Thursday, August 30, 2012

Race to catch a thief


I issued 2 books from my library cards. Then I went back to my favourite section in the library of my college-novels. Meanwhile my friend Safina was searching for a technical reference book of an author. We had been searching for that book from a long time, hoping in vain, that somebody might return one of its copies soon. So she kept searching and I, abandoning all pretenses, picked up a novel and started reading it. After 10 mins, she joined me. I looked up and understood from her disappointing face that she did not get it. We decided to try our luck next time.

We came out of the library after signing in the register at the door. Outside there were racks where students kept their bags before entering the library. I went towards the place where I had kept my bag. Beside it, a girl stood with her back to us. We closed in and then I saw it. My bag was half-open. My purse was lying on top of it! My heart was filled with fear. I half ran towards it. Hearing our hurried footsteps, the girl turned. She was searching something in her bag. She looked scared. I looked in my purse and was instantly relieved. Nothing was amiss. There was a payment receipt and a 500 rupee note. Then I picked up my bag. Every book was in its place inside the bag. My relieved face somewhat erased Safina’s fear and she turned towards the girl standing miserably beside us. After enquiring her, we learnt that she had lost an earring. We could see a single long earring dangling from her left ear. There was none on her right. But it wasn’t gold. We told her to relax and search in the premises. Maybe she had lost it on the way? She listened to us like a good junior and started her search. We went to the library-in-charge and told her about the incident. She was concerned. Apparently, a lot of stealing outside the library was going on from some months. We were not the first one to lodge our complaints. We were luckier because nothing was stolen from our bags yet. How wrong we were!    

We went out of the library and started to walk through the lawn in the campus. It was going to rain heavily. The clouds were darkening. The atmosphere was cool. It raised our spirits and we started to discuss further. Safina spoke first and it was like she could read my mind.

“Who would do such a thing? Opening bags and purses for nothing!” Safina said.

“Yeah. It’s weird. I was scared there for a second on seeing my purse  ripped open like that” I confessed.

“Are you sure there is nothing missing from your purse?” She asked.

We sat on a nearby bench in the lawn. The chilly weather seemed to be mocking our anxious faces. All this business seemed funny to me. Someone had deliberately opened my bag to get to the purse. But that someone did not steal anything. Then why to take such a risk at all? Open someone’s purse in a public place like that? I looked inside my bag and took out my purse again. I opened it and in an instant realized my mistake. Three days back I had paid for my new bus pass. I had got the receipt of the payment and a change of Rs.130. I had kept them in my purse. And today morning I had just added a 500 rupee note.

Now my purse had the receipt and that 500 rupees note. There was no sign of Rs.130. The thief had indeed stolen. How had I missed this before? Damn it!

I explained the matter to Safina. I was angry and felt stupid on being robbed of my money, something that had never happened with me before. She was more alert.

“That girl!” she exclaimed suddenly.

“What about her?” I asked miserably.

“She had lost an earring, right? Then why was she searching for that in her precious bag?” She said. “And what if she was scared because of our coming? What if she was afraid that we had caught her?”

I was stunned. I thought over the girl’s reaction after she saw us coming. What if she was the thief? What if she had fooled us into thinking that she was a victim as well? I was lost at the daring of the student.

Safina gave a little push which brought me back to my senses. We jumped up together and ran towards the library. Could that girl be there yet? Could we catch her? What if she was innocent? We entered library again. After some searching, we spotted her. Safina gave a smile. This was turning into an adventure. I was satisfied. We started walking towards the library-in-charge’s main office. And guess who else was sitting there? None other than the director of the college himself! He was in deep discussion with ma’am. On seeing us from the transparent door, she beckoned to come forward. We obediently walked inside and stood in front of our new director.

“This is the girl whose purse was found to be opened” she said pointing at me. My face got flushed due to my extreme embarrassment. Any other day, I would have liked to come in front of the director to receive some certificate or award from him. Never had I imagined in my wildest dream that I would meet him because somebody had stolen my money! Moreover, we realized that they had been talking about us only. I decided to share our new suspicions with them. So I and Safina talked for the next few minutes. After we stopped, nobody moved a muscle. I looked at Safina. She was busy looking through the glass door, keeping a watch on that girl. The director took the matters into his hand.

“Is that girl from our college” he asked. We nodded vigorously. Only a student would wear a college id-card and get entry into the library. Safina, losing patience, pointed flatly at that girl. The director stood up and started walking, pointing us silently to follow him. He went out of the library towards the racks. He asked us where our bags were kept and  about that girl’s bag. We pointed it out to him. Then he demanded us to open the girl’s bag. What if my money was inside her bag? I picked up her bag. In front of Safina, the director and the ma’am, I opened it and searched inside. There was just a single notebook and 3 pens. Other than this, there was nothing in her bag. I was crestfallen. Everything turned disappointing. All our planning had failed. And what’s more, we had dragged the director too in this for nothing.

All of us came back in the main office. The director decided to meet the girl. Safina and I went to fetch her. She was half reading and half sleeping. We shook her a bit. She got up, alarmed on seeing us again. We told us of our purpose and she was astonished.
“But why does the director want to meet me?” she wailed.

“You lost an earring, right? He is going to ask you about that” Safina replied tactfully.

That calmed her. She came along with us and stood in front of the director.

“What is your name? Which branch?” Ma’am asked. The girl gave her details. On asking about her lost earring, she said that she had found it. Sure enough, her both earrings were dangling now. We could see that she was slightly shaking with fear.

“How much money do you have with you now?” the director asked. She replied that she had none. Further he enquired about her books in her bag. She replied that she had three books with her. One in her bag and two books she had brought inside the library with her. The director turned and told Safina to fetch the other two books. Before the director could finish his words, the girl moved towards the door. But the ma’am reacted faster and stopped her. The girl was scolded for her behaviour. Safina went to fetch those other books. Meanwhile, the girl had started trembling. Standing beside her, I could feel it. She was twisting her fingers and looking around her as if searching for a hiding place. She looked at me and backed away a good distance from me. My face, full of anger, must have shown my feelings for her.

Safina entered like a winner. She was elated. She was smiling and waving the books in her hand like a weapon which threatened to reveal all against the owner.

“Sir, I want to show you something” she announced. She laid down one of the books in her hand on the desk in front of the director. She opened it and there was money inside it! A 100 rupees note with three 10 rupees note! Rs.130 in all! The girl tried to speak but couldn’t utter any words. Something about ‘pocket-money’ came out of her mouth.

“If this is your pocket-money, why didn’t you say about it before?” the director asked. The girl looked at the ground, refusing to meet any other eyes in the room. The money was collected and handed to me. I and Safina walked out of the room and guess what did we see next? Library staff and students alike had gathered and were staring curiously. The whole drama had been visible to everybody from the transparent door. As we were the first to come out of the room, we were beseeched with questions. Every one wanted to know more details regarding the incident. An ordinary day had turned extraordinary! We were in the spotlight that day. After leaving Safina to explain the matters to some excited group of first years, I came out of the library towards my bag. Looking back, I could still see the girl answering questions fired at her in the office room. 
Few days later, a camera was installed outside the library. Something that had never been done before in the college. Some people wondered why. But we knew the story behind it.     
              


 

    

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

U-19 champs are here!








Can anything be more exciting? Our young world cup champions are here at last, in Mumbai! For the millions of fans in India, these cricketers have given a reason to celebrate non-stop.  You cannot stop the Indian fans from partying, anyway. To beat Australia in its home town is no small achievement.

Unmukt Chand led India to a spectacular win by his excellent batting performance at the crucial time in the final against Australia. The young captain kept his cool throughout the match. A hint of a future M.S.Dhoni already! The Delhi batsman writes diary and refers dictionary, something which one does not get to hear often.  Another consistent batsman is Baba Aparajith who hails from Chennai and shows a promising career ahead. And the bowlers deserve praise for their performance.  Sandeep Sharma took four wickets to ruin the Australian batting order, the first blow for the host. India started to win from there on and did not look back.  

It was a good team effort, quite commendable that led to lifting the ICC under-19 Cricket world cup. No doubt that the names of these players will become popular in upcoming days. Felicitation ceremonies, interviews and advertisements are yet to start! Watch out for them on your TV ads and news channels. They truly deserve the attention and recognition. Let’s hope for the best for these young cricketers. But may they never get distracted from their main priority! The reason for their smiles and the nation’s first love- CRICKET.  



Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Journey: Shirdi to Mumbai


It was 9.55pm. I was waiting at the Neeta Travels bus stop in Shirdi. I had booked tickets in the sleeper coach of the bus that would take me and my family from Shirdi to Mumbai. The bus was supposed to start at 10.15pm as per our bookings. The only problem was that there was no bus in sight.

The bus stop was more like a rest room. Equipped with long benches facing each other, passengers were making full use of it. These benches had not only restless passengers on them but also luggage of every kind-plastic bags, polythene, handbags, suitcase and briefcase. Some of the passengers had garlands of red roses with them, the scent of which was spreading rapidly in air. Children were playing and loitering around. Nobody stopped them. I bet their parents were letting them get on with it because there was nothing else to do! Just sit, wait and watch for that invisible bus was meant only for adults. This thing can be hardly expected from kids.

At 10.10pm, men from the crowd ventured outside. My brother started listening songs on his iPod-Nano. A guy few benches away from me had a guitar. I was just wondering if he could only play it for the bored crowd, when the bus arrived with a bang. It was deep red and luxurious, atleast from outside. It promised to be a comfy one.

The passengers started to board it. An irritated man checked all the passengers’ names against the list in his hand. When my turn came, he looked at me hard in the eyes and then made a check sign against my name in the list. He wrote my seat no. on my American Tourister suitcase. It was etched so deeply with a chalk that it is still visible today, though it has started to fade now slowly.

After getting into the bus, we went to our allotted seats/beds. They were arranged such that two passengers could sleep at one place. I joined my mother, pushed the curtain, entered inside and I could smell it all-bed sheet and pillow. Aaah! If only we had bought a room freshener! My father and brother took the other seat. There was only one straight way to move in the bus which was littered with shoes and sandals.The conductor put his foot on some and got angry looks from the owners.

It was 10.40pm when the bus finally started. The passengers were tired and sleepy. All were looking forward to a sound sleep and wake up in Mumbai! But our dreams were cut short. When the bus entered on the highway, it hit on the accelerator. All was thrown backwards- shoes, sandals and passengers. I gripped my mother very tightly. A man nearly fell down from his seat. He shouted to the conductor and gave him a lecture on how frequent a traveler he is and how a bus should be driven. The conductor listened patiently and kept nodding. Poor guy, what else could he do? Soon a toddler started crying. Apparently the speeding bus had frightened him. His mother tried to pacify him but the crying just got increased in volume. Everybody woke up (none could sleep anyway). I decided to enjoy the night view from the window. My brother started listening songs again. After a very long time, I finally could sleep. Not soundly of course. I woke up when the bus came to a halt at a dhaba. The conductor announced loudly that the bus would be stopping for 15 mins.

And when I opened my eyes for the second time, I looked at my watch. I couldn’t see the time due to the dark. Instead I turned to my mobile. It was 3.30am! I was surprised. I blinked and looked out of the window. Mumbai was glowing with the street lights. The highway seemed deserted. Only our bus was moving speedily. I turned and saw my mother was already awake. The conductor was shouting different stops that would come one by one. Soon passengers were stirring. The conductor suddenly shouted Mulund, the place where we had to get down. We lined up behind the driver. He applied brakes and we got down slowly. The air was cool and there was silence everywhere. Some taxis were parked at some distance. After the last passenger was out of the bus, the conductor waved to us. The bus started moving forwards, away from us, leaving us at our destination. Five hours back, we were in Shirdi. Now in Mumbai. Safe and sound and ready to face the real world….thanks to the bus!      

Monday, August 20, 2012

Ek Thi Tigress






I entered Mayajaal in a hurried manner. I was late for Ek Tha Tiger. Blame it on the toll tax! I encountered two of them on the highway while coming towards the multiplex. The traffic that they had created made me late for the favourite blockbuster of the month. The movie that had made an all new record for the gross opening in India.

I went to the ticket counter, collected the Rs. 150/- ticket and entered in screen 7, hoping against hope that the movie would be worth it all. I had a first class ticket and could see the screen well. My fellow neighbours consisted of every type-family, students, kids and old folks. After all it’s a Salman Khan movie. Who doesn’t want to see it?

The movie turned out to be, there are no other words to describe it: super cool. Action, romance, energy, dance-all in one. Salman aka Tiger is a RAW agent while Katrina is named Zoya, an ISI. We are not shown the story behind Zoya’s training in Pakistan. Instead the career of the Tiger has been shown in bits. The romantic scenes in the movie have been made seriously more romantic by the chemistry between Tiger and Zoya. Better than off-screen, anyway.

To be honest, I liked Zoya more than the Tiger. She is the ultimate package of elegance and beauty in the movie. What’s more, the ladies in the theatre couldn’t stop gushing about her dress, fitness, dance etc. After the interval, Zoya’s action scenes earned some whistling from the boys sitting three rows before me. Audience was left gaping at her jumping off buildings and dodging agents.

At the end of the movie, we were ready to go. People were stiff from sitting so long. They were stretching themselves, when mashallah-mashallah song started. I sat down and so did many others. The pair’s dance steps left the audience glued to their seats.  When the song finally ended, a man excitedly said to his neighbour, “the best song in the film! Why did they have to put it in the last?” I couldn’t agree more. I walked out of the theatre with only the image of Katrina in my mind. Salman has definitely proved to be the Tiger but Katrina has proved much more. That she could be the Tigress!

Eid Mubarak everyone!!

  

  

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Morning Newspapers & Teas



Imagine a morning when your newspaper boy forgets to drop newspaper at your doorstep. Or else he is late. Very late. When does he delivers anyway? 6.15 am or 6.30 am. Definitely before 7.30 am. But it is 8 am almost now and there is no sign of your daily newspaper outside your door. The first thing you might do is to look at your neighbour’s doorstep. Have they been delivered their newspaper yet? If no, then you might curse and shut the door, a little harshly. You might call up the newspaper vendor and let out all your frustration. You might remind him about few home truths like how much important is a morning newspaper to you and command him to deliver it immediately because you have already paid him a month’s bill in advance. What does he reply? Perhaps after a bit of initial silence, he might apologize saying he would deliver the newspaper with some other boy in half an hour. After this conversation, you might relax and wait assuredly. But suppose it does not turn up at all? Your frustration would be enough to ruin your day. For the record, its just morning now. The whole day is still remaining in front of you and you are not aware of what more trouble is in store for you. But you don’t give a damn to it and just mumble about your newspaper. How ironic it is! The newspaper changes to your newspaper in an instant.     



My grandfather will not start his morning routine without reading newspaper. If it is not delivered any day, he will himself go to the newspaper stall on the street, without worrying about his morning schedule getting disturbed. Being a diabetic, he needs to eat in time and take his medicines. But he can blow up his whole routine just for the sake of getting his favourite newspaper in time. When you have a television and so many news channels coming up, you can watch live news in the morning instantly. I pointed this fact to him. But he just made a face and went on reading his newspaper making a sign to me to not disturb him further.

What is it about newspapers anyway? Why do people crave for it in the morning so badly? Why cant they just switch on to some news channel instead? Maybe these newspapers have become part pf our lives. Just like we need to do some things in time like waking up, exercises, lunch, dinner etc. we need to have our newspaper in front of us in the morning with a cup of tea. Nothing could replace that. Absolutely nothing. Not even news channels shouting breaking news at the top of their voices on your television screen. I got into this annoying habit as well. I grew up watching my grandpa and then my parents reading newspaper every morning. And that habit has passed on to me. And nobody dares mess with me when I am reading. Anybody disturbing while I am reading is intolerable. ……simply can’t stand it!

  

Friday, August 10, 2012

Govinda Aala Re!


It Janmashtami time! The day we celebrate the birth of Lord Krishna. The one, who killed Kans, lifted a mountain in his childhood, played flute to which the gopis danced, and recited Bhagwat Gita to Arjuna in Mahabharata. He was born in Mathura, the place which drowns itself today in celebration and joy. And youngsters eagerly wait for this festival to come every year. And I personally look forward to the celebrations in Maharashtra. Extremely worth watching every year. Having lived in the state for 11 years, I can tell. Gokulashtami is celebrated with much pomp and ecstasy in the state in the form of Dahi Handi. 


The handi is a clay pot filled with buttermilk that is placed at a much height before the starting of the actual event. People start building human pyramid to reach this handi and the top most person breaks it or tries to break it with a coconut. Usually it’s a kid. And when it does break, its dancing and singing time folks! Organizers from Mumbai, Pune, Thane and Dadar announce big hefty rewards and cash prizes to the winning handi breakers aka govindas. The govindas come in the form of groups. Each group tries to win based on its experience and practice. They fall and rise and fall again. But never give up! Bracing all the injuries and pain, they climb again and again to break the handis. The spectators scream and throw color filled water balloons. But the govindas never lose their focus from their aim. The Mumbai spirit, I tell you. Hats off to them!


      

The scene of Dahi Handi is not only famous in our real world but also in Bollywood. Cinemas have been using these scenes for the entry of their heroes for generations. Take an example of Agneepath. The latest movie having dramatic entry of Hrithik Roshan. The crowd is promised a highly entertained movie by such visuals. And to see a dahi handi live is quite a different experience. You get to see celebrities on the streets and models dancing on the stage to the Bollywood tunes. There is chaos and a lot of shouting on the streets. But no one complains. Whenever any dahi handi is not broken, or cannot be broken, the handi’s height is decreased and so is the cash reward! Govindas try their level best to break it. In their attempts, they often get injured. The news channels definitely quote the number of injured govindas at different events every time. But it’s all the part of the festival. Nothing will stop those govindas climbing back. It’s an event where people clap and applause for you even when govindas fail to break the handis. And the latest news that I get to hear is the new record that a group has made. They have built a human pyramid of nine levels which is going to be in Limka Book of Records. Now that’s the spirit. Jai Shri Krishna!



Thursday, August 09, 2012

Anything for a passport





I was tensed and worried. My heart was beating faster. Cursing at nobody in particular, I rearranged the documents in my file again. It felt like doing for the hundredth time. Suddenly I got pushed from behind and nearly fell on an old lady standing in front of me. Balancing myself, I apologized to her only to be glared at. I, in turn, glared at my neighbour standing behind me. He was busy adjusting his file. Sensing my gaze, he looked up and made an apologetic face. Then glanced back to yell at the fellow standing behind him. I sighed and turned my attention to the front of the queue. Apparently the crowds were being pushed for no reason at all or just for a time pass. But who cares?

I was standing in the longest queue I had ever been in and never hope to be in again. All for getting a passport. It seems more important these days than your graduation degree. Even when I am in no mood to visit London or New York, I need to have a passport. You want to stay in India? Then also you need a passport. Why the hell do you need a passport to reside in your own country? Because that is required in jobs these days. That’s if you don’t want your name in the list of ‘unemployed youth in India’.

So here I was! I came in the morning and it was nearing my lunch time. But still I was in the queue. And it was just the first round. After some time, I neared to the counter. A couple standing a few feet away were arguing with the man sitting behind the counter desk. Apparently, one needs a bank statement having the last year transaction detail i.e. 12 months. But the couple had only 10 months transaction. Reason? They had opened their account only 10 months back! So where could they bring more 2 months from? But their verification was rejected. Another man had a whole year transaction detail but not from an authorized bank. A woman standing in another queue ( there were 4 long queues) did not have a marriage certificate since she was not aware of one. Well, I couldn’t blame her. People marrying in 70s and 80s didn’t bother about marriage certificates. Ask for proofs of their marriage and they would produce their marriage photographs. Easy!

Finally my turn came. The man verified my documents for 3 minutes. Inspite of facing so much criticism from the rejected lot, he maintained a straight face, throughout the small interview with me. No emotion at all, all business-like. After a few painful moments, my documents were declared verified. Hurray! It seemed like I had won a marathon. Delighted, I took the coupon from him and entered for the second round where my photo was clicked. I didn’t like my own image that flashed across the monitor screen but resisted saying so aloud in front of the stern lady. The profile picture on my facebook timeline is much better instead.

The third round had a few surprises for me. All the people had to wait for their chance to come. We had to see on the big screen for our token numbers to appear. Those token numbers were followed by the counter numbers. By this time, I was exhausted and hungry.  With nothing to eat and god knows where your turn will come, how long are you suppose to stand and wait? Except a couple of fat kids running, there was no other form of entertainment.

After waiting and staring, I was fed up enough to move out on my own. To hell with the verification! Enough’s enough. I would apply next time, I thought angrily. But the image of my shocked family members when they would see me at home like that came in my mind and I stopped on my tracks. After 5 mins of this indecision, my token number flashed on the screen. About time too! I ran towards my assigned counter number and met a middle aged man behind the desk. He went through my documents and I could see that he was not satisfied. Something was bothering him. And that bothered me as well.

‘Where is your birth date proof?’ he asked sounding stern.

‘Here sir’ I said and pushed my birth certificate forward.

‘But where is it on your 10std result?’ he asked.

I explained to him that being from the Maharashtra State Board, 10std result during my time never had birth dates of the students on it. He looked doubtful.

‘That’s strange’ he exclaimed. Well, it wasn’t my fault, was it? Going through other documents, he asked me the name of my hometown. I answered him and voila! His whole expression changed and his mood lit up. He said that he had gone there a lot of times. He knew that Nepal is nearer from there and asked whether a passport a needed to visit Nepal. Now here I was in a dilemma. To lie or just stick with the truth? The honest answer was a no. One does not need any passport to go there or so I have heard. Never had bothered to go there in reality but I knew this vital piece of information. I decided to stick with the truth. I told him a bold no. That passport is not needed there. He nodded and sent me to an old lady sitting behind the next desk. She couldn’t understand my birth certificate as it was in Hindi. She asked her neighbour who spelled my name for her from my certificate. It all seemed very comical.

And then after the final signature, I was free to go. I went towards the exit door with a light heart. But my happiness was cut short. At the exit door, I was stopped and given a feedback form to fill. It asked about my experience at the passport Seva Kendra and personal opinions for improvement. Now this was too much. I was about to write regarding having food stalls and canteens inside the premises, shorter queues, less crowd, lesser number of documents for verification and a Sony Bravia EX525 Series LED TV for some timepass but decided against it. Instead I clicked on ‘good’ at every given question and left the improvement space as it is. I submitted the form and hurried through the exit door. Coming outside the building, I blinked in the sunshine and hurried towards a juice-selling vendor for an ice-cold Nimbu Paani which was more important at the time than the passport. Completely nuts, I tell you!
    

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Unlocking Mars Mystery


I switched on my television in the morning in high anticipation. It was nearly time for the Curiosity Rover to land on the Red planet. Weighting around 1 ton and running on 6 wheels thereby resembling a small sports car, news channels called it ‘mission curiosity’. With a spending of a tremendous $2.5 billion, NASA had pitched its hope for future funding on the success of this project. The other exciting thing was the use of multi-disciplinary fields. The technology relating to robotic engineering, telemetry, telecommunications, instrumentation, electronics engineering etc had been applied. This mega project had been made possible by combining different branches of science and engineering. And this space milestone was made possible after 30 years of exhaustive research and study by NASA scientist and engineers.

Being an engineer myself, I felt proud to hear the number of Indians involved in the project. The news anchors kept reminding from their studios that with respect to number of engineers involved, after America and Britain, the Indian engineers stood at third position. Professors from Lucknow to Delhi universities were interviewed live for their continuous feedback. Viewers would have been glued to their TVs, like me.

Soon it was 11.01 am. The news anchor announced the breaking news. Curiosity Rover had landed on the vast, ancient impact crater on Mars successfully. NASA erupted in celebrations. There were hugs all around the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and scientists were seen jumping up and down in ecstasy. There were shouts of delight amongst the mission team and thumping on shoulders of everyone. Then Curiosity started sending its images from Mars. The happiness of the scientists knew no bounds. At 11.14 am, a low resolution black and white image was sent by the Rover. The very first image showed lots of dust particles around it when it had landed on the crater. The next image showed more clear image after the dust had settled down a bit. One of the images showed the shadow of the Rover on Mars.



The continuous thirst for knowledge and information by mankind has paved the way for the making of the Curiosity. It is known as the ultimate tool to know and find out whether life once existed on Mars, possibility of availability of water particles as well as future human habitation and existence of methane. Mars being called as the Red planet holds lots of secrets. It’s time to unravel them. Thanks to Rover which is equipped with 16 cameras on it. After travelling for about 8.5 months to reach on Mars, it has to hunt for life and send data to prepare for future human mission for the next two years. It is a kind of a movable technology. It has sensors to sense water and laser to cut through rocks. Just imagine the amount of information we can get in upcoming months! There has been a lot of excitement about ideas of life on other planets. The rumours of sightings of UFOs and aliens back on Earth have paved way for many Hollywood science-fiction films.  Now just imagine if the Rover does senses something exciting like water! What will happen if Mars is found to have similar atmosphere like Earth? Well, personally I am keeping my fingers crossed and hope it gives some image about an UFO for a change. Or a footprint of an alien would also do for me. That would set the alarm bells ringing for the scientists around the world. I could just visualize the headlines of the news channels-‘UFO sighted on Mars’ or ‘Do aliens reside on Mars?’      

Thursday, August 02, 2012

That First Rakhi


It was 13th August, 1992. Raksha Bandhan day. Early morning, it was raining heavily. The small town of Wardha, now popularly known as Sevagram, was literally drowning in water. It was at this time that a young girl, hardly four years old, sat cuddling her grandmother inside her home. She couldn’t play outside due to the rain. But she wasn’t complaining. She had her small mind up wrapped up around larger things happening in the house. There were many people in it today. Her toys were being played by other kids. She couldn’t bear it. And on top of it, her beloved mother wasn’t around her when she woke up in the morning. She had been in pain last night, that much the girl had seen. Now her father had disappeared too. Both of them had gone and that too without taking her! That was too much. She went to her grandmother and demanded to know where her mother was.

“Hospital”, her grandma replied.

“But when will she come?” the girl asked impatiently.

“Very soon”, grandma replied with a smile.

“But I want to go now!” the girl wailed, stamping her foot angrily. Her grandma laughed and promised to take her soon.

When the afternoon sun was seen among the rain clouds, the girl was ready in her best dress. On enquiry, she got the reply that she was soon about to meet her mother and a brother.  Her brother? Well, that was something new to her but not unheard of. She had seen her school friends playing with their brothers after school hours in the playground. She knew that her friend Nita, living next door, had a brother too who was sporting a sparkling rakhi on his wrist today. But she had no brother to play with. She was all alone by herself until now. 

After a particular long walk, she came across a huge building which was called the hospital by her grandma. She had never seen one before and looked around curiously. On entering inside the hospital, she did not like the smell of the medicines in the surrounding air. She longed to get rid of it. Suddenly she was led to a small room in one of the corners crowded with people again but there were her mama and papa! She screamed in delight and ran at top speed towards her father. Her father hugged her and put her on the large cot where her mother was lying. The mother was not alone. The girl could see something lying on the cot, all wrapped up in a piece of long cloth.

“Mama, Why are you here? Let’s go home.” The girl said and closed her hand around her mother’s wrist and was ready to pull her down from the cot along with her. But her father intervened.

“Your mother cannot go now”, her father said quickly.

The girl could not understand anything but sat down closely to her mother and stared at the small moving thing lying next to her.

 “Your brother” her mother replied. The girl could not understand why so small a thing could be her brother. Seeing that she was hesitant, her mother took the baby and placed in gently on the girl’s lap. Now the girl could see that the baby had small eyes. It was lying very peacefully on her lap and the girl was staring mutely. Suddenly her grandma bought a rakhi in front of her.  The girl smiled and took it in her hands. All the women folk in the room gathered around her and the grandma helped her to tie the rakhi on the baby’s wrist. The girl was given her favourite sweet to eat- a burfi.  She ate it slowly staring at her brother and then at her rakhi. Her very first rakhi!

Many years have gone by since then. Her small brother has grown now and so has she. The fast life of the century has forced them to go away from each other for studies and career. But that rakhi day remains special and so is raksha bandhan every year. The only day when both of them celebrate the moment…the sister tying rakhi on her brother’s wrist…and the brother presenting the much awaited gift to her….her brother…..my Roshan…....!!!


             

Have a very happy raksha bandhan once again dear brother!! 


Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Kya Super Kool Hai Ice Age !



 I was busy watching a movie when my kaamwali bai entered. She was late again. It was perhaps her habit now-to enter late, stare at the mess and utter a cuss word. Search for the broom and start cleaning right away in a manner that suggested she had a plane to catch. Anyway, I was least bothered by now and turned my attention to the movie again. After some time I sensed her watching me from behind. I looked back and saw that she was smirking. She pointed at the television and said, “ yeh toh bachhon ki picture hai….tum kyon dekh rahi ho ?”  Because I am not from Mars or Jupiter, I thought angrily. Resisting the urge to reply, I turned again to my super cool movie.

It was the Ice Age movie. I was watching perhaps for the twentieth time. The adventure of Manny, Diego and Sid is too much fun to watch always. The movie series which kicked off in 2002 is still being watched by millions of viewers. Its every part is a hit at the box office. Is it because of Sid the ever babbling sloth? Or Manny the strong mammoth? Whatever may be the reason, hats off to the director who makes such films which differs from other films in a lot many ways. Being a comedy and action-packed animated movie, it brings out a lot more in characters.  The fourth part of the series Ice Age: Continental Drift is, there are no other words to describe it, cool!  It is cooler than Kya Super Kool Hai Hum any day. Sorry Ritesh, but get a move on because I like Sid instead!



Being a die-hard fan of Robert Pattinson, how in the world did I get addicted to an animated movie? Blame my best friend for that. Once she talked about the movie and I criticized her taste for getting thrill out of an animated movie! Ughh…how many times have we watched cartoons in our childhood? Right from Mowgli, Tin-Tin, Tom and Jerry, Heidi to Swat Cats, I thought we had watched enough of that in childhood. Its time to grow up now. But I watched the first part of the movie on her persistence. And now blame her and the Hollywood director! Because of them, I am a fan of Ice Age now as well. I am glued to the television every time the movie comes.