Friday, 30 November 2012

Life in a Whiff: Blog # 63

 Life in a Whiff

There is an old shop in my home town that sells spices . I used to visit it along with my Grandfather when I was a kid.Every time I walk past it, my childhood passes before me leaving me in a trance. Memories which we think are lost and gone come racing by when you get the faintest sense of a scent associated with it.

It’s said the taste of anything sumptuous that we have has a lot to do with its aroma.

The earthy zephyr from a village is the closest one will ever come to comprehending the scent of Nature. Through the pollen and grain from the fields and the trees, the village breeze brings along with it the Nature’s soul.

The whiff of Cold lies in the lap of a winter night and the scent of Summer is wrapped in the gentle wind that passes through the sun and the sand in a beach.

Knowledge lies hidden in the time locked fragrance of the pages of an old book. Divinity manifests itself in the incense of candles.

If ever we were to come close to understanding the fragrance of heaven, it will be through the pleasantness that emerges from the Earth’s within when it bathes in the first Monsoon rain.

Still, scent remains the most unsung of all the senses. My be because, it defies our attempts to depict it. Neither can we brush it across a canvas nor can we lock it in a symphony. Words fail us when we try to describe it neither are actions of much help.

Like the numerous wonders of nature, there lies the whiff of life, in the elusiveness of the whiff itself.
                                                                                                                     Arun Babu.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Season ticket:The Mumbai Local Train: Blog # 62

Season ticket : The Mumbai Local Train

            A local train is a world in itself. You will get to meet all sorts of people. It is a vivid cross section of all the demographies of a city.

            To begin with, there is the class divide – First and Second class. People who get in to first class become bonafide snobs. There is a sense of a misplaced entitlement.

        In the peak hours, the compartments will be packed to the rafters and in the middle of that, some people would want to read the newspaper (which includes me J ). They fold the paper in to 1/8th and read it!

     There are those who are perpetual sleepers – sitting, standing, lying down, leaning over others et al. If you take a regular train and if the perpetual sleeper get in a station before you and get off only after you, chances are you wouldn't find that person in the awake state – Ever!

          How can we ignore the famed foot board travelers? They should be given a subsidized ticket. Even if the whole compartment is empty, they will stand only at the outer tip of the foot board.

                The only kinds who are irritating - those who play loud music. That too, in those Chinese cells which give you a lasting headache.

            The IT crowd will be peeling off their touch screens with the headphones firmly plugged in their ears oblivious to whatever is happening around them. The manufacturing crowd will be looking down on them – about 6 or 7 of them together in the same striped shirts with the company’ s logo on the pockets.

            Those belonging to the intelligentsia-who reads a hefty book, replete with all the long looks outside and a pensive appearance to go by!

            With some, dare you make even a second long eye contact they are ready to pounce up on you with their words of wisdom which doesn't stop until you get down!

            Some people decidedly look out of the window, with a vengeance. Come what may, they won’t look inside the train.             

Then there are the college groups who break in to their own song n dance sequences – Gangnam style!

There are seat hunters who watch the seats like a hawk. They will hunt others down if any one even makes the slightest effort to move towards a free seat.

         There will be some hapless new timers who keep on asking their neighbor whether their station has arrived or how far their station is J.

          At the major stations, enter the vendors who can put any Opera singer to shame with their decibel levels.

And all these come with the fine print when you buy a season ticket J.
                                                                                                                          Arun Babu                                                                                                                       

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Whispering to the buffaloes: Blog # 61

Whispering to the buffaloes

One needs to keep looking for inspiration as there is nothing to lose yet a lot to gain.

Having got some precious little free time from work, I decided to check out a club functioning out of our office. It is a community which promotes and hones public speaking skills. I went there undecided as to join the club or not. I thought I would witness their activities for a couple of sessions and then take the plunge.

Then this guy, Vishnu started speaking. Incidentally, the objective given to him was to inspire the audience and inspire, he did. He used his own example as to how he transformed himself from being a village educated boy who could not speak English to a professional who could converse in as good English as any urban educated person.

I was thinking hard as to whether I should take this extra effort. Whether I should stay back for an extended time in office to be part of this club? I was getting complacent. Listening to the hardships that Vishnu underwent, I decided I had no right to not make use of the opportunity given to me in a platter.

And coming to the title of this blog, during the course of his speech, he told “To enhance my English, to get ahead in life, I tried everything from yelling at the walls to whispering to the buffaloes.” For some reason, I loved that phrase. It might be an off take from the regional usage. But the regional usage has a negative intonation to it where as he has used it positively here.

Life is a potpourri of such small teachings hidden around the corner. The inspiration that comes out of the least expected corners can influence us immensely in life.

Do whatever it takes to better yourselves, be it yelling at the walls or whispering to the buffaloesJ.

                                                                                                                        Arun Babu

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

T G I F: Blog # 60


This blog is not about the iconic restaurant, ‘Thank God It’s Friday’ which serves heavenly food. The TGIF here stands for Thank God, I Forget!

Forgetfulness is mostly frowned up on. It’s not looked up on as a quality. But it is in fact, a gift; It gives us the ability to move on in life.

‘Fast track’ has this beautiful Ad which implores people to Move on. Of course, considering its target audience, it has tapped in to the relationship aspect of it alone. But if that idea is extended, it turns out to be a great thought.

There are certain things in Life which we should forget. One of my friends says we should remember only the good things from the past. I find that so empowering. If we carry on the baggage from the past, our vision will be clogged. We will see the future only through the veil of the past.

Yes, we all take some time to get over things. But it shouldn’t take a life time.

At some point in life, we have all been told to Forget and Forgive. Forgiveness is possible only if you forget. Only then you allow yourselves to heal.

So let’s Forget, Forgive and Move on!!!
                                                                                                                  Arun Babu.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

In conversation with Nature: Blog # 59

In conversation with Nature

      Standing atop a hill in our hometown, I was listening to the wind. Adding beauty to it was the vision of wavering brown vastness of grass with the crimson sun rays flowing on them abundantly.  Winds are nature’s way of conversing with us, don’t you think?

The early morning wind has a whiff of freshness to it and the twilight breeze carries the day’s toil albeit with an enchantment wrapped in it.

Stand in the middle of a paddy field when you get a chance. There is this breeze which talks to you through the rumblings of the lush green grass and mostly a lone tree wavering in its center.

         Go to a beach and the sea roars at you with the wind there. There is this constant swish in your ears which lingers for a while even after you leave the seaside.

      There is this mystery to the winds in a sprawling estate. It comes from a distance brushing past the tallest of trees and the smallest of shrubs.  

        The winds from the mountains are ominous yet have a compelling vivaciousness to them. 

        Many a time nature plays Chinese whisper with us with these winds. More often than not, we don’t understand what it is trying to say and or is it meant to be so?

        Sadly, the breeze in the city rarely talks. Has it forgotten its language or is it us who have got too busy to lend an ear?

Arun Babu.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Live it up?: Blog # 58

Live it up? : An Ode to Consumerism

            There is something about November in Kerala. There is this omnipresent zephyr with a hint of the winter that it is going to bring along. The mornings will be misty with this breeze playing around with the fog. One moment, you will see a lush green paddy field and the in the next, all of it will be covered in a veil of fog.

            Basking in the morning sun, I was in the balcony whiling away the Sunday morning at my home. Then gleamed past,  a Merc- S class. Than the obvious fascination for premium cars, what caught my interest was the person in it. He was a family friend of ours. I asked my sister whether they got a new Merc. She said “Knowing him, he CAN buy one”. That ‘CAN’ had a twin intonation to it. One – he has the economic backing for that and second, he is the kind of person who wouldn't mind splurging.

            This is one question that has daunted me perpetually. How much of spending is justified?; more so because I have a very frugal lifestyle. Surprisingly, in spite of it being an amount, a number, it is subjective. It is entirely left to the individual. What share of one’s earning should one spend on the needs and the wants?

            I have come to realize that I have a sense of respect for people who spend on luxury. The respect comes from the fact that they have the conviction that their future endeavors will bring in enough income to sustain the lifestyle they are following. They have that clarity of vision. They have that confidence in themselves.

            I remember our economics professor once praising the profligates. He said if not for them, the economy will stagnate. If all of us were to have a frugal life style, there will be minimal buying/spending and the market will stall.

            Don’t get me wrong. I am not advocating reckless spending. The result of that was there for all of us to see in the form of subprime and the rest. Spending is akin to taking risks - it will be sustainable if it’s calculated.

            In striving to secure our tomorrow, we shouldn't forget to live our present neither should we live our present in a way that will wipe away the hopes for a better tomorrow.

                                                                                                                        Arun Babu