Friday, April 28, 2006

Wednesday. 26th April 2006




It was Wednesday evening, 26th April 6.38PM

The dusk slowly started to creep in to the day. It was an unusually hot afternoon and my work officially ends at 7 PM.
I have tidied my desk. The previous week was an unusually happy week on personnel front.
The training programmes moved smoothly, to say a trifle better than planned.
I was assigned with a tough task of training existing production staff, the not so young ones. They haven’t gone to a Petroleum Engineering school yet they were excellent operation staff, the backbone of industry. Their age was a problem, their memory was a problem, though most of them could speak English, and their writing was a hindrance. But issues were sorted out smoothly about sending them to a technical English course prior to the theory classes. I have already started class room lecturers and field visits.

Tomorrow is Wednesday; I thought as I looked at the planner in my desktop. I have classes at 10AM. I have no time to write a blogpost for tomorrow. I thought I can to put a photo quiz to cover next two days.
Knock! Knock!
A raised my eyebrows! I looked at my watch and thought that my dinner will be late.
“Who is that?”
No answer
Knock! Knock!
“Who is that, come in” I quipped thinking that my dinner will end up today in a sand witch.

A black nose came first through the door, then the rest of the head. Now another nose head etc and finally their big bodies too.
I smiled at the two sets of white teeth, broad charcoal black face and the large noses.
They were my new trainees Michael and Peter.
“Good evening Mr. Jac” in unison
I replied and told them to sit.
“No Mr. Jac, we are already late. We are in night shift and we have come to check if we can attend your classes tomorrow morning after our shift.”
“Why not” I was delighted “be here at 10 AM sharp”
“Yes sir” also in unison.
Michael moved closer to me to ask some thing
‘What do you want Michael? I can help you, if you will ask me what is that you need please”
“Mr. Jac! You know that you gave me an Arabic English dictionary to refer with the text books” that was two days ago.
“Yes” I affirmed.
“Do you know that I don’t read Arabic well” he smiled showing his white teeth.
surprised though, I couldn’t hide my smile
“So why didn’t you tell me that” I was amused.
“Mr. Jac, we know that you made such efforts to get us these dictionaries and I thought that you will be offended if I return it immediately. Here it is “he gave me back one those thick dictionaries.
“Michael, you need English to English dictionary”? I asked him thinking about a small personnel one I have in my room.
“I know it is not in the company warehouse Mr. Jac” he was being very humble as that was his nature.
“Mike! I have one in the room that belongs to me. It is yours from tomorrow. Get it from me when you come for the class at 10 AM” I saw thanks in his eyes and that was enough for me.
“You can take this Arabic one too, so that you can give it to one of your daughters."

Now Peter was silent all these time and I saw him hesitating.
“Now what do you want, Peter !” I couldn’t guess what he wanted.
“Mr. Jac, I too need one dictionary like that for my daughter, if it is not too much to ask” he was a bit shy.
“Peter ! I have just one which is my personnel, but next rotation of my vacation, I will bring one for you” I wished that I had one more.
“Ok, it is deal, Mr. Jac” the smile I saw in him was real. As usual, I thought in my mind that, why is that I can’t smile like them.

They looked at the watch, murmuring among them that the bus will be waiting and shook my hands and said good bye
But I didn’t know that it would be their last good bye nor did they.


I locked my office door and went to my room hurriedly.
I was out after my shower and a change of clothes.

The dining room, in which I am to have dinner, was crowded and I finished my dinner quickly, as I had some more work on my weekly report. I was out quickly and was on my desk as usual to finish of the pending report.

Normally nobody enters my door with out knocking and now I saw the lock turning in with out a knock which was enough to raise my eyebrows. One of our drivers, Jallalludin barged in and I was about to ask him why he did not knock, but the expression in his face stopped me.
“Sir, you heard about it” he was breathing fast.
“What is it, for God’s sake” I asked him not getting up from my chair
“About the accident and the deaths. I heard it in the walkie talkie” his face was ghost like.
He told me that there was an accident involving the crew change minivan.
I was on the phone on an instant and at the other end was Muthu, an Indian friend working in the field station.
He was whimpering and told me that it is true and there are deaths and all are being rushed to the field hospital. He doesn’t have details.
I was out of the door with my car keys in a second; Jallalludin following me. I had just two faces in my mind, Michael and Peter.
Jallaludin stopped me.
“Don’t drive today sir, I will drive” I was angry but I saw that my hands were shaking. I meekly handed him the key of the pick up.

The hospital was five kilometers away, the parking area was full with vehicles and swirling lights. Red, green, yellow…I felt unsteady.
I saw that the whole staff was there.
Army personnel were on guard at the inner door of the hospital. I showed my ID, but he did not even look but flatly declined and told me “mumnooah” meaning forbidden or not allowed in Arabic.
I was looking for any faces that will clear me in, but I couldn’t find any.
Then I saw him… another of my trainees weeping and coming towards me. I held him steady. He told me the news, a death toll of nine including Michael, and that Peter is fighting for his life.
The security man in the hospital recognized me and came to my rescue, asking the army man to let me in.
I was walking in the hospital corridors like a ghost, my legs felt heavy. The security man took me to the critical rooms.
I saw all… every one of them except Peter, who was in serious shape.
That is what I call morbid. I can’t explain what I saw there.

Out of the total of thirteen in the bus, the number of survivors with severe injuries were just four.
My Peter died yesterday morning along with two Indian staff who was in the bus. They were all my friends, used to see all of them almost everyday.

My dictionary for my Michael is on my table near my laptop. I have told every one, not to touch that. Be it there. Mike is here with me.

Who will hold my hand when I go to see the family today?
Who will cry with me when I hold Michael’s daughter?
Who will I lean to, when I see all the tears?

Where is my Peter, who wanted just a dictionary for his daughter?

Where are my tears gone now?



I couldn't get a picture of Peter.
The picture on top is Michael.
Below is Joy and Sudhakar.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

In an eggshell

Thinking of life in just an eggshell
Musing over thoughts I know
so well
A knock, a crack, you are out of that dwell
But with faith and destiny playing
a ball
Just enough to breath, the space so small
With hands in a knot; a life is void
and null
With love in mind, and a heart that
swell
I know, I know so well, a mind is in hell

Saturday, April 22, 2006

An extended middle finger


I saw her almost a kilometre ahead.
Who wouldn’t?
She was standing defiantly in bright colours, almost at the centre of the road, her right hand up and steady like old fashioned train signal with a thumps up sign for a lift. In her left lap, she had a tiny tot with a small clinical bandage on the leg.
I eased on my accelerator to stop and she knew it instantly, I could see her victory smile from far. I was annoyed by her posture on the road as if threatening to stop my Prado; so instead, my leg touched the accelerator again. The Prado stated surging. Now I could see her smile fade with the surprising knowledge that I am not going to stop. I was almost near and I thought she won’t move from the road. Suddenly her shoulders were down as if sighing and she moved backward displaying a face with anger and the raised her palms, with the middle finger extended out.

The extended finger sign virtually means a four letter**** bad word.

I applied my brakes and the Prado screeched to a stop; with it came my poor helmet flying from the back seat to front.

I did not get out of the car as it was dust all around and she was 30 metres behind the car. The sound and the dust made her to watch what is happening. I could see that though she was not running away, she was scared as she was sure that I have seen her ‘raised fingers’.

I started reversing the car and I could see in the mirror that she was about to run and with the child she realized that she can’t run far. She just didn’t know that I was stopping the car for a different reason.

The middle finger sign is not common in this part of the world and that too a woman using it means, she knows it from some where else.

I got out of the car and I saw her looking around for an escape way. At that intant I saw that there was some body sitting below a tree 100 ft away, an older woman, seemingly sick or tired.

I felt my annoyance giving way to humanity. I looked at the younger woman and smiled. I told in Arabic not to run and lied to her that I stopped the car seeing the woman near the tree. I moved closer slowly so that she remained at ease. The small baby in her lap started to cry.
Both were well dressed and I asked her where they wanted to go. She said that they were going to a church. They were from the village slightly far away and that they walked for almost 6 kilometers.
She said her name was Victoria and the woman was her sister- in- law Maria. They were Christians and they belong to Denge community and they were dislocated due to 20 years of civil war.
I took them in my car and drove out beyond the dry meadows.
Both the children they had were cute and smiling all the time. I offered lemon juice from my bag and they were happy to drink.
On the way I asked Victoria where she learned to show her middle fingers to men and if she knew what it means. She suddenly went silent due to shame and I consoled her with my wits and tried to joke, which made them to relax and laugh. She told me that during the war they were in a refugee camp and it was in the boarder area. There were a lot of annoying men who behave bad with woman and she automatically learned to resist and the ‘middle finger sign’ was part of it.
I left them at the edge of the woods where they said that they have a makeshift church. I went around the car to help them unbuckle the belts and they gladly posed for a picture. Maria was silent most of the time but Victoria was gay and peppy and said that both were married to men who were working the far away fields.









When I said ‘Ma salaam’; Victoria came to me and extended her hand and I took it with both my hands. She said that she was sorry and I told her that it was ok. We both knew what it was for. I smiled at her thinking in wonder that I was mad at her before 30 minutes and now that I am waving good bye to them.

Thats it; my blah blah is over.

Seeya, until my next blah blah.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

My lovely, lively Lilly

An evening in summer
The heat; like a flame, makes water simmer
Bare foot and
flouting... my skin burning
My eyes nestled on this sparkling beauty


Look !!
Look at those petals... reminds me an octopus
The soft looking legs growing long in
white


This too is called a lily
Oh what a sight !!
My lovely, lively, snow white !!

Sunday, April 16, 2006

People's Exibit

When you hear the name of exhibition, what is that comes in to your mind ?
The high tech stalls with big wig executives, attired in 3 piece suits hurrying in and out, in a totally unnatural location ?

The common man has nothing there for him to see.

Recently I was attending exhibition of different kind… one with the smell of earth; a farmer’s exhibition.

It had neither big advertisements nor any high fly colours.
It was organized by farmers co-operative.

I was delighted to go there. Here are few items that caught my Camera eyes

A Crocodile made out of fresh bitter gourd.

A single Kasava root weighing 68 kilograms.

Kasava in Africa is 'Tapioca' in other parts of the world, from which the Nigerian National food 'Gary' is made with.


A Peacock made out of vegetables and raw Pineapple pieces


A rare variety of pure golden coloured Plantain (Banana) that was mouth waterigly exotic.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Sublime

It is now ripples again
Reflecting on water remain

Its mine this time
My thoughts deep,
sublime
Coloured at times, mingling
Akin those waves
simmering

Tingling, caressing me
Teasing,
alluring me
Thoughts at déjà vu
Drops of tears too

My mind
stays cheering
My soul stay laughing

To help me keep
sailing
Stop this clock for me
Cage this time for me

Monday, April 10, 2006

Ill luck or bad luck ?

I have of long time friend from India named Manirajan who is known as simply Mani.
He is dare devil at times but has done me some favors too in the past. He is aware of my blog but seldom reads it. A few days ago, this was in my Inbox.
Dear jac,
I don’t read your shit nor do I look at the pictures you post but I do know that there are some crazies reading your stuff.
I have attached some thing here if you want to use it in your blog. This photograph was published in some Indian newspapers.

And it goes on like......blah blah blah.

The above lines are to show you how he treats me.
He is a nice guy and this is the way he writes and talks to all.

I owe him this post.


As per him; this poor but huge python, out of sheer thrill has decided to take a nap in the warm asphalt road in the middle of the night when traffic was practically zero.


The poor fella had no chance to think of an escape, as his destiny came in the shape of a 24 wheeled trailer, exactly at that odd time.
I too was amazed at the hugeness of it.
Check it out yourself.

Friday, April 07, 2006

The mystique bloom

I know that the global warming is to blame.

The last few days were very hot and dry.
Though the clouds are there every day, summer showers didn’t show up and the humidity is awesome.
But when I go out, the symptoms are there; the signs are present and I don’t miss the indication.


The spring is here… the trees have groomed to show its magic.

The unmistakable traffic of bees around the buds and blooms evident, with the mystique and assorted fragrance of flowers.


The buzz of bees are heard everywhere.

It was yesterday that I felt that I should share it with you. I have many pictures to share with you but I pause here with just three.

As you already know, I love the yellow with a sky blue background
I hope that you like it.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

An abnormal beach

A beach is beautiful place to be in.

who doesn’t love to be in a beach ?

The children loves it, the grown ups enjoys the bliss, and couples adores to be there in pairs, holding their hands at the shore.

A beach normally is a place of crowd with a variety of sounds, so one should be glad to go to seashore.
I know what you are thinking, Jac among bikini clad females ? Wow ! what a naughty thought in your mind. LOL

I too was eager to be in a beach, the fact remains that the place I visited, was a different kind of beach, a lonely stretch of sand, and to be frank, it was not completely deserted or lonely. It was in fact a beach not used by tourists.


It was a beach used by fishermen for drying fish.

Seagulls ruled this area but the sand was dark and lacked the lustre of a beach.

I spent almost two hours in solitude watching silently the seagulls, the crabs that were unmindful of my presence.

Well ! the waves and the wind ignored me.

The salty taste of the air gave a pleasant change to my lungs. The unadulterated fresh and cold air gave me a new energy. I didn’t know that it was dark until I felt the silence swallowing me, the sea gulls missing and the breeze was colder.


Though I was alone from the start…I had the feeling I was being watched and followed.

I felt an invisible presence, a sound of footsteps on the sand. Someone on my trail ?

A shadow on my back ?

Though lonely I felt my spirits simmering and warm.

I trod back hastily, sifting through the dark coloured sand…the feeling of some one’s presence still strong in my mind, which made me to turn around and look back often.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Apples


A cluster of unripe Apple’s from my back yard. I haven’t an orchard; in fact I just have a tree.


I know that you have started laughing…evidently you won’t fully believe anything which I will write today, because today is the First day of April also known as an All fool’s day. To some of you; 1st of April have passed, and to others it is tomorrow.

Till now, I haven’t ever bothered to know why today is called by that name.
So I just went searching the net and came out with very interesting stories and fantasies which I never knew.
Most of you might have done this by now but to those who haven’t… here it is.

It says that the date is connected with calendars and was started since 1852 in France. As per the Julian calendar New Year eve was celebrated; at the end of March and the day was celebrated on 1st of April.
With the reform of the calendar under Charles IX, the Gregorian calendar was introduced, and New Year's Day was moved to January 1.
However, communications being what they were in the days; when news traveled by foot, many people did not receive the news for several years. Others, the more obstinate crowd, refused to accept the new calendar and continued to celebrate the New Year on April 1. These backward folk were labeled as "fools" by the general public. They were subject to some ridicule, and were often sent on "fool’s errands" or were made the butt of other practical jokes.

This harassment evolved, over time, into a tradition of prank-playing on the first day of April. The tradition eventually spread to England and Scotland in the eighteenth century. It was later introduced to the American colonies of both the English and French. April fool’s Day thus developed into an international fun fest, so to speak, with different nationalities specializing in their own brand of humor at the expense of their friends and families.

I have many more stories to add to this but then, you will not take anything serious today.
Have a nice fool’s day and have fun.

BTW: It is a cluster of delicious unripe mangoes from my back yard.

Sorry for not making you a fool today.