aditya kumar's weblog

Archive for July, 2005

Pune, passing by

with 5 comments

I am writing this in a train, passing by Pune right now. On the rail station an old friend came to meet me. We met, a small meeting, pleasantries exchanged. I gave him a copy of “Papillon”, the book I am reading nowadays and he got me a box of food. He knows me well, knows what I like to eat and how much I enjoy my food.

In case this makes it to the blog, I must tell you that I am writing this on the cardboard box. I have no choice since I have no paper. But I feel like writing.

It is raining lightly outside, almost a drizzle. Typical Pune rain. Surprising, in a way, that as I pass by this city I do not feel a flow of emotions. Maybe I do, in bits and pieces but no, nothing more than that. I could have taken a break in Pune while on my way to Bombay but there is no feeling to come back here. Unanticipated, because I have spent about three and a half years in this city. The ‘bits and pieces’ of emotions are whats left by a big emotion, overlapping, overwhelming just about every other feeling. Like a big tidal wave dissolving the effect of the small waves.

Outside the window I see the roads I have walked on, the surroundings of the place I worked, in fact this same railway track I have crossed countless times by foot. Yet, no feeling, nothing happens. Yet another void to swallow.

Written by aditya kumar

July 31st, 2005 at 11:54 am

Posted in Personal

The melodramatic actors

with 2 comments

A few days back Uma came up with a very interesting excerpt from the TOI website. For a change, we are not into TOI bashing here, in case you expect that to happen in the next few lines.

From the crew of our melodramatic actors, Farooque Sheikh comes out heavily on stereotyping in Indian Cinema. “The sardar will always be a soldier or shown eating Parathas, the christian girl will always be wearing Skirts and dancing, the muslim household will ‘adab’ each other ‘300’ times in a film.” So true, and we all accept it so gladly. Actors like Farooque Sheikh are hardly interviewed and when they are, its probably to fill up a one odd page in the magazine or somewhere in the backpages of the newspaper. Look at those words closely when that happens and you will notice frustration and restlessness coming out.

It is a pity, we have actors like Farooque Sheikh, Naseeruddin Shah, Pankaj Kapoor and Om Puri but we do not have the directors to handle them. But come to think of Shekhar Kapur, Shyam Benegal- maybe we do. But where is the cinema that does justice to them? And if it exists, these movies are overshadowed by the Khan Starers or one of those ‘commercial line’ ones. Since “serious cinema” does not make money they don’t last for more than a week in the theatres- if at all they are lucky enough to reach the theatres that is.

Our audience is so much overwhelmed with movies from the Karan Johars, Yash Chopras and David Dhawans that this brand of cinema goes literally unnoticed. The FilmFares keep awarding one of those movies year after year, one of the Khans gets the best actor for a role he could “sleepwalk” in, one leading lady, so to say, gets into the best actress groove for her matkas and jhatkas and playing a love interest to a hero in a movie that could have done without her in the first place.

And I wonder, how the media has gone away from the common man. This has been a trend. First the newspapers and now the movies portray the rich. All characters live in a bungalow, drive Porsche and wear Armanis. Not like yesterdays Amol Palekars and Farooque Sheikhs who portrayed the common man, eating peanuts while walking near Marine Drive, sipping coffee in the coffee house and deriving the simple pleasures life has to offer. Basically- you cannot even live a part of the life of the hero in a bollywood movie today. That’s a fantasy world, in no way connected to you, supposed to be shunned off the moment you come out of the theatre.

So where do actors like Sheikh, Pankaj Kapur and Om Puri go? Hosting television shows, acting in comedy soaps that could be anyone’s take and working in masala movies, respectively, to earn their rozi roti.

Written by aditya kumar

July 30th, 2005 at 1:43 pm

Posted in Blogging,Writing

Rush Hush to Goa

with 3 comments

While formulating a rush hush travelling plan, the last 30 hours or so I had kept for my home- Goa. I came from Bombay, via the Konkan rail route. I took the KonkanKanya express from Bombay VT which began its journey at 11 in the night. As I woke up at Ratnagiri around 6:30 next morning, the landscape that I got to witness was one comprising of bright green lands and trees been sprinkled over by the mountain rains. I have travelled for about 3 years in the same route but have not been lucky enough to watch this treat, which happens every monsoon here. But a little more of these rains, accidents start to happen and the trains start getting cancelled.

Downtown Panjim

This is my second day at Goa and rains have been drenching this land since I came in its vicinity. There is no question of sunlight. The only thing that has changed since my arrival here is the rain frequency and kind. Small rain, Big rain, Angled rain and what not. In the night, the toads and crickets add the chorus while the rain does its usual batter on my home’s roof with varying intensity. The roads are lush green on the sides, in the middle the asphalt shines as it is washed with water from above. The car wipers are working overtime. As I drive by the city of Panjim, the sea on my right is brown. In fact, almost Red. The thickness of the waves has increased by folds since I last saw the sea. Warnings are issued by the state government to stay away from the waves. The newspapers have reported almost a flood like situation in some parts of the state. I have just seen, the sea is red with anger.

Towards NH-17. Porvarim bridge over Mandovi river in the background

Today is my birthday. A brief celebration and I will be off to Bangalore in a few hours. Tomorrow is another day and I will be back at work. But this trip has been worth it. I have travelled closed to 2700 KMs in the last 4 days. I have covered 2 magnificent cities that mean a lot to me. I have been able to meet some close friends and also meet my family. But, I have travelled alone. (Which, contrary to popular belief, I have enjoyed.)

Going out of Panjim, towards Madgaon

Written by aditya kumar

July 25th, 2005 at 7:16 pm

Posted in Personal,Travel

In Bombay

with 3 comments

I have just arrived home after visiting Bombay. Again. For no particular reason.

I do not know, but I am attracted to Bombay. I am not aware of the source of this attraction- is it Bombay- the religion, Bombay- the attitude, Bombay- the spirit, or just the green sea water and the smell that comes with it which so often sweeps Bombay- more so in the rains. Maybe it is a bit of everything and we get to hear similar emotions when authors Rohinton Mistry and Salman Rushdie talk about Bombay. Have you noticed? ‘Bombay’? and not ‘Mumbai’. And why not? I think “Mumbai” is more political. It does not reflect the metropolitan character that Bombay- the city has. I do not recollect people calling Chennai as Madras.

Amidst the local trains which pass through limitless tracks submerged in smells of uncountable variety, near the Gateway of India that stands tall facing the Green Arabian Sea and in the vicinity of Haaji Alli, is a culture to experience, a city unfolding its metropolitan attitude.

And do not try and speak Marathi here, in downtown Bombay for you are most likely to get blank stares in return. The city caters to a never ending stream of visitors, many of them prospective permanent residents who come from different lands of the country. Downtown Bombay is a brew of various cultures. Probably this is a fact that has annoyed the Shiv Sena here- Not being able to speak Marathi and often outnumbered by people from other states has Sena crying in agony. But I believe this is a small price to pay for being the most “metropolitan” of the four metros in India. If not a common language and a flux of different people from all over the country, how else would you define being a “metro”?

My visit was centered around my hot spots of yesteryear’s. The Victoria Terminus, Flora Fountain, Lion Gate (a visit inside that, to have a look at some new ships), The Gateway of India, Marine lines before going back to Dadar via Thane where I had to go to meet a friend. Deprived of Vada Pau’s in Bangalore, we ate countless number of Vada Pau’s, Pav Bhaji and what not. The street vendors along the Fountain area never fail to catch my attention.

The people everywhere here never fail to catch my attention. Bombay never fails to catch my attention…

Written by aditya kumar

July 24th, 2005 at 7:07 pm

Posted in Personal

Jaguars in the sky

with 4 comments

As I stepped out of office for having my breakfast, albeit a late one, the sky was filled with a roar which had an immediate deafening effect. I understood the fighters were flying low. To my pleasant surprise, an airforce aircraft passed by my eyes at a speed which makes these machines usually difficult to spot when they fly at a higher altitude. The sound had already given me a high but this was a rare visual treat. One glance and I recognised the bird: the Jaguar.

I have always recognised a Jag because of it’s rectangular tubed vents that lend the air to it’s powerful Rolls Royce engines. The one which dares to go low, the Jaguar has the capability to be maneuvered to unimaginable limits in order to prove its taste for offensiveness. These are not the shields that protect our skies- these are the fists that overturn foes, these are the machines that have one weapon which is unmatched in combat. This superiority is called “Surprise”. This fleet is not called the “Deep penetration attack” for nothing. And often, to the dismay of the enemy, they show their outrage in style.

But the treat was not to stop there. One by one, three more Jags went over my head and later the four of them in a formation. There was nothing else that could be heard, these big birds were making their presence felt and how. As I witnessed the airborne spectacle and cherished the treat I was offered, they went by, their seemingly thick grey-metallic skin shining under the cool, breezy downtown-Bangalore morning sky’s July Sun. My heart skipped a beat, probably more and I was overwhelmed first by the sheer sound of these machines and then by imagination. I stood there, forgetting just about everything else in the world while these birds of prey went by their business and leaving behind a trail of burnt fuel that reminded me of unrealized dreams.

Below: The 4 Jaguars I have mentioned about- this was published today in Deccan Herald.

Jaguars over the Bangalore Skyline

Written by aditya kumar

July 17th, 2005 at 1:42 am

Posted in Personal

Java Exams

with one comment

For the past month and a half (almost) I had been preparing for the SCJA (Sun Certified Java Associate) exam. This is a free BETA exam which Sun probably intends to make a standard in the distant future for entry level Java Programmers.

Such overwhelming was the response to the free Certification exam that many ‘last-day’ registeration requests were cancelled. And mine was one of them. So a couple of days before my exam I have just come to know that the exam for which I had been studying for the past 40 days is not going to happen. Now, however, since the much needed momentum has been gained, I intend to do the SCJP (Sun Certified Java Programmer) which, by all technical standards, is not only better than SCJA but also costs a cool Rs 7000.

Meanwhile, I intend to post some of my Java Notes that I have scribbled during the course of my preparation, here on my site on a different page. Now that I will be appearing for the SCJP, the date of which has not been decided yet, I have some more time and I ought to be better prepared.

Written by aditya kumar

July 14th, 2005 at 7:08 pm

Posted in Personal,Technology


with 5 comments

Thanks to Madman, my *own* blog is finally up and running. I had a hard time choosing the template. The WordPress community offers so many themes to modify the look of your blog that it is not surprising to be overwhelmed and finally confused.

I started blogging almost 2 years back, when in my first job while doing night shifts there was nothing much to do at 5 am when the mind finally refused to do any further work. Also, that blog was a result of the frustration that had piled up while I experienced a flurry of rejections from The Times of India while I day-dreamt of writing for the publication. I could not(write), of course, and hence my first blog and now, The Times of Truman.

I hope my old blog friends and readers check this one out. Trust me, if it was not for them, some of my friends and fellow bloggers, I would not be writing this. Thank you, all.

Written by aditya kumar

July 14th, 2005 at 2:30 am

Posted in Blogging