Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Lost Melody

When this happened, I do not know...
I woke up one day, and you were a part of me,
A soft gossamer scarf over my soul,
An ever present whisper pervading my senses,
A mellifluous song stuck in my mind.

When this happened, I do not know...
I stepped out one day, and felt a pang,
That I was leaving something important behind;
My feet missed a step, my heart skipped a beat;
As I plodded unsurely away from the door.

When this happened, I do not know...
When I'm away from you, I ache for some music,
Though there is no tune that can slake this thirst,
For it is you that I miss, like a lost melody,
I will always be at your side, my first and last melody.

Prashanth Sriram

Cross-posted on my poetry blog.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Confessions of an Imperfect Man

I'm not perfect, I know.
I don't always speak true.
But I'm happy enough when you say,
"Your word will do; I trust you."

I'm not perfect, I know.
I bring tears as well as smiles.
But I'm happy enough when you shake my hand,
"We can put it behind us; I know you meant well."

I'm not perfect, I know.
I don't know how to be nice to you.
But I'm happy enough when you admit,
"I'm glad you said it to my face, and not behind my back."

I'm not perfect, I know.
I make mistakes all the time.
But I'm happy enough when you believe,
That tomorrow I'll be a better man.

I'm not perfect, I know.
But all things said and done,
I'm really, really happy when you say,
"I'm proud to call you FRIEND."

Monday, November 16, 2009

There came a day...

There came a day, when I knew
That I was in love…
When I opened the curtains,
And all the colours seemed brighter.
“Has it always been this way?” I gasped.
A butterfly alighted upon my palm.
“Always,” it said, “Always.”

There came a day, when I knew
That I was in love…
My fingers flicked the roses upon my table,
And I breathed in their heady scent.
“Have flowers always smelled so sweet?” I wondered.
I opened the note that came with the flowers,
“Always,” it said, “Always.”

There came a day, when I knew
That I was in love…
I found myself gliding, not walking,
Which is passing strange, as I had always wanted to fly.
“Is this what flying feels like?” I thought aloud.
A sparrow replied from yonder tree,
“Always,” it said, “Always.”

There came a day, when I knew
That I was in love…
A tear rolled down my cheek, and I was annoyed.
“Why are you here?” I asked, “I am not sad.”
“Your eyes are filled with the sweetest face,
And there is no room for me in there.
Now. Tomorrow. Always.”

Cross-posted on my poetry blog

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The (Anti)Patriotic Speech

The following is the content of one of the speeches I gave at the Toastmasters Club in my company.

I am not a Patriot. I’m not even much of an Indian.

I can’t speak good Hindi. I can’t even speak my own mother tongue, Telugu, fluently. English is the language I’m most comfortable with, and I’m infamous for telling people that I only reply in English because I “think” in English. I watch English movies and serials, listen to English music, eat international cuisine. I’ve probably been to more cities in the US than I have in India.

I am not a Patriot.

As soon as I finished my bachelor’s degree in Chennai, I flew to the US for my Master’s, thus becoming a willing contributor to the “brain drain”. It doesn’t matter, of course, that I came back to India in less than three years. After all, nobody asks or cares what your intentions in going abroad were. You don’t need to know if I always intended to come back with skills I knew I wouldn’t be able to gain here. You don’t need to know that I like living in India much more I like living in the US. All that matters is that I left of my own volition. That’s all you need to make a claim that I’m being unpatriotic.

I am not a Patriot.

I don’t care much for “Indian” traditions and customs. For example, I don’t respect all my elders. You see, I have the temerity to believe that respect should be earned.

I am not a Patriot.

I don’t follow any of the Hindu traditions I was raised to. I don’t see what our religious practices have to do with the idea of God; I have a secular outlook. It doesn’t matter that I pray for the well-being of my friends and family; that I go to temples often, and I like their atmosphere of peace and calm. After all, I just admitted that I don’t believe in the Gods of my religion. (Sharp intake of breath) What a huge sin I have committed! How can I call myself a dutiful Indian after that!

It’s interesting then, that on the day of my graduation, I went to a temple in my college campus to give my thanks to God, and found it pretty much deserted. The very same temple, by the way, had been full on the weekend before the exams.

I am not a Patriot.

In fact, I might even qualify as a traitor. You see, one of my good friends is a Pakistani. I met her at a bridge tournament in Beijing, and we’ve been excellent friends since then. The right Indian mentality should be “Bomb every single Pakistani off the face of the Earth,” am I correct? But I would be positively horrified at that. I think that if citizens were to be held accountable for the actions of their governments, almost every human being on the planet would be hanged, including us.

Going by conventional yardsticks, it doesn’t matter that I insisted that a portion of my first salary from both my research assistantship and my job at Sabre go to a charitable cause. It doesn’t matter that I have played bridge for our country at the international level, and I still consider representing our country as one of my most meaningful ambitions in life. How can these things possibly count against all the anti-Indian things that I do?

Come to think of it, even the people I admire in my life are not patriotic. My mother can never remember who is our current President or Prime Minister. She doesn’t know our country’s stance on world issues, or our defense capabilities. What she knows is how to be a shining role model and inspiration for thousands of women, being one of the top woman entrepreneurs in South India. What she knows is how to do social service, and how to empower and uplift women. That’s probably very un-Indian of her, too: going against our time-honoured tradition of discriminating against women.

I have a friend here in Bangalore, who did her bachelors and her masters in the US. She came back, and rather than take up any of several high-paying jobs, she chose to work for an NGO in the daytime. In the evenings, she works for a non-profit organization on teaching English to underprivileged kids. But she’s very unpatriotic, you know, probably because of all that time spent abroad: she often participates in protests against government policies… policies like cutting down trees - how awful is that?!

My friends, the point I am driving at, is simple. There are many things in this world that should not be defined by others. They should be defined by you. I beg you. I implore you. Please do not go by any yardstick other than your own. Even if a million people believe something, that does not make it automatically true. Live by conscience, live by morals, live by principles; but let it be your conscience and your moral code. Do what you believe is right and don’t go by what society says. That is the key, to living with self-respect, and without regret.

I am a Patriot. I just happen to define it the way my heart tells me.

Thank you.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Honey, I forgot to charge the...

... the laptop?
... the mobile phone?
... no, the car!

I was on my way home from work one evening and was witness to a very curious sight. A petite little Reva electric car was stuck between two speed breakers, a man trying quite unsuccessfully to push the car over the one in the front. The speed breakers were so precisely spaced that he couldn't get any sort of momentum going in either direction, so until he rustled up another man or two for help, the car was most definitely stuck.

I've studied electric vehicles in the bygone era when I was in mechanical engineering, so I know for a fact that the car would have enough torque to get out of its spot... unless it ran out of battery power.

I can almost picture the guy going home late and his wife asking him what took him so long. "Honey, I forgot the charge the car," would be a stand out candidate for "Excuse of the Year" ;)


Monday, August 31, 2009

The Case of the Coly Flower

I was waiting patiently at the billing counter of the grocery store. The guy behind the counter was a bit slow and I was getting a trifle vexed. When I saw him struggling with the billing software by entering "COLLY" and looking for a match when the item he was billing was a Cauliflower, I felt obligated to add a helpful "Try C.A.U.LI.."

The man shook his head and thought furiously. Finally he changed it to "COLY" and sure enough, he got a match, "COLY FLOWER".

There's got to be a "Moral of the Story" in here somewhere :). Aren't we all forced to do dumb things at our workplace because there's no other option to make things work?


Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Diamonds are too glittery

I keep getting distracted every now and then by something shiny and flashy on my finger. Every now and then I glance at it, and I'm like, "Oh! Right. The ring." I guess I'm still not quite used to it.

I'm talking about the engagement ring. Oh, did I skip something?

Right. I got engaged last weekend. Had a huge and glitzy function organized by the in-laws. I thought I looked all decent and grown up, and even got some bright smiles out. My fiance doesn't realize it, but she has to thank my Karachi friends for giving me lessons in Smiling 101.

These days I say "we" a lot more often than "I" or "you". Well, what can I say, I asked for a change in my life, and I got it :). Now I'll see about making the most of it.

We will make the most of it.


P.S. Will put up engagement pics on facebook soon, just give me a few days.