Monday, June 20, 2011

There and Back Again!

Yesterday I walked for a long time. I had decided to go to some unheard station in the the morning but there's no local train from bangalore city station on Sundays. So, I did a station strolling and while coming out got caught by the RPF and couldn't even show them the platform ticket cause I din't have one. They asked me to pay a fine of Rs300. I had the money with me but I told them I didn't. They tried to make me feel scared for 5 minutes and then gave up hope and just let me go.  I loved walking on the footbridge while I was there in the station. The footbridge on Ramrajatala station was my favourite destination as a kid. Probably it was one of the tallest structures of the town and I often used to nag my dad to take me there. Yesterday was father's day: I am not comfortable talking to my dad over phone. But I wanted to be near him , feel close to him. So, I went to a place where I can see the trains. Not just because he is a railway employee but all my interactions with him were somehow closely related to trains or railway stations. And I've a weird habit of associating  things with people and people with things : somehow the differences get blurred to me.

I was feeling restless again in the evening. I had recently shifted to this PG and had no room-mate until yesterday. She came after I came back from station. She came with a red heart shaped pillow. Well, in true sense it wasn't of the shape of a real 'heart' ; after-all, different creatures have different shaped hearts and none of them are barely similar to the 1st result you get when you do a google image search of the word 'heart'; but this pillow was the shape of a heart designed by greetings card companies. But this fake heart disturbed me a lot. All those things I was determined not to think about started nibbling my brain and I went out and started walking, I knew where I wanted to go and I also knew I was not supposed to go there. But I wanted to make the journey nevertheless. After all, it's often the journey and not the destination that matters. It was a beautiful evening and though there was incessant traffic through the road, the footpath was empty. I knew what my destination was. I just wanted to see the bridge which connects Embassy Golf Links Road with Indiranagar. The bridge to Indiranagar was more than just a bridge, it was a representation of a lot of other things. And then I got a phone call. Iris Murdoch one said (I am not sure about Dame Murdoch , but at least Kate Winslet said that while enacting her) :
'as you start to define such and such a feeling, language lets you down. It's really a machine for making falsehoods. When we really speak the truth, words are insufficient.'
I always believed in those words even before I heard them. And that's what happened. Language once again let me down : let us down & I started taking the 3.5 km long walk back to my new place of residence.

I walked for a long time today as well. Somehow I've not yet suffered from Monday morning blues in this new job of mine but I sure did suffer from Monday evening blues today. In the evening when the work was over and it was time for me to go back home I suddenly realized I was all alone in a city with no close friend and with no place to call my home (my PG was yet to earn that status). So I walked past my PG and wandered through the lonely lanes and by-lanes of Koramangla 4th block all these while surreptitiously waiting for a phone call which never came and soon realized that I was lost. But then I saw the Natural's Ice Cream shop as I did on 21st December 2010 after losing my way, only then I had this foolish notion that I wasn't alone even though I actually was. I never need any excuse to have ice-cream but today I honestly needed some and I had two scoops of two different flavors : jackfruit and papaya-pinanple. There was a Barista lavaza down the road : again a flash of memories... or the lack of it : even in the memory I was disturbed  and was walking alone. What had changed in 6 months? Nothing and everything. Would I ever want to erase the time in between if I had the scope? No. Because somewhere between these very similar two scenes there were two lifetimes' worth of experiences : good, bad & ugly , though not in the same proportions. And the best part was I learnt a lot of things, most important of them all is that I've learnt nothing at all.

I was exhausted after 2 hours of walking post a (not so) hectic day at office and then I saw the road home: after-all, home is where your heart is and my heart is still with me, no matter how much wounded or bruised it might be!

Friday, June 10, 2011


Staple foods are foods that are 'eaten regularly and in such quantities as to constitute the dominant part of the diet and supply a major proportion of energy and nutrient needs.' But we all know them and have our own set of staple foods based on our geographical location,climate, culture, season, personal preferences and bank balance.

Sudden drastic change in one's staple food can make one suffer from various gastrointestinal issues or at least some level of mental discomfort.

However, there is another kind of staple food which, in-spite of being no less important than its dietary equivalent, is often neglected. These are the staple foods for thought.We're all aware of the famous Rene Descartes axiom : 'I think therefore I exist'. Thus a drastic variation in staple food for thought can jeopardize our entire existence.

What are staple food for thought? Traditionally for my (male) predecessors it used to be the morning news-paper, customary fortnightly visit to the local library and most importantly, 'adda' with the countryfolk on various topics ranging from politics to philanthropy over fuming cups of chai.Post the omnipresence of television, the 7 o clock news took its share in SFFT for middle class bong men. Women, especially the housewives had their own set of SFFT : the afternoon movie on Sunday, the FM, 'sentimental' ( courtesy V. S. Naipaul) novels written by female (and sometimes, male) authors and most importantly, their day to day household chores.  For me, it was mostly movies. By being a 'classic' membership card holder in British Council Library, I had the privilege of borrowing 2 DVDs each day and thus on an average I'd watch 10 movies per week.

But, has globalization and internet changed our SFFT? A quick primary research (ie a quick chat with all my g-talk contacts) shows that the most common SFFT for internet savvy modern urban youth is discussions on social media: Twitter , Facebook. Television has been replaced by youtube. Flow of information all around us should have made it easier for us to access to newer SFFT. However, the most important aspect of a staple food is that it is supposed to be consistent and it should provide proper nourishment not just momentary freedom from intellectual hunger. However, in this era of IPV6, all we get as SFFT are fast food. It's dangerous to survive entirely on fastfood eve for a short period of time. Long exposure to fast food or making it the SFFT can result into the intellectual obesity of an entire generation , culture or nation. Maybe it's time we search for some sustainable and healthy SFFT!