The Nineth Semester.

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Shout. Out. Loud.

It’s said, that a picture speaks a thousand words. And, if I go by just that, this one shot speaks volumes of a time that once was. It can’t be pened down in words; for, words will fail me if I try to describe it out as to how and what it felt like to be amongst these guys. If you knew them, I can bet you down to my very last penny that your days in college were nothing rather short of being termed as epic. Period. Those stretch of four years starting off from somewhere down the month of July 2008, all the way up till mid May of 2012, was a prime highlight down the rather mediocre timelines that one mostly gets thrown into thereafter. With each day that passed us by, we were never close to the obvious but rather oblivious to the fact that we were all creating memories; memories that I believe would suffice to last a lifetime.

It’s been close to two years since we all parted our separate ways, each with his own sense of hopes, ideals and aspirations to fulfil. Times were different back then, it was simple, plain, lucid. Eat outs, getaways, college festivals, fights, parties, and so, on and, on and, on. It had the right mix of everything in it to make your day right. There was never a time when you had to think twice before you had to shout out loud. Times, lives and the very train of thoughts have changed drastically since then. Our’s was a generation that witnessed the transition between the erstwhile Nokia expressMusics to the rise of the green alien. The fall of the much loved and hyped social frenzy, Orkut and the advent of Facebook.

Times have changed, and most of us seem to be picking up forms and perceptions that contradict the one’s we embraced and cherished the most at one point in time. Even amidst all the madness that I get thrown into each day, this part of the story never fails nor does it cease to bring about a smile to my face, for it’s only thoughts like these that truly bind us to what we once believed in and what we wanted with ourselves. Feeling nostalgic is rather too little a word to describe as to how it feels like at this point in time as I pen this down. I hope, I pray and I wish that once, for once I would get a chance even for a day for that matter, to be amongst these guys. I wish the semesters could start all over again.

Relive.

Past Forward. 2013.

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Move On.

I was lucky enough to grab myself a window seat this time around. The bus doesn’t seem that awfully crowded this time around though, but still, it’s a long drive from Trivandrum, all the way up till Hyderabad; roughly 1300 Kilometres and 22 hours by road to be more precise. Travel. If there’s one word that could wrap up and give a vivid sense of my past one year it would be just that. This past one year had so much of content and life in it that, I’m having doubts as to where I should start off with. It would rather be inappropriate if I started off in the chronological cycle of events. Started off local, but ended up in places I never thought I would be at. When I say this, one must not get misled with the bamboozled context of road trips down Europe or having Chinese from the far east, all of those in years to come perhaps, hopefully.

This particular year is truly special to me in more ways than one. Of which one being my first job. And, most of what transpired down the year primarily revolved around the same. As with most new year’s, I had ended 2012 with the hopes and aspirations for still a better term for the proceeding one, but however, unlike most ones, this year did surpass my expectations in a wide bandwidth of ways.

The main highlight which I would like to focus upon would be my brief stay in Mysore for a period of around six months. Mysore does bring back a sense of mixed emotions, it was a distinct twilight between where I was in college and as to where I am now. Perceptions changed, altered views and concepts I had previously and, at the same time gave me a fresh insight into as to how things went about around me. Great eat outs, movies, repeated getaways to Coorg, all put together made it most memorable indeed. This year, I had witnessed a fresh wave of new faces being added up into my friends circle; I cherish this particular fact the most. What started off as mere acquaintances ended up as very close ties. My collegue Habeeb, being a sarcastic retard himself and dis-speakably a dear friend to me, both at the same time, is one such brave example out of the many which I would like to point out.

Following my Mysore chapter, Hyderabad was up next on my list; though I hardly had one. It’s all a matter of fate and destiny, I suppose. And, it is here that I continue to dwell upon; atleast for a minimum for the next year or so. This city of pearls has much in the offering. I was lucky enough to have by my side a good lot of Hyderabadis as my close aides. If there’s one thing that I like the most of Hyderabad, it’s definitely the food. If you’re a carnivore or even an omnivore for that matter, Hyderabadi dishes are yours for the ambush. Be it the much famed Hyderabadi dum biriyanis, the kebabs, the shawarmas or the quintessential fruit salads from Milan’s at Mellapally. It’s all the more sure to bowl you over. It’s a city that is vibrant in it’s own terms and, unique to it’s own ways. If there’s one thing that I’m fervently waiting for would be for the holy month of Ramzan to arrive, and with it the streets of this great city of the Nizam will open up itself for still a much fancied dish that is most sought after, the Haleem.

It was from Hyderabad that I had set forth for Vishakapatnam, the coastal town of Andhra Pradesh which I’ll soon be having to refer it to as the erstwhile state rather, post it’s bifurcation in days to come, perhaps. From there I had stretched myself all the way up til Bhubaneshwar, the capital city of Odisha. The trip in itself was rather a short affair. It was unplanned and spontaneous. I had the opportunity to catch up with old time mates and celebrate a sparkling Diwali. The best memorable trips will always be the ones that don’t go according to plan; period.

This past year had a lot more in store than what I could put down in words. It was versatile and had me think in ways that were odd to me before.What it made me realize the most was to enjoy the most trivial things that gets thrown at us, to make the most of what comes one’s way.The new year is just a little over an hour away as I pen this down. I believe it’s about time I wrapped up things and looked forward to what’s on the other side.

Welcome 2014. InshaAllah.

The Little Red Riding Hood of Mysore.

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Madame K.K.

Nineteen pairs of footwear. That’s right, nineteen. Sounds sweet? If, such is the case, then, Madame K.K. here is the one you should be meeting up with. However, this was the count she had, when I last saw her off from Mysore. As far as I can gather, there are women, and then, there are those like Madame K.K. over here; those who stand a league apart. As, I had mentioned earlier in my previous posts, the best part about my time spent here in Mysore, was getting to meet up with a broad mix of people. Those, with a peculiar blend of ideas, beliefs and viewpoints. K.K. was one such.

My perception of a typical female from way up, North of India, was one of a flamboyant, loud and, of a cheesy stand point; one that shouts and cries out for all the attention that she could garner. This, but however, was an exception, a big one, rather. A good friend, collegue, a pacifier, an honest ‘appreciator of beauty’ (which, she knows best.), crazy, quirky, down to earth, great big smile and, with a hand that is eager and ready to help you out if the need be. The charisma and energy which she used to exhibit, always seemed to reverberate to all those around her; be it, with the way this lady expressed herself or simply the way she used to carry herself forward. Being the daughter of an officer from the Indian Army, I believe one shouldn’t be expecting anything less.

As a good friend and a collegue, she had always given in, all the support I could possibly ask for, be it on any given normal day; or even the worst ones; all alike. For the tomboy she is, it was always comfortable sharing with her just about anything under the sun and, those above it; not just for me I believe, but for all those who shared her company. You give this lady a truck load of luggage with a ticket to any remote corner of this country; and, if you least expected her to whine over the whole task at hand, then, if such is the case, you’re highly misled. This, my friend, is not your average Indian female that you possibly see around everyday. This was one trait in her that I used to adore the most.

Having been in Mysore, for close to six months, one thing that I’ve learned the most, was to value those who stand by you through thick and thin. And of those, amongst whom I do, this lady would certainly top the list. It’s been close to two months since I last bid her farewell. Times change, people change. It’s evident. There’s nothing much one can do to alter it. But, in all probability, I hope this fine lady over here, stands up, to this test of time, for, this is one leading example, that I would always like to look upon to.

Keep Smiling Madame. Always.

The Hyderabadi Affair.

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The Laund Pana of Mysore.

It’s close to one in the morning as I write this down. A couple of minutes back, I had dialed down the extension 1-83-404. To my much expected dismay, no one answered the call, and I believe it never will be, anymore. Block number 83, 404, will always remind me of these two- late night Hyderabadi Biriyanis and Iftar parties. Yousuf, my dear friend and collegue who used to play host to such affairs with much zeal and enthusiasm, had always brought about a sense of brotherhood and trust amongst all those who got together for occassions such as these. The memories are timeless, and the food was nothing short of but, appetizing.

They say, one can make friends for life only up until college. But, none of that seemed to make much of a sense to me after I met up with these random bunch of guys from Hyderabad. I’ve been told time and again that this city and it’s people are well renowned for two things; the first being for its food and the other being for it’s hospitality. And, it’s exactly into these two that I was literally thrown into. The major highlight of a short spell of around six months that I had spent over here at Mysore as a part of the training program I had to attend for the company I work for, was getting to meet up with people from all different backgrounds. The whole story of my training period is yet, another tale in itself, which I hope to jot down in posts to come. But as for the moment, this post is specially an ode to those who mattered the most during these past six months.

Yousuf, Farooq and Waseem: individuals with that rare intellectualistic mind set. Habeeb and Rayees: you don’t mess with these two, unless and until you wish to see yourselves six feet down under. Arshad and Haneef: the clean slates. Arif, Naveed and Murtuza: the pious and the righteous. With the others being Shahbaaz, Sivaram, Sharif, Sajid and Nihal just to name a few, all belonging to a blend of these sets as mentioned above. I had come to meet them all up by pure chance and by virtue of nothing more than but circumstances. But, however, it wasn’t long before I started to have a common ground of understanding and a sense of togetherness.

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Thalacauveri.

Over, the past period of six months, I’ve had my share of testing times, but none of it seemed to be of much significance as I always had a shoulder of one amongst these many to rely upon. And, it was here that it mattered to me the most. I had the chance of learning a whole lot many; from trivial ones such as the proper way of offering Salaam or greetings to someone, to the best possible ways of abusing someone in Hindi (which my dear friend Habeeb knows best). The times I had, is and will perhaps most certainly be ones to cherish on my behalf for a very long time to come, be it, new movie releases at the local multiplexes, lunch at Khwaja Bhai’s, Iftar parties at 404, Hyderabadi Marfas, birthday bumps, sweet paans, or white water rafting along the Cauvery, just about anything fits in just perfectly.

Getting to have them all together again under one roof seems most unlikely, as I bid farewell to each and everyone of this lot. But, however, amidst all the unlikeliness, I hope and I pray that I do get a chance someday. For, as far as I believe and as far as I understand, it’s how one values this bridge of friendship in years to come and not as to how things might seem to be in this present state of time. I can only wish my words could express more.

Prayers and wishes.

A Frequency Lost, and Stranded in Time.

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A.I.R.

326 stations nationwide. Covering 92% of whole of the subcontinent. Reaching out to 99.19% of an overall population of in excess of 1.2 billion and rising. Available in 23 different languages and in 146 different dialects. These are the official figures as enumerated by All India Radio as per their records available online. So what’s the big deal? They definitely seem to have some of the best figures any radio channel could possibly dream of, right? But, still how many of us would prefer tuning into A.I.R. when you’re given the most  obvious choices of other more exuberant and ravishing stations available On Air as in the likes of Radio Mirchi, Radio City, Radio One? Just to name a few from the list of many.  Well, in all honesty I would be very much be surprised if there were more takers for A.I.R. in the urban stand point as in comparison with its rural counterparts.

With the start of  the year 2008, the whole of the country was re-introduced to a form of mass media which was long forgotten and considered extinct; Radio. With the onset of visual media and the rise of the internet, this form of reaching out to the masses was considered in all of it’s certainty as obsolete. And, it was this very reason that was named time and again to justify the fall of the A.I.R. from it’s position being one of the most reliable and respected means of reaching out to a country that was slumped into a trance of uncertainty and doubt, following the post independence era. But, however, Radio continued to be a very much rivaled and active form of broadcast in the West. The only difference was the fact that, they continued to evolve with time; it ceased to stay dormant and inactive in the face of more challenging forms of media. At one point in time radio was primarily used as a media for news broadcast, but when visual media started playing a more vibrant role in this domain, it had to diversify into other spheres of interests, such as music, debates, discussions and so forth.

Soon as this revival made it’s was into the late 90′s and the early millennium, it struck gold. Advertising. With the limited number of audience it commanded, they were able to use this as an effective tool as to generate a source of revenue, which otherwise used to be a free-for-all service which was accessible to all those with a receiver. It was with this that the whole renaissance for this form of media kicked in. Making note of the prospects at hand, private players started swarming in for their slice of the lion’s share; and before you knew it a whole lot of changes set in, the first would be the exuberant role of a ‘Radio-Jockey‘, as in comparison to the conventional format whereby which anchors for radio shows were streamlined with the news reporters and presenters, the new age of such anchors were rather more charismatic and random individuals who took up a rather unconventional approach of presentation, that was more attractive and all the more more informative to a wider range of audience, specially in sync with the present times and generations.

Now, this was what the buzz was, as far as the west was concerned, and it wasn’t too late before the ripples were felt by various Indians within the private domain who realized the potential and started setting up their own stations. And as per current statistics, there are close to 240 stations in active operations in the country, generating about 8 billion in revenues in 2008 and expecting to touch 18 billion in 2012, as per data and sources available online. Of this Radio Mirchi is reportedly said to have a share of a whooping 40% share of the overall domestic market, while A.I.R. continues to be in the scratch, ironic to the fact that it continues to have an indisputable reach and range over the masses.

The reason for this ‘outrage’, as I would like to refer it to, is rather clearly evident if you click on the following link (http://allindiaradio.gov.in/).  Yes, if your response is somewhere related to ‘being old’, well you’re right on spot. It never has made a daring leap to change in the midst of it’s private counterparts. The best part is the fact that if you go back over to it’s official site, you’ll notice a column by the name ‘Archives’; with all do respect, the whole site in itself resembles an archive. That’s where the root cause of the whole problem lies. If you tune into A.I.R. or ‘Akashwani’ (Meaning ‘The Sky’s Voice’) as it’s popularly known among the masses, you’ll find it’s range and choice of programs dull and not in sync with the present times. In such a scenario, it’s isn’t much of a surprise as to why it repeatedly fails to make it’s way into the popularity list. In such a scenario, it’s also very unlikely that it can lure in much advertisements and promotions.

In times of finding itself in such troubled waters, the most obvious answer would be to Anchor itself. A.I.R. has a very huge upper hand as in comparison with it’s rivals; it has the abundant wealth of existing man power and infrastructure; even if you put together the combined resources of all it’s closest rivals and compare it to the former, it wouldn’t add up. It needs to go in and get a hold of jockeys that can attract a lot more audience and one that can rig up the whole rating. The, only hindrance in the way is a strong initiative; that’s the only obvious roadblock in the way.  I’m pretty much sure that there’ll be many lining up for the top job, its as obvious and clear as broad daylight. Once, this is set in, it’ll start luring in the necessary attention it rightfully deserves; with this as the ratings are bound to soar up and at the same time gathering up momentum with respect to potential advertising.

This, is most certainly one sphere which has been long lost and forgotten. At one point in time A.I.R. used to be the prime time form of news broadcast, serving as the medium via which the late Prime Minister himself delivered his freedom speech at midnight to hundreds of thousands of Indian‘s about their long cherished dream of independence and free rule, the medium through which it was capable of knitting together the whole country as one during times of war specially during the Indo -China conflicts of the early 60′s and even at times during famines, droughts and epidemics at various stages in time, serving as an effective informer for the displaced, and the needy.  But due to lack of proper appraisal, face lifts and management, it has most definitely and certainly on the highway to losing a winnable race, if only it musters up it’s spirits.

In all of the optimism and the opportunism that it can muster up I certainly hope and pray that this great service gets restored in all of it’s pomp and glory which it sustained at one point in time and one which rightfully deserves, rather than let it wash away into the clutches of the private domain.

Rape? My Answer? Pepper Sprays.

Way back in school,  there used to be a popular character by the name Johnny Bravo. Out of deep felt respect, I would rather refer to him as Sir Johnny Bravo; respect, none the less. He was comical, a total wreck at being a heartbreak romantic, shunned and despised by all of womanhood alike. You might be wondering as to why I’m trying to make a show of mockery of the subject at hand. Well, actually no. Well, you see the women always managed to take matters into their own hands when it came with dealing issues regarding Sir Johnny. If, you remember very well, they either used to kick him up right in the groin, or if they chose to be more subtle and classy, pepper sprays were their answer.
Now out of immense respect for Sir Johnny here, I certainly do not want to portray him with an image of a serial rapist or anything even remotely close. For, you see I, just like many others adore this man for what he is, for the numerous ways he used to crack up each and everyone of us.

On December the 16, 2012, a female physiotherapy intern was beaten up and brutally gang raped in Delhi, thirteen days later she passed away in a hospital in Singapore,  while undergoing emergency recovery treatments. This particular issue had sparked off  widespread agitations and protests, in the whole of the sub continent, not to make of any special mention regarding Delhi, which happened to be the epicenter of the whole fiasco. Well,  as always, days passed, weeks passed and it’s been close to two months after the whole issue, as it is with any other, it’s all been wrapped up and forgotten, women as always continue to get raped, assaulted, abused, gang raped; until the next outrage rises up for the occasion of candle light protests, social media outcry, and all the chaos thereafter. It’s pitiful, disheartening and unacceptable all at the same time.

There was a whole lot of discussions,  suggestions,  rape laws to be rewritten, so on and so forth.  But however, it wasn’t long before the whole system fell once again in a state of trance to be clasped by the much flattered  ‘Oblivion’s Curse’. During this period in time, a series of changes, (minor, if you ask me), were being brought about, a series of new regulations were set aside that was made mandatory on the part of both men and women to adhere to. At one instance in time a few gentlemen even made the suggestion of making it mandatory for women to kick boxing for their own good, for which I, with all do respect  couldn’t hold back my comic side back, I mean, that’s a bit too far fetched over here in the sub continent, I would certainly not have disagreed to this if this was the far east, in the land of the Orient, but not here. Over here our women are known for their pious state of mind (one which I again would most certainly would like top add, that, is fast depleting.), saris and well famed for their mastery over some of the best appetizing dishes you can possibly find (again, fast depleting; and no, I’ have nothing against women. Hard facts none the less.).

In this particular context however, I would like to point out that if you feel like entrusting the whole business of  safety of women in any nation and typically in my own for that matter, upon the hands of the bureaucracy or the police force, it wont’t be long before you’re let down and left down to rot, it’s a hard fact, after all, all facts are sour and somber, specially for a nation obsessed with Bollywood.
As,  I conclude this post, the only advice I can conjure up is to watch your own back for your own good, and as for pepper sprays are concerned you can order them up in a snitch from healthkart.com, it’s somewhere between 250-350, they’re more reliable than your average government. Trust me.

Take care.

Misery Starts with Apparent Happiness.

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It’s true, Isn’t it? I’m pretty much sure that each and every one of us agrees to this particular line, as it’s been rightly stated in the book ‘The Book Thief‘, by, Markus Zusak. Each and every time when you feel that you’re at the epitome of popularity, recognition and in a state of absolute bliss that is being cherished up to it’s fullest, somewhere deep down inside you start having this itch of sorts, something that’s pulling you down. You start having this gut feeling that keeps telling you ‘all seems too good to be true’. And, before you know it, day by day you start feeling things falling apart, just before your naked eyes.

I’ve always felt that the point in time of your life that you’re most depressed, struggling and when you feel that you’ve been let down, is by far and undoubtedly the best point in time that there is. For, you see, as far as I can understand, success and recognition is only a split second theatrical act which plays out in one’s favor. When you’re down, crawling, fighting your way up, having a dozen fingers pointing at you; you’re being given the best opportunity that there is, the chance to prove yourself. At that stage in time nobody gives the slightest bit of care or concern, as to whether you make it or if you break it; but however all the more nobody knows it better than you do, as to where you’re headed. No expectations, zero pressure, but with a whole bunch of criticisms, which if taken up head on can only clear your way for further good if you ask me.

I, like any other, have had my share of miseries, disappointments and let downs; but it’s always the road you take that really counts and one that you’ll cherish the most. As for success is concerned, it’s always cramped up in your trophy cases, only serving thou as an ode to a mere second of triumph and appreciation, that once was. None the less.