Thursday, June 28, 2007

Wassup wid u ppl?

I must have missed the evolution of the English language. Trapped in my world of puns and punctuation, grammar and tense, I must have missed the plethora of changes that have swept the language over the years. I recently joined an online group where the average age of the participants is close to 20. Besides making me feel like I am pushing the age envelope (and I am not even 30 yet), I felt like a linguistically challenged kid in a class where the language of instruction is Latin. Was it not enough that I am forced to go the 'internets' each time I come across IIRC being used in an e-mail, or wonder what GMTA stands for, that I am forced to adapt fo the next level altogether? Sample some of this:

Dont understand wht iz deir prob???.I dont fink ne1 must b hvin ne probs wid me rite other den sum ppl??.

Ya actually der waz an monkey typin 4 me.Coz u knw ppl like u can only understand monkey language see no 1 else xpect u understood d language so i m gonna give d monkey a bonus 2day tell him wht a GR8 job hez doin!!!.Thiz Language iz specially 4 all so ppl in d Comm plzz use dis Language!!!!.

If d Mod doesnt hv a Prob den i dunno wassup wid d otherz.:-(

Ya i knw pri m wid u ppl hv been vry rude in dis comm

As I stared at my screen in distinct disbelief, reading through the lines multiple times, I realized that my style of communication may become anachronistic one day(if it already isn't), where a wide eyed android one hundred years from now will stumble upon this blog post and have an automated service 'translate' this into the language of the day. A hybrid between German pronounciation and English words, with the exclamation mark becoming one of the ten new alphabets with which to form new words, emoticons the new vowels and numerals substituted for every common occurence they can be used for.

Unless, I evolve, and attempt I did. For about three words I attempted to recreate the magic and mystery and essence of this confounding form of expression. And then I gave up. Here's the sad remnant of my attempt: Thiz blog rulz!

Thursday, June 21, 2007


The sun seemed to slither away at the edge of the screen, sinking into the deep abyss of the Grand Canyon like a thief put to shame. There was none of that blazing glory Pranay was looking for. Just as much. After all, it’s a football going into a giant pothole, he grumbled irritatingly. He checked the time on his watch. The late sunsets in summer always upset his dinner schedule. The brightness of the light outside sent the wrong signals to his stomach, one accustomed to sipping tea at sunset followed by a meal cooked by his mother. He extinguished the sinking sun on his second hand TV and carried the remote with him to the kitchen. He missed his mother. More importantly, he missed her cooking. Twenty two thousand miles away from her, he stared at a can of Bush’s chick peas, his savior. His roommate would be back in a while, he thought. He’d better have his cooking turn over and done with. The punishment endured every two days, for all concerned. He spent a moment wishing he could have learnt how to cook better. But he hadn’t been prepared for it. After all, Wipro never did train him on the skills of cooking up a mean malai kofta. They packed knowledge worth terabytes into his rather untested brain and sent him off to Chicago, to work on a project involving code no one wanted to touch, and what most people wished was never written. He was serving time, away from his mother, away from his city, away from Mrudula. As he mixed the spices in the vessel less washed, he used his limited poetic license to liken Mrudula to the red pepper and himself to the chick peas. The spice in my life, he exclaimed. (At the same moment, a lyricist in a chawl in Koliwada had an epiphany about a song with the same ingredients).

In walked his roommate Bhaskar, a daily voyeur of Pranay’s reveries. What an idiot, he thought to himself. He has seen nothing but this apartment and the office, in all of three weeks. This is the land of the free, the city of the windy, where life is a breeze and you could ride the coattails of freedom. There’s strip joints and beer sold in grocery stores. There’s bowling and pool and football. There are good looking blondes on the street and everyone smiles at you because they like you so much. There is the searing effect of the wind and the dominant protrusion of the Sears tower. What’s not to like in this place? What’s there to mope about a girl who’s waiting for you back home? All I need is to do my work well, and get a job with the company. Then I don’t have to go back at all. The independence of being, and with Pranay’s departure, freedom from chick peas. What more can someone ask for in life?

The evening continued its merry ways as the two roommates entered into their daily discussion on whether or not they enjoyed life in America. Pranay’s melanchony ways were met with contempt by Bhaskar’s pragmatic arguments. They parried on till the sun sank through behind the towel Pranay was drying on the balcony and settled to eat dinner. As Bhaskar negated the taste of the chick peas with a big helping of chips, Pranay munched on the food without much concern for its taste. The evening passed the baton onto the night and the channels flipped from Lou Dobbs’s latest rancor on outsourcing to Jon Stewart’s latest joke on call centers. It seemed like the TV was speaking about them and to them. As they ended the dinner reaching for a bowl of Dreyer’s Rocky Road, the night firmly settled outside their apartment with crickets beginning their operatic solos on the trees below. Bound together by sense of origin, but separated by a sense of purpose, they sat in the balcony in quite contemplation. Bhaskar eventually looked at his watch and silently moved inside to be followed by his compatriot as both reached for their laptops. It was time to chat with their teams in India. The day had just begun, again.

P.S> I woke up this morning feeling discontent about this post. I think the characterizations are inaccurate, juvenile and shallow. Since I have typed it up, I'll leave it here.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Chupke Chupke Raat Din

The lyrics are by Hasrat Mohani and it remains till date, one of Ghulam Ali's most famous ghazals. In fact, it even made its way to the movie Nikaah. I tried to remember all the shers of the many versions I have heard of this ghazal. I think I am missing one or two. If someone remembers, do share. If you need more words explained, do let me know.

Chupke chupke raat din aansoon bahaana yaad hai
Hum ko ab tak aashiqui ka woh zamaana yaad hai

Tujh se milte hi woh kuchh bebaak ho jaana mera
Aur tera daanton mein woh ungali dabaana yaad hai
[bebaak=bold, outspoken]

Chori chori hum se tum aa kar mile the jis jagaah
Muddatein guzareen par ab tak wo thikaana yaad hai
[muddatein=length of time, guzareen=passed, thikaana=location]

Khench lenaa wo mera parde ka konaa daffatan
Aur dupatte mein tera woh munh chhupaana yaad hai

Tujh ko jab tanhaa kabhii paana to az raah-e-lihaaz
Haal-e-dil baaton hi baaton mein jataanaa yaad hai
[tanhaa=alone, paana=to find, az raah-e-lihaaz=with caution]

Aa gaya gar vasl ki shab bhi kahin zikr-e-firaaq
Woh tera ro-ro ke bhi mujhko rulaana yaad hai
[vasl=meeting, shab=night, zikr=mention, firaaq=separation]

Dopahar ki dhoop mein mere bulane ke liye
Woh tera kothe pe nangey paaon aana yaad hai


Friday, June 08, 2007

One Day Mataram

I am getting tired of the state of one day international cricket and ICC is going all out to make sure I stop watching it. The latest World Cup was proof enough. The matches are completely listless and one-sided. The teams are unevenly matched and they play without any passion whatsoever because of the frequency with which this cash cow is milked. I can’t remember more than two or three one day games in the past year that really came across as exciting and stick in memory. The level of contest between bat and ball diminished as it is basically over-loaded in favor of the batsman. To add the final nail to the coffin, ICC has recommended that there should be a free hit (akin to 20-20) after a no-ball, and that the batting team can now choose one of the powerplays. Tell me, why would any bowler want to play anymore? To add to bowling on completely flat tracks and restrictions on bouncers and powerplays that are invitation to get whacked, now there’s the added insult of bowling a free-hit ball after a no-ball. Amidst all this, the BCCI and ICC send the players to random places of the world to play pyjama cricket. When they do play in regular hubs like Chennai in the sweltering heat of June, you wonder when a player is going to drop dead on the ground due to dehydration.

Give me test cricket anyday. I know a lot of people don’t have the patience to follow a five day game, but that works perfect for me. Therein lies the real skill, the real will, and the real battles. With Australia pushing the envelope, the scoring rates have also picked up in test matches and the tests these days are very result-oriented. A test century is worth its weight in gold, and so are twenty wickets captured with skill and patience. ICC, please cut down the games, balance the rules, else the game will just die.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Lonely Planet

A hand finds that dog-eared page,
clumsily bent at its edge.

The spectacles lodged firmly,
The cat pacified with a bowl of milk,
Mrs. Stenson continues her tour of Italy,
Twenty pages a day.

I got the inspiration for this character from that of Violet Stoneham in 36 Chowringhee Lane (the commonality being a lonely old lady with a cat). I don't like the wallowing in self-pity that loneliness is associated with. I want to view it as an independent stubborn streak.