Tuesday, June 16, 2009

An Obituary to Common Sense

An Obituary printed in the London Times - Interesting and sadly rather true.

Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, *Common Sense*, who has
been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was, since his
birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape. He will be
remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as:
- Knowing when to come in out of the rain;
- Why the early bird gets the worm;
- Life isn't always fair;
- and maybe it was my fault. *

Common Sense *lived by simple, sound financial policies (don't spend more
than you can earn) and reliable strategies (adults, not children, are in

His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned but
overbearing regulations were set in place. Reports of a 6-year-old boy
charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from
school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding
an unruly student, only worsened his condition. *

Common Sense *lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job
that they themselves had failed to do in disciplining their unruly children.

It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent
to administer sun lotion or an aspirin to a student; but could not inform
parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion. *

Common Sense *lost the will to live as the churches became businesses; and
criminals received better treatment than their victims. *

Common Sense *took a beating when you couldn't defend yourself from a
burglar in your own home and the burglar could sue you for assault. *

Common Sense *finally gave up the will to live, after a woman failed to
realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her
lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement. *

Common Sense *was preceded in death, by his parents, Truth and Trust, by his
wife, Discretion, by his daughter, Responsibility, and by his son, Reason.

He is survived by his 4 stepbrothers;
- I Know My Rights
- I Want It Now
- Someone Else Is To Blame
- I'm A Victim *

Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone. If you
still remember him, pass this on. If not, join the majority and do nothing.*

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Purano Shei Diner Kotha

This Bengali song is originally a work of Rabindranath Tagore and sung by Hemanta Mukherjee.

I tried to find some online translator which I can use to convert the English fonts to Bengali but didn't find anything that worked. Google should have worked on Bengali fonts too. They have not added any other Indian font support for Blogger since Hindi and then four regional languages. When I have the time, I'll have to search and install a program that would do the work of translation.

The lyrics are so simple and yet so profound. Memories about simple joys of life, shared with someone you love. Memories that are old but cant be forgotten. Memories of meeting of the eyes, heartfelt talks, picking flowers together early morning, swinging on a swing, and singing under the shade of a tree. Can one really forget those olden days?

Purano shei diner kotha
Bhulbi kii re
Hai o shei chokher dekha, praaner kotha
Shaykii bhola jaaye

Aaye aar ektibar aayre shokha
Praner majhe aaye mora
Shukher dukher kotha kobo
Praan jodabe tai

Mora bhorer bela phuul tulechi, dulechi dolaaye
Bajiye baanshi gaan geyechi bokuler tolai
Hai majhe holo chadachadi, gelem ke kothaye,
Abaar dekha jodi holo shokha, praner majhe aai

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Ye Ishq Nahin Aasaan

Took me a long time to find the original poem on the net. The fact that I thought it was by Ghalib didn't help either. Someone also mentioned it was by Mir Taqi Mir which led to another futile search. Finally found it on a forum and reproducing here both Hindi and English.

लफ्ज़--मोहब्बत का अदना सा फ़साना है
सिमटे तो दिल--आशिक फैले तो ज़माना है

ये किस का तसव्वुर है ये किसका फ़साना है
जो अश्क है आंखों मे, तस्बीह का दाना है

हम इश्क के मारों का इतना ही फ़साना है
रोने को नहीं कोई, हसने को ज़माना है

वो और वफ़ा-दुश्मन मानेंगे ना माना है
सब दिल की शरारत है आंखों का बहाना है

क्या हुस्न ने समझा है क्या इश्क ने जाना है
हम ख़ाक-नशीनों की ठोकर मे ज़माना है

वो हुस्न--जमाल उनका ये इश्क--शबाब अपना
जीने की तमन्ना है
मरने का ज़माना है

या वो थे खफा हमसे या हम थे खफा उनसे
कल उनका ज़माना था आज अपना ज़माना है

अश्कों के तबस्सुम में आहों के तरन्नुम में
मासूम मोहब्बत का मासूम फ़साना है

आंखों में नामी सी है चुप-चुप से वो बैठे हैं
नाज़ुक सी निगाहों में नाज़ुक सा फ़साना है

है इश्क--जुनून-पेशा हाँ इश्क--जुनून-पेशा
आज एक सितमगर को हंस हंस के रुलाना है

ये इश्क नहीं आसान इतना तो समझ लीजे
एक आग का दरिया है और दूब के जन है

आंसू तो बहोत से हैं आंखों में 'जिगर' लेकिन
बिंध जाए सो मोटी है रह जाए सो दाना है

-जिगर मुरादाबादी


Ik lafz-e-mohabbat kaa adnaa saa fasana hai
Simtay to dil-e-aashique phaile to zamana hai

Ye kis ka tasavvur hai ye kiska fasana hai
Jo ashk hai aankhon mein, tasbiih ka daanaa hai

Ham ishq ke maaron ka itnaa hii fasana hai
Rone ko nahiin koi, hasne ko zamana hai

Vo aur wafa-dushman maanenge na mana hai
Sab dil kii shararat hai aankhon ka bahana hai

Kya husn ne samajha hai kya ishq ne jana hai
Ham khaak-nashiinon kii thokar mein zamana hai

Vo husn-o-jamaal unkaa ye ishq-o-shabaab apna
Jiine kii tamanna hai
marnaa kaa zamana hai

Yaa vo the khafa humse ya hum the khafaa unse
Kal unka zamana tha aaj apana zamana hai

Ashkon ke tabassum mein aahon ke tarannum mein
Maasoom mohabbat ka maasoom fasana hai

Aankhon men namii sii hai chup-chup se vo baithe hain
Nazuk sii nigahon men naazuk sa fasana hai

Hai ishq-e-junuun-peshaa haan ishq-e-junuun-peshaa
Aaj ek sitamgar ko hans hans ke rulana hai

Ye ishq nahiin aasaan itnaa to samajh liije
Ek aag kaa dariya hai aur duub ke jana hai

Aansuu to bahot se hain aankhon men 'Jigar' lekin
Bindh jaaye so motii hai rah jaaye so daanaa hai

-Jigar Muradabaadi

Friday, May 29, 2009


Ankhon se ojhal,
Dekhun main pal-pal,
Tasavvur ki nazar char-su.

Phir teri yaad ki ghatayein,
Is dil pe chaake reh gayi.
Phir mere naam ki sadayein,
Mujhko bulake reh gai.
Isqh hai bebas,
Zindagi behas,
Phiraye darbadar kubaku.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

My first Critical Mass

Day before yesterday, I attended my first Critical Mass. Since I didn't have a cycle of my own, I borrowed a Firefox Target from Rohan Kini of BOTS. I had some backlog in work, I had to continue working till 11 am that day from night shift the previous day. Thought I will catch some sleep before the CM but couldn't catch a wink despite the fact that I was awake whole night. That's been a problem of late - not getting sleep despite being tired. Anyway, I called up Rohan who said he'll be leaving at 4 pm from BOTS to Cubbon Park which is the starting point for CM. By time we left it was close to 4.30. There were four of us, Rohan, Sidharth or Sid, myself, and another person whose name I forgot (as usual). But I do remember he was riding a 25-year-old Peugot roadbike.

I haven't really ridden a cycle since my last one got stolen sometime around after my 12th while I was still in Calcutta. So it has been like 8-1o years since I quit. Moreoever, once in Bangalore, I've had no physical exercise at all except a couple of treks. I was a bit apprehensive at heart but then thought, "What's the big deal? It's just cycling. I used to do that 20-30 km a day." But then, I forgot 10 years is a looooong time.

The initial few kilometers were fine from BOTS at Jaynagar until I crossed Richmond Rd flyover. Fatigue started to set in and the rest of the pack was way ahead of me and all I could do was struggle to just push the pedal, much less to keep up with them. The nose had started burning and mouth was dry like a Sahara sand dune in summer. Twice, I even thought maybe I should just stop and rest myself a minute before getting back on the saddle, but somehow I managed to catch up with pack, thanks to traffic, by the time we reached Cubbon Park. There was already a huge group there. And that is when I really felt sick. All those medical terms I come across reviewing medical reports started floating around in my head - dehydration, hypovolemia, etc. The ever growing cramp in my stomach jolted me out of my hypochondriac fantasy ride of sorts. I wasn't having anything with a fancy name, it was just a stomach cramp and plain old fatigue. So had a bit of water and sat down. Soon that cramping was gone but I was still feeling quite tired, too tired to really ride the CM. I thought I'd rather turn back and go home and save myself the muscle and joint pain that is going to follow tomorrow. However, that would have been a pretty shameful thing to do, especially with the girls around and not to mention that kid called Maya, so I devised a plan of dropping out somewhere on the ride and go back to BOTS to keep the bike. I felt confident now since I had a backup plan if I felt any more tired to carry on somewhere on the way. It must have been close to 5 when we started. The rest of the ride was uneventful and I'd left the worst behind.

Waiting at Golf Course Road. Graveyard of lovely trees.
Waiting at Golf Course Road. Graveyard of lovely trees. by shreelesh on Zooomr

The route we took was B’lore Press Club > Queens Road > Raj Bhavan Road > Palace Rd > Chowdaiah Road > Golf Course > Le Meridian > Ramana Maharishi Rd > Sankey Rd > Bhashyam Circle > Sankey Rd like side > CV Ramana Circle > Sanky Tank Main Entrance. I don't know the road names myself so have taken it from the site of a fellow rider called Go Green Rao. He has a lot more and better photos than what I've taken from my old Nikon E3700.

Near Sankey Tank. Prasant speaking about biking and CM.
Near Sankey Tank. Prasant speaking about biking and CM. by shreelesh on Zooomr

Near Sankey Tank. Shortly before we split up for the day.
Near Sankey Tank. Shortly before we split up for the day. by shreelesh on Zooomr

Near Sankey Tank. Shortly before we split up for the day.
Near Sankey Tank. Shortly before we split up for the day. by shreelesh on Zooomr

By the time we reached the small park near Sankey Tank main entrance the number of riders had thinned out. There was a talk about ways to promote CM and cycling. We had a short session of introducing ourselves too, after which we decided to split up. It had started getting dark. I teamed up with the gang going to South Bangalore including Sid, Go Green Rao, Deepa, Lavanya, and few others whose names I forgot. Sid, Deepa, and I all had to head to BOTS to keep the bikes.

We had a total WTF moment after Hudson Circle when we stopped to have water from a shop. A Hoysala jeep came and started barking. "What are you doing here? Are you racing on the road?" The jeep wanted to take a turn into a narrow road which had got a bit blocked by the way we were standing on our bikes having water. He was barking as if we were a bunch of guys on our way or at a drag race or something past midnight and getting drunk on the road. Geez. Some men are like a Pomeranian on heat like what Chamrajpet Charles says. Just need a reason to bark. I save up using the F word for some situation deserving and this was a true WTF moment in my life. I don't know how such uneducated and low IQ nutcases get to become cops. We didn't get into an altercation and just moved on. That was the 'only' cop we met who didn't smile at us on our entire ride of CM.

By the time we reached BOTS, my bums were really sore. I wasn't fatigued or tired or having any pain in my joints or muscles otherwise. When I sat on my Victor the seat felt like heaven. Decided to fix a motorbike seat when I ride a cycle for the CM next time. The next day when I woke up, I was expecting my knees, thighs, and calves to be paining but nothing of that sort happened. Lay in my bed for a while just to make sure I wasn't dreaming but I'd pulled through the CM without any pain. Wow. Still sleepy, I stumbled across into the other room to watch TV. Sat down and jumped up immediately. In a moment, all my sleep was gone. I couldn't sit on my bums! It was sore like hell. So that's where all the pain has gone into. I spent the whole day trying not to sit in a normal posture. Its fine today, however. Although it is still a bit sore, I can manage to sit without any difficulty. So that's how my first Critical Mass went.

Thanks a lot Rohan for the bike.

Hope I can make it to the next one, work permitting.

Photos I took are here. Lot more at CM Blog here by other riders.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Spheris Is Cycle Friendly

My office, Spheris India Pvt Ltd, yesterday approved free parking for cycles inside the office premises. It all started with a small thread in the intranet forum. For an employee strength of 1500+, there weren't even 30 replies I guess on that thread including the ones like "you'll get crushed under a BMTC bus." There wasn't much demand from the masses, except a small handful (really, really small) who were bit serious about it including me the on-paper-cyclist-without-a-cycle. Its remarkable that they approved it considering the low demand and the fact that other private transport like motorbikes and cars are differentially charged a monthly parking fee of Rs 200-400 pm if they want to park in the official parking area and not outside on the road. Also, the company has been discouraging people using private vehicles right from the beginning since they provide free company transport. I'm a bit too elated cos with hardly any takers, the company could have easily avoided the trouble.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Resolutions 2009

I don't remember if I ever made New Year resolutions, so perhaps this is the first time, perhaps because this new year has been different. So here are my resolutions in no particular order.

  1. Get back to photography and processing photos.
  2. Get my Nikon D70s fixed.
  3. If #2 doesn't cost a bomb, perhaps buy a Sigma 10-20.
  4. Study, hard.
  5. Take up cycling; again depends on #2.
  6. Go on some trips and if possible to Wayanad, Kerala, and trek up Chembra Peak and camp there overnight. Go off to sleep under the stars, above the clouds.
  7. Try not to procrastinate.
  8. Update blog regulary (Hmm... but with what).

Ek barahman ne kaha hai ke ye saal achha hai

Its pretty ironical the way this year started. Amidst all the Happy New Years going around, things weren't really happy. Its surprising that no matter how much you thought about something that is bound to happen, when it really does, you still realise you weren't quite prepared to handle something like that. But then, like they say, Shit Happens. And in life, that does happen quite a lot. In case you haven't noticed both shit and life are 4-words and so is crap and many such which you can think up of your own I'm sure.

Another New Year. A time for 'new' New Year resolutions. A time for starting things afresh, or at least make an attempt at it by trying to leave the past behind. A time for the optimists for believe that something miraculous happens at the tick of the clock from 12:00 to 12:01, that the world will be a better place to live in than the one that just passed. A time for the TV channels to call an astrologer and predict whats in store for everyone. A time for us to believe in all the good things that they say. A time for us to believe in nothing but hope or the grand illusion of it.

Ek barahman ne kaha hai ke ye saal achha hai
Zulm ki raat bahut jald dhalegi ab to,
Aag chuulhon mein har ek roz jalegi ab to.

Bhookh ke mare koi bachcha nahi royega,
Chayn ki neend har ek shaks yahan soyega.

Aandhi nafrat ki chalegi na kahin ab ke baras,
Pyar ki fasl ugayegi zameen ab ke baras.

Hai yakeen ab na koi shor sharaaba hoga,
Zulm hoga na kahin khoon kharaaba hoga.

Ons aur dhoop ke sadme na sahega koi,
Ab mere des mein beghar na rahega koi.

Naye waadon ka jo daala hai, wo jaal achha hai,
Rehnumaaon ne kaha hai ke ye saal achha hai.

Dil ke khush rakhne ko Ghalib ye khayaal achha hai

Humko maaloom hai jannat ki haqeeqat lekin
Dil ke khush rakhne ko, Ghalib yeh khayaal achcha hai..

Barahman = wise, knowledgeable. Rehnuma = guide
एक बरहमन ने कहा है के ये साल अच्छा है।
ज़ुल्म की रात बहुत जल्द ढलेगी अब तो,
आग चूल्हों मे हर एक रोज़ जलेगी अब तो।

भूख के मरे कोई बच्चा नही रोयेगा,
चयन की नींद हर एक शख्स यहाँ सोयेगा।

आंधी नफरत की चलेगी न कहीं अब के बरस,
प्यार की फ़स्ल उगायेगी ज़मीन अब के बरस।

है यकीन अब न कोई शोर शराबा होगा,
ज़ुल्म होगा न कहीं खून खराबा होगा।

ओंस और धुप के सदमे न सहेगा कोई,
अब मेरे देस मे बेघर न रहेगा कोई।

नए वादों का जो डाला है, वो जाल अच्छा है,
रहनुमाओं ने कहा है के ये साल अच्छा है।

हमको मालूम है जन्नत की हकीकत लेकिन
दिल के खुश रखने को, "ग़ालिब" यह ख़याल अच्छा है॥