So little time… so little to do

July 22, 2009

The Last Supper

Filed under: sentimental — Priyam @ 11:48 pm

Seems like only the other day. A bright sunny day coming to its end, signalled by the customary splashing of crimson over the sky. My first day at Santa Cruz and we were headed for a small diner near my first and only home in the small sleepy town. That was when we had met – two of us, just landed, new to the place, being accompanied by a senior each. There was so much to look forward to, so much to take in of the people, place – of people who would be like family for the coming years, people who would step up to somewhat fill in the void created by old friends to the best of their possibilities. Three years can zoom by so fast! A different diner, some different people in totally different stages of life, and a totally different reason. Of course, the natural adult way to handle the situation was to almost deny the cause of this haphazardly planned cozy get-together. Handsome helpings of leg pulling and friendly camaraderie easily made five of us the most noisy crowd in that place. True to our nature, we celebrated the journey over the years, one that came to an abrupt halt for one of us. As I part ways with yet another close friend, the heart grows heavy, the mind races back to all those occasions when similar situations presented themselves at different times of my life. Sometimes I would be the one leaving, moving on as they say. But that is not easily done for me.

Seems like all I can do is wish him the very best for his future endeavours, and hope that our paths cross once again. As he would probably put it – “An Indian”  has left the US. As for me, I just hope he decides to return for another stint.

July 17, 2009

Back on the block

Filed under: arbit,sentimental — Priyam @ 11:42 am

Either I am not inspired enough, or my inspirations don’t end up making their way to this blog. You can thank Facebook and the likes for that, I guess. With that finger pointing, I dissassociate myself from the frequent irregularities of my blogging. What usually gets me back on this block is a post or a blog of a friend or acquaintance that reminds me that I might have something to share. And usually, by the time I start typing in words, the whole subject of the post becomes lost. Lost, either in the rather large number of items that I would like to get off my chest, or the lack thereof. This is usually followed by reading the few sentences that I have written back to myself, deciding it’s no good, and then a select all and a firm punch of the delete key. Today, I decided to skip the last step.

My parents just celebrated their stepping into their 31st year together. I kept reminding myself of the date to take the time to wish them on the feat. Needless to say, come the day, I totally forgot about it and remembered while on a general phone call with my Mom, unfortunately only after a generous serving of hints from her. Shame shame. Strike two. Last time it was her brithday.

Usually on such occasions, I gift them an enjoyable dinner at my (financial) expense. This year, they decided to take the whole extended family along. I can well imagine the cacophony of voices of varying age groups. As they say : Having multiple generations at the table together – Priceless. In my quest to pursue who-knows-what, I find myself constantly missing such get-togethers, important ones and otherwise. I end up questioning the wisdom of staying away from friends and family for a better life. Better? Says who? On my part, I would gladly endure the static herd of vehicular traffic, or the lack thereof on a bandh day, to be able to enjoy the comfort of the joint family. But here I am, gathering a collection of iPhones and Blackberries and large screen TVs, caught up in the world of material comforts, perhaps trying to fill that void that some say is the American dream. Why is it lost on people that the phone we are talking on is worthless compared to the person on the other end, the TV unimportant compared to the people around it. Perhaps enjoying the comfort of both is the best of both worlds, but given a choice between the two – I choose to be a people person.

November 7, 2008

Losing my religion

Filed under: sentimental,sports — Priyam @ 12:21 am
Tags: , , , , , , ,

I have not been the most ardent of followers of Indian cricket of late. And that has really set me apart from most of the gang that I hang out with. Come on, cricket is the national religion and like in the real world I was an atheist with my love and following of football – wait, that’s soccer now ! Having said that, nobody can take away those memories and endless hours glued in front of the TV when Sachin took the best bowlers to the washers, those frustrating times when the TV would be turned off whenever he got out, wishing for another dependable batsman. Prayers were answered and a generation of Golden boys rose to the occassion with names like Ganguly, Dravid, Kumble and Laxman. The skip down the crease for a artistic loft, the cover drive blessed by the Gods, the almost impenetrable defence of the wall, the yorkers of fire from spinning fingers and of course the flick of the wrist second only to perhaps Azharuddin. Heroes and villains, they have been in Indian cricket. Love them or hate them, but one can never forget them. We owe our childhood to them, our entire evenings playing street cricket trying to emulate their feats in our own little ways. Sadly, this golden generation of cricket is going to be no more. Unfortunately, I have not been able to get a glimpse of dada on his last artistic creations at the crease. Somehow, I now relate to the feeling of loss when the golden boys of Portuguese football (Figo et al.) hung their boots in quick succession.

A very potent article on this can be found at http://content-usa.cricinfo.com/magazine/content/current/story/376791.html . Pasting it below :

Losing my religion

The change of guard in Indian cricket has pulled the rug out from under the feet of a generation of cricket watchers

Siddhartha Vaidyanathan (November 7, 2008)

The events of the last few weeks are freaking me out. Anil Kumble has gone, Sourav Ganguly will go, and the other three may not be far behind. I assume there is a large group of cricket fans in their mid-to-late 20s, like me, who’re grappling with the implications. This transition is messing with our minds.

Let me explain. For many of us cricket began in November 1989. Pictures of what went before are too hazy. I remember Allan Border lifting the World Cup but don’t recall what I was doing then. So I can’t connect Australia’s World Cup win to my own life.

Sachin Tendulkar spoilt us. He commanded that we sit in front of the television sets. He ensured we got late with homework, he took care of our lunch-break discussions. He was not all that much older than us, and some of us naïve schoolboys thought we would achieve similar feats when we were 16. We got to 16 and continued to struggle with homework.

Then came Kumble and the two undertook a teenager-pampering mission not seen in India before. Tendlya walked on water, Jumbo parted seas. Our mothers were happy that we had nice heroes – down-to-earth prodigy and studious, brilliant bespectacled engineer. They were honest, industrious sportsmen, embodying the middle class.

When we thought we had seen everything, they reversed roles – Tendlya bowled a nerve-wracking last over in a semi-final, Jumbo played a match-winning hand with the bat. We were such spoilt brats that we pined for openers and fast bowlers. We cursed the side for not winning abroad. Such greed.

Economists would probably have predicted the bursting of the bubble. We had a deluge instead. One fine day at Lord’s we got a glimpse of two new saviours: Delicate Timing and Immaculate Technique. Suddenly my group of eight friends was split into two camps. You were either with Ganguly or Dravid. In that period we even took Kumble and Tendulkar for granted. It was adolescent indulgence taken to the extreme.

When we played cricket on the streets, we had a number of choices. Left-handers were thrilled, defensive batsmen were happy, extravagant stroke-makers were delighted, the short boys didn’t need to feel left out anymore, spectacles became cool, and freaky bowling actions were no more laughed at.

In such a state of bliss did we live our lives. We flunked important exams, shed tears over girls, crashed bikes, had drunken parties, choked on our first cigarettes, and felt utterly confused about our futures. But every time we felt low, we had an escape route. One glimpse of Dada stepping out of the crease, or Jam leaving a sharp bouncer alone, or Kumble firing in a yorker, was an uplifting experience. So what if India lost? Could any of those Pakistani batsmen even dream of batting like Sachin or VVS

I remember Ganguly and Dravid soaring in Taunton, mainly because it was the day I got my board-exam results. And boy, did that provide some much-needed relief. I remember Tendulkar’s blitz against Australia in Bombay because my dad, who thought cricket was a waste of time, sat through every ball. So connected were these cricketers to my growing up.

Now, after close to 20 years, my generation needs to brace itself for this exodus. Some of my friends, crazy as this sounds, have been talking of needing to revaluate their own careers. Others are realising they need to recalibrate their childhood definitions of cricket. “Part of me just died,” said a college friend who was the kind of extreme cricket buff who memorised scorecards. “No Dada, no Jumbo. I’m positive I’ll stop watching after Sachin and Rahul retire.”

These players were not only outstanding cricketers but also great statesmen. However hard they competed, they were always exceptional role models. Now we dread the next wave of brashness and impetuosity. Harbhajan Singh and Sreesanth are talented cricketers, but there’s no way anyone would want a young kid to emulate either. The younger crop seems worse – a visit to some of their Orkut and Facebook pages tells you enough – and things may only get cruder in a cricket world when you can make a million dollars in a little over three hours.

“Our childhood is ending,” said a friend from school, and in some way he was probably spot on. Tendulkar’s retirement may mean a lot of things to a lot of people, but for a generation of 25- to 30-year-olds it will mark the end of the first part of their lives. Switching on the television the day after will be a serious challenge

July 26, 2008

Goodbye Randy Pausch

Filed under: sentimental — Priyam @ 1:32 am

July 25th, 2008 – Prof. Randy Pausch left for his heavenly abode to meet “the grim reaper” after what he would probably term as a happy life of 47 years. Prof. Pausch was a professor in Computer Graphics at CMU and he was the introducer of the now trendy concept of SIGGRAPH where a teaser of a result precedes even the first letters of the body. But perhaps he is better known as the person whose motivational speech (The Last Lecture series of CMU) about achieving childhood dreams enthralled people across the globe, people like me who have not even met him. My thoughts and condolences go out to his family. He is survived by his wife and three children.

For someone who was well recieved and loved by those around him, Randy’s health was obviously a matter of great concern for many and perhaps for that he maintained a detailed journal of regular occurrences in his life. Reading about his roller-coaster ride through the last couple of years, I cannot but really salute his enthusiasm, passion and love for life and family. Even though I have never met him or his family I totally understand their loss and how much he will be missed. By friends and colleagues as well. Perhaps I can relate to his experiences even more because of happening inside the walls of my own extended family. My thoughts go out to being a mute witness for roughly 7-8 years to a courageous lady battling renal failures. Regular dialysis, days of good and bad health – but in all a happy life, marred only by the sorrow of not being around to see my cousin graduate from a boy nearing the end of his high school to a man, now working in a multi-national corporation. While I was much too younger to understand regular medical updates or even be part of discussion on the health issues at that time, Randy’s log somehow brought them all rushing back from the semi-conscious parts of my brain. Time flies, memories remain statically etched into my mind. It seems only a few weeks ago that we had been witness to the Leonid shooting stars from the rooftops on the cold winter night.

Anyway, I guess both of these bravehearts would not want us to grieve over their death, but celebrate their lives. They perhaps serve as reminders of how important people who love us are to us. In the end, that’s all there is to life : Love and be loved. Celebrate life. Rest in peace.

Words to live by : It’s not the years in your life, but the life in your years that count. “Find your passion and pursue it. It cannot be found in things, or money. The more things and money that you have, the more you will look around using that as the metric and there will always be someone with more.”

Blog at WordPress.com.