Archive for August, 2009

27
Aug
09

Power of prayer

It was ’97 Dec. Me and my Junior from Hostel reached Guwahati by train (North East Express) from New Delhi, on our way back home. I was in class 10th and the junior had just joined in 8th. We put up at a friends place for the night and took a night-bus leaving for Aizawl the next evening. It was a journey I was never to forget my whole life.

We met a few Mizos on the bus, happy cos’ we never get to meet our own from where we came. The bus started off, late as usual but we never really cared much as long as we were nearing home. I woke up around 4 in the morning to find the bus had stopped and all I could see was darkness. But as dawn broke, we could see a whole line of buses, trucks and other vehicles facing the worst Sonapur landslide ever.

The plan was to cross the landslide with whatever luggage we had, to the other side where another bus of the same Travel Agency would take us onward. We gathered our bags, which was hardly heavy, 2 boys back for vacation from an Army hostel don’t bring home much, and made our way among the winding line of people.

At one point, there was a Tata truck which was covered in mud to the point where the driver could’ve barely crawled out from the top of the window. A lady had slipped off the makeshift path of rocks, to step in waist-deep slush of yellowish mud. It was drizzling lightly which didn’t make the trip any easier. We were wet to our socks.

We reached the other side, covered in mud from the knee down and finally managed to find our bus. Only a few co-passengers had reached, so we loaded our bags and, being the honest boy scouts we were, started back to help out others. By the time we reached the old bus, we found it to be empty and everyone had gone. We started back lightly, but happily, running a few paces, to the other side again only to find our bus had left.

We had kept all our cash, except for a few change, in our luggage with our wallets. We didn’t want them drenched afterall. So we were ROYALLY SCREWED. There were no more Mizos, no familiar faces, and we were stuck in the middle of nowhere, without our luggage or money. Cellphones hadn’t even reached India. That was the worst feeling ever.

I knew some Hindi at that time, so I approached a bus driver who had just emptied his passengers and fortunately not many to bring back. He was kind enough to hitch us a ride till as far as he went, which was on the outskirts of Silchar. Upon reaching there, we started asking around for any vehicle that might take us to Silchar so that at least, we can somehow make it to Vairengte. That was as far as we had planned, to reach Vairengte and somehow make a call home for help.

It turns out that Silchar was far, far away from Vairengte (Never knew that then!) and the localites told me I needed to get to Bagha first before I can even think about Vairengte. Finding no means of transport and unable to afford the available ones, (We probably had less than Rs.100 between us) we started walking towards what we figured was Bagha. We didn’t have anything to carry so it wasn’t such a bad idea.

It was high noon. We had walked for quite a while, enough to dry even our then-wet shoes, when we reached a CHOWK kinda place where there were a couple of roads that led out. We hadn’t thought of this possibility and we were screwed once more. With the little amount of money we had, we decided to have chai and think it out.

In the midst of the confusion, a miracle happened. There was a man with a small shop next to the chai-wallah, whom we had asked for direction. He happened to know that we were Mizos, and could speak a little broken words himself. Who would’ve thought that in the middle of halfway between Silchar and Bagha, one would meet someone who actually spoke Mizo, no matter how bad. He had worked in Aizawl for some years and used to stay in Tuikhuahtlang. I still regret not getting his name or something, but then, that was the last thing on our minds.

He showed us the right direction and said we might get a Town bus had we waited for some time. We were too excited to be on the right path again that we left once more, on foot. We tried hitching a ride as vehicles passed by, but no one wanted to give a ride to us 2 dirty, slit-eyed young boys lest they rob them or something. We really didn’t notice time passing cos’ neither of us had a watch, but after what seemed like an eternity on a humid Silchar-winter, we finally hailed a Town Bus. Never in my wildest nightmares had I thought I’d be riding in a Town Bus in Silchar, surrounded by people who eyed us suspiciously. We weren’t a normal sight.

We somehow reached Bagha. It was probably my 3rd time in Bagha and 1st time on foot, it took us quite a while, but we managed to find the MST Bus station. We were told that the next bus leaves in the evening, but we didn’t have enough money to pay for the ticket. So, we started off again for Bagha Bazar where they said we could get an Auto to Vairengte post. It didn’t take us much time reaching there. It was late and starting to get dark, but we still had a long way to go.

Bagha Bazar was like heaven compared to what we had been through. There were a lot of friendly faces, and even the unfriendly ones at least could speak Mizo. We saw an old lady who was tugging a huge bale of PAAN leaves, too big for her anyway. We helped her load it and she agreed to share an Auto till the post. With uplifted spirits, we reached the post and on Mizo territory, we were halfway home.

We hardly noticed the walk from the post to the first shop. It was too good to be true. We had a few change left and we decided to use that for a phone call home. Knowing the telephone connection those days and the price of STD, we just had enough time to freak our parents out. I wouldn’t want to be in their shoes at that point, ever!

It was dark, and chilly. we could hear the sound of dinner in the houses nearby. Without a plan, without money, with no direction and no hope, we started out for the post, hoping the guards there might be of some help. They were kind enough to allow us to check the registration numbers of Vehicles coming in from Silchar. We had noted the number of the Bus we had loaded our luggage into, and it was 3443, but it was nowhere on the list. By our calculations, by then, the bus would’ve crossed Vairengte hours prior, if not reached Aizawl. We were once again.. you guessed it.. SCREWED!

I don’t really consider myself a very religious person, God-fearing, yes, but not religious. But at that point, I decided it was time to put the situation in His hands. We had done our best, but it was not enough. I excused myself to go to the loo, locked myself up and prayed like I’d never done before in my life. I came out the same person, nothing different.

An hour later, a bus, smaller than the one we were supposed to be on, stopped at the post. We wouldn’t have given it a second look had it not been for the Number Plate. Interestingly, the number was 3434. Upon closer examination, we saw the familiar faces of our co-passengers. They had stopped to change buses in Silchar and had, MIZO-ly, loaded our luggages onto the new bus, thinking they would at least leave it at the station in Aizawl had we come to claim it. They had even asked the driver to wait for sometime in Silchar, in case we might turn up. That was why they took so much time to reach Vairengte.

No words could explain the relief that overwhelmed us at that moment. It was pure bliss. I thanked God all the way home and couldn’t believe what we had gone through the whole day. Later on, I wondered if the situation would’ve been different, had I stopped to pray when the bus had left us.

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19
Aug
09

Desperation

As I laid my head down to rest
  on the softness of my pillow
I tried to sleep but knowing
  that dreams were far away

A deep and disturbing thought
  awoke the gray cells of my mind
I’ve heard about the news abroad
  A man had massacred his family

He shot his wife and children too
  then pulled the trigger on himself
I thought what horrors must’ve this man foreseen
  to take the ultimate step

What pain must he have anticipated
  Not to leave his toddler alive
If he had reached the end of the rope
  Why didn’t he call for help?

Was it that help was nearby waiting
  for him to put his faith
Or was it that it was nowhere
  and his frantic search proved futile

I wondered why such an ordinary man
  was compelled to do the worst
And if faced with the same desperation
  Would I have done the same?

13
Aug
09

Rock on!

I recently watched “Rock on”. I know that its kinda late cos’ the movie released a year back or sumthin’, who cares. I got a good feedback from friends who listen to good music, so I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. Great storyline, script and acting. I think the movie is under-rated, but then, what would one expect anyway from a crowd feeding off ITEM NUMBERS and PHOREN DANCERS.

rock-on_1bThe movie starts with the Glory days of a band called MAGIC (Aptly named cos’ Arjun Rampal’s character creates magic with his hands, while Farhan Akhtar does the same with his voice!? I know!!). Then, reality kicks in with present day, each member busy with their own life, with a certain bad experience that left them crippled and broke the band apart.

Arjun, the lead guitarist, now runs a small music shop and performs at small gatherings. He has a kid now and is struggling to run his family with his wife, who was once a groupie of the band. Purab is an associate of some sort, not sure what. Anyways, Luke Kenny, the keyboardist and bassist, now makes jingles for commercials, with ANU MALIK, which he hates. Hehe.. And Farhan finally finished his MBA and now stuck in the corporate world, married to his job.

The reunion sowed its seeds when Purab happened to meet Farhans wife, who btw had no idea of her husband’s past, through a business deal involving her friend. She invited him and asked to get the gang along for Farhan’s Suprise B’day Party. And the REAL story begins.

The flashbacks were well thought-out. The reason for the break up was very real, the album contract, the record deal, the selling out of the band, the disagreement, the fight, the last words.. etc etc… It kinda reflects on the reason most bands break up, cos’ they eventually have to make a lot of compromises owing the record companies’ want to make the maximum profit. I think this is as real as any Bollywood flick would get. I think that budding musicians, at least in India where promotions are few and too far off, should watch this movie and see beyond the story. Because it is the simple disagreements that break bands apart, unmet promises, unfulfilled dreams and dying hopes. To really make it big in a country like India, and still be able to make the kind of music they want to make, THAT is a successful rock band.

I love music of any genre, but rock is ultimate because it stands against something and that is what makes it unique. I know our Local bands have a lot of talent, creativity and melody, Hell, I wouldn’t mind paying for their music if MP3s weren’t so damn convenient. Had it been the 90’s, I would’ve totally paid 45/- for a cassette. I just wish that with current advances in the internet and technology, we could use that to our advantage to showcase that potential to the world. If the NUMA-NUMA guy can get millions of viewers, why can’t our Rock-bands?

06
Aug
09

50. SWINE FLU ALERT!

This is my 50th Post, hence the number before the Title. I thought I’d make it personal with a nostalgic post about how I started the blog, how I’ve tried to keep updating regularly and blah blah blah… who cares! Lets do something else !

SWINE FLU

With the city being the one with the most confirmed Swine Flu cases in the country, and the unfortunate death of a little girl from the virus, there seem to be no initiative taken yet by the Civic Authorities in regard to the education of the masses and prevention of further spread. Apart from the usual “CAUTION” and “IMPORTANT” Emails from the Management, I personally don’t know much about the flu. Got an SMS from home to cover my mouth and wash my hands regularly, not sure if that’s going to help.

So, I referred to the most extensive, inexpensive and frighteningly prompt and accurate source of all the world’s information, GOOGLE. It seems that there is a mixed feeling as to how the Virus has been projected by the media and how some people think others are over-reacting while others are under-reacting (If there is ever such a thing).

But gossips and rumors apart, here are some of the information I found out:

Symptoms:

Like seasonal flu, symptoms of swine flu infections can include:

  • fever, which is usually high, but unlike seasonal flu, is sometimes absent
  • cough
  • runny nose or stuffy nose
  • sore throat
  • body aches
  • headache
  • chills
  • fatigue or tiredness, which can be extreme
  • diarrhea and vomiting, sometimes, but more commonly seen than with seasonal flu

Serious Symptoms:

More serious symptoms that would indicate that a child with swine flu would need urgent medical attention include:

  • Fast breathing or trouble breathing
  • Bluish or gray skin color
  • Not drinking enough fluids
  • Severe or persistent vomiting
  • Not waking up or not interacting
  • Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
  • Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough

High-risk groups:

  • pregnant women
  • people with chronic medical problems, such as chronic lung disease, like asthma, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and immunosuppression
  • children and adults with obesity

Need – to – know:

  • Swine flu likely spreads by direct contact with respiratory secretions of someone that is sick with swine flu, like if they were coughing and sneezing close to you.
  • People with swine flu are likely contagious for one day before and up to seven days after they began to get sick with swine flu symptoms.
  • Droplets from a cough or sneeze can also contaminate surfaces, such as a doorknob, drinking glass, or kitchen counter, although these germs likely don’t survive for more than a few hours.
  • Anti-flu medications, including Tamiflu (oseltamivir) and Relenza (zanamivir), are available to prevent and treat swine flu.

Reference:  http://pediatrics.about.com/od/swineflu/a/409_symptoms.htm

Having done all that, I felt I have gained at least some knowledge about the virus and the ways and means of preventing it. Sometimes, in our big, huge country, our attention hungry-media (No offense to anyone tho’) tend to overexagerrate small issues, making mountains out of molehills, or anthills for that matter. They don’t mind drawing emotions from the masses by witholding the truth and telling half-lies for dramatic effect so they may gain more viewership, etc etc.

Sometimes, we have to stop staring at the TV/Newspapers and find out for ourselves what the REAL deal is. We just can’t believe whatever we hear or see while we sit idly in our living rooms. I guess we need to start searching for answers ourselves so that we may find what we believe, and not the other way round.

And with that thought in mind, I got back to my cooking of fresh and delicious Pork from Shivaji Market, boiled with a paste of ginger and garlic, salt to taste and a large cut-up piece of cabbage. I thank my stars Swine Flu don’t spread by consuming swine.