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Thursday, September 30, 2004


Well I have always wanted to write about the various toilets I have used during the past so many years. I kinda think that toilets tell a lot about the people who maintain/use them. Starting off with a public toilet in a shopping mall in Japan. Till date i havent see a cleaner toilet than that. The floor was so spick and span you could sit there and have lunch. The pot was even cleaner. In fact it begged the question, do the Japanese spent half their lives cleaning the damn things, or are they so "not-dirty"! But this toilet really didn't have even an iota of aesthetic beauty to it, it was just a plain ol' toilet which was extraordinarily clean. But one toilet which was complete with architectural finesse and interior designer made crockery was the one i used in a hotel in Mumbai. I mean such was the surprise with which i met the whole thing, i asked myself whether i had entered the right place. The sink was made of transparent glass, blown into a funnel-shaped article. The urinal was pretty basic, that is to say without any crockery, I leave it to your imagination to extrapolate.

One of the most ghastly of toilets i have ever come across was a battered, dungeon-like pigeonhole in the I.L. School(located in Kota, India). While i was a student at Bansal Classes working my ass off for IITJEE(which i cleared in my first attempt), we used to have bi-weekly tests at this school. At one of these tests I had to pee in between the tests. As bad fortune would have it, out of all the possible pigeonholes i could pick, i picked this one(it later turned out that other toilets of IL were better) and had the most disasterous of urinating experiences. After a while i realized i was pissing and vomiting at the same time.

Anyways, moving to a more pleasant experience, this one happened quite recently at a 7 star hotel in Bangalore(The Leela Resort). As one enters the toilet, you will be greeted (in an accent which seems a disconcorted, Karnatic-Englishish..really unique) by an attendant, do your business and he will offer you a towel from which to wipe your hands, that is in case you decide to wash your hands.

Well, talking about public toilets, the cleanest public toilet I have ever seen in India is the one right here in CC1 of IIIT-Allahabad. I mean i was so flattered to see it so clean and the crockery was so....what word do I use...glittering.

Among other toilets which i remember due to their uniqueness, one was the toilet on a gulf-air jet...yaar I tell u the flush was a vaccuum, and made a deafening sound. I got so scared, I thought I would be thrown out of the aircraft!!

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Captain's Log

Some men are born leaders, some have leadership thrust on them, and some become leaders by accident. I think i belong to the last class. And the accident, as told to me very brazenly by someone once, were my Adidas Shoes(soccer shoes). May be that was reason enough for them to make me the captain of the soccer team. But I think I started off with more enthusiasm than anyone else in my batch for this game, and spent a lot of time trying to coax people into playing this game so that I would have someone to play with. That their enthusiasm for it overtook mine later, is another story! The captain of a football team doesn't have as many responsibilities as does the captain of a cricket team, but somehow I felt people giving me undue importance. In my times as a captain, i haven't enjoyed a moment more than the time i lifted the IIIT-A Football tournament running trophy. We danced in mud, we played with it and ate at the swankiest restaurant in town and ate sweet-"PAN". I gifted the smokers of the team packets of cigarettes and treated the non-smokers at the canteen. No moment has been more frustrating than the helpless we faced at being beaten black and blue by an opponent whose supporters out-numbered us 2 to 1, when they were staring at the face of defeat. I haven't been more angry as a captain when a player accused me of corrupt practices, of playing politics against him when he was relegated to the last line of defense. I hadn't been that angry in a long time. I guess I have had to deal with a fair share of politics as well. The best way to deal with politics, I felt, was to do things honestly and with a clear conscience, and with good intentions. Sooner or later people will realize that you are no humbug and you'll have made you point. Out of all the multiferrous experiences i gained from being the captain, one that has left a lasting impression is that a leader has to be a good listener. He cannot and should not discount the views of others and always make space for their ideas and opinions. Especially in a team game, he has to ensure that he has good relations with the rest of the team. The team can do without players letting their game go down due to tensions within the team. I guess i really don't believe in the saying, the captain should lead from the front. I would rather like to believe that a captin should have no problems in letting others lead from the front. A captain is only as good as his team.

If there was one thing that I could change as a captain/player, would be to have stopped K.P. from going over the our supporters side and picking up a nasty fight which would cost both him and us dearly and change our lives for ever.