Writer's Blog

Transient Thoughts

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Picture Postcards

Words speak better than pictures.

This happened the last time I went home which was less than two weeks back. I was sitting at my recently discovered favourite place, by the railway tracks. There was the sound of tracks being shunted. A train. An unexpected surprise. (Why unexpected you might ask, after all its a railway track you are sitting next to! Well ask!) I waited for the familiar passenger train with affectedly interested looking passengers. You were a strange unknown person to them if they saw you. They were strange unknown people to you if you saw them. (When they taught us relative-speed in school by giving examples of an observer inside and outside a train, you know, they could have made a much more profound job of it.) So I waited for a passenger train.

I saw the engine emerge, then next I seemed to see a truck. Before my mind could compute that this was perhaps a Goods train, I saw another truck. Before I could capture that both the first truck and this one were loaded with goods - tarpaulin, ropes and all - I saw the third truck. (I am not particularly slow-headed but one must remember it was a moving train). By the time I saw the fourth, fifth and sixth trucks I had realized that these were just trucks being ferried across a short distance by Konkan Rail - in order to avoid the time, distance and cost of negotiating the western ghats. I also observed that the drivers were sitting in the drivers' seats (respectively).

More trucks came and went. The whole thing resolved in my mind, I was able to relax, watch, and smile at the rest of the sight without any further thinking.

I was going to office early. It had rained before and all the roads were freshly washed (away). There was a semi-mist around and the air was fresh. As I prepared to go around the circle, I saw the Ambassador parked on the side. The bonnet was up and smoke/steam was coming out of it. Someone had his head inside the bonnet and was trying to fix whatever had gone wrong.

On the glass behind (the peeche-wala windshield, don't know what it is called) was painted 'Pleasant Travels'.

The self-service x-Sagar restaurant was crowded. I bought a coupon for tea and went there at the service window/counter and thrust my hand through trying, to shove the coupon below the nose of one of those guys on the other side. Lots of other people were trying to do similar things with their coupons. There were others who had already handed in their coupons and were waiting to get their food. Once in a while a plate of idli-wada or set-dosa appeared and a satisfied hand and mouth went away from the counter. There was shouting, muttering, urging, threatening and cajoling in various tongues and various accents as hungry people tried impatiently to get at their breakfasts. The combined sound was not very different from 'kaw-kaw-kaw'. It reminded me of a bird's nest where the young, impatient, desperate bird-lings were being impartially fed by the patient father or mother.

Friday, October 21, 2005

They have given some of us new IBM computers with sleek ThinkVision(TM) monitors. The monitor is really cool - all black, flatscreen, for the most part only around 2cms thick and with only a 1cm border around the screen. It sits on two black slanted stilts of adjustable height.

The point is, if you put a nice background on it and if you have no windows open, the background would look like a framed picture sitting on your desk. Which is enough motivation to choose a nice background.

The first thing I put was a scanned image of a photograph of a batik painting of Lord Shiva - more on this painting and the picture itself as soon as I have uploaded it on flickr.

Then suddenly one day inspiration struck and I thought of searching up Van Gough's paintings on the net and found this website. At the moment Starry Night is sitting on my desktop looking absolutely amazing. I have downloaded Vincent's Chair , Cafe Terrace at Night and Sunflowers one and two and I keep switching my background once in a while. I like the first sunflowers the best but the downloaded image doesnt fill the whole desktop like Starry Night does.

The problem with having a great desktop is there is a big temptation to stop whatever you are doing, close all the windows and sit admiring the great painting. I just can't get my eyes off the Sunflowers when I put them up.

The link has other painters too, but I like Van Gough best. Nicely surreal and not at all abstract. Most painters seem to have made (more than one) self-portraits - the first picture on every artist's home page is a self-portrait - and it is interesting to see how they all looked.