Sunday, 30th September 2012

All of us go through phases of total noise in our brain -- hundreds of thoughts pulling your mind in hundreds of directions... incoherent emotions making your stomach feel ten times heavier that usual... a black hole in your very core, pulling everything tangible and intangible, threatening to implode your existence.

In a moment like this, it makes no sense to do anything. Your mind is unable to allocate resources towards any constructive activity. So... you look at something destructive. How about something that takes very little effort?

A flame.

Have you ever observed something burn? Not looked with careless disregard, but watched carefully as it ate away reality. Things that existed just moments ago vanish into nothingness, right in front of your eyes. Maybe those things meant something to you, maybe they didn't. Subtly however, that small yellow flame reminds you of how fickle, how momentary and how fleeting everything is. The same flame that grows to become a merry bonfire, also burns through things, memories, people. In that clouded state of mind, it acts like a disconnection tool; a final act of release. Stop thinking about it, burn it away. Stop remembering all that, burn it away.

It is well behaved too, that flame. It will not keep on burning, it will not live a purposeless life. The matter will finish and with it, so will the flame. Gracefully so, if I may add. Not in a sudden flash, but gently subsiding, slowly diminshing and then fading away. Bad might have happened to you, but Bad will not stay forever, will not continue happening. A flame will come and erase Bad. Just like someday, a flame will erase you too. And me.

But until that happens, savor the merry bonfire instead.

Wednesday, 19th October 2011

The Galaxy Nexus wallpapers looked gorgeous, so I extracted the default ones from the SDK system image.
You can download them from here - http://cl.ly/B548

Sunday, 4th September 2011

(Short story, based on a true incident)

I stepped out of the Metro train and watched, with much boredom, as a sea of people ran towards the exit gates. The imaginary race to get out of the station is something that most people on the Delhi Metro participate in. I usually loiter around the station for two minutes after getting off, sometimes watching the race with amusement. The exit queues are full of interesting people — nervous young girls, nonchalant men, aged chatty couples, a few kids, the occasional mother with a baby — a perfect slice of the city’s varied population.

I glanced at the clock as I got out of the station. 2201 hours. It was late by mom-standards, but I wasn’t worried. Mum wasn’t home, she’d gone on a holiday for ten days. I would’ve headed home on any other day, but I was hungry and I did not have dinner waiting for me at home. The Sector 50 market is just two kilometers from the station. I decided to have dinner there, instead of fixing something myself.

Ten minutes of brisk walking later, I was standing in the market. I surveyed my choices. I didn’t want to eat street food, otherwise I would’ve gone to my favorite place that makes excellent egg rolls. It was then I realized it was a Saturday. Saturdays mean one other thing — cheap Sub of The Day offers at Subway.

I walked into the restaurant, headed straight for the vegetarian counter and said, “Bhaiyya ek Veg Shammi band dijiye”. After not getting an acknowledgment for two full seconds, I looked up. I was taken aback to see this girl staring back at me with big, black eyes. I’m a regular at this Subway; I had never seen a female employee here before. “I’m sorry, I was expecting one of the regular people”, I said. She gaped at me, then broke out of her stare and said, “Sorry sir. One Veg Shammi? Which bread?”. “Parmesan oregano, with cheese, heated”, I answered. She smiled and gave me a nod. After carefully placing two cheese slices on the bread, she put the bread in the oven and set it to heat for a while.

I noticed the badge on her t-shirt said, “TRAINEE”. Oh, so that’s why she was acting odd. I continued observing her. Jet black hair, tied in a bun. Long, thin fingers that she kept tapping on the granite platform, while glancing at the oven… and arrestingly beautiful eyes. Even in her boring black Subway uniform and at 10 in the night, she looked graceful. She would have fit better as a concierge in an upscale hotel.

The oven beeped and she took out the bread.

“All vegetables?”, she asked, as she placed the bread on the platform.
“Yes please, with extra lettuce and tomatoes.”
“With or without onions?”
“With onions.”

She paused for a moment, and then proceeded to make the most beautiful Subway sandwich I have ever seen.

I say beautiful because there is no better way to put it. She carefully put on a fresh pair of gloves, picked a generous helping of lettuce and spread it evenly on the bread. Like other Subway chefs, she did not throw the toppings in quick, repetitive fashion. Instead, she mentally measured everything before using it. Tomatoes and cucumber slices were placed at equal distances from one another. Jalapeño and black olives were given due respect and placed in a straight line, surrounded by capsicum shreds. She was slow, but I did not care. I could not stop myself from staring at the sandwich and her hands which moved across the platform with careful precision.

“Which sauces would you like, sir?”

It was my turn to feel lost, but I quickly answered “Mayo, southwest and a bit of red chilli and mint mayo”. Then, as an afterthought, I added “Extra mayo, actually”. She gave me another smile and picked up the mayo bottle. I wondered if the sauces would get the same attention and respect as the vegetables. I was not disappointed. She spread the mayo evenly on top of the vegetables. Hints of chilli and southwest were dropped between the mayo. Mint mayo was added last, and unlike with every other chef, I did not have to tell her to go easy with the mint. Too much mint destroyed the rest of the flavors and she obviously knew that.

I wished I had my camera with me. I would have shot the entire preparation and her too. I cursed my luck.

She wrapped the sandwich carefully and asked “Take away or have it here?”.
“I’ll have it here”.

She put the sandwich on a tray, generated a bill and said, “That will be 99 Rupees”. I paid, picked up my tray and walked to the table. I slowly opened my sandwich and there it was. It looked perfect. Barely any sauce dripping at the sides, no mess, just simple culinary perfection. I took a bite and it tasted as good. I could have jumped with joy. I looked up and she was looking at me from behind the counter. I smiled at her.

Then, with sudden inspiration, I called out to her, pointed to the empty chair across me and said, “Have a seat?”. She looked taken aback but said, “Sorry sir, we aren’t allowed to sit when the restaurant is in operation.”
“Oh come on, it’s almost closing time and it’s a weekday. Sanjeev, do you mind?”
Sanjeev was the other chef standing at the non-vegetarian counter. I knew him well. He gave me a look that said, “Yeah, right, go ahead, flirt with the trainee”, but the word that came out was just, “No.”

“This is by far, the nicest Subway sandwich I have ever had. You are awesome.”
She laughed and said, “Thank you. Par maine abhi last week hi join kiya hai.”
“Maybe that is the reason. The experienced chefs have speed and don’t really pay attention to, uh, shall I say, beauty?”
She gave me a sharp look. “Beauty?”
“Yeah, you know, careful preparation and not just throwing everything in. I would have clicked a photo of my sandwich, had I got my camera with me.”
She laughed again.
“Where are you from?”
“From Delhi only. Ghar ke pass kaam dhoond rahi hu, but abhi ke liye, this is the only option I have.”
“Ahh. Yeah, happens.”

She kept touching her hair nervously. I tried not to stare at her, but she was strikingly pretty and it was tough not to. I quickly finished my sandwich.
As I was picking up my tray, she said, “I’ll take that”. I politely refused and said, “Thanks”. I threw the tray paper in the bin and kept the tray on the stack. She was still standing next to me.

“Nice sandwich and nice talking. Good night!”, I said.
“Good night, sir”, she replied with a smile.
I opened the door and stepped out but I did not walk.
I turned around, looked at her and said, “You’re very pretty.”

She blushed to the color of a tomato and I walked away.

Saturday, 2nd July 2011

<lut4rp> I want to suicide by the time I'm 30.
<prtksxna> Why?
<lut4rp> What's the point of living beyond it?
<prtksxna> To get all the experiences in life that one should have.
<lut4rp> How do you decide what experiences one should have?
<prtksxna> The experiences that make you want to live life.

(How... insightful)

Thursday, 23rd June 2011

(This is a very personal post. You may not like it. I wrote it because I felt like it.)

As much as I despise the word and the objectification it brings to the minds of people, I've never had a "girlfriend". Some people find that stupid, some people find it horrifying and some people give reactions that lead me to believe I'm not part of a very cultured society.

I've always been very social, perhaps extremely social if you consider me a part of the "computer geek" community. Our kind doesn't really believe in person-to-person meetings. But I've always had a large group of friends and I like to meet new people. No, I don't always like to sit in front of a computer. Yes, you can call me strange.

I've always known so many brilliant and awesome people, that I never found the need to have a female companion. Life is always interesting. But sadly, that's a major point people throw at me, "What do you do when you're bored? Don't you feel like hanging out with someone?". Uh, no. Never felt bored enough that I'd want to hang out with a girl. In fact, why would I want to hang out with a girl only when bored? Over the years, friends have given me "advice" on why I've never had a girlfriend. Some of the responses have been…
- "You're too nice"
- "You're too geeky"
- "You think too much"
- "You're too thin"
- "You don't have a bike!!! You don't have a car?!?!!!"

You get the flow.

Societal norms are the least of my concerns and peer pressure is a joke. But I've had my share of (albeit rare) girls who I have really liked. Evidently, none of them ever got converted to the "relationship" state. The major reason I would attribute that to is my experiences at school. Studying at DPS for almost a decade teaches you more about this stuff than any other education. School had a very open environment, kids came from varying family backgrounds and I saw too many people get together and "break" up. The whole tearjerker saga. It made me apprehensive of getting into a relationship with someone just for the sake of it. My friends are those who I get along with all the time, who I can bank upon. Whenever, I'd want a girl like that. Friend first, everything else later. Somehow, this was a very, VERY hard concept for people to understand. Still is and I don't see why. Hell, there's an entire concept around that idea (Remember friend-zoning?).

So the next time someone asks me the damn question again, you know where they are going to get pointed to.

Sunday, 5th June 2011

Sign me up for 'reclaiming the street' but I think you’ve articulated a troubling vein of appearance/lifestyle critique that only further serves to reinforce narrow, patriarchal ideas about women. It shouldn’t matter what other women look like–this obsession with appearance is yet another part of the tyranny to be overthrown. We should be more concerned with each others’ opinions, and not reduce ourselves to visual caricatures. This tyrannical ‘freedom of the individual’ argument fails to acknowledge not only the manifold obvious and invisible ways we are all connected, but the very material fact of a human as a socially constructed being.

Rather than exerting so much energy defending some people’s nebulous ‘right’ to call themselves what they want, to find what they find sexy sexy, we should be questioning and deconstructing our socially-defined concepts of sexiness within the lived and undeniable framework of patriarchal rule and cultural misogyny. Reclaiming or re appropriating the term 'slut' does not make their patriarchal origins or history of female objectification go poof! If anything, reinforcing sexist imagery won't.

And so I regurgitate the same - why would any sane woman want to claim such a weapon word as slut to describe any part of who they are? I am NOT a slut if I choose to have sex with whom I want. I am NOT a slut if I choose to wear what I want. I am NOT a slut if I wear high heels or shave. I am NOT a slut if I say NO to unwanted advances.
Considering how even women in burqas get raped in this country... 'nuff said.

— Priyanka Rajan's reaction on the use of the word "slut" by Slut Walk Delhi (https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=134134013328137).