Going Retro!

A little something I created with a help of a few friends 🙂 (read people who are willing to give a way stuff for free over the internet)

About a month back, I got another assignment from my brother (as usual, he’s the one giving me work :D). He was working on his office magazine and there was a section called ‘newbies’. So he shot a few photographs of each of the newbies in funky poses and told me to give it a retro kind of look.

Retro Intro Page
Retro Intro Page

I searched over the internet and downloaded a few brushes (short cut I hear?) and used them to create a 70’s type of background. Not sure if it really looks like the 70’s. Here’s a sample page with space for an introduction/short history of the person featured.

The brush-set I used is called Grunge Vectors by Circle of Fire. Deviant Art is a really great resource for all things artistic. The amazing quality of work that people give away for free is really really unbelievable.

The photograph I’ve used for this particular sample has been taken by someone who goes by the Flickr username of Alagos, and who was willing to put his photographs under the creative commons licence. So here’s credit to the photographer who took this very cute photograph (I couldn’t use original photographs of the newbies for lack of permission).

I’ve also used a lot of the spatter brushes (same as the ones I used for the Holi card) for the background.

That’s it for now 🙂


The anonymous bus conductor!

The world can be very harsh, but if we look close enough, there are little little positives for us to feel good about.

Of late, things have been rather gloomy. The print media seems to be enjoying a golden spell of bad news. Every single page had nothing but depressing stories. Scandal, corruption, crime, dirty politics, natural disasters… the list is endless. As far as news channels are concerned, quite frankly, I’ve lost hope on them and stopped watching TV altogether.

Seeing all this gloom only has a compounding negative effect on our lives. How our life is, and how happy we are, is plainly a matter of perception. If we choose to look at only the negative aspect of things, then that is all we will end up seeing. We act as magnets. The more we think about bad events, the more we end up pulling bad things towards ourselves.

A few days back, I too suffered an attack of negativity, and everything around me seemed very very evil. There seemed to be no good left on this planet.

But life has very subtle ways of bringing us back on track. And when I say subtle, I mean very subtle.

One day, while I was travelling aboard a local bus, the conductor got up an announced to all the passengers that they would have to get off the bus. He said that the bus had to go and pick up some students and that they were late. As it often happens with the DTC buses that ply on Delhi’s roads, routes are cut short, or altered, or bus stops are skipped at the will of the driver and conductor.

So as usual, there were a lot of angry passengers shouting at the driver and conductor for leaving them stranded.

The conductor instructed everyone to get off and said he would make arrangements for us to travel in another bus that would be approaching shortly. And soon enough a bus did arrive. But it didn’t stop at the bus stop (nothing unusual). The driver got pretty frustrated because they were pretty late (or so they claimed).

As the other bus sped away, the conductor paused for a few seconds, and all of a sudden instructed everyone to get into the bus immediately. ‘If we’re late, we’re late! It’s just too bad!’ And so the bus resumed its journey, albeit with quite a sense of urgency and the conductor told the passengers that he would drop them off and then pick up the students.

He could have easily left us at the bus stop, and it would not have affected him in any way. On the contrary, going so late to pick up those students would surely land him in big trouble. And none of the passengers would ever bother about him for his troubles. But he still completed the route for the benefit of the passengers.

I know it is a very very trivial incident, but somehow, it made me feel good. I felt relieved that all is not so evil in the world 🙂


The tooth and nothing but the tooth!

It’s been a while since I wrote a post. In order to fill in the gap, I’m again posting some stuff I wrote a long time back. This one, according to the local file, was supposedly written on “20 June 2007 Wednesday” at “3:40 pm”. Hope I’ll have something fresh to post soon.

For many days… I think for many years now, I have repeatedly had this dream about my tooth. The dream involved a shaky tooth (one of the front teeth). The tooth was shaking so badly that it was hanging by a vein (or something of that sort). And invariably I was always eating during these dreams!

I was struggling to eat – trying every possible way to avoid chewing with that tooth. Sometimes I was chewing softly, at other times I was trying to eat from one side and I could feel the tooth shaking and threatening to fall. The kind of feeling which I used to get as a little kid.

Then like the classic Hindi movie, the climax occured! I got tired of waiting for the tooth to fall and I chewed harder – almost as if with a vengeance! Like the only good guy in the movie, I fought with all the pain. I chewed the food and the tooth took an eternity to fall! And then the moment came… I felt a hard stone like thing in my mouth. The sweet blood flowing from the vacant space in my mouth. That’s how my dreams hed been ending.

As I said earlier, I have been getting similar dreams for many years now. At first, I thought that it only put into expression my fears that my teeth will end up being like my parents – really bad (with all due respect to them). That one day, my teeth will shake and fall down – one by one…

I had reason to believe that 4 of my teeth would be pulled out because almost 2 years back, we went to the dentist and I was told that I would be put on a waiting list for the operation. My teeth would be pulled out and I would have to wear braces. I still do not know why it was called ‘waiting list’.

Yesterday I went to the dentist… my worst fear was that 4 teeth would have to be pulled out because there was not enough space in my mouth for all of my teeth. One wisdom tooth was already on its way out. And in the morning I had the same dream about my tooth.

On the way, I examined the papers from my previous visit. It said that I had some kind of non aligned teeth and some expert advice was required.

We walked into the dentist’s clinic. The dentist happened to be a specialist – an orthodontist (the specialist was the one whose advice was required). The orthodontist’s face was covered with the mask that surgeons wear. Only his eyes were visible. I sat, or shall I say, I lay down on the inclined chair. A bright light shone at my face and I could not keep my eyes open. He started examining my teeth. After I described the problem about my teeth and he had fiddled around with his instruments enough, he turned to my father.

Why exactly did I have to get 4 teeth pulled out? Why was my first sign of wisdom grating my cheek? As usual, I kept quiet. And one by one the doc (i.e. orthodontist) explained my problems.

The doc said that I had very crooked teeth which, to be aligned, had to be put on braces. For the braces, space had to be created. As it is my mouth was small (it is now official, because the doc expressly said so) and now that I was becoming wise, I could almost feel my teeth vanishing away to make room for the braces and teeth. The doc then explained the technicalities, which is as follows.

To put braces, the doc required 6 mm of space. Each tooth occupies about 10 mm, so pulling out four teeth would result in an excess of 34 mm. The braces had to be put not only to align the teeth but to also cover the extra space created so that it would not look ugly. This process of aligning the teeth would take two years during which time I would be required to visit him every fifteen days. Very calmly, he said, pulling out the teeth is very easy… in just two sittings… but it is the next phase which required a lot of effort.

The very thought of my precious teeth being pulled out frightened me so much that I felt that they were already gone! I put one hand on my mouth and felt my teeth to do a reality check, and then kept feeling them through my lips. It was as if my teeth were being robbed and in a desperate attempt to save them, I was hanging on to them.

It seemed like the doc could read my mind and continued to answer my next question. He said, “Then you may ask why pull out 4 teeth and not just one?”. Our teeth are more or less symmetrical. So if one tooth were to be pulled out, then the jaw will tilt to one side. To prevent that, the corresponding tooth on the other side of the jaw would have to be pulled out. Now it so happens that not only is our jaw symmetrical horizontally, but also symmetrical vertically. So the corresponding teeth would have to be pulled out from the opposite jaw.

Then came the really shocking bit… I still had a milk tooth!!! So in my case, first that tooth would have to be pulled out – making it five teeth gone! It took me a while to realise what had just been said. The doc pointed to the sole survivor of the species called milk tooth. It was only later on, after returning from the clinic that everything began to fall in place.

So now it seemed certain… my teeth would go away – my signature vampire-like teeth would be destroyed. My worst fear was coming true. As I was writing the obituary of my teeth, the doc began chatting about how most of the people who had got such a surgery done were unhappy about their teeth. Most people wanted that beautiful perfect set of teeth (which all the glamorous people in the world have) and would mainly get such a surgery done for cosmetic purposes. And then I came in the discussion – I think it was something like she may not like-her crooked teeth… Hold on! Who said I was unhappy with my teeth? On the contrary I was happy with my unique teeth. I had to step in and defend myself!

I made a faint sound and the doc turned towards me with a questioning look. I said with an embarrassing smile that I was happy with my teeth. The rest of the conversation involved all three of us.

The doc then began to briefly explain that pulling out the teeth was not a problem but it was the subsequent two years which would require commitment and that it should not be taken lightly. Only after discussing with the whole family should the procedure begin.

It was then that I began to see a tiny almost microscopic ray of light. Is the doc giving us an option to avoid the operation? Was it not supposed to be like I had to get my teeth pulled out and there was no question of opposing the doc’s advice? After a little more discussion I tried to clarify whether the surgery was going to be a purely cosmetic procedure. The doc said that the overbite was only a mild to moderate problem which did not require such a procedure. He said that in his area of specialization, all such procedures tend to be cosmetic procedures only. The overbite was not so severe that it needed the surgery.

Whoa! So what about that tooth that was on its way out? After enquiring my age, he said that the phase within which wisdom teeth come starts at 18 years of age and can extend till the age of 25 years. These teeth almost invariably cause problems when they come out. He said that they would automatically shift down over a period of time. So no problems? Apparently.

While in the car, I remembered the dream I had had in the morning. All this while I had thought it was a manifestation of my worst fears (which it most probably was). But now I felt (this may seem very weird) it could have been my sub-conscience warning me about my milk tooth. Could I have predicted the turn of events? May be I had started developing a new sense… my sixth sense.