Thursday, December 29, 2005

Living with sms'es

Yesterday i slept early, at 9 itself with an intention of rising early(although i never make that mistake;) ).Somewhere in between i could hear my mobile phone beeping as it received messages...with sleepy eyes , i pick it up to see who it is....its from my brother(who has lately turned into an sms maniac , he has recharged with the reliance card with which he can send 18,000 sms in 6 months at Rs180, so one sms costs 1 paisa and you have to send an average of 100 sms everyday)..Alright i read his message and suddenely all drowsiness goes away,'Terrorist attack at Indian Institute of Sciences, Bangalore'....ohh...what the hell?..the second beep...'The attack was targeted towards IT professionals' one..'1 killed , 4 injured'...i sit up with increasing uneasiness as i hear my father talking on his phone from the adjoining room...'Entha prasnam?...Is anything the matter there?'(apparently he had forwarded the same messages to him too, no wonder he sounded disturbed, more so bcoz a gang of robbers had entered my aunt's home at tvm and threatened and looted them at knife point only a week ago)...Dont know when i drifted to sleep the morning i heard of the terror attack at IIS, b'lore...and the picture was clear...

After stone age, bronze age, iron age, steel age(?)...maybe we are in 'sms' age now...Some 5 years ago, a possessor of a mobile phone was supposed to be very affluent...and for the same reason it was more used for showing off than for communication...but now its the materialising of socialism in the field of mobile phone usage...everyone has one dangling at his/her neck or popping out of shirt pockets or purses...and then the world of missed calls and smses...

I must admit that i am getting very much addicted to sms'es...every time the phone beeps...i am all inquisitive to know if it's one of those funny sms'es which pull your leg , which keep getting forwarded(like emails...but it has a better and a more instant effect than fwded mails)...In short sms'es have lighted up my days than any single person has , since sometime now...

So when i keep giggling looking at my phone screen, my father shakes his head bewildered 'Innathe kaalathe pillerkkellam vattaanoo deivame!!?'...Well i cant make him understand :)

Monday, December 19, 2005

7 years in tibet

This weekend was not exactly the usual montonous one after all, my brother organised a virtual 'film festival' for me by saving 4 movies on our home pc, 2 hindi and 2 english. Its the first movie which left a mark on me...'7 years in Tibet'.

I think it was released in 1997 , and won Brad Pitt the oscar for the best actor...and did he do some acting!!...The movie is based on the book '7 years in Tibet' by Heinrich Harrer.

Brad Pitt plays Heinrich's role, he leaves his homeland Austria on an expedition to climb the highest mountain ranges, 'The Himalayas', very much against his young wife's wishes who is soon expecting their first child.The year is 1939. His team gets arrested on the Himalayas, by the British army and they are send to a P.O.W camp at Dehra Dun...It was the time when the second world war had just begun...and Austria and Britain were on opposite sides....He receives a letter from his wife , Ingrid from Austria which reads as follows: "Dear Heinrich , Please sign the divorce papers and send them to my lawyer.Horst and I intend to be married as soon as the divorce is finalized.As for your letter,yes,Rolf Harrer was born while you were climbing the mountain.He is now two years old and calls Horst papa.When he is old enough, i will tell him his real father was lost in the Himalayas.It seems the kindest thing to say as you never wanted the child anyway.Needless to say I have to intentions resolving our differences as you suggested.They were resolved the moment you left Austria.I'm sorry you have been imprisoned in India and hope this dreadful war would soon be over for everyone's sake." A frustrated Heinrich tries to escape from the prison camps, he makes so many futile attempts and gets caught by the british guards everytime....still his spirits remain unshaken as ever...Finally he manages to escape with a few of his fellow prisoners...but only he and his friend Peter Aufschnaiter manage to remain uncaptured....

Then follows a long period of battle against hunger,starvation and the biting cold in one of the coldest places on earth...Heinrich and Peter , finally manage to escape into Tibet, so that they are away from British India, as long as the war lasts.....

Tibet and its people especially at that being closed to the outside world,has been depicted with all glory.Their unique customs and religious beliefs,all pertaining to the core of Buddhism are a spectacle to behold. Peter falls in love with a beautiful Tibetan girl and marries her.And Heinrich feels as lonely as ever.The 14th Dalai lama was then only 14 years old, but he was already a well learned scholar in Buddhist scriptures.He is attracted to Heinrich and they become intimate friends , curtailing all the Tibetan customs of treating the Lama as a divine reincarnation, they have intimate chats in the Lama's chamber.Heinrich helps him to build a movie house as per his wishes.

Then follows the Chinese attack on the peaceloving Tibetans and how the clan who couldnt hurt a worm,had to take up arms to defend the callousness of the Communist China.The way they respect their enemies!!....we wouldnt think of honouring our close friends so much so...

Some excerpts from the movie:

Dalai Lama: We have a saying in Tibet: If a problem can be solved there is no use worrying about it. If it can't be solved, worrying will do no good.

[On the Himalayas]
Heinrich Harrer: A place rich with all the strange beauty of your nighttime dreams.

Construction worker: In a past life this worm could have been your mother.

Dalai Lama: Do you think someday people will get Tibet on their movie screens and wonder what happened to us?

Jigme is the Tibetan minister who betrayed his people to the Chinese, by destroying all the ammunition they had and surrendering to the Chinese.Heinrich returns the jacket which he had given him as a gift, to express his contempt for the man.
Ngawang Jigme: After all these years you still don't understand our Tibetan ways. To return a gift is unforgivable.
Heinrich Harrer: A man who betrays his culture shouldn't preach about its customs. There was a time I would have wished you dead but your shame will be your torture and your torture will be your life. I wish it to be long.

Dalai Lama: ...You can not ask a devout people to disregard a precious teaching.
Heinrich Harrer: Yes but Your Holiness, with due respect, erm, we can't possibly
Heinrich Harrer: I'm sorry, but we can't possibly save all the worms! Not if you want a theater in this lifetime.
Dalai Lama: You have a clever mind. Think of a solution. And in the meantime you can explain to me, what is an elevator.

Heinrich Harrer: It's strange to me that something so harmless as a jacket could symbolize such a great lie.

Heinrich Harrer: There was a time that I would have wished you dead but your shame shall be your torture and your torture will be your life! I wish it to be long.

Peter Aufschnaiter: Oh, by the way, I heard the Japanese have retreated all the way back to Shanghai. So even if you make it to the Chinese border you may have difficulties catching up with them.
Heinrich Harrer: I don't care if they've retreated all the way back to Tokyo.
Peter Aufschnaiter: You should if you want to get back to Austria.
Heinrich Harrer: But I don't.
Peter Aufschnaiter You don't what?
Heinrich Harrer: Plan to go back.
Peter Aufschnaiter: Why not?
Heinrich Harrer: No particular reason. But when you get there tell my wife that two years in prison camp is roughly equal ant to four years of marriage and I'm glad to be free of them both.

Heinrich Harrer: In this place where time stands still it seems like everything is moving. Including me. I can't say I know where I'm going nor if my bad deeds can be purified. There are so many things I have done that I regret. But when I come to a full stop I hope you understand that the distance between us is not as great as it seems.

Heinrich Harrer: That's the Olympic gold medal. Not important.
Pema Lhaki(Peter's Tibetan wife): This is another great difference between our civilization and yours. You admire the man who pushes his way to the top in any walk of life, while we admire the man who abandons his ego.

Dalai Lama: Do you listen to news from your country?
Heinrich Harrer: From Austria? No, not really. Give me some light, Kundun.
Dalai Lama: Why? It's your home.
Heinrich Harrer: Not anymore it isn't.
Dalai Lama: But don't you have friends and family there?
Heinrich Harrer: A few friends, no family. Keep the light steady, your Holiness.
Dalai Lama: Why? Is everyone dead?
Heinrich Harrer: Do you know there's another way a sentence can be constructed than a question? I was married but I'm divorced.
Dalai Lama: What did you do?
Heinrich Harrer: I didn't want a child so I ran away to climb a mountain.

Dalai Lama I can't sleep. I'm afraid the dream might come back.
Heinrich Harrer: A couple of insomniacs.
Dalai Lama: Tell me a story, Heinrich. Tell me a story about climbing mountains.
Heinrich Harrer: That's one way to fall asleep. Those stories bore even me.
Dalai Lama: Then tell me what you love about it.
Heinrich Harrer: The absolute simplicity. That's what I love. When you're climbing your mind is clear and free from all confusions. You have focus. And suddenly the light becomes sharper, the sounds are richer and you're filled with the deep, powerful presence of life. I've only felt that one other time.
Dalai Lama: When?
Heinrich Harrer: In your presence

Heinrich Harrer:

You have to leave. You have to leave Tibet, Kundun. Your life's at great risk. Forgive my presumption but I have made arrangements to get you out safely. We should leave directly after the enthronement, the Chinese won't expect it.
Dalai Lama: How can I help people if I run away from them? What kind of leader would I be? I have to stay here, Heinrich. Serving others is my path to deliberation.
Heinrich Harrer: Then I don't go either.
Dalai Lama: Why not?
Heinrich Harrer: Because you are my path to deliberation.
Dalai Lama: The Buddha said 'Salvation doesn't come from the sight of me. It demands strenuous effort and practise. So work hard and seek your own salvation constantly.' I am not your son. And I've never thought of you as my father. You've been much too informal to me for that. Do you ever think about him?
[Heinrich cries, nodding]
Dalai Lama: And what do you think about?
Heinrich Harrer: It's not a conscious thought really, Kundun. He is always there. When I crossed Tibet he was with me. When I came to Lhasa he was with me. When I sit beside you he is there with me. I can't even imagine how to picture the world without him in it.

Finally after the war, Heinrich returns to Austria in 1945 and meets his reluctant son of 7 years with a musical box which the Lama had given for the same with his blessings and his prayers and he gets his son back.

To conclude, its one of the best movies i ever happened to watch and will remain in my heart for ever.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Sleeping Habits

Last week me and achan went to a furniture shop at Kaloor and bought a new cot and mattress for me....and i got promoted from the bed on which i had lay as an infant,even soiled it at some places 24 years ago....well, achan would never let go of the dear bed had some travelling experiences as it accompanied me and parents first to gujarath then to goa,then mangalore(enjoying the service of the Indian Railway and several carriage lorries and trucks 'en route').Achan even carried it to Lakshadweep in the ship!!... a year ago when he got promoted to Kochi bed came with him...i joined him 6 months ago and my bed and myself were reunited after a long separation....alright, so i am sleeping on my new bed now......My dreams seemed to have multipied ever since i shifted to it.....

When i say sleeping is my 'hobby',I am not at all being one bit exaggerative. I am always on the lookout for excuses, so that I can crawl into a question mark on my bed.
I feel happy ---->I go and sleep to celebrate my happiness....
I feel sad/moodoff/depressed ----> I seek abode in my bed again which i hope will relieve the tension.....
When i got a job after staying at home for several months after B-tech,the first remark amma made was ......"ahaa, ini ninakku eppozhum moodi puthachu orangaan pattillalloo..." she seemed delighted about it, and my brother gave one of his vicious smiles.By the way, his assigned name to me is 'Kumbhakarni'(supposed to be the female gender of 'Kumbhakarnan', the brother of Ravanan who had a curse on him that he would sleep all his life).If anyone asks my brother where to find me...he replies promptly, "She must have gone into 'hibernation'....avalude kattilil nokkuu aadyam, avide illengil shambuvinte aduthu kaanum"(shambu is my pet pomeranian dog).After i got infected by the internet mania he would suggest looking for me in front of the PC as a third choice.....

Cats are supposed to spent 16-18 hours a day sleeping.Achan says I have long before bypassed all cats and I turn sheepish when he advises me not to waste the prime of my life sleeping, I may even suffer a nervous breakdown!!, then he goes on to the merits of early rising with his favourite adage 'Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy,wealthy and wise' :)...Hmm....he knows as well as I do , that not all the preaching in the world would make the slightest effect on me as far as sleeping is concerned:)...paavam....He is the exact opposite of me, he is wide awake at 5.30 am or before that,now that i am staying with him....i cant help complaining about him, the first thing that he does on getting up would be to put on all the lights, then go to the kitchen and drag and shift all the empty vessels to make that 'cling cling' noise, next he puts on the TV , radio, CD player and what no t, at considerably loud volume..hoping against hope that possibly i could not sustain this cacophony for a long time and would result in my getting up....alas he is wrong...i would snuggle behind my blanket till 7 .am and then get up reluctantly, coz i should be helping him to make breakfast unlike the case with amma(she is the one person whom i have assumed as my right to take for granted).....

My long sleeping tenures have awarded me with vivid pretty sure nobody could see all the set of dreams i have seen :)......while in school all characters from science,maths and socialstudies would make my dreams...Once i was in the INA with Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, on another ocassion our immediate neighbour was Bill Clinton, Raja Ram Mohan Roy paid us a visit at our home....maybe i will stop here before the reader gets serious doubts about the sanity of my subconscious mind:)......

Well, well and well...i cannot stop smiling when people say they dont take tea or coffee at night bcoz sleep escapes them.....i virtually live on tea and coffee(a habit inherited from my mom) irrespective of day and night and i guess i have grown resistant to ' caffeine' .....bcoz sleep, for once, never eludes me....

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

The Sea of Change

All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players :
They have their exits and they have their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts ,
His act being seven ages . At first the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse's arms.
And then the whining school boy , with his satchel
And shining morning face , creeping like snail
Unwilling to school . And then the lover ,
Sighing like furnace , with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress' eyebrow.Then a soldier ,
Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon's mouth . And then the justice,
In fair round belly with good capon lined,
With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws and modern instances;
And so he plays his part . The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slipper'd pantaloon ,
With spectacles on nose and pounch on side,
His youthful hose , well saved , a world too wide
For his shrunk shank ; and his big manly voice ,
Turning again toward childish treble , pipes
And whistles in his sound . Last scene of all ,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion ,
Sans teeth, sans eyes , sans taste, sans everything .

-William Shakspeare in 'As You Like It'

One thing thats very difficult to put up with , in life is its changing phases. I have always had problems accepting that i was no more in carefree childhood once i got to my teens and yet again when i crossed that one into the next...Always feel weird when i read e-mails from childhood chums relating to how their husbands/wives/children/inlaws are , as the case maybe. In my mind they always remain as the little kids with whom i played hide and seek or quarelled for a 'Tinkle' or a 'Champak' somehow makes me feel insecure that they are no more in that role as much as i am not...Everyone seems to adapt to these transitions with so much grace...but i had always hated losing things..however small and trivial they might seem to be....Amma once in a while reprimands me for turning our home into something like a junkyard , coz i had stacked so many of my precious belongings from my past...notebooks from primary school upto engineering,water bottles, tiffin boxes, pencil boxes...its and endless brother says i must be nuts to hold on to all this garbage...cant blame him...after all i am not quite like him...As much as i hold on to things i have to let them go....

Now comes the most difficult phase , perhaps the most important,the most difficult and the most feared/longed......'Marriage'......Almost all my friends (with only a few exceptions : the number gets low everyday) have tied the matrimonial knot....majority of them already within it, some are anticipating....i maybe joining them in a year...

I can never ever make a fair choice which is better, the single life which promises loneliness but is also free from responsibilities....or the married one which promises companionship but demands several new roles to be played with care... i guess i am being greedy:) i want the best of both...and its not possible to get a rose without thorns...Maybe i will let time decide for me , as it has always done.....Meanwhile i can prepare myself for the immediate change that my role will have to undertake , emotionally and otherwise.........