Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Johnny Walkers!

A week ago, on July 11th to be precise, a piece of forbidden meat was found in a mosque in Bangalore. There was panic as news spread. Everyone expected the injured community to retaliate. But nothing of that sort happened. People have long realized the futility of reacting to incidents instigated on purpose leading to misery to the common man, inflicted by the common man.

Some months ago, bombs ripped through Hyderabad destroying a mosque and killing several people. If the terrorists expected a communal riot, they would have been disappointed.

The Mumbai blasts the terrorists thought would bring Mumbai to a stand still. But this is India babua…we cannot afford to be afraid. And even if we are, we cannot afford to stop and quake in fear. Life goes on for us. Those who stop will get left behind. Fear is a precious commodity for us.

Therefore your bombs and grenades will not stop us. It is not because we are a brave people. But because we are survivors. And survivors have long back realized that walking away from adversities is the best way to put a distance between it and us.

The recent Bangalore blasts were nothing but saber rattling. A desperate attempt to show that they are not beaten. But the fact is that you are. What do you do a nation that doesn’t stop! What can you do to a nation that keeps walking?

Your bombs will kill a few of us, injure as many. But the survivors will walk on. We have no one except us to look after us. So we cannot afford to stop and cry. We have ourselves to look after and that is a big job.

I hope the neighboring country that fosters their energies to destroy us and their masters who keep fuelling their armory making a deadly cocktail of virulent religious fundamentalism served by the Big Brother himself, realize that they are trying to scare a people that cannot afford to be scared. Short of complete annihilation, nothing will stop us from picking up the pieces if our lives and keep moving on.

Sunday, July 27, 2008


Rose, my cousin sister was still single. She is my mom's niece in a sort of way, though in a pretty convoluted way! Her Dad is a proud man. He doesn’t like to mix with us as he feels we are high brow or the more apt term would be “show offs.” Our fault…is that we have cars, which according to him is extravagance and that we have parties, which according to him is moral degradation and many other perceived or non perceived faults. He is the typical PLG.

But he is family and hence we cannot cut off ties with his kids because of him. When we drop in to their home, their attitude is one of restraint. Gifts to the kids are ignored and not acknowledged as though it was unnecessary and after polite talk, we take leave of the excruciating atmosphere. The kids watch us go with sadness. Victims of family insecurities.

With the parents botching up one proposal after another due to their stupid pride, Rose seemed doomed to remain unmarried at 29. This is when my mom decided to step in like she did countless times before. And when my mom decides to step in, it means her slave laborer i.e yours truly is the person who actually does all the menial work.

So I made the Kerala Matrimony account, scanned prospective grooms and passed on the scanned and filtered proposals to Rose’s brother via email. Every single proposal was found faulty and the attitude of the parents was that we were trying to send their daughter off with some loser.

Ignoring them,, my mom persisted err told me to persist. It was kinda fun reading the proposals and the atrocious English and me and pals had some fun times giggling when mom was not looking. At work too, the Kerala Matrimony log in was our ticket to much merriment and laughter!

Sometime back we got the good news that Rose was finally getting engaged! The boy, her cousin brother informed my mom, was from Changanassery and they found him via a newspaper ad. When the details of the boy arrived, I was amused to see that it was one of the prospects that we had got through Kerala Matrimony. Anyways, we didn’t want to spoil the parent’s party by making them acknowledge that it was my mom and her slave driving that got them a groom.

Rose gets engaged today in Pala. I am very happy for Rose. The wedding is in Changanassery, the groom’s place, as per our customs. We are not invited. They did send word through Rose’s mom’s sister. But protocol demands that the parents call us and invite us. So we gave it the miss as it is obvious they want it so. If you think, we are sobbing like ladies in Hindi movies, then you are mistaken. We are too busy doing high fives. Besides we are used to such attitudes from Rose's parents!

And as my Dad tartly observed as he handed me a beer today, “Poor Lonai (Rose’s dad). Caught between the devil ( my mom) and the deep sea ( me). At least he should have acknowledged it. Now If something goes wrong, he cannot blame the devil or the deep sea” (This was said in Malayalam and I may have missed the essence while translating! :p )

And so we toasted to Rose and Jose’s good health. Wishing them both the very best life has to offer. Happy times, strength to get the bad times and lots of happy events to tide over the bad. God bless!

p.s I had to regretfully err under gun point close the Kerala Matrimony account. It was an out and out entertainment channel for us, with more variety in programmes than all our mallu TV channels put together! :p

Monday, July 21, 2008

Breather Tag

Blogging has been on the back burner for quite some time now. I don't see the situation improving immediately. So I thought I will do a tag that I have done in parts in earlier tags, just to put something up here. Apologies for not replying to comments, and being tardy when I do and for neglecting this space off late. I promise things will get better as soon as Boss goes on leave :p Kidding, things will get better when I learn to stop taking my work so seriously. Boss has threatened me with a re-prioritizing therapy session if I don't. Failing which he is sending me on a vacation *sob*

This tag is courtesy Mathew.

8 things I am passionate about:

* Never judging people on usual norms
* Finding a reason for everything
* Freedom of expression
* Freedom of speech
* Music
* Googling
* Family
* Relationships

8 things I want to do before I die:

* Sky dive!
* Write a book!
* Travel around the world!
* Watch a show on Broadway!
* Somehow draw the Indian electorate out of its apathy!
* Do something for the environment!
* Say "Insurance is the subject matter of solicitation. Read the offer documents carefully before investing" in 5 seconds like that guy in the insurance ads.

8 things I say often:

* Oh my god!!
* You are kidding right!
* Bitch (friends only)
* Momsy! (drives my mom up the wall)
* Daddykins ( He just loves it. Reserved for special occasions like when I want something expensive)
* Retard!!! ( usual form of addressing second bro)
* Baby dolly, chweety pie, lambikins!!! (my doggies)
* Ente karthave!! ( an imitation of mom that has stuck)

8 books I last read

I have already listed some here, plus 'From the Holy Mountain'

8 songs I could listen to over and over again:

I am listing some songs I have never mentioned at this blog before.

* Jason Mraz - I'm Yours
* Amazing Grace by Nana Mouskouri
* Song sung blue - Neil Diamond
* Guantanamera ( any version of this song) and Volare
* Pathra bareyala illa chitra bidisala - Aramane
* (I Just) Died in your Arms tonight - Cutting Crew

and many many many more....

8 people I think should do this tag

  1. Mr V S Achuthanandan
  2. Prakash Karat
  3. Sitaram Yechuri
  4. Mayawati
  5. Deve Gowda
  6. L K Advani
...and all those opposing the nuclear deal. Take a chill pill your retrograde, catabolic, atrophying, backward, backstabbing, double faced, Lilly livered, spineless, infantile, decaying and rotting myopic degenerates!!!!

*whew* That felt good...getting it off my chest!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Stooping low to reach for the stars!?

Obsequiousness, foot scraping, meekness, extreme humility...I can go on, the Thesaurus in MS Word is pretty exhaustive when it comes to offering you Synonyms for extreme acts of self effacement's. Now if you are wondering what I am talking about….I am pointing out to a particular trait among TV Show contestants, especially those participating in music contests. The above traits of extreme humility and self effacement is an almost given among these contestants. In fact sometimes I think the contest is about who can be more humble and ingratiating towards the judges!!! At times judges too behave like it is a necessary talent to have for a contestant. A curt word for someone who was a not up to the mark in humility and lavish praises for the one who stooped the lowest.

We are not living in the gurukul days for god’s sakes. I understand the need to respect someone with more knowledge than you. It is inbuilt in us. But this is taking things a bit too far. I am not talking about touching the feet of a judge. That I a sign of respect in our culture. I am talking of contestants standing stooped with both hands folded, mike in had, when judges are talking. Reminds me of historical movies, where people are shown standing the very same way in front of Kings and Monarchs.

The contestants seem to fear the judges. They seem to lack sufficient confidence in their own talents. It almost looks like they are scared of offending the judges. Which is ridiculous!! And judges too, seem to lap this up. As fair judges of a musical competition, I think they should give more credence to talent and ignore any another aspect of a contestants personality.

But that aint happening too soon. Can you imagine, an extremely talented, but arrogant contestant, getting away on the strength of his/her talent only? I don’t think so. He/She will be cut down to size before she can say ‘Eff off’!!

It is not just TV shows, even in real life, we take this respect a person with grey hair too far!! Even in schools, I remember, if you wanted to get into the good books of teachers, act nice to them. Thankfully most of my teachers were Goans and Anglo Indians. And these people cared a damn about pupils kissing up to them. They admired spunk and girls with confidence. On the other hand, the others…like the mallus specially, believed in cutting down confident girls to bite size pieces. As a society, we give too much importance to humility. In fact it has become a yardstick of sorts to sum up a person.

And when kids who are bought up with such mind set, walk into the corporate world, they are all but shorn of the confidence they need, to make an impact at the workplace. I spend a considerable amount of my energies in mentoring Interns under me to shed their ‘Yes Ma’am No Ma’am' routine. I spend a lot of precious bandwidth in explaining that it is their work that matters to me and not how nice they are to me. They do learn eventually, but a decade of conditioning does leave its imprint in your psyche.

It is time for a change! If we as a nation have to gear up for the brave new world we are marching towards, then we have a lot to change in ourselves as a people, than just dress ourselves with degrees and certificates!!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Children of the Earth

I got out of the office cab on the main road and started walking towards home. It was sunny when we left the office. However dark clouds huddled menacingly in the sky now, making it look like a raging black ocean over my head. Soon, big drops of water started spattering the road off the day's dust and grime. Since my Haversack with the laptop has a waterproof cover, I didn't worry too much about the rain. I walked home getting drenched by the minute. That is when I saw them. A lone woman and six children, construction workers at the site, on the way home. The building she was working on was yet to get off the ground. So she had no roof over head. She was also pregnant. From her looks, I placed her to be from Rajasthan. Construction workers in south India, rarely have more then two kids. The children aged from 2 to 7, were huddled together, as the thin plastic that passes off as their roof, was madly flapping in the wind, leaving them at the mercy of the lashing rain. For some reason, her pregnant state made me very angry. There was going to be another kid here soon, huddling with the rest, braving the elements. Children of the Earth.

I walk home with a heavy step. My mother is horrified to see me. She cannot understand why I will not take shelter under a tree or in a shop. I am fed up of telling her that I love to get drenched in the rain now and then. Very soon I am snuggling under the blanket, after a hot meal, Raasnadhi podi liberally applied on my head, reading William Dalrymples “From the Holy Mountain”. I am a sucker for such books.

My mind wanders to the lady and her gaggle of kids. The rain is raging furiously now. I wonder how she will cook with her stove all wet. Finally I get up and decide to take some food for her and her kids. I pack two loaves of bread, some potato curry and some bananas and set off towards the construction site, amidst howls of protest from my mom. She wants me to wait for the rain to abate. But it doesn't look like letting up.

The lady is still there, standing in the rain stoically. I give her the food and tell her in Hindi to give the kids too. There is no expression on her face. She calls out to the kids and they appear, one by one from under the half constructed stairs, looking at me wide eyed. I stand there. I want to see the kids getting the food. She hands out the bread, two slices a piece and some potato curry to each kid. The kids eat mechanically, shivering in the cold. They wipe their hands on the seat of their pants and look at no one in particular. She hands out the bananas. It is also consumed without expression. I decide to leave before my mother calls the Indian Army.

The familiar stab of annoyance resurfaces when I see her swollen belly. I ask her when her baby is due. She says, any day. I ask her why she has so many children. She looks at me puzzled like I have asked her why the sun rises in the East. I tell her to stop having kids after this baby. She looks around for her husband perhaps. Maybe he will answer this girl’s weird questions, her eyes seems to say.

I leave the place resignedly. The rain still rages on. She and the kids are out there. Waiting for it to abate, so that they can go to sleep. Nothing amiss for them. Just another day in the journey called life.