Sunday, December 28, 2008

Bombay: Act I

There was nothing unusual about that morning in Raipur. Just that it happened to be the 3rd of December and I categorically remembered it as the date on which I had joined law school five years back. So, on my way to the airport, as the car sped along the empty road, random thoughts kept crossing my mind. After all, besides leaving law school, I was also parting away from the city I was born and brought up in. Though I knew that I would be making short trips once in a while to see my folks, any long term stay would now be out of question. More importantly, I was aware that even during those trips, my mind would be too occupied with mundane matters to ever allow me to savour Raipur that way again. So, gaping at the countryside from my car window, I was trying to take in as much as I could in those last few moments.

When I stepped out of the aircraft at the Bombay airport, I was completely taken aback by the weather. Until then, I had spent all the Decembers of my life wearing warm clothes. But, Bombay made me realize that this wasn’t going to continue in the near future.

If carrying four huge suit cases wasn’t sufficient to attract everyone’s attention, my guitar took care of the rest. Unlike others, the cab driver couldn’t keep his curiosity to himself and asked me if I worked in the film industry. “If only”, I said letting out a sigh. I told him that I had come to Bombay to work at a law firm and a guitar unfortunately was to be of no use there. But his curiosity had not ended there. “I seem to have seen you on television”, he said. I couldn’t help but gleefully smile at him.

The next four weeks saw me settling down in a South Bombay flat along with Adarsh, shopping, savouring cuisines, watching movies, plays (watched one while sitting next to Shashi Kapoor at Prithvi Theaters), musical concerts and of course working (only to make sure that I continue doing the former activities in the days to come).

As I pen these words, I can also sense a slight chill in the air. All in all, so far so good!

Here’s wishing all of you a fantastic 2009!

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Those were the best days of my life!

The final semester at law school has been one of the best I’ve had in the five years spent here. I’m pleased to let you all know that I’ve learnt to play the guitar. Vivek, a junior of mine, who also happens to be a fantastic guitarist, ensured that I picked it up in good time (in just over two months). Here’s a rendition of one of my favourite songs. And I can't thank my parents enough for having borne with all the noise I made over the last two months.

About thirty odd days of law school life remain to be lived. I’m extremely happy and yet very sad!

Those expressions at the begining of the song were to prevent my mom from walking in front of the! And I know that there is a lot of scope for improvement!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Past Perfect- I

On that nippy December evening, soon after the law school became bereft of girls, twenty-four starry eyed law students set out on a mission. While some of them were exuberant with zeal, others followed what came to be known as ‘class orders’. Though it lacked the seriousness of a military operation, the enthusiasm some of our men displayed, gave it all the sanctity one would normally associate with a highly classified rescue operation. But for a serious lapse on part of our intelligence unit, it could have been a different story altogether. Before you jump the gun, I’ll throw some light on the backdrop. The mission objective was to watch the late night show of a movie which, as we were to discern later, had lived up to its name.
When all the occupants of a boys’ hostel (we were the only occupants of our hostel then) at a national law school decide to stay out in the face of a 9:00 PM deadline, the complications that follow are nothing but inevitable. While almost half way into our operation, as one marathon song followed another, and as a volley of dialogues over powered our senses, two of us panicked and deserted the troop. I realized that in naming the movie ‘LoC’, the producer was referring to the minimum level of patience the audience was expected to have. And certainly, I fell way short.

As we returned to our base (read the hostel), the watchman welcomed us with an extraordinary smile. Before I could deduce his intentions, the sight of an unseen lock on the door of my flat sent several chills down my 18 year old spine. I realized that the authorities had been tipped off and the stealth operation was never that covert after all. By now, the watchman’s smile had widened even as his eyes shone with sarcasm.
We immediately contacted the troop and informed them about this unexpected development. For that already exhausted lot, the news came like a bolt from the blue. Amidst the heavy artillery fire, it was almost as if a hand grenade came out of the screen. They abandoned the mission and ran towards the hostel. It was late in the night and yet most of them were fortunate enough to find transportation for returning back. However, some of our men were scattered all over the battlefield (read the movie theater) and were so deep in action that they could not even be informed about the happenings at the base. They withstood the entire onslaught with unparallel courage and resolution. After the movie finally got over, these men were rewarded for their gallant effort when they failed to find any conveyance and had to walk all the way from Shyam Talkies to the Boys’ Hostel at 1’clock in the night. Meanwhile, back at the hostel, the rest of the troop was getting ready for spending the night, out in the cold. As we deliberated over our further course of action in the dead of that night, the ambience reflected that of a night on the warfront. By the time the last group arrived, we had given up our hope of the warden showing up.
Just as we started preparing to sleep outside, one of our valiant men showed qualities of a highly trained combatant and successfully infiltrated a flat through its constricted bathroom window. Soon, the backdoor of that flat flung wide open. If only the warden knew about the high level of competence some of our men possessed! As our men started taking refuge in that flat, the watchman gaped in helplessness. Nevertheless, most of us decided to take on the challenge and opted to stay out. Some braved the night on the planks lying in the watchman’s room while some others cuddled inside a small enclosure in the verandah (which was later used to house the water cooler). If the grueling night wasn’t enough, the next morning witnessed us getting castigated by the warden who felt it necessary to subject us to an excruciatingly lengthy sermon on how our action was “so unbecoming of national law school students.”
One could have treated that day as just another bad one. However, while facing such music, if one is conscious of the fact that he is still wearing clothes he had put on more than twenty four hours ago, the possibility of taking things lightly goes into the oblivion. And all this for a goddamned movie! All twenty- four of us were made to write apology letters. I can still recall the contents of mine.
The day was 26th of December, 2003 and we were barely twenty days into our law school lives. We broke the law and deserved to be punished. Nevertheless, now that we are some 70 odd days away from becoming lawyers, I realize that there is no point in studying so much of law in the first place if one can’t- at times- take it in his or her own hands!



It’s been almost five years. The warden referred to above, is the present warden for Boys at National Law School, Bangalore. And till date, we have no love lost for him. This would hopefully be followed by memoirs on other pleasant happenings at law school. Watch this space!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Return to the Wild!

I had first set foot in Bandhavgarh around nineteen years ago. Dad, a lecturer of Orthopaedic Surgery then, had been just transferred to the Rewa Medical College from its counterpart in Raipur. As we adjusted to a new place, Bandhavgarh National Park being some hundred odd kilometers away from Rewa, soon became the preferred destination for most of our family outings. When relatives and friends visited us in Rewa, we invariably found ourselves making road trips to the tiger country.

Fortunately, my family’s love affair with this place survived Dad’s return to Raipur some time in the mid nineties. We continued coming to Bandhavgarh, though the place was now some four hundred odd kilometers away. The distance nevertheless reduced the frequency of those trips. We could now visit Bandhavgarh only during my summer and winter vacations. Later, as I got more and more occupied with studies, those visits to Bandhavgarh came to an abrupt end at the turn of the last century.

After finishing my first year at law school, I along with my brother and five cousins, finally came back to Bandhavgarh in the winter of 2004. It was an unparallel experience to relive those childhood visits we had made in the past. I had however, not started this blog then. And therefore, when mom and dad suggested early this month that we could make a trip to Bandhavgarh if I wanted to, the very thought of going back and sharing my experiences here, made me return from Delhi where I was in the middle of yet another internship.

Here’s an ode to the place in its own words,


Life’s at crossroads again, and I hope not to go over the edge;
For I know, to salvage my soul, there would be no crane. :-)

Monday, January 21, 2008

A wish!

On seeing that falling star,
I couldn’t help but make a wish,
That when you do walk away,
May I have the heart to say goodbye.