| Parallel Mirrors |

'I--I hardly know, sir, just at present-- at least I know who I WAS when I got up this morning, but I think I must have been changed several times since then.'

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Location: United States

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Bye, Bye Blogspot!

One of my friends convinced me to switch to MSN Spaces (she was so hell bent on getting me to switch that she even went ahead and registered me, created my account etc. etc. etc. :-) )

My blog will now live at http://spaces.msn.com/members/parallelmirrors/ . I wish there were a way to seamlessly transfer your blog from one site to another, without having to spend hours on re-formatting everything you've written, but unfortunately there isn't. And so, please bear with the haphazard formatting at my new blog location. It'll probably take me a few more days before the dots on my i-s are perfect circles, and the crosses on all my t-s are at right angles :-)

Most of the content has been shifted over - I have taken this opportunity to make some corrections to some of my posts (which I had never gotten down to doing previously out of sheer laziness). I also rearranged some content to make more chronological sense. But other than that, everything's pretty much the same, and I am looking forward to trying out MSN Spaces which my friend has so highly recommended.

Bye, bye Blogspot, and maybe I'll return someday :-) Thank you for being my voice these last few months.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

You go girl! :-)

Just a very quick note on a very heartening piece of news I read this morning, which absolutely made my day :-)

The HRD Ministry of the Government of India announced late Thursday evening that every girl child who is the only child in her family, will receive free education from grade 6 thro' grade 12. The Univeristy Grants Commission has also made a similar announcement. For more details, check out http://pib.nic.in/release/release.asp?relid=12164

I came to know of this this morning when one of my friends forwarded a news article on this to me. I was very, very happy to see this announcement - in fact, I have been smiling all day :-) This is a real shot in the arm for women's education, and for improving the male-female ratio in India - which, sadly, has been deteriorating, and surprisingly, more so in the urban areas! Or maybe it's not that surprising at all. After all the cities are more equipped with the technological wherewithal to determine the sex of a child before birth, and to do away with the foetus if it happens to be a girl child (sic) >:-( ! And besides, who ever said being urban meant being forward-thinking? They're about as orthogonal as education and literacy. You may have a long trail of letters behind your name, but that doesn't guarantee you won't demand a hefty dowry from your daughter-in-law, or go into mourning because the stork brought home a baby girl.

More on this in coming posts, but for now, I just want to say I am very hopeful, very upbeat, and very optimistic about this announcement :-) I am reminded of Subramanya Bharathi's song 'Kummi adi' which I learnt in Tamil class sometime in secondary school.

Yettaiyum pengal thoduvathu theemai yena yenni irundavar maaindu vittaar
Veetukkule pennai pooti vaippom yenru vindai manithar thalai kavizhndaar
Pattangal aalavum sattangal seiyyavum paarinil pengal nadatha vanthom
Ettu marivinil aanukku inge penn ilaippillai kaan yenru kummi adi!

You go girl! :-)

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Knock, knock!

No, no, this is not one of those annoying knock-knock jokes (besides, I don't have the rhyming genius to come up with one). This is the knocking I heard this morning when I navigated to my blog and saw this:

posted by Padmini 5:49 PM 3 comments


No wait, that was 3.



Somebody had left me comments?! This was a first! I always thought of my blog as my cozy little corner on the web, and my one-way window to the world. In fact just 2 of my friends know of the existence of my blog. And so, when I saw the number 3 instead of the usual 0, my heart skipped a good few beats. I immediately pounced on the link and saw that 2 of the comments had been left by one person and the 3rd comment was by another person. I also noticed that they had left the comments on my post about having changed teams, and that puzzled me because the comments read 'I'm going to bookmark you!', 'Great blog!' etc. Wait a minute. For that post? That literally said nothing? H'm. Something didn't seem right. So I read on, looked at the profiles of the persons who had left the comments, and then realized that the comments were automated messages from spammers. One of them was selling online games, and the other was selling a bunch of strange medicines. As I edited my blog settings to turn word verification on for comments, I realized I was partly annoyed and partly amused at what had happened. Annoyed, because the first set of comments on my blog were actually spam. And amused because my spammers had used one of the oldest tricks in the trade - flattery - to get my attention, and how (albeit briefly), I had almost fallen for that :-)

P.S. If those comments have indeed been left by real folks, sorry! :-)

1920 x 1200, 32-bit, Dolby Digital 5.1

That's how I would describe most dreams I get at night. If dreams really don't appear in deep sleep as research suggests, then I clearly am a very light sleeper. Every night, I get to see a full length feature film in my dreams, replete with dialogues and flashback sequences that would give Bollywood a run for its money, and an intricate plot that haphazardly criss-crosses time, space, and people from all phases of my life (picture folks from as far back as primary school to work, all yapping animatedly under one roof)

Last night I had one such dream. My thatha and I had gone to attend a Bharatanatyam performance by one of my college friends - actually it was her younger sister who was dancing, and she was accompanying her, or she was compering the show, or just helping out - I can't remember. And surprisingly (and not so surprisingly as well), I met one of my friends from work there. He had come there with his parents (who didn't look like they were his parents at all). Next thing I know my grandfather was taking a nap and the rest of us were drinking tea/coffee, and ordering dosas(?!) - and all of us had forgotten completely about the dance performance that we were actually supposed to have been attending :-). And while all this was going on, the temple near my house in India appeared from nowhere and I vaguely recall seeing the vadhyar and the big tree behind the sannidhi. A bunch of very interesting conversations took place, and I woke up this morning wondering what on earth those conversations really meant - not only in the context of my very vivid dream, but also in the context of mundane reality.

Like most dreams, this too was a curious mix of seemingly unrelated incidents and thoughts from real life, all woven together magically into a rich brocade over the course of a single night. And like Cinderella's gown at midnight, these brocades vanish at daybreak. Even as my poor, sleepy brain desperately tries to gather all the tangled lengths of yarn that slip away as my body begins to wake up to the day.
* * *
Since I always put some quote or verse in each of my entries, here is one of my favourite quotes about dreams.

"You have to dream before your dreams can come true."
-- Abdul Kalam

Monday, September 05, 2005

Tu jo, mila, mujhe, tho ye saara, sama, badal gaya
Khilne lage hain phool se meri raah mein
Phir yun, laga, mujhe, ke ye dharti, nayi hui
Naya ambar hua, teri aur meri chaah mein
Chanchal, hawa, taraana koyi gaaye
Nadiya bhi koyi kahaani keh jaaye
Jabse mili sajna, tujhse nazariya
Ho gayi hai sudh-budh ki mujhse gathhariya
Saanwariya saanwariya
Saanwariya saanwariya, main tho hui baawariya
Tune man moh liya... saanwariya ho...

* * *

I was listening to the songs from Swades this weekend. Like most A.R.Rahman music, the songs from this album have grown on me over time. The first time I heard the songs, I thought they sounded good, but I couldn't see what made people think they were spectacular. The next time I heard the album, I liked 2 of the songs, didn't like 1 other, and still thought the rest were OK. And the next time I heard the songs, I loved the songs I'd previously liked, began to like 2 more (including the one I'd disliked), and thought the rest of the songs were pretty nice. And now, after doing another God-knows-how-many rounds of the album, I am absolutely, positively in love with the music in Swades. Rahman's worked his magic as usual :-)

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,"

It was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness,
It was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity,
It was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness,
It was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair,
We had everything before us, we had nothing before us,
We were all going direct to heaven, we were all doing direct the other way."

--Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

It finally arrived. The moment that I had created 3 months back when I made the decision to change jobs. And though I am happy that I made this decision because it has given me the opportunity to work on something new and interesting (well, at least for now :-), I am sad about having to leave my old team.

Being the sentimental nut that I am, I knew I'd be a little upset about leaving my team, but I surely didn't think I would cry and make a complete ass of myself. But that's exactly what I did :-)

Here's to my old team. Thank you so much for everything. I will miss all of you.

* * *

Friday, August 26, 2005

"Be careful what you wish for.

You might just get it."

- old Chinese proverb


Hindsight, they say, is 20-20.

Thank you God, for granting me so many of the things I have wished for.

And an even bigger thank you, for not granting me everything I have wished for :-)

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Tere Khushboo Mein Base Khat Main Jalaataa Kaise

I am in the mood for ghazals today.

It started this morning when one of my classmates sent me a link to his music collection. It had a bunch of my favourite songs like 'Koi yeh kaise bataye' and 'Tum itna jo muskura rahi ho' from Arth. After listening to those pieces, I decided that the flavour of the day (or possibly even the next couple of days) was ghazals and Hindi film music from the 70s and 80s. And so here I am, listening to 'In aankhon ki masti' from Umrao Jaan, as I type this.

Ghazals have this very disturbing quality of sounding very placid and gentle, and yet managing to completely drown you in their emotions. And it's not just the music that engulfs you, it's the lyrics as well. Or maybe it's just all those beautiful words in Urdu that I can't understand, but decipher by giving my own overly sombre interpretations. Whatever it may be, the combination of slow, languorous music and intense lyrics is the perfect recipe to make you melancholy, no matter how joyous you were prior to your ghazal-listening session.

Awrite, awrite, I'm being unfair - not all ghazals are that sad. But most of them have a generous measure of 'dard' in them. And funnily enough, it's the kind of 'dard' that makes you wonder if masochism might actually be enjoyable. The kind that turns you inside out, and in a strange way, glad for doing so. And brings to life all those pent up emotions inside of you, no matter how deep they are hidden. And no, I'm not saying that's a bad thing at all - in fact, it's a great way to exorcise yourself of the emotions that haunt you from within.

I sometimes wonder about the psychosomatic effects of listening to ghazals :-). It almost seems as if every time I just 'casually' choose to listen to ghazals, it actually is a presentiment of something that is about to happen. Like as if my sub-conscious is setting the stage for the events that are about to unfold. (and of course, after they have unfolded, I just want to go back and drown myself in more ghazals!)

Ah well. Maybe I am just being very fallacious.

Tho aaj ki shaam, is shaam ke dard ke naam (OK, that sounded tres corny, but that's about as poetic as I can get with my limited knowledge of Urdu! ;-) Here are a few of my favourite ghazals or songs of a similar genre from Hindi films. I specifically say 'of a similar genre' because from what I have read on the web, it seems like ghazals follow a whole bunch of complex rules for meter, rhyme and structure. And not every slow, soulful song you hear actually qualifies to be a ghazal. In fact, contrary to popular belief, a ghazal is not really a style of music, but is more a style of poetry. Quite fascinating.

Tere Khushboo Mein Base Khat, Arth (1983)
Lyrics : Rehbar

Tere khushboo mein base khat
Main jalaataa kaise
Pyaar mein doobe huye khat
Main jalaataa kaise
Tere haathon ke likhe khat
Main jalaataa kaise

Tere khat aaj main Ganga mein bahaan aayaa hoon
Aag behte huye paani mein lagaa aayaa hoon...


Koi Yeh Kaise Bataaye, Arth (1983)
Lyrics: Kaifi Azmi

Koi yeh kaise bataaye ke voh tanhaa kyoon hai
Voh jo apnaa thaa, vahi aur kisi kaa kyoon hai
Yahi duniyaa hai to phir, aisi ye duniyaa kyoon hai
Yahi hotaa hai to, aakhir yahi hotaa kyoon hai?

Ik zaraa haath badhaa de to pakad li daaman
Us ke seene mein samaa jaaye, hamaari dhadakan
Itni kurbat hain to phir faaslaa itnaa kyoon hai?

Dil-e-barbaad se niklaa nahin ab tak koi
Ek loote ghar pe diyaa kartaa hain dastak koi
Aas jo toot gayee hain phir se bandhaataa kyoon hai?

Tum masarrat kaa kaho yaa ise gam kaa rishtaa
Kahte hain pyaar kaa rishtaa hai janam kaa rishtaa
Hai janam kaa jo ye rishtaa tho badaltaa kyoon hai?


Justaju jiski thi, Umrao Jaan (1981)
Lyrics : Shahryar

Justaju jiski thi usko tho na paayaa humne
Is bahaane se magar dekh li duniyaa humne

Tujh ko rusvaa na kiyaa, khud bhi pashemaan na huye
Ishq ki razm ko, is tarah nibhaayaa humne

Kab mili thi, kahaa bichhdee thi, hume yaad nahin
Zindagi tujh ko tho bas khwaab mein dekhaa humne

Aye adaa aur sunaaye bhi tho kyaa haal apnaa
Umr kaa lambaa safar, tay kiyaa tanhaa humne


P.S. Geez, I am beginning to notice that there's a surplus of poetry on my blog. I'm actually surprised, because I am not that big a poetry freak. I do like to read poetry and write nonsense verse, but most free verse and modern poetry is beyond the scope of my sensibilities. Or maybe I am just shining in borrowed plumes, and letting the quotes and poems of others, express what my own limited literary skills cannot :-)

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

She rubbed her eyes
And opened them wide
And looked carefully
It was!
But, no, it couldn't be.
Or could it?
A reflection
Of her own self?
A mirror image?

Or like before,
A real masquerade
Of an unreal belief
A figment of her ego
A piece of glass
Or a thirsty mirage
Or a silent echo...