Thursday, April 27, 2006
On March 4th we had torrential rains for about two days, plunging the mercury down several degrees to the right side of a cool weather. I remember the article that came in TOI the next day.
"Mr. K from the Meterological Department confirmed that it rained in Bangalore yesterday. He predicts more rain in the next 24 hours."
It was cloudy and it didn’t take a weatherman to predict that it would rain, leave alone ‘confirm’ that it had rained.
However at the slightest change in weather, TOI will badger this poor man for news and he invariably ends up looking like a fool.
I remember a news item that came in TOI when Playwin was a big draw.
Family commits suicide due to Playwin!
Or something to that effect. The news went on to allege that the family had run into huge debts due to bulk purchase of Playwin tickets. The Playwin outlet was ransacked by angry crowds and the owner was in hiding for days till police restored normalcy. Deccan Herald later reported that the family was in debt due to a failed business transaction and that the suicide had nothing to do with Playwin.
However TOI continued it’s inflammatory reportage till failing circulation figures forced it to pull up it’s socks. TOI still has readers due to its glitz value but Deccan Herald has surprisingly held onto its subscribers and increased its circulation with a few changes, like the Metro section (which is an excellent read).
Then TOI started a Food Review section and my aunt believed one such review and went to the "Thattu Kada", an supposedly authentic mallu restaurant. The 'restaurant' turned out to be a garage and the food was the pits. The naadan fish curry turned out to be fish boiled in water and tomato sauce thickened with cornflour. She wrote an angry mail to the reviewer, who merely added a "disclaimer" to her reviews after that. Deccan's food reviews on the other hand is very reliable.
This reminds me of the lament of PR people...that unless you invite a reporter and the photographer for do's they will not report. And Press people are the worst behaved at Event Luncheons and Dinners. For a Golf tournament in which my Dad participated , the Press people literally blockaded the Cocktail counter, not allowing even players to have a drink. In fact I have coined a term for them "Professional party goers".
There was a time we took two copies of TOI and still fought over who got to read it. Nowadays the sole copy of TOI lies unread. Namma Deccan Herald is the chosen one, at least in my family.
Moral of the story? When in Bengaluru do as the Bengaluru jana do.
Sunday, April 23, 2006
Heard about the Pramod Mahajan episode at the party. Was relieved to hear that it was his own brother and not some terrorist. Relieved because if it was a terrorist then we would have a situation like after Raj Kumar’s or IG’s death in our hands. The Raj Kumar episode was dissected in the media and one speaker attributed it to the growing divide between the haves and the have-nots. I do not necessary agree with this view because the people who took to the streets were opportunists waiting for an excuse to have fun.
But I now realize that the so-called rapid development the country is experiencing is benefiting the rich and the educated middle class only. There is still a huge sector apart from IT that still needs to develop in order to absorb the non IT people into the development mainstream.
I guess if I was one of them I too would resent the opportunities and benefits some sections are enjoying while I had no scope for such jobs because my qualification is useless for the IT sector. And it is these people who vote for Communists. I saw Achudanandan speaking to the media yesterday and he scoffed the ‘so-called-development agenda’ of the Congress. Suddenly it fell into place. There is a huge sea of people out there that are damn scared. Their skills are no longer relevant in the IT centric economy. They fear the development, which they feel, will benefit the IT sector only. And it is this fear that makes them vote for people like Achudanandan. They need someone to protect their jobs and look out for them too. And they look at ‘development’ as a phenomenon that will make them redundant.
(Addendum) Look at my own seniors in college. Of the girls who passed out with an English degree only 15 % of are employed in the IT sector. And that’s because they can understand technology and can communicate the same in simple language to customers, stake holders, media etc. The rest are either struggling are junior journos or as magazine writers or copy writers. These girls are the perfect example of the many people who have not benefited by the IT boom.
I think the government must make sure that the generation that was unable to board the IT bus do not feel marginalized. When opportunities exist for everyone, real development will take place. For once I sympathize with a huge demography of people who feel resentment for the sunshine children, ie the techies and support services that revolve around IT.
Just a thought of a very inexperienced political commentor :p Please don't throw brick bats at me :))
Thursday, April 20, 2006
1.Grab the book nearest to you, turn on page 18 and find line 4.
In adition, inside the Aviation Articles section of the Library & Help, you’ll find avaiation articles contributed by AOPA (the Aircraft Owner’s and Pilots Association) ( aargh this my brother’s Flight Simulator manual!!)
2.Stretch your left arm out as far as you can.
My hand is joyfully licked by my doggie, I have doggie drool on my fingers now!
3. What is the last thing you watched on TV?
F.R.I.E.N.D.S, NDTV News, MTV and the clock on the TV
4.Without looking, guess what time it is?
5. Now look at the clock, what is the actual time?
6. With the exception of the computer, what can you hear?
Myself humming ‘the last waltz’ ( it sort of got stuck after the comment on mind curry’s tag) and the tap tap of the keyboard as I type this tag.
7. When did you last step outside? What were you doing?
Half an hour ago. Let my dogs out for their pee pee session.
8. Before you started this survey, what did you look at?
My mail box
9. What are you wearing?
Bermuda’s and Tee
10. Did you dream last night?
11. When did you last laugh?
Half an hour or so ago when I got this this in the mail.
Warning : Men click link with care.
12. What is on the walls of the room you are in?
An LG A/C, a picture of Our Lady and baby Jesus , a clock, a framed certificate I got from WWF, a poster that says “Avoid hangover, Stay Stoned” and a handmade wall hanging.
13. Seen anything weird lately?
Yes, myself in a mirror :p
14. What do you think of this quiz?
Made me notice what I usually overlooked
15. What is the last film you saw?
Something on Star Movies
16. If you became a multimillionaire overnight, what would you buy?
A house in Ooty and the best camera and binoculors in the world to lead the rest of my life bird watching ( the feathered kind guys) and in Wild Life Conservation.
17. Tell me something about you that I dunno.
I fell down from the terrace as a toddler and landed on the window roof safe and sound.
18. If you could change one thing about the world, regardless of guilt or politics, what would you do?
Restore the forests.
19. Do you like to dance?
I love to dance provided my partner is as good as me.
20. George Bush.
21. Imagine your first child is a girl, what do you call her?
22. Imagine your first child is a boy, what do you call him?
23. Would you ever consider living abroad?
No, but if circumstances don’t leave me with a choice then I would ‘consider’ it.
24.What do you want GOD to say to you when you reach the pearly gates?
I am sorry for putting you there dear, but aren’t you the richer from the experience?
25. Five people who must also do this meme in their journal.
I will be a good girl and leave that to anyone who wishes to take it up.
Monday, April 17, 2006
Madhavan: Hi, came to say bye to you, I am leaving this place.
Me: I will miss you. Hope you got into a good company and a decent compensation package.
Madhavan:I did... I am joining Honeywell and I have a couple of other offers too. Salary is good and so are the perks.
Me: That's great!! Best of luck!
Madhavan:Thank you. Keep in touch.
Me: Definitely, with attrition rates the way they are, we will soon bump into each other in some company or the other.
Madhavan: ha ha I know. It was nice knowing you. Bye
Madhavan is the guy who brews Tea and Coffee in our Cafeteria for people who dont like the vending machine stuff. He is joining a Caterer in another IT company.
Now that's what I call the Height of Attrition :)
Saturday, April 15, 2006
Yesterday was Good Friday and I did what I always do i.e. sneak into the Children’s Way of the Cross at St. Patricks School. It is the cutest, sweetest, simplest and quickest Way of the Cross I have ever attended. It is conducted by the Nuns who run the St. Patricks Orphanage and is open to all kids below 16 I think. I have always managed to sneak in with a little tot I borrow from anyone I can recognize. This time there were many and I took one such coterie along with me.
The children lead the Stations right from the beginning with simple meaningful readings and prayers in between. And the hymns are simple too which means everyone could join in. We finished the Stations in about 40 minutes. In the main church the priest was still in the 6th Station.The extraordinarily long sermons made the service almost 2 hours long. I just do not understand the penchant of Priests to give long meaningless sermons. Except the Redemptorists, none of the other Orders know how to give a Sermon. In Mumbai the rule in churches is 7 minutes for a sermon, no more. I think it is high time Bangalore churches adopted the same. I took a few snaps, with my friends mobile cam which I am posting at random here.
Holy Week services are so well conducted and looked forward to because of this elegant and graceful church. The services are conducted at the St Joseph’s College grounds. There is plenty of place to sit and the place is cool with a brisk breeze wafting in to make the Lenten summer tolerable. And the choir makes the whole experience so sublime.
Yesterday’s rendition of the “Old Rugged Cross’ by Oscar Menezes was so melodious that I wanted to record it for posterity. Hope this gifted singer does record his album of hymns one day. Micehelle Cherian's solos were like liquid gold in the ears. Carlton Saldanha led the choir that is perhaps one of the best I have heard in recent times. I am so looking forward to Easter Service at the same place.
( p.s. Why does Lent come in summer when I so look forward to a chilled Beer? *sniff* )
A blessed Easter everyone!
Thursday, April 13, 2006
( I learnt Malayalam the traditional way, i.e. with a Vidyarambham that was done by an asaan in my Mom’s place. I wrote the letter aa in Malayalam on Rice. Nowadays I have heard that churches too have started Vidhyarambham in Kerala.)
Now I had the perfect excuse to watch TV and I watched quite a bit of Kananda movies those days. DD would show a lot of Raj Kumar movies. And I felt an instant liking for Raj Kumar. He was so comfortable in front of the camera that you felt like he was not acting. And the characters he played were very lifelike. Of course his movies were the feel good movies. He was also the only actor I have seen who treated his heroines like a gentleman on screen, No groping or any suggestive movements. He was the perfect Kannadiga, son, brother, lover and husband in his movies. Perhaps that is what appealed to the masses.
When Raj Kumar was kidnapped there was sheer revelry among the anti social elements and they went about looting shops and indulging in arson in apparent glee. It was evident from TV coverage that the arsonists were enjoying themselves.
Pity that anti social elements have take his death too as the perfect excuse to go on the rampage. These people have scant regard for the final moments of Raj Kumar and are using his death as an excuse to take to lawlessness. Somehow I think he deserved better. As I watched the ambulance carrying the thespians body stuck amidst the crowd I could not but help feel bad for him. I am sure all he would have wanted was to go home one last time in peace.
The media too is scared. Radio City has stopped all programmes and is only broadcasting Raj Kumar’s songs. Cable TV too has gone blank. There is a palpable fear in the city. The TV channels too are cashing in on the TRP bonanza. One Channel even showed a lady questioning Raj Kumar’s death. It was the most irresponsible piece of journalism. Such things just fuel the fire for opportunists and miscreants.
I still remember watching Mother Teresa’s funeral on TV. Millions of people lined up the route in silence and she made her final journey in dignity.
I hope the so-called fans of Raj Kumar will at least grant him that.
Monday, April 10, 2006
I was devastated and after dropping off my cousin sister at the place took a walk down the road. I spotted an Ashy Prinia. It came quite close to me. I have been very lucky with birds. Last time I went to Ooty Kousik told me to look out for Black and Orange Flycacher. It is a highly endangered species. Apparently he had waited in vain at the Ooty Botanical Garden to spot one with no success. But to my surprise and delight this bird came and sat on the electric fence of the Tamil Nadu Dairy Development Board estate RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME. Unfortunately I had only my Minolta aim and shoot camera. Then I saw another one taking an evening bath in a bucket near King’s Cliff. Again the Minolta and a really bad shot of this beautiful bird.
Anyways to get back to the area behind HAL airport…..I walked around what was left of this once sylvan paradise and saw several other birds. The whole thing was an outrage against Nature. I realize that development has to take place. But what about the creatures that ensure our survival on earth? Trees are cut down without even bothering to see if there are nests on them. In my part of Kerala, a nest means cutting of the tree is delayed till the nestlings have flown off. It’s simple village logic.
These technopolises are concrete deserts with not a single tree save for a few ugly Palms for landscape. Indigenous trees are essential for birds to build their nest on. But these technopolises are landscaped with alien bushes and dwarf trees. Trees are razed and lawns planted that require huge amount of water to keep it green. Borewells are being sucked dry to supply water to these companies leading to water depletion. Villagers watch helplessly as the tankers come and draw water as no formal permission is needed to draw water from borewells. Garbage being dumped into lakes caused a revolt a few months back with villagers burning the corporation garbage trucks.The amount of plastic that Bangalore generates is mind bogling.
Most of these buildings are built with glass sheets like their western counterparts. These buildings become heat traps (which is beneficial in western countries as it reduces heating bills) due to the fast heating glass, which in turn puts a burden on the AC Plant that in turn works harder to cool the building letting out huge amount of hot air into the atmosphere. No wonder summers in Bangalore are blistering.
I wonder if these companies (including the one that employs me) would be this callous with their Environment back home. India it seems is for exploitation and Indians in their mad scramble for investments are just not worried at the devastation that development have done to Bangalore’s environment.
And the government wants to bring in more and more investment into Bangalore. We don’t have the roads, water, accommodation, garbage clearance or sewage facility for this. And that is why most old Bangaloreans like me heaved a sigh of relief when the SemIndia Inc deal went to Hyderabad.
I read somewhere that we should give God the
IPR for creating this Earth and the cosmos. I fully agree.
Sunday, April 09, 2006
I have a classmate in Goa and I was really looking forward to meeting her when I went there last November. During a phone conversation I suggested that the two of us try it. The suggestion was greeted with a scandalized gasp, disbelief and finally giggles. My friend was thrilled at doing the forbidden thing for Indian girls before marriage. She even offered to bring two people to do it with. Having convinced her I realized that we needed a suitable place away from prying eyes where we could do it. My friend‘s Dad was a retired Admiral and they lived in an old colonial style house with a small secluded beach nearby. The house was on a small hill and we had to walk down the hill to get to the beach. The place was lonely save for the occasional Naval boats that passed by. So it was decided that on Tuesday when her parents went to the Naval Club we would do it on the beach with the two people she would bring along.
On Tuesday my friend came and picked me up. My parents had left for a river cruise and my brothers were out with their friends who had also driven down to Goa. After my friend's parents left the four of us went down to the beach, stripped and *drums rolling* got into a bikini!!!! WE HAD DONE IT!! We had worn a two piece bikini!!!! :p
The only people who knew about this, were a few of my friends and another guy pal. After the deed was done I called up all my friends and co-conspirators. Among the mails I got, this one from a guy had me ROFL for a long time. It still makes me chuckle.
Flash News: Indian Navy On Alert In Goa Coast!
After a concerned citizen informed naval intelligence about the strong possibility that 1 Achayathi and few of her friends are about to signal "revolution" in their inimitable way by wearing two piece bathing suits, Indian Navy was placed on red alert in Goa coast.
Submarines were recalled from patrolling sea lanes and instead were cruising around the beaches to catch the Achayathi in her act of exposure. Marine commando battalions were deployed in the beaches and further reinforcements flown in to cover private and unfrequented beaches. Air force helped in by lending a few spy planes to cover the event. DRDO used the situation to test their latest spy cam, which is programmed to capture hi-resolution pictures from a distance of 100 miles.
After a committed search by the armed forces, the culprits were caught in "action". Marine commandos had their fun snooping on the Achayathi while the unusually frustrated submariners almost committed an act of rebellion while fighting for the right to look through their periscopes. Indeed, more serious indisciplinary acts were prevented only by following the timely advice given by the said "concerned citizen" to broadcast the pictures on the conference hall which satisfied one and all.
India's intelligence agencies attributed the successful operation to the timely intelligence provided by the "concerned citizen" (who prefers to remain anonymous). President Kalam used the opportunity to drive home the point that our nation's future is in the able hands of the youth. He suggested that ISRO should soon launch 24 satellites to cover India's entire coastline to identify and records such acts of exposure. Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh said he was proud of the achievements and that such innovative thinking is necessary for GDP growth of 10% which is the only way India can lift its millions of citizens above poverty line. Madame Sonia Gandhi, Chair Person of UPA lauded the spirit and guts of the "concerned citizen", but she was later heard commenting privately to cancel her planned holidays in Goa and book French Riviera instead. The Left and BJP had a rare moment of agreement as both conveyed dismay at the sick pervert plans of the Achayathi and were happy to see them foiled thus diffusing a serious threat to national security and sovereignty. However, their innate cross-purposes were soon visible as BJP wanted India to buy higher-resolution cameras from Israel (so that their rather elderly bachelors can get a peek too) while Left wanted more grants for Keltron to develop the same domestically! In commenting about the episode to us, the "concerned citizen" admitted that he was happy to do a lil something for his country.
Half an later the four of us girls got cold feet and got back into a one piece swimsuit :)) We dared not take pictures and I half expected to see my Mom appear on the hilltop and look down at me in shock, disbelief and disapproval like the Mom in Bend it like Beckham. Funny part is that the other girls too had the same creepy feeling lol
It was nice to be naughty. Have you done it ? :p
Friday, April 07, 2006
Last week I went to the Digital Print guy at Koramangala to take a color printout. As I waited for my turn I saw an expensive SUV driving into the parking lot. Three guys and a girl got out. The guys wore expensive clothes and gold bracelets on their hands. They walked in with an air of familiarity and greeted the graphic designers (GD) sitting down next to them. One of the guys was practically showing off his expensive lighter, cigarettes, mobile phones etc. I saw a Rolex in one of the guy’s hands.
Then they gathered around the GD and started giving him some instructions in Malayalam. It was a brochure that they were making. From their conversation I could gather that they were into some sort of NGO or charity organization helping the rural poor. The brochure was being made for the many people abroad who had sent money to the organization.
"Put a photograph of a smiling child. The whites like to see that."
"And put some nice background for the village from those sceneries you have. We do not want the vellakaars (white man) to think we are doing nothing."
"Yes. These guys like to see all that."
"And put a 'before' and 'after' picture of that little boy. The ‘before’ picture should look thin and the ‘after’ picture should look fat. You can do that in Photoshop right?"
This was the conversation that was flying thick and fast as they ‘directed’ the making of the brochure. As I sat listening to them and peeping into the monitor while pretending to be impatiently pacing around I saw a con job happening right in front of me. The finished brochure made from scanned photographs of the village and some images from photo libraries looked spectacular. In fact if I hadn’t seen the making of the brochure I would have been tempted to make a donation for the yeoman service they were doing for the poor.
These guys had found a unique way to get rich quick. They had created a 'Charity' organization, made a few impressive ppt's for the consumption of charity funding agencies and got funds to look after the welfare of the poor. A part of the funds are actually put into charity, the rest they appropriate. It is a win win situation. During the nineties I had heard of the rush to do “charity’ work. And I have seen many people, some of them even my own relations making it big. Then I heard there was clampdown with the government bringing in certain legislations to check the misuse of ‘charity’ funds. But I guess our intrepid Indians will find a loophole everywhere. We are an ingenious people indeed. We will even make a living out of the poor.
(An aunt of mine who works with Oxfam informs me that a percentage of money that come from abroad are donated by old people who do not think twice about donating a pound or a dollar or a few pennies from their pension towards the poor in India.)
Wednesday, April 05, 2006
On my last visit to Kerala I went to all the kaarnavaru’s houses. Most of these elegant Tharavadu homes were bereft with just the old couple and maybe an attendant. Their kids were settled outside Kerala and the grandkids were occasional visitors. Many of them didn’t even know Malayalam. Many were grown up and married to non mallus. This is the case in many homes. The able bodied generation has drained out of the State to look for employment never to return. And the political climate prevalent in Kerala prevent the many who long to come back to settle down in their naadu.
The Kerala of today is the nursery of India. Kids are born, educated and then sent out to staff the various companies big and small outside Kerala. They later settle down outside only to return as Non Resident Keralites (NRK) for festivals, weddings and other general visits. Kerala is left with a fast aging generation and many homes are now left with old people and fading memories. Soon this generation will pass away and the Tharavadu’s will be sold to developers.
The scenario appears bleak to me. I think Malayalees as a people, culture and language will cease to exist if not in the immediate future then by the end of this century. I shudder to think of the ancestral homes turned into resorts and hotels by outsiders. Imagine living in a home-stay called Illikal House that is run by some Sharma offering ‘authentic’ Kerala homestead experience? The very thought breaks my heart. Maybe I am not aware of the realities in Kerala but when I see scores of young people going out of Kerala never to return I feel apprehensive of the fate of Kerala.
I wish the Kerala government and people realize that they should make the state a refuge for Malayalees to return and pave the way for the preservation of the Malayalees. Hope Information Technology will come as a savior for our State with our youth finding jobs in the tech parks of Kochi, Trivandrum etc. I love the Malayalam language, culture, heritage, which is ours from centuries. I do not want to lose it. But I do not know how we can stem the slide to oblivion.
This post is a result of an uneasiness that has been eating into me for some time.
(p.s. I do not want the Tamils, Kannadigas or Punjabi’s too meet similar fates. Each of these cultures should be preserved. But these people do not face the same problems mallus face when they think of returning to Kerala)
Sunday, April 02, 2006
I am sure after finishing her royal chores, Sleeping Beauty would find your writings and the lovely pictures here a huge relief :)
This was the comment I left on this post of Mind Curry. There was a whole of things that made me make that comment. From the time I left started summer Interships, I have met and befriended many married colleagues and with the attrition rate in IT cos as they are, met many more during the last few years of my working life. At first it was the usual gang that forms during lunch time. Girls, some married some unmarried who get along well together usually sit together during lunch time and the coffee break time. And we girls tend to talk. There is a bond and an understanding between the female gender. We are like a totally different species that find solace, empathy and sympathy in each other’s company. Many things that happen in our lives whether we are Malayalees, Punjabi’s, Bengali or Andamanese are similar. Talk about Unity in Diversity. The only unity in diversity that I see is in the plight of the womenfolk across the length and breadth of this country.
Thursday was Yugadhi, the New Year for Telugus, Kannadigas and some other States. The holiday was greeted with glee by the single gals and gloom by the married gals. I know by now that these gals will have to get up early and toil in the kitchen preparing the traditional food items for the festival with no help from menfolk while the in-laws will invite all and sundry for the pooja and feasting. Of course all this will be accomplished alone and in some cases without servants by these gals who are software engineers, hardware engineers et al. One such girl is V. She is a techie and takes home a decent pay package much more than her small time businessman husband. She gets up at 5:30 everyday and washes by hand her husbands and brother-in-laws factory clothes as the machine will not remove the stubborn stains. Then she makes breakfast for the family of 10 people and tiffin for the kids, washes up the vessels and cleans the kitchen and then comes to work exhausted. Her sister-in-law makes the lunch and tea and when V gets back from work, she and her sister in law prepare the dinner, wash up ( as the servant left) and then go to sleep around 12. Till now there was pressure from her in laws to resign and stay at home and cook. But she resisted as she went through hell when she was a housewife with no money of her own.
Most of the married girls tell similar tales. After the first flush of marriage ( many were love marriages within their own communities) they realize that they have become cooks, housekeepers and maids. The charming man they married suddenly changes and becomes a task master who expects the girl he wooed and dined and wined to look after him like his mom did. The unified advice that these girls give us single gals?
“ You are a financially independent girl. You don’t need a husband to look after you. If possible don’t get married”.
And after hearing this from almost 100% of the married girls I am now very sure that I do not want to take up the sole resposibility of an adult human being on my head.
What bought on this tirade? The prospect of seeing these girls tomorrow loking tired and exhausted because they were up early cooking and cleaning and will now have to work 9 hours in the office and go back and do the housework all over again. I AM SO MAD!!!!!!!!!
( Guys, spare a thought for your married gal colleagues when they ask for leave or come late to work. These girls have it tough, believe me!)