New York Memories: Nepalese Conference and Street Dance

NEW YORK MEMORIES-NEPALESE CONFERENCE AND STREET DANCE!
It was my first week in New York. For the whole week, I had been going around the city, appreciating its development, and wondering about the skyscrapers built on top of the ground, below which a vast network of subway train runs inside the womb of the city. New York is the city of people around the world, from diverse culture, religion, language and ethnic groups. People of various standards of living, various levels of education and knowledge, and various economic standings dwell in this crowded city of 12 million people. Being in New York is an opportunity to see the different facets of life at the same place. I had been passing my days looking at this wonderful place, and enjoying life.
It was one of such normal days when, inspired intellectually, I followed a few so called intelligent people to a Conference of Nepalese people. The conference was organized by the India-China Institute, and some so called “leaders” had been called all the way from Nepal to speak on the contemporary political situation of Nepal. The conference was on “Inclusive Democracy in Nepal”. Intellectuals from various fields had been invited to present on the topics of their specialization, ranging from the rights of the indigenous groups to the democracy and federalism. Unfortunately for me, it was not very interesting of a program. I was either irritated at times by the biased views of so called “intellectuals” and ridiculed at times by the lack of knowledge of the so called “leaders” of our country. Whenever there’s a genuine topic raised, and people start discussing, they starting speaking in different languages, each of them speaking in language which only they understand. In fact, the view that the ‘third eye’ presented was more appreciable. And this ‘third eye’ being the foreign nationals either studying on the politics of Nepal, or those who had been living in Nepal for some years in some kind of social organization/GO/NGO. It was almost obvious. It can not be expected to have an unbiased view from these people when biasedness of their view has been deciding their progress. How unfortunate for us. I even don’t want to mention about the speeches of some of the ‘leaders’ from major political parties, and those representing the government of the country (poor them, the program was supposed to be in ENGLISH throughout!!). Some of them had come just to stand ‘naked’ in front of a group of people. (what else would you say when he does not understand what he is invited for, what he is supposed to talk about, or what he is being asked and what he is answering?). They might have returned with wonderful headlines in the tabloids back home, but the reality that I saw makes me ashamed forever. It was kind of funny, but I feel more ashamed. Because I can’t make fun of my country, its our weakness that we elect people like them to the government. It was good to hear that some of them could not make it up to the conference because the US embassy rejected their request for the VISA. Saved from being more ashamed!!
It was a whole day long program; I had landed at the wrong place.
And then there was a lunch break. Wow!! I don’t see a point in being stranded when I have the possibility of opting out. I just came out of the ongoing hullabaloo. And to my amazement, there is a different world outside. This is such a beautiful world. Manhattan is celebrating the ‘First Annual Street Dance Festival’. There are thousands of people dancing on the streets of Manhattan. That was an opportunity to see the world in one place again. There were Ballet, Contra, Country, Tango, Salsa, Waltz, Jazz, Disco, Hip-hop and break dance. There were skate dancers, belly dancers and samba dancers. There were people of different cast, creed and color, presenting their own specialties in dancing. There were Yoga Dancers, Osho Dancers and Fitness Dancers. And there was huge crowd of people being entertained, lined up all across the streets of Manhattan, almost all of them tapping their toes, and swaying their bodies in rhythm. It was an environment even “I” almost shook my body. It was again an opportunity to see the life twice as beautiful. There was a wonderful world outside, and I had nearly missed it!! I was happy about my choice.
And after an hour of observing the street dance festival, I went to the Union Square Park where I found the statue of Mahatma Gandhi, the symbol of persistence perhaps! A light shower started when I was still sitting down on the park enjoying and not trying to remember what was still going on inside the conference hall. There were probably a bunch of people still talking about what they think only they know, and I think they also know but still don’t know it to the best of their abilities. I am not trying to be the opposition party leader, but few things are so unacceptable. And what I still believe is that the bunch of people present in there hardly contribute to the upliftment of the situation of the country in anyway. They are not helping the country out of the middle of nowhere. In fact, they are just trying to prove in different biased opinions, how well they understand that the country is in the middle of nowhere.
The shower has subsided, the crowd has fallen loose and each single person is beginning to catch his own pace. Drops of rain still trickle down my forehead, rolling down the chicks and dropping down the chin. It’s euphoric. It’s a day gone, and memories left. One more day when I lived the life twice as beautiful!!
Signing off,
bipul (NY, Jun 24, 2007)

It was my first week in New York. For the whole week, I had been going around the city, appreciating its development, and wondering about the skyscrapers built on top of the ground, below which a vast network of subway train runs inside the womb of the city. New York is the city of people around the world, from diverse culture, religion, language and ethnic groups. People of various standards of living, various levels of education and knowledge, and various economic standings dwell in this crowded city of 12 million people. Being in New York is an opportunity to see the different facets of life at the same place. I had been passing my days looking at this wonderful place, and enjoying life. Continue reading “New York Memories: Nepalese Conference and Street Dance”

Summer Blues: Breaking the Stalemate

Summer Blues–Breaking the Stalemate
Summer in New York has been pretty COLD. Cold because things have frozen. Cold because life has been static. I am missing the fluidity of human life.
Job hunt for the summer has been a BIG chapter of my life. I am just one more added person in this 12 million population of the city. New York is a BIG place. Living in the city of Brooklyn, where do I go find a JOB? I have gone into almost all of the restaurants and fast food cafes of Brooklyn heights. I have left my phone number and name in some hundred places (literally). I burst into laughter when people ask for a couple of years of experience for a DISHWASHER position. I have more than 8 years of experience. I have been doing it since I started living away from home. Unfortunately, that doesn’t qualify me. There’s no reference. There’s no name of an owner associated. Sometimes, I am asked if I am legal. Unfortunately, I am not. Initially, when I went inside a restaurant, I would be puzzled when they asked me what position I was looking for. I don’t know any position except waiter, cause I can’t do the kitchen. Well, I can, but it’s a RESTAURANT. I will be IN, and everyone else will be OUT. Then I had to do some research over the internet, to know that there are bussers, and runners, and barista, and etc. positions to look for. The next time I go into a restaurant, I have a number of positions to look for. But they don’t want me IN, for some good reasons, but I need to work. Either there’s no manager, or they don’t need anyone now, or they just hired some guys few days back, or i should check back in a couple of days, or I don’t qualify, or if the best can happen, I should go and give a try if I can do the work. WOW!! That’s great. I would love to.
Well, I believe everyone can’t do every job. Thats why there are different fields, and specialized people for that. Anyway, even though not my kind, I started well with it, and was a kind of satisfied. It was going good with me, only to be called by the owner within next two weeks. I was FIRED. I didn’t ask a question, as I see no point in asking. Well, the quest begins once more. A hundred places to visit, leave my name and phone number and etc..
Roaming around the city, I see “HELP WANTED” on the doors. I have been used to with it now, I can go into any store or a cafe or a restaurant anytime and ‘irritate’ them asking if they are hiring. I would probably go mad if someone came in like that when I was so badly waiting for at least one customer for the evening. I like the way they tell me that they just hired someone a week ago. At times I come across advertisements for “FLYER GUY”. Its a position for distributing flyers in front of the store, and SHOUTING at public “Cell Phones Inside, Check them out”. “You have to be “REALLY LOUD”, says the owner. Well, this in not the job for me, it is better for one of those RAP guys roaming around here. I am better jobless. And few more hours on the Craigslist.com, mailing to tens of advertisments. Nothing works. I know I need a few more days of stroll around the town.
After a tiring day out, and with hundreds of ‘not positive’ responses, frustrated and exhausted, when I come back home, and I have my computer on my lap to play with, some place called hi5 to find people, places to pour down my brain, some friends online to talk to, few things to look at and be happy about, this one hour of the day is not just an hour but an added hour to the 24 we have in a day. I LIVE 25 HOURS A DAY EVERYDAY.
But to make it worse, there is this wonderful nuisance called the Microsoft Windows. This Vista thing they boast about asks for an update, only to leave my ‘pirated’ softwares unacceptable. Now, I can’t access my Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator or Imageready. There’s no way I am going to buy it. Give me some time, and I will find a way out, and run a ‘pirated’ copy again, a free download over the internet. This is a challenge to Adobe, you can’t afford not to let a person like me use your products. Challege me, and I bear the capabilities of being in the Adobe development team someday. And there is yet another nuisance called the unsecured wireless internet. I really hate it when it disconnects at the most crucial time when I need it. But the best part is, this way or that, things work. The world keeps going. And I keep finding reasons to smile. Be it a beautiful picture over the network, an impressing profile that I bump into, a luring job advertisment in the Craigslist, or a hopeful assurance from a restaurant, or a wonderful joke in a forwarded mail, I come out of the stalemate.
Someone gives me a job. I do everything the BOSS asks me to. Remember, EVERYTHING. When I am polite with the customer, he thinks I am not confident. When I am loud enough, he thinks I am screaming at them. When I am cleaning the table, he thinks I should not leave the register, when I am waiting the register, he thinks I should not be standing still. I know, you are a BOSS, but you are a boss only because you are bossing around. You are not QUALIFIED. But it is OK for the next two months. I work for half a week, and he says “Your training is over tonight, you will be paid now onwards”. “So, what is my schedule for tomorrow?”. “Oh, tomorrow you are OFF”. What a joke. I didn’t come to New York to volunteer cleaning your dishes.
Summer as a student, the ultimate test of your indurance.
My next NEW job is starting this weekend. Its just yet another Busboy, Truckboy, or whatever boy job. (at least someone is still giving me a boy job…lol). Until then I am FREE. This free time is my time for some ‘creativity’ (few words sound better in Nepali though). Some time on the computer to live the best moments of life. Type down some Nepali articles written years ago. Attempt to sketch and paint using MS Paint. Read some beautiful stuff. Listen to music -Bob Dylan, Don Williams, Jagjit Singh. DREAM. Do something. Try to add fluidity to life.
I know “Pain and suffering is inevitable, being miserable is optional”.
“…..Khushi nai ho ki kya ho man ma bhaera aauchha,..chhin ma lahar anekaun man ma uthera aauchha,….Hazar Sapana haruko maya lagera aauchha…Bachne rahar jasto feri bhaera auchha……” …signing off with Bhaktaraj Acharya.
signing off,
bipul
(Jun 14, 200

Summer in New York has been pretty COLD. Cold because things have frozen. Cold because life has been static. I am missing the fluidity of human life.

Job hunt for the summer has been a BIG chapter of my life. I am just one more added person in this 12 million population of the city. New York is a BIG place. Living in the city of Brooklyn, where do I go find a JOB? I have gone into almost all of the restaurants and fast food cafes of Brooklyn heights. Continue reading “Summer Blues: Breaking the Stalemate”

The End of an Infinity

The End of an Infinity
“Mujhe Infinity tak le chalo”(take me to Infinity), I said to the Rikshawpuller as I got down the bus at DLF in Gurgaon. It was 7th of Sept 2006, my first day at GESBI on the 12th floor of Infinity Tower C at DLF Cyber City in Gurgaon. After that day, I have travelled about 45 Kms one way everyday for some 80 days, from Noida in UP through Delhi to Gurgaon in Haryana. Thus I’ve literally travelled to infinity, and now when I’ve come back from Infinity, I sit back in retrospection, trying to figure out if it’s the beginning or the end of a journey to infinity.
My journey to Infinity started with a major change in my life. I had to start my day quite early in order to catch the GE bus ( a typically red ‘CITY LIFE’ bus numbered 6438, popularly known as ‘Lalpari’ (fairy in red)) and hence I started getting up as early as 5:30 AM, first time ever in the past five years. Fortunately for me, the bus had a trend of tuning to some FM station. In fact, my decision to commute from Noida and not to shift to Gurgaon was highly influenced by this. I really loved listening to great Hindi music in the cool mornings, while observing the beginning of morning life in the city. Having understood the fact that life is embellished by the happiness gathered in bits and pieces, I made every efforts to garner as much as I could. And today, I have reasons galore to be happy.
The day at Infinity started with a rush in the lift every morning. And the next step would be to be questioned by the security at the entrance “sir aap ki access card” (Sir, your access card please!).Initially I didn’t bother about having an access card. Later, I requested for one but never got issued. Consequently, n number of times have I written my name down at the entrance, and answered uncountable times ” mere paas nahi hai” ( i don’t have one).
I would be incomplete at Infinity, had there not been Sameer Boxi. After my two months’ interaction with him, I found that a character only imagined by great authors in the best of their works, even existed. It might be my sole interpretation, and highly biased because of the visible and invisible affinity I grew towards him through time, but I found in him a similar character personified. I have millions to learn from him, beyond just the SELECT statements, or which table existed in which database, or what the username and password to a certain server is. I understand that life is not just Poblog Tickets. The big truth is, one must try to get what he likes or else he has to like what he gets. We don’t always get what we want. But one must learn to live with what he has, and with happiness, patiently waiting for the D-Day to come when judgement is done in one’s favor. A belief that the day comes keeps us going. Sameer has been a great Guru of my corporate life. I’ve learnt how to laugh at all the troubles I have, and realized that they vanish the next moment.
Day began as I logged into the Poblog-a problem tracking tool. After that, its all tickets, and tickets and more tickets. At the end of the day, you are just a SELECT somebody FROM yourself WHERE everything is NULL.
And then there would be a missed call from Ruchi or Mukul or Eddie, or some or all of them. And it would require a few more missed calls before I managed to lock my PC and go for the breakfast (as if a busy person, but still playing with some basic data queries). A cup of lemon tea and a veg-sandwich in the cafe of the 11th floor marked the beginning of yet another weekday. Few minutes of fun, few SMS jokes, few Shayaris, few songs, few stories on NIT engineering life and that’s it. The rest of the day is all about confronting the monitor and banging on the keyboard.
Few more missed calls at the time of the lunch, few minutes of standing in the queue, the 25 Rupee coupon, Rice, a Dal, a Subzi and two Chapatis!!! Oh, what a routine, what a corporate life we’ve opted for. May be life is as scheduled elsewhere as well. May be its me who is supposed to add variation to the routine I follow. May be, well not just may be but in fact, its me who decides how I want my life to go on. I obviously can’t change the world, but I can always change myself, or at least the way I look at it.But, beyond the philosophy, at the core of reality, life is still a routine. A cup of milk-tea in the evening (except for the days when tickets keep you tied on your seat), and twelve floors down on foot (as if lifts were ‘one way’), and finally a sigh of relief ” Aaj to nikal gaya” (Thanks!! a day is over!!). Five such days and a longer sigh “Thank God Its Friday!”.
We have been dragging our lives each day, all our life, at the time when we should have been flying by our wings!!
And suddenly I realize that there is no more Ruchi in life. There’s no Mukul, no Eddie nor Ranjan. Its said, “to meet and to part is the way of life, to part and to meet is the hope of life”. But how unfortunate it is that people finally turn into emails, scraps and messages. They don’t exist anymore. And they are missed forever. There’s no more discussion on sketches with Ruchi, no more exhibiting each other’s sketch books. No more close company. No more outings…!!
There are no more lectures on Patriotism, Lucknow or Lajpat Nagar. Now that there’s no Mukul, there’s no more asking about Urdu or Hindi jargon.
No more complaints on projects or systems. Eddie, who could never learn Hindi in all these years, will not be there anymore to complain about ‘everybody speaking Hindi’. No more struts, no tech-discussions, no going down during lunch break, no waiting for Mukul till he brings his stuff from the room for his weekend trip to Lajpat Nagar or Gaziabad.
And the person who turned up late, with an entry as that of a Hindi Film when everybody says “Aap ki hi kami thi” ( you were the one missing). Now no more Cancerians, Saggitarians, Librans or Pieceans, no more 12th Jan, 8th Nov or 27th March. Stars couldn’t help, the planets couldn’t manage, the people are no more people, they are just electrons flowing in the wires, waves propagating in the free space. No more discussions over Shef Ali Khan or Tom Hanks, no Bob Dylon, no Mirza Galib.
No more ‘you must complete it today, i don’t know how’ form Srikanth, no more tickets from Richa Arora, no more request from Malarvani that the data is required in priority. Now I understand the perishable nature of life. Everything just vanishes. Life is like that magician who creates rabbit out of an empty hat and hides it into nowhere.. There was no rabbit and there is no rabbit. The moment we shared together, had a good time, was the time when the magician created the rabbit.Life is just an illusion of snake in a rope.
I tried my best to give my 100%, but as an Electronics Engineer, I never could. I have always dreamt of working in chip designing and becoming a research scientist. Contradictorily, I came to work everyday with pending tickets welcoming me. Someday, I finally decided to change the content of my life just like the ‘beeper process’ page, which when refreshed always has something new to attend to. I just decided to quit, in order to start off yet another journey. I understand that journeys aren’t always fun. I can foresee the obstacles. But I choose to face them. What is life, without challenges???
Life would still go on, with or without Ruchi, Mukul, Eddie or Ranjan. Had I never seen Sameer, life would have still been running. But the fact that I had their company for a period of time has changed the person I am, for the rest of my life. At some point of time, I sit back to think and find that these people are missed so much. Oh goodness, the beauty of life!!!!
On my last day at Infinity, Mukul kept on repeating “yeh tera aakhiri din hai”(this is your last day), or “yeh tera aakhiri chai hai” (this is your last cup of tea). Ironically, there’s nothing like ” Aakhiri” (end) in life. I believe life is either the beginning of something new or the continuation of something old. Its not the end but the beginning of yet another journey to infinity.
I know there is no end to infinity.
PS. I mentioned singing for 100 times (literally) and nobody (Ruchi, Mukul) bothered. Grrrrrrr….!!!

“Mujhe Infinity tak le chalo”(take me to Infinity), I said to the Rikshawpuller as I got down the bus at DLF in Gurgaon. It was 7th of Sept 2006, my first day at GESBI on the 12th floor of Infinity Tower C at DLF Cyber City in Gurgaon. After that day, I have travelled about 45 Kms one way everyday for some 80 days, from Noida in UP through Delhi to Gurgaon in Haryana. Thus I’ve literally travelled to infinity, and now when I’ve come back from Infinity, I sit back in retrospection, trying to figure out if it’s the beginning or the end of a journey to infinity. Continue reading “The End of an Infinity”