The show must go on

The master lingers on forever. His discipline, his quotes, his sense of integrity manifest in his pupil. The pupil, for his part, is distraught at the loss of his master. He craves for the guidance, for the stern handling, for the “system” that the master had so painstakingly built. But, things are too open-ended now. He is on his own.

He wanders, looking for new inspiration. But, it is indeed difficult, for these are still early days. The learning curve is steep. And there is no reassuring voice urging him to reach for quality. Then, there is the lure of the low-hung fruit, which he must avoid.

The master has left, but he has set the tone for his pupil. He has set the bar very high, and the pupil must strive to reach the mark. The learning must not stop. The master is the inspiration–the pupil must keep this in mind. 

The show must go on.

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2013 in review — Better late than never

Okay! I know WordPress was late in doing my annual report, but its not my fault! So, here’s my report of 2013!!

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 14,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 5 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Looking back.

My month long stint in Hyderabad came to a close on last Sunday. Never before in my life has a one-month period meant so much to me.

Strangers became friends, a rented apartment became ‘home’, and deep within myself, I discovered a mirror image of my Mum.

I had never imagined that I would have the same obsession as Mum when it came to cleanliness, and washing clothes. But, one morning at about 1:30, when I found myself cleaning up after a party and loading trash bags before throwing them out, I stopped in my tracks!

“Shit! I am just like Maa”, I said to myself, with much horror.

Perhaps that is how things work. One grows up picking up qualities from parents, without even realizing it at times. In more ways than we realize, we are mirror images of our folks, no matter how hard we find it to admit.

One thing that made the Hyderabad experience most memorable was the visit from Allwin. It was the first time we got the opportunity to meet in real life. So you see, virtual friends can become real life friends too, and very good ones at that!

He took all the trouble of coming from Coimbatore to Hyderabad, just so that he could spend a day and a half with me. That was remarkable!

Now, the shift from virtual to real is surreal. You know the guy, you comment on his blog, you exchange thoughts through facebook and phone calls. Yet, when you meet him in real life, it is different.

It took my mind takes a little time to re-associate the Allwin I knew with the Allwin I was seeing before my eyes. To start with, he really doesn’t look like the gravatar image on his profile. That picture is a younger version of Allwin.

He was taller, and lankier than I had imagined. But, when he spoke, it was no longer difficult to associate the two Allwin’s. The association became easier, and fifteen minutes later it came naturally.

Through the photographs on his laptop, I was introduced to his history – his life in college, his first job, his family. In an hour’s time, the author of Allwin Bright writes was no longer only a guy behind the computer screen.

The best experience has to be the chat we had sitting outside the apartment from 3:30 to 5 in the morning. Sitting under the starry sky, with a pleasant breeze blowing across our faces, I discovered a new dimension to friendship.

Despite all our cultural and geographical differences, somewhere deep down, we relate to each other very well. Glad to have discovered a great friend through this blog.

Thanks Allwin!

Book Review : Along the Red River.

Book Details:
Publisher: Zubaan
Imprint: Young Zubaan
Publication Year: 2013
ISBN-13 : 9789381017012
ISBN-10 : 9381017018
Language : English
Binding : Paperback
Number of Pages : 320 Pages
Information Courtesy : Flipkart.com

Review:

“My eyes continue to look at the far away tiny boat beyond the horizon, hanging as it were from the heavens above! I smiled to myself. Happy. Content. I have no regrets.” – This is the concluding line of “Along the Red River”, an autobiography of veteran journalist Sabita Goswami. The line, in many ways, aptly sums up the author’s journey that has been portrayed in this autobiographical account.

“Along the red river” captures Goswami’s personal and professional voyage in the backdrop of the turbulent times of the Assam Agitation and the following years of chaos and disorder. Threats to life, gender-based prejudice, the bitterly competitive nature of journalism, and an unpredictable husband – these are but some of the odds she faces in her bid to cover news from the disturbed North-east.

But Goswami survives, nay, she flourishes. She manages to travel extensively throughout the entire North-east, while also bringing up two daughters almost single-handedly. Journalism becomes her sole passion in life, and she manages to always get back to it, despite several distractions.

She offers an objective analysis of the Assam agitation, its shortcomings, and the ULFA’s diversion from their ideology. It would serve the reader well to note that all of this happened against the backdrop of a time when the ULFA would target people who took a stand against them. Criticism of the ULFA came at a price in those days. Many a times one would have to pay with their lives.

There also surface underlying contradictions, as the author juggles different roles adeptly. A fiercely combative Goswami, who minces no words in her professional interactions, is a stark contrast to the lady who doesn’t confront her husband even in the face of his highly erratic behaviour. When she does confront him in the late years of her life, she is also very quick to forgive him and accept him back in her life.
Perhaps it goes to show her dilemma, wherein she can’t shun the love of her life, in spite of being terribly wronged.

At the end of the journey, we find Goswami’s resolve and hard work paying off, as she gives her daughters the best education and values, and they become strong, independent women, while the author herself is able to establish herself as a distinguished journalist.

The book ends on a melancholy note, as the author finally finds the stability that she had been looking for, for years together. She finds a home, though not among the blue hills and red river of her native place, but in faraway Mumbai, with her daughters, and grandchildren. Finally, she finds some repose from the marathon she had been running in. She finds time to reflect. She looks back on her life and the myriad experiences that she has had in its course – the turmoil, the horrors, and finally, some happiness.

To Maa, with love and so much more. . .

Reblogging an earlier piece. . .

Subh Dasgupta's Blog

FOREWORD : Sorry for the long post. But, some emotions need more words.

Today is “Mothers’ Day”.

Well, I don’t know how I’m supposed to celebrate this day. When I was growing up, we never had these days. I particularly remember celebrating two ‘days’. “Children’s Day” and “Teacher’s Day”. Thats all.

So, these ‘days’ were never celebrated when I was growing up. But, its a novel concept. Its a wonderful idea. Earmarking a certain day to dedicate to your Mom or Dad is always nice. Having said that, I still haven’t wished my mom. I simply don’t know how to do it. It feels very awkward to actually walk up to her and wish her “HAPPY MOTHERS’ DAY”.

Don’t know why, but it just seems too tough to do. I’m much better off writing. I know maa would never read my blog. I know this will never reach her. But…

View original post 743 more words

Home.

Home is a word that brings with it a plethora of emotions, memories, and images. You tend to get used to a given set of images, sounds, and sights that makes you believe that you are ‘at home’.

When that set is assaulted by a whole new set of experiences, you tend to feel a little lost. The climate is different, the food tastes very funny, and the language is alien. You meet new people and the gather new experiences – all of this happens too quickly, and before you know it, you are overwhelmed by it.

But, we humans are such great fighters. We learn to evolve so beautifully and quickly, that oftentimes the end result can be incredible.

Here I am, 2370 Kilometres away from my home, in a city entirely alien to me, in a flat with two guys from two different cities. Yet, I am at home. We have our own house rules, our own in-house jokes, and our favourite topics for discussions.

This, for me, is the triumph of the human spirit. We find a way, we find a home; sooner rather than later. We build new experiences, and feelings that make us feel ‘at home’ again.

 I’ve found a ‘stand-in’ home for a month, but it doesn’t mean that I don’t miss my real home, the blue mountains and the red river, and more than anything, I miss my people. For now, this ‘stand-in’ home makes me feel a little less lonely.

We forget.

What does one do when one loses one’s faith on humanity?
How does one remain the foolish optimist, no matter what happens in one’s country?

Here are two ‘developing stories’ that dominated Indian newsrooms today –

First, the rape of a ten year old girl in a bus in Delhi. Yes, once again it’s a BUS. Once again, it’s DELHI.
The second story comes from Jaipur, India’s pink city. A man cried for help for thirty whole minutes on the busy National Highway, as vehicles passing by first slowed down and then passed him by brazenly, without caring to get help. The man’s wife and 8-month old daughter were hit by an over-speeding truck.

The CCTV cameras were able to capture footage of the man frantically circling the two dying people lying on the asphalt. He was begging for help. Help didn’t come, no, let me rephrase that, timely help didn’t come.

I couldn’t watch the footage for long, and went for a stroll on the terrace. The weather was calming. A cool breeze caressed my face, and the soothing images of rain-washed trees were indeed consoling.

I could also hear the faint notes of music that floated through the air and reached my ears. It must have come from some distant Bihu concert.

Not very far, people were celebrating the Bengali new year and Rangali Bihu – two widely celebrated festivals.
I want to shout at them, “Where are your bloody consciences?”.

But then a little voice inside says, “What have you done?”. How dangerous is this blamegame that plagues our society!
What moral superiority can I claim when I’ve let down our own little campaign called VFD?

Sure, I can give excuses but they can’t massage my conscience. How different am I from the mainstream media?
I like to think I’m practical but in matters like this I let emotions take control.

Great work can’t come until the soul feels, and reaches a point where it has only one option left – TO ACT. Where is that emotion today? It is nowhere to be found because a lot of worldliness has gotten into my head. I’m starting to see the futility of all this.

The rapes haven’t stopped in India. We haven’t become better humans.
It won’t be an easy night tonight. But I’m hoping that something positive comes out of it. Am I starting to sound rhetorical?

A fresh perspective.

It’s good to be back on the blog. I feel very bad when the blog is neglected for days together. But, I was helpless. The exams got over just yesterday, and I was supposed to post this sooner.

But, I was terribly sleep deprived, given the 4-hour sleep per day that I was having to do with, due the exams. So, after long, I slept for ten hours straight and woke up this morning feeling fresh.

I have arrived at a decision. Those who have been reading this blog regularly will have noticed a certain change in the tone of the articles that were being posted. They were turning political. I believe this blog is personal and it should always be that way. It is a little goofy, sometimes philosophical, and it tells a good story at times. This blog can’t deal with the uptight nature of a political analysis blog.

I created this blog when I was in the final year of college and it is a little amateurish. But, I guess I’d love that innocence to stay.

Plus, I wasn’t sure if it was fair to push political article down the readers’ throats. They have different expectations from this blog, I believe. So, I have created a separate blog for my political writings. I have named the blog “The Politically Incorrect”.

Here is the url of the first article : http://politicallyunbiased.wordpress.com/2013/04/11/the-battle-of-the-hash-tags-and-how-much-can-be-read-into-it/

So, readers will now have a choice of reading or not reading my political writing. As for this blog, it will continue with it’s usual genre of articles that made it what it is today.

One small note : the other blog’s settings are a little different. I will have to personally approve each comment before it can be published. I chose this setting because when you put your political thoughts out in the open, it is bound to have it’s share of haters or people who disagree. Even that is acceptable.

But, when people call you an agent of a political party, it is then when the boundaries should be set. This happens to journalists who are on twitter, all the time. They are bashed up online for having an opinion.

I don’t want any of that.
I look forward to reading your articles. I might have to do some bulk-reading of your articles, because of the backlog due to my exams.

The posts on this blog shall continue at it’s usual frequency – one post per day and since this is an update, it doesn’t count as a post. So, another post is coming up soon before the day ends. Happy reading to y’all!

Not a mirage.

It wasn’t a mirage. My hopes were not broken. Your good wishes have helped me.
Thanks.
So, no more suspense.

Maybe, you’ll find that the actual thing behind all this “build-up” is not that big. But, please understand that, for me, it means the world right now. It is the single drop that has somehow managed to rehydrate an entire desert.

I am not unemployed anymore. I am now a journalist for a new and upcoming news cum social media website. I shall soon be leaving for my training. I’m really psyched about this.

It is an incredible feeling – to have a job even before you’ve cleared your final exams. I’m indebted to my soon-to-be employers for seeing the potential in me to help their product perform well.

I shall be reporting for the North-Eastern part of India – a conflict and insurgency prone area. The compensation is more than good and finally I’ll be valued for what I am – a writer with an opinion on everything.

I have always heard that those people are fortunate who have their passions as their dayjobs and suddenly I realize, I’m one of them. I still have to pinch myself. It hasn’t yet sunk in.

When I wrote a post called, “Yes! Dreams do come true!” for my best friend whose armed forces dream has come true, I recieved a lot of flak for writing feel good, Disney material articles.

I have an opinion about this. There is so much negativity and depression in this world that many people even don’t bother to dream. Many live in areas where dreams are a luxury. So, when, along with my socially conscious articles, I also churn out feel good, but real life stories, it is those people who I want to reach. Or any depressed soul, for that matter.

Because SUCCESS matters! You won’t appreciate that if you haven’t had failure. One reason why I value this job so dearly is because I have had a lean patch for 6 years.

This is more of an update than a blog post but I also wish to give a final message or two, through this.

DREAM – both with your eyes open and closed and then work your backside off. Also, a special word to those who use the blogform questionably – One of the reasons why I got this job is my blog.

Even a simple blog matters. All the more reason to treat this medium with the due respect it truly deserves. I’ve always tried to suggest that through my posts that the blogform is a fantastic medium.

It pays to give it your best. You never know who’s reading.
Once again, thanks to all my friends on wordpress and elsewhere. Keep writing.

I wouldn’t be posting for two weeks. There’s a hell of a lot to be sorted out. Bye 🙂

Mirage?

It is not everyday in life that you find yourself standing at crossroads.
It is not everyday in life when the phone call you’re eagerly waiting for can change your life forever.

This is amazing. One phone call. Never had I imagined that one phone call would be so important.

Have you had only failures and disappointments in your life for six long years? Then, out of nowhere, there appears this one opportunity that can make it all work.

You give it your best shot and then, it all boils down to that one final phone call that’ll decide your fate.

I stand at such a crossroad today, my friends. I wish I could’ve divulged more but I can’t.
I want to pray but I risk looking superficial and selfish.

I don’t want to run to the Lord in my hour of need and forget him for the rest of the days. I’ll either be religious or a non believer. No half measures for me.

I just hope that my ability shines through and fetches me what I desire so fervently. I have never harmed anybody. I’ve been good. So, like a superstitious little boy, I want my good karma to fetch me good luck.

It is time to count my blessings and hope that the best possible result happens. I could urge you to pray for me but I don’t want to hijack your prayer.

Just send your good wishes my way, friends. I’ve seen sand and only sand for miles.
Now in the distance I see some water and cool shade.

I hope it’s not a mirage.

P.S. : I swear I wanted to share this with you but I’ve made a pact with myself that I’ll share this only if that phone call generates a good result for me. I am sorry.