Monday, January 31, 2005

A Suitable Gift

Buying wedding gifts has always presents a dilemma. I've never been an
adept gift chooser, hence the ardent detestation for the
task. However, faced with the invitation to my dear friend's brother's
marriage I just had to go and get a suitable present.

First came fixing a budget - that's the easiest - my purse dictates
the terms there. So with a upper spending ceiling of Rs 500/- in mind
I landed up at the neighbourhood gift shop. Lined all along the walls
were statuettes of various gods and goddesses. Much as I would like the
Lord Ganesha to bless the couple at the auspicious occasion, his
bronzed image did not impress me as a appropriate gift. Other choices
included a pair of bronze giraffes, ornate candle stands, picture
frames. None of these satisfied the vanity of the gift giver in me and
so I ventured to greener pastures.

A 15 minute bus ride landed me at the nearest big shopping
complex. Lined along the road were a whole bevy of choices - a couple
of gift shops, a watch shop, few garment stores and a couple of home
appliance dealers. Amidst all these the "Vardhaman Bartan Bhandaar"
beckoned to me - hmmm seems distinctly familiar - I thought. With much
trepidation I entered, and came face to face with the toothy grin of
the person manning the counter.

Ji Sir? Kuch paanchson rupiye main dikhaiye - gift deene layak. Ji
Sir! Out came a tea set - blue coloured china. Hmmm looks - errr -
the big fish on the tea pot sported a huge grin - what else do you
have? Ye dekhiye sir - another tea set - this one bright lemon yellow
in colour. Ye Caffee set hai sir. I noted that the cups had COFFEE
etched on them with a simmering cup drawn on the side. Inspired by my
disinterested look the man produced a frosted glass plate set - yeh
dekiye sir - microwave proof, dishwasher proof, available in two
designs sir. Hmmmmm - I gave a very pensive look at the glass plate -
how much? Only 650/- sir - No, no, budget se zyada ho gaya! Aapke liye
550 sir ...

Before I could protest any further, out came a flurry of casseroles in
all shapes and sizes. Very useful sir - has inner glass bowl,
microwave proof, branded product sir - Milton - very good
quality. Hmmm how much - 400/- ah ... this looks really good! I turned
the thing all around - the lid looks a bit dirty - purana hai kya? No,
no sir - I'll clean it - he sprayed Colin on the lid and rubbed it
sparkling clean. I pondered a while and decided the newly wed couple
would be in dire need of a casserole when starting a new family - hmmm
- maybe they'll thank me for it someday ... and I smiled to .... Ho
gaya sir - Isko gift wrap kara dijiye. After little haggling with the
price, it came down to 350/- and I was suddenly feeling very proud of
myself. Feeling content with my acquisition, my eyes now wandered to a
mother n daughter pair beside me. They were looking at some crystal
glasses, presumably as a gift for someone. Payment sir - Ah yes .. -
I paid - the crystal glasses looked really nice - set of six glasses,
would have made a better present but must be really costly. Ye lijiye
sir - pack ho gaya - Thanks.

Ye glasses ka set kitne ka hai? This ... only 200/- sir - ek set aapko
bhi de doon? I collected my gift and walked out of the store.

Thursday, January 27, 2005


There are movies and then there are movies. After two months of
working at breakneck speed to meet a deadline (which I managed to beat
two days ahead of schedule !), I decided to take the much needed
break. I headed for PVR Anupam hoping to catch the last show of ``The

I am an animation buff - no, no - that's putting it mildly - I am a
animation fanatic. But this PIXAR treat was more than what I hoped
for. This is their first film with ``human" protagonists and boy did
they pull it off. The look of the animation is not hyper-real, but a
mix of astonishing CG art with a very very appealing set of visual
effects. The characters do not mimic humans - they evolve into their
own surreal beings - a combination of comic and fairy tale like

But as I have come to realize over the years, PIXAR's true strength
lies in their stories. They always have engaging and well thought out
plots and an electric chemistry between its characters. Its the charm
these characters exude that makes them instantly likeable. While
watching the movie I almost forgot that it was a movie - I was there,
in it, fighting against Syndrome with The Incredibles ... and we saved
the world !

(And in my excitement I almost punched the four idiots sitting in the
row behind mine who went on yapping senselessly through the movie.)

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

A Birthday Wish

I just now had a chat with my colleagues V and S. V hails from venus, while S is a fellow martian. V was saying that how she felt the current time in her life was the best she had ever had - peaceful and carefree. It would be different when she finished her studies and took up a regular job - more worries, more work ! To this S suggested that she could take up a research or consultancy kind of a job and work from home. The only problem being that the income one earned in such cases was not regular but dependent on the clients/results one got. But since her husband has a permanent job, he can act as the regular source of income.

I was sitting dreamy eyed lost in my own ruminations while barely making much sense of what they were saying. S went on to say that he would himself love to do research from home, if his wife, who works as a school teacher had no objections. V replied saying that probably it was ok for her as she was a woman, and that her husband would probably agree ....

Then S said something which jolted me out of my reverie. He said "I wish I would be born as a girl in my next life."

Their conversation then drifted on to other topics, but I have remained fixated to S's wish all this time. I do not for a moment consider that S is averse to hard work, for he regularly pulls more than twice his weight. What I have been thinking is this -

"Today is S's birthday. Do I pray for all his wishes to come true ?"

Friday, January 07, 2005


I recently discovered this small tale.

Poet Rahim was a great daani (i.e. giver of alms). He used to give away things to the needy all the time, and nobody ever left his door empty handed. But people observed that he always used to bow his head and look down while doing the noble deed. Everybody thought that even though he helped the needy, he was probably ashamed of doing it. In time this reached the ears of the poet seer Tulsidas. He was amused by the incident and sent Rahim this doha (i.e. couplet).

Aisi deni den ju kit seekhe ho sain,
Jyon jyon kar oonchyo karo, tyun tyun neeche nain.

On receiving the seer's note, Rahim thought that surely Tulsidas being such a great being knew his reasons for acting as he did. Probably he just wanted Rahim say it - so he replied with this doha.

Denhaar koi aur hai, bhejat jo din rain,
Log bharam ham par karen, taaso neeche nain.

The true spirit of giving comes alive in these verses.

Addendum : A translation of the couplets ...
The translation is not a word by word - but something which should
help understand the couplets instead.

Aisi deni den ju kit seekhe ho sain,
(Say where have you learnt to give thus)
Jyon jyon kar oonchyo karo, tyun tyun neeche nain.
(The higher (nobler) your deeds get, the lower your gaze becomes)

Denhaar koi aur hai, bhejat jo din rain,
(The (true) giver is someone else, who provides (everything) day and night)
Log bharam ham par karen, taaso neeche nain.
(I keep my gaze lowered, lest people should misunderstand that it is I who give).

Monday, January 03, 2005

A Prayer

O waves of water,
O rumbling land,
Calm your raging anger,
Hold back your destructive hand.

Give mankind another chance to mend its deeds,
To exist in peace, without destroying,
All that you provide to fill its needs,
And to embellish them with humane caring.

Forgive and restore the balance man unbalanced,
And we promise to thee to maintain its sanctity,
To not fight, and cherish our world,
To be kind, to love and to preserve humanity.