Friday, 31 March 2006

Blazing guns!

Finally saw Rang de Basanti this afternoon. Yes yes it's released such a long time back that I even remember joking with a friend that by the time I get back on land it would have left theatres, but better late than never right? Anyway, that's beside the point. I liked the movie. A lot actually.

Thing is, I had already heard a LOT about it, by way of opinion that is, both for and against, so I watched it rather critically. Before anyone goes baying for blood, or accuses me of doing the same, I do not think the point of the movie was to justify murder, for whatever cause. Or the laying down of lives for that matter. But to make us ask ourselves: If not this, then what? If not now, then when? If we manage to answer these questions even in some measure, the movie would have more than achieved some purpose. I know this is rich, coming from me, working for a multinational, living in the country barely a quarter of the year, but then since when did opinions need that kind of justification :).

Anyway, whatever anyone might have to say about the movie, all must agree that A R Rehman's soundtrack totally kicks ass!!! :D

Current mood: reflective
Listening to: Rang de Basanti ost - Roobaroo

Wednesday, 29 March 2006


After a terrible run of days what with blocked visas, cancelled flight schedules and my office trip in jeopardy, this evening proved to be one of those rare occassions where, for once, nothing seemed to go wrong :). Found myself the perfect pair of new sneakers :D and the elusive backpack! (Had been looking for it for the last 5 months!)

And then watched Being Cyrus. It's not the ultimate movie, at all, but it's so refreshing to see an Indian movie in English done so well! And with a great storyline :). Really nice touches with the cinematography. And it helped that I thought I recognised the scenery a few times :D.

Feeling: unexpectedly happy
Listening to: Norah Jones - Sunrise

Tuesday, 28 March 2006

Life is. . .

Knowing today was good. But it could have been so much better. Or maybe a little worse.
Going through all the pictures you took last year and letting them turn into daydreams.
Waking up in the morning and realising that your life will never be perfect.
Dancing in your bedroom and hurriedly looking out the window to see if the neighbours were on their terrace!
Listening to one song obsessively a million times over.
Wondering when was the last time you cried. Wondering if there was any point in crying now. Wondering when you wouldn't be able to stop those tears the next time.

Feeling: out of place
Listening to: Kelly Clarkson - Breakaway

Monday, 27 March 2006

Tag-me-not - II

Right, so my deepest apologies to Souvik for having forgotten all about his tag. And further apologies in advance 'cos I'm gonna brazenly flout all the 'rules' he's set for it :P.

Firstly, I hate having to answer questions, and secondly, this particular one I've already answered here!!! Well, more or less. (You need to scroll down a bit.) And if the 8th characteristic is absolutely necessary, then here goes:

The perfect woman:
3.5 . She should have some appreciation for adventure!

Now that I have thoroughly skewered that, moving on to other things. Visa's and me just don't get along. (Now where had you heard that one before, right?) Of course, it's more than your average pain in the butt given my kind of job. But this time, this time I actually thought it was all going to work out like a charm! And the illusion was so much strengthened when I found out that even my flight tickets had been paid for!! Four days in advance!! Amazing right?!! That was my big mistake, falling for a ruse like that. I had barely hung up on the airlines when I was informed that my visa had been indefinitely delayed. Making the tickets useless.

Looking on the brighter side, I get to spend three more days at home. Alone. Without the option of going out of town, or for that matter out of the house for too long, just in case the elusive courrier arrives. Wait, did I say brighter side? Ah well, at least I can sit at home reading or watching really vague movies on TV, like Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood :|.

Feeling: bored
Listening to: Radiohead - Stop whispering

Saturday, 25 March 2006

Good bye. . .

Back in Kolkata after a very brief visit to Mumbai. Luckily I managed to meet almost everyone I wanted to! As well as some people I hadn't expected to be there! For once tons of other people owed me treats, rather than the other way around :P. It was good to see my friends relaxed though, everyone having got great jobs and/or scholarships :).

Oh and I also managed to land up in perfect time for this year's PAF by my hostel! Right, so for those who are going 'huh?!!': the Performing Arts Festival is like the biggest inter-hostel event on the calendar in IIT B. Something like a very large-scale dram. A big deal basically :D.

Eating out in HN, Natural's ice-cream, SP biryani, late nights in the SAC, superlong cack-sessions, hanging out all day at the Shack... that was the good life. Incidentally, there's wireless LAN in campus now! And one of my most favourite hang-outs, Sameer Hill has been completely desecrated with a huge housing complex that has caused half the hill side to vanish. Things are changing. I actually didn't want to drive when we went zipping around town on bikes the other night. Worse still, I was actually civil about geezing food! But worst of all was the fact that despite crashing at 4:30 am, I managed to faithfully wake up at 9 in the morning, both days!!! (And the alarm was set for 10.30.) I've been out of hostel too long :(.

Good byes and take cares. I remember someone telling me once that one should always say good-bye. No point in putting that off. Then again, it is a small world, and as always, I live in hope :).

So that was that, except, I was early for my flight. As usual. And then my flight got delayed by another hour.

Feeling: lonely
Listening to: Tori Amos - Jamaica inn

Monday, 20 March 2006

Jottings... on the fly.

11:24 pm, 17th March -

Stepped into the national capital today. Struck me as rather neat. The roads that is. The traffic was anything but! And I thought Kolkata was bad /:). The expected half-hour of aimless circling over the Indira Gandhi airport due the excessive rush was nice. Looking down on the spectacularly lit vista I was wondering if I would ever be able to recognise landmarks here as I can over Mumbai or Kolkata. Probably not.

10:55 pm, 18th March -

The room I had in the Aurobindo Ashram guest house, Tapasya, was really nice! Stepped out onto the balcony this morning (early for a change, Mum insisted on me having breakfast :|), and found a bunch of bright green parrots on the tree outside, playing what looked like a rather intricate variant of musical chairs! :D

My stay in Delhi was short though. I'm in Noida now. And in case you didn't know (I didn't), Noida's in like a whole different state! UP to be precise. It's great to be with my baby cousin again. All of twenty years younger than me, the poor kid's just back home from a 12 day stay in the hospital, and loving it :).

11:00 pm, 19th March -

Forayed back into Delhi for the evening, and what an evening! Was extremely fortunate to be able to watch a Hindustani classical vocal recital by Lakshmi Shankar. Her voice, completely mesmersing , was truly a study in infinite intricacy and supreme subtlety!

And I also managed a passing glimpse of the India Gate! :D It's bigger than the Gateway of India :(. And has a bigger park around it. They always manage to make it bigger in the capital :|.

Feeling: relaxed :)
Listening to: Tracy Chapman - Cold feet

Thursday, 16 March 2006

Round and round, spinning into oblivion.

Back home again. For all of 22 hours. Tomorrow I'll be off again to Delhi. Despite Mum living there off and on for the last two years and then my uncle shifting permanently there, I have never visited Delhi before, so I'm rather looking forward to it. Of course there's also the relief at being able to go somewhere new without having to worry about a visa first :D.

And from there I'll be going over to Mumbai. For what might be the last time in a while. Hurts a bit just to think of it. Somehow, I have always been going back this last one year that I've ceased being a student. A friend of mine put it in rather a harsh perspective the other day. On hearing that I was going back he mused, "But wasn't he here just sometime back?!"

Thing is, places mean only so much as the people you get to know there. And sometimes all it takes is one person's absence. I spent six days at Shantiniketan this time, the longest stretch in half a decade. But it felt so empty. And all that was missing was one person. And it doesn't help that whenever I think of the place it's usually as 'my granny's house'. Need to find another name for it in my head now...

Dol (the Bengali version of Holi, well, not exactly, but too sleepy right now to go into the details) was nice though. The familiar procession, Rabindric musical programs, colours. And no torn clothes :).

I'll be able to spend only 4 days out of my whole vacation with my Mum, it turns out. And I have to try to make it so I'll be away from home for a whole three months next time I leave.

Note to self: Need uplifting thoughts, pronto!

Current Mood: life, in a travel bag
Listening to: Tori Amos - Ireland

Thursday, 9 March 2006

A mile of bliss. And memories. And forgetfulness.

I'm back home again. And though I didn't spend the three days I'd originally hoped for in Singapore (after signing off, 'cos the days I spent in Loyang can't possibly count!), I did get one afternoon. Visited this place called 'little India', for very good reason too! The huge percentage of Indian-looking people made it feel like home. Add to that numerous Indian restaurants (with proper Indian food: biryani no less!), the hustle and bustle and our Sardarji cab-driver. And this bill-board :D.
After that I decided to go take a look around our hotel. And a totally aimless walk along completely unknown lanes and one underpass took me right to the beach! I know, I know, spent 43 days on a ship and the one place I find to go and relax is the beach!! I'm a nutcase right? But it was really great! It was probably completely forgettable and rather unremarkable as such, but I haven't felt that tranquil in a long long time.
Walking barefeet for hours on the cool wet sands. Right at the edge, where the water comes lapping at your feet. And sometimes a wave larger than expected crashes too close and makes you jump, and then smile at yourself. Kids making sand castles, guys dozing off with long fishing rods stuck in the sand. Memories of idyllic days like this, freedom from all that's waiting just round the corner to mar the perfection. Peace of mind.

I also ran into a bunch of people running some sort of long-distance thing. I could so totally identify with the chaps who looked like they were about to drop from exhaustion while feeling increasingly depressed as others overtook them like it was a stroll in the park :P. And then there was the woman who believes in early training. She was running what was obviously her regular afternoon run. With her baby in the stroller she pushed along ahead as she ran! At least the kid's unlikely to suffer from motion sickness later on :D. Actually it isn't that bad an idea, come to think of it. I always have the feeling that I used to be very bored sitting in my stroller with the scenery crawling by at a snail's pace :).

I so didn't want to leave :(. But there was a seat waiting on a B 777 with my name on it. There goes one more place I promised myself I'll have to go back to.
And then this afternoon I was back on the metro, rushing off to get some visa work sorted out. It takes a special sort of mindset (and courage) to be able to sit in the front seat of a Kolkata auto-rickshaw. (Oh yes, in this city it isn't three, but five grown-ups a rick.) And for the first 2 minutes I was very very scared! And really surprised and annoyed with myself. I mean, c'mon! I LIVE here!! /:).

Tomorrow I'm off to Shantiniketan, and hence very likely away from all forms of internet communication. I'm planning to spend a while there with my grandfather this time. Yes, it isn't 'grand-parents' for me anymore.

Feeling: still tired :(
Listening to: Merle Haggard - Mamma tried

Monday, 6 March 2006

Land ho!!

Made it through the supposedly pirate-infested waters of Malacca Strait pretty safe and sound. Of course with laden cargo vessels and cruise ships lit up like christmas trees all around, what pirate in his right mind would head for a lowly seismic vessel :D. We had to wallow around for a fairly long time waiting for the whole customs clearance and the immigration jazz, but eventually I did step back on land! Though this time there wasn't the out-of-sync feeling I had the last time I stepped off a boat after a long time. Probably because the weather's been so terribly calm all trip.

On the way in I could clearly see the Chengi International Airport. From where I have my flight back home in less than 2 day's time. But once we got alongside, and the gangway was in place, I still had enough work to keep me stuck on the back-deck almost till end of shift. And there'll be enough to take up all my 12 hours tomorrow as well :(. But at least now, if I so wish, I can go for a stroll on solid ground :).
Saw some rather peculiar floating houses today. All the 'floating' houses I have seen bafore have either been actually boats, or houses on stilts. In the latter case of course they weren't exactly floating. But these ones were actally floating, and moving the currents down the water. Oh! And guess the first ship I noticed moored at the dock as we were coming in?!! The Toisa Mariner! The crew boat I spent 8 days on, travelling to and from the Trident on my last trip :).
And yes, finally saw the ship in dock! Does make for a rather impressive view. And I couldn't even get far enough to get the entire ship. (There are people in the pic for scale :D.)

Feeling: numb (I just wanna go home :(( but there's one more shift to go)
Listening to: Porcupine Tree - Lightbulb sun

Saturday, 4 March 2006


All those who went - 'of the Caribbean' say aye! :P

Right, so I'm not exactly in the Caribbean and I'm not talking about movies. Pirates exist. And the place most feared for pirate activity in the world today is the Malacca Strait, i.e. where I am now. And while we aren't exactly hiding under our bunks (well, we cant.. there's no space, but that's not the point) a bit of apprehension does exist. And a whole bunch of precautions. Including continuous watch on the outer decks from 1800 to 0600. So what I'm actually bursting to say is that I'm on pirate watch :DD!! Not that there's much we can do really. Except maybe try to put up a fight with potatoes and cold meat /:).

Amongst other things, saw land today!! After a full 40 days. And it was just a tiny island with nothing but a loney lighthouse. But still! And there were birds! The non-migratory type, another indication that land is just a little beyond the horizon :).

And the other things would be lots and lots of other ships and boats. One tanker, two super large cargo ships, a bulk-carrier (all huge-ass ships weighing easily ten times the Trident!!), about a hundred fising trawlers and one canoe. With paddles. I mean what kind of mad men go sailing this far into the sea with paddles?!!

Should be reaching Singapore day after. It'll be nice to see the ship docked I think. That'll be another first.

Feeling: excited and somewhat beyond tired now
Listening to: Sheryl Crow - The book

Couldn't post this last night 'cos the network decided to conk off. And today we seem to have reached the busy marine lanes. All day there have been so many tankers, cargo- vessels, container-ships, cruise-ships and what not, that I've lost count! -6th March, 01:57 a.m.

Wednesday, 1 March 2006

Who needs these thoughts..

Nobody is most likely the answer, but nevertheless, here goes. Watching some people over the last few days has strengthened my belief that the best people to be around are the ones who are really kids at heart :). Despite the whole devil in miniature thing, kids are basically idealists. They get easily excited about things, easily depressed with setbacks. When they grow up of course, most of that disappears. And as for those in whom it lingers, they figure out sooner or later that it's a rather heavy burden to carry and try to cover up. But every now and then tell-tale signs slip out, and I find it quite thrilling when one of these catches my eye.

On a more 'daily-log' note, we've finally got the last bit of equipment on board, and it's such a refreshing thing to see nothing hanging off the back-deck! We've also speeded up to about triple the usual apeed, and are finally heading for Singapore.

The huge wake hypnotizes. The thundering of the water churned up by the propellers (caught unawares at actually being forced to work somewhat hard) makes for an uncanny music. The darkness has settled all around in a twinkling veil. There is no moon tonight, and the stars are out in all their glory.

Feeling: tired + bruised -> sleepy
Listening to: Tracy Chapman - Fast car