Saturday, March 27, 2010

Reporting from Ahmedabad Part-1

You take a flight to a manicured infocity and start liking the comforts of clean air, plenty of greenery, embarrassingly wide footpath- not a hawker to block your way, or make you offers of questionable thingummies. Your office is a leisurely three minutes' walk away. You can stay in your room and watch a Bergman or listen to music or read on Reader and there's no mother to keep bugging you to go to sleep in time.

But there are little things that suddenly catch you unawares. An otherwise boring HR video that has a shot of the Governor House or the Victoria Memorial chokes you in the middle of a session. The city sounds when someone from the city calls you make you loath the soothing calm of a planned town. Sometimes when the poo will walk down from Chandni towards Park Circus along the main road while talking to me on the phone I can tell how far she's reached from the sounds on the road. 

'Don't cross the road now. Please wait for your turn. Abhi rasta paar na karein kripya pratiksha karein....'

And I know she is at the Park Street crossing. You know what that feels like, don't you?

I am not saying I don't like this place. The people are blunt and it's impossible to have conversations with them. Everyday when I come back home from office I feel a strange emptiness inside me. I think of how hard I have been trying to talk to people. I genuinely try to like them. But I cannot. They have not heard of The Beatles and they don't know who Norah Jones is. They listen to 'soft romantic numbers' and their past time is 'watching or playing cricket and watching tv and orkuting'. They think Indian Classical is boring. The other day someone walked into my room while I was watching Summer With Monika. He stared at the screen for sometime and said don't you have some better movies? Non black and white? What do I say? I paused the movie and made polite conversations with him, apologizing for my clearly inadequate collection of movies.

All the people here are tech-retards. They know less about the internet or technology than any humanities people I know. They do not know what a browser is (well, many of them) or what a URL is for that matter. They can't differentiate between the internet and an intranet and have never heard about phishing or keyloggers. 

They are shocked to see that I know how to differentiate a single-breasted suit from a double breasted or that I use keyboard shortcuts for most things. I regularly hear taunts about how I must have prepared for almost every subject being taught here ahead and how lame that is. I smile awkwardly, not knowing how to react. I guess there are better engineers than these. It's just that I am stuck for two months with the lamest of the bunch. I know things will be somewhat different once I am out of the ILP. At least I won't have to stay with them 24x7.

And that will be the end of my rant for now.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Farewell Post

There are too many people I wanted to meet before I leave. Too many things I wanted to say. But with the maddening running around I had to do to get the documents and provisions together (to be packed in a bag) I had very little time to. Then I thought I would write a mail each to people who matter, and there are quite a few, to tell them that they will be missed when I am gone. But I run out of words. I woke up unusually early today. About 6.30 in the morning. Could not sleep longer. I sat down at the piano. And I found what I was looking for - Robi Thakur. While I was playing I remembered this one poem:

"Jaha kichhu boli aaji shob britha hoi
Mon bole matha nari- e noi e noi  :)
Je kothaye hridoy amar poripurnotomo
She kotha phote na keno e binaye momo
She shudhu bhoriya uthi osrur abege
Hridoy akash ghire ghono ghor meghe"

I realised there's one song that's been sung so long and so much that would say all that there is to say. And here it is.

PS: I am leaving tomorrow, Saturday morning. Will reach Ahmedabad in roughly two and a half hours.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

All my bags are packed.

How do you go away? From a city that made you? From the halogen lit streets you walked in the rain? From the  songs you sung together so many times that you exactly know where who will sing what? And how? You know where Poulami will break into that harmony. You know where Bimbabati will start nodding her head with a smile and say Ooof! What do you do when you have your own anthems? Where you can tell what song is up next even before Laddu keeps down his glass of Old Monk and picks up his beloved guitar. Where every evening is like a million other. The same songs, the same people, the same Shaat Tollah, the same city lights that send out the same strange transmissions to the grey Calcutta skies and the city sounds far away.

"What novelty is worth that sweet monotony where everything is known and loved because it is known?"

 I have attended so many farewell parties. Sung the same songs of togetherness and parting. Come home, shed a tear or two. I remember the day Subhayu left. I cried when I came home. Then suddenly this evening I am seated in the same room, singing the same songs when it all comes back to me and I realise that this time, it is me the songs are for. It's my farewell day.

How do you hold back your tears when Daniel starts playing Leaving on a jet plane? What do you do?

My parents never tire of reminding me time and again that I could have done much better- that I spent my college years doing very little that was 'fruitful'. But today I have come to a point in my life where I can say that I regret not one thing I did in these 5 years. I have lived everyday. I have lived like I have never lived. I have loved. I have made memories. I can remember more days from these past 5 years than I can from the rest of my life.

People often talk about how the only true friends you make are in school - in your childhood. But somehow I met the best people of my life after school. They have molded me in so many ways that it is difficult to tell how I would have been like had it not been for them. I love you all. For your madness and the sanity you bring to my life. And that includes the chayer dokan people, Dhruva, Kaichu and last but not the least Anuj.

And then there is the Poo. I love her. There is no one like her. She is an exceptional woman. She is incredible.  I learn from her everyday. It is not often that I will say it on a blog but let me say this tonight - I love you.

Now when I look back at all that I feel terrible about leaving behind, I cannot but feel happy for how much I have lived. For how much I have loved. For how much I am loved. But then they will start playing that strain from Hazaron Khwahishen Aisi and it will fill the dark rooms of Shat Tollah and I will not feel like going anywhere anymore. But what do I do?