Sunday, May 24, 2009


Few days back I went to the dermatologist. A skin doctor if you please. Now what’s so special about going to the skin doctor… you might have wondered in your head. Hello... wait till I tell you the full story, I might have retorted had you expressed your thoughts aloud. And now having achieved the double objectives (objective?) of creating an artificial impression of suspense and managing to conjure up a opening paragraph with zero useful information when nothing writable was flashing in my head (third objective being writing a ridiculously long sentence that the reader wishes will get over, only to confront an another equally long ridiculous line at the end - within parenthesis) …gasp… I shall continue with the actual story.

So there I was in Jayanagar 4th Block walking around. A little aimlessly. That’s when I got this sudden urge to finish some pending stuff on my to do list. And there was point no 6 in black ink - ripe and fuzzy with age: Do something about rash.

It’s a silly little rash really. Not so silly that it can be ignored for long. Something that lies around until the day I’ve just forgotten about it. And then decides to erupt in indignation a little later. Not something contagious though. So if we've been in touch don’t worry! ( but again, you have only my word for this. And I’m not a Doctor. Yet.)

I took a little detour and sauntered into the dermatologists' clinic, pleased with myself. Just the day before I'd read some fundae by J Krishnamurti about how the "the first step is the last step". I’m taking the first step, I’m taking the first step I thought as I nearly tripped on the last few steps leading to the clinic. I entered the clinic and saw people packed into seats like French fries in a fat boys’ mouth. I decided to forget about J Krishnamurti's fundae for the time being. I entered gingerly, tried to fit in between two French fries but lost courage and ran back to the receptionist.

“Eh huh.. I don’t have an appointment. How long will it take to meet the doctor? “

“There are seven people before you. And its already 12.30 now. You will most probably not get an appointment by 1.45. Better you come after lunch around three.”

So I went back home. I knew the right thing to do would be to go back to the clinic at three. But I could make up some excuse and avoid doing this. So much work to do on the computer (I made myself think, handing myself a guilt free pass in the process).I headed blissfully back home knowing fully well I'd end up reading random stuff on the net instead of going to the Doctors’. But guess what. No current at home! And no marks for the second guess. No UPS at home!!

Once in every million years, when a first step is taken in the right direction, many other things conspire to make the right thing happen.
Sounds quite corny but you can quote me on this ... as "Nikhil Balaji's counter corollary to Murphy's law circa 2009”. So come 2.45 pm I headed back to resignedly to the dermatologists'. And finished my business with him.

One more thing which struck me was how far ahead the dermatologist was booked for appointments. When I asked for an appointment, the only slot I could get was for 3 weeks later! And appointment on Saturdays and Sundays... Forget it. Why what’s with the skin? Is it more susceptible to diseases and problems than other parts of the body? Or aren’t there enough dermatologists in India? Haven’t the medical fraternity figured the simple logic of supply and demand…why don’t more of them take up (for lack of a suitable word in my dictionary and a lethargy on my part to look up the internet) dermatology studies?? What the hell!!
Note to self: Meditation is apparently not working for you right now.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Lying on the lawn

Not many things give me more pleasure than lying down on the ITPL lawn nowadays. After a hard days work (hard days work....I can hear the cynics!) a good lie down on a bed of lush green grass does wonders to the body. And more so to the mind. The process is a natural tension remover, the moment you lie down all mundane worries vanish with the wind!

I’ve been doing this regularly for quite some time now. An ideal time to do this would be in the evening around 6.30 to 7.30. A sunset can’t be seen from ITPL, but at least the changing light can be appreciated. You should take a stroll at this time, go down to the ITPL lawn and look for a decent spot. There used to be a lot of open space in ITPL sometime back. A big chunk of the grounds are now closed with construction work going on there. Presently there’s only a small rectangular patch of grass right opposite the Inventor building I work at. While the grass cover over here is not lush all around there are quite a few good spots you can find.

Picture this:
You are lying down on the lawn. As you look up you see towering steel and glass structures on three sides which seem to be welded at the edges. The U shaped monolithic block frames the deep blue open sky. There are a few Gulmohur trees on the lawn. Green leaves and few bright red bursts of flowers present an almost stark contrast with the unforgiving gray and glass all around.

Roll your eyes around and you can see chauffeur driven cars circling past you and your patch of green grass. A few irate cab drivers circle around the lawn waiting for passengers while other sleepy passengers yawn at passing cars hoping it is for them.

The lawn is riddled with muddy brown patches and there are places that are water logged. But all these just add to a sense of natural beauty that tries to thrive in the midst of computer filled concrete behemoths. As you continue gazing up, you see birds (and bats?) flying around at various levels in the sky. Some go in neat circular arcs, others make zig zag arbit flights. Many seem to be chasing what look like smaller birds or insects. As time passes a few mosquitoes appear from nowhere. Some get too close for comfort. They mosquitoes have a sense of taste (pun intended) too.. a selective few on the lawn walk around with black fuzzy clouds over their heads.

The light all around is diffused and golden - partly due to fading sunlight and partly due to the glow from the lamps encircling the park. Sometimes when there is a cloud or two, the lighting and scenery looks like its taken right out of an illustrated children’s book. As time passes the lamps grow brighter and white lights spill out on to the lawn from the concrete monsters. The sky meanwhile turns blue green orange copper purple. Somewhere in a corner a minuscule white dot becomes visible in the sky. With time more such scattered dots come into view and begin to sparkle. Things in the mind seem to become clearer as dots become stars become constellations on the sky above.

Some random building begins to emit a low pitched vibrating buzz. A wailing siren brings relief to factory workers somewhere close by and momentary irritation to others next to me. A steady white noise flows from the river of traffic just outside. In the background of such noises from man made jungles, happy voices float all around punctuated intermittently by raucous peals of laughter. People walk around on the lawn with cell phones - talking earnestly, arguing, cajoling, negotiating, flirting. The waterfall of voices around you is predominantly bubbly and soothing, quite unlike the crisp and somewhat harsh sounds within the buildings. Steady streams of people leave the buildings and pour on to the sidewalk. They look carefree and visibly happy.

A tiny wriggling sensation creeps up the ankle and moves on to the shins, cleaving a path towards the knee. Soon many such tiny tickles begin to be felt over various parts of the body. But you are comfortably lazy and decide to ignore them, taking in all the sensations. Time seems to stall and you are almost half asleep. In fact its almost time for the bus already! You stagger on to your feet and leave the lawn, whistling with the wind, kicking pebbles on the sidewalk……

Sunday, May 10, 2009


What does it really mean to be happy?

Is being happy a journey or a destination?

What is the connection between happiness and excellence?

Does long term happiness imply sacrifice of momentary happiness?

Are happiness and sadness two sides of the same coin?