Saturday, February 24, 2007

An enigma...

Sonia was a slim and extremely beautiful girl. Fiercely independent and a go getter. She finished her Architecture from a leading college in Bangalore. Her parents, both successful doctors live in Kerala. While she was doing her engineering she spent her free weekends at our house as my parents were her local guardians. I was very fond of Sonia and she was my adopted elder sister. It was nice to have a sister and she slept in my room whenever she came over. We spent hours talking into the night. The bond between cousins is much stronger especially if you have stayed in each others house. After a point of time you stop being cousins and become family. I have several cousin sisters and I know the familiarity and trust that we share even though we meet only during vacations.

Pretty soon Sonia’s parents were looking for a groom for her. After a prolonged hunt they zeroed in on a boy from Trichur, a software engineer in a leading firm in the Gulf. I was aghast. I protested to Sonia that she would have no job opportunities in the Gulf. But Sonia was already in love with the photo of the groom. She would look at me dreamily and say that “You wouldn’t understand. When you grow up you will realize the importance of marriage and settling down.” Somehow even at that age, I realized that this was wrong. It felt ridiculous to see this girl who burnt the midnight oil in my house during weekends, completing complicated projects and earning a degree only to throw it all away.

Sonia’s groom was extremely good looking. He was a six footer and looked quite aloof at the Engagement. Sonia looked resplendent; she stood demurely her head bowed like a dutiful about-to-be wife. A faint blush lit her cheeks at the proximity of the strapping man beside her. I felt sick. Something was not right. I kept quite as my mom had pleaded with me to keep my sharp tongue in check for the sake of Sonia.

Sonia got married soon after and left the shores with her husband. Soon she was pregnant. And she had a baby boy. One day a cousin of my mom called up. She sounded absolutely thrilled at the scandal she was delivering. Apparently everything was not hunky dory with Sonia. Her husband beat her up regularly. He was a short tempered guy and a very jealous man. Soon, suspecting her fidelity he made her pregnant again so that she would look ugly and undesirable to other men. I sent frequent mails to her telling her to stop taking the abuse and leave him. But she never replied. I reasoned with her that she had the qualifications and the money to survive on her own, besides two apartments of her own in Kochi. Her mother called up my mom one day telling her rather sharply to rein me in and my ‘modern’ ways. My mom flatly refused as she said she found nothing wrong in my advice to Sonia.

The beatings and abuse continued. As soon as Sonia’s second child was born she was pregnant again. One day she came on Yahoo chat. I had nothing to say to her. What do I talk to a woman who deliberately takes punishments? As she filled me on the news, gushing over her children and their antics, I replied in mono syllables. An “ok” or an “oh”. She soon sensed my mood and enquired why I was being so distant. I told her rather frankly that I found her a loser for staying in an abusive relationship and a hypocrite…for chatting with me as though I didn’t know anything. She quickly said a bye and logged out.

Some time ago we heard that Sonia was back in Kochi to recover from an abortion. She had apparently lost her fourth child due to a merciless beating session. She was sent back to India with the kids to recover from the miscarriage. After her discharge from the hospital she packed her bags to go back to the Gulf. I made a last ditch attempt to stop her. But it failed as her mom would not allow her to take any calls from me. Sonia just left for the Gulf. She has a job now as her husband is unemployed. He has grown fat and is just as aloof as ever.

Is there any sane explanation for such behaviour?

Wednesday, February 21, 2007


Another Valentine’s Day has come and gone. And like other Valentines Days the day held no particular significance to me as I am single. In my office we were all greeted with a single long stemmed rose on our desks, but part from that there was no sign of the day being Valentine’s Day. By mid morning most of the guys had given me their roses as I am the only girl on the floor and the facilities people bought me a lovely cylindrical glass vase to keep the vases complete with white pebbles. It looked awesome and the flowers are still fresh.

In the evening married or girls with boyfriends sent the usual mails telling us about the gifts that they received. This year both my brothers got together and bought me a Valentine’s Day gift. It was a heart shaped red gift box with a heart shaped glass bowl with some metallic pebbles corresponding to the number of years I have been on this earth. According to my chetan the pebbles represents the number of years that the family has been blessed with my presence. According to my second brother, the pebbles represents the numbers of years of screeches, scratches, hair pulling, tale telling etc etc etc and other tortures that I have put him through… which you all know is absolute and total lies.

I took the gift to office and most girls (the suckers of mushy stuff they are) think that it the THE CUTEST Valentine’s Day gift they have ever seen. And guess what? Poor single moi has been voted to have got the best Valentine’s Day gift. My desk with the heart shaped glass bowl has become a shrine of sorts and I am sure hazaar BF’s and husbands must be cursing my brothers for the “You should have Silverine’s Valentine Day gift, why didn’t you think of something like that? And she is single too!!!”

However the most unique gift that I have ever received was “Valentino”, a handsome Snowman made for me by a friend in -14 degree cold.

Errr he is a lil drunk as the creator of this masterpiece gave him some Vodka to keep him warm :p But isn't he a dish?

Sunday, February 18, 2007

The wretchedness of plagiarism...

Off late I stumbled upon not one, but three instances of blatant copying of my posts from my other blog, Poomanam by some bloggers. One was a cookery blog and the guy had sort of reworded this post to make a new post. One of my regular readers and commenter via email bought this to my notice. He also left a comment on the plagiarized post which made the guy pull down the post, post haste.

Recently this post was blatantly lifted in parts without even an acknowledgement for the same. I have had instances of people quoting my posts, but always with a link to the post. However the new and disturbing trend is to lift parts of my posts or reword whole posts to make it look like new posts…

If I am perturbed and disturbed it is not by acts of plagiarism, but by people who read these copied posts but never bought this to my notice. That really hurt. As for the plagiarists I feel nothing but disgust and pity for these people. How long do they think they will lift other peoples work and bask in reflected glory? And for what? Blogging is all about being yourself and being honest. But there seems to be a new breed of bloggers whose only aim is to get comments and webhits by hook or by crook or plagiarism. For some it is Google Ad sense that is the motivating force, for some it is plain egotism.

I have never acknowledged the silent majority of people who read my blog but never comment. Today I want to do that. It is these silent readers who make the bulk of the 600 odd hits I get on the day I post a new post and the 200/300 odd hits I get when I don’t post. Most instances of plagiarism have been bought to my notice by this demography of people. And hold your breath, a good proportion of these are college students from Kerala. And a good majority from this group are from The National Institute of Technology Calicut and strangely, IIT Roorkee and IIT Delhi! Thank you guys and gals, you are the best!!

A special thanks to Sreejith Narayanan, the only person who has written a post inspired from
an article here in My Think Pad and acknowledged the same. Yes, dear folks, a lot of posts from here have “inspired” other bloggers but none have acknowledged the same.

Today was the last straw when I came upon yet another act of plagiarism and hence this post. I am sorry for the wretched tone of this post. But I needed to get this off my system.

Monday, February 12, 2007

The trilogy tag

I lifted this tag from the most promising humor blogger in blogosphere today and the most promising bachelor chef too with his own cook blog written just as humorously (girls…this one is a keeper!!!)

Three things that scare me

1. If someone scares me by saying “boo”
2. Sharp implements
3. Riots

Three people who make me laugh

1. Dave Barry (forever)
2. Betty MacDonald
3. Jay Leno

Three things I love

1. I am repeating Mathews point, i.e Fridays, I love Fridays!
2. Babies ( as long as they belong to somebody else) and dogs
3. Music

Three things I hate

1. People who don’t keep commitments ( like the stupid ^&%$# ad agency)
2. People who beat around the bush, since I come straight to the point.
3. Artificial people

Three things I don't understand

1. Maths :p
2. People who keep grudges forever
3. Meanness

Three things on my desk

1. My laptop,
2. My PC
3. A statue of Mother Mary

Three things I am doing right now

1. Sending a severe ticking off mail to the ad agency people
2. Sending a laudatory mail to the Event Management guys for a job well done
3. Trying hard not to think of the enormous job roll out for the coming six months

Three things I want to do before I die

1. See the World
2. Visit Lourdes and Fatima
3. Sponsor as many poor kids education as I can like my Dad. His four kids are doing engineering now. My two are still in Primary School.

Three things I can do

1. Sponsor another child’s education
2. Use less plastic
3. Use water judiciously

Three things you should listen to

1. The clock :p
2. Silence
3. More experienced people

Three things you should never listen to

1. Workplace gossip
2. Rumours
3. Loud music

Three things I'd like to learn

1. Cordon Bleu cooking
2. Astronomy
3. Ornithology

Three favourite books

I will list some of the books I read in the not so distant past

1. The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy
2. Boogers are my beat- Dave Barry
3. Fountainhead

Three favourite food

…apart from Kerala cusine they are...

1. Chinese
2. Salads
3. Italian and Continental

Three beverages I drink regularly

1. Water
2. Buttermilk
3. Tea

Three TV shows/books I watched/read when I was kid

1. Star Trek-TV Show
2. Robinson Crusoe- Book
3. The Canadian kiddie programs on Star

Three people I like to nag err…tag.

Emmanual Joseph
and Mind Curry

…and anyone else who would like to take this up

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

The invisible hazard

A distant cousin brother, but very dear friend of mine died recently. It wasn’t a road accident or a suicide. The death was due to drowning, but he was dead a long time before he drowned in that lake.

Manoj was one of the sweetest guys I have come across, simple, innocent and simply “nice”. His family is perhaps one of the sweetest collections of people I know. His Dad a leading businessman in Singapore and his mom a simple and a unassuming woman from my moms hometown. Their house is a happy place with none of the trappings of the ultra rich. The parents remained ordinary middle class folks inspite of my Uncles immense success in business. The children, all 8 of them are down to earth simple girls and boys, who perhaps are not even aware that they are rich. They are one of those families who don’t seem to be affected by money.

Manoj the eldest son, was a brilliant student who went on a scholarship to one of those Ivy League schools. He finished top of the batch and was soon selected into one of the leading companies in New York. The first year of work was hectic and the stress immense. Soon the stress affected his brain making him behave irrationally from time to time. The doctors diagnosed the condition as a stress related disorder. Apparently it is not so uncommon in todays high stress working environments. There was no cure though the behaviour could be managed by medication. But Manoj was disabled for life. Though he looked and behaved like a normal human being and recognised all of us and seemed perfectly alright, he was prone to walk off from home and forget his whereabouts. His parents bought him back to Bangalore and he was admitted to an institution run by the Jesuits on the outskirts of Bangalore for such rare cases. One day he walked out of the institution, slipped on the banks of a lake and drowned.

What we learnt during his illness was that the high stress life that we are leading these days can make anyone of us a victim of this eventuality. It may be not so serious as in Manoj’s case, but damage due to a high stress life is insidious and silent. It may end up as something else altogether like forgetfulness, infertility etc and may never be identified as a fallout of stress.

Simply was made to till the soil and reap the harvest and be content with it and not meet tight deadlines and targets. And what is worse, no company will compensate you if you fall victim to job related stress disorder. It is not even recognised as a workplace hazard and till it is recognised as a workplace hazard you and me will live in constant danger of becoming victims.