Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Meeting the Lion in its Den

A hurried post after almost an eternity, chiefly to not let go of the excitement.
Amma's friend is a part of popular news-reader of yesteryear, Varadarajan's drama troupe, which had gone to Gujarat for performing there. One (or more) of the members seem(s) to have been a Modi-fan and expressed interest in meeting the man. Somehow, someone seems to have got hold of the Chief Minister's Secretariat's office, just to give it a shot. When the person at the other end said he'd get back in 15 minutes, our folks got skeptical and thought it was as good as gone. When they were consoling each other with "Hey, at least we tried"s, about 10 minutes later, they got a call saying the CM would meet them for half an hour the same day at 12 Noon. This was the day or a day after he had returned from China.

Our folks, whose excitement knew no bounds, immediately bounded off to the CM's home at about 11:30 AM and were escorted to a room. Just as the clock struck 12, in walked Narendra Modi, with a cordial "Namaste" to all. He then proceeded to ask each person individually to introduce himself/herself and asked what their play was about. Then asked them if they had been to the newly renovated Akshardham temple. And casually, rattled out that there were about 5 lakh Tamilians in Surat, while they constituted the largest population (about 1 lakh) in Maninagar, his home constituency, where their Drama was staged. Our folks were quite amazed at how the man (cliché alert) had facts at his fingertips.

Then Modi saab spoke about the Biogas plants that were in operation in Gujarat and mischievously asked them if they needed some, seeing how power-deficient TN was.

The drama guys then enquired about his China visit to which he said it went pretty well. One thing that they said was evident was the amount of pride in his tone whenever he spoke about Gujarat - be it the Akshardham temple or the Biogas plants or the Metro (or BRTS, not sure).

One of them then quipped "How nice it would be if India had 28 Namo's", to which our man simply smiled (who's going to be the first one to comment "28 Namos? Yeah right, and commit mass murders & slaughtering of Muslims all over the country", come on guys).

When one of them told Namo that they had initially tried to get permission to meet him via Cho in Chennai, who had said he wasnt sure when Namo would return from China, Modi said "Aah, Cho saab...woh toh mere Guruji hain."
Inevitably, the question about Prime Minstership came up, and our man genially looked up and pointed both hands upwards. :-)
After 27 minutes, NaMo automatically got up and asked the folks assembled there if they wanted to take a photo, and after the customary photograph, bid them adieu.

Picture Courtesy: Dinamani

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Putting the Crazy in "Dream"

I was in some grand hall in the US, whether or not White House, I dont know, since I havent been there, but it had something to do with a US President. Lots of people assembled there. I have a hunch I was there as a journalist. I dont know what the different events scheduled were, however the main event that I remember - honouring Herbert Hoover's chief cook/maid (an old'ish woman) for her service to the Hoover family. She was wearing an apron and some head-gear and gave a speech in which, among other things, I remember her mentioning about BJP and another distinct thing - "Nehru's aesthetic yet atheistic sense" being the cause for something. Those two words were unmistakably there - "atheistic" & "aesthetic".

1. After I woke up, I was confused whether it was Herbert Hoover or Harry Truman, but I remembered the initials HH being in the dream, so concluded it was Hoover.
2. No, I have not been reading up on the Hoover dam, though I spoke about it with my parents some 2-3 weeks ago when they were fondly recollecting their visit there.
3. The closest I came to something in the dream is seeing some NDTV-type culinary awards on TV on Sat/Sun in which ITC-Maurya won the best Cook award and a guy in a Chef's get-up came and received the award.
4. Oh yes, I do talk/read about the BJP everyday.

I am not going to ask you guys if there's something wrong with me.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Taking Stock of the Present & Re-evaluating my Options for the Future

It's been one year now since I returned to India for good and I guess looking back and analyzing how the past year has been would be in order, especially considering the return to India was something of an inflection point.
At a very superficial level, the return's been a rather interesting mixture of more of the same with a lot of differences.

is obviously the most  important aspect and while I can safely say that I'm not doing something I *don't* want to be doing, I'm definitely not doing something I *want* to, at least over the long run. This is in keeping with a pompous statement I had made to one of my college teachers when I had met her a few days after returning - "I may not know what I want to do, but I definitely know what I don't want to do."

This front has been one of the biggest fails of my return. Once the initial surprise/excitement over my return (though my parents had an idea that I would mostly be returning, I hadn't given them any details about my actual return) subsided, it was immediately replaced by disappointment that their son was no-longer an NRI. My parents aren't these super-wise or intellectual human beings who can get over a disappointment easily. It took me a long time to come to terms with the basic fact that they wanted me to, if not settle down in the US, at least spend a reasonable amount of time there. For quite some time, this attitude disgusted me, but then, I slowly realized that all this came from what they had been subject to in their life. Add to this a plethora of colleagues/acquaintances from a super-typical middle-class TamBrahm background who felt they had attained moksha now that their kids were married and settled in the US. Ok, without elaborating further and presenting the script of a sad documentary, let's just say that I realized that my parents' aspirations for me were perfectly valid, only, they didn't sit well on me, and that's currently the major point of contention at home. I'm pessimistic about a win-win result and though I want to taste success in something I have set sights on, I doubt if I have the cut-throatedness in me to see them settle for an unhappy compromise (at best) or give in to my whims (at worst). Neither do I think I have the killer instinct to finish off what I think I want to do . :P

have been reasonably ok, or in fact, rather good. I've made some unexpected relationships for life and built upon old ones.  On another more obvious front, without going into the details, let me just say that I have now realized I am more single than ever. :D
And though those of you who follow me on twitter might cry hoarse at my hypocrisy, I will admit that despite pseudo-regular cribs of being single and all that, I'm really not in a position to get into a relationship at this point of time. Parental pressure, however, is weighing heavily on me, and I'm not sure how much more I can hold up.

no major vyaadhis so far, but fitness is somewhere on the lower side of all my 26 years of existence. This is another regular talking-point at home - dad shouting at my lack of exercise from time to time. I still can do a lot of things, but am far from "fit". Absolutely no sports but for the occasional soft-ball cricket at work.

Financial Express...
is just about ok. No major savings from the You-Yess-Yeah, but something to call savings yes.

Quite contrary to my hopes & expectations, there has been a noticeable drop (at least from within) in my spirituality. Yes, I might still continue to do my daily prayers without fail and attend the occasional spiritual youth camp, but when it comes to the Bhakti Bhaava within, I can definitely say there was more yearning and reverence for God and/or dedication to spiritual pursuits when I lived a bachelor's life in Chicago. I don't know if this is a case of "Distance makes hearts go fonder", but there. I hope this phase is either thanks to a hectic work-schedule & pressure or is just some kind of illusion and whatever be the case, I get back to normal some time soon.

So then, where does that leave me - discontented and disenchanted to a major extent. I don't think I'd be way off the mark if I say my return to India, at least thus far, has been Fail. Then again, what followed my decision to return might have been bad, but I still stick to my decision of returning. At least the conscience is clean. :)
Coming back to life here, I seem to be existing rather than living, something that my parents seem to have noticed, unfortunately. I seem to be going through the motions. Make no mistake, I'm not exactly living a drab life sans friends, entertainment, etc, but that zing is so totally missing.
As I enter my second year here, I look forward to it with hope. It's not that things cant get worse (they can, for sure!), but there are more things that can make things better from now on, than worse. Then again, you can never be sure!