Hari Shanker R

Hari Shanker R

A Happiness Engineer at Automattic.

Makeover Cometh + Food for thought

Change, we all can believe in.

If you’ll forgive the pun on the C-word (a usage I ostensibly copied from our latest friendly-neighborhood Mr. Uncle Sam himself), I’ve revamped my blog! Hey, no big deal; just a new header, not to mention a few minor touch-ups. (In case you’re wondering why I wrote that sentence, well, I’ve to cater to visually impaired readers reading my blog using Text to Speech tools!)

Alright, hardcore techies might still guffaw at me for not moving over to a snazzier third-party template, but I have my reasons to stick on to Minima. The first being lack of time and infrastructure (Parental restrictions!!) to actually work on (read: “edit”) a new template. Again, I’m not exactly into flashy eye-catching templates which might score a point with aesthetics but would reduce the overall appeal of my content. Btw, here’s a piece of info that might want you to switch over to Minima if you’re blogging in Blogger. ‘Minima’ is a Search Engine Optimized theme! (Source: Mani Karthik, the SEO guru). I’ve tried to truly incorporate the allusion to The Matrix, this time. That’s the Matrix code you see in the background of my header, rendered using, surprise-surprise, just Photoshop! If you raise eyebrows at the presence of the ‘blue’ pill adjacent to the red one, well it’s just to emphasize my ‘choice’ of the red pill.

Speaking of the header, something interesting happened while I was Photoshopping it . First of all, the revamp wasn’t a planned idea. I was bored and utterly jobless, thanks to parents’ strict stand against my attending the Film Festival at college scheduled that day. I was even forbidden from attending a combined birthday party by friends (where I too was supposed to chip in). The revamp-idea came as a quick recreational brainwave, just before my second nap that day. Within no time, my soon-to-die monitor flickeringly showed the Photoshop window and I started working.

I’d rendered the Matrix-code part when the doorbell rang. I opened the door with great trepidation, for I had a birthday present-parcel on its way from Kolkata sent by Abhi chettan (best friend-mentor-bro), and It could arrive anytime. A mid-aged, contorted-faced man, clutching a couple of files in one hand and a jute bag in the other shoulder stared at me. He was too low-key and ragged-dressed to be a parcel-delivery-guy. No sooner did he catch a glimpse of me, his face contorted further to display a wide array of facial gestures which included something that remotely looked like a smile.

“നമസ്കാരം സാര്‍! ഞാന്‍ ഒരു എഴുത്തുകാരന്‍ ആണ്. ഇതാ ഞാന്‍ എഴുതിയ ചില ലേഖനങ്ങള്‍…”(Greetings, sir! I’m an author. Here are some of the books I published/I’m about to publish)

He opens his file and shows some news paper cuttings dated back to a couple of decades. It sounded real, for most of the articles had his pics in them.

“ഞാന്‍ ബാലചന്ദ്രമേനോന്‍റെ അസ്സിസ്റ്റന്‍റ് ആയിരുന്നു. ഫിലിം ഇന്‍സ്ടിടുടില്‍ പഠിച്ചിട്ടുണ്ട്”(I’ve assisted Balachandramenon, the ace director and I’ve studied in the film institute too!)

He digs another pic from the file which has him standing adjacent to Mr Menon in a group photo. A close up pic with him looking into the lens as Mr Menon looks on, is also shown. I watch with measured skepticism. All his articles were paper cuttings. They might not have been forged, cause the paper seemed old.

The assured tone of his voice now meliorates into a mildly-entreating one.

“പക്ഷെ സാര്‍, ഇവയെല്ലാം പ്രസിദ്ധീകരിക്കാന്‍ എന്റെ കയ്യില്‍ കാശില്ല. സാര്‍ കുറച്ച് കാശ് തന്നു സഹായിക്കാമോ? ഒരു പത്ത് രൂപ…” (But sir, I don’t have money to publish these books, if you could give me ten bucks…)

Aha! So he’s our home-grown beggar. The intellectual variety, that is. I employed my standard f**k-off line.

“അയ്യോ! ഇവിടെ ഞാന്‍ മാത്രമേ ഉള്ളു. കാശിരിപ്പില്ലല്ലോ!”(I’m sorry, but I’m alone here and there’s not a single pie at the moment.)

And I wasn’t entirely lying! I’m almost bankrupt, so to speak.

“കുറച്ച് നാണയങ്ങള്‍ എങ്കിലും കാണമല്ല്ലൊ. അതെങ്കിലും തന്നൂടെ?”(Couldn’t you give a couple of coins please?)

By now, I noticed something in his voice that moved me. Was it a tinge of earnestness? Was it lack of opportunity? Was it a talented but weary man fighting for survival in the dog-eat-dog world?

Without uttering a word, I took my purse and gave him the sole ten rupee note left in it. The man smiled, joined his hands in a “Thank you!” gesture, closed the gate, and moved on… He might’ve been an impostor. He didn’t even give a name. And, any low-key guy could easily forge documents in his own favour. Like gazillions of blunders I’ve committed in my lifetime, my gesture might’ve been a momentous dumb-act.

But, ten years down the line, I could be him.

P.S.

A few minutes later, another woman came to me with a uniquely-fake style requesting for money to foot the bill of her husband’s operation. I asked her to f**k-off.

15 Comments

  1. Sriram

    The new header rocks! But I think you shouldve placed the red pill ABOVE the blue pill.. just my opinion though. I have no grudges against minima but definitely hate the Serif fonts it uses… it looks loose even on linux (where, as u know, stuff looks good because of Anti aliasing etc).

    Coming to the bloopers, I too have committed a lot of similar money-donating acts… cant say if they’ve all gone to the right need 😐

    PS: What’s so curious about the header being done in Photoshop?

  2. Neethu

    ah i can see that ur posts hav now slowly begun catering to the vocab-challenged ppl as well:P

    goo one though…last part is quite thought provoking though:)

    header looks techy and classy too…wonder where u got the red-pill idea from;) 😛

    PS:btw…now the header has the colors of the french flag:P

  3. Deepa

    But, ten years down the line, I could be him.

    Oh yes, u ca go around giving ur blog links!!!

    c’mon be positive

  4. Hari Shanker

    @ Sriram:
    Thanks buddy. You’ve got a point there. Must do it. 🙂 Anti aliasing rocks! Which is again why I love Linux…

    Bloopers are part of life. 😐

    And yeah, the thing is, the thing looks exactly like Matrix code despite my photoshopping. 😀 That was my point. 🙂

    Will sure change your name. 😛 My mistake.

    @ binny va:
    Thanks man!

    @ Abhi:
    Got your parcel today!! It rocks!! 😛
    Will take the tag asap. 🙂

  5. Cris

    That was good of you kiddo. Even if he is an impostor, if he takes the pain to forge all that and knock at each door and talk his elegant speech, he really needs that money. Letting another human live or at least buy lunch for one day could do you no harm, not at ten bucks :-). But dont let yourself be taken advantage of, I know you are too smart for that :-).

  6. Hari

    @ neethu:
    Vocab-challegenged? :|I had a tough time reading through your Onam post, with all that vocab! 😛 (Okay, that was a dumb joke! :P)

    Red Pill… Ah, The Matrix. Speaking of which, I need to see it for the 56th time! 😉 Been a long time since I saw any scenes. Thanks for reminding. 😛

    First, It was Indian, Now it’s French.

    Vive’ La France! 😛

    @ corpus gray:
    Kathayil chodyamilla! 😉
    Thanks bro. 😀

    @ deepa:
    Giving blog links, duh!! What if I don’t have PC access? 😉

    @ cris:
    Point taken, sis. We all must be compassionate to help the world survive. 🙂

    P.S.Btw, your ‘articles’ and blog posts are improving!! Keep up the good work. 🙂

    P.P.S. What say about a Cris Fan club? 😛

  7. n i t i n

    yeah..the new one rocks…

    yeah! yeah thats right…me is the back…

    aah! was out with sinus in Kottayam…

    so..I see CHANGES…great..

    😀

  8. manoranjini

    Good photoshop work Hari,Kudos!
    About the man,I would have done the same thing ..it actually gave me a chill down the spine thinking ,that could actually happen to a creatively endowed non-conformist who refused to join the masses in their boring secure-job-havens !

  9. Hari Vishnu

    lol.. 10 years down the lane i cud be him it seems :).. are u that confident of life?

    i use the same line with the run-of-the-mill beggars too.. that “my parents arent in”.. ha! as if 5 bucks is something i wudnt have in my pocket even when i went to the toilet..

    but yea, sometimes even i impuslively feel some ppl are worth it..

    (btw sry 4 not showing my face in comments section in a while.. been busy wid exams.. ive been followin the posts though)

  10. Hari

    @ nitin:
    Thanks a bunch, buddy! 🙂
    Btw, I’m writing this using your ex-classmate’s lappie. 😛

    @ manoranjini:
    The creatively endowed non-confirmist… poor man! 🙁

    P.S.: My S4 Results were out yesterday. I’m getting more and more sure about the hypothesis about my future!! 🙁

    @ Deepa:
    Thanks dear! 🙂 Btw, nice dp. 😀

    @ Hari:
    Lols… Another similarity!! 😛 I’m sure that we’re long lost siblings!! 😛
    I almost guessed you had exams. Even I’m taking a sort-of break, btw. 😀

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