Saturday, August 10, 2013

Death - The Other Side of Life

Life is a puzzling poem, involving as it sings;
Making us work out until death takes on.
Its a promise by life I'd meet death one day,
When the heart gets tired and pain long gone.

Deepest of the sleeps stripped of dreams,
Offering the torso the best comfort.
As the engaged soul begins its departure,
Divorcing the body with a gentle spurt.

The body stares into the space of darkness,
While the spirit searches a ray of beginning.
Standing at the horizon of life, the lifeless,
Bids farewell to the disembodying being.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

The English Expedition - London and Cambridge

One can find the flag of the United Kingdom on almost every building in London. I could think of various reasons - like it symbolizes their pride or it showcases the "unity" of the United Kingdom or they are insecure about the fact that the people might not recognize all those buildings as a part of the United Kingdom or may be they just happened to have a surplus of printed flags - but could not come to a conclusion on it. Not a very important question, though! And, seriously, no offense meant to anyone. I would only like to write about the beautiful feeling that this country injects into us. 
I happened to visit the United Kingdom, mainly London and Cambridge, over the last week. I know that people have talked about the beauty of London a lot and I would just be passing over redundant information. But, I can't resist myself from writing about all those pictures stuck throughout my brain. 
I sometimes feel that the people from India feel more comfortable being here, not because it is developed or is free of most of the diseases engulfing India (it might not be!), but because people here do not question your decision. You are not answerable to the "society" for what you do and what not! You have the freedom of choice. Then again, people aren't a part of that big a society as in India. I guess, if you need to be a part of the society, you'd have to respect it's feelings more than yours. Once more, I have deviated from the beauty of London and that, again, is a personal feeling and no offense was meant to anyone.
The trip was part of a summer school to Microsoft, Cambridge; one of the benefits you enjoy being a part of a renowned institution. I reached London at around 9 in the evening and met my friend after four years. Strange that there was no drama in the meet and things seemed to be the way they were four years before. As he was busy the next day, I happened to continue the errand of touring London on my own. It all started with a visit to the Greenwich Meridian. I am not sure if it is worth something to feel about, but when you are standing on both sides of the Meridian, with your legs defining east and west, you feel the conqueror! On a more serious note, it was a great experience to visit what, just, used to be a part of our Geography books. Atop a hill, there was beauty in all the directions you could see. They have taken care as to maintain the tourist spots, unlike most of the city. Most of it, actually, feels like India (in a good way, of course). The climate suited a tour through London.
After wiling about an hour at Greenwich, I reached the National Gallery. As they say, "the best things in the world are free!" It is truly a paradise for art lovers (this was the first of its sort that I had seen); and the entry was free! One could awe contemplating the paintings on display there. Right in front of it is Trafalgar Square. This is where the plot of the film - DDLJ starts. It is a war memorial where many events are organized these days.
Later, I walked over to the British Museum. It is surprising that most of the tourist spots in London are a stone's throw away. Also surprising but digestible, is the collection of artifacts at the British Museum. Dedicated to human history, it has, apparently, the largest and the most comprehensive collection of works ranging geographically from east to west. It, again, is as awesome as described. Consisting of some of the world's priceless works, it is a major attraction in London. A visit to London is incomplete without a visit to the British Museum.
I, then, decided to pay the Queen a visit and walked over to the Buckingham Palace. Another structure of beauty surrounded by parks and people. I sat around enjoying the beauty of the palace alongside the cool breeze flowing that evening. Before retiring for the day, I decided to have a look at the Big Ben, Westminster Abbey and Houses of Parliament. They were, again, structures of marvel. Apart from all these, I also happened to like the buses and taxies operating there. They had a touch of authenticity in them, which was very pleasant.
The next day, I continued my journey to Cambridge, not before trying to enter Platform 9 3/4. My colleague joined me on my trip and we set out for the summer school. Cambridge is as much beautiful and perhaps, even more authentic. Old buildings add to the beauty of the place, which is like a huge university itself. There are colleges all over the town. The river Cam, from which it derives its name, flows quietly through the town enhancing its beauty to the fullest. There is not much to see apart from these colleges and the riverside attractions (not to forget the punt). We visited The Eagle pub, where the discoverers of DNA were frequent visitors, hoping to get some ideas of that sort. But then, it was not in a single visit that they had gotten the idea. Nevertheless, the journey to Cambridge was fruitful and enjoyable. We came back to London over the weekend to enjoy some of its other attractions.
My friend from Leicester had decided to join me for another tour of London. It gives you extreme happiness to see someone you know, especially an old friend, in a foreign land. We went over to the London eye, clicked pictures, spoke about stuffs that happened in the past four years and the ones that were happening, and relaxed a bit. Life seems really wonderful with friends and family always around you. The highlight of the day was the dinner at Vasanta Bhavan. Indian food is always welcome. The Indian diaspora had a strange feeling of being at home.
The next day we went over to Madame Tussauds to check out the wax statues and have some photos taken in some weird fashion. It is another awesome place to be at, when in London. After spending quite some time there, we went over to the "London" bridge. Another piece of splendid construction that marked the beauty of London. With only some time left before our departures, we came back to King's cross to appreciate the beauty of the station. We bade, each other, adieu and continued our journeys back.
On the way back from London via Paris (don't worry, you're next!) to Saarbruecken, strange thoughts kept clouding my mind. And the urge to go back home (India, obviously) was at the peak. Anyways, I enjoyed the trip to London a lot and would like to visit it once more to appreciate its beauty some more. "If you are tired of London, you are tired of life." I am not sure who said this, I just happened to hear/read it somewhere, but it most definitely is true. More than that, I enjoyed meeting my friends there and spending time with them. As everyone says, life needs to be enjoyed to its fullest. And, I just did a part of it in London.

Monday, May 6, 2013

There are some things Money can't buy!

Well... Not literally, though! It is quite the medium for it, but that is because we have made our lives complicated enough to weigh our happiness in monetary terms. But, the smile on someone else's face, because of you, is worth umpteen millions you could possibly earn. Most of the times you need money for that as well, but I think I have made my point clear. I am talking about the same happiness that a mother has when her baby is born, the happiness that a father has when his child excels, the happiness that a girl has when her dream-boy asks her out and the happiness that the guy has when his gal accepts his love. There are infinite number of feelings that could exact this category. And so was the cute smile that grew on my sister's face when I gifted her my presence for her engagement. I do not intend to boast about the gift, which might not be the best possible one. But, the smile on her face was enough to flood me with happiness.
After a wonderful and highly memorable trip to India, I have given up my ambition of achieving something in life. It is not that I am not going to become someone important, but that is not what is giving me happiness. No offense to myself but being a step away from realizing what I want, I am not that very happy. I realized that I am only happy with my family and friends around me. Ambitions and aims give happiness for a very short time. But, the air of your loved ones surrounding you freshens you up every now and then. Last year, my friends drove down from Chennai to Bangalore for wishing me birthday. This time I have everything other than wishes. A couple of years back all my friends called me up and wished me; this time its just a couple of them remembering it. I am sure that if I was back there, people would have wished me all day long. But, is it mistake on only my part to move away from India. I am not sure how many times did they try to contact me. May be it is just I who need them and am being selfish asking a lot. Or may be it is too much of expectations.
It would not be wrong or disrespectful to call humans, emotional fools. I ain't aware of any such disorder in animals and other living beings. Also, I am not taking away the emotions from other living beings; they are as much drowned in emotions as we are. But, sometimes I feel that those beings have a balance of everything, hence, unaffected by a sudden burst of feelings. The species Homo sapiens, on the other hand, stands out for having a lot of other ailments that make the flow of emotions notable. Humans are caught up with so many responsibilities, they have forgotten their main aim - living. They are unable to strike a balance between all the different emotional streams emptying into them, which ultimately results in a tsunami like happening in their lives. Nevertheless, it is this feeling that sets us apart from others and helps, at times, in making the worst and the best decisions of our lives.
I have always maintained the fact that happiness is what we thrive for. And sacrificing it for the sake of some materialistic benefits has always been one of our greatest mistakes. It is normally too late by the time we realize this. People in the process of realizing their dreams bypass a lot of lanes, which could have contributed to as much happiness and possibly, more. And by the time their dreams become reality, they mostly get lost in the land of dreams. There is an unexplainable satisfaction in making others feel lively and it is not just money that can fulfill this. It is our presence and actions that largely determine the joy that lights up someone. And this is far more expensive and precious than anything else. Practically, these might not be possible without money, but, neither is money the only source for it. Our calculative minds, until they work, do not allow emotions and feelings to rent a place there. Later, it is too late for letting them in. We need to understand that there are things above money and kind. There are certain actions that could help bring a smile on someone's face. I would like to always be on the side that believes in sharing and growing happiness around with a huge gain of joy for myself. There really are many things that money can't buy. And for such things - "Main hoon na!" 
Might not be a properly organized post, but what more do you expect from an upset mind! With these philosophical and possibly, emotional thoughts, I greet you a wonderful year ahead and a very happy birthday to everyone born today including me.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

The Lost Spring

I get up today morning to find that the temperature outside has doubled from what it was last week. Winter had just sunk in at the horizon. Admittedly, this has been the coldest and the most beautiful winter that I have been through all my life. Admiring the snow as it reached out for earth. Marking the footprints on the snow covering the ground, as I walked by. It was a feeling you get when you are watching a movie playing with nature. 
Now, it is sunny outside. And it feels as if it has been this way, always. One cannot guess that winter has just been subdued. And in the war of seasons, somewhere spring got lost. It seems to have cancelled its visit here and may be in other places, as well. Probably, nature is tired of making us feel pleasant after suffering so much. It has drawn a line to end its suffering. What used to be its sweet home is now a partial mess, soon to become complete, thanks to the Homo sapiens
I have just finished watching a movie, which speaks about how irresponsible sons are! Just because their parents help them, they become complacent and end up being a failure. Analogous to this, the humans have also become quite irresponsible and have failed to live up to nature's expectations. It has taken care of everyone, unbiased, as a parent would and all we give it is, disappointment. It is understandable on nature's part to be harsh on us. I am not looking for reasons today, because this is what we have been doing all this years. We need to take actions and strong ones to clean up the mess. If not for nature, we need to do this for the generations that are to pay a visit to earth. Else, it would be no time before which people would talk about a historic season - spring. 
With the hope to raise a few hands towards this, I wish everyone a happy new year and to everyone who was born today, a happy birthday. And also hope that I would be able to enjoy the spring, which everyone described in the most sublime fashion, and which seems to have disappeared somewhere. 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Stranger with Memories

Approaching the castle in the air,
Angled myself before its gates.
Awestruck by its grace and flair,
Awaited what lay in the crates.

Choosing the most comely way,
I entered the land of amour,
Hearts and souls blooming gay,
When my eyes met her.

I walked down the path to her,
Along side reliving past's presence.
The days of talk and laughter
Turned into years of silence!

Was it love or a "black" lie?
Whatever, my feelings it tore.
Thinking the way, as I passed by
A Stranger with memories galore.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Wintry Winter

Beyond the reach of man and kind,
Staring, the orange ball, smiled.
Its warmth, basking the mankind,
Squaring the dark world beguiled.

Cannon firing bullets of snow,
Behind the clouds, between us;
Touring, the flakes, relish the flow,
Asking the breeze earth's address.

The chilly kiss of a floating flake
On the cheeks of frosty water.
And avians walking on the lake
Feigning to stumble and totter.

Enjoying the scenic weather,
I thanked the heavens above.
For, by confines, bonding together
Is Nature's affection and love.

Friday, February 8, 2013

The Non-Indian Month

This is not the first time I have been away from home or India. Yet, the feeling of being away has settled comfortably somewhere in the back of my little brain. Though, I am lucky that things are going a bit the way I hoped to. It is much more difficult in normal cases. But, my thoughts revolve around the fact of me being away and lonely. I am definitely not the only one away from home. There are people all over the world who are far away from their "normal lives." Why! Even my apartment-mates are away from home, and so are most of the other students here at the university. Still, I miss being home, primarily, being with family and friends. 
Anyways. Here I am, in Germany, listening to "Zindagi kaisi hai paheli haye..." It has been a month today, since I left India. At times, it feels like everything happening somewhere else to someone else is just the same story as yours. At times, when you want to get rid of something and run away from it, it seems like it was running with us or may be ahead of us. The gist being that there is something, which awaits its happening, and is hidden nowhere else, but in our cerebral cortex. These lines give a gloomy and philosophical feeling. Nothing of interest in that to me. Watching another movie in a movie-marathon, sort of!
The Indian movies are made in a manner that make us believe things we are not supposed to! People start drawing parallels between the story line and their lives, and believe that things would turn out to be similar to the way, depicted on-screen. What they fail to understand is that the story of every other human being is the same and that the story could relate to only one in a million! What they also fail to see is that life exists even after the movie ends. It is not that the end of a movie marks the end of a life. In some cases it might, but mostly it doesn't. And that "happy ending" is just a feel-good factor and a fraction of life's journey. Expectations - may be that is why Indians hate Indian movies a lot.
Whatever be the reason, they are one of the sources that connect me back home. I feel good watching a  melodramatic romantic motion picture, as it reminds me of home. Given that it is valentine season, it can be genial as well! On the whole, being away from a place special to you, and with the lone company of loneliness, events like the ones above, happen.
I wonder if people back there miss me at-least a fraction of what I do. And sometimes a "NO" stares at me with all its might. I see that there are many people online on social networking sites and chats, but rarely is it that someone "pings" me. Nope. Blaming me would not do! I try my level best to keep in touch with everyone. And believe me, my level best is, nearly, the best that can be done. But, after a time (sometimes the next moment!) it appears as though the other person is not so interested in a conversation with you. Although, you might not be insipid. You, really, don't concern them. If there are just a section of them you need to keep contact with, why have others in your chat/friend list. Just so that you know, occasionally, that the other guy exists! Or may be just for the sake of it. And yes, as I have always said, no one is ever  so busy. It is always about the priorities and desire; and formality, once in a while. Sadly, everything applies to me as well.
Studies and career is what people are crazy about. Though, it is not what they want and they do not know it until late. Over the last few years, and more strongly in the last month, I have realized that the greatest achievement in life is when someone sheds a tear or two in your memory; and I mean, even when you are alive! That tear is more valuable than the millions you earn, not literally, though! The feeling is one such emotion that adds to your quota of happiness. It is this feeling you and I are seeking.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Roaming Rome

How does the Italian dish, pizza, taste at the capital of the Italian Republic? Well, not so Indian :). It is different from what we have back there. I have forgotten the last time I had something spicy. Still, it was something that I happened to try during my tour to Rome. Not exactly a tour, as it was a workshop that I was attending and did not happen to wander around Rome a lot. In fact, I did not even visit the Colosseum and the Vatican! Only with the hope that I shall revisit Rome.
Needless to say, it is a wonderful city and given that this time of the year at Saarbrucken is so cold, Rome was enjoyably pleasant. Though, the start of the journey was not so agreeable. I happened to catch a flight to Rome from Luxembourg City three hours later than the scheduled time. Snow! And I blame it for the reason that I did not get to visit the Colosseum. The flight was yet another experience. For the first time, I had sat in a plane so small. Totally, around 40 seats and looking like a private jet, the plane was exceptional (atleast for me riding it for the first time).
Reaching at my hotel, at around eight in the evening, I met my roommate dozing around, happily. What struck me as the best feature of the room was its washroom, the best part being its adoption to Indian tourists! The conference was a good experience, meeting people from around the world working on similar areas. I realized for the first time what research actually was, and how close I was to the beginning line!
But the highlight of the trip was the journey back to Frankfurt. Clear weather in Rome allowed me to view some of the best sights I have had the pleasure of viewing at. The beach on the outskirts of the airport seemed to be a part of a bewitching painting. Following that, were the marvellous Alps, giving a splendid view of grandeur and artistry alike. I am short of words to describe the beauty of the scene.
Everything said, being back at the university, still, feels good. It feels home! The past twenty odd days have been quite lonely, with me desperately searching for people to talk to. And it is all because of the people back there in India. Nevertheless, I hope to get acclimatised to the environment here, complete my studies and hop back to my country. Missing you India and wishing you a very happy republic day.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Sunshine in Saarbrucken

It took a week-long period to meet sunshine in Saarbrucken. The sun had hid itself for the past six days before showing up with all its might today. It has been relatively much cooler here, even when compared to the winters in Roorkee or New Delhi. Chennai was warmer, in fact hotter, against the sub-zero temperatures running here. I, also, happened to witness the first snowfall in my life last weekend. It, truly, was amazing. As I walked the streets of the city, the snowflakes released from heaven, reached to hug me. Tiny white droplets stuck to my jacket as I was desperately searching for the store where I was to find an alternative to allow my laptop to run. I, strongly, think that these electronics guys should get a standard of some sort for running devices all over the world.
A week back I had started for my doctoral studies from India to Saarbrucken. A flashback of events unfold before me as I pen(well literally, type) this down. Finally, I am far away from home, trying to settle amidst the residents here. It feels a bit lonely with no one to talk to around me except for my advisor and his secretary; though, mostly limited to administrative and academic work. I know it would be some time before I make friends in this foreign country; mainly, as I have joined in the middle of the semester. Things have been pretty neat till now. I managed to get good lunches over the past week at the university canteen. It, quite definitely, is delicious and different. The other meals have been looked after to by bread and butter, mostly. I could have tried my hands on cooking, but am just too lazy to try it now. Staying currently at the university guest house, I am excusing myself from making meals. The city is quiet. And things come to a halt by eight in the evening. I dont quite like it this way. I am already missing India a lot. Having meagrely started with my work, I expect things to change a bit and the environment to get much more friendly, as I continue my stay here. 
Wishing everyone back home, a very happy Sankranti and Pongal.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The Habit

I installed myself on the cot awaiting the Gregorian New Year, seeking solitude. It has been many days since I got time to spend it with myself. It feels peaceful to be secluded and away from the events taking place out there. The world is full of noise not trying to do anything; as they say - "Talk less, work more." No offence, though. Everyone at home is out partying and me, thinking about how the time has passed. Philosophical, I know! But, it actually helps to spend time with yourself. You get to know what you feel. 
A habit is a very deadly disease. It eats you until the end. Years ago, I used to be my best friend. Sharing everything with myself. Things changed with time. And now, it needs to be changed again. Getting used to being at home for the past one month, I have grown a fear of being alone again. It is not like I would not be spending time with them, but, I hope you get my thoughts. There are other fears also. But, those will deteriorate with time. And, I hope this one does, too. 

Gazing the height, I lie,
Searching for that day.
When I was content with thy,
Desolation was gleeful and gay.

Life is not all that lonely,
With you and yourself alone.
Though, with life around only,
Melancholy is overthrown.

Lives become part of yours,
Their joys; and so does pain.
Being a part of their tours,
Refer you solitude once again.

Quite often have I heard,
Leaves you in dark, your shadow.
With light, when you are gird,
Realize, it was always with thou.

In anticipation for the same, wishing you all a very Happy New Year.