Sunday, May 31, 2009


Our American Client was visiting India. This made the Management anxious and it became worse when they realised that The Client might want to meet the new hires. Now, the Training team was anxious as well. The Trainers were now using The Client visit as an excuse to keep the trainees on their best behaviour.

               They would always talk in hushed tones when referring to The Client as if they were letting us in their secret. This trick worked well when The Client finally visited us last night. I suddenly felt the tension in a palpable wave.  Our Manager entered first and She played the perfect gatekeeper to The Client. She kept the door open long enough to let me wonder if she was expecting a tip from The Client. Now, She is a stunner but I had to stifle a laugh to see her bend over her back to please The Client. Soon, she realised that The Client had completely forgotten her existence and was more interested in us so, the Manager sheepishly closed the door and departed.

         When I learnt that The Client was also a ‘She’, I was expecting a blonde bombshell. I was sorely disappointed upon seeing that the blonde was Old and Fat too. After her customary ‘About Me’ section, she asked us to introduce us to her.

So began a tirade of names and a corrupted repetition of them. I was pretty scared of saying my name because I guffawed pretty audibly when a certain Hasmukh became Hash-Smoke. Thankfully, She didn’t try to repeat my name, maybe it went way over her head. I was relieved nonetheless.

            Soon, people bombarded her with their seemingly intelligent questions. The Client, to be fair,  turned out to be pretty nice and had a sense of humour as well. Patiently, she answered all the questions ranging from Swimming pools to Beer and from her Mobile phone to a colleague’s daughter! Curiously though, She reminded me of Dolores Umbridge from the Harry Potter series.


                   She then went on to explain how the Women of America are so fiercely independent and how the fact that 40% of American Mothers were unmarried and actually reflected upon their independence. How they worked for long hours and were unlike the Europeans who enjoyed more benefits and holidays. And how the Americans were better parents, had better education and she also confessed her ignorance of Hindi despite visiting India more than 15 times.

Now, it was her turn to ask us questions. We were to give reasons as to why we loved America and what attracted us to America and so we did dutifully.

“What is special about Barack Obama?” She asked. A Four year old could have answered that.

“He is the first Afro-American President of the U.S.” A Smarty answered. In the far corner, the trainer sighed in gratitude as The Smarty didn’t say ‘Black President’.

                              ‘It is derogatory’, The Trainer would have said, pronouncing ‘derogatory’ in the most ridiculous manner I have ever heard.

Meanwhile, The Smarty nodded knowingly.

Maybe it rubbed onto the The Client in a wrong way, she blurted out almost immediately, “It’s like you Hindus use Caste background, We Americans use Ethnic backgrounds to differentiate.”

Now, It was my turn to roll my eyes. So much for being a developed nation!!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Top Ten Patriotic Songs..!

After a long time, I listened to some patriotic songs. I had this playlist named ‘Patriotic’ which I rarely played. For some reason, I played them last evening. I am not a Patriot in the real sense of the word, but the exercise did affect me. I then decided to list my favourite patriotic songs in a post. So here it is..


1. Ab Tumhaare Hawale Watan Saathiyon
   Movie : Haqeekat (1964)
   Lyrics : Kaifi Azmi
   Singer : Mohammad Rafi

Perhaps, the most glowing tribute to a soldier. I run out of words to describe the feeling when I listen to this song. A gem from the legendary Mohammad Rafi, the lyrics are so touching that one cannot listen to this song just once.


2.   Ae Mere Watan Ke Logon
      Lyrics : Kavi Pradeep
      Singer : Lata Mangeshkar

This is perhaps, the most famous patriotic song in India. Kavi Pradeep composed this song in 1962 when he heard the story of Major Shaitan Singh Bhaati during the Sino-Indian war. It was famously performed live by Lata Mangeshkar on the 26th of January 1963. The then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru was moved to tears upon hearing this song. And Nehru is not alone.


3.  Ae Mere Pyaare Watan
     Movie: Kabuliwala (1961)
     Lyrics : Gulzar
     Singer : Manna Dey

This is perhaps the only song that is not about India. It is about the Kabuliwala who misses his motherland, Afghanistan.

“Chodakar teri zameen ko duur aa pahunche hain hum,
  phir bhi hain yahi hain tamannaa tere zarron ki kasam,
  hum jahaan paidaa hue,uss jagah hi nikale ye dum
  tujhpe dil qurbaan..!”

These lines move me to tears every time..!If someone misses his motherland, he should listen to this song.. esp. these lines!


4. Aaj Himalay Ki Choti Se Phir Humne Lalkara Hai.. 
   Duur Hato Ae Duniyawalon Hindustan Humara Hai..!!
   Movie : Kismat (1943)
   Lyrics : Kavi Pradeep

This song was a pre-independence rage in India. While the song was supposed to be a song which sounded like a warning to the Axis powers, the Indians understood the true meaning of the song. This song became so popular that it used to be played 4-5 times in the cinema hall during the screening of the movie. The British soon realised the meaning of the song and Kavi Pradeep had to go underground to evade arrest.


5. Yeh Jo Des Hai Tera
    Movie  : Swades (2004)
    Lyrics :Javed Akhtar
    Singer : AR Rahman

If ever I go out of India for a long time, this is one song that I will NOT dare to listen. AR Rahman pours out his soul in this song. The shehnai (a tube-like aero phonic instrument) is simply amazing. The music is soul stirring and the lyrics are touching. This is one song that is always in my list of 'Most played songs."


6. Ae Watan ae Watan
    Movie : Shaheed (1965)
    Lyrics : Prem Dhawan
    Singer : Mohammad Rafi

Another gem from Mohammad Rafi. This was perhaps the first of the Bhagat SIngh movies to be released and this was the best song among all the Bhagat Singh movies that we have till date.


7.  Sarfaroshi Ki Tamanna
    Movie   : Shaheed (1965)
    Lyrics   : Ram Prasad Bismil
    Singers : Mohammed Rafi, Manna Dey & Rajendra Bhatia

This song was penned by the freedom fighter Ram Prasad Bismil. Powerful lyrics and in rich Urdu, this song in indispensable in any to the Top 10s of Indian patriotic songs.


8.  Mera Rang De Basanti
    Movie   : Shaheed (1965)
   Lyrics    : Prem Dhawan
   Singers  : Mukesh, Mahendra Kapoor & Rajendra Bhatia

The third Shaheed song in the list. This is another moving song. Many versions of the same song have followed since. But few can create the magic of Mahendra Kapoor and Mukesh.


9. Aao Bachhon Tumhe Dikhaon
    Movie   : Jagriti (1954)
    Lyrics  : Kavi Pradeep
    Singers : Kavi Pradeep

This is another of Kavi Pradeep’s famous songs. It is from the movie Jagriti which was later copied as the 1957 Pakistani movie, Bedaari. It even features the same songs, only the word Hindustan is replaced by Pakistan.


10. Maula Mere Lele Meri Jaan
     Movie   : Chak De India (2007)
     Lyrics   : Jaideep Sahni
    Singers  : Krishna, Salim Merchant

This entry would perhaps surprise many. This is not a paean to India, in fact it is a Muslim’s lament to his mother land. He says that he has always been a good son, and grieves at being ostracised. 


Also I wanted to include AR Rahman’s ‘Maa Tujhe Salaam’, Purab aur Paschim’s “Hai Preet Jahaan Ki Reet Sada” and “Dulhan Chali”. Not to forget Allama Iqbal’s “Saare Jahaan se Achcha” While "Saare Jahaan se Achcha" was a sure entry in the top ten, I did not do it on purpose. Perhaps, it belongs to a different genre altogether!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

The most haunting song ... Ever!!


  I was chatting with a friend this Friday when he suddenly mentioned that he was listening to Johnny Cash’s ‘Hurt’. A mere mention of the song brings into mind the harrowing video and it’s even more haunting lyrics.

This song was not written by him, but in all means when you see the video or hear Johnny Cash’s baritone mouth the lyrics, you know that he has made the song his own.

The song becomes sadder as it progresses and the video becomes more haunting. It peaks, and the song ends. But not before leaving many of us tearful or affected at least. It is not depressing, but is haunting. It explores every aspect of his personality. From the height of fame to loneliness, from fun and frolic to patriotism and from drugs and alcohol to religion .

                  To see Johnny Cash, alone, looking back at an illustrious past, to see him in failing health, longing to be with his wife (she died a few months back) is an emotional exercise. I don’t think many songs to match up to ‘Hurt’ in terms of emotional impact.

It is a song that’ll touch every listener. And the video would cause heartache. To say that Cash died a few months after composing such a masterpiece does ensure that the ‘Man in Black’ signed out in style.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Callousness, at it’s best!

This incident had occurred 3 or 4 years back. It is so clear in my mind that it seems that it was only yesterday when this occurred. I don’t know what reminded me of this today.

That day, I was on my way back home from Chembur in a bus. It was 8.00PM and the bus was pretty crowded. I had managed to get a seat and was thanking my stars profusely.

“Maitri Park!” The Bus Conductor shouted.

Some people alighted and among those who came aboard were these two young girls who were apparently returning home from college or from work. They marched straight towards the seats reserved for the ladies and were happy to have found two men seated there. They simply went to them and tapped on their shoulders. One was a young man who got up immediately and made way for the ladies. The other man chose to ignore them. He was a bit older maybe in his mid-fifties.

“Uncle, utho naa! Dikhta nahin hai kyaa ladies seat hai.” One said. Get up, can’t you see that it is a ladies’ seat?

“Haan, dekha!” He replied. “But I am not getting up. The bus was crowded when I boarded it and this was the only vacant seat. You simply can’t barge in like this and ask us to get up!”

“So what? This seat is reserved for the ladies and as per law, you have to vacate it when a Woman asks you to.” She replied.

The argument went on for quite sometime. I was sitting quite close to them and was wondering why was the old man trying to fight over a lost cause. The girls were right and he was needlessly arguing. Soon, the Bus Conductor would intervene and the Old Man would have to get up. Besides, it was a ladies’ seat anyway.

Then, the inevitable happened. One of the girls called out for the Bus Conductor and asked him to resolve the matter. People in Bombay are scared of offending women. The Conductor came promptly and asked the Old Man to get up from the seat. He refused and continued with the same rant that the bus was crowded when he boarded it. The Girls were breathing down the Conductor’s neck. The Conductor became increasingly rude towards the Old Man and called him names. But the Old Man was simply too stubborn.

Finally, the exasperated Conductor asked the Bus Driver to stop at the nearest Police station. A Cop entered the bus and asked what was the commotion all about. Upon learning the facts, the Cop simply asked the Old Man to get up. He refused. The Cop tried to pull him by the collar.

The Old Man tried reasoning with the Cop. He said that he was tired after a long day at work and sat on the Ladies’ seat only as a last resort. He said that he was not young anymore and that the Girls were young and could stand. As it is, one seat was vacant and none of the Girls bothered to sit. They seemed determined to get the old man off the other seat as well.

The Cop slapped the Old Man.The air was thick with anticipation.The Cop then dragged him out of the bus. The Old Man was shouting in indignation. Amidst tears, he shouted that he was an educated individual and was very unfairly treated at the behest of young girls. The Cop slapped him again and took him to the Police Station. There was pin drop silence in the bus. I had not moved an inch. In fact, everyone in the bus was transfixed to one spot. I hate this ugly curiosity with which we watch someone else’s misery. It nauseates me. Today I was a part of the mob as well.

I looked at the girls. It was very evident by now that they were college students. They were trying to look out of the window and see what had happened of the Old Man. One of them seemed to have spotted him. She pointed a finger at something, and both the girls started giggling uncontrollably.

It took all I had in me to control my impotent anger!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Barber Beckoning..! :D :D

             So,finally I landed upon a job and the ball has started rolling. Not that this was a company I was dying to work with, but I was more excited about doing something productive after eons of sitting idle.

It was my first day at office and I went straight towards the vending machine. I’m addicted to coffee, you see. There were my fellow trainees (Or fellow addicts, I should say) who were ranting about recession forcing them out of jobs. I guess it’s become a trend to stand at the hang-in with a coffee mug in hand and offer intelligent opinions about the global slowdown.

                     I walked up to a guy who was standing alone and mouthed a polite hello. He was also from Wipro and that was all the more reason for the pleasantries.

“Why don’t you trim your hair, dost? It looks so shabby.” That was a polite reply to my polite hello. To be fair to him, he was genuinely offering an opinion.

I know it looks really awful. But I was stunned for a minute. A visit to the barber is long overdue and I have been really lazy. When I look at myself in the mirror, I see my reflection grimacing back at me. It might sound obnoxious but I haven’t had a haircut in 2009 yet. I guess I’ll take cue from the Wiproite and not procrastinate things. I have made a decision..! I am visiting ‘Billoo Barber’ on Saturday!!

As for that particular moment, I tried to save face by diverting the topic, “So, which Process were you part of in Wipro?”

“I was in Singapore Airlines.” He replied.

“Really?” I asked, encouraged. “I was in Microsoft.”

“Oh! That’s good.” He said. “Chalo, I have to leave. But friend, do remember the haircut. It is really shabby.”

                        Needless to say, I was red-faced. Not for the haircut reminder, but for the fact that the guy didn’t even know my name!!

Friday, May 8, 2009

A Nondescript amazing leader…!

      I thought last year’s IPL was a fluke, a freakish victory of some sorts for the Rajastan Royals. With the big teams playing to their potential this time around, I thought that Warne’s bubble finally burst.

               Shane Warne and his rag-tag bunch of cricketers were billed to be the weakest team in the last year’s IPL and they lifted the trophy. This season, Shane Warne lost his best players to International commitments and Diplomatic Standoffs which makes his rag-tag bunch look like a school team in front of other Star-studded teams. The fact that the team was missing the services of Sohail Tanvir, Kamran Akmal  and Shane Watson (Who incidentally was the man of the series in the last edition) was evident in the first match itself when Bangalore steamrolled Warne’s men in the opening match of the IPL. They were bowled out for a paltry 58 chasing a modest 135 in 20 overs.

              Trust Shane Warne to pull a rabbit out of his hat when the chips are down and so did he! This time it was a wildcard entry in the form of an 18 year old bowler from the sleepy town of Azamgarh. From sleeping on the railway platforms to making Kamran Khan the most potent bowler in the Rajastan Royals’ team, we thought that Shane Warne was through.

                        But Shane Warne seems to have a much bigger hat. Out of nowhere comes wicket-keeper batsman Naman Ojha who blasts his way into the IPL. And if that was not enough, Warne produces another ace in the hole in the form of another non entity, Amit Singh.
                       Shane Warne, with the ball, never ceased to amaze me. I have always been a fan of the ‘Sheikh of Tweak’ but the IPL has shown what an inspiring captain can he become. And though I don’t support the Rajastan Royals, I won’t mind his bunch notching another fairy tale victory..!










(Watch the batsman’s reaction..! Bamboozled completely!)

And this is one of those amazing moments that makes me worship this wizard of Oz..! :D

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


“Yeh kya hai?” I asked, assuming my most childlike tone. What is this?

“Yeh.., Butta-fly..!” Exclaimed my 3 yr old niece excitedly.

It was one of those sample videos that you have in Windows Vista which we were watching. It was the video of a butterfly on a flower. I have never seen the video earlier. But, here I was, playing the video again and again amidst the peals of laughter and excited shrieks of my niece.

My mind wandered, she must have learnt about butterflies from textbooks and television but had she seen any in real life? Then, I thought  when was the last time I saw a butterfly?

               And if she could ever chase butterflies as we did when were kids..!  :(