Sunday, October 28, 2007

The First Kiss

We had not talked for a few days. The silence was disturbing. But I am sure the ripples carried through. For she felt the same way. It went without saying. It went without thought. It went without all things love.

And NO. The day wasn't special. Neither was the moment. Nor was the night. It was perhaps the most dab of all days. But the jack hadn't sprung out of the box. Not yet. I had been back from somewhere. My memory fails me. She had always said I didn't have an eye for details. I acquiesce. I went out for a smoke. The rings dispelled the doubts. The doubts did it for any misbehaving thoughts. Any remnants of sensibility were inaptly done away with.

She had been waiting for a few minutes when I came back. She looked simple, as always. The first few minutes flitted by without nothings. I fumbled with the phone. Stupid oaf. It had been ringing off the hook. Then her eyes said it all. Perhaps they didn't. I am not exceedingly crafty with subtle gestures. I stashed the cell away in some unknown corner, willing it to stop ringing. Was she up for a walk? "Yes", she mumbled. The two slid out. Perfect.

Against expectations, the moon wasn't shining. Not all stories are that romantic I presume. The stars made their presence felt in some abstruse geometrical sequence. Fuck them. I must have thought. It's the coolest thing to write anyway.

The two walked in silence. I had never been good at conversations. As a friend, she knew about all that. She accepted the quiet as her own. Better than perfect. But her silence seemed to perturb me. I looked around for some scattered phrases, hidden in the chrysanthemum bushes.....

How come she was here? Ah, the stupid fuck couldn't have phrased it any other way. He lacks the subtleties folks. She had come to know of that too. She jabbered something about feeling restless for the past few days. I tried to mouth a few consolations. She asked me to stop. My presence was all she needed. That was something new. I made a mental note of the comment. Then out of the black (quite literally), she said I looked cute. What!! Of all things cute, she could find just me? And didn't she notice the new born pimples sprouting all over the rugged face? I felt smug anyway. The shameless brute.

A certain someone caught her eye just then. She excused herself. I mumbled something like you go on. She just smiled. How could she? Wasn’t I supposed to be labeled as something rude? She ambled away. Her smell lingering on. I kicked a few unsuspecting pebbles out of the way. The air seemed heavy with ideas and opinions. They had never been welcome in my company. But that night, I let them hang around.

I stood there, waiting for her to come back. She did. She came out of nowhere, walked up to where I stood, and I tried to look into eyes I could not see. I could see she was smiling. I could see I was as dumb as ever. I saw my inhibitions unfolding in those blue circles. Then she flung her arms around me and kissed me. I knew that there and then, I could not have loved more. Could not have asked for more. I gave in. The rest, as they say, is history. I am sure you don't want the dirty details. I am not giving them even if you do.

Disclaimer All characters in this story (don't think it fits the bill but who cares anyway) are fictitious. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental!

Friday, October 26, 2007

The Vendor of Dreams

I am The Vendor of Dreams;
I come from a galaxy far far away.
I am here to sell you your darkest desires,
I am here to sell you your most potent dreams.
I am here to barter your wildest fantasies;
In lieu of the very reality you so decry.

Farther than what sees the biggest metallic eye.
From the land of dragons and eternal sunshine.
I come with a promise to give what’s denied,
I make dreams that, when shattered, will make you cry.
My lullaby is bliss unknown to you.
And my concoction, a potent solution of forty winks.
I brew my potions with dexterity of an alchemist;
I promise the philosopher’s stone and I grant it.

I do you favors and it’s not that I ask for none.
This vendor craves the very reality that you shun.
So break away these cold chains of reason,
And soar away from the shackles of your rationale.
My paradise of dreams awaits your slumber,
Dream on, and realize your fancy forever and ever.


He was The Vendor of Dreams;
He came from a galaxy far far away.
He sold them their darkest desires;
He sold them their most potent dreams.

It’s said he was a cursed wizard, with powers unknown.
No vendor fools; he was one of Devil’s own.
They fell under his curse and succumbed to his charm,
Gave him their lives; thought it was no harm.
A plague upon their souls, like zombies they walked.
Twas dreams they desired, twas just dreams they got.

Friday, October 19, 2007

You Got Tagged

What's tagging?
When I tag a fellow blogger and ask him to write on a particular subject, he or she is blogg-ily obliged to do so. Of course, we don't always end up having these loony requests being met by one and all. That being said and done, tagging seems like a fun thing. I have never been tagged before and so I think it is only apt that I should be the one to start the vicious circle ;-) Have Fun.

We have often ended up vowing to do certain somethings but never actually effecting them. Last night was one such night for me. Time and again, we are reminded of our inability to enjoy life the simple way. But things are never how they should be. I guess it's just the beauty of realizing the truth itself. I hope this helps you do the same.

This is the subject of this tag. I will just mention my take on the issue. The ones being tagged can take the cue and carry on from here :)

I tag Fact Man, Piper, Banter and Shaktimaan. Sorry guys! You are probably the only ones reading this.

Cry and Shout Why don't we let it out sometime? Just for a change perhaps. I believe it will be a tremendous relief the day I will cry my heart out, shout away all my anger or just yell the hell out of myself. Someone somewhat correctly said, "Tears don't show how weak we are. They just show how much we can bear." I have been a pressure cooker for too long. Quietly and (often) very humbly trying to ignore everything distasteful. Let's do some yelling tonight (Y)

Express Why don't we express how we feel for a person? Not just someone we like or love. But maybe someone we idolize, adore or hate? Why is it too hard to say how much our family means to us? A phone call perhaps. Maybe just a letter. I imagine it must be hard. I can't muster enough courage myself.

Break Away Unshackle those chains of ordinariness bounding you. It's not always a crime to be someone or something different. Why follow the sheep when you can be the shepherd? Do something different today. Wake all night. Start a revolution. Be the change you want to see in others.

Be Oneself Is it too hard being what we are? Actually it is. One only assumes that one is being oneself. But one is continuously being molded by the opinion of the junta on the sidelines. Change is not bad. But it is not that welcome either if it comes at the cost of identity. So why not be crass if you can not help it? Why be cool if you don't want to be? Why be sophomore when sid is what you are?

Feel Love Hate eats you inside out. So just go for love instead. Feel the emotion which has intrigued human psyche for centuries. Why not be polite and modest for a change? Why not forgive those who err? Ignore their mistakes, realizing we could have been the ones committing them? Why not opt for letting go (for once) and waiting for it to come back to you? A certain Shaktimaan once said to me, "I am not big enough to love without wanting to be loved back, I'm afraid...But I know people who are. And boy, do I respect them. Because that's what love is all about. Loving and setting free. Not about loving and getting."

I fully realize this is as crappy as a post can get. But I had to somehow let it out. Following my own advice for once.

has been generous enough to complete the tag. You can find his take here.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


Hello Everyone,
In case you have somehow managed to reach this place, you are either an extremely lucky soul or have somehow (very diabolically) managed to read my mind. That is because Sophomore's Den was no longer rocking. Readership was dwindling and comments were at an all time low. iamgonnarock was beginning to sound too cliched. Then a chance glance at another name, which went something like, proved to be the final straw. I decided to change THE name.

Also, when I used to Google for Sophomore's Den, my stupid firewall used to block the search because it contained the phrase HOMO. Talk about security. Next thing you expect them to do is block Picasso because of the ASS in it. Coming to think of it, maybe they already do. Duhh :|

First to go was the blog URL. Then came the bookmarks and RSS Feeds. Queued up for ruthless assassination were messages to regular buggers and scraps to even more regular ones. Eventually, a blog post ensued. End of exams has a way of making you do all sorts of useless tasks. Bah!

To cut the story short, Sophomore's Den is now available at

The header changes to SleepingTablets. But I will revert back to the earlier one in case I receive an outrageous response to the change. Don't worry. Even though the header goes, the Sophomore stays. He is not going anywhere. Even if he is the only one reading this blog.

Much better. At least that is what I think. I hope I am not completely wrong. That can prove to be quite dangerous when yours is the only opinion that matters.

People might ask why SleepingTablets? Well, SleepingTablets is kinda like a venture that started sometime ago. It is (supposed to be) connected with all things *creative* that a certain group of people come up with. We kind of hide away the crap conjured by the same bunch of lunatics. But that's a well kept secret. Cutting the bullshit, the modified name and header is a tribute to the same spirit of creativity. After all, we are all insomniacs, in need of a few sleeping tablets.

But all this hullabaloo naturally implies a lot of confusion. I hope Murphy's Law won't reign supreme and that peace will be restored to blogosphere, especially that part of it which houses my readers. Until then, I will try my best to let you all know of the change.

A big sorry for the bother. Hu ha.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Reverse Brain Drain

Disclaimer Something I wrote a long time back but which makes a lot more sense today. A chance glance through today's Education Times made me post this here. The issue has a cover article on the same subject.

Now Brain Drain is a lexicon most of us are familiar with; having been made popular by the much discussed and much criticized migration of smart Indian minds to greener meadows like US of A, UK, Australia etc. But what we are not very familiar with is the Reverse Brain-Drain which is, quite literally, the return of India's prodigal sons. A number of technology professionals leave their foreign jobs and return to India, lured by a booming economy whose growth rates are burgeoning by the month.

Most of the Indians coming back see this move not only as an emotional one but also career enhancing. Economy is at an all time high and the sensex is literally booming. Ajay Kela, one of such re-patriates, says that he receives several resumes per month from Indians, with decades of work experience in the US, wanting to relocate. Ex-patriates are returning because India is hot, and this definitely does not have anything to do with the mercury. There is an increasing feeling that the chunk of action in the technology industry is moving to India. We did get an idea about this from the frequency with which Microsoft honchos have been visiting India.

US is sitting up and taking notice of this trend. It realizes that minus the talent of the best of the brightest, it may lose its edge in technology and innovation. This fact was made very clear in a recent study in which it was found that 35% of the students securing excellent grades in American schools and universities were of Indian origin (while the second spot went to China). Further adding to their woes is the disturbing statistic that the number of Indian applicants to US universities is going down every year.

Bangalore, with its western work culture, funky metropolitan image and of course generous pay cheques, is proving to be the destination of choice for these ex-patriates. Other cities on the radar of these returnees include Hyderabad, Delhi, Noida and Gurgaon. Posh housing colonies like Palm Meadows, Florida Estate, Lake Vista and Ozone have sprung up in the Bangalorean suburbs to cater to these elite professionals. NASSCOM has estimated that nearly 30,000 technology and software professionals have moved back in the last 18 months (as of December 29, 2005).

Whatever the reason be, India is surely benefiting from this change in mind-set. For many returnees the newly challenging work environ in has tied in neatly with emotional and personal reasons like raising their children in the Indian culture and caring for their aging parents. This might very well turn out to be an altruistic pull to return to India and help their country achieve greater power than it had ever imagined.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

You Need A Lover

I'm young, employed, healthy, ambitious,
Sound, solvent, self-made, self-possessed.
But all my symptoms are pernicious.
The Dow-Jones of my heart's depressed.
The sunflower of my youth is wilting.
The tower of my dreams is tilting.
The zoom lens of my zest is blurred.
The drama of my life's absurd.
What is the root of my neurosis?
I jog, eat brewer's yeast each day,
And yet I feel life slip away.
I wait your sapient diagnosis.
I die! I faint! I fail! I sink!
You need a lover, John, I think.

- Vikram Seth

Thanks to Piper for the poem. You can find the bugger at

Monday, October 08, 2007

Wham Bam, Thank You Ma'am!

Disclaimer Not many people expect me to write about cricket and I don't blame them either. But unforeseen circumstances saw me writing something about cricket for my campus magazine, Entelechy. I am just copy-pasting it here for everyone's inconvenience. Okay. That's about it.

Lights.Camera.Action. Seems like a scene straight out of Hollywood, right? But it might very well have been your friendly neighborhood T20 Cricket Match. T20 has very subtly (or not so subtly) turned cricket into a Power Game. Power here does not just imply physical prowess. It has several other connotations. Commercialization and vested interests being just some of them.

Test Cricket was not named Test Cricket because nothing else caught the fancy of erstwhile gurus. It was named hence as its purpose was to test the sportsman in all aspects of the game. A five day marathon would bring out the best and the worst in the cricketers, be it stamina, skill, temperament, endurance, or leadership skills. Even Ricky Ponting, the Australian Captain, says that Test Cricket is the real cricket.

When Kerry Packer launched the World Series Cricket in 1977, the global cricketing establishment fiercely opposed him. Top player from several countries wanted to join him at the expense of their international sides. Cricket aficionados were aghast. They believed that one dayers would kill the finer nuances and subtleties of cricket. You can very well imagine how petrified they might be of its newest avatar. Kerry Packer must have been all philosophical when he said, "There is a little bit of the whore in all of us, gentlemen. What is your price?" It’s all about Wham Bam, Thank You Ma’am!

T20 format seems to have undermined the importance of skill and finesses in a game like cricket. We no longer feast our eyes on textbook cover drives or leg glances. Instead the game is made to look like a joke as all that matters for the batsman is blind swinging of the willow, which he wields like a sledgehammer. Luck plays a far dominant role than technique. One bad over and you are out of the tourney. Two quick wickets and we have the tail wagging. According to Pakistani legend Javed Miandad, “They [ICC] are turning cricket into baseball.” Minadad said he was also concerned that if youngsters were introduced to cricket through T20 games, the sport would eventually be deprived of quality players.

Sometimes, and those sometimes came more often than not, the T20 World Cup seemed like a battle. Flintoff sledges against Yuvraj. Yuvi goes after Broad like a madman, hitting him for six consecutive sixes. I felt like I was watching a remake of Gladiator. Glimpses of Flintoff were shown while this mass slaughter was going on. He seemed to be thanking God for not making him a cricket ball. According to one of our alumni, “What Yuvraj did to Stuart Broad, could not be called anything short of cricketing sexual intercourse. Broad will have nice children, half English, Half Punjabi.”

As the T20 World Cup drew to an end, the verdict was crystal clear: T20 is a roaring hit. Revenues are higher than ever. Legions of new fanatics have been drawn to the game. But this audience is looking for an adrenaline rush, akin to the one you get while watching snowboarding. It’s not bothered about technique in Tendulkar’s cover drive. It’s not concerned about the lack of it in this new avatar of cricket.

Yeah..I should be happy that we won the T20 World Cup and indeed I am. But as another legend said, “Winning any tournament is an achievement for any team but this is not real cricket.” T20 seems to be attacking the traditional bastions of the sport. With so much money in it, it won’t be long before all the cricketers everywhere in the world switch to the new version of the game and place more emphasis on it. Will it be good for the game as a whole? Maybe so. Maybe not. Not unless there are three different sets of cricketers and three sets of batsmen in particular.

It does not seem like the game of cricket and, definitely the art of batting, will ever be the same. Only time will tell whether it will emerge from this tragedy unscathed and unharmed.
References: The Times of India, Cricinfo, Jamaica Gleaner

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Error 404

I have now realized how grossly mistaken I was when I thought that my esteemed readers would redress some of my grievances by answering a question that had been put up. I can now say for sure that the decision wasn't what most of the junta would consider intelligent. Maybe therein lies the eluding definition. Thank you all. What would I do without your benevolence? Even your silence is profound.

Coming to think of it, this silence was commented upon not once or twice but several times during the course of the past few days. “Sid Lal, tumhaare blog ko saanp soongh gaya hai!!” said a concerned reader. I was almost mortified. Some reparation was due. My trash-conjuring skills were not meant to die an untimely death. They were, in the least, meant to drive some naïve souls to insanity. A disaster management scheme was put into motion. The results are eagerly awaited.

The opportune experience has, of course, left me wiser. Never bore people with questions that do not concern them. They are liable to consider you a philosopher, an assumption which is sure to deter any future visits to your online haven. The Golden Mantra for getting the maximum number of responses: Find your funny bone. If the former is too hard to unearth, be neutral. Don't be all genius-y if you can help it.

Believe me, being genuinely funny is probably as monumental a feat as attending all (and I mean ALL) classes in a semester. You can put up a decent show. You can even tickle a few souls who have been gifted with a malfunctioning sense of humor. But to be able to achieve the feat, time and again, is a commendable achievement. It's the forte of those who have been born with special powers. Lesser mortal can only hope to effect a reprise, often ending in disastrous consequences.

So this lesser mortal will put an end to this monologue of his, expecting he has not been too exacting. He also hopes he hasn't been too churlish by trying to emulate the smile gurus. Forgive him if he has erred. For as Shakespeare might have put it, "Justice is almost divine when seasoned with mercy." Oh damn! There I go again. Pardon me folks. It's time to catch a few ZzZzZzZ. So long.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Implied Genius

The bone of contention tonight is a simple question. You might have met it in the bazaar lanes, while strolling back home. Or maybe not. I will spell it out here for your inconvenience. Stop reading further if you feel things are getting too predictable. I have come not to expect your company. I don't mind it. I know not many people have the stamina for questions, especially when they come from a person who is not named I, Me or Myself.

Having done away with disclaimers and warnings, let's get down to the business at hand. I know your time is not as cheap as mine.

Whom do you call intelligent and how can intelligence be defined?

I am not supposed to hazard a guess. Or am I? Okay. I won't be playing the game. However, I feel inclined to guide you in the direction in which I am looking. After all, I am not in the mood for desserts which don't go well with my taste.

Think beyond what the world has taught you. I learnt my lessons pretty well when I was in kindergarten. Try to take a peek into what the word truly implies, beyond the gaudy facade. Is it finesse in art that we are talking about? Does scientific genius outshine the number cruncher? Is the wordsmith as much a genius as the astronomer searching for poetry in faraway galaxies? What is genius if it is not Albert Einstein or Vincent van Gogh? What is it if it's both?

I presume this is not one of those philosophical questions which have circuitous answers. I presume I have been stupid enough not to look in the right places. I presume you will help me in finding my true bearings. I presume you will reply.