नाम में क्या रखा है?

मेरे पापा मेरा नाम संतोष रखना चाहते थे। मेरी माँ आनंद। संतोष रख देते तो दुनियादारी में रहता। अब किस्मत ने ही नाम आनंद दिया है तो निभाना तो पड़ेगा ही। ये नाम भी बड़ी पावरफुल चीज़ है। अब सुनिए ये वाक़्या,

कुछ बरस पूर्व हम एक समय ट्रैन में यात्रा कर रहे थे। अग्रणी टिकट लिया नहीं, फिर जनरल के दरवाज़े पे खड़े होने की जगह मिली। ऐसे अवसरों के लिए मेरे पास बस्ते में हमेशा एक न एक किताब जरूर होती है। जैसे तैसे मुस्कुरा कर, सॉरी कहकर उस भीड़ में किसी तरह बस्ते से वो किताब निकाली, फिर पढ़ने लगे. देखते देखते १-२ घंटे बीत गए.
“आप बहुत अच्छा पढ़ते हो”
हैं ? मेरे किताब के किरदारों के जमाये महल ये किसने तोडा? मुझसे कोई पांच एक साल बड़े होंगे। मुँह में मसाला। बालों में हलकी से सफेदी। सफ़ेद शर्ट के जेब में हज़ारों बिज़नेस कार्ड्स और कुछ सौ के नोट। खैर हमारी थोड़ी बातचीत हुई। अब बातचीत किस चीज़ पर हुई ये तो याद नहीं, पर करने में मुझे मज़ा आया। उनके जस्बे से ये झलक रहा था की मज़ा तो उन्हें भी आया था।
“इतनी बातें हो गयीं, आपने नाम नहीं बताया।”
“आनंद”
“अरे पूरा नाम बताइये ना.पहले नाम से भी कुछ होता है ?” ये बात उन्होंने एक मास्टरजी द्वारा क्लास के बचे को डांटने की सी मुद्रा में कही। चलिए मान भी लीजिये उनको लगता है की पहले नाम से कुछ नहीं होता, परन्तु उन्होंने ये कैसे सोच लिया जस्ट ऐसे ही मिस कर दूंगा। पहला नाम बताया है क्योंकि यही बताने की इच्छा है। फिर उन्हें जातिवाद ने जो बिगाड़ा है उसपे ५ मिनट खरी खोटी सुना दी।
बाद में अपने गुस्से को जांचा तोह पता चला की ये नाम पूछने के ऐसे कई इवेंट्स पहले हुए हैं और ऐसे कई हैं जिन में कुछ न कुछ लोचा हुआ हो। अब तो मैने दाढ़ी अपनी बढ़ा ली है, तो कोई अँधा भी मुझे “मद्रासी है”, देखते ही कह सकता है। पर उन दिनों में काफी ‘स्टाइलिश’ हुआ करता था. MTV के एक VJ निखिल चिनप्पा की नीचे के होंठ की बीचों बीच एक बालों का छोटा सा झुरमुट, इस से में बहुत प्रभावित हुआ था. कॉलेज लाइफ में सब कुछ ट्राई करके देख लिया। तो कुल मिला के उस समय लोग ये नहीं पहचान पाते थे की में किस प्रान्त का हूँ. महाराष्ट्र में काफी लोग मुझे मराठी समझते. दिल्ली में समझ जाते की साउथ से हूँ. बैंगलोर के लोग मझे दिल्ली का समझते थे. एक तो दिल्ली के नंबर की गाड़ी और हाथ पे कड़ा. जबसे बाल बढे किये हैं और दाढ़ी बढ़ा ली, पंजाब के बहार ही नहीं कुछ कुछ जगहे तो पंजाब के अंदर भी लोग मुझे सरदार समझते हैं। तो जब में अपना नाम के ए आनंद ऐसा बताता हूँ, जो की मेरे सारे आई डी कार्ड में है, कुछ लोगों को लगता है में कंजूसी कर रहा हूँ.
“पूरा नाम बताईये न ”
“अरे सर मेरे ID कार्ड में ऐसा ही है. आप डालिये न बिंदास. ”
“अरे हमारे सिस्टम में ऐसे ही डालना पड़ता है.”
“अच्छा तोह लिखिए के यू आर यू एम्…”
क्योंकि इसके पहले कई बार झेल के ये जान गया हूँ कि ३-४ बार बताने के बाद भी स्पेल ही करना पढता है।
अब मेरे पहले नाम को ही ले लीजिये। कुरुम्बूर। कुरुम्ब माने जिद। हमारे परिवार में लोग अक्सर कहते सुना है कि चूँकि हम लोग इतने जिद्दी हैं इसी लिए कभी तो हमारा ये नाम पड़ा होगा. ऊर तो कई जगहों के नाम के पीछे लगा हुआ है. त्रिशूर, गुरुवायुर, वेल्लोर, वगेरा वगेरा. अब मैंने सोचा की जैसे पुर, वैसे ऊर. ये तोह बाद में पता चला की ऊर मतलब गांव को कहते हैं तमिल में। कॉलेज में इंटरनेट कि सहायता से ये भी पता लगा की कुरुंबूर तोह तमिल नाड का एक गांव है. अब उस गांव वाले जिद्दी होते हैं की नहीं ये तो में नहीं जानता, परन्तु इस बात का काफी भरोसा हो रखा है की पुरखे कभी उसी गांव से आये होंगे। अब देखिये नाम से पर्सनल हिस्ट्री का पता चला न? साउथ के नाम अक्सर लम्बे होने के लिए विख्यात हैं. पर ये लम्बे नाम काफी सारा डाटा लिए हुए हैं। अब लोग उस डाटा का क्या उपयोग करते हैं ये तो उनपर है.

क्या आप लोगों से उनका पूरा नाम पूछते हैं ?

Naagin Dance – Life cycle of a pop culture


It started with this song. In fact it started ages ago, starting with the pungi or been. Used for religious purposes, somewhere down the line it got associated with the snake dance. It was adopted by the saperas who encourage the idea that it is the sound of the been which keeps the snake hypnotised. Then the snake dance made its place in the public consciousness from this song, performed by Sridevi.

There is even a heavy metal version by Deciblel. Watch the cover here:

And the dance became so popular that it became de riguer for guys to perform it in baraats, to do it. Even who had not seen the Sridevi’s naagin dance came to know about it. So I was pretty amazed to see it as a main feature in brand new bollywood song.

the Choco Nutty

This post was written by me in 2012 when I came to Ahmedabad. For some reason I had not published it. In know, I know it is really bad housekeeping on my end for this post to be posted almost 5 years later. But fortunately I currently am in Ahmedabad, so all of it is true.
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I recently moved to Ahmedabad. The reasons for that are many and multilayered. In short I had visited for a workshop and I liked the place.

After initially crashing in with a childhood chuddy buddy, Prem, who got married right about 12 hours ago, and after having looked at a score of apartments, I finally did rent a place. I had wanted a 1BHK, with many balconies, good ventilation, natural lighting and on and on..but had to settle for a 2BHK just because it had a nice huge balcony. This place is in Puja Apartments, Ambawadi. 30 year old house build by the housing board, the design is very like Bhilai steel quarters. I moved into this place a month ago. So you could say that I have lived in Ahmedabad for 2 whole months. And during that period I have taken long walks, longer bicycle rides and observed the whole moon cycle for the first time in my life. We sleep on the roof. Almost 5 families in my apartment block. But this is not about the building. This is more macro. There are lots of very big differences between Ahmedabad and other cities I have been. I will write more about the other points later, starting with the electric one. The power went off just once in the last 2 months. And not just where I was staying. During all my walking around the city, even in the old part of the city, I noticed it just once.

Which leads us to the other observation which lead to a certainty that people are using this fact (the reliable power) to their advantage. Forget about electricity for a while, how many of you like ice creams? I was taking my evening walk, when I went past a Havmor ice cream parlor. My side glance caught 4 unsheathed nut covered chocolate cones pointed at me. Yes they were without purdah, the silver/gold foily which covers such prepacked ice creams on the top was missing. Oh boy, I sound like a B grade Jehadi smut writer. Whatever, there they were. I had to stop and get it. “Sein-thh”, said bhai, which means 60 in gujrati. It was fairly simple but very different just because of its simplicity. Look at this image and you can almost taste it. A simple blob of vanilla ice cream covered by a layer of frozen chocolate smothered in nuts.

While cornetto and their ilk are shown uncovered in posters, they are invariable covered up in foil packaging. Why so? Hygiene? Yeah most likely. Since these are speciality products created with special machines in factories, and they have to go through a logistics system hand to hand to reach the customer.

So what about this Havmor Choco Nutty? Now this is a long shot by analytical standards, but I am in my intuitive mode right now and let me indulge. Havmor is a local ahmedabad based ice cream brand, I my guess is they produce it near enough. And the supply chain would also be very small.

Bing Advertisement strategy

I was looking for desktop configurations in google. Landed on a page. It showed me a Bing ad, with the same search words I had used in Google.

So the flash file of the ad picks up the search query (from where?) and uses it inside the flash file. And yeah it is animated and shows each letter being typed in. Very innovative, one search engine using a search query typed into another search engine

DIY in India

I like to do my stuff, on my own. Stuff like cleaning the house, washing my clothes, trying to repair my own gadgets, and so on. And I like to learn about how to do one’s own stuff, which means a lot of browsing through instructables, makezine, and off course youtube. I will give you a few case studies and tell you the practicalities involved.

Some time back I saw a video to cut beer bottles to make glass bottles. The idea seemed superb. An empty beer bottle destined for the garbage bin gets another life after it is cut. While we can sell it to a kabaadi vala for 2 rupees a bottle. But as a glass it would at least be worth Rs.15. More importantly doing something with your own hands and seeing the result come out, gives a satisfaction next to none. The first method I tried was the tying a string around the bottle soaked in a flammable liquid. The idea is to locally heat the bottle where you want to cut it. The challenge here was heating it only on a very narrow area, as close to a line as possible. And which is next to impossible. So the results were all haphazard cuts. Anyway, then I found another way which required a glass cutter. You think finding a glass cutter in hyderabad would be easy job? Indeed it would be for people who have business in glass. Not amateurs who want glass cutters for cutting glass bottles. After trying 5 hardware stores, I gave up. Found a cheap glass cutter on ebay and ordered it. That method did not work very well too. It required a propane blow torch, which I tried to substitute with a candle. Again the crack was much better than the string method, but still unusable.
Later found I found yet another method using jubilee clips. Here comes the next problem in hardware sourcing. Most of these niche hardware have local names. I asked around and nobody understood what a jubilee clip was. I explained describing what it was and how it was used. 4 of them said they did not have them. The fifth one too said he did not have them, but on looking around I saw it hanging in a bunch, on his shelf. Anyway, I got the jubilee clip, and using it I could make a deeper score on the bottle. And this time the cut is almost perfect.

Dastangoi – Kabirnama

One of my friends, watsapped me. A friend of hers was doing a recitation of Kabir in Mumbai. I was headed towards Mumbai from Ahmedabad, after completing a 10 day workshop in mud house building. That post is still waiting to be written and posted. I am twisting my arms right now, just for delaying that. But this post should not wait.

From SMSing how to get into the concert, and asking my friend whether “I was ankit ka dost evam do saathi”, or “Hum ankit ke dost hain”, would work at the gate. We were slightly late. The show had started. And there sitting on the stage was Beerbal telling a story about two girls named Satya and Kahani. For a moment I felt like King Akbar collectively with the rest of the audience, listening to Beerbal solve a cause. So fine a salesmanship it was, that it was very easy to forget, that you were being sold. Sold the philosophy of prem. But how would you sell ‘prem’ without seduction. And it was an act of seduction. The audience moaned collectively with vaah vaah. The symmetry between the philosophy of kabir, with the bhava on his face, was yang and yin.

Picture courtesy Ankit

I had read Kabeer earlier, here and there…once or thrice. I found them profoundly common sensical learnings. I was seeing him today in a new light. One of softly yellow lightings, and smartly dressed, tasteful crowd. There was no hint of NCPA snobbery at the Yashwant Chawan Auditorium.  The stewards were old, gentle, government employees, who pulled open doors and showed you the way.

Unfortunately couldn’t meet Ankit because his was phone was on silent. Will keep an eye out for him.

Hukus Bukus

I had goose bumps From this youtube description, the lines means this:
Tse Kus Be Kus Teli Wan su Kus
Who are you and who am I then tell us who is he the creator that permeates through both you and I

Moh Batuk Logum Deg
Each day I feed my senses/body with the food of worldly attachment and material love (Moh = attachment)

Shwas Khich Khich Wang-mayam
For when the breath that I take in reaches the point of complete purification (Shwas = Breath)

Bhruman daras Poyun chokum
It feels like my mind is bathing in the water of divine love (Bhruman = nerve center in the human brain, poyun = water)

Tekis Takya bane Tyuk
Then I know I am like that sandal wood which is pasted for divine fragrance symbolic of universal divinity. I realize that I am, indeed, divine (Tyuk = Tika applied on the forehead)

Goa – the Off season

A furnished 2bhk for Rs.300 per day.

A glitter stones and squiggles bindi on the right corner of the mirror.

A half used pack of condoms beneath the bed.

Red hued spots on the wall reminiscent of explosively opened wine bottles.

Of long barefoot walks on the beach. In and out of the loopy arcs of the waves.

Smooth flat pebbles and blue-velvety remains of a sea creature waiting to be made into a pair of ear rings.

Of smooth round flat seeds floated in from god knows where, painted on, sitting in the hot humid afternoon, shirtless and in a lungi.

5 liter water bottles and sand which gets into every nook and cranny. Waiting to be discovered a few months later when you are back home.

Old 1940s hollywood fare with headphones on in the evenings.

Mid aged aunties becoming kids again, soaking in the surf.

Gang of drunk marathi boys trying to make a human pyramid in the safety of the crashing waves.

Guys who will ask a white girl for a picture with her. Or use their long zoom lens to take voyeur shots, all day long.

Kids from Mumbai having there bacchanalian break.

The early morning beach cleaners picking up the empty bottles and the half eaten corn on the cobs. The green tea made in the room with a Rs 50 immersion heater named Deepak. And then the hot porridge at the shack for breakfast.

The tattooed and pierced waiters from Himachal, who can speak in 10 languages and who can put on their charm at a moment notice on well heeled white women. And men.

The thin old white man in a g string doing tai chi in the evening in front of the setting sun. The indian families who pretend he is not there.

The barking dogs on the way back from dinner. Who always end up wagging their tails, when they sense an absence of fear.

Goa is good. Always.