Revering Thoughts

Opinions About Everything

Author: farooq (Page 2 of 33)

The Morning Welcome

The ‘kaw kaws’ and the ‘cuhooos’, coupled with the bristling leaves play an imperfect symphony for the morning to arrive. The Azaan ended a few minutes back to just confirm the same. And if there was any doubt, the surkh color ensured that all of them were right. 

The weekdays don’t let us enjoy the morning. The arrival of a brand new day of work, looks over our heads. Bereft of any concern of ‘how-many-more-hours-can-I-sleep’, the weekend night adds this present along with other things it makes us look forward to. 

I know they say, ‘Weekends are over-rated’ and even I’d agree to it. But, perhaps these little moments are missed from being counted when making those statements. 

You can say that this CAN be enjoyed everyday. CAN, yes. Indeed. 

There’s no photograph that can truly capture this moment. My camera definitely cannot. My description of this, I hope, might. 

This transports me to moments before sunrise on beaches which I’ve had the privilege to be on. That sound of waves and the color changing horizon at the end of it. 

To one of the hill station where you view the early lights with clouds for company. That whiteness. Unmatched.

To even the Scenery we all used to draw as kids. The zig-zag mountains with the sun rising in between. 

I don’t have any of those views now. The vrooms of all the engines are already encroaching the silence. The cloudy, and yet beautiful, Bangalore sky isn’t helping in the welcome of the sun either. 

Maybe the moment is gone. Like how it always does.

My body clock is pulling me in on to the bed. The winds are giving mixed signals. Should I wait for the sun or sleep with you sweeping through the window ?

The Bangalore Sky

You’ve got to love the post-dusk magnificance of the sky in Bangalore. That view. The clarity. 

Blessed. We. Are.

I don’t know exactly what but there’s an intriguingly calming influence whenever I twist my head towards it. The flowing cotton clouds remind me of school projects where rolls of cotton was glued to the blue cardboard sheet. The things we did back then! For some reason we referred to it as KG cardboard and I still don’t know why. I was never that curious as a kid, anyway. 

I do feel that when I write posts like these , I’m updating the weather report. But here’s the thing, a lot of thoughts, mine and yours hopefully, are interwined with the vaatavaran. Try hearing vatavaran in Lisa Haydon’s voice. Just the voice, okay. Ramzan in progress, folks. 

Coming back to the sky. Yes, you beauty. What changed ? Like was the sky always like this or I’ve suddenly become the beholder to its beauty? 

Either way, you seem to be one good thing to end the day with. Considering how few other things are left, of course. Jugaad.

Listening to the gibberish while I type about you to the world. Or just a tiny fraction who seem to read it. 

You, the blue and the white. Stay awesome. 

Will the real Pakistani team, please stand up ?

As Ramiz Raza tried his best to establish the failings of the Pakistani side, one could easily sense the disappointment in his voice. And why shouldn’t he?

Pakistan lost to India by 124 runs!

This Pakistani side is the weakest one in a long long time. An unforgettable one, indeed.

Being a 90’s born, we’ve seen how tough it used to be to beat the Pakistanis. We still trail them by a 72-52 win-loss margin in ODIs and 12-9 in Tests! Going by how our neighbor has performed in recent years, just goes to show how strong they were!

As hard it is to admit, their bowling attack used to scare most of our batsmen back then.

When I looked at their playing XI the other day, I was like, who are these people? Apart from a couple of familiar faces, they all looked like a team that Bangladesh could beat with ease. And I’m not being arrogant here. Apart from the first bowling spell by Mohammad Aamir, they confirmed this feeling of mine. There’s just nothing there in the Pakistani bowling side. To top it all, they have a spinner wearing colored goggles bowling. Thank you Pandiya for those 3 sixes in whatever-is-his-name’s over!

Sure, I don’t follow their cricket and don’t have much idea on what they did but at least earlier the side at least used to put up a fight.

Where is that Pakistani team?

The fast bowlers. The batsmen who could hit sixes at will. That sledging which makes for such good TV.

I feel so sorry for their fans. And so many of them still came to the stadium. Probably because their NRI neighbors from India were going to cheer for their team. Their flag waving appeared just to be akin to saving face in social meetups in the desi community. The ones who had seen the glory days might just be looking at these players and be going, ‘What have you done to the Pakistani team?’

There used to be so much fun to argue with their supporters with match stats. Sure, for most of their queries, Sachin was our only answer, but still, we managed!

Will the real Pakistan team, please stand up?

Ramzaan memories

Delicately chewing a couple of khajoors as I opened the door onto my balcony, the clearest Bangalore sky and cotton-like floating clouds greeted me with a salaam. 

As my bare feet touch the cold floor, and the chill hits me, there’s a sense of calm. While I wait for the Azaan to stop eating, I convince myself that it’s not that cold and rest my bums on the stairs.

My earliest memories of a sehri are contrastingly differing to the one I’m about to finish. The cold December and the difficulty of getting out from the razai were its trademark. Not to forget the variety of sheermaals from Bhaarat Bakery and the occasional firni from Calkatiya hotel. And of course, forcefully drinking glasses of water to be ready for the next day. 

Somewhere from sharing the same jaanemaaz with Ammi to needing our own, we all grew up. 

As kids fasting in the holy month, we all were our family rockstars. An elaborate Iftaar awaited at the dusk for us. With special farmaishes. Skull capped kids all around the colony heading towards the mosque like it’s a celebration. 

Before I fasted for the first time, the idea of fast meant, ‘Eating Iftaar’. I remember people laughing when this revelation was out in the open.

Ammi’s occasional ‘wont-wake-you-up-for-sehri’ if we didn’t listen to her, scared us. Afraid of missing out on a Roza was an effective scare tactic. After all, counting on who kept the most number of fasts was quite a thing as kids in our colony. 

Motivators aside, Ramzan meant something special. Sehris, Roza and Iftar. All part of memories and not possible to recreate.

As I reminisce more, the Azaan breaks through the breeze. It is still dark but there’s a charm in reliving those memories. And yes, the morning Azaan helps. 

Littleapp-review

How I saved Rs 500 using this App ?

Work lunches are all about exploring places around work to eat. There has to be something to always look forward to. A new favourite every other week because you know, you get bored of the same stuff. Especially when it comes to food.

Exploring a new eatery is akin to conducting experiments for our taste buds.

But this pattern is last mostly for the first half of the month. As the month draws to a close, we end up on the office canteen’s meals. What a fall! 

However, last month was a little different. Yes, appraisals played a little part in that, but it was the discovery of a little new App. Literally, the LittleApp.

This deal-provider helped save at least 500 Rupees last month! How ?

Yes, I’ll tell you all about it. But first, let me tell you how this app works.

The app is a treasure house of some amazing deals, ranging from restaurants, spa, salons, activities etc.

Also, this isn’t limited to an app-based service. if you don’t want to download the app, you can also check their website for the exact deals. I personally prefer their app. But then, I’m not judging.

As per their website,

They are a hyperlocal deals discovery platform connecting customers and merchants across services like restaurants, spa, salons, activities etc. They help customers discover fantastic offers at their favourite outlets and also become a sales channel for offline merchants.

And even though they promote their app as ‘Little’ app, they help you save a lot. Fans of Shakespeare ? What’s in a name, anyway!

Although my experience with the app was limited to the deals it provided with restaurants. My colleagues ended up using it for Spa and Salon deals as well. And as per them, it was worth it the time. Time spent saving money. 

But let me just tell you about my experience so that you can give this a try as well. 

We wanted to explore a new Pizza place which opened in HSR but days away from salary-day, we had decided to wait. 

Crushing our desire for the mouth-watering pizza for a while. Melodramatic, I know. But then that’s me and food. A love story. You should check my Instagram feed for proof: Here!

But then LittleApp came into the picture and Voila! We got a 30% off deal for us and our Monday Blues were solved by the cheese-laden pizza!

What started with just pizza was followed by Biriyani, Donuts and even Coffee!

So, how does the App work?

All you have to do is follow these steps: 

  1. Download the app from Playstore/Appstore. It’s available for Android/iOS. 
  2. Sign up quickly for an account
  3. Search for deals from restaurants, spa, salons, activities etc based on what you like For example if you’re looking for best restaurants in Bangalore, you can make use of the app.
  4. Pay from the multiple payment options available
  5. All your purchased deals appear in the ‘My order’ tab
  6. Head over to the outlet (restaurants, spa, salons), show this at the counter and avail the deal.
  7. Eat or leisure to your own liking
  8. And yes, Count how much you saved!

Sounds good?

Give this app a shot and let me know how you saved, while I buy a few more coffee vouchers to write a few more articles like this while sipping Coffee. 

House of cards season 5 preview

House of Cards Season 5 Preview: Homecoming of Terror

‘I DON’T CARE!’ as President Frank Underwood shouted in the house. And, damn! He looked like it.

House of Cards is back, Folks!

As the first episode unfolds through the shocking cliffhanger of the last season when the Underwoods did what’s expected of them. Yes, look into the camera and share their guts.The first episode has all the bang they needed to start this new season.

The calm ‘I-don’t care’ look on Frank Underwood’s face as he sat in the house while the Republicans shouted, says it all. This is followed by Frank literally snatching a newspaper article accusing him of crimes commited during his Vice-presidency from a republican’s hand and walking down to the podium to speak while a mafia style ensemble of Democrats walked alongside him.

He not only snatches the war-rhetoric narrative away from the Republicans but ensures his opposition squabbles for a differing narrative to oppose him. It’s the Homecoming of Terror after all!

Remember how his Republican opponent, Will Convay, raised the issue of him being soft on terror and then they ended up a meeting to play video games?

And yes, the Underwoods are back together. Claire and Francis. The partners in power are back in harmony. Creating Havoc all around? You bet!

To those who might have forgotten about previous season, here’s a season-wise recap of where the story stands as of now:

Warning: Those who haven’t watched the series yet, please avoid this recap. Spoiler Alert!

House of Cards (Season 1): Season starts off with Frank Underwood being denied the role of Secretary of State as he was promised and ends with him becoming the Vice President. Exhibits of how to maneuver political players as well as Journalists without them knowing and becoming the beneficiary.

House of Cards (Season 2): From Vice President to, wait-for-it, the POTUS Itself. This season focused on how corporate clout indirectly governs a country. Foreign influences, Deals, favors, betrayals and frank’s political games.

House of Cards (Season 3): From President without having to be voted for to someone who now would have to actually win an election. A tumultuous journey of skeletons in the cupboard and the partnership with Claire going sour are the highlights.

House of Cards (Season 4): Francis and Claire’s fight, her mother’s death and then thanks to one journalist’ effort, all secrets coming out in the open. Alleged, we’d say. Time to divert attention? Terrorism is the answer.

Phew!

I’m paraphrasing in 1-2 lines and that itself seems so much. There’s so much more to the show than just this.

However, the show is mostly Kevin Spacey! The man is the center of it all and undoubtedly the biggest factor in the show is a hit. How do you not like his ‘in-the-camera’ talking to you?

Coming back to the first episode, the show takes forward the diverting tactics of the ‘fight against terror’ and plays on the idea of how states use the fear factor of the mass to drive down agendas with this narrative. The season promise to take on a lot of tricky international political issues and give us a sneak peek into the background of it all with a good dose of drama. Typical Underwood style.

Given the present political climate, one can also expect potshots being fired through the show. But that’s just my guess.

The shows beauty lies in the shift of characterizations. From a typically theatre-like performance of Frank Underwood to the nuances of American politics wrapped in drama.

What I also love about the show is they don’t shy away from exploring a characters’ dimensions and there’s always a way to bring them back. Unless they get killed by Underwood. What’s the count again?

To those who have been awaiting this season in India, Frank Underwood is coming to India with the television premiere of House Of Cards Season 5 on Saturday, 3rd June, 5 PM onwards, only on Zee Café! Also, share your thoughts on social media using #HOConZCafe to discuss with everyone else who’ll be watching the show along with you.

The daily wage

A soft step walk as if he was entering someone else’s house, he placed the small packet of rice in the kitchen and walked straight into the bathroom. 

Panting hard. He opened the tap and waited for the bucket of water to fill, looking passively as the water took it’s own sweet time.

“Just Rice?” She shouted from the kitchen. “We’ve been waiting since morning for this?!” 

He leaned on the wall listening to her agitated voice. Sweat dripping down his temple over his muddy clothes. His tired eyes blinked in slo-mo.

As the overflowing water from the bucket brought him back to his senses, he stripped down to pour water. The soiled water went down the drain while he washed himself up along the background score coming from the kitchen. 

When they all sat down to eat. A bowl of rice, a watered down dal from yesterday and pickle sent over by the kid’s grandma, he tried to read the silences. Her irritation and the kid’s helplessness of having to eat the food.

He had no answer. 

As he gulped down a spoonful of rice and waited till it reached somewhere close to his destination, he uttered his thankfulness to the almighty along with a forced burp. Shukr Alhamdulilah.

His kids looked up from their plate and threw a smile at him. 

He had finally received his day’s pay. 

Scene

There’s so much to write about you and then literally nothing. You’re the preoccupation that refused to get off the mind space. 

Not that you’re present in the specifics. You are all so vague. Like you were. 

I’ve replayed that scene. Of how it could have been different. How my fake laughter should have given away the disappointment. And you could SEE.

When you asked rather rhetorically about him, I should have shown my disgust. Not for him. But for the question. Even thrown away the plate of canteen food that was itself hard enough to gulp down. A tantrum or a two. Or just walked away like others had done. To you. 

But there I was. Laughing. At my own misery. 

Don’t mistake me for your cliche of a good guy. I’m not. Our breed is just scared. 

 ‘… after all this, there is an Us. Of a you and a me. ‘ echoed in the noise.

As I walked back to the class where a C+ desperately wanted to be an A, it was the numbness of the lunch with you that presided over the presentation. Of watching people and reading out the slides. Next. Next. And next. 

Thank you. 

.. and Scene!

The Uninteresting stories

Her eyes grow bigger every time she tries to tell a story. The sincere eyes moving around, even though it’s just the two of them talking, tell their own story.

He, half-listens her story, while his eyes remain preoccupied with the shine of her eyes. The excitement in telling an uninteresting story fascinates him.

He knows his stories are told the same way. Uninteresting. While she listens to them with rapt attention. Her wandering eyes try hiding in the imaginary crowd. But he adamantly dives down in them. Every time.

With an actual crowd, sneaking innocent glances while people laugh about everything and the random, alike. A world of their own. The alternate glances.

“…but this would not last. There’s just no time.” Their minds would shout almost in a chorus.

‘So what?!’ The eyes rebelled for that temporary solace.

The Mango Memories

Mangoes. As far as I remember, has been the favorite. More so because of its exclusivity to Summer and the nostalgia it brings when eaten.

Hamesha.

Even as kids, the anticipation of the fruit was one of the highlights of Summer. I can still recall Dada reminding us of its price per kilo at the dinner. And of course, the rotatory policy of, “Who’ll get the Tenkaa today?” Tenkaa is the ghutli or seed of the mango and being the biggest slice of it, was usually in demand.

And eating the sweet mangoes, was not the only good thing about it. The variety of chutneys and murrabbas that Dadi made and the elaborate achaar preparation out of raw mangoes is still fresh in my memory. 

Guess, I’m still not old enough. 

Ammi usually had to struggle in ensuring that I eat lunch. But with these, her job was easier. At least till the stocks lasted.

When our month-long summer vacations ensued at Nanijans’, we-the VVIPs, had those small mangoes at plenty and Nanijans’  Gudamma was quite a big deal!

If you’re getting confused with the names. Apologies. I’m pretty sure, you must have eaten these dishes at home but with some other names. 

Beherhaal!

Aah! Don’t you miss that time when  the Dadis and Nanis of the world pampered you? And your siblings. Although, I’d like to think, I was pampered more. 

My Frooty-stories are the stuff of legends. 

Childhood was amazing because of grandparents. Even these memories attached to Mango is characteristic of that emotion. 

It was a simpler time! 

While mangoes might last a few more days, the memories will last longer! 

Coffee Cravings

Coffee cravings and Rains 

As the rain hammers down the trees and ensures electricity catches a longish break, I long for sleep.

But, of course! I’m lying.

My caffeine addict brain pleads for a cup to make it feel sane. Times like these, I feel that my sister’s advice of getting a gas-connection instead of the induction, seems about right.

All for a cup!

The laptop’s battery lasted till I finished the finale of ‘This is us’. A tear-jerker drama that is designed  with an evil intent of making you cry. Not sad, but emotional.

An outpour. And yes, the rain outside too.

I’m worried more for my bicycle parked downstairs. After months, it was serviced, and the ride back home has given it another wash. Not a good one, though.

Also worried about my neighbors’ late night singing. Believe me, it’s not improving. On some days, I feel like shouting back the same song in response. But I hold back. One bad singer is enough for the neighborhood of Ejipura.

While the wind acts lazy and the rain seems to have taken a break, I still await the light bulb to blink.

I won’t have that Swades’ ‘Bijli’ moment but at least I’ll brew myself a cup of coffee. Maybe.

Balance

The 2-Rupee story

‘Yatrigan kripya dhyan den! …’ as I eagerly straightened my ears to the train announcement. It ended with ‘… hame khed hai’ and an unprecedented wait ensued. The April heat plus humidity, and having not eaten a bite since morning, made me miss the morning breakfast. Only if I had got up early!
 
I searched the back pocket of my jeans. There was a 2-rupee coin.
It was the year 2011 and even then there was hardly anything to buy for 2 Rupees that can be my, as I looked at the station clock, my Lunch!
 
I went outside the station, passing over the autos and the rickshaws, to look for the worthy vendor who deserved my 2 rupees in return for lunch. I scanned around the lane to zero down on one stall that appeared to have a lot of Bhajjis, samosas and fried stuff.
Asking ‘….eita kitte?’ is easier when you have money. I realized it that day.
 
Just then, a man walked by to give a 10 rupee note to Bhaina and got 5 Aaloo chops in return. All 5 packed in the newspaper cut-out placed diligently skewered over the counter.
 
Bingo!
 
‘Bhaina.. gotte Aloo chop ta dio’ was what I remember saying in my broken Odia.
 
I took the aaloo chop and walked towards the station. The taste of that Aloo chop, as I took a bite, is something that’s as fresh as yesterday. I used the same oil-soaked newspaper to wrap and throw-aim at the nearby dustbin to feel elated, I missed it by a whisker (because, of course!). I was still happy, nevertheless.
 
Years later, the reason I still remember this, is that I wasn’t sad about this. There was no ‘moment of determination’ that I’m going to change this. There was no drama attached to that moment and this might just be running parallel NOW in someone else’s life!
 
To go back and check the singular emotion going through my head: It was Hope!
 
The hope that this temporary mundane would change for the better. The way it has always been.
What I now realize, Hope is a peculiarly strong emotion. It CAN change the perceived impossible. It has a vision and it lends wing to that vision.
 
We’ve all faced moments when we’re hard-pressed amidst a no-way street. The dark hours are upon us and there seems to be nothing that can bring us out of there.
And yet, it does. With the hope that there’ll be a new dawn. It’s axiomatic that things will always change for the better.
 
We all strive to achieve and we won’t get ALL we want. But we’ll get something. Something that’ll make us happy to look at the past and smile about it.
 
The story I shared is everyone’s story. What we never had before, we have that now! Our list is long, and it keeps getting longer, and it might take the time to get it all. But we should always sit back and see, how many of those we already have.
 
I keep getting back to this 2-rupee story every now and then. What’s your story that puts a smile on your face when you remember it now?

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