Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The missed chance

Hadi died last week. Hadi was a consultant. A rare good one at that. When I took charge in my office eight months ago, he came to my room one day, and discussed about few things and exclaimed, 'Sir, I have not seen any young officer with so much knowledge in this area.' I took the complement with a pinch of salt, considering it one of those regular buttering tactic to woo a new officer. 

Somehow, that lean middle aged, mulla-beard consultant stood above others. My encounters with him were educational. His earthen understanding of international trade and finance was something that was rare to come by. He had dabbled in currency markets before it became fashionable. He had tried international business himself, and had partially succeeded. He told me once that he had tucked away a neat sum from him currency gambles. He understood the IS-LM model of economy, as well as the international supply chain of chor bazaars of India. He had educated himself along the way. He loved books. Probably because his desire to acquire higher education was stifled by the burden of his responsibilities. He was fond of me,  for some unknown reasons, and I saw that he made it a point to budget away some time for me, for idle discussions, whenever he came to my office. I too ensured that I keep away few minutes, whenever he stepped in. 

He would come unannounced to my office, without an appointment, discuss few things, give some information, and vanish. Not to be seen for some more days. Before vanishing for the last time, he told me that he would give me some books on international finance that he found good. He didn't come for few days, and I heard that he had cancer. One fine morning, I got a call from him, on my office phone, and he sounded  weak. 

I wanted to go and meet him. I planned, and procrastinated. I discussed it with my senior, who too wanted to go and meet him. Hadi avoided meeting people in his last days.
One afternoon, I got the news that he had passed away on the previous day. His funeral was over the same morning. The news of cancer to death took less than 3 months. The bubbly Hadi was no more. I felt miserable that I didn't see him one last time. 
I still meet consultants, who want to appear as experts, but they don't hold a candle to what Hadi was. He was 49 when he died. He started his career at 19, and learnt the trade by dabbling in it. The earthiness of such acquired knowledge has its own attraction, which sophisticated degrees cannot confer. I wish I had his company longer. May his soul rest in peace. 

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

The window to the soul

The video in this link is interesting:
I loved the song. 
One, the song is nice. 
But the topmost reason why I loved it is....the faces in the video. 
Now, there's nothing in the faces in the video that's out of the world. And that's what makes it special. It captures some ordinary human faces; faces that you might come across as you go about your daily life. It's as if the cameraman walked around, with a handycam, asking people to stop by and pose for few seconds. People, going about their lives, suddenly asked to pose, and you can see the awkwardness in most of the faces, though they try to be as accommodating as possible. It's rare to see such natural expressions on the faces. A smile half frozen, a scared blinking eye, a suspicious stare, a careless giggle, a reassuring kiss, and such rare expressions are so beautifully captured here. Check it out. You too might love those faces, or the song. 


Sunday, December 09, 2012

The universes of Choice

I sleep alone on a double bed. So there's space for someone else to sleep with me. Not that I will allow anyone to hop on just like that. But then, physically, there is space. Last night, I had this strange recurring dream of a yellow bird singing 'Brahma sukta' to me and I woke up. My mobile told me that it's 2.30 AM and in the faint light, I saw that there's someone sleeping with me on the bed. I got a start and switched on the lights. 
I was surprised beyond my wits to find another 'me' staring back at me. He was wearing the same shorts and tees, and looked exactly the same, to the last strand of hair that I lost in the morning. I thought I am a brave man, but here, now, I was about to scream till the lungs burst. But my voice was gagged by the shock. 
He smiled. I relaxed a little, but still stared at him warily. My sleep had vanished. 
'Don't worry, I am just you, waiting for your decision' He said
I was silent, not knowing what to say, and I just nodded. But my courage returned after hearing my own voice coming from him. Time stood still, for I don't know how long, before I gathered enough courage and spoke. 
'What do you mean, my decision. Who are you? And is this really real? I mean, am I really awake?' 
He replied 'Don't worry, they are all natural questions and I am lucky to answer them to you' 
And then he explained:
'See Tiru, I am your choice. Just that, I don't have my universe yet. Once you decide, I will get my universe and go there. Whenever in life, you are given a choice, to choose among two or multiple options, what happens in the background is that the designer is multiplying the universes. Every time you walked one path, the other unexplored path, created its own universe, where another Tiru, like the one you see in front of you now, that is someone like me, walked. For example, your decision to marry or not marry has created a few universes. So, there's one Tiru roaming in a parallel universe, and he is a sanyasi, there's one who has married four times, one tiru who has married thrice, there's one who has married twice, and you, married once. I am currently you, so I am technically married to the same girl, but once you decide, I will have my own universe. I will go with any choice, not specifically marriage. For example, if you decide to sleep now, I will get a universe, where I will make an espresso and take my life from there. So I am an outcome of your choice to sleep now, or not' 
I retorted, 'So at that rate, every second of my life, a parallel universe will get created, coz I am choosing to do one thing or the other all the time' 
'Of course, that's true, but do you exercise your will to choose all the time? How do you know that you are choosing. Automatic motions cannot create universes, and the universes are being created only to explore 'what if' the other path was taken. So it's not all the time.'
'Oh yeah, and you seem to know everything. So is there a choice for you? And I wonder, how do you know all this? What if I refuse to choose anything? Will you die?'
'Okey, I know all this because I don't have my universe yet. I have been created, thinking that you will choose to study tonight, but then, you had your beer, surfed the net, wrote some mails, and slept listening to Brahma sukta on repeat mode on your computer'
That solved the yellow bird puzzle. He continued,
'And now my universe is getting ready, couple of hours late, where I will not have beer, and study. The time-causation aberration due to Brahma Sukta made me appear here. Otherwise, you would not have known my existence'
I was scared and angry now. I felt my frustration of incomprehensibility of this bullshit growing upon me. And I decided to target him and shouted. 
'So, get the fuck off my bed and go to your studious universe. Why are your sleeping like a homo with me' 
He smiled, and said as he vanished, 
'Thanks. You just chose to shout at me. I shall now go to my universe. Where there's another me waiting for me to talk more, and not shout.' 
I felt like an idiot as he vanished. 
I couldn't sleep. I went to brew the coffee. As I ground the beans, I turned around to see, if another me is hanging around somewhere. I slept early in the morning. I have gotten up now and am working. But I don't know why, but since the meeting with my choice, I suddenly feel as if I am dreaming, all the time, and the dream doesn't seem to end. 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Butter fruit and the Windows phone

It hurts. My knee, and the shin. But what hurts more are the scratches on my new Windows phone. Every time I look at it, I feel a stab of pain in my male heart. It was a new phone, it still is, but it doesn't look new anymore. 

I went to gym yesterday, and on the way back, I felt like eating butter-fruits. Now, butter fruit is one of the most yummiest fruits, if you prepare it well. You take out the cream from the fruit, add crystal sugar, and grind in the mixer. Then you put it in the fridge, and top it up with some caramel before eating. It's amazing. I wanted to eat butter fruit yesterday.

I parked my car, and crossed the road and found two ripe butter fruits among the pile. They were the only two good ones, ready to be eaten. I started back. I was balancing my two phones, wallet and the fruits in my hands. I generally use pockets, but here I was in my gym outfit and the pocket was occupied by keys and towel. I didn't want to scratch my phones by keeping them with keys. I was extra careful due to all this, or so I thought. I crossed half of the road, and turned my head to see the vehicles on the other side, like we all generally do.  Just that, in this case, two college kids were coming by cutting lanes at very high speed. I was flung on the middle of the road, with my wallet, phones and the butter fruits all hitting the ground together. The onlookers told me that they saw me turning one full round in air before hitting the ground. They seemed impressed. The bikers ran away and I limped back to normalcy. Some good souls collected my stuff and handed them back. I didn't notice the phone then, as I was feeling sorry for the crushed butter fruits. They were the two I had picked. I didn't have the energy to go looking for them, after the incident. My knee was bruised bad, and the shin was bleeding a little. So I took the car and started back. 

I came back to my lonely accommodation, and opened a beer. Thankfully, the fridge was as inviting as ever, with fresh stocks of beer from yesterday. It was only after having half a glass, that I looked at my phone. I got a minor heart attack. My phone had scratches, it was as if someone had rubbed it flat on the road. I took time to come to grips with that. In fact, I thought of writing it out to feel better. Now that I have written and thought over it, I see a change in myself. Introspection, is God's gift to mankind.

I see that I no longer care about how I keep this new phone. I was very cautious till yesterday evening, and had bought a sleeve for the phone. I have now removed the sleeve, and my naked phone is kept without a care. It was in fact a burden to keep the phone looking new and I was very cautious while handling it. I was carrying this burden all the time without realizing it. I realized about this only when I felt the lightness after the burden was gone. 

Now I have two old phones, and I keep them casually and toss them around without care. I guess, the next time I buy an electronic device, I am going to rub it right outside the showroom, on the ground, and then start using it. Gorilla glass...are you listening?

PS: I feel like eating butter fruits again :)

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Did I miss the nose?

'I am trying to miss the nose of TTT diagram' Said Hardy Hareena as he threw the hot piece of iron into the ice cold water. He was my heat treatment expert when I used to develop components for hydraulic pumps. 
I said 'Yes, you will get martensite structure then, will you temper it after that?'
'Of course, I have too, otherwise how will you use it in your pump, it will be too brittle and won't work' 
'Yeah, I will see the process then', Said I and stood watching as the component cooled down. Suddenly something cracked and I fell into a large salt bath. My body got wet and I tasted salt in my mouth. I shouted, 'Hey, Hareena, pull me out, I have fallen into the salt bath. My skin is hardening. I can't feel anything. I don't want chemical hardening, I want heat treament, not this...just heeeeeaattttt trrrrreeeee....teeeee....."
And I woke up. I was sweating. All over. Chennai is hot.  I stay on the top floor. I seldom use AC that was fitted in Vishwas' room. Now that he is gone, the AC is just a fixture. I wonder why I shouldn't use it. 
It was 1 AM. I went to the terrace. Stood there for five minutes. Came down. Made a cup of espresso. Double shot. Converted it into an Americano. The steam hissed as I boiled the water in it and I wondered if the hiss is loud enough to wake up the neighbors.  I carried the coffee and again went to the terrace. 
I wondered about the height of the building. Then I kept the coffee on the A/C fan on the terrace. I climbed on the wall, and jumped. I fell flat face on my car, making a huge dent. 
And I woke up. There was no dent. I was intact. The nose hurt. 
The air-hostess was cute. Cute in a french way. She had the nose that reminded me of someone I love. I felt like measuring the length. 
'Would you like an extra Croissant sir?', She asked. 
'No thanks' I replied with a smile. She brushed past me and I smelt European perfume. It felt nice. 
And the airplane took a plunge and I saw the airhostess flying down the aisle, with her nose and all. And the loud emergency beeps rang as I crashed. It hurt. 
I woke up. My nose was fine this time. 

I woke up again. I had fallen from the cot. It's a huge cot. I shouldn't have fallen normally. But then, I sleep on the edge now a days. I like the position where one of my legs and hands dangle down as I fall asleep. I fall many a times, and everytime it's a different dream. Sometimes I am crashing a plane, sometimes I am jumping, and sometimes I fall into salt baths. I am sampling the dreams to see as to how my neurons in the brain conjure up something interesting 'every' single time I am hanging and about to fall. And the brain comes up with something dramatic during the process of actual fall. In that split second, I have seen, that I can distinctly observe the slowing of time. I take less than 200 milli-seconds to fall, but in the dream, the crashing plane might take 2 seconds. So I can vouch for the concept in 'Inception' movie. It works, at some levels. Try it. 
It has never happened that I have fallen, and my brain has not come up with something that cannot be categorized as amusing! Like the negative laden previous sentence, if you noticed. Like the nose in all the dreams if you noticed. Because, even when I am alseep, I am wondering about the length of my nose, for some weird reason. I wonder what more tricks my neurons will play. But falling is fun.