Sunday, August 10, 2008

A Burden Off My Chest

To have a blog and not post on it regularly is sacrilege. Writing a post is like a fundamental duty that demands immediate fulfillment, and purgatory in case of violation. Or so I believe. I have spent nearly three months away from home (Vizag/this blog, take your pick). Now, I find myself in Hyderabad, where I am yet another of the numerous so-called software engineers. The path to Hyderabad was long and circuitous- figuratively speaking. I almost ended up where I didn't want to be, but thankfully, perhaps for the first time in my life, I have been given a chance to believe in miracles.

Almost the entire duration of the journey on the bus from Mysore to Hyderabad, I wrote several posts in my head. I thought of the fears I have learnt to overcome. A few months ago, a thirteen-hour bus journey would have seemed unimaginable to me; yesterday, I equipped myself with a lemon and tablets, and surprisingly, I didn't feel nauseated even once. Homesickness struck a few times at Mysore, but it never got unendurable. I didn't have too many of the why-am-I-doing-what-I-am-doing moments. Even now, as I write, I am not particularly nervous about tomorrow, my first proper day at work. The anxiety will doubtless kick in when the time comes around, but as of now, I am enjoying one of those rare days with uninterrupted access to the Internet.

We set off from Mysore at four last evening, grey clouds massing on the horizon, white tips curling and snarling ominously. The rain fell in a while, steady and rhythmic, streaking across the window-panes in slim long lines, which would have given the impression of scratches across the glass surface, but for the fact that they were sucked up by the greedy wind as fast as they fell. The green countryside and the rocky outcroppings sped by, witnesses to ages of traffic across the road. We passed through sleepy towns whose inactivity would have put Malgudi to shame; indeed, they looked as if time had come to a standstill at independence, bringing to a shuddering halt any vaguely visible signs of progress.

Night-time on the bus wasn't particularly enjoyable. I couldn't sleep much, because a crick in the neck or a cramp in one of my legs inevitably woke me up at regular intervals. During these periods of wakefulness, I looked out the window, at the ghostly forms of slender bushes bent low by the howling wind. The hydraulics of the bus hissed occasionally like a monster roused from slumber; the engines let out a low-pitched, metallic growl, which didn't go quite well with the sepulchral darkness. Who knew when we were crossing a cemetery or a graveyard, disturbing the souls of those long gone, with our earthly journeys?

Now for some information on what I actually did during training. I had actually meant to begin at the beginning, to be prim and proper and as coherent as possible. Evidently, training hasn't exactly changed me, for I am rambling on in the same old fashion. Okay, no more digressing. Come back. I was born to be an epitome of embarrassment, to write manuals on how not to do certain things, and Mysore was no different. I shall not even attempt to count the number of times I said or did things I regretted later, how I managed to put myself in situations Anne Shirley wouldn't have managed to get into. The list grows longer by the minute, or so it seems, which is why it would be futile to sum it up and post it here. Trust me, it is not inspiring or interesting.

I learnt that there is a difference in the kind of things you post on the internal blog and the external blog. Why it is so beats me. While in office, we are probably bored and tired, looking for amusement that doesn't exactly challenge the intellect; I have this creepy feeling that I'm playing to the gallery when I'm posting on the internal blog, turning particularly comment-hungry on days when I have nothing much to do. Now, however, I have resolved to write sense; no matter how much Miss Hyde prods me, I shall write only that which really, truly pleases me.
One of the best things to happen was my first-ever bloggers' meeting. There was another blogger in my own batch in training, and we attended a bloggers' meeting one Monday evening. It was a great experience, for I'd never met a blogger earlier. We talked about books, Formula One, how to identify a blogger, food- quite a few things were discussed in that clandestine meeting, actually. And all the while, people curiously looked on, wondering where this strange pack of creatures, a motley bunch seemingly oblivious to the existence of the rest of the world, had landed from.

Do I sound rusty from lack of practice? Probably. How I loved the words that churned themselves out in my head yesterday! They arranged and rearranged themselves repeatedly, but never did it get monotonous; it was great fun throughout. And that brings me to the books I've read since I was last here.
1. Summer Lightning (PG Wodehouse)
2. Chokher Bali or A Grain of Sand (Rabindranath Tagore)
3. Howards End (EM Forster)
4. The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini)

...and bits of Paulo Coelho, Orhan Pamuk, Roald Dahl and Amitav Ghosh. Some fiend even prompted me to try reading Chetan Bhagat; thankfully, sense prevailed and I didn't fall into the trap. I am currently reading A Thousand Splendid Suns. Some evenings, walking past the bookshop, two feet from the door, I'd be assailed by the fragrance of clean pages and fresh print. Is there anything more irresistible in the whole wide world? I'd walk into the shop and walk out armed with a new book or two.

There is much more to tell, about the good, kind, benevolent, interesting people encountered and the not-so-good ones; my visits as an 'undercover journalist' (ever heard of wild fantasies?) to the badminton court where I observed and studied the behaviour of the playing and watching species; forays into the town house-hunting for a friend through streets that reminded me of the soap my neighbours used. Therefore, if you will be so good as to remind me of my promise of a sequel, I shall post it at the earliest opportunity.


Arun said...

ah welcome back !!!!!!! :)
you havent lost a single step or even a small degree of your gifts ! what lovely passages...exquisite writing !

and a blog network there too? awesome ! good for you !

how did you like the Kite runner?
and yer in hyderabad eh ! aww i was hoping yud get posted in chennai :)

Jaya S said...

Thanks, Arun :-)! I can't even begin to explain how great it feels to be writing again. The blog there is a saving grace...kept me sane through training. 'The Kite Runner' was fabulous. I'm waiting to finish 'A Thousand...' so I can do a combined review. Of course, most people must have already read both the books. Even so, I'll have my say :-).

Anonymous said...


I'm a big fan of Paulo Coelho! You will love this! He's the first best-selling
author to be distributing for free his works on his blog:

Have a nice day!


Revathi said...

Yay!! you are back. and i agree with Arun. One might think that a break of three months might have a toll on ur writing but you are back with a bang and a wonderful post!! and i completely agree with you about the internal blog thing. somehow its just not the same as having an external blog. and like you say at one point i think we start writing more for comments than for the sake of writing. :).
So another software engineer in the making is it. i dunno whether to be happy or sad!! :)
and didnt you just completely fall in love with summer lightning? do read the blandings omnibus. it has heavy weather, someting fresh and summer lightning and is one of the best books i have ever read!! :)
chiker bali kind of choked me. it was like reading the story of a mega serial. i think i still have 20 more pages to go.
Havent read howards end. and kite runner is wonderful. thousand splendid suns is even better. and i cant tell u how glad i am that u didnt read three mistakes of my life by bhagat. i still strongly believe that he wrote it when he was in an inebriated state. :P. it is beyond bad. it defies superlatives (errr. not in the postive sense!!)
Lovely post.
Welcome back!! :)

Jaya S said...

Thank you, Revathi :-). It feels superb to be writing again, back home, as I said, and with the amount of 'work' I think I'm going to have, I just might have plenty of blogging time again!