Saturday, June 30, 2007


With every copy of Windows XP, there comes a standard wallpaper titled "Bliss". It shows a rolling, undulating green meadow, topped off with a picture perfect blue sky. Just one more expression of that indescribable feeling of contentment and peace. The very word carries with it a mysterious aura of calm. Bliss may be fleeting, in fact too short to get a proper taste of it, but it is there in everyone's life like an unseen phantom granting us an unexpected glimpse yet almost an illusion.

Bliss is the faraway strains of Floyd's "High Hopes" in the dead of a quiet and starry night. Bliss is the cool breeze that rustles through the grass on a sunny March afternoon. Bliss is the instant when the examiner takes the answer sheet of that "dangerous" subject and a voice inside your head tells you that you have passed. Bliss is when on a winter morning you glance with bleary eyes at the clock, and see that there's still half an hour of sleep to be had. Bliss is when a power-cut actually makes you notice the silver moonlight bathing the hostel grounds. Bliss is that final page of that great book that you have been reading, settling into your mind forever. Bliss is the final catch of India's match that has the common room jumping up and down, screaming in a chorus of joy. Bliss is the smell of mom's cooking as you drop your back-pack in the living room.

Life is indeed beautiful on God's earth, and these drops alone in the ocean of time are reward enough for a lifetime.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Paper-powered dreams

The school year was over, and primary school almost over too, but we couldn't care less. Jigar and I, two introverts of the extreme kind were working away on our yearly ritual. The dozen odd notebooks which had faithfully served their purpose through the year were now the target of undeserved sadistic destruction.

As page after page was ripped out and transformed into the latest flying contraption, our eyes were fixed on the horizon, more precisely the mosque far across the ground behind Jigar's building. It represented the farthest landmark that our eyes could see as only smoking brick kilns and the Narmada lay beyond.

Standing on the terrace of the building, all we ever wanted was this invention to fly "where no paper plane had ever flown before". As darkness fell, both of us were deeply engrossed in thought as to how to make that special fold in the paper, so as to design that "wonder plane". 

Not that it made too big a difference! Eventually it always came down to the cool evening breeze blowing down from the vast expanse of the Narmada, which was a benevolent spectator to our antics. A stormy day or a charitable gust of wind from the Narmada were the crucial factors in any record setting attempts. The "world" record stood when a plane of mine made an astonishing voyage and struck the top of the palm tree situated at the far end of the ground.

The days of manufacturing air-forces of our own were brought to an abrupt end, when a particularly strict neighbour took us to task for "dis-respecting knowledge" for trivial pursuits like paper planes. Now as Jigar is through computer engineering and me through mechanical engineering (Not that I can exactly explain how and why my planes flew like they did!), I still wonder at times where that pioneer plane would have flown, if it hadn't been for that darned palm tree.

Never really got a chance to stretch the limits after that, because within the blink of an eye, all that I was concerned with were big words like "marks", "careers", "crushes" etc. Old notebooks were strictly for the 'kabadiwallah' for some extra pocket money.