On The Same Page

"Hey Pinky baby, Mama told me that you did some great painting today at school" , said papa as he entered the room with his brown suitcase late that night.
"Yeah papa", smiled Pinky, obviously happy for the recognition she was getting. Pinky, the 6-year old was wearing a baby pink skirt. She had two short pony tails that made her look like a mickey mouse with a normal nose.
"Good, so what did your teacher say?"
"Very good". She smiled, as if a smile represented the end of a sentence.
"So what did you paint today?"
"I painted a...a..."
"I got it. I know you are not into too much abstract or symbolism. You must have done something representational. Was it a scenery?"
"Yes. I painted one hill, one river, one sun...", she was interrupted by the over-enthusiastic papa.
"I know sweety, it must be as wonderful as Koppelaar's 'Landscape Near Bologna'. Your last year painting of your school was very similar to Picasso 'Guernica', you know that?"
"Papa, I also painted you and mama. I painted you in blue color and mama in red"
"Thats fine baby. It does not really matter. What matters is how you use the shade, the tone, the intensity, the nuances. I bet your painting was as beautiful as a Monet. I am proud of you Pinky", he hugged and gave her a kiss.

Pinky did not understand most of what her papa said. She also realized, at that instant, that her papa did not even bother to listen to what she wanted to say. He was just imagining things. But, she was happy that her papa was happy (for whatever reasons) She wanted that to remain as it is. She smiled for one last time and went to bed.

(Inspired by the conversation between a project manager and a client! :))

"Araluthiru Jeevada Geleya...Snehadaa Sinchanadalli..." (Blossom O Dear Friend...In The Sprinkle Of Friendship)
Shreya Goshal has been singing this song for more than a hundred times at least, in my ipod from the past few weeks. I am simply in love with this song. Easily the best song from "Mungaaru MaLe". Perfect song for a morning travel. I don't like Shreya Goshal in general (she reminds me of Aishwarya Rai!) but the way she has sung this song is divine. Jayanth Kaaykini's lyrics is superb (when was the last time I heard a song with good lyrics?) and the orchestrization is amazing (guitars, drums and sax used very intelligently) Many of the guys whom I talked to have agreed this was the best song from "Mungaaru MaLe".

But, I was surprised to know that an overwhelmingly higher percentage of girls liked the Sonu Nigam version of the same song "Anisuthide". I just asked myself "What would Freud say?" (the new slogan I have written on the marker board of my cubicle :D) May be Freud would have said that guys always have a tendency of loving the female versions of the song and the girls love imagining some male saying nice things to them. Girls would love the feeling of a male telling them "Kollu hudugi omme nannaa...haage summane" (Kill me once, aye girl...just like that) And guys love being told "Beda geLeya nantige hesaru...yaake summane" (Why have a name for this relationship?) [This does not suggest that guys do not like commitment ;)]

Then, what about the male versions of the song that impresses the guys and vice versa? Simple! Guys imagine saying such things to girls that gives them a sense of worth. Girls relate to the female versions of a song that gives them a sense of loving and being loved. Hey, you can easily interpret anything the way you want, right?

Note : This is what happens when you listen to the same song for over a hundred times and start reading about Freud at 3.00 AM on a sunday morning.

P.S : Forgive me for the pathetic translations.

I got a forward from a friend which was something like this:
"Arjuna always wondered why Rama did not build the bridge to Lanka himself and took the help of monkeys. So he met Hanuman to clarify this. Then, Arjuna had a bet with Hanuman that he would build an unbreakable bridge and if he failed he would enter the fire. Then, he skillfully built a bridge of arrows. Hanuman prayed to Rama and placed his tail on the bridge and it broke down. As per the bet, Arjuna was about to enter the fire when an old Brahmin happened to come there. He told that since a bet is not valid without a witness, they should start over again. Arjuna prayed to Krishna and constructed the bridge of arrows. Hanuman stepped on the bridge arrogantly, but nothing happened. He walked around, jumped, but no, the bridge did not move an inch. Now, the old Brahmin turned into Krishna and he said - 'The first time Arjuna thought that he was building the bridge and Hanuman took Rama's name, so the bridge fell down. The second time, Arjuna prayed to Krishna and Hanuman was arrogant that he could easily break the bridge, so the bridge stayed intact'"

I made an honest attempt to wipe that disgusted look off my face. What does the story really mean? That man's skills or abilities dont matter at all? The only thing that matters is you should attribute everything to God? I wondered what would have happened if Hanuman had taken Rama's name and Arjuna Krishna's name. Draw match?

I know where the strong theists come from. They might say that its just a moral story to convey that arrogance is a bad quality. Hey, give me a break! Arrogance, pride, ego, selfishness - all these qualities which are otherwise portrayed as bad qualities, are not bad per se. I think all these qualities are good if they are within limits. A person without ego cannot love himself. One who cant love himself loses the ability to love others. Positive arrogance helps to keep unwanted people away from you. See, these are not bad qualities at all.

I have heard of another line of argument. Compare yourselves to the universe. Universe is a huge place containing billions of galaxies, each containing a billions of stars. You live on earth, in a solar system where sun is one such star. In that, you live in India, in Bangalore, in some pathetic room that costs a fortune. Now, see your accomplishment in that big context is zero. Agreed, a man is not as big as Jupiter or Saturn, but why should you hold that against him? You cant say that a sitar player is nothing, just because a volcano has the ability to easily destroy thousands like him.

I remembered meeting the missionaries at Temple Square. The missionaries were seeing the miracles, power and grace of God. But, I could see a group of determined people who walked hundreds of miles and built a city which did not exist 150 years ago. You call me a puppet in God's hands? I am proud to be a puppet that can think about the hand that is holding its strings!

Though I dont strongly believe in God, I am no fanatic atheist. Unless provoked, I am just a nice (almost) agnostic. But, why is it that the love for God has to mean showing the man as useless and pathetic? Is the feeling "Yes, I did it!" anti-God? I dont think so! Why is it that excessive-pro-God always becomes anti-human? God, if you exist, dont you think man deserves some credit and respect?

Protests

The bus comes to a screeching halt. I open my eyes ever so slightly. Its somewhere near Hanakere. The road is blocked. We are the first vehicle to get stopped. Che, we should have started 2 mins early!

There are very few villagers near the road blockade. Only a few teenage tapori looking guys orchestrating the road block. One guy with a gaudy t-shirt and a faded cap, looks like the leader of the group. Yaakkh thoo! He spits on the ground, emphasising the sense of ownership he feels for the road. The group starts making some jokes and laugh loudly. They hardly convey the pain and distraught you would expect from the farmers. They get a good number of old tyres, collecting which might have taken some effort. They distribute two tyres per person and start burning it on the road quite religiously. The fire brings a festival mood among that group. I could easily visualise the leaders of futute generation in them.

Honestly speaking, I am not aware of the complexities and the extent of difficulties the farmers might face because of the Kaveri verdict. Does the middle aged uncle playing a lousy song from RHTDM on his radio know? Does the girl in the corner seat who is reading the palm of her neighbour know? I seriously doubt it! But, I am very sure that this is not the way to protest. I can somehow understand that road block is some means to get the attention. Fine! But, burning the tyres? What does it mean? What does it really achieve? I also don't know the answer as to why 20 bikes were burnt in mysore yesterday. If people are angry with the government, whats the point in breaking the glasses of government buses? As questions in my head keep growing in geometric progression, the tyres are almost fully burnt, damaging the road. I somehow remember the quote - "A society always gets the kind of government it deserves"!

Can't the protests be carried out in more efficient ways? Instead of blocking the roads, why dont they go to their representative's house and block his home till he pressurises the government? Or better still, why dont they come to Bangalore and do dharna in front of CM's office? May be I am very naive. Or plain stupid, who aspires the world to be utopian. At that moment, I realize why a completely childish and immature movie like "Rang De Basanti" is considered a cult classic and appeals to the people of this country as a revolutionary movie.

I watched the movie "The Abyss" yesterday. Unadulterated hollywood alien-sci-fi garbage. Pseudo-emotions mixed with american-arrogance, so much crap that it would have given Karan Johar some serious inferiority complex. But, this made me think why so many alien stories are so similar.

Lets come to the assumptions in the alien movies:
1) Aliens always love to make contact with the humans (If I were an alien, I would try to make contact with crocodiles - much more interesting, right?)
2) Aliens are generally much more intelligent than humans (Its hard to beat the dumbness of humans - probably aliens don't watch Big Boss! Also, since 'they' contact us by reaching 'our' planet, they must be better than us!)
3) Aliens by default understand or learn English (by intercepting the cerebral signals and interpreting with the aural waves and decoding to hexadecimal system - you will be given some such nonsense by the story writers) If you tell the aliens "howdy" or "hey buddy, howz it goin?", they would give you a hi-five, without blinking those magnetic eyelids!
4) Aliens will generally be shorter than humans (I can easily hit the ramp in an alien fashion week!) They will have lesser fingers than humans (thank God, more than five fingers in a hand can be very confusing!) and an antenna (Cant believe this - with so much advancement in technology, cant they have an internal signal receiver instead of a protruded antenna! May be in their world, being short, two-fingered and having an antenna is considered sexy!)

Don't you think nobody has tried to think beyond this? Why cant these hopelessly crazy things be possible?
1) There may be aliens in the world who just don't like contacting other species. May be they are homesick or plain xenophobic.
2) Why the hell should the aliens be similar to humans? (okay I will rephrase, resembling Uday Chopra!) Why cant aliens look like purple-colored isosceles triangle with the smell of a rotten tomato? Like semi-vitrified tiles? Or why cant they be invisible? May be they are everywhere on earth - one of them may be watching movies with me everyday, without my knowledge.
3) If I wave at an alien or smile at them, why do they expect the aliens to "understand" that and respond the same way? A smile according to them may be a frown and waving could be their gesture of a middle finger!
4) May be they have a completely different set of senses - senses number seven to thirteen. So, they wont even understand what we are communicating. (May be they have another sense in which their "cwerit ctreww" - did not understand? May be they wont understand "eyes see" or "nose smells"!)
5) They may not understand good and bad, love and hate. (So don't tell an alien "its cool" or "I ain't gonna hurt nobody" or "We are friends" if you happen to meet one) May be they don't die (okay, don't tell me their batteries will drain out. So childish!) or procreative.

Crazy? Yes! Impossible? No!

This convinced me that be it anything, we imagine most of the things by adding or subtracting to human qualities.
Man - 2 feet - 2 fingers + 1 antenna = Alien
Man + wings + wand + few twinkling stars = Angel
Man + superpower + goodness + immortality + solution to all problems + more heads and more hands (optional) = God
Man + badness + ugliness + loud laugh = Demon

Don't you think our imagination is so programmed and limited?

Gifted

I am not a very gifted person. No, I am not talking about talent or the obvious lack of it. I am talking about gifts (or presents). I got one such rare gift from my cousin Krupa.

"Do you read books?", asked Krupa when I had called her.
"I don't read regularly, but I read. Yaake?" (The latest survey shows that 8 out of 10 questions people ask me will have the reaction 'yaake?' from me. May be I am too curious to know what made people ask me such a question!)
"Nothing, I just asked"

I met her that evening and she handed over me a book, with a note inside - "To a person who is almost as irritating as the author of this book!". The book was "Without Feathers" (and the second page of the book containing an Emily Dickinson quote - "Hope is the thing with feathers") Guess who the author is? Yes, its the same bespectacled genius - Woody Allen !
I was like "Wow, where did you get this?". I was as excited as a six year old in a chocolate shop. I must have told "wow" atleast 5 times!

I read that book till almost 1.00 AM that night. Its a very old book, published even before I was born (The introduction about the author does not mention the 1977 classic Annie Hall) Reading the book convinced me that he was much more crazy than what he appears in his movies. The first chapter was "Selections from Allen notebooks", where he has written random ideas he's got. I was surprised, because I have maintained a similar document called "Lights...camera...action..." where I keep scribbling my weird ideas and crazy thoughts (I still cant seem to accept the fact that I cant get a producer for my movie!) The book as such was strictly okay, but there were some amazing lines:

  • (Haven't you seen some people writing in their blogs like - I went to the movie with S and J. Here is Woody's take on them.) Should I marry W? Not if she wont tell the other letters in her name!
  • What if everything is an illusion and nothing exists? Oh in that case, I definitely overpaid for my carpet!
  • My lord, my lord. What hast Thou done, lately?
  • Only God can make a tree - probably because its so difficult to figure out how to put the bark on.
  • The grasshopper played all summer, but the ant worked and saved. When the winter came, the grasshopper had nothing, but the ant complained of chest pains!
  • Money is better than poverty, if only for financial reasons.

I was laughing uncontrollably as I was reading it and and I was getting lot of ideas, which I noted down in a sheet of paper.
  • "Don't you like having coffee with Mathilda?", asked my friend with a 'I-know-it-but-I-want-to-hear-from-you' smile.
"No, I like having coffee with cookies", I said and burst into laughter.
  • Hey, why do thousands of people come to Bangalore everyday - which is full of dust, pollution, noise, garbage, traffic, FM radio channels? Well, may be this is what they call 'capital' punishment!

P.S : I have always argued that gifts should not be a criterion for judging how close a person is to you. I still stand by that. But, I completely agree with you Krupa, that nothing is comparable to a "personalized" gift!

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