Wednesday, 9 December 2020

The left and right of the earphones!

 I sometimes wonder that I spend most of the screen time interspersed with trying to find the minute L and R of the earphones. It has become an obsession. I can never seem to remember the left and the right looking at them. Some of them know it. I don't. I forget. 




I think that I would remember this details the next time I use the earphones but I fumble and try to read the minute L and R. I have to be sure to get the complete experience. Sometimes I think that the details don't matter. But a small voice reminds, "The devil is in the details." What an evil simile! Why the devil? Why not someone else? Why so much power to the devil? For that matter why couldn't it be, "The victory is in the details" or " The power is in the details?" A bit of research into the origin reveals that the idiom is a German saying. Well, so much so for the English language. Well, the confusion between earphones and headphone and pods is another post for another day!

The details are sometimes unnecessary stress! I find myself frantically searching for the minute L and R when I have to conduct online lectures. From being someone who never used head/earphones, I have landed myself on the other end of the spectrum where L and R have become the bane of my existence. I guess I should enroll myself in OCD Anonymous with specific reference to earphone L and R obsession.

This and more is the effect of the virus in my routine. 

Sunday, 6 December 2020

A clean, well-lighted place: The importance of spaces for the mind

 "A clean, well-lighted place" is a short story by the American writer, Ernest Hemingway. When I entered the Café ChaiCoffee (hereafter CCC), it is this title which resonated in my mind. Incidentally the short story is set in a café and through the waiters and one elderly patron, discuss life and its happenings. Places and spaces are quite an important feature in the lives of people who thrive on ideas and stories - and if the place is well lighted with greenery, it is an added advantage.

When we first heard of CCC, we were quite exhilarated to discover the place which was just a few kilometers away from where we lived. The next day we drove to the place after speaking at length to Sneha, who is the proprietor of the café. Exuding warmth and enthusiasm, she filled our senses with a sense of welcome and camaraderie. As we followed the directions, we gradually were transported into another world amidst the sounds and boisterous main roads of Dabolim. The place which is tucked away could truly be described as a treasure waiting to be experienced and savoured. The first sights that greeted us as we parked our vehicle charmed us while we tried to choose an apt place for sitting and working. 

While I had no knowledge of the Café owners or their long association with art and artists, I googled Raj Bhandare - and imagine the surprise when I discovered that he is the brain behind the Nirvana brand of T-shirts, which is one of my favourite brands with its quirky and urban art prints. My day was made! And then when I looked up the café, I found art alive in every space, inviting one to get lost in the ambience.

When the space makes one happy and calm, the food becomes secondary. But if the food is close-by, the sense of fulfilment is immense. A senior waiter in the short story, reminisces on the importance of having a clean, well-lighted place to spend time and savour diverse things of life be it time or memories. The waiter is spot on because more than a café to spend time, it is important that the place is clean and well-lighted so that an individual feels at home. 

 "You do not understand. This is a clean and pleasant café. It is well lighted." 

~ 'A Clean, Well-lighted Place'

CCC is the newest landmark for those who enjoy quiet spaces splashed with art and a friendly ambience along with short eats to boot. A wonderful space to sit and work without disturbance punctuated with food and friendly chats with the hosts who make it a point to visit each table and share pleasantries which by itself is a delightful gesture. 

While I reminisce on Hemingway and well-lighted places, you could visit the café for an experience worth revisiting and remembering. CCC is located in Lane 3, Upper Orchard, Near M. E. S. College, Zuarinagar-Goa.

Happy soaking in CCC.

Friday, 13 November 2020

Thinking beyond low-cost airlines: Thoughts around Soorarai Pottru

 Suriya's recent film, Soorarai Pottru goes beyond the trope of a hard-working middle-class individual fulfilling his dreams with sweat and toil - it is reminiscent of the existing gap between the rich and the middle-class. The antagonist Paresh who derides the common man sitting next to the likes of him and flying is a stark reflection how 'certain' facilities are seen as available only for an exclusive percentage of people. Liberalisation and consumer driven economy slowly started diminishing the exclusivity of the upper class people. The rising ability of the middle class to spend money on brands and other durables started dissolving the divide thereby causing the upper class sections to reach out for products that were more exclusive than the existing ones. Many middle-class people who were slightly better off than those in the same class started feeling the brunt of affordability of prized brands such as Fabindia, film festivals such as IFFI and many other such events which was considered the space for only a 'certain' kind of crowd. 

Captain Gopinath's victory ushered in that space which was usually considered as the privilege of a select few. Paresh's disdain of the common man with his sweat, grime and low status is actually a reflection of many middle-class sections who are able to afford many durables which was hitherto unavailable to their parents and forefathers. When the grapes which were now attainable were no longer sour, the same availability to certain others causes a sourness of the mind. 

The mind is powerful to ascertain the status of people based on their appearance, language and habits. It is the same mentality which considers knowledge of English as superior and a certain background. Talking in the native tongue is most often looked upon with a frown and displeasure. Similarly a well dressed person is treated with respect in the clothes/jewelley/shoes showrooms which reflects on the person who is meting out this treatment. But it mustn't be  forgotten that the person who is an employee in that particular showroom might come from a similar background of those who he is 'taught' to despise and show disdain. 

How do these judgments come into being? The disposable income? The high paying job which is a part and parcel of many pay commissions? The value attached to superior brands which has been given power by the buyers?

This is where Marxism and Socialism comes into play. These theories might have been a failure but one needs to be aware of the ideologies. Today, Marxism is an ideology which has to be applied to diverse situations and people. As long as the ideology is capitalist, people like Paresh would go to any lengths to avoid being seen in the vicinity of the so called aspiring middle-class people. And to challenge that, we need Captain Gopinaths around, forgetting that he might or might not be a socialist by ideology. 

Tuesday, 15 September 2020

A poem for troubled times


Today, as I reflect on the past days and more to come, there is a slight perturbation which stirs my thoughts. But I keep myself going and try motivating myself so that I don't despair. There are some days when my words are sufficient but on other days, there is always poetry.

Here is a poem that I have been going to when thoughts of fear assail:

Everything Is Going To Be Alright, by Derek Mahon
How should I not be glad to contemplate
the clouds clearing beyond the dormer window
and a high tide reflected on the ceiling?
There will be dying, there will be dying,
but there is no need to go into that.
The poems flow from the hand unbidden
and the hidden source is the watchful heart.
The sun rises in spite of everything
and the far cities are beautiful and bright.
I lie here in a riot of sunlight
watching the day break and the clouds flying.
Everything Is Going To Be Alright

Hope this poem lightens your day and brings cheer to you in these grim times.

Take care and stafe (stay safe)

Monday, 14 September 2020

Walks to remember

 Evening walks have become a part of my day for quite some time now. I like walking all by myself so that I could regulate my walk, stop sometimes to spot birds/flowers/butterflies/clouds and perhaps complete my phone calls. There are several people who I spot on a regular basis; Sometimes we nod, sometimes we smile or sometimes we look ahead without any action. The regular trail is quite comforting because I understand the contours of the road and small bumps here and there. 

There was a gentleman who I regularly used to see during my usual walks. He was short, dark complexioned, with a prominent paunch. His clothes fit snugly and his shoes were the sports kind in white colour. He never missed a day or rather I never missed seeing him whenever I used to walk. 

Walking is a strange affair - we form connections with the path, the birds, the trees and the people who cross our paths. We may or may not talk to the people but they are part of the walking. Two days ago, we heard the news that the gentleman had passed away. He suffered acute breathlessness and passed away while being taken to the hospital. An immense sorrow clouded my mind and I regretted that I didn't smile or talk to him. He came from the same linguistic region as I. I could have at least uttered a hello or a nod. That I would never see him again while I went walking hit me hard. Strange affairs!

Feeling sorrowful for a relationship that was purely on a sight-basis is still sorrow. I hope his family finds comfort for they could not even give him a proper farewell. These and many more are the passive regrets that Covid-19 has brought about in our lives.

Rest in peace, sir. I will miss you on my walks.


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