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Chennai. For years it was synonymous with the rust-coloured, clock-towered Central Station, a transit point on journeys to and fro from Pondicherry. A comma, a semi-colon at most, that you paused at for a while but never really cared enough to give a thought to. It was that hustle-bustle of a big city quite alien to the quiet of the five-street Pondicherry that was home.

But in the past two years, Chennai grew into much much more, and all seemingly at once, or at least in quick succession. It was college at ACJ, work at The Hindu and home at Ramaniyam Gallery. In an ironic reversal of roles, home at Pondy became the transit point as I returned there like a homing pigeon on practically every day off in the week, even if it was only to spend a few hours.
In two years, that must be give or take100 trips on the Pondy-Chennai ECR. Freaking 32,000 km. Name any hour of the day or night and chances are I’ve traveled at that time either one way or the other. At times it was six hours of traveling for fewer hours home.

Come to think of it, they could make a film, “Down on the Ground” about my journeys on the ECR. It’s a pity Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation and PRTC don’t have a miles program. If they did, by now I’d have given George Clooney a run for his money while holding a platinum privilege card guaranteeing lifelong free travel on the ECR.

Anyway, in the beginning it was always getting to Pondy that felt like homecoming, until slowly, that feeling extended to Thiruvanmiyur, Ramaniyam Gallery, and Apartment 5B. Whichever way the bus was headed on the ECR, it felt I was always going home, and that was comforting to say the least.

There’s something quite liberating about living alone, in a place that feels like and you’d love to call home. To be in charge, in control of things. To be the one making the rules of what’s allowed, what’s not, and to be responsible and sensible enough to know the difference. To be the host. To cook, to sweep, to do the dishes. To shop for vegetables and groceries. To dance like no one’s watching, to sing like no one’s hearing, to sleep when the hell it pleased you, and more so to wake up like the day was all yours.

But all that’s a closed chapter now. And for now at least, in a strange way, Chennai seems more home than Pondy. I know it’s only a passing feeling, because while I’ve learned to live away from Pondy like I never thought possible, it is still too much part of me to be replaced by any other city.

I guess it’s just one of those days when you feel warm inside about being nostalgic and sad in a happy sort of way. To look back on two years spent in a city that went about its way, and let you go about yours without making too much of a fuss. A city that grew on you and developed into words and sentences from the punctuation mark it once was.
Words and sentences that might perhaps fade inconspicuously into pages, without ever fully getting erased. Coming up every now and then, like bittersweet thoughts that resurface quite inexplicably when you are idling, thinking of nothing in particular, staring at the ceiling fan go round, or looking blankly at the fleeting scenery on a long road trip.

Be it the little girl who walked in the evening with her grandfather by the Thiruvanmiyur beach and waved with subdued excitement every time I crossed her as I trained for the marathon or the peanuts man who kept my cone of hot, boiled peanuts ready at 6 p.m. for me to munch on during the short walk to the MRTS station, or just sitting on the water tank of the tallest building in the area and watching the 21st century go busily about its business far below to the right, while to the left, the white surf lazily came and went on the black Bay.

Home is where the heart is all right, but right now that’s all over the place. I never thought I’d feel this way, but I’ll miss Chennai… I’ll miss Apartment 5B and all that it represented… And even though I’m homeward bound, I guess I’ll miss my home.

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The Agony and the Ecstasy

 

Gingee, December 8, 2008: 16:54.13. That is what the digital display of the watch said and no, it didn’t mean 4:54 P.M. This was the duration – approximately 17 hours – for the annual 73 km walk from Pondicherry to Gingee Fort undertaken by students, ex-students, and faculty and sports instructors of the Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education at Pondicherry. We began at 1:30 P.M on ‘just another lazy Sunday afternoon’, and reached Gingee Fort on Monday morning at around 6:30, having walked through the night!

Early on, it seems like a cake-walk

Early on, it seems like a cake-walk

This Gingee walk is neither a pilgrimage nor is it a walk or a campaign for an espoused cause, it is a walk to test one’s mental and physical endurance by doing something challenging. Those who think that the whole concept is freaking crazy, are right too because when it comes to this walk the hendiatris is ‘Challenging, Freaking, Crazy’ much like ‘Citius, Altius, Fortius’ is for the Olympics. I asked my cousin to join me in this endeavour and he said, “2000 years of evolution of the wheel, the motor and mechanised transport have not taken place for me to take part in this prehistoric walk! If I want to get from Pondy to Gingee I’ll take the bus.” (more…)

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The wall on the landing of the third floor, proudly displays a century-old Soth & Homa clock and the corridor leading to the bedroom and the adjoining workshop, is lined with antique wall clocks. Some are working, others not quite, and every piece shows a different time, unlike the regular clock shops where each one smiles down at you. The staggered ticking of the numerous clocks, almost make it seem that time moves in each one in strange and inconsistent ways. Adagio here, Lento in some, allegro in others, and halte in that one. A walk in the corridor seems like a time travel of sorts in a time-warped zone. The quarterly, half-hourly, and hourly chimes of the various clocks indicating noon, half past ten or quarter past two, in a span of a few minutes, is perhaps what is meant by bending space and time!

Corridor of Uncertainty

Corridor of Uncertainty

On entering the workshop adjoining the bedroom you find 65-year-old Promesse Jauhar working intently at his desk. A soldering iron in hand he repairs a wrist watch, looking through a monocular magnifying eye-piece. Promesse is a teacher by profession, but antique clocks fascinate him. He has been buying, repairing and selling them for over 35 years now. (more…)

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Drona Review

 

Take a large helping of Harry Potter, add two tablespoons of National Treasure, a teaspoon of King Arthur and Tarzan, a spot of Phantom and garnish with sprinklings of The Prestige, Mr. India and Om Shanti Om. Stir well for two years and voila, you have the perfect Behl, oops – Bhel mix called Drona. Directed by Goldie Behl and starring Abhishek Bachchan, Priyanka Chopra, Jaya Bachchan and Kay Kay Menon, the film does not fit into any particular genre. It is at the same time a fantasy, a mythological and a super-hero flick, Bhelled into one.

The film opens with the explanation that Drona is a warrior clan that has been protecting the secret of the elixir of life – the Amrit that emerged aeons ago when the Devas and the Asuras churned the ocean – from the clutches of the evil Demons.

Now cut to present day Prague where little Hari Puttar – sorry Aditya (Abhishek Bachchan), lives with his uncle and aunt in a dark attic with a single window. He is ill-treated by his cousin and his aunt and is unaware of his true identity and powers. Nobody remembers his birthday save his co-workers, who are in fact bodyguards protecting him incognito, much like Harry Potter was when in the Muggle world.

Now on his birthday when he is down in the dumps, a magical, blue rose petal leads him to a cupboard where he finds and wears a jewel-encrusted golden bracelet worn by Dronas. He then proceeds to watch Riz Raizada’s (Kay Kay Menon’s) magic show. Riz is actually the modern-day Asura searching for the Amrit. Aditya and Riz happen to shake hands after the magic show and there is a strange connection that both experience – did somebody whisper Voldemort and Harry Potter? On seeing the bracelet, Riz recognises the Drona and sends his hooded faceless (De)men(tors) after him. Aditya is however rescued by his bodyguard-in-chief, Sonia (Priyanka Chopra). She reveals to him his true identity and briefs him about Riz and the Amrit. She also takes him to his true mother (Jaya Bachchan) in Pratapgarh, Rajasthan. (more…)

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The Birth of a Blogsman

This blog has been hibernating in the eternal sunshine of my thoughtful mind for several months now, and all my efforts to coax it out onto the blogosphere proved futile. Some weeks back, I finally decided to push myself to start my blogging career and signed up on Blogger in all enthusiasm. But that was as far as I got. As I discovered, enthusiasm is an element that unfortunately has a very short half-life. Four days in my case.

Satisfied that I had broken the inertia, I presumed Newton would take care of the rest. And so, I postponed posting the first post to some post‘er’ date. Two days later, I get a mail from the Blogger Team telling me that they suspect the blog I created to be a spam blog! (I didn’t even know such a thing existed.) Hence, they were locking it down. If I wanted them to consider a review, I was to click on the link provided.

Oh, when I mentioned earlier that four days is the half life of my enthusiasm, it is so under standard test conditions. In case I’m tested further by external, unfavourable stimuli, it comes down to two days. Anyway, that was how far my journey on Blogger went. Just the one step to the simple three-step signing up! And luckily for that. Otherwise, I might have never come on to WordPress or might have come here much later.

Well for those who don’t know, (I don’t either, it is just the general opinion that I now conveniently subscribe to) the difference between WordPress and Blogger is like the difference between a Mac and a PC. (Have you noticed how those Mac guys move around in a supercilious manner, looking down condescendingly on the PC guys?) 

Well I don’t know if WordPress is really as great, but I know that Blogger sucks. They called me a spammer! Not that it matters, it feels good to be on this side and see that the grass is not quite as green on the other. It is the right perspective!  

So anyway, here’s The Write Perspective.  A blog I hope to maintain regularly without being religious in my regularity. Views, News, Reviews, Articles, Features, Interviews, Profiles (journalism school does that to you!) will hopefully all figure on the Write Perspective. And for the cynics, I’m on the brink of discovering a new isotope of enthusiasm which has a much, much longer half life, so don’t be misled by what I wrote earlier.

Instead, read on…

If you agree, and find the perspective right, keep visiting and clicking. If you don’t, and find the perspective wrong and are annoyed or provoked, keep coming nonetheless and you can hit me again and again. In that respect, I am quite objective. I value both your clicks and your hits equally. In fact, to prove my disinterested outlook, I’ll count them without distinguishing between the two.

You know how they say it is very important to take the hits in life? I agree. Only then can you truly rise to blogospheric  heights!

That’s it for now, before some smart fellow comments that “The Birth of A Salesman” would have been the more apt title for this post!

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