mind.

Shiv Sainiks, who gave you the right to deny me the moniker of a Mumbaikar? I refuse to listen to you. I spent half of my childhood in my Maharashtrian neighbours house. My grandmother possibly loves their daughter more than me and she is a proper south indian. I can speak Marathi well enough to deceive a native Maharashtrian for some amount of time. I watch Marathi movies in theatres and listen to Marathi songs. Some of my Maharashtrian friends call me up when they can't remember the names of that marathi movie they had seen. How many malayalam movies have you watched? If only you had spent this time and effort on improving this city's infrastructure, Mumbai would have been the greatest city on the planet. Sadly, though, I feel our time is past. We have just fallen behind and it will take a Herculean effort for us to recover. Unfrotunately, the will for the same seems to be strangely absent. And so I despair...

Of Time...

One of the strangest experiences that I had during my time away from The Big City was the weird habit of the locals to speak about distances in kilometres. I mean, what self-respecting person does that? Everyone knows that if you speak about distance, you speak in terms of minutes, and for longer distances in hours. I mean, does anyone even know how far Thane is from VT? Or Ulhasnagar? Of course we bloody do. Its one hour by train for the former and one-and-a-half hours for the latter. Churchgate station to Marine Drive is 5 minutes. Ruia to Dadar station is 15, max-to-max 20. Bandra Station to National college is 5 minutes by rickshaw and 15 minutes by walk.

So when I was in Dhule, and asking people in all my doe-eyed innocence how far a particular village is, they would invariably seek to confound me by answering in kilometres. And, I-shit-you-not, I had NO freakin clue what they were trying to indicate. I would (rather unintelligently) repeat the same question, only to get the same answer thrown back. Oh, the commissioner's office? Its hardly 2 kms. away. Now, honest to God, what does that tell me? I'll tell you what it tells me. Abso-fuckin-lutely Nothing. I'd throw a Huh? only to be stared back as if I was an alien. And not to mention the nightmare when we were planning the next day's itinerary. "Haan, woh gaon 10 km duur hai yahaan se, phir wahaan se 55 km duur woh doosra gaon hai, but wahaan se return aane ke liye ek shortcut hai, toh aap log 40 km ke adar aa jaaoge." I was like, dude, that's all fine, but how much time will you take? Time, what time? What does time have to do anything with it? At one point it was so bad, that I was forced to resort to time-distance-speed calculations to get an idea of what the hell it was that was going on around me. The distance is the constant. Everything else varies. The people know they have to get from A to B. Getting there is more important than in how much time they have to do it in.

Is this a difference between big cities and smaller towns? Time certainly has a far more greater value in cities, where it is broken up into ever-smaller components from hours to minutes to seconds. You get into office at 8:59:59 and you are on time but come in at 9:00:01 and you will be marked late. Even in the previous sentence, the first unit of time that came to my mind is hours. Everyday is broken up into discrete pieces. But in a village it is not so. Time is fluid, gently coasting along, ebbing and flowing over a much larger period. Time is thought of in years and seasons, each one covering upto 3-4 months at a time. A farmer tells me that 2 months down the line his crops might be affected and he knows it now. But his is a job measured over years and years. Mine will be measured over quarters. If he does well for three units of time and not for one, he can still ride out the storm. For a big-city employee it might be the difference between a highly successful career and a merely good one. For the unit of time for the farmer is a year, while for the employee it is but 3 months. The farmer has been assessed but four times, but the employee has been "appraised" a grand total of 16 times. Everyone in the city tries to fit in more and more in the same time that we all have, shrinking his point of view, while the farmer sees things on a grander stage, on a more cosmic level, so to speak. Wouldn't it be fun and might I say, a damn sight more fulfilling, to be a big city employee who can break down a day into microseconds and yet never lose sight of the larger, truly grand picture? What could possibly be more harmonious, unless it was a farmer who while never wavering from the greater canvas, purposefully makes use of those individual discrete moments? Is that desirable? Is it even possible? Or are we destined to lose sight of the one when we attempt to track the other?

I love it when posts like these happen. When I begin with something, and end up on something else altogether. And the whole thing took just 15 minutes too. Life's not so bad then, huh?