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Issue 3

July - August 2011 Contributors Cover Design: Kudrat Pardiwala

Article Layout: Sneha Sathe Mallikarjun

Authors: Nikhil Late Swati Bhushan Janaki Dayalan Pali Tripathi Kunal Joshi Anand Gautam Amit Sowani Suyash Jain Navin Kale My Space

The third issue has a brand new layout! We have tried to give it a magazine - like feel, with background images, and articles on diverse topics. Many people have come forward to help me with ideas and suggestions, as well as with design and editing. I have picked up my writing too, so all seems to be going well. There is encouragement for us to work harder as many people have appreciated the effort. We would love to involve more people in the endeavor, and will also appreciate any feedback that you can provide. If you have something you want to share with us and other readers, feel free to mail us at: salsapatrika@gmail.com. You could also visit our Facebook page. 2


Issue 3

July - August 2011

COVER STORY Doping: An Unending Tussle

CONTENTS Literature 09 Sin 12 What they don’t teach you at IIT’s and IIM’s 14 वटपौर्णिमा 19 Wheelchair 25 Unplanned Rides 27 Book Review: Despatches from Kargil

Inset: Ben Johnson

SPECIALS Strokes of Faith

Sports 04 Doping an Unending Tussle Art 15 Strokes of Faith Entertainment 23 Trials 2: Video Game Biking Redefined Puzzles 10 Sudoku and Kakuro

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SPORTS

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SPORTS

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SPORTS

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SPORTS

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LITERATURE / Poetry

Sin Her soul was stuck In the ceaseless circle Of actions and repercussions Of guilt and penance Of sin and sacrament. It wanted to escape To pierce through her chest And scream to the world, “I exist� To indulge, to sin. Absolution, it said. She auctioned away her scruples in the market and bargained herself some free sin. Sin, unaccounted for Sin, they said, that even the Gods will overlook. She sinned. She fed her soul with all its desires Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Sloth Wrath, Envy, Pride All of that, and some more. Her soul was happy. But it demanded more. Now she is back at the market, looking for more sin. This time, she is ready to pay for it This time, she will trade it with her body. And she will sin again. If her soul wants it, a hundred times over. And Godhe can close his gates.

-- Janaki Dayalan

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Sudoku and Kakuro

PUZZLES

Sudoku, the hottest puzzle sensation since the Rubik’s Cube, gained worldwide popularity in early 2005. The popularity of the puzzle can be gauged from the fact that there is a world championship dedicated to Sudoku alone. The first World Sudoku championship (WSC) was held in March 2006 in Lucca, Italy. The 6th WSC in 2011 will be held in Hungary. The success of the puzzle lies in its simplicity, the rules are simple and based purely on logic and do not require any mathematical background making it accessible to solvers of all ages. Rules: Every digit from 1 to 9 has to appear exactly once in every row, every column and every 3X3 box.

Sudoku #1 Hints: The introduction praises Sudoku puzzles for their simplicity, however simple rules does not imply simple to solve, and there are a lot of sudokus which the creators love to describe as fiendish and evil. The puzzle above is relatively simple and will not require much more then the basic rules. For the simpler sudokus the best approach is to focus on the smallest components. So one can start by concentrating on a particular number and try to find correct logical positions for that number in the grid by a process of elimination. While eliminating the options for the position of the numbers take care of the three dimensions; rows, columns and boxes. 10


PUZZLES

Kakuro, also advertised as Wordless Crosswords, are made up of across and down clues like a crossword, but that is where the similarity ends. Unlike crosswords solving kakuro neither requires any linguistic knowledge, nor does it assume any cultural background, and it is a logical puzzle like sudoku with a mathematical twist. Solving a Kakuro puzzle involves investigating combinations more, compared to Sudoku in which the focus is on permutations. Rules: Enter a digit from 1 to 9 into each cell so that each clue represents the value of the sum of the digits in the cells to the right/below the clue. Digits cannot repeat in any entry

Kakuro #1 Hints: Try to identify the combinations that entries can take for various pairings of clues and entry lengths. E.g 4 in 2 spaces can only be 1+3 or 3+1 not 2+2 as that would involve repeated digits. Those entries with sufficiently large or small clues for their length will have fewer possible combinations to consider, and by comparing them with entries that cross them, the proper permutation — or part of it — can be derived. The simplest example is where a 3-in-two crosses a 4-in-two: the 3-in-two must consist of '1' and '2' in some order; the 4-in-two must consist of '1' and '3' in some order. Therefore, their intersection must be '1', the only digit they have in common. NOTE: 1. Solution to the puzzles on Page 29 2. You can play the Sudoku puzzle online by creating it yourself here: http://blugreen.blogspot.com/2011_08_01_archive.html 11


LITERATURE / Lifestyle

What they don't teach you at IIT's and IIM's Anand Gautam, IITB and IIMB alumnus, evaluates the value of time spent on campus

Undoubtedly there are two sets of learning you gather at the IIX’s (!) – the superset is all you learn

and a relatively smaller subset of that is what is officially taught via the curriculum. Not that the latter is not important, it certainly is, but we must acknowledge the broader perspective as well. What I would like to talk about is this superset minus subset area, i.e. the informal learning at the IIX’s.

First

thing you develop is confidence – in yourself, in your capabilities. Just being a part of such an esteemed organization helps you believe in yourself, it boosts your morale. What you should avoid here is over-confidence and rigidity. Simultaneously, what you also learn, and which is probably more important, is humility. You interact with so many brilliant people from all corners of the country and you are invariably humbled. It is such a marvellous opportunity to learn from them, and it is difficult to do so effectively without a fair bit of humility. What you should avoid here is getting awed by people around and losing your self-confidence. Much of the time you spend at college, you need to balance these two things – confidence and humility. The better you manage it, the more you learn and the more you succeed.

Another very important thing which you develop

– not immediately, it happens over the years – is a broader perspective. In IIT’s, you get exposed to the world outside, probably for the first time. You get out of the books and see the world outside. A lot of learning comes from your seniors, some from batch mates and some from alumni as well. You have four or five years to explore things. The IIM’s take this perspective one level higher. You learn about the world

in a greater depth, but specifically you get an exposure to the corporate world, the businesses and the various opportunities in store for you. Even if you are very clear about what you want to do in life – which is hardly the case – it helps you a lot. More often than not, you are not clear, and then it becomes priceless.

The six mantras to success that we learn – confidence, humility, a broader perspective, team play, time management and leadership

The most imortant lesson which probably can

never be over-emphasized is time management. It is so so very important in life, and not just professionally, but in each and every aspect of it. Personally, I was always stretched at IIT, trying to balance my priorities towards academics, friends, sports, dramatics, and several other things. At IIM, owing to a lot more workload, I was balancing priorities within academics a lot more than outside. Nevertheless, the learning was there at both the places, and equally important. There are always infinite ideas and a finite amount of time, life is always like an

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LITERATURE / Lifestyle

optimization problem. You need to figure out These few years at college, you develop your objective function (and it varies from person your personality, grow as a person, learn the to person), you need to figure out your variables importance of deadlines, learn to value time, and constraints! become professional, learn to balance your personal and professional aspirations, and find An aspect where I saw a sea change after 12th, your dream! The list can go on indefinitely, but was in terms of the amount of team play you I guess I have elaborated the most important indulge in. Slowly, individual brilliance start taking ones. back seat and team performance comes to the forefront. It is less in IIT’s and a lot more in IIM’s. Can you not pick up these skills elsewhere? Be it group work in academics, be it team sports, While working? Surely, you can. But the learning be it organizing a big cultural/technical fest, you curve is much steeper here. I guess to reach cannot swim alone. And this is so pertinent from the same level professionally and personally, the point of view of your career. No matter what you save a couple of years easily! I would not you do in life, your success would be defined by be going overboard if I say that these few years how good a team player you are. IIX’s give you which you spend at an IIX, have the maximum an amazing opportunity to pick it up. They also impact not only on your career but also on you provide you ample opportunities to hone your as a person. leadership qualities, which involve taking team work to a higher level.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Most people think that Anand Gautam works as a consultant. Anand sometimes agrees with people. He also agrees with the statement that he loves playing, especially chess & football. Most people do not think that Anand writes poetry. Anand does not agree with people. 13


वटपौर्णिमा कसा

आहे स? मी ठीक. सॉरी, काल लिहू शकले नाही. काल आपल्या पियुची शाळा सुरु झाली. मागच्या आठवड्यात जमलं नाही, म्हणून काल रात्री तिच्या वह्या पुस्तकांना कव्हर्स घालण्याचा ‘सोहळा’ पार पडला. ‘सोहळा’च तो. कोऱ्या करकरीत पुस्तकांच्या सुवासाचं अत्तर शिंपडून पार पडणारा! थोडक्यात...म्हणून काल लिहिणं जमलं नाही.

आज

वटपौर्णिमा होती. तू ‘गेल्या’नंतरची पहिली.... काल लोकलच्या डब्यात कुणीतरी विषय काढला. मी गप्पांमधून अंग काढत ट्रे नच्या खिडकीतून दिसणाऱ्या काळोखात बघत बसले. आपल्या लग्नापूर्वी तू सांगितलेला जोक आठवला - वटपौर्णिमेला बायका वडाजवळ काय मागतात? - ‘वडा-पाव’! तुझ्या तोंडून प्रथम ऐकला तेव्हा केव्हढी हसले होते मी! आठवतंय नं? आणखी एक प्रसंग आठवला. आपलं नुकतंच लग्न झालं होतं. माझ्या एकंदरीत ‘उत्साहावरून’ सासुबाईंनी माझं मन ओळखलं असावं. माझा हात धरून मला सोसायटीतल्या वडाजवळ घेऊन गेल्या. मला म्हणाल्या उद्या सकाळी आपल्याला इथे येऊन पूजा करायची आहे . मी म्हटलं ‘माझा विश्वासc नाही’. तर म्हणाल्या,’या निमित्ताने वडाला नमस्कार करायचा. इतकी वर्ष इथे उभा राहून तो आपल्याला सावली दे तोय त्याबद्दल त्याचे आभार मानायचे.’ परं परे पेक्षा मला ही कृतज्ञतेची भावना जास्त भावली. मी सासूबाईंबरोबर दर वर्षी पूजा करू लागले. आज सकाळी पुजेची थाळी घेऊन वडाजवळ गेले. सोबत सासूबाई होत्या. वडाजवळ उभी राहिले. बराच वेळ निःशब्द ! अचानक काय वाटलं माहित नाही -भरल्या डोळ्यांनी आणि थरथरत्या हातांनी वडाला एक salute ठोकला! Afterall, तू मेजर होतास, विक्रांत! सासूबाई मला सावरायला म्हणून आल्या होत्या, पण आता त्यांचाच बांध फुटला. आधीच सोसायटीतल्या बायकांनी मी तिथे गेल्यामुळे भुवया उं चावल्या होत्या. आता तर मला ऐकू जाईल अशी कुजबुज सुरु झाली. ‘हिला आणायचं का इथे? सबनीस काकींना तरी कळायला हवं होतं!’ गर्दीतून कोणीतरी हळूच म्हणालं. माझ्यापेक्षा वयाने मोठ्या असणाऱ्या त्या बायकांशी मला हुज्जत घालायची नव्हती कारण मी काय करत होते याबद्दल मला विश्वास होता. विक्रांत, आपण या जन्मात भेटलो खरे - पण तू ‘मला असा’ किती मिळालास? पुढचे सात जन्मच काय- सगळे जन्म तू मला हवा आहे स... हे , खरं तर, घरी बसून दे खील मागता आलं असतं. पण का कोणास ठाऊक, मला वडाजवळ जावसं वाटलं. घरातल्या एखाद्या आजोबांसारखा असलेला तो वड माझं म्हणणं शांतपणे ऐकून घेईल असं वाटलं. त्या दिवशी मला पहिल्यांदा जाणवलं की परं परा-रूढी, प्रतीकं

LITERATURE / MARATHI

तम ु ्ही माना किं वा मानू नका पण तम ु च्या एकूण ‘असण्याला’च या सगळ्या गोष्टी चिकटलेल्या असतात. तू असतास तर मला वेड्यात काढलं असतंस कारण तझ ु ा या कशावर विश्वास नव्हता. पण एक सांग? ू विश्वास-अविश्वास या सगळ्याच्या पलीकडे एक प्रांत असतो. मी त्याला ‘instinct’ म्हणते. भिकाऱ्याला कधीही भीक न दे णारे आपण एखादवेळी पट्कन कुणालातरी भीक दे ऊन मोकळे का होतो, याला जसं लॉजिक नसतं तसंच काहीसं. अशावेळी आपण फक्त आपल्या ‘instinct’ ने दिलेली आज्ञा पाळत असतो. सोळा डिसेंबरच्या रात्री बॉर्डरवर शत्श रू ी चकमक झाली. फारशी कुमक जवळ नसताना तू कोणाच्या आज्ञेने लढलास आणि शहीद झालास? Vikrant, you just followed your instinct!

वटपौर्णिमेला

मला वडाजवळ पज ू ा करताना पाहून शेरे मारणाऱ्या समाजाबद्दल मला राग नाही, पण गंमत वाटते. सो कॉल्ड प्रगतीच्या नावाखाली स्त्रियांच्या हातात सिगरे ट आणि दारूचा ग्लास खपवून घेणारा समाज विधवा स्त्रीचा वड पज ु ण्याचा हक्क नाकारतो. आपल्या मल ु ीबाळी गणेशोत्सवात ‘शीला की जवानी’ म्हणत नाचलेल्या चालतात, पण पिरियड्स चालू असलेल्या स्त्रीला दे वघरात यायचा मज्जाव असतो! हा paradox मला मान्य करावा लागतो. तम ु ्ही ढीग शिका, पदव्या मिळवा, जग जिंका - माझ्यासारख्या एकट्या बाईला समाजात राहायचं असेल तर जगण्यातल्या या विसंगतीला पर्याय नाही. आर्मीत गेल्यानंतर तू आम्हा सिविलीयन्सना नेहमी नावं ठे वायचास. ‘तम ु ्हाला जगण्याची शिस्त नाही’ म्हणायचास. नसेल आम्हाला शिस्त. पण इथेही कुठलीही गोष्ट लढूनच मिळवावी लागते. मी ही रोज लढते.... भ्रष्टाचाराने पोखरलेल्या दे शाचं रक्षण करण्यासाठी माझ्या नवऱ्याने रक्त सांडलं या जाणीवेसह जगत राहण्याबद्दल कुठलं शौर्यचक्र मिळणार नाही हे माहित असन ू लढते. पियु, सासूबाई आणि बाबांसमोर कणखर राहण्याचा जो मी ‘अभिनय’ करते त्याबद्दल कुठलंही award मिळणार नाही हे माहित असून लढते. आपल्या पियच ु ्या न संपणाऱ्या प्रश्नांना न कंटाळता उत्तरं दे ण्याबद्दल कुणी पाठ थोपटणार नाही हे माहित असून लढते.

I

am a soldier, I fight where I am told, and I win where I fight! - तच ू म्हणायचास ना? थांबते. पियल ु ा गोष्ट सांगायची वेळ झाली. उद्या भेटू. बाय.

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लेखक परिचय लेखक नवीन काळे हा एक सॉफ्टवेयर इंजीनीयर आहे . ते आपल्या रिकाम्या वेळात कविता, गोष्टी लीहीतात व लहान मल ु ाना सद् ु धा शिकवतात


ART / HISTORY

Strokes of Faith Swati Bhushan describes her affair with Thangka paintings

A

"Thangka," also known as "Tangka", "Thanka" or "Tanka"is a Tibetan painting on cloth that can be rolled up. It is a vertical image painted on linen and rarely on silk. The images are derived from the episodes of jataka tales or portrayals of life of Buddha. 15


ART / HISTORY

Origin The art was introduced in Tibet from neighbouring

Buddhist cultures, Nepal and China, 12 centuries after Buddha attained Nirvana. When the Tibetan king Sron Tsan Gampo (AD 618 to 649) married princess Bhikruti Devi, daughter of Nepal’s King Lichchavi, the ruler of Tibet imported the images of Aryawalokirteshwar and other Nepalese deities to Tibet. Thus the Nepalese art form was exported to Tibet. He was also married to Cheng from the court of China’s Tsang dynasty. Historians note that Chinese painting had a profound influence on Tibetan painting in general. Starting from the 14th and 15th century, Tibetan painting had incorporated many elements from the Chinese, and during the 18th century, Chinese painting had a deep and far-stretched impact on Tibetan visual art. The oldest Tibetan painting found today date from the 17th century.

Thangka originated from medieval Nepalese and Chinese art

My introduction to thangka I had my first glimpse of thangka paintings when

I was going through my brother’s photographs of his trip to Ladakh. I found them interesting and started to read more about them. I also attended a conversation workshop at the Prince Of Wales Museum Mumbai, which enhanced my knowledge of thangka art.

Cultural Influence Originally, thangka paintings

grew popular among travelling monks because the scroll paintings were easily rolled and transported from monastery to monastery. These thangka served as important teaching tools depicting the life of the Buddha, various influential lamas and other deities and bodhisattvas. One popular subject is The Wheel of Life, which is a visual representation of the Abhidharma teachings (Art of Enlightenment).

Process: To paint a thangka,

an auspicious date is divined, incense is lit, and throughout the period of painting sutras are recited. There is no room for mistakes. The entire process is a ritual born out of profound meditation. After it is painted or embroidered, it is lined and bordered by silk or brocade. A dust cover of silk is laid over it.

To Buddhists these Tibetan religious paintings offer a beautiful manifestation of the divine, being both visually and mentally stimulating. They are a medium of expression, devotion and art - a tool to attain enlightenment in Buddhism. 16

Silk cover


ART / HISTORY

Thangka painting is a tradition passed on from master to apprentice who also determine the palette. The palette of pigments is prepared meticulously before it is applied. Palette preparation process involves grinding, clearing and binding. Pigments used are:• Blue – azurite , indigo • Green – green earth ,malachite • Red – cinnabar, red lead, lac dye • Orange – realgan • Black- soot, bone • White – calcium carbonate, lead white, kaolin

The

binder used is animal glue, and also a vegetable adhesive extracted from heart shaped root of a plant called dhang po lag.

Given below are designs that are used in

the paintings often made by the artisans. The designs appear to be influenced by art from countries like China, Nepal, and Central Asia.

The circle of life

Painting Degeneration and Restoration Old thangka are degrading, and need to

be conserved. As they were used in religious rituals, they were affected by the elements. Many times buttered milk was sprinkled over these paintings which caused the staining of these paintings. A thangka is never washed. It is cleaned with dry cloth and a brush instead.

A thangka of Buddha

Visible damage on painitings

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ART / HISTORY

The conservation of Tibetan paintings is still in

its infancy compared with that of Chinese and Japanese paintings. This discipline needs to be developed into a body of technical studies, knowledge on materials and techniques, as well as documentation of mounts.

Proper restoration technique for thangka needs to be worked out and followed to preserve these priceless pieces of our heritage

or ceremony and are often used as mediums through which one can offer prayers or make requests. Overall, and perhaps most importantly, religious art is used as a meditation tool to Conclusion help one walk the path to enlightenment. The Thangka, when created properly, perform Buddhist Vajrayana practitioner uses a thangka several different functions. Images of deities image of their yidam, or meditation deity, as a can be used as teaching tools depicting the life guide, by visualizing “themselves as being that (or lives) of the Buddha, describing historical deity, thereby internalizing the Buddha qualities�. events concerning important Lamas, or retelling These paintings cross cultural boundaries. They myths associated with other deities. Devotional are a remarkable contribution to the world of art images act as the centre piece during a ritual and all the more brilliant synthesis of religion.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Swati Bhushan is a final year BFA student at the JJ School of Arts, in Textile Design. She likes to paint, design and research art history. She has special interest in Indian art forms. 18


Wheelchair I

wasn’t sure if he hated me or just didn’t care. All that I could gather was symptomatic of his opinion of me. One, he never looked at me when we spoke on rare occasions. He would look in another direction while we made a monosyllabic conversation. Two, he would invariably find a reason to get away, just in case a situation threw us together. Like at Nikita’s place last month, we ended up being in the same team, while playing a game. As luck would have it, just the two of us remained in the end. In the very next round, he got out purposefully. That I was shocked at this is a no brainer; that everyone else was shocked too, made it evident that for a change my brain wasn’t spinning crazy stories. Three, we knew each other for two years now, but he didn’t have my number. I got to know this last week. I ended up being late for this ‘do’, because he was the one in charge of letting everyone know of the change in plans. He gave an excuse that because he didn’t have my number, he couldn’t call. Yes, a very lame one. Lastly, he never smiled at me. He smiled often and readily but I was very sure that no special occasion in the last two years had warranted a smile meant for me.

LITERATURE / Fiction

my fair share of friends and lovers. I had moved from California to New York for the job, after my graduation. It had been seven years since I had been away from home in Mumbai. I stayed on in the U.S for two very simple reasons. One of them was the sheer convenience of mobility that all the places provided. The other, while most people noticed my wheel chair, they were either too polite to make it evident or it didn’t matter to them anyways. Back home, the sounds of pity and offers to help used to irritate me. I decided to come to India after a call from Nikita announced that Dad had a stroke. He passed away within a week of my arrival. I stayed on because I was all that Nikita had for a family. The first time I met her, I found her staring at my wheel chair.

**** I could have ignored him. I tried doing that in various ways. By completely avoiding him, by not talking about him and at times even hearing about him. The problem was that he refused to fade in the oblivion. I noticed him, all of him. His absence was as powerful as his presence. His He was confined to a wheelchair – a case of looking at someone else was as disturbing as his looking away from me. His ease with others was polio since birth. as much a source of discomfort as his stiffness with me. He repulsed me as much as he attracted **** She made me feel inadequate. In the last 30 me. He unsettled me. years of my life, inspite of what people expect, I have always managed to overcome the The first time I met him, he was lost in a leather challenges that life has thrown along the way. bound Rebecca. The book was on his lap, one I have had my share of difficulties, but nothing hand ready to turn a page and the other brushing that has made me think about my ‘condition’ for away a stubborn lock of hair on his forehead. I so long and at such constant intervals. While remember looking at him and the book for several completing my MBA from Stanford, there were seconds, before I said a ‘hi’. I was still trying to many opportunities that could have been mine, confirm the title of the book, when he looked at had I played the ‘limp limbs’ card. I never did. I me. I saw him wince and then stare. I am not had gotten through the course on my own and the stuff for beauty pageants but I am no plain was made an offer by Google - the only one that Jane either. Most people would describe me as year. Though I wasn’t the life of the party, I had attractive. It was the start of many things that made me realize that he wasn’t most people. 19


LITERATURE / Fiction

“Oh! The trains were delayed but still working **** when I came in. Didn’t think they would stop. The first time I spoke to her, I wasn’t friendly. I Now what?” seldom am, to people who give my confinement more attention than me. But I did try. I had asked “Why don’t you go to my place? At least it’s closer her, if she would like to have some tea while she than your home and not flooded yet” waited for Nikita to reach home. I didn’t introduce myself, because she looked uncomfortable “Go to your place meaning? Aren’t you at home? around me. She had asked who I was. I had told ” her I was Nikita’s brother. “From the U.S?” She had enquired. I nodded as I watched the play “Nope! I stayed over at a friend’s. I am still here. of shadows on her face. She was fascinating to But Jai is working from home today. He will open the door for you” look at. “If you will be alright on your own, I need to go out for a stroll”, I said following a long silence “Sure! Do you need any help with your…?” She did not complete the sentence. I turned away. I didn’t feel like responding to the question and the underlying assumption it carried with it. **** It had been pouring furiously all weekend and continued on Monday morning as well. There had been a text from the authorities urging people to stay indoors unless absolutely urgent. I received the text after I stepped into the office. The floor was almost vacant except a couple of people, who seemed oblivious to the world around them. I liked the silence. No one from my team had come in to work that day. I poured myself a cup of coffee, and was just settling in for the day when Nikita called “Richa! Don’t tell me you are at work!” “Well! You must be psychic, that’s exactly where I am” “Are you crazy, woman? The trains have stopped. All the roads are flooded. How are you going to get back?”

I felt strangely excited and petrified at the idea of seeing Jai. Though I told Nikita that I would leave for her place right away, it took me all of one complete hour to actually make a move. **** She was the last person I expected to find at the door and definitely not looking like that. Loose curls from her hair were plastered over her shoulders, dripping water. A few drops glistened on her eyelashes. Her lips trembled, perhaps with cold. She was saying something. “I can go back if it’s inconvenient. I will find a cab” The edge in her voice brought me back to reality. “No. Please come in” I opened the door wide and pulled myself aside to let her in. She hesitated, guiltily looking at the puddle she had made on the floor. Her lost puppy expression had me grinning. Or I may have even chuckled. I saw her startle a bit, and then look at me as if for the first time in two years. She smiled and then laughed nervously. At that moment, I wanted to be the funniest man alive, just to hear her laugh again and again. The thought vanished as soon as it had appeared and I turned to get to my room. After all, she saw me as nothing but a wheel chair.

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LITERATURE / Fiction

**** I felt warm all over, in spite of my rain drenched clothes. His smile felt like home, comfortable and inviting. It felt like we had always laughed this easily. And then he stopped. As if I had dreamt it all up. I felt bereft. I wanted to snatch that moment and make it last. I did the next best thing. I stopped him in his tracks. “Nikita tells me that you make amazing ginger tea. Would you please make some for me?” My voice sounded nervous to my own ears. Any moment I expected him to block me out as he always did.

“The smell of earth when it rains is my favorite” She closed her eyes, smiled and took a deep breath. She nodded and opened her eyes. “Yes. I am fond of it too. But this tea is heaven. For this you must excel in the art of tea appreciation though” she said, looking at me. I laughed. “And where and how does one learn this art?” I asked She smiled and bent down while pushing my chair back. She sat down on her knees, keeping the tea mug on the side table.

“Ok” he said gruffly. I was elated. At least it was a start. I went into Nikita’s room to change into dry clothes. I heard him humming, as I came near the kitchen. The aroma of cardamom and ginger mixed with tea made me happy. “That’s my most favorite smell in the world” He turned towards me and said, “It does smell nice but it isn’t my favorite”

“Right here and I shall teach you how”, she said. She brought herself closer to my chair, and then held my hand. Her slender fingers entwined with mine and in that moment all that I could feel was the warmth of her palm in mine. She picked up the tea cup with her other hand and held it in both my palms, wrapping her own fingers around mine. She then raised the cup to my nose. “Now, close your eyes and breathe in. Like you wanted to inhale it all in rather than drink the tea”

“Then?” “I can’t describe it. Here hold the cup and let me take you to it” Holding my cup of tea, I followed him to the window in the living room. **** Nikita’s clothes were a couple of sizes too large for her. She kept pulling at the t-shirt to prevent it from slipping. I had never been more intrigued. I noticed the way she cupped the mug with both her hands. The way she inhaled deeply before sipping the tea. The way she looked at me and made me feel like there was no else she would rather be with.

Her voice was soft as a breath, musical. I did as she said. I felt her nearness. I hardly breathed. When I opened my eyes, I found her gaze fixed on mine. ****

I held my breath as he continued looking at me. And then, just like that, he leaned over and closed the distance between us. His hands grazing my face, he tipped my chin up. Then he brushed his lips gently across mine in a kiss. I never wanted to awaken; I never wanted this dream to end. It was so real. I could actually feel the warmth of

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LITERATURE / Fiction

his breath as he sighed against my mouth before deepening the kiss.

I felt a knife sear its way through my being. I couldn’t bear to look at her

We were jolted back to the world with the ring of the phone. We both were a little embarrassed at what just happened but neither regretted that it did.

“The rain has subsided. Perhaps you should leave now”

While Jai attended to the call, I wandered through the house. I came by his study. As always, there were heaps of classics spread all over the table in the corner of the room. Rebecca with its red cover and the golden emboss beckoned me once again. I found something popping out from between the pages. It looked like an airline ticket. Something warned me to not take it out. But I did.

**** I had never felt worse. I fought tears rolling down my cheeks. I cursed my fate at having fallen. Fallen so deep that I never thought it was possible. As I walked on the road, the smell of earth around me made me choke. It hit me then that I had been in love for two years. In love with a man who chose convenience of being in another country without as much as giving me a thought. The kiss was an indulgence, a whim. I wanted to disappear. I wanted to pour away like the rain. I wanted to stop breathing.

It had Jai’s name on it. It was a one way ticket to New York. A previous conversation with Nikita made its way to my consciousness “He is planning to settle in New York” “I thought he had decided to be in India” “Yes. I thought so too. But one of these days he will just pack his bags and leave. I know the way he is”

I heard the door bang shut behind my back

**** The truck driver wanted to get home before the rains started again. The roads were slippery. The girl turned on to the street. She did not hear the horn. The driver couldn’t apply the brakes soon enough **** She stopped breathing

The ticket was dated for Friday that week **** As I finished the call, I saw her walk back into the living room. Something had changed. I felt my heart fill with fear “Are you alright?” I asked “Yes. Never been better” She smiled. It was a fake The kiss. She must regret it now. It hadn’t registered then but it struck me now - the look of embarrassment on her face. She was ashamed of me.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR Pali Tripathi is a management consultant at one of the big four consultant firms. Writing is a passion that keeps her going in a hectic corporate life.


ENTERTAINMENT / VIDEO GAMES

Trials 2: Video Game Biking Redefined

Kunal Joshi reviews one of his favorite motor games. Quite tough, and frustrating at times, but a lot of fun as well! Trials 2 Second Edition has now been around for a few years, but I still keep going back to it every now and then. It is one of the most brutally difficult games I've played and also one of the most exquisitely designed ones.

The formula is fairly straightforward. You are a bloke on a motorbike and you need to get to the

end of a course as quickly as possible, and with as few mistakes as possible. The controls are very straightforward and only involve the four arrow keys. Up for accelerating, down for braking and left and right for leaning backwards and forwards.

The courses are brilliantly crafted. You start off with very simple ones with just a few slopes here and

there but then the difficulty quickly ramps up requiring you to perform loops, backflips, accelerate through tunnels, and execute spring loaded jumps from one platform to another. All these hazards mean that you will be dying very frequently, usually with the rider’s head lodged between two ramps and his limbs comically flailing about. 23


ENTERTAINMENT / VIDEO GAMES

There are the to-be-expected features like worldwide leaderboards, which let you compare your

times on each course with players across the globe. Countries are also ranked (as of the time of this review, India was ranked 71st). A rather cool feature of the leaderboards is that you can download replays of any players run-through of a course and race against their 'ghosts'.

By now you should have no excuse to not play this game. The system requirements are fairly low

so almost any computer released in the last few years will be capable of playing it. Head on over to www.redlynxtrials.com and download the PC demo. Alternatively if you are a Steam user, you can get the demo there. Xbox 360 owners can go to Xbox Live Arcade to get a slightly different game Trials HD - made by the same studio.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Kunal Joshi is a gaming enthusiast with a history dating back to Atari in the early 90’s. He also develops games in flash in his free time. He is a fellow IITian and former colleague, now working in the US. You can visit his website here: http://babablacksheep.in

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Unplanned Rides

Once every month or so, I like to go for unplanned

LITERATURE / Lifestyle

increased fare only if I was given a window seat.

bus rides. I just carry a book in my hand and walk away. I don’t decide the destination - I just get I remember my first unplanned bus ride in Mumbai. I was listening to music and was so lost into a random bus. in thought that I didn’t realise where I was until I've always enjoyed travelling in buses. My only the conductor yelled “last stop”! I never paid for criterion is a window seat, where I can put my the extra distance. elbow outside and feel the air. Earlier, I used to go to school in a matador, which had a very few windows and I never got a chance to sit at my favourite seat. So, when the matador was replaced by a bus, my father agreed to pay the

Once, my flatmate, Badal, as lazy he is, slept in

a local train on his way back home and crossed three extra stations. Hurriedly, he got down on the next station to catch a train back home.

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LITERATURE / Lifestyle

After some forty odd minutes, he opened his eyes realizing that he had again fallen asleep and missed his station. Finally settling on a train completely packed, allowing no room for his eyes to relax, he reached home. He did not pay for the extra distance either.

My unplanned trip would start with the search

for an empty bus where it was easier to secure a window seat. The destination or the route didn't matter. The first few times, it upset me when the bus conductor asked for a destination, but then I realised that the best way to avoid such awkwardness is to ask for a ticket to the “last stop”.

These unplanned trips have taken me to various

parts of Mumbai. From the most beautiful to the ugliest, the most expensive to the cheapest, the red light areas and the sacred temples, the dirtiest slums and the most sophisticated bungalows, the rocky hills and the sandy beaches; I have seen it all. Although I do not remember all the places visited, I have started to recognize places. I have

been through Borivali, Bandra, Marine Drive, New Bombay and Gorgaon, to name a few, on these escapades. The one thing that holds true for all the areas visited is that each place seems like a complete different city in itself. Each has its own nuances, a charm which you don’t tend to notice normally. Despite the differences, all these places have one thing in common, the rush! It flows through every boulevard of Mumbai, I suppose.

On my last unplanned ride, I ended up at Versova beach and rode a horse named “Badal”. Having heard the local train experience of my flatmate, I only wished for the horse to stay awake during the ride. Horses can sleep while standing, you see.

These

trips criss – crossing the city have revealed more to me about its traits and qualities, than during my four year stay in college. I wish to continue on such sojourns with abandon, to my heart’s desire.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Suyash Jain is an investment banker by profession but a romantic at heart. He likes to sing, play the guitar and write prose or poetry when he is in the mood and has time. 26


LITERATURE / BOOK REVIEW

Despatches from Kargil Author: Srinjoy Chowdhury Publisher: Penguin Books Number of pages: 227

Janaki Dayalan reviews a book on a bloody chapter in Indo - Pak history

The book is a first person account of a journalist’s

initial phases of the war when enemy splinters were falling all around and what he felt when experience in Kargil–Drass during the war. it was his turn to fire. The book commendably The chapters take you through one town at captures what everyone in the war-zone felt about the war; the soldiers, the lieutenants and a time along the highway describing the war the majors, the high rank officers, the villagers in respectable detail; the geography and the and of course, fellow journalists. It does not miss tactics, the ammunition and the weapons, the out the New Delhi highfliers making obligatory enemy attack and the Indian counter, life on the visits. cold mountains and the mood in the base camp, the damage and the victories, the sorrow (read: guilt) of losing a friend and the celebrations of The Indian Navy and The Indian Air Force would sure give the author a thumbs-up for not capturing a peak. forgetting its contribution during the war.

Srinjoy manages to get inside a soldier’s mind

and carves out feelings and reactions during the

But, in trying to capture so many things in so few pages, he keeps going back and forth and

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LITERATURE / BOOK REVIEW

The best pages of the book are the last few: A beautiful post-war account.

you end up losing the chronology of the war. If you ask me to describe the war in the order in which the peaks were reclaimed, I would lose it after the first three. Then again, what he loses in maintaining the flow he makes up by brilliantly capturing the moments of glory: moments of fanatic gallantry, of absolutely illogical valor. His narrative of our army’s show of courage under fire, of heroism driven by passion, is hair-raisingly poignant. This, in itself, makes the book worth a read.

The

author, appreciatively, does not limit himself to explaining the heroics. He reveals the negligence and intelligence failure before the war and the bureaucracy and the politics during and after the war. He does this astutely, without being judgmental, and allows the readers to come to their own conclusions.

The best pages

of the book are the last few: A beautiful post-war account. The hugs, the exhilaration, the home coming, the celebrations and, the tears, the field hospital, the memorial service, the nightmares. And between all this the struggle to find and remove the landmines on reclaimed territory planted by the departing enemy.

Recommendation: It’s a good read; gives good insights in to the war. But, probably will not satiate your quest to know everything there is to know about the war and you find yourself looking for another book that will.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Janaki Dayalan is a logisitics expert, but possesses a infectious child like enthusiasm, and innocence. A nature lover who loves to travel, she reads and writes regularly. I personally love her style of poetry. 28


Sudoku and Kakuro: Solution Sudoku

PUZZLES

Kakuro

Hope you enjoyed solving these logic puzzles provided by Logic Masters India (LMI). LMI are responsible for selecting the Indian national teams for the World Puzzle and Sudoku Championships. The group aims at encouraging puzzle solving activities in India. They organize various puzzle competitions to recognize talent within the country.

If you have an inclination towards puzzle solving and have the ambition of representing India at the World Championships for Puzzles and Sudoku or simply to explore more puzzles of the kind that you just solved you should visit http://logicmastersindia.com/

ABOUT THE PUZZLER Amit Sowani is an IIT Graduate, with a passion for puzzles. He has participated in Sudoku World Championships., and was part of the organization team when it was held in India.

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For queries about contribution, comments, suggestions and complaints please mail us at: salsapatrika@gmail.com or visit our Facebook page I thank all the writers, designers, editors and other friends who helped me with this issue. I hope to keep improving this magazine with each issue, and spread it to a larger audience as it grows. And this will happen only with the support of our readers, and contributors.

next issue: Next issue will be out in October 2011, and the theme will be Travel, Aventure and Recreation. So if you want to share your experiences with us and your friends, send it to us, and we will make sure that everyone reads it!

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Salsa Patrika Issue 3 July - August 2011