Feb 28, 2006

Talking New Year Resolution Blues…

Mine was always to be a good boy. I wanted to brush my teeth and bathe everyday, comb my hair and wear well-ironed clothes, get to college on time and not sleep in class, sit in the library and have some AIR, eat Pillai Uncle’s food three times a day and avoid the Canteen, talk cool with girls, make them laugh and then maybe find myself a partner and roam with her the way so many pairs in HNLU do. I wanted to wear my jeans below my buttocks, be real cool, build some muscles and dance at parties. I wanted to ask long doubts in class, submit projects on time, give moot courts, attend snap tests and finally be an 8 point something.
That was a tall order. But my rock hard will told me I could do it. That was the 31st December, any year since I came to HNLU. Come New Year’s Day and I would take an exception, because excessive partying on the previous night left me with too much of a hangover to put into action any of mine resolutions. Jan 2nd was to be the shubh avsar for starting with my New Year Resolutions. Too much sleep the previous day meant I couldn’t sleep any that night and it was morning before I finally slept. No worry, there’s a whole year ahead. My lucky number the next day – Jan 3rd, I wake up early morning and go for a jog. I’d read somewhere that jogging early in the morning, makes one healthy, wealthy and wise. That was convenient. All the things I wanted to be, in one package. I find out that January is not the best time in the year to go for a jog. It’s bloody cold any morning. I come back with a horrible cold and slight temperature that renders me invalid for the next few days. It’s time for some compromise. Compromise is acceptable as long as the ultimate goal of becoming a good boy is not compromised. This jogging early morning thing does more harm than good to the good boy.
Having thus resolved the first threat to the resolutions, I concentrate the weight of my solid will towards the others and find myself awake at 8:00am on a very cold mid-January day. There’s a fight going on in the room. Everybody wants to bathe first and that too in hot water. Obscenities flit around my ear, and it hurts me to see my friends fighting. I decide I had no reason to put in a bad word, and resolve to wait till everyone has bathed, and in the meanwhile get some sleep also. You see, at 10 minutes each for my six roommates, I had at least an hour.
I wake with a start and look around to find a time-piece showing 11:30. Tomorrow… I told myself. There’s always tomorrow. I bathed in the night that day so that I wouldn’t have to bathe in the morning. That worked out fine. I got to college on time for Prof. Ajappa’s class. The class was jurisprudence and we were trying to nail the term onto a wall for clarity. But jurisprudence was one slippery term, which deftly avoided any definition leaving a trail of unsuccessful philosophers in its wake. I dozed off. Jairam’s bell woke me up, just as the venerable professor concluded his quest declaring that jurisprudence could not be defined.
Then came the days when there were no classes at all. That was cruel, I tell you. God knows how hard it was to sleep after a bath in the night when everybody else is watching some colored movie and then to wake up early morning, brush your teeth, comb your hair and catch the bus before it disappeared in a cloud of dust and then to fight the soft seductions of the computer lab and actually get to class just as your roll number was being called, only to get involved in a losing battle with my old friend, sleep. After all this when you have no class it kills your spirit. Mine was only too willing to die. Sometimes there was class only in the 3rd hour and my dying spirit couldn’t bear waiting for that hour to come. I trashed them resolutions sometime February.

That’s the sad tale of how I ended up not bathing, brushing, combing or ironing any day. That’s how I never did get to college on time, slept when I got there and missed my snap tests and adjourned infinitely my moot court appearances and was well shy of 8 point by the time the year ended. I have explanations for the other failures too. I never got to the library because whenever I went there everybody would stare at me in amazement, their eyes enquiring whether I had not missed the earlier turn to the computer lab. I never got about talking with any girls in the first place, to even think about the happily ever after. About Pillai Uncle’s food… I’m sure I’m not the only failure.
All you folks must be thinking what a dirty, lazy, pessimistic fellow this guy is. For you I’ll tell you, I did achieve some success. I successfully avoided the canteen, thanks to a four-figure against my name on the door. I don’t visit that part of the University anymore. Anyway, this year I’ve optimized my Resolutions and decided to start last week of December so that I’ll be well settled in time for New Year. Then I’ll do all those things I said I’d do and tell you all good folks about it next year. I’ll need your prayers! Happy New Year!

P.S. I wrote this one for the New Year Resolution Competition at HNLU. They didn't give away any prizes because there were only two participants. Tough luck!

Feb 12, 2006

Neena's Tourism Blues

Neena has sent this article to the guys at The Hindu, for publication in their Open Page section. In the meanwhile, I told myself, my page is also just as open, then why not put it up here also. Moreover, there's a whole lot of bloggers from Karnataka, who just might see this one, and knowing the power blogs have, it might all be for good. So, here's what Neena has to say...

Tourism Blues

“Adhiti devo bhava” the epigram in which lies the heritage of every Indian. However the experience of a group of college students from God’s own country during their visit to the neighbouring state raises a question and becomes a blackmark in a country where guests are considered equivalent to gods. This article is to bring to public notice a few grave matters that needs to be addressed. A pleasure trip to Karnataka; but more that the hi-fi ness of Bangalore and the colour of the Brindavans ,a few singular encounters with the police,the security guards at the Brindavan gardens and the many Adams everywhere comes to the mind.
It was a dream come true for many when they set out for a five day trip to Bangalore,Mysore and Ooty.First stop Bangalore, metropolitan and modern in every sense.They stopped at a petrol bunk when a plainclothes policeman(haughtily flaunting his ID)boarded the bus.He started asking questions directly to a girl student as to who they were and the purpose of the excursion.His motive was evident when he left,all smiles,once he was given a hundred rupee note.
The next incident was when they were walking back to their hotel that night,weary from shopping and loaded with bags when a policeman amused himself by calling them’beggars’.Throughout the shopping trip most girls had encounters with ‘gentlemen’ who couldn’t walk by them without knocking onto them or passing off colour comments.
Truly bizarre was the experience at the Brindavan Gardens..The dimly lit park was very crowded owing to the second saturday and Pongal holiday.As the girls walked ,with the boys of the group forming a circle around them for protection,catcalls and obscenities floated towards their ears. Then ,when one of the boys accidentally stepped into a fountain,a security guard without even a verbal warning, struck him with a metal lathi.
The tour conductor who demanded an explanation got his reply with a blow,dodging which he fell down.Two security guards ,grinning mischievously ,attacked him with their lathis. The rest of the boys rushed to his aid when a few more guards materialized and started swinging their lathis at them.The girls watched horrified and by the time the guards came to their senses most of the boys had red welts on different parts of their bodies.Next the guards threatened to file a case against the dazed students,for fighting with them.It was only after pleading with them that they were allowed to go.One of the boys received a whack on the knee even as they were leaving.
The excursion party was too rattled and frightened that they did not even dare to lodge a complaint. Contemplating the complicated legal procedures most of them consoled themselves that things couldnt have been worse. The language bar was another factor. It was heartening that none of the other tourist who had witnessed the incident came forward to intervene.
If this is how tourists are treated then I don’t see any future for places like the Brindavans. In a public place where an entry fee is exacted this should not be the staff’s mode of conduct.Lathi charging is something used against an aggressive mob after sufficient warnings.Then where did these security guards get the right to assault tourists or anyone, for that matter? If they are so duty conscious then how come the place still teems with eve teasers and antisocial elements? How can one approach the police when they are also out to exploit naive tourists? To be caught in a legal imbroglio in a strange land will be last thing anyone would want. I am sure this is not an isolated incident. If this is how tourists from the neighbouring state is treated then God help those from faraway places.Mine is an open appeal to anyone who can change this situation. I hope there will be a day soon when one can listen to the colourful bustle of shoppers rather than off colour comments, when girls can walk the busy streets without feeling insecure and when one can enjoy a beautiful evening in the Garden city without fearing a lathi charge.
- Neena Padayatty.

Comments are to flow freely on this one, especially from the Karnataka blogging fraternity. Neena will post her replies to comments on the comments section. And, I hope The Hindu, does publish this well written article.

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