Vinish Garg

Technical Writer. Published Author. http://www.vhite.com

Archive for the ‘We, the people’ Category

Drenched. Soaked. An Awesome Life.

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Saturday, 06 October: 2035
 
As I wrapped a few apple peels in a wastebin, I saw an old and muffled newspaper already lying in it. Ah, the world of sportspersons, celebrities, politicians, insurance advisors, estate agents, slum, artists and everyone. And HJS’s.
 
What a commodity to have first early morning to read, and then to use it to wrap peels of fruits. I hated it.
 
It was an evening walk. I quickly revisited the task list for next day as (a) deposit term payment to LTA (b) download notes (c) call bank. The thoughts of court meeting next day brought spring in my stride, and then I slowed down. Walks after evening meals are meant to be slow, ahesta-ahesta.
 
I sensed some complexity in my walks. As if it was not simple enough. Something as *HJS* flashed across my eyes. That should not have been there. It was unfortunate. I wish I could take it out of that wastebin but it was too rubbished by then. Disrespected. I recalled all those newspapers I had with the editorials in The Tribune by Hari Jai Singh. A few pieces were absolutely marvelous, a lifetime treasure. Like a 281 by VVS Laxman. No technology had the DNA to match that, ever. I noted it on a paper, in CAPS. I thanked the Inheritance, and cherished it forever with me.
 
When I picked the current newspaper, it looked like borrowed. Like a preoccupied mind. Or as if an over-crowded bus. The thoughts were there but were not meant to be. News are NOT meant to be that way. Newspapers are not planned like transport. The accountability is similar but repercussions are different. And the scale is different. I feel it almost daily, the absence of HJS. The constant of his absence.
 
And it started pouring outside. How much I love this smell. Perhaps the power goes off though I am not sure. The doctors have evolved. They are more sure now. Life is more predictable. This too is Indian summer.
 
It is 24 years. But I will not be sad today. I am feeling like that key. Safe because I have been successfull to cherish HJS, CAPS, and Indian summer. Vulnerable because I am the CEO. I checked the *skillset* on my LinkedIn profile and realized that I am endorsed by my owner as *not sure*. Could the keys unlock only cars? or fear also? She broke down that day, same day it was. Saturday, 06 October 2012. I dint.
 
Twenty three years later today, I could not comprehend what I was thinking. The writer in me had paused. It went for a toss. As if a double space after a period. The longest key was in action for longer than it was required.
 
—————————- 
 
Life today had been the *awe* in *awesome*, again. The slow walk downstairs, the newspaper and the absence of HJS, the summer rain. The CAPS. The space.  I am soaked like never before. Drenched.
 
As I gathered my thoughts, I felt that it was an awesome life. India completes 100 years of independence in 12 years, but this life started like a theatre 88 years back. It was no more a trial room for me. It is like a stage.
 
And amazingly for that moment, I felt as if the steel is accommodated in the periodic table.
 
I am no writer but his writerhood that I inherited brings this recap after 24 years. I hope to add to it some day.
 
– Naman
 

Written by Vinish Garg

October 7, 2012 at 12:12 am

The Periodic Table

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It was in June 2011 that I published a series of memoirs. There were ten posts and six were available for public. That time, I had planned to sell it, by making the last four posts as paid. The details are at: https://vinishgrg.wordpress.com/memoirs/.

I plan to make more posts from that series as public. Here is one of them.

————————————————————————————–

The Periodic Table

We have Iron at 26 and Gold at 79, but why not Steel? I asked Him when I studied periodic table when I was in IX standard. He made me learn the elements in the order of placement as Hydrogen, Helium, Beryllium… up to Calcium. As I glanced quickly at the list, I wondered where was Steel (I studied alloys also). He told me that steel was missing.

Same year, I was studying literature and in one story, the protagonist ought to have nerves of steel, an iron will and a heart of gold. I tried to reconcile it with periodic table and agreed to Him that yes, steel was missing. It was missing from periodic table as well.

Is Steel that important? When in cricket, India loses to England or Australia loses to South Africa, does it necessarily mean that India or Australia were missing steel? After all, there can be only one winner. Why is winning everything? Why playing well is not everything?

I noticed that He often played to play, not to win. He drove his scooter more to drive it and less to reach the destination. He advertised for real estate property in newspapers more to advertise and less to sell it. He told a joke more to tell the joke and less to laugh at it.

Ever since I can remember, He had a table with his bedside. Earlier it was for a glass of water, spectacles, and a newspaper. Later I saw medicines, hand towel, water jug, some documents or files/folders. And for last few years, He had a steamer, two jugs of water, 2-3 hankies, 1-2 diaries, a small salt-bottle, some sugar, old newspapers, car key and another bunch of keys, and a hand towel. Only He could organize that stuff on his table.

He was The Mendeleev for His table.

Yes, this too was a periodic table. There was space to accommodate unknown elements. I had seen Him growing as somebody too defensive. I had seen Him struggling to enjoy the privileges He had.

I wished if I could reshuffle the periodic table, to accommodate Steel.

He would spend His Diwali nights in a temple located at a far off secluded place, because He was scared of firecrackers. He would often scream while in sleep at night. He would not use elevator for the fear of getting stuck. He could not speak when the other person was aggressive in speech or in behavior. He would start counting on Tuesday or Wednesday that 3 days were left for the weekend, so that He could have my mother around Him on weekends. He had a weak immune system. And how easily some *undesired* cells could grow in Him, uncontrollably.

The Steel was missing.

Now that Periodic Table is history.

Written by Vinish Garg

July 10, 2012 at 1:02 am

Posted in memoirs, We, the people

The CEO Key

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It was in June 2011 that I published a series of memoirs. There were ten posts and six were available for public. That time, I had planned to sell it, by making the last four posts as paid. The details are at: https://vinishgrg.wordpress.com/memoirs/.

Now I plan to make more posts from that series as public. Here is one of them.

——————

The CEO Key

As a key, I lock and unlock. When I was ready, my fate was sealed with the car, forever. And I used to travel a lot. Like a CEO of a world leading soft drink company, From one hook to another, to one pocket and to another, to a bag, to hand fist, to fingers, to car seat, to table top, to the car dashboard, to a handbag, to a chair, on to the boundary wall of house, and then back to hook.

My LinkedIn profile would show me the most travelled CEO in the world. I was on job.

The hand that held me, held me as if I could seal His fate. His fate. The grip was as if I could unlock a safe and not only a car. His hand was like my second home. The ignition point was of course first. Within few weeks of my first job, I felt the grip loosening occasionally. The hand would forget me sometimes, on table or on the boundary wall of house.

I panicked. The man too. He would either clutch me very tight, or leave me alone.

I felt safe and vulnerable at the same time.

One day, I felt His hand blood vessels raised. As if there are last-minute ISO audits due that day. Audits happened. The process was being followed and documented well. But some eyebrows were raised. As if some transparency was missing. As if some uncontrolled growth of cells. I felt a direct correspondence with His life span and my life span.

I felt more vulnerable and my worst fears came true. When in His hand, I saw hand bags, towels, woollens, bottles, medicines, toffees, lunch box, and so many things in his hands. That fine evening, I fell from His hand at a juice corner. As He was sipping in sugarcane juice, I saw Him while I was lying on ground hoping to see me. He did not. As He sat in car and as His driver drove with my TWIN sister, another key, I felt as if my soul departed.

My body stayed there on road, and was dragged in a pile of garbage next morning. I was breathing last. Over next three months, I struggled from one garbage pile to another, hoping to meet Him one day. Being a fine gentleman, He applied for a duplicate key. And my hope fainted.

My body started aching more and one day, my soul departed. I landed in a new body and was termed as a *Duplicate key*. I did not like it.

Will my owner be called *Duplicate man* when His soul would take place in another body?

As history would take it, the man also quit same day. 23 February 2011.

After months of lull, I got to know that I will be handed over to His son. I was sceptical. Like any CEO would feel in a new company. New body and now new owner. Will I be as vulnerable again? Will the son also leave me at a juice corner?

And will I be travelling same again? Like CEO?

I expected to travel, in pocket, hand, fingers, hook, table, or in drawer. One evening, the son (my new owner) placed me in the drawer on a book titled *Leaders without Title*. The protagonist in the book had inscribed LWT (Leaders without Titles) and used it as a locket in his neck. This Robin Sharma masterpiece might have changed the life of many entrepreneurs? And as I dived in, I loved it.

Now I travelled not like a CEO but as a mere key as I got a job to do. The new owner helped me in that as He rarely clutched me tight. While having juice, He ensured that I was in his pocket. I liked the peace and assurance with which He carried me. I would lie for hours on same table. I was doing a better job, as a leader without title, though as CEO. The travel reduced as was reflected on my LinkedIn profile as well. My workload decreased. And I was at greater peace.

But there was an undefined, unleashed, and uncomfortable anxiety. As I started losing the thrill of, or anxiety of reaching a juice corner, I felt the old owner’s intrusion one day. The Son forgot me there for a moment, only to take me back within moments. “CEOs’ cannot afford to take things for granted”.

The CEO in me told me, “But what is this life if it not at all vulnerable?”

After all, the old owner is the father of new owner.

Written by Vinish Garg

July 1, 2012 at 11:41 am

Posted in memoirs, We, the people

Tagged with

The Perth Moment

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We would often open together. And would close together. Not always exactly at the same time, but one immediately following the other. That was the practice, as well as the requirement.

And we shall always LOCK together. Unlocking one would invariably unlock the other. 

Nothing special by the carpenter; just an order of the day for HIM.

The first cricket match that I recall watching together was in Perth 1991, the famous 126-run tie when Azhar leaped on a catch in slip, off SRT. 20 years. The Calcutta-ed Hero Cup. The centenary cup in New Zealand 1995 (The joy of beating Australia in a match was altogether different those days). Bangalore 1996 was electric. Calcutta again, 1998-mauled and 2001-mesmerized.

Kids used to practice by giving Warne-air to the ball and dealing like Azhar-flick or Waugh-blocked.

One day in early decade, I pointed to a possible tube. Wings? Pellets? Was it a sign of swarmers?

We looked at each other and shrugged off the thought. It could not be.

The lock still needed both of us to be together.

A Crowe or a Robertson can have perfectly bonafide intentions. Nothing to worry. It was meant to *evolve*. So we did not trust IPL-2008 to rock *this way*, there are swarmers in cricket also. And we forgot it for a minute. And just a minute it takes.

Although there was again a Perth moment to rejoice (January 2008), it was destined to be last.

Swarmers had intruded. The game has lost its soul since then. The ecstasy and passion for *the next ball* is more out of *curiousity-satiating-and-knowledgebased-satisfying-feeling that I knew he would drive* and less for *the sport*.

The Kids now plan more for teesrah than length. A 75 off 43 is a huge success even if followed by 4 single-digit pokes behind the wicket.

Old order changes yielding place to the new.

We are no more together. One can work alone. Without any role of other.

The LOCK still works successfully though. However, locking one never guarantees that the other is also locked. And no glances exchanged. No giggles. Not even *that* silence.

And so Perth is never same again. The Australian was summer was different this year. We were not together. The whitewash (drubbing?) was on the cards.

But the cycle changes. It always has. And so the door too.

We can hope for another *Perth moment*. Why not?

Written by Vinish Garg

May 4, 2012 at 11:19 pm

CAT 2011: IIMs Give Me Peace of Mind

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This is a guest post. My associate Shena shares how she is at more peace now, post CAT 2011 .

CAT is as hyped as F1, Ra.1, Mayawati, or the Chinese camps in Ladhakh. The hype is not misplaced because IIMs create entrepreneurs. Professional aspirants from all over INDIA dream of a great learning experience at IIMs, and then a *paying* corporate life.

I too applied for CAT 2011. I got the admit card, followed the instructions, took my PAN card as ID proof, and reached the exam centre in time, on 06 November 2011 (Sunday this week).

My exam centre was handled by Prometric, at the location: Everonn Education Limited, SCO 217, Sector 14, Panchkula (Haryana). The coordinators there told me that my picture on my PAN card was not clear, and stopped me at the gate. I thought they were kidding since I had given the same exam CAT 2009 and CAT 2010, using the same PAN Card as ID proof, in last two years. So, I know the process inside out. And a PAN card is one of the most valid ID support card in India.

I know that the exam centre takes finger prints, and clicks a picture of candidates in real time just before the exam. I had all other relevant details/documents to support my identity.

It was a momentarily heartbreak, not because I missed a chance for IIM but for the *process* and the *attitude* of those representatives.

  • It was clearly mentioned on *Admit Card* that the PAN Card is an acceptable ID proof. My picture may not be very clear on the card but I had used the same card for same exam in last two years, without any issue. And I use this card for dealing with banks, telecom companies and other departments/agencies, successfully.
  • When I asked for an alternative or solution, Prometric coordinators kept saying that picture is not clear and they can’t help it. I told them I know the problem but I am asking about solution. So, I got to know that CAT is conducted by such people whose focus is not on providing the solution; because *there are some rules* and *humans are for rules*. Even if a potential IIM graduate misses the exam. Their loss nonetheless.
  • I called up customer care at 1800 103 7383. I gave my phone number to confirm the identity and the CC executive asked me for another ID proof. I told them that I did not have any other proof with me since PAN card was sufficient. I had a voter card but my name was spelt differently on that card. The executive asked me for that incorrectly-spelt-named card and I was shocked. My PAN card that had my name, my father’s name, and DOB was not sufficient to confirm my identity due to unclear photo, but the Voter ID card with an incorrectly-spelt name could have worked.
  • An instruction on Admit Card said *candidates can use the employee ID card as an ID proof*. By stroke of good-luck, I was carrying a company letter head (signed and stamped by Director) that confirmed my identity. The representative said that it was *not sufficient*. When asked (I had lost the respect for Promteric coordinators and for IIMs by that time), the executive nodded that *employee ID card* WORKS but * stamped-and-signed company letterhead* DOES NOT WORK. (Is it a rule, a policy, or an IIMs attitude?).

Further, sometimes it is not possible to recognize a person by having a look at someone’s picture that was captured 8 years back.

 BY that time, the exam was about to start.

I had a quick reflection of what was happening. I had scores of 99.15 and 98.96 in my last two attempts; there was no call which is fine. At the attitude of IIMs and CAT 2011 Centre coordinators, I am rather happy at what happened yesterday.

I do not want to WASTE my time at such a place, where *humans are for rules* rather than *rules are for humans*. Unfortunate for them that such *policies* at such *centres (Prometric)* detached me from IIMs; it surely is their loss.

And coming back to the hype, media needs stars and stars need media. Unfortunately, media hype is misplaced many a times. Same way, candidates aspire for IIMs but IIMs too need candidates and by same token, the hype over IIMs is also misplaced, by same proportion.

I am at more peace now. Reading reviews of Ra.1 and the success of first F1 in India. And the world suddenly looks more beautiful now.

Written by Vinish Garg

November 7, 2011 at 2:34 pm

Consumer. Process. Food chain. Consumed? Processed? Chained?

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We are all part of food chain as I read 22 years back. And now when we talk about products and consumers, I can understand it better than merely that *lions eat dogs and dogs eat rats*.

IFB: For Washing Machine

I purchased IFB Washing Machine and was told to call Customer Care(less) to request for a demo. I called up and opted for *Hindi* language from IVR. It went on like this:

Call 1 (Executive name: Nikhil Vishwas):

NV: Sir, what is your name?
VG: Vinish Garg (spelt and explained each letter independently)
NV: Sir, phone number?
VG: 98550 63643 (nine eight double five zero six three four six three)
Address: Flat no 40 (four zero, forty), fourth floor, Tower B, Spangle Heights…
NV: PIN code sir?
[Vinish]: He did not ask for city and whatever address he was interested in, I had to say it 3-4 times
NV: Sir, PIN code?
VG: 1 (one) 4 (four) 0 (zero) 6 (six) 0 (zero) 3 (three)
NV: 203?
VG: [repeats]
NV: Ok, what is the model number?
VG: Can you tell me what PIN number you noted?
NV: 203401
VG:  Are you not able to understand me?
NV: Tell me sir, are you talking about washing machine or a microwave?
VG: Washing machine, as I already told you
NV: Sir, what is your name?
VG: Vinish Garg (spelt again)
NV: Sir, phone number?
VG: 98550 63643 (nine eight double five zero six three four six three)
Before NV could speak, VG: Why are you asking these details again?

NV: Sorry, system down, I lost the details so I am asking again
VG: (  )
NV: Sir, is it with warranty or without warranty?
VG: As I said I purchased it today, of course within warranty.
NV: Sir, it is in our process to ask.

VG: Ok, what all details that you need?
NV: Sir, what is the PIN code?
VG: Grrrr, 140603 (one four zero six zero three). Which place are you calling from?
NV: IFB Global
VG: Which city?
NV: Kolkata
VG: Ok, what is the PIN code that you noted?
NV: 140663
NV: Sir, what is the model number
VG: Grrrrr….I am 1976 borne and I am within warranty period.
NV: Sorry sir, our system is down, please call later…

———call over———–

Call 2 (Executive name: Sudeep)

If the above conversation was an act enacted on stage for a HIT TV program, the second call was almost a *copy*. The most hilarious part:
Sudeep (in the middle of call): Is it within warranty or without?
VG: I told you that I purchased a new one today.
Sudeep: Sir, it is part of our process to confirm it.

I called up 3rd time and opted for the language *English* in IVR. The call went reasonably well.

PS: I understand that both executives could have handled the *warranty question/response* like *Sir, we understand that you have got a new product, however, sometimes a few new models are sold under special promotional packages and hence without warranty*. I spent total of 50 minutes on three calls which should not have taken more than 10 minutes.

Airtel Dish TV

I respect Airtel products and services by heart, be it cell phone service or internet broadband. Yesterday, I thought of purchasing Airtel dish TV for my home and visited the site. Before I could locate the contact details for *new connections*, I landed at *customer support* and just dialled the number by mistake. It went on like this:

Executive (As far as I recall, it was Mandeep): *…..how may I help you..”
VG (Not sure how he started the call): I want to purchase the Airtel dish TV product and to subscribe to its services…
Exe: What is your customer ID?
VG: I don’t have any, I am calling for first time.
Exe: Sorry sir, I cannot help you. You need a customer ID to seek any information from me.
VG: How do new customers interact with customer support? Can you give me some number where I can call? (by now, I realised that I called up at wrong number.)
Exe: Ok, What exactly you want to know?
VG (surprised): I want to purchase a new Airtel dish tv connection…
Exe: hmmm
VG (continued)
Exe: hmmm
VG (continued)
Exe: hmmm

VG (the hmmm was really irritating. This is not the way to listen to customers.)
.
And the executive winded up the call as if an Indian (who is over-trained may be? Arrogant?) sitting in New York. American accent. Fast. I don’t care. It was not his business.

PS: I completed the online form for requesting a new connection and next morning, I got a call from Manoj. He was polite, patient and professional. Manoj guided me through the process well. I was happy more because at least I got a call for completing on online form unlike some other *players* (see next section for details).

Water Purifier

I wanted a water purifier for my home and while doing some research on some leading brands, I landed on the websites.
I landed on eurokefobes for Aquaguard and tried to locate a franchise in Chandigarh (or in Panchkula/Mohali) but could not. There is no option to select city of Chandigarh (neither in Punjab or Haryana though Chandigarh is capital of both these states), see at: http://www.eurekaforbes.com/franchiseelocator.aspx.

I completed an online form at: http://www.eurekaforbes.com///Demo_Request.aspx few days back. I have not received any email or text or call till date. (Airtel is miles ahead and the best in this regard.)

I landed at pureit website and requested a demo at: http://www.pureitwater.com/IN/home-demo. No text, email or call till date. (Again airtel is miles ahead and the best in this regard.)

Consumer Consumed. Process Processed. Food Chain?

Written by Vinish Garg

May 23, 2011 at 10:52 pm

Try Room. Or Stage?

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While purchasing a jeans last month, I tried one and then another one before I could purchase it. The Try Room was busy as I saw two gracious ladies having piles of skirts and jeans to try. I tried one more before I finally purchased the traditional light-blue boot-cut jeans. Of those I tried, the unfit or struck-out jeans were left on the counter. Probably someone else would try them.

I purchased an apartment few days back and plan to leave the present house, where I have stayed for last 6 years now. Moving to a new house is not new to me; I have lived in about 7-8 houses in last 20 years.

But today, I felt as if I was in a Try Room for six years.

The life cycle of a Jeans is that few persons try it and someone picks it. Like I did. The jeans that I tried were like one of my possible relationships. I picked one. The life cycle of Try Room is that some relations begin there, others do not, and a few end there. As if in the house.

What we shall leave behind in the current house is too internalized. The way I move from one room to another, the car is parked, the door is closed, the TV remote is fondled, the laptop is put to battery charge, the guests are served water, the newspaper is picked from gate, the courier is received, the cricket match is enjoyed, the bath is taken, and the JEANS is put on. Even when it is dark and I cannot see, I know that I need to move five steps straight from my bedroom door and then two steps to right, to enter the kitchen. And the way we celebrate. And mourn.

What shall I take along to new house? Anything that occupies space and has mass (matter). But we leave behind a lot. Anything that occupies mind and has weight (it also matters).

The bags will be packed for new jeans and old jeans. Some jeans are difficult to get rid of, forever. Like an old relationship. Like Him. Who quit on 23 February.

During my final try for jeans that day, I did what the Try Room expected me to. It knew that I will first lock the door from inside, take off my old jeans, put on new jeans, see myself in mirror, change posture, look from behind, and then make my mind whether to shortlist it or not. It knew that I would take 20 seconds and I did. As I moved out, I heard it whispering to me, “If you won’t, someone else will.” Like my current house.

Yes, the current house is like a Try Room.

As His car would stop at the gate, the current House (like that Try Room) knew how many seconds He will take to reach His room. Which way? What will He do first? What will He say first? What will He want first? But for Him, the house was not a Try Room. He lived in this house like artists live on Stage.

For theatre.

He knew that it is not a permanent house; that He would have to get down from Stage. For another Stage. He tried but could not. He walked, laughed, talked, sat, slept as if it is Stage. The spotlight was automated. He did not shy. No second thoughts. He never needed a Try Room. It was always Live on Stage.

Quite fittingly, I never saw him in jeans.

But the Act is over now. The Curtains fell. He left the stage 2 months back.

While trying the jeans, a part of my old jeans got stuck in a hook in the Try Room. I need to re-learn the way I put on the new jeans and take it off. Fold and unfold. Hang it. Get it washed. Rinse it. Dry it. And use my belt on it.

For old jeans, I will have to leave HIM here only, the way He sat and looked at me, and expected from me. How He insisted for space for sun and walk in car porch. The way He insisted for taking medicine and for not taking medicine. The way He came to my room, sat quietly and went off. And how I went to His room, stayed quiet, and came back. The way He wanted alone to be in kitchen and the way He was scared to be left alone. The way He was courgeous (as if He was the director) and the way He was weak (as if He was a spot boy). On Stage.

The way He lived. Not for any audience, but for Himself. As if on Stage. And on 23 February, the curtains fell.

Now someone else might be trying the same jeans that I discarded, in same Try Room. And someone else might be living (not performing) on same Stage.

PS: For the complete series of memoirs, please see: https://vinishgrg.wordpress.com/memoirs/. Thank you.

Written by Vinish Garg

April 22, 2011 at 3:42 pm

Posted in memoirs, We, the people

Tagged with , , , ,

The Baton. And Spacebar

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The Baton was Passed

[Vinish writes]: 3 copies of certificate are attached with please.

[He suggests]: We do not begin a sentence with a numeric figure. If it is required, write it in words as “Three copies of certificate are attached with please”.

[Vinish writes]: “Dear/Respected Sir” for formal communication to Indian national newspaper The Tribune.

[He suggests]: Sometimes, we should do away with the adjectives. “Sir” should be fine.

Just as a paracetamol or juice helps me recover when I am not well, his instructions helped me recover as a professional. I fumbled and recovered. Sometimes an extra run was conceded but the effort was worth it. These lessons are part of the writer in me now.

He had great eye for attention to detail, and was very particular about drafting letters and documentation where every comma would make sense. I typed so many affidavits, agreements, applications (to local telecom office, banks, and attorneys) that using commas and full-stops were internalized.

As if he was a technical writer.

As if the baton was passed somewhere.

[For readers]: Language use can be tricky as two individuals may differ on using a comma, colon or on sentence structure. So, if you notice an issue in this post, do not assume that I learnt it from Him.

There was always some pride at the corner of his eyes; he knew his world very well. He knew that he could not even iron his shirt or change the punctured tyre of his car/scooter but he knew that he was very good in writing. He felt good about his strengths and did not feel bad about his weaknesses. He was happy with his limitations. His eyes did not have any space for regret though he had complaints (like many of us have).

The Poetic Self. Sublime.

And there was a philosophical self in him as well, beyond all his limitations and complaints. Like many writers, he appreciated art and Hindi poetry. I remember how well he used to recite the following.

“ek shahenshah ne daulat ka sahara lekar,
hum garibon ki mohabbat ka udaya hai mazaak
meri mehboob meri mehboob,
meri mehboob kahin aur mila kar mujhse”

[The man asks his beloved to choose a place other than the Tajmahal to meet him. The grandeur of the structure mocks the common man’s love, which cannot be expressed so beautifully even when the emotions are pure]

“Boo-e-gul, nala-e-dil, dood-e-chiragh-e-mahfil, Jo teri bazm se nikla, pareeshaa’n nikia”

Hindi (Simplified version): Phool ki khushbu, dil ki aah aur chiraag ka dhuwaan…. in mein se jo bhi teri mehfil se nikla, bikhra hua aur pareshaan hi nikla.”

English version: The fragrance of a flower, the sigh from a heart, or the flames of a lamp…. Any of these is disappointed to leave your (gracious lady’s) company.

And…

“Rabb firda si dhaney de chubare, ohne kehra kachhh payi si…!!”

[God was wandering in the house of Dhaney (a common man) who was so poor to even afford to buy a trouser/short. It meant that God is everywhere even if with poorest, and not necessarily with rich people.]

These were not poetry sessions per se; only once in 2-3 years. Just as a passer-by says to another when they cross each other at North Corner.

The baton was passed. Somewhere.

The Relay was passed with:

  • On envelops used for postal mails, the address should always be in caps.
  • Completing (filling details in) a form manually should be in all caps, and well-legible.
  • I should read The Tribune. I fell in love with it.
  • For many years, I read Competition Master (A journal for competitive exams).
  • Dalton’s atmoic theory was my first science lesson that I learnt in English. (studied science in native language till VIII standard). I still remember the basic postulates of Dalton’s atomic theory that he made me learn and understand in 1989 (22 years back).
  • Any cheque that goes in a drop-box in bank should have my phone number on its back side, in caps.
  • For any cheque given to an individual or to a bank, I should have its photo copy with me, for reference.

The White Space

The baton was never manually handed over to me, nor the poems were recited (and appreciated, clapped, admired) in sessions. It all appeared like a white space on an agreement. You see white space, like space between two words or two paragraphs, or in page margins.

But spacebar is the longest key on any keyboard.

PS: For the complete series, please see: https://vinishgrg.wordpress.com/memoirs/. Thank you.

Written by Vinish Garg

April 14, 2011 at 6:46 pm

Posted in Leisure, We, the people

Tagged with , ,

Anytime. Indian Summer.

with 2 comments

It is summer in India and owing to electricity power shortage for many years in Punjab, power cuts have started. Even if these are scheduled, people are prepared to see the lights going OFF, anytime. Prepared Everytime. An individual may be having meals, studying, watering fields via a tubewell, or is checking emails. Clickkkk, and the power is gone. Interestingly, it can be restored back in same way. Unscheduled. Anytime. So, people are always prepared. Everytime.

  • Like a promotional text message on my phone. Anytime. I am prepared Everytime (to read).
  • Like a militant attack somewhere in India. Anytime. Forced prepared Everytime (to defend).
  • Like a 20 day old kid in her mother’s lap. Anytime. Mother prepared Everytime (to clean).

Or …

Like HIM, who is using his right to be missed Anytime. And Everytime.

When we shared physical space at home, I often avoided using His washroom. Because He could need it Anytime. As if he needed it Everytime. Till 23 February 2011. Wednesday. Now I can enter there Anytime. He always kept a water jug or bottle with Him for 15 years because He could need water Anytime. And He needed it Everytime.

Now, His absence is present with us Everytime. Like that water bottle. Everytime. We are prepared to let it fade away. Anytime. Because it will. And we are prepared to welcome it back. Everytime. Because it will. But in its absence, our backup is on. The Inverter. Unlike the electricity inverter that is charged by AC/DC, His inverter gets charged when I use his car. When Archit (my brother) comes back from work and does not stop at his room. And my mother, when she inhales oxygen. We carry this inverter like He carried the water bottle. Everytime.

I remember How He tried to have a single bite of food, in second week of February. The Will was there, the Wish too, the Skill too, but the body did not support it. Some *uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in the body* did now allow him. I googled to know more about this uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells. All I could understand was that it can happen anytime. Like power failure. Doctors told us about his condition and we were prepared. Like a farmer is prepared. It may rain, it may not. The power may go off anytime. It may not.

How much pain He endured over the years, and particularly in last 5 months. Sitting on foot on bed. Not able to sit. Barely able to lie. Barely able to walk. No sleep. Little diet. Coughing. Oil massage. Heat treatment, Steam. Body ache. And Ivy. And at last the fortis (the hospital).

When I recall that, I try to read (what he said without words) unlike that unwelcome promotional text. I try to defend (mistook that he attacked) against the run of play. I try to clean (because it is helpless to clean itself). And it happens anytime. Anytime. I need to be prepared Everytime. I got a good inverter.

This is Indian summer.

PS: For the complete series of memoirs, please see: https://vinishgrg.wordpress.com/memoirs/. Thank you.

Written by Vinish Garg

March 31, 2011 at 5:05 pm

A Burger or a Missing Hand

with 4 comments

Few days back, I was sitting in a restaurant and a veg-burger was served on my table. I could see it right in front of me and after 10 minutes, it was not there. For 10 minutes, that burger was part of my atmosphere, like air, like sunlight, like space and matter. Now it was missing. It had done its job. It was not a constant in my life.

Soon, I noticed how a man just limped across the gate, and entered in. He had one hand chopped off and carried a baby in his other arm. He was cautious to stay balanced while moving around, before he settled on a table. “Did he miss his hand,” I wondered. How many times in a week, month or year does he think about his missing hand? No clue. May be sometimes. Since the missing hand did not complete its job.

It was NOT 03 December that day, so it was not a World Disability Day. But for some, it is always a disability day. For that man, the absence of hand might have become a constant. For him, every day is a disability day. Same way for last 26 days, every day had been a world disability day for us.

It was evening and a bit cloudy yesterday. While having a walk in a nearby park, we saw the moon playing hide and seek in clouds. We sat on a bench and saw different shapes formed in the clouds. As if a running dog (tail flying and mouth opened), or flying kite (with a long string). Both looked happy, as if doing their job well. The next moment I saw HIM in same clouds, looking at me. No words. Quiet. Still. Expressionless. Like a portrait of his picture clicked without his permission and without his notice. As he was on 22 February 2011 before he breathed last on 23 February. In spite of that, I sensed as if he wanted me to say something, to ask about his health. I wanted to.

I felt like that missing hand of that man (as if the job was incomplete).

26 days. Just as 26 alphabets can be rearranged and used to communicate anything, these 26 days have almost summed up our disability without Him. His eyes were devoid of any emotions. After all, space is always less, everywhere and so probably, he had too many wishes and plans to leave any space for emotions. I was not sure though. As I was looking at him, a plane flew across those shapes. It must be noisy there. Would he be happy for that noise (among Haria (his servant), Roorh Singh (his driver), his phones), or that He was missing his *silence* (Vinish)?

I felt water all over. In my eyes, throat, limbs. My wife asked me what was wrong. “Nothing”, I said.

Probably the dog was still running in clouds. And we walked back home. Me like that dog, and my wife like my wife.

Back home, I entered His room to switch off the room light. My heartbeat paused for a while. He was not there. Only the space. Silence again.

As if He was like that burger (as if he had done his job).

His absence has become a constant in our lives. Like a burger. Like the absence of that missing hand.

PS: For the complete series of memoirs, please see: https://vinishgrg.wordpress.com/memoirs/. Thank you.

Written by Vinish Garg

March 20, 2011 at 5:14 pm

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