Friday, May 21, 2010

The Place I Call Home...

When someone asks me where I belong to, I always say Assam in an instinctive response. Hailing from Kerala, I have spent almost 17 years in the picturesque state. The name triggers fear on most people’s faces; ironically, it is the same place that I call home, a place that has showered me with love and warmth; bestowed upon me cherubs whom I call friends. The topography, the language, the cuisine, the populace: I am head over heels in love with the place.

Embracing an outsider and making her feel as a part of the community, the hospitality bowled me over. Being a part of the culture since a tender age, I was awestruck to discover what a rich heritage the state has been blessed with. But when people shudder with fear at the prospect of visiting Assam, I am hit hard by the reality that bites.

Lush greenery, the full flowing Brahmaputra, the straight-out-of-a-wallpaper looking landscape, the ridges, the hills, flowers that bring about a riot of colours, the one-horned rhinos. All these are the pride of Assam. Sadly though, something gruesome has overshadowed the rush of nostalgic emotions that these marvels of nature invoke.

Despite well over a decade of independence, Assam bleeds. Every wound festers, with nothing to heal it. One bruise after another is inflicted upon the terror-torn state. Bomb blasts that have ripped apart Axom time and again have become a part and parcel of lives of the people in the gateway to the North East. Be it regional and language based riots, extortion or terrorist attacks, the beautiful state is now held tight within the deadly clutches of extremism.

Making matters worse is the fact that it is an earthquake prone zone. Floods, disrupting normal life have become a common phenomenon. These are some of the hiccups that Assam faces on its path to development. Nothing much can be done about the external attacks and natural calamities. But what about the cancer breeds within Axom? It is malignant and is continuing to spread its diabolic roots.

Time for the true Axomiya to raise their voice and make it heard. Time for some concrete action to be taken, to show these intruding elements that we are not the ones who will take things lying down. With the rich diverse culture, abundance of natural resources, and a beautiful landscape that holds potential to attract swarms of tourists, Guwahati is one of the most rapidly developing cities in the country. If anything destructive proves to be a hitch, it should be dealt with in a stringent manner.

Assam, now looks like the sun held in the captivity of an eclipse. Hope to have a free Axom sparkling like a gem, developing and utilizing its resources to the fullest.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Caribbean Campaign a Washout!

West Indies appears to be ominous for Indian cricket. The blemished Indian World Cup record in the Caribbean seems to have had a sad repetition in the blitz form of the game as well. A forgettable outing this, the Men in Blue are basking in the limelight for some reason or the other. For some people, they are the butt of ridicule, for others an easy scapegoat for criticism, for some the source of heartfelt disappointment.

From being sloppy on field to lacking tactics with the timber, the Indian team came up with outrageously substandard performances. The solitary match in which the team performed to their potential, was the first match against minnows Afghanistan. Had they lost that match, it would have been better for them to take exile in Afghanistan itself!

This disastrous exit from the WC has brought MSD straight into the radar of the fuming fans and former cricketers. To make matters worse, the media seems to have picked up on one teeny weenie little phase that escaped from his mouth. He has been quoted holding the IPL post match parties for player burn out. This statement cooked up a storm in the entire country, with people from all walks of life taking time out to stop and comment.

First things first, had the IPL been responsible for the burn out, it would have also been applicable to the foreign players who were a part of the much hyped league. Instead, a lot of the players carried their great form into the WC. KP, for sure, is one such player. Secondly, knowing full well that the WC is round the corner, the players should have objected to attending such parties. Here again, one needs to take notice of the fact that attending such parties is not mandatory for the players. It is a matter of personal jurisdiction.

Therefore, before making such unwarranted comments, MSD should have promptly thought about the ripples it would create. But, having said that, he did not hold the IPL parties entirely responsible for the debacle. What could have been let off as a passing comment, was perhaps blown out of proportion.

The WC was a tragedy of errors. The selection was bizarre. Picking the one match wonder M. Vijay ahead of the king of sixes, Robin Uthappa was a shocker. Apart from that, the Umesh Yadav visa episode was a farce. Despite having made the cut, the poor lad, playing for Delhi Daredevils could not join the team. He could not have done anything much for the team though. The team was ousted from the event, even before he would have reached.

The individual performances are not even worth discussing, the only saving grace being Suresh Raina, who seems to have blossomed at the right time. The short balls were an effective weapon that each of the teams tried against the struggling Indians. Fielding was disastrous. Jadeja, in all probability will need to whip up a miracle to get back to the good books of the selectors. His batting was callous, his deliveries were whacked for boundaries and his fielding was dismal, with the dropped catch of Gayle proving to be very expensive. That drooped sitter, probably changed the entire course of the game, and also, played a huge role in sad turn of events for the Indians.

To add insult to injury, some team players seem to have been involved in a pub brawl. With the Indians being shown the door, there’s not much left to speculate. Hope that this poor show is not repeated in the contests to come.

The Pursuit of a Wanderer

In the vast misty sky,

The dreamy eyes of the wanderer search for the silver lining;
For a ray of hope that can fill the lifeless vastness
With hues of brilliance and positivity.

Like a boat in the rough tides,
Life sails him away from the safe shores.
It cooks up a storm,
To entrap him within a whirlwind of trouble.

Cuddled inside the blanket of darkness,
Life seems to smirk at him;
Trapping him within one snare after another,
Sarcasm seems to be painted on its face.

His skin burns beneath the torrid spell,
He has no shield against the woeful rain,
Nature saps him of the every ion of energy he has,
Yet he moves on.

No pole star to guide,
No oasis to quench his thirst,
No companion to accompany,
Yet he goes on.

Life sniggers and jeers at him,
Yet he moves undeterred,
Battling all odds,
Towards a hazy horizon.

He wanders from place to place,
Memories painted on the blank canvas of his memory,
Meeting and greeting people,
Yet has no one who longs for him.

Life has the last laugh,
He dies unknown,
No one sheds tears for him, no one remembers him,
The unsung hero..the Wanderer

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Living on the Edge

As I stand along the edge of the train, a gust of wind caresses my hair, blowing it away from my face. It fills me up with a fresh lease of life; gives me a sense of having broken away from all shackles. Despite having a place to sit, I choose to stand, just to feel the breeze hit my face. The chilly breeze is in pleasant contrast to the humid weather.

The city looks dazzling at night…tall towers look studded with a thousand stars; each of them stands apart. The constant hustle at the stations baffles me, as I wonder, are these stations ever devoid of people?

The city of hope it is called. Every face radiates the passion to excel. The eagerness to carve a niche of their own is perhaps the driving force. I have, as of now, become a part of the ever swelling population of the country that proudly calls itself Mumbaikars.

With a thousand dreams in my eyes, I have embarked on a voyage marked by paths of uncertainties and dilemmas. The challenges of the profession, the survival of the fittest, all these characteristics seem to be implicitly reflected by the train journey.

I have brazened up myself to cross the innumerable hurdles that my life will be peppered with; imbibing the spirit of the city that never sleeps, I have begun enjoying living life on the edge.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

First Day Fiasco!!

The anticipation, nervousness, excitement were all giving me the typical butterflies-in-the-stomach feeling. As I geared up for the D-Day, waking up unusually early, and sending out thousands of silent prayers to the Big Gun up there, I could sense a gush of emotions surging inside my system. The run up to the first day of internship was disastrous to say the least.

The plan of taking a train, to get used to the early morning blues went haywire, because of the motorman strike. If that was an ominous start, I was completely in the dark of what was to come! As I rushed with my parents to catch the “BEST” bus, I could feel the strap of my almost new chappal snap. Damn! I dragged along my chappal, cursing the Janpath guys under my breath, for having made a fool of me; selling me a chappal that couldn’t survive the first day of the Mumbai struggle.

The possibility of being late on the very first day scared the shit out of me. I was nervous and freaking out! The silent prayers were bearing fruits..I managed to reach on time. What followed was a long and indefinite waiting process at the HR department, time that me and Aaheli utilized to get my chappal fixed and get her recharge done. Once we entered back the magnificent heritage building where our new office was nestled, we bumped into fellow TSJian Sunanda. Leading her on to the HR, we had another short session of the irritatingly tedious wait.

Feeling a mild hunger pang, me and Aaheli decided to check out the canteen, which boasts of food that adequately fits into the bill of “aap ke zamaane mein baap ke zamaane ke daam”!!! With astonishment beaming on our face, we munched on the delicious food. Half way through our lunch, we were summoned by the HR female. The assistant to our RE allotted us our particular departments: I got sports and Aaheli bagged business… lucky girl, she had her team around, who assigned her with work on the very first day itself. Someone described that as “first day, first show”! Apt.

With none of the sports guys turning up till 4, I had a miserable time for four hours that seemed to last for an eternity. Reading and re-reading the paper for four hours at a stretch, with no one around to have a word with, it was excruciatingly boring! When the team finally arrived, confusion was scripted all over my face. With Aaheli off on her first venture, I felt lost and hopeless!! Looking at everyone around, seemingly working on something or the other, I got a loser feeling!

With a cool editor and a fun loving bunch around me, I felt a little bit at ease. Chatting with Karthik also helped to a great extent. My editor tried explaining the outdated and obsolete tes thing to me, half of it was registered, and the rest of it shot miles above my head!!! The team was bowled over when I learnt about my plight. They exclaimed that I looked “fried”!! My considerate ed let me off at 7. Aaheli told me that waiting for her would be futile, with the strike playing spoilsport again.

My first taste of the typical Mumbai local train crowd was scary. All the locals running way beyond time, I had to stand for a painful 45 minutes, before the train finally started moving, inching towards the destination. Figuring out the stations was difficult. The crowd in the train and the rush on the station coupled with poor vision all helped the cause. With the hyperactive women pushing me on to the right station, I couldn’t thank my stars enough that it was over. And almost successfully. Apart from the pinching fact that I wasted a day…doing nothing!!!!

The first day was weird…and nerve wracking too.. hope the days to come are not a sad repetition!!!!