“NAILED YOU, BUSTER!!!” he shouts out, triumphant at having finally overthrown his foe. He then does a war dance around the room, much to his dog’s amazement (who has been a silent witness to all the killings). Our hero finally snaps back to reality and turns off his computer.

Common scene, huh? Since the time decent computers were invented, games have had their time. And now, during the reign of 6800 ultra’s and 4GB DDR2 sticks, well…

It all started with the making of small, harmless games like Pac man, Dave, Prince of Persia, etc. No blood, no gore, no anti-aliasing, no anisotropic filtering, no frills, or any such bells and whistles. Just beeps and saccharine-sweet characters. What started with small 320 x 240 resolutioned (pardon the misuse of the word) games has now grown into a gruesome world of violence and gore. Today, the games do the kids more harm than good (and the computer has its own share of worries as well…) Now, it’s the reign of first-person-shooters. For the very very few who are hearing the word(s) for the first time, let me tell you that in such a game, you either see the gun’s rear or the rear silhouette of the shooter (a.k.a ourselves). From what I gather (the word ‘gather’ occurs in place of ‘have played’ because I have a humble 16MB graphics card), these games run as follows:

Some bad guy (mostly an alien or some such deformed creature) has taken over the world and has begun to show its bad face to the people. We, the good guys need to go put an end to the bad nut’s euphoria. During the course of such a process we encounter unsightly, sick, hideous, repulsive, revolting(etc.) creatures and we (obviously) have to shoot ‘em down. And it goes on…

Frankly, I don’t understand the thrill and/or gain in just wandering about in mazes, dark, ill-lit tunnels, deserted Pre-Cambrian-era-like places and making meat out of anyone who comes in your way. And how the heck can a small kid kill another guy with just 2-3 frantic shots from his hand-pistol??? One need not need to be a psychiatrist to know that adolescents have a high level of curiosity. Add to that the fact that they are being given incorrect information and have access to games meant for ‘mature players’, and you have the perfect recipe for disaster. By the way, it’s all because of these dumb games that small (and large) kids morph into bloodthirsty monsters and go on the rampage in real life, killing for ‘the fun of it’. No doubt, those scums were inspired by shooters like Doom, Max Payne, Mafia, Manhunt, et cetera et cetera…

All the same, I do play harmless games, the ones played for recreation and not for re-creation (of trouble). But as of now, nothing can be done… So keep gaming, till -


The writer's nightmare

The pen, it seems, was the best of all writing inventions in the history of mankind.


But what came with it is the most unwelcome accessory. What came to safeguard the object mightier than the sword, had made the pen (and the mortals using it) to bow down in resignation.

By the way, I?m speaking about the pen-cap.

This small sheath of plastic (or metal) has turned out to be a pen wielder?s nightmare. Personally, I believe that its real job comes more in the line of getting lost and be sworn at when found hours later. Apart from one?s temper, this happens to be the object that one tends to lose most of the time. I feel that it is not getting due respect nowadays (no that it used to, earlier). Anyway, treat it with respect and you may be sure that you?ll be left alone (pun unintended). This is in connection with what happens scores of times, but is usually blamed on something else. You are writing something furiously. It turns out to be a Herculean piece of work for a human. After some minutes of labouring, you feel tired and want to give it a break. Incidentally, you happen to be writing with a fountain pen (one of those affairs which tend to throw up, or get dried up, if left unattended for long). Suddenly you realise that the wicked cap is missing. It is not on the floor, nor is it on the pen or on any part of you. Fed up, you put everything aside and get up.

The cap falls out of your lap and makes a dive for the floor. Invariably, it bounces up and vanishes into thin air.

An hour is spent in searching for it, and finally, you manage to find another (ill-fitting) cap and shut the pen up with it. Next morning, you find the old one lying beside you on the bed, smirking away.

The resulting storm of abuses does no good. The pen?s cap is the evil that needs to be looked after; the pen?s best friend and the fragile nib?s bodyguard.

Not to mention, a constant source of frustrated exercise.


Story of lost friends

After sixteen full years of largely satisfactory existence on this planet, I turn around and look back longingly at some moments, the memories of which have accompanied me throughout this small but significant journey down the road.

It is with this feeling that I sit before the blessed machine(which has been part and parcel of my life for five years, more or less in one piece). There are some people, things who have flashed past your life, rather insignificantly, if not wholly so... Lying on my bed, looking at the bright leaves of the nearby coconut palms swaying in the noon breeze, I suddenly remembered a few lost friends. Most of these are people whom I had not interacted with, or if I had, just for a few minutes. Now, as my fingers flow over the keys, one by one, memories meander towards me, like long drawn notes of a soulful raaga on a violin...

My first railfanning-cum-photography trip - on the Quilon-Sengottai metre gauge line. Once a busy, very important route, it now lies abandoned, covered with weeds, with barely five trains a day, all crawling at an average of 35-40 kmph...yet significant in its own way. We were held up for a crossing at a station - Kottarakkara. I was readying my camera for a good shoot of token-exchange between the incoming train and the station staff. Just then a small, grating voice, "anna, anna.." I looked down the window. A beggar boy clad in a torn shirt, holding out his hand pleadingly. Moved, as I usually am, I was about to ask my mum for a coin or so, when I saw the crossing train approach. I shook off my thoughts and, with all concentration, managed a nice shot of token exchange. After a short time, our train took off. That was when I remembered the boy at the window. Without wasting a second, I opened my mum's bag, took ot a coin and handed it down to the boy, who accepted it greatfully. I helped him in my small way... that was enough for me... I dunno where he is now, I dont know his name. But wherever he is, I hope he is happy.

It was the time I moved to my new house a few miles from the city. I was in the second standard. Playing on the fresh sand that was covering the virgin garden, I found... a snail. After a few days of playing with it and trying to feed it, one day my granny unknowingly swept it out of the compound. I realised this some two days later and, running outside the house and looking for it among the dust lining the base of the compound wall, I saw it being eaten by ants. Heart-broken, I shook the predators off and put it back in the garden. I presume I must have forgotten all about it after a while... but this sunny noon, it just came to me like some ghost of long-ago.

(There some more... but I dont have the time to complete this right away)

There. Insignificant flashes, mere strips out of the big chiunk of life, small and stupid, yet luminous enough to be eternal.



It seems what goes up must come down. Quite.I wonder if there is something like 'What goes in must be made to come out'.
Or so it looks from the small cloudy drops on the road.
If there is one thing unique to people who make me wince at the sight of them, it's the way they spit nonchalantly on the road, on the sides of electric posts, along dusty sideways and out of vehicles.

It drives me mad...seriously! I feel like slicing their lips off in disgust. But then, it would be wrong to group all spitters as one. There are three types of them:

1) The nonchalant spuer: Cool as a cucumber, he lets the world go its way, while he dexterously brings the disgusting thing up his wretched throat and, in a swift move that easily escapes the notice of humanity around him, shoots it out towards the nearest lamp-post

2) The sound-and-fury man: He lets the whole world watch his exploits. With skill, he extracts the juice out of the paan he is chewing. He then arches back, HRROoAAAAACK! PTOO! (repeat as necessary).

3) The exhaust-heavy-automobile: This species lives on some sort of liquid fuel and runs on an engine which is propelled by its exhaust. He continuously irrigates the path on which he treads by spitting out furiously at regular intervals.

The size and shape varies... From the small, grey drop on the road to the stinking red swotches on anyting vertical along the roads.

Right ho, we come to the end of this small... oh, wait a minute.