Wednesday, February 27, 2013


Sleepless as I lay in bed
Moments of the day flash by in my mind
Things heard and things that were said
Things I did at work, at home – the regular kind

The mind wanders and fetches a memory from sometime past
Or something trivial from just the day before
Some of it plays out slowly, some of it flashes by fast
Hardly a pause, in fact only more

I turn & roll, curl & stretch
Push or pull the blanket over my head
the mind continues to fetch
like a well oiled machine, Sleepless as I lay in bed.

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Tally Lesson

I had a bit of an adventure wanting to learn how to use the accounting application called Tally. I tried all ways to pick it up. The first thing I did was to get Tally installed in the system. Then I picked up a book that described how to work with Tally. Then I spoke to my cousin who had learnt it to help me out & give me some ideas. I also collected a book from her, which also helped me understand. Despite all these efforts I was not able to put it to use.

Thus began my attempts to learn it from some coaching classes. I finally found one near home. They charged me Rs 1500 for a week long program. I paid up, took a receipt & started the lessons. The course was being taught not by any experienced person but by a young girl, who was definitely younger to me & not having much work experience as such. She just knew the basics of what to do on Tally, how to create a company & how to create ledgers. I knew that already.

I went with the flow though & like a dedicated student did whatever I was told. I finished whatever was asked of me well in advance. And within a few minutes I was told that, that is all there is really to learn in Tally. I was disappointed no doubt. I thought paying up for this learning wasn’t really the idea. The teacher too understood that I knew these things already and was being very empathetic about it. She sat next to me & as softly as she could speak asked me why I had joined the course if I knew this already. I said I thought there is more to it. If I had known that this is all that was to be taught, then I wouldn’t have taken it up.

She reasoned with me & finally understood fully that it was really not needed for me to do the course. She said she would arrange for the money to be reimbursed and asked me take it & leave quietly before the institute owner could find out what had happened. I thought that was a very sweet & understanding gesture on her part, for I don’t know which institute would reimburse the fees taken from a student.

I was only happy to pocket my money once again & thanked my luck for it coming back in. So in that one day, I paid for the Tally course, learnt Tally (things which I already knew) and then got my course fee reimbursed.

I had to wait for some more weeks before our Auditor sat down with me & taught me how to put Tally to use.

Saturday, November 21, 2009


A few days back there was a news clip in the paper. It said that there was going to be a meteor shower in a part of Bangalore. Reading this clip I was reminded of a similar instance many years ago. It was pretty big news then. It was there in every newspaper & on every news channel. I was also very excited about the meteor shower & was expecting the sky to explode in some kind of natural fireworks display. I remember lying down on my terrace & looking up at the sky for many minutes only to be disappointed. It didn’t happen. Or if it did it wasn't visible from my terrace. Due to this experience I ignored the recent news clip of a meteor shower.

The sky has never attracted me much. I am not one of those star gazers or somebody who is interested in spotting planets or other celestial objects in the sky. But one thing has been very special to me ever since I got to see it. A clear star lit night sky. It’s a very beautiful sight indeed. It is very unfortunate I must say that spotting stars in the Bangalore sky is not a possibility. May be it’s the pollution that’s the cause, but apart from a few here & there its really not possible to see a proper star lit sky.

However I have been lucky to see it in other places. Most of these were during treks. One time we were coming out of Om Beach. It was late in the night. It was dark & there were no lights around. It was then that someone looked up & saw what a beautiful sight it was. Thousands of stars could be spotted. Some bright, some not so, some small & some others big. The setting was very romantic. The sea, the darkness & the stars above.

Another instance was during our Brahmagiri trek. We were stationed at Narimale Base Camp. And one night when we went hunting for some wood to light up a bonfire, we could see the night sky. Another time about a year ago when we were on our way to Coorg, we had stopped at the Nagarhole forest gate to open. Here sitting in the vehicle we didn’t know what a sight it was outside. Only when we stepped out did we see the stars shining in the sky. Everybody there was excited to see that sight. I think most of the crowd was from Bangalore.

There is a certain indescribable feeling about this, a feeling that fills your heart with joy & probably even makes u smile. It’s something that one has to experience. I sometimes wonder how many of us really have time for such natural wonders in today’s fast paced world. I wish I could see this every night from my terrace.

Friday, November 13, 2009

The first night (part 2)

He rode behind the auto. The girl knew he was following the auto. But didn’t repeat the same mistake she had done of peeping out of the auto to confirm.

After about 4 odd kms & many turns the auto stopped. The girl hesitated a bit to get off. She decided to pay the auto driver from inside & after doing so scanned the place around. There was no one. She had stopped in front of a 7 storey apartment building. The main gate to the building was closed. The watchman was not in sight. Probably he was asleep in his little nook on one side of the gate, she thought.

She walked to the gate still very conscious of being watched by the guy. The guy of course was right behind. She finally turned around & gave him a look. He looked blankly at her. She approached the gate & learnt that it was locked. She could see that the watchman was sleeping in his nook. She shook the gate a bit so that it could make some sound. Unfortunately the gate hardly made any noise whatever it did make was very faint & didn’t shake the watchman up even a bit. She went closer to the side where the watchman was sleeping & called out not very loudly, “Watch man”. No luck.

She tried again & again, but the watchman was in deep sleep it seemed. The auto had left by now. She was at the gate. The guy on the bike stood watching every move of hers from a distance. She felt scared for the first time. She didn’t understand why this guy had followed her. She began to wonder may be it was a mistake to take a lift from him. With the watchman also not responding & the gate locked, she began to panic. So much so that tears welled in her eyes. She couldn’t believe what a horrible night it was turning out to be for her.

She tried again, “watchman”. This time a bit louder. But there was no response from him. She broke down. She cried. The watchman didn’t hear sob. But the guy on the bike did. He got off from his bike & walked to her. She couldn’t see it but she could feel him approaching. The guy just walked up, stood next to her & said loudly enough, “Hey watchman. Wake up. Hello…..”

She just noticed all this. She could see from the corner of her eye what this guy was doing. Strangely the fact that he just walked up & tried to wake up the watchman seemed to calm her down a bit. Suddenly she didn’t seem to panic anymore.

The guy looked around, he saw some loose stones fallen about. He picked a good nice one & aimed it at the watchman’s legs. He hit his target but the watchman didn’t move.

“May be the bugger is drunk”, he said.

“May be”, she agreed.

“Why don’t you call somebody at home, they can come down & wake up the watchman may be.” He told her.

“I can’t do that” she said.
“Why” he asked

“I just can’t”. She offered irritated.

“So what do you plan to do then” he asked

“Why do you care? I don’t know what I’ll do. May be just wait here all night till this drunk fellow wakes up or whatever yaaaa. Why are you here by the way?”

Her tone in the beginning was of anger then towards the end it was calm. She thought it was best to talk nicely & get rid of this fellow. So that then she can decide how to deal with the night.

“I just thought I could help” he clarified.

“Oh help” she said & sighed. She then shook her head, put her right hand on the forehead, looked up & did a shake of the head again. Obviously she didn’t know what to say. Many moments passed like that. He just stood there waiting to see what she would say or do & she just stood waiting to think of some way to get rid of this guy. She couldn’t think of how to react. In frustration she went over and sat down at the footpath, covered her face with her hands & put it down on her lap.

Many moments later she looked up. The guy was resting against his bike. What struck her more was that it was suddenly very dark there. She looked around a bit & soon understood what had happened. There was a power cut. She looked at the guy again; he was looking at her too. She got up & walked to him. He got alert by that & shifted to a standing position & faced her directly.

“You want to help right, tell me how can you help”, she asked firmly.

“I’ll do what I can surely. Tell me what help you need”

“God”, she said & put her hand to the forehead again & did a small walk around there. “Look” she continued “for now can you take me somewhere, I mean for the night, just go sleep”

Almost as soon as she said it, she changed her mind, “No forget it. No. No. I don’t think I want to do that. I just don’t understand why you are so keen on helping me here. I don’t even know you. I have never seen you. I don’t even know your name. Bad idea. I am sorry. Please forget I said something like that. I am sorry if I gave you ideas that I may need your help or something. Forget it. Just leave. OK…wait… why should you leave, you can stay here if you want…I think I’ll go….”And she began to walk.

He ran after her & stopped her by holding her hand.

“Don’t touch me” she screamed. Tears were rolling down her face & she began to walk faster.

“I am sorry” he said, even as she was walking away.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Food Delights

There have been times when I have had a chance to eat some awesome food. What makes it all the more interesting is that this has happened in the most unlikely of places. And may be because it happened when I least expected it, that the memories have stayed.

One time, my brother in law & I went riding to my aunts place in Tamil Nadu. We had stopped at a regular Highway restaurant for breakfast. However that happened to be pretty early in the morning & the restaurant only had pongal ready by then. So we ate a plate each & decided to stop by at another place after some more riding. The next stop was some shack in some unknown village. We had stopped to ask directions & saw the place & in unison both of us decided we had to finish the remainder of the breakfast there. A lady there served us idlis, vada, poori & chutney. I must say may be it was the incomplete feeling of having eaten little pongal earlier or the very rural setting or just that the plain good taste of the food we ate, I have recollected & shared this experience quite a few times.

The other thing I can recollect is eating at some dhaba somewhere in Madhya Pradesh. It was a lunch stop. This place was in the middle of somewhere & I remember eating rotis & daal. I liked this meal so much that I have fallen in love with the roti & daal combination since. The daal was cooked just a little spicy & I thought that made it wonderful. Ever since whenever I order rotis & daal I make it a point to tell the waiter that I would like the daal a little spicy. Of course nothing has ever matched that experience yet.

The other thing that comes to mind is a lunch stop on the way to Mandi from Chandigarh. We were traveling in a public bus & the bus had stopped at some dhaba along the way. Again may be it was the hunger or just that the food was great I don’t know, the food was one awesome experience. It consisted of rotis, kadi, papad, rice daal.

A lot of times during our treks we’ve had a chance to savor some amazing local food. I recollect this one time during our beach trek we were staying at a localites house. They had served us rice & fish curry for lunch. This after a good long trek. Could you ask for more? On another trek to Kudremukh, we were once again staying at a local residents house, we were served Akki (rice) rotis for breakfast. They were thick & served with some amazingly spicy chutney. I ate to my hearts content of course sipping water after every other bite of the roti.

There are quite a few like this involving the food. However now I just feel like talking about some liquids I have got to consume. The first that simply has to take the cake is the lassi that I had during our Sarpass Trek. Man, what a trek it was & what moments we had there. Drinking lassi being one of them. We were sitting somewhere near a flowing river & surrounded by snow clad mountains & we had reached this spot after a long trek & some rapelling and here was a lady serving desi lassi. Very tasty & very timely it was. It was pure heaven for sure.

I fell in love with Chaas (Butter Milk) during our Sarpass trek. We drank so much butter milk post the trek that now if it is on the menu I want to have it. Of course no butter milk here in South India can match to what we had there up North. In the South its very watery, whereas its thick in the north, spicy too & simply tasted amazing. However one butter milk experience from down south I would like to talk of. This was also during our beach trek. Our guide Krishna stopped at a small petty shop in a small village. There he bought curds. And requested for water, salt & vessel to mix it all in. We poured that in our water bottles & drank like we were drinking butter milk for the first time.

If you notice all these are very normal regular food. These are not your special food. It’s probably their every day ness & simple good taste that made them special. May be also the very ordinariness of the place we consumed them at. I enjoyed each of these experiences & so eagerly look forward to the next such experience. Hopefully there is more in store.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

The old rickshaw puller in Delhi

I was very excited when I was in Delhi. I finally got to see the places I always wanted to see. I am not sure how many would fancy seeing the Parliament, the Rashtrapati Bhavan or the Red Fort, but I wanted to see it at least once in person and I got to do it when I was in Delhi a few months back. I have some very nice memories of Delhi & our stay there. The primary thing that comes to mind is the food we ate there & then the wide roads that we got to travel on & of course visiting old Delhi & the Chandni Chowk area was an experience.

The one thing I got thinking of suddenly & which eventually made me write this are the rickshaw pullers in Delhi. When we were there we had used their services in the Old Delhi area. I think they are largely found there. These are men of varying ages peddling away in the hot Delhi sun with two or three or sometimes as we actually saw 6 people on board their rickshaw. I like the idea of taking a different form of transport where available, mostly for the experience sake. And the idea of taking a cycle rickshaw ride was very exciting because that is long gone in Bangalore. The excitement lasted only until of course I was aboard one of them. Peddling the rickshaw is a tough task. Most times these guys are only constantly peddling never sitting down on their seat. And unlike your bike or car which u can accelerate again after you have slowed down, picking up speed on a cycle rickshaw after having slowed down is hard work & if the road is steep you can rest assured it will be doubly so.

We took a cycle rickshaw about three times we were there in Delhi. The first time was in the peak afternoon sun. The other two times were in the evening. The first time a young guy was riding it, the second time a middle aged man & finally the third time it was an old man. My first ride in the rickshaw was on a wooden plank kept behind the rickshaw & to sit there, one has to bend down & move himself up through an iron rod bent around the seat. The eventual seating position is such that you get to view all the traffic or people coming behind you, while the rickshaw guy & two other passengers get the front view.

The longest rickshaw ride was the last time we rode it in the evening & when an old man was peddling. The old man looked really old & I felt horrible about the thought that I was comfortably sitting behind when he was peddling away pulling three healthy young adults. He sweated profusely & not once sat down on his seat, this should basically give an idea as to how tough it must have been for him. Most of the other rickshaw guys were overtaking him comfortably. He only peddled on. Somewhere on the way the wheel on the left side got caught in a road crack & the rickshaw wouldn’t move forward. Only after I got off & pushed it a bit did it resume the journey again. A few times I considered getting off & walking but decided against it as it was his livelihood after all & I was glad that even at this old age he had chosen to earn his livelihood the hard way. After having negotiated some tight rickshaw traffic & other vehicles he took us to our destination, the Karims restaurant in Old Delhi. We gave him a bit more than what he had asked for. When we told him, he could keep the change, he smiled & mumbled a thanks. That is when I realized the amount of sweat on his face.

What an irony life is isn’t it? Here we are young, healthy individuals who can walk but wouldn’t because we are tired and there is this old man, old enough to be resting at home, ready to take you in his rickshaw. Some of us ride cycles as a health or environment friendly fad & some others ride it to earn their bread & butter.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

An Invite

Come on let’s get up & go
Walk up to the shore
Hand in Hand relaxed & slow
Talk, Listen, may be more

Sun’s gone down
Sky’s turned yellow & red from blue
Sand’s still brown
I am not lying its all very true

Can you see the ship far away?
And see here, a little boy’s making a sand castle
Look at those palm trees sway
It’s so calm here away from all the hustle & bustle

I love it when I leave my foot prints behind
When I play with the wave & try not getting my feet wet
When some sea shells I find
And wondering if the sky & the water have really met

Come on let’s go let's go
Walk along some more
Hand in Hand relaxed & slow
Talk, Listen, may be more

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