Friday, June 30, 2006

Aurangabad trip - photos

The company sent a team of us on a customer visit to Aurangabad. What you see above are the results of us going camera-snappy.

Descriptions (starting from the last one, and moving up)
  1. Sunset at some forsaken station in Andhra Pradesh. I think it was Krishna-something, don't remember exactly. I'd just woken up after sleeping through the entire day (We left last Thursday), and was rinsing the sleep out of my mouth, when I got lucky with this one. No, no, I had to go get the camera.
  2. After spending Saturday and Sunday (We reached Aurangabad on Friday) at the customer's facility, we took off early on Sunday afternoon and spent the rest of the evening sight-seeing. First stop, Daulatabad fort. Wiki it up, I'm weak when it comes to history. This photo is of the "Chand Minar", which when translated using my superlative Hindi skills, means "Moon Tower".
  3. View from higher up the fort. At 1 o clock, you could have seen a strategically placed weapon of mass destruction (aka a cannon) if it were not for those pesky tourists who wanted to touch and feel everything. The bridge runs across a moat which surrounds the greater part of the fort.
  4. Open Sesame! From inside the dungeons.
  5. View of the Moon Tower from one of the ramparts.
  6. The front view of the fort, or at least whatever the camera could cover. It actually runs for quite a length.
  7. Mountain climber.
  8. On the way to Ellora, when the rain put up quite a show.
  9. The Kailash temple at Ellora. I kept thinking, "What on earth drove these people to do this?" Amazing.
  10. And amidst all this, diligent farmers trying to beat the rains.
  11. Yes, we took an auto. Actually, we ran into this very friendly auto-driver (who it seems is the regular chauffeur for our company personnel; we bumped into him accidentally) called Ayub. He was our guide throughout the tour, taking us to all the little known places and making sure that we were there on time. In case he comes across this, thanks a ton! There was this poignant moment during the tour - Ayub took us to Aurangazeb's tomb, and just before he dropped us off, he quipped, "Look! Such a great emperor, and look how he lies in the rain!" Ozymandias indeed.
  12. The fort, snapped from inside the auto, with a cloud boiling behind.
  13. Raptor footprint.
  14. "...and I'm proud of its rich and varied heritage..."
  15. The clouds were lovely over Ellora. Lazy and metallic gray in some places, a mischievous blue in others and at twilight, a sad, velvety shade. On our way back, we were stuck behind a small truck. It was carrying women back from work, women who were singing a sad evening song (in Marathi I suspect), which sounded like one about a cloud which lost its way in search of a setting sun. Or so it seemed.
  16. Silhouette of a proud lion roaring into the darkness (at Ellora).
  17. Perspective shot of a couple of stupas (?).
  18. 'Coffee' would be an apt name I guess.
  19. On the ride back from Aurangabad to Pune. We had a lot of equipment with us, which meant taxi rides between the two places. And the route is so picturesque! I felt cheated when we entered Pune with its high-rises, and no sky to be seen anywhere. There is something about seeing the land undulate in front of you for miles on end, stopping at the horizon to meet a sky that bends over, unveling its colours. It does make the heart ache. Sigh!
  20. Sparrows at Pune station.
  21. One of the minarets at the Mini Taj.
  22. Last stop during the sight-seeing tour was Bibi-ka-Maqbara (aka Mini Taj). This was built by Aurangazeb's son as a shrine to entomb his mother. It's apparently a replica of the Taj, only smaller. This is inside Aurangabad, and the road to this place runs through a Muslim neighbourhood. From whatever little time I spent at Aurangabad, the one thing that struck me was how the city is a microcosm of India, with Muslims and Hindus living together, but ensconced in their own, separate worlds.
We took a lot more photos and I might be putting them up on Flickr soon. But for now, enjoy!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

The break

It' s been raining intermittently since morning. A mug of dark, black coffee grows cold on the table. An abandoned cordless beckons plaintively from a forgotten corner of the small, one-room cabin. Newspapers lie in scattered sheets on the wooden floor, vestiges from a session with the cartoons and the crossword.

He stands in front of the glass wall that overlooks the dark, green jungle underneath, watching drops patter the verandah, bouncing off the hard teak like pearls dropping from an unstrung necklace. The bluish-gray sky lies lazily above him. The clouds are today heavy with rain, and lumber across purposelessly. He'd woken up at dawn and had made good progress before it started raining. And then, like mice lured by the piper, the rain had drawn him out.

Sunlight soldiers through the shaggy, thatched roof from over and behind his head, catching drops in mid-flight.
A delicate warmth suffuses the nippy air, which now smells of dead, and wet, leaves. A mini rainbow struggles on the glass. He can see his tall frame in it now, bare-chested, hair dishevelled, unshaved, his khakis falling from his slim waist to just below his ankles. The cordless continues to wail.

He plods across the verandah to where the glass wall ends and the ladder begins. The drops have formed a small puddle here. Balancing himself on his left leg, he stretches his right out, and with the big toe, writes her name on the water. The water cedes as his toe scrawls, and then spreads back to erase. He carefully draws each letter on the surface, watching them vanish even before he finishes, but the image of all of them together is firm in his mind. Just like her memory.

The cordless goes silent. He notices it. In the jungle, it's not the noise, but the silence which catches the attention. It rings again. He walks bare-footed into the cabin; looks around for the cordless. He checks his writing table. A sheaf of notes, papers from the morning's work, a box of cheap ballpoint pens, with one missing, the one he's been using. But no cordless. He can hear it nearby.

He bounds across the mattress, homing on the sound. There's a backpack in the corner, filled with supplies from his latest visit to the village. He flings it aside. The cordless blinks at him in innocence, its tone now louder and adamant. He grabs at it.



Thursday, June 15, 2006

Why people have clocks/watches on their blogs?

1) Because you want to know what time it is before you answer nature's call in the middle of the night. So holding your bladder, you boot your PC, wait for the damn dial-up to connect meanwhile debating between using Firefox or IE, use Firefox anyway because Bill is such a sissy, visit your blog, look at the time, and then scurry into the bathroom where you go, "Sigh...!" in accompaniment to the sound of running water.

2) You fritter away your youth looking at your site stats all day, counting each hit as it trickles in, and you need to know if it's time to eat or shower or ca-ca (not necessarily in that order) or whatever it is that you do in between. Of course, you're too preoccupied to notice the task bar.

3) Digression. Ever noticed how bloggers have two clocks on their blogs? Chances are one shows the time of an American city/town with a university, and the other, of some place in (Replace with third world country). Have you wondered why? It's because the aforesaid blogger (again too preoccupied to look at the task bar) can then time his call to his girlfriend (third world country = India) when she's in the middle of a meal to have the following conversation:

"What you upto yaa?" - blogger.
"Eating." - bored girlfriend.
"What you eating?" - blogger.
"Onion Oothaappam" - bored girlfriend, feeling slightly disgusted.
"Onion Oothaapam?? Sigh! I so miss home food yaa" - blogger.
"Hmmm" - bored girlfriend wary of oncoming mush attack.
"And I miss you too yaa" - blogger.
"Hmmm" - bored girlfriend with appropriate measure of love.
"Do you miss me?" - blogger, slightly desperate.
"Hmmm" - bored girlfriend who can't say anything in front of handsome male colleague accompanying her.

4) Transcript of a chat between Blogger and his Bluggle* friend.

Blogger - Dude! Got myself a new watch yesterday...
Bluggle - Kewl.
Blogger - It's got this ultra cool electric blue dial, with sexy white hands man.
Bluggle - Kewl.
Blogger - You can even see the time in three countries at the same time!! Awesome naa?
Bluggle - Kewl.
Bluggle - Is it water proof?
Blogger - $%#@&*

*Bluggle - A person who doesn't blog and knows nothing about blogs. In other words, someone with a life.

Feel free to add more rational explanations of this ubiquitous phenomenon.

UPDATE (June 18): "Bluggle" is something I coined perchance. Remember, you read it first here :)

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Slow poison

That is what the world is these days. A slow poison circulating in my veins, its venom diffusing through the hallways of my mind, desensitizing my soul to pathos and purity, ridiculing my ideals, clouding my vision about what's wrong and what's not.

The world is gray. Make no mistake about it. An understandable shade of gray, and this is precisely the frustration that I face daily. Nothing/nobody is so bad, or evil, that it/they can't be redeemed by a little (misplaced?) compassion and understanding. Everything is circumstantial, and nothing is absolute. Objectivity and opinion seem to switch places with alarming ease. There is no evil. There is only evil. Depends on what side you're on. Depends on how much you're willing, or unwilling, to allow. To even attempt to have a vision of life seems at once foolhardy and preposterous. For what is today, is not tomorrow. To try and transform from what you are to what you ought to be is futile, like trying to fuse together an object and its mirror image. One derives its sustenance solely through the existence of the other, and to merge the two would be to kill both. Because Life, the mirror, doesn't permit you to. The two are destined to be conflicting apparitions. Illusions because you're in a constantly suspended state, moving from one to the other. And at times you wonder whether you're moving in the wrong direction too. It's like trying to solve a jigsaw puzzle where with every piece you place correctly, the puzzle modifies itself, forcing you to shift perspective and start all over again. All because the world is that way.

The world is a slow poison. And I'm dying a little each day.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Good news... always great to hear.


Calvin: I wish I had more friends, but people are such jerks. If you can just get most people to leave you alone, you're doing good. If you can find even one person you really like, you're lucky. And if that person can also stand you, you're really lucky.

Hobbes: What if you find someone you can talk to while you eat apples on a bright fall morning?

Calvin: Well, yeah... I suppose there's no point in getting greedy, is there?

Friday, June 02, 2006


How do you choose between honesty and compassion? How do you preserve your integrity when it implies inflicting pain on somebody else? How do you bridge the distance when neither of you are willing to meet midway?

Lost sole

Go read! Catch you guys at the premiere, I have a movie to manufac...err..make.

PS: Spare me the lecture about being PC. It's a blog, for God's sake.