Sunday, 16 December 2007

Isn't Ruby precious?

His dad turned at him with a stern, disapproving look in his face. The young boy cuddled up her in his arms and repeated whatever he had said earlier, but this time in a low voice, “Dad, my tutor’s dog delivered 4 puppies today and the tutor was very happy to give me this”. Saying this, he showed to his dad the small, cute pup which he had held. It was a pure country breed with golden colored skin. “Is it a male dog or female?” Dad asked. “It’s a girl dog papa” was the boy’s reply.

Dad was initially apprehensive about the boy’s love for the dog. Maybe the teacher had brainwashed him into keeping the pup because she now had extra puppies to take care of. Maybe he was just being too childish and wanted to show off to his friends that he was a brave kid who could handle dogs. Nevertheless, he allowed the boy to keep her. He took the pup to the doctor and got it vaccinated. Then they fed her with milk. The boy took a basket to his room and made a cosy bed on it in no time. He had already grown fond of her. They christened her – RUBY!

The boy’s name was Guru and he lived in a small town along the coast of Karnataka. The boy’s father was the eldest among ten siblings and thiers was a large family. Guru had two sisters- Su, the elder and Re the younger. Dad worked in a bank as a manager and though it was a joint family, they stayed in a separate house which had a big lawn in front of it. It was ideal for the boy to frolic along with his sisters and the pup.

Very soon, the boy grew very fond of the pup and the family grew very attached to Ruby. Even the cousins who came to their place started playing with the dog and she became the centre of every one’s attention. Guru’s mom used to give Ruby a bath twice every week and all members of the family used to pamper her a lot. With so much of care and attention centred on her, Ruby grew up into a fine fat dog, with golden hair all upon her. She could not have asked for a better place on earth to live.

In course of time, Guru grew up into a young man and became very much focussed on his career. He soon found himself a good job and his elder sister got married. In middle of his busy schedule, Guru always found time for Ruby, playing with her and pampering her by running his hand around her golden mane. He loved the dog very much. When he returned home after a hard day’s work, Ruby used to run to the gate and wag her tail in full force. He forgot all the hard work and pain he had gone through in the day when he was with her. Guru got married soon after he had settled in his job and the new member joining the family only added more joy in Ruby’s life. Guru’s wife liked Ruby very much and she too started to pamper her like her husband and Ruby could not have asked for more.

Guru’s work soon got transferred to
Bangalore and the family had to shift to the city. They found themselves a rented home and started living there. Ruby found it hard to get adjusted to the noise and the congestion in the city. In their hometown, Ruby could run around the fields and play with Guru’s cousins. But the constant flow of vehicles and the loud noise of the city made it very uncomfortable for her. Often, she used to go inside Guru’s room and sleep under his cot. And whenever she went out, all the people in the neighbourhood admired her and her upbringing. They all felt she was a nicely bred, nicley brought-up dog.

When Guru’s wife gave birth to a new baby girl, the joy in the family reached new heights. Everyone rejoiced the arrival of the new family member. Sweets were distributed to all the members in the neighbourhood. Gifts started to pour in from everywhere. And in middle of all this festive atmosphere, Ruby stood and silently admired her new mistress, who would soon grow up and play with her just like her dad did. Guru had given her such a nice life and she could not have asked for anything more. She had served his family all her life and they had taken very good care of her.

But life always takes unexpected twists and turns- just when you think you are at the peak of the mountain, there is something that pushes you down – into the deep abyss where you would never think you would land up in all your life. That’s what happened to Ruby too. All of a sudden, the whole family shifted to Chennai. They sold Ruby to a Christian family that satyed near their home in
Bangalore and went off taking everything else. Ruby shouted in agony giving those loud, painful calls, as if asking her master to take her along with him. But they dint even turn their back to see her. They just went away......

Mama is just a neutral observer in this tragic story. I happened to be one of Guru’s neighbours during the brief time that he stayed in
Bangalore. Guru’s family was farly related to mine and we shared the same mother-tongue. During the early days when they had come to stay here, I spent long hours talking with Guru and his family and getting to know them. I was in my college then. I used to fear Ruby just because she was a dog and I was always afraid of dogs. But her grace and the way that she conducted herself was a real surprise for me. I started to like her. I started to observe her movements and her reactions to the world outside- the way she chased the boys of the loclaity when they played, the way she barked at rag-pickers who came to our streets and scared them away, the way she used to cry and get inside the house whenever someone burst loud crackers during Diwali- all these made me like her a lot. I never considered her a mere dog. She was really special- the one dog that made me overcome my fear for all dogs.

And it was because of what they had done to her that I started to hate Guru and his family. I can never forgive them all my life. During the initial days when left, Ruby never ate anything. She immediately lost the shine and glow she always had. She bacame pale and thin. The Christian family to which they had sold her tried all possible means to give her a second home. But Ruby never went there. Instead she used to come to our house and sit in front of the gate all day. Whenever I saw her, she used to stand up and stare at me. If God had given Ruby the power of speech, she would surely ask me, “Why did Guru leave me? what wrong did I do?” I was speechless as I did not know the answer myself. I just felt very bad that they had left her. My family used to feed her bread and rusk as much as possible to make her regain her weight. But she was too depressed to eat. Somehow, she managed to carry her life for two years along with the other street dogs.

And then tragedy stuck! Last month, a speeding car on our street knocked Ruby on her hind legs and that left our sweet Ruby crippled for life. She cried in agony the whole night and the entire neighbourhood was there trying to help her. They all talked about how nice a dog she had been and lamented on the fate that had befallen her. The next morning, they took Ruby to a rehabilitation centre for dogs and that was the last time I saw her.

Today, as I write this post, I cant help but feel sad about the fate of Ruby. She was the dog whom I would have loved to keep with me all my life. She had made me change my view about dogs from one of fear to one filled with care and love. She personified faith and the mute love that dogs are always known for. But what a life God had given her. She had all the happiness in her life. She had a nice and caring family. But all of a sudden, the script of the story changed from bad to worse and then came the worst. Why did all this happen to her? She was the most gracious and faithful dog that I have ever come across and still Guru chose to abandon her just like that- Why? Would he have done the same thing to his new-born daughter? Isn’t Ruby precious?

Monday, 10 December 2007

She’ll be back!

Wow! It was really an amazing weekend this time. Just like a roller coaster ride. And I enjoyed every nanosecond of it! Being in the IT industry and working for long hours(including the tedious travelling), life just comes to a standstill on weekdays and it’s the weekends we keep waiting for to re-discover the fun-part of our lives. And this weekend was absolutely crazy. So what really happened? Here’s what-

The mother of all cricketing contests is an India- Pakistan cricket match. And the fun doubles when you go to a packed stadium to watch it along with your friends. That’s what happened. A few cricket-crazy friends of mine and I went to the stadium on Sunday to watch the second day of the match. India had scored 365 for the loss of five wickets on the first day and so the popular expectation was that the infamous Indian tail-enders would crumble up and surrender the lead very soon. But it was an amazing Sunday where all the records tumbled with Saurav ‘dada’ Ganguly scoring his first double hundred and the youngster Irfan Pathan’s glorius century when it mattered the most. India scored the highest total at the ground where the previous highest was held by Pak when they played us last time.

The atmosphere in the stadium was absolutely electric and charged up and we were treated to some superb strokes all over the ground. There was dancing and cheering in the stands every time the ball rolled over the fence. The Mexican wave in which the whole stadium participated with full josh was totally enthralling. Even though the weekend ticket prices were very high, (Rs. 150 for a Rs. 50 ticket!!!) we felt it was really worth it. We returned home with so much of memories to treasure.

One more thing that happened during the weekend was the movie ‘Jab We Met’. I had heard from many senior bloggers and media that this one was really a good movie and not be missed at all. But I never thought I would go and watch it, reason being the lead protagonist. I never liked Kareena Kapoor in any of her roles till now. I just thought that she over-acted in all the movies. I felt that it was her rich-girl upbringing which led to her having so much of attitude. Particularly, I feel the role that she played in K3G was really horrible. So when I finally got a chance to watch this movie over the weekend, I never expected anything but three hours of the rich star’s attitude on screen.

But the movie took me off by surprise. It was the same ‘girl-meets-boy, they fall in love’ kind of story. But the way the director has narrated it on screen is absolutely amazing. I was just captivated by Kareena’s role which demanded the kind of over-acting that she is used to. She played her role to perfection and the character that she plays on screen(Geet) makes us fall for her completely. The locales in which the movie has been shot are very beautifully chosen- right from the AC coach of the train where it all starts, the beautiful fields of Punjab and the snow covered Himachal Pradesh ... all are a visual treat. The songs are all really good and easy listening. Kareena’s dance has been a revalation, especially in the song ‘Yeh Ishq Hai’.

All in all, the weekend was a real nice one for me. And just in case you are wondering what the ‘TERMINATOR ARNIE’ ishtyle title of this post means, now is the time I tell you…. At the end of this week, my favorite RJ, Vasanthi will be back to the city doing what she does best- waking up thousands of RadioCity listeners early morning from their sleep and taking them on a journey of melodius music. She was on a trip last week to Austria representing Indian youth at the global youth summit. I missed her voice badly throughout the week. So I am happy that she’ll be back :-)

Monday, 19 November 2007

Whatte Jam!!!

If you live in Bangalore, travelling to a far-away workplace is really a huge problem. Anyone who has experienced the traffic here would not disagree with me :-).... wading through the narrow roads full of huge vehicles, maneuvering the fellow road-users who act as if they own the road, waiting for the "always-red" signal to turn Green... these are just some of the things that a Bangalore-Road user has to live with. Add to it the political rallies of the "rulers" and the numerous protests that happen everyday, you are sure of being stressed by the end of the day.

My workplace is just 30kms away from my home (very lucky!!... as they are still in same city!). So, my daily travel time will be ranging somewhere from three to four hours a day depending on my luck. I am atleast happy that I dont need to drive that long or wait for the public transport as my company provides me transport facility. I shudder to think about the people who drive such long distances and have to work long hours on top of it.

I went to college which was a small 8 km drive from my place. The roads that time were too free and the only time the roads used to get jammed were when there was a public festival, during which the college would be closed anyway. So, whenever the radio stations gave updates on traffic in many parts of the city, I used to lie on the comfort of my cosy bed and wonder how could all those people get stuck like that? Moreover, I had a two-wheeler and there were many parallel roads to my college. At the slightest hint that a road was crowded, I would jump to the next parallel avenue and speed off.

It was only after I started to go to work that I realized the magnitude of the problem.... vehicles lined up for kilometres together covering up every inch of space... the big, long trucks which never allow any one to overtake them and move at less than the speed of bullock carts.... no parallel roads to avoid the crowd, and even if there was one, it would already be flooded by vehicles.... such was the enormity of the problem that travelling 30 km one way on some days would take more than 3 hours... (thats more than the time needed by any train to Mysore)

Initially, it was tough for me to get used to the traffic jams. I would get so restless at the sight of some five vehicles piled up in front of ours. But slowly, I started to take my mind off the road and divert it into other things. Music helped to a great extent. I thought this was one of the reasons behind the sudden popularity of FM radio stations in Bangalore in this age of Hi-fi gizmos. And listening to these stations in the mornings helped to kick start my day in the right manner. Especially the RJs who guide you through the music are real pleasure. My personal favorite RJ is Vasanthi Haripraksh who has been voted the best RJ of the year by an Indian Forum. I just admire the way she can influence people's moods with her sweet voice and by broadcasting such lovely songs. The Friday Flashback on which some nice yester-year songs are played is the icing on the cake. I just keep waiting for fridays to listen to it. Evenings are real irritating as the travel time gets doubled and the songs get too loud compared to the soothing songs of the morning. And though the RJs are good, it makes me miss the sweet voice of Vasanthi very much. I then just turn to my Mp3 player for some real dose of soothing music.

There are a lot of our leaders and administrators who propose new ideas everyday to reduce the burden on our city's roads. They propose to de-congest the roads by constructing new fly-overs, underpasses, and stuff like that. But the real problem lies in their inability to see the future. By the time their much-awaited mega-project is completed, the traffic on the roads would have doubled leading to more worries. For example, the much awaited Bangalore Metro Rail (an underground rail system) was thought of in the late 90's. If they had finished the project by now, it would save the government a whole lot of money and the people a whole lot of time. It is time that the government starts projects with the future traffic and population in mind. As citizens, we too have to abide by the rules and plan our routes and travel in such a manner which would relieve us of the stress of traffic.

Though the traffic is a huge monster created by all of us, there is a lot of philosophical knowledge we can get out of it. Some of the key-points I have learnt are:
  • "Everyone of us have to suffer for our past actions" - If at all we could plan for infrastructure wisely when the city was still coming up as a major IT hub, we could have avoided most of the mess thats on today
  • "Nothing in life can be taken for granted" - Traffic can never be perdicted or assumed. The other day a friend of mine and me covered all the important and main junctions from office to home in a two wheeler in just 45 minutes. Only the last few kilometres were left and we were happy we that we reached early. And suddenly, a local procession played villan and we ended being half an hour late than expected :-(
  • "The elusive other route always seems faster" - This is classic philosophy at its best. We end up on a bad mess and start wondering whether the other route would be faster than this- And more often than not, it would be!!
So I sign off leaving you with the problem presented to you with a pinch of philosophy for you to ponder upon. Will be back with more ideas soon. Meanwhile, you are welcome to correct me if I went wrong somewhere and leave your valuable comments.

Thursday, 15 November 2007

Its a big world! Will I fit in?

As any good programmer learning a new language would do, I began my blog page by the ubiquitous "Hello World!" post last week and in that, I had said I would return with posts soon. And here I am presenting to you my second post - a blog about the enormous blogosphere and my induction into it:

For some months now, I have been wondering whether I should start my own blog page at all. I used to have diary in which I would record the daily events and happenings in my life. While travelling, I used to carry a book around making note of things that interested me. A friend of mine had read one of my travelogues and suggested that I start a blog page so that my thoughts could be shared with the world. But was I ready to start a blog page? I kept thinking about how nice it would be to have something where you could share your thoughts and experiences with the whole of the world. It would be tremendous to discover about the thoughts of fellow bloggers and learning from their ideas and experiences, building upon them and writing your own posts, etc. All this seemed real fun. But there was a flip side- just like any big decision in life, having your own blog page needed a lot of commitment. I would have to think of topics to post, give time drafting them, editing them and all that.

But the main question that remained unanswered was - "What am I going to write on my blog page?" All conceivable topics that I could think of had already been written about by bloggers all over the world. Even the new ones would not have been spared. And who would want to read my posts anyway?

It was with all these apprehensions that I just kept procrastinizing opening my blog page. I just used to read blogs and enjoy the way people had given colour to their thoughts by posting them on blogpages. During this time, I read a post by one of my favorite bloggers. Even he had the same concerns that I had mentioned about a blog page. But he had given a wonderful analogy which helped me realise something very significant - Almost all movies have more or less the same theme, girl meets boy, they fall in love, there is a villan in way, finally he gets killed and the couple lives happily ever after .... But still there is a difference in the way its narrated. And thats what makes us want to watch all of them- That was it! Even though there were so many posts in the web, depending on the way it was narrated, we would choose our favorites.

I know it will be a tough path. And I can be sure that my narrative is not the best in the world. But the entire spirit of human race is in not giving up and trying to improve. I will try my every bit to make my blogs interesting. And it is here that I need help from the whole lot of you out there. If you ever get time, just visit my adda once in a while and feel free to leave your comments. I really appreciate each one of them.

Monday, 5 November 2007

Hello Blog World!

Hello everyone,

This is Shashidhar a.k.a Mama. I hail from the city of Bangalore. Here you will find articles on events and things that interest me. I would also want to share happening things in my life with the world. Feel free to send me your valuable comments anytime.

Will be posting an article soon.
Bye for now,