Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Thanks for reading. Good luck with everything!
Thursday, April 10, 2008
And there's always blogspot. Blogging is a passion for me, and I shall pursue it no matter how bad the consequences of a seemingly harmless leap turn out to be. The curious kind of people often ask me: 'Is there any hidden intention behind your blogging eh?' I say, no, it's just to put out my views and to satisfy that urge I always feel to write something. 'What something?', they ask me. I forward them the link to my blog, and they read it and more often than not, they'd shake their heads in mystification and say 'Pathetic... Do something worthwhile instead'.
Something worthwhile? What is that supposed to mean? I believe coming from my fellow-IIT-mates, most of who lead pathetic lives locked up to their fantasy land the world knows as IIT Bombay, it could mean one thing - study well and get a better CGPA. A better CGPA. Hmm. Why? Just because I have more time than what is demanded to lead a happy life in this place, satisfied with a good enough CGPA? Makes no sense to me. Or perhaps it means that I should find a girl, much against my wishes for the time being, waste some time and money on her, and act as if she is the sole reason for my happiness. That 'something worthwhile' could even mean that I should take up mentoring as a hobby and loiter by the freshmen wings in our hostel and pass on valuable fundaes, that no one asked for in the first place. I think now it's too late for this, but a couple of years back, something worthwhile could also have meant hanging around the coffee shack or the Kresit canteen and get involved in some butt-licking politics to bag a place in the organising committees of Asia's saddest fests. I really don't have a clue what they mean, do I?
As my stint here crawls to an end, I sit back and contemplate on how wonderful the last 4 years really have been - all those varied dimensions it has afforded my life have been fantastic. And all this has been without that extra effort that I used to put in into almost everything before I came here. I hope now that the world minds my business as IIT did these past few years. Because, owing to my new-found laziness, I am congenitally incapable of minding my own.
Sunday, April 6, 2008
Now he lay there on the busy road. His first day at work. How happy he had been when the partner of this reputed firm had shook hands with him that day during his college placements and said, 'We wish to make you an offer. Will you accept it?' His joy had known no bounds. His parents were even happier. He felt a part of the reason for their joy was that he would be staying with them now. At home. No more hostel life. How his family loved him! And how proud he had felt to make them happy!
And how proud he was today as he set out to start his professional life. His mother had woken him up early. He performed the morning pooja at home today, something that he had never done before; at least he couldn't recall any. His parents were so happy to see their son starting out a new life. And how happy was his Shefali for him! He had promised her that today he would bring her home to meet his parents. This was supposed to be the perfect day. He was determined to make it even better.
His mind was preoccupied with these thoughts all the while as he traveled to his office. So engrossed was he in his dreams that he never noticed the dumper hurtling down the street. The next thing he knew, he was flying in the air, completely against his will. Crash! And he banged his head against the pavement. He had no idea what was going on for a moment or two from then on. He had a faint recollection of seeing his arm bend in a horribly unnatural angle, and he felt something wet near his ear. He tried touching it to examine it, but realised that he was unable to move his arms. And there was a searing pain in his legs. Unknown to him, a truck had passed over them after he had fallen, and whatever was left of his legs was a bloody pulp that was probably hurting him the most. He tried screaming out for help, he wanted to scream out of his pain. He opened his mouth, but no words came out. He was able to manage a grunt, that ended with a hiss, and was probably heard by none but him.
The accident took place in the busiest square in town, flanked on all sides by offices that belonged to some of the city's biggest MNCs. Perhaps the city's highest earning folks worked there, and were witness to the gruesome mishap that he just had. But no one ventured forward to help him. They were scared - it was an accident, a police case, and they might only invite trouble in trying to help him. Besides, he already looked dead. He hadn't moved at all; just made some noises now and then. So they ignored him. The traffic ignored him. There he was on the street where he had dreamed of walking, near the buildings where he longed to work, with the people that he aspired to know and work with. But not this way. Why wasn't anyone helping him? Why were they so indifferent?
A long time passed before someone who cared noticed him. He hailed down a taxi and asked the driver to help him rush the injured to the hospital. Understandably, the driver was reluctant as this was a police case. By then a crowd had gathered who wanted to help this poor fellow. They threatened and scolded the taxi driver into submission and hurried him to the nearest hospital. He was pronounced dead upon admission.
Some of the people cried for the young man who had died such a tragic death. Some were in a state of shock - they had never seen a death this horrible before. They got his family's phone number from his cellphone. His mother broke down on seeing his body. His father never said a word - he just wept silently. Shefali would come to know only after a week, from his office, where she had called up to ask about him.
The day was supposed to end on a good note for him. But he wasn't there to see it end.
Apathy - something that has got me thinking a lot for the last two weeks. Of course I have exaggerated a lot in this tale - our folks may not be so indifferent; not to say that they all care. From a personal experience, my little accident 15 days back that has resulted in a compound fracture of my right arm making it dysfunctional for another month now, took place near a crowded canteen in IIT. That too at a time when some of the well known folks in campus gather there for a cup of tea and some socialising and some butt-licking politics. And what disappointed me was that none of them came forward to help me then. Few cared to even look my way. I was lucky to have two of my best friends with me when it happened, and they took complete charge of the situation thence. I have always said that as a collective lot, IITians are socially challenged geniuses. Now I rest my case.
An appeal - Whenever you happen to see someone hurt, or an accident, or someone in need of your help; please help them. No work of your's could possibly be more important than helping that person.
Thursday, April 3, 2008
There have been many new things that I have learnt as I am recuperating now, many new experiences, and hopefully the learning curve hasn't already peaked off or plateaued away yet. Challenges are aplenty, with even mundane activities now posing as tough problems. But as they say, accidents can only hurt the body, not the spirit, so well, my life goes on undaunted. Coming back to my blog, I was wondering which topic shall I first write about - from the many that I have in mind. But it isn't a difficult thing to decide - there is a thing that I happen to notice everywhere, something that ceaselessly reminds me that I don't look 'normal', that there is something different about me - and you guessed it - the ubiquitous Indian stare.
It all started on the last Sunday of March when I got my head tonsured to 'beat the heat', attracting thousands of stares in the bargain. The accident on Monday added to the attention and now I am a walking - talking showpiece - a sink for all stares, from young and old alike. The Indian stare is something that is very distinctive about us people - I had gone to USA with a clean shaven head, albeit without a plastered right arm, but no one chose to pass even a second's worth of glance at me. But back home, the situation's the exact opposite.
When a foreigner or a native like me, with something different to my physical appearance walks into their midst, our folks leave aside whatever task they are doing, no matter how important, and start staring. There are also those who choose to multitask - they go about with their activities as they continue to stare. Boys and girls, men and women, uncles and aunties, young and old, people from all strata and niches of the Indian social structure - they are right up there, united in their efforts to stare. They stare you down for a good couple of minutes, or perhaps five, until they have satisfied their visual needs with all there is to be seen. When their eyes meet mine, and as I smile, more so out of habit than any other reason, I get a few more stares in return.
There is nothing harmful about the stare, I have noticed. This isn't the kind of stare you get in western countries, that is mainly associated with ill feeling or an evil eye. The Indian stare has a compassionate touch to it, sometimes with a twist of pity and a pinch of good will. Our culture it seems has so developed that staring isn't a bad habit. Rather, not staring is looked upon as a sign of indifference. And it's something instinctive - no one is taught how or when to stare - we are all born masters in our own right.
But I love the stare. It gives me the sweet feeling that my people notice me, they care for me, even total strangers, as my first few days following the mishap taught me. But I hope I soon get away from the receiving end of it, and hope no one gets into the position I am in right now for me to stare at in return.