Thursday, January 26, 2012

It had a knot!

This post was originally posted at the new blog Classics of a Class... at as part of a class assignment.

After a complete week of Steve Jobs craze that finally resulted in me being able to complete the biography, I proclaimed that this is the first thing in 7 years that has been able to keep me hooked to it after Harry Potter. The life that this ‘arrogant’ man lived who knew just one thing really well- how to talk- is sure to be a big inspiration for me. But right now, I concentrate on this new blog entry at a new blog- the third blog I am writing for after my personal blog and the Creative Call blog. And my theme of writing is, for now, not related to Jobs at all.

It’s the 26th day of January today and it has been 62 years since 1950- A big and significant day for the Republic of India. Don’t worry; I am not going to write down the history of this, starting right from the 1930 Purna Swaraj resolution. If you are an Indian and reading this, then you are surely aware of the complete thing. If not, shame on you! Google it right now!

Till this morning, I had no idea what I was going to make this entry on. It was perhaps going to be something related to trains. But an event this morning compelled me to write about today’s day.

Last night my aunt got me to write an introductory speech, for the Republic Day Celebration in our colony, that she was to deliver. The speech didn’t take me long to write- 5 minutes and it was done. How? Simple reason for that. I am used to writing these kind of speeches and have done so at least 6 times for the Republic Days and Independence Days from 2005-2007. I opened my laptop and showed her one of the videos that I had saved from the Independence Day of 2006. I was in class 8 then. We, a small group of friends aged 8-14, had formed a children’s club in our colony and we used to hoist the national flag early in the morning (6 AM to be precise) on these two days on the terrace of our building. We used to be in our white school uniforms and prepare for the day, at least a week in advance. Cultural programs and distribution of sweets (we didn’t like the traditional ladoos, so we got gulab-jamuns) had soon become an integral part of the event. We used to go to each of the houses before 6; ring the door-bells and get everyone up to be in attendance. [:D]
A video-grab from 15 August
2006, when the flag had a knot

One of the most common features of those events was the unfurling of the flag (that’s obvious, isn’t it?) Well, what was amusing about this was the fact that when the rope was pulled, the flag rarely ever opened! It had a knot! That happened because of our usual lack of knowledge on how to tie the knot so as to open it in one pull. I remember once using a long stick and once (the video that I showed to my aunt last night) climbing up the pole to open the flag! Hahaha…

And then we used to proceed to school for the flag hoisting and cultural programmes of the day.

I moved to Delhi in 2008 and what I saw here was something completely unexpected and very unusual for me. My friends at Delhi would perhaps be surprised by me terming this unusual and might even disagree- 15th of August and 26th of January were two days of ‘eat-drink-sleep’. That’s it! National holiday! Schools closed! Flag-hoisting on 14th August and 25th January due to security concerns. What the hell was going on?

I got used to this less-patriotic feel soon (Yes, that’s how I termed it when I first encountered the situation in 2008). For the first two years I felt weird, not witnessing a flag-hoisting on the D-days. I did attend the Republic Day parade of 2009 at Rajpath and that was not a great experience for sure. (That’s a completely different story which I wouldn’t like to include here- it would deviate from what I am talking about) But now, after 4 years, even I have got used to this. It’s just another holiday for me now. I was surprised and amazed at the fact that till last night I didn’t receive even a single text message from anyone with the nationalist feeling. (Should I blame it to TRAI’s SMS limitation?[:D])

I should put my pen down now or I wouldn’t have readers for this really-long-boring blog entry! But before I conclude, perhaps you would like to know what event this morning ‘compelled’ me to write this entry. Here it goes- I attended the flag-hoisting ceremony in my colony this morning and when the rope was pulled, the flag didn’t open. It had a knot!

Wish you a very Happy 63rd Republic Day. Jai Hind!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Hey, little train! Wait for me!

The thought of travelling by train has always brought out sheer joy in me. The longer the journey, the better it is. (No, that doesn’t mean delays. I refer here to the distance travelled) I have preferred trains to air journey, considering the fact that I have got bored with six flights alone (the journey seems so short then. It hardly makes me believe that I am already at a distance 1500 kilometres away!) Does that sound weird? Well, it does to me!

Time to confess: Even now, at the age of 20, the sight of a train sends out signals of excitement and joy from my mouth. I so long to enter the locomotive and engine the train for at least some kilometres- a top-priority on my bucket list!

Why I love train journeys is a mystery to me. No, I have no interest in observing the different kinds (sometimes they can be referred to as ‘breeds’ as well) of co-passengers I come across. Nor am I interested in doing a mechanical engineering in locomotive functioning. Not even in furniture or interior designing. Then what is it about the railway that fascinates me so much so as to make me love it more than even the privileged and luxurious mode of air-transport?

I have no clue.

I remember when I was introduced to the Harry Potter series and got to know that the students travelled to Hogwarts on the Hogwarts Express from Platform 9 and three quarters that is accessible on entering a barrier between platforms 9 and 10 of King’s Cross station in London, I dreamt of getting my home connected to my school (merely 3 kilometres away) via a toy train that would ferry me to and from the school each day. I so wish this had been a reality! Harry you were so lucky! :D

I had been to Darjeeling at the turn of the new millennium and to my dismay, the toy-train journey I so looked forward to, had been cancelled due to a landslide. So we took a bus instead. Had we returned to Jalpaiguri we could have taken the toy train which had regained operation and I had already got pictures clicked with it at the Batasia Loop. But we had further plans for Gangtok and so, the toy train journey had to wait. Again, when I was in Class 9, my parents and relatives planned a roadtrip of Maharashtra. We went to Matheran, the smallest hill station of Asia. The curves that the Tata Sumo took on the way up the hill to Matheran were fiery. The toy-train journey would have been much safer and convenient. But, there had been some recent landslides that had brought down the tracks at many places and anyways, we were on a roadtrip!

So I still await a toy-train journey to a real hill station.

Over the last few years since my parents have considered my travelling ‘alone’ in trains was a safe bet, I have always preferred to have a Side Upper berth, so I can sit, eat, read and sleep all at the same time without having to get down from my seat for anything other than going for the emergency natural calls. Still, if I get the chance, I prefer taking a seat next to the window and stare out at the rushing landscapes. Movies like the Burning Train, the Polar Express and the Nightmail, have only increased by enthusiasm and anxiety to be a part of train journeys as often as possible.

A recent train journey from Delhi to my hometown and back was when I got this and some more ideas for blog entries. Yeah, that means there are going to be more entries regarding trains in the coming days! I hope you enjoy reading these.

About the title to this post, well it's a title which I came up with after a real-struggle! This post has been ready since last night, but I couldn't come up with a suitable title. The title is a line from Nick Cave's popular song O' Children. If you are wondering, how I, who never has an ear for English songs, came across this one? Well, isn't this the same song that plays on the radio when Harry and Hermione are dancing in the tent in Deathly Hallows Part 1 after Ron's departure? Hehe... :D

Have an experience or an entry to share about your journeys on the Indian Railways? Do leave your views/the link in the comment. :)

Monday, January 09, 2012

A Date with the Cars

You say electric cars are the future when there would be no more petrol left? Or would it rather be the flying Ford Anglia from Harry Potter so you can take off your car from a traffic jam and just rush to your destination flying? Or probably, you would prefer staying on the ground and go for the next best Audi, Volkswagen or Nissan convertible model? After today’s experience, I would probably like all three of the above options and if possible add a bit more to that as well! :D

What happened today, is that what you are wondering? Well, I had my day 1 of semester 4 of my BJMC course and it was great to see my 1st semester teachers back teaching us. Ok, coming to the point: I live in Delhi and after some discussion regarding cars in the class, was one of the above 70 thousand visitors to the 11th Auto Expo at Pragati Maidan today and that is where my fascination for cars was observed by me for the first time ever in over 20 years of my existence! (Another first time was the 150 bucks I paid to enter a fair- well, I won’t deny the fact that it was worth it!)

No don’t worry, I am not going to bore you by mentioning details of the many car (and the female homo-sapien) models that I saw there and which might take as long as 3 years to hit the roads in our country. I would in fact prefer focussing on the fun and awesome parts only. Mind it, some of these are weird!

The Flying Chevrolet Beat
After visiting the BMW, Tata, Toyota and Audi halls (yes, the Audi Q3 as well), a long queue leads us to the Chevrolet and Ford halls and we take a glimpse around. The Chevrolet people have set up a stage and there is some kind of cultural activity going on to keep the crowd entertained. I am least bothered as I am focussing on the red car and the two-seater battery cell. And then I hear the words, “Put your hands together for a ‘flying’ Chevrolet Beat”. Flying?? I turn my head towards the stage and behold the moment. The Beat was actually rising above the ground! I think: there ought to be some wires somewhere holding the car! Or probably they have attached the bottom of the car with a hydraulic balloon or something which they are controlling by remotes! Well, no! The car rose two metres above the ground and started rotating and then it moved towards the other end of the hall, towards us! It was FLYING! What the hell? I video shoot the complete 2-3 minute demo and when the car moves back to its resting place, I wonder why the windshield is so dark? It’s completely black, as if painted! And, well, yeah, it was painted!! In fact, the whole car was painted! I told my friend, “It’s a dummy!” And the reply I get, “Of course it is!” Well, that was a wonderfully awesome exact look-alike of a Chevrolet Beat. The whole thing was a remote controlled hydraulically pumped up and moving inflated balloon that I, a science student two years back, failed to notice! Now laugh! :P
BMW. The model..well, no idea!

By any chance did you notice that I wrote ‘the red car and the two-seater battery cell’ above? Any idea what they are called? Do let me know if you find out. I wonder if anybody at the Expo was aware of the names of the cars on display. Clicking a picture and if possible, ‘touching’ the dream-cars was what everyone seemed to be busy with. Aakhir naam mein kya rakha hai sirji? (What’s in a name after all?)

From the makers of
Tarzan- The Wonder Car
Next stop, the Mercedez Benz. Well, the queue! 40-minutes in the queue lead us near the entrance of the hall. Not long now, we think! And there is an announcement: Due to excessive and unmanageable crowd inside the hall, the exhibits were being closed for the day! How would you react to that? We moved to the Mahindra and Maruti Suzuki stalls. If not Mercedez, they are still the same ‘M’ at least!

The Audi Q3
Entering the Maruti hall the first thought that struck me was ‘An Apple Store?’ That was probably due to my recent concentration on the Steve Jobs biography. But, the area bore such a startling resemblance to any Apple Store! It was pure white- The colour that the first Mac was back in 1984 and the colour that has become the trademark of Jobs’s company as a result of his ‘unusual’ thinking! Coming back to the Maruti hall, the crowd at the huge hall didn’t actually let me have any second thought! The superbikes were stunning though (I wonder where the Yamaha V-Max was!) Another important fact we couldn’t help but notice was that this seemed to be the only stall where all the models (I mean the ‘humans’) were Indians!

I have been to Pragati Maidan previously on many occasions (precisely, thrice) including the trade fair and the Delhi book fair, but for the first time today I realized how big the area actually was. By the end of the day, my friends and I were struggling to keep our legs moving as we had focussed on seeing the wonderful cars so much that we hadn’t had any food since morning (except a lunch box probably)! Due to the lack of proper food intake during the day and having to follow a schedule after more than a month (including waking up 4 hours before my scheduled time- that is 12 noon, if you were wondering), I am having a severe headache right now, but still I am sitting in front of my laptop (something which I ought to avoid) and typing this entry just because I feel so exhilarated right now!

Hope you enjoyed! :)

Saturday, January 07, 2012

#150: A special milestone achieved!

Yeah, this is just another blog entry. The only difference being the fact that this is my One Hundred and fiftieth entry on this blog! You probably guessed that from the post title. So what now? Yes….time to congratulate me! :D

I wanted to make this special. And so, I decided to make this my first photo-blog (Yes, you should thank me for not getting you to read excessive rubbish this time [:D]). For this I conducted an extended photo-shoot of some of my most-priced possessions. Frankly speaking, the photo shoot turned out to be almost 2 hours long (setting up the background, fixing the three-point lighting and converting the bedroom into a studio) and of course, getting the not-so-camera shy ‘models’ ready for the shoot.

Take a look at the picture slideshow below:

Yeah, that’s my complete Harry Potter collection, some of my most priced possessions. And if you ask me ‘Why this?’ Well, today is the 7th of January 2012- exactly 7 years ago on this day and in fact at this time, I witnessed the world of Harry Potter for the very first time, which changed the course of events in the past 7 years of my life. And yeah, like Lord Voldemort, I have grown a fondness for this magical number ‘7’! (Look out, you might be my next horcrux! [:D])

 Surely you didn’t notice that Dumbledore has one of his glasses missing in the picture? Clever trick it is (if it fooled you! [:D])

I am sure you know that I want to know what you feel about my magical and extensive craziness for the world of Harry Potter. Are you a Potterhead as well?
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