Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Happy Diwali!

Happy Belated Diwali, Happy Diwali and Advanced Happy Diwali to you all!

That I hope covered all the regions of India! brr

Diwali is utter confusion in Bangalore. There are people who celebrated yesterday, there are people who will do it today and there are people who may celebrate tomorrow. That leaves you totally confused and kinda annoyed at it all. Yesterday I went to office and found out that I was the only one in office besides a broom and mop in a bucket. Most people had taken the day off as today is the official Diwali holiday for us. That made for an extended weekend for out of town folks here. It was pure bliss working in a near empty office. The headphones kept my ears warm as the AC tried various techniques to freeze me for the next couple of centuries. There was the full fan blast, half fan blast, full cold blast and freeze blast and some other cryo-freeze weapons in its armamentarium that it tried on me gleefully. Perhaps it was its way of stretching out after the humdrum life of 24 degrees that it lives throughout the year!

Since the air conditioning is remote controlled and can be zone controlled my day went like this.

10 am : Please switch off the AC!
11 am: Please switch on the AC!
12 pm: Please switch off the AC!
1 pm: Please switch on the AC!

2 pm and AC man calls up! "You all right madam?
Didn’t hear from you!
I am at Pizza Hut
"*Whew* we were worried madam!!"

Such a sweet guy no?

My Diwali celebrations are simple and not elaborate like some peoples. While some people do pooja and burst crackers and some people like my bro just burst crackers, I prefer to keep it simple for the sake of the environment. I stuff my ears with some cotton and crawl under the bed. I cannot stand the sound of those bombs and atom bombs and hundred walas and thousand walas. However this Diwali I made a resolution to celebrate it and not cover under the bed like a chicken! Ok I admit the real reason was that my dogs were not too happy at me encroaching into their territory under the bed. They too don’t like the noise of the crackers and can be found every Diwali sitting mournfully under the bed. So I bought lotsa rockets and with the help of a little cousin brother ensured that they went into every neighborhood window and terrace.

Last year we explained away the ricocheting rockets as faulty pyrotechnics. This year the neighbors explained away my ricocheting rockets are faulty pyrotechnics! I was hoping they will get the hint. Damn!

How the markets really work! :p

Friday, October 24, 2008

New road etiquettes

Q. Ever wondered what is the Height of Righteous Indignation?

Ans. Walking on the middle of a narrow road talking on the mobile and when someone blows the car horn, look around with an exasperated look that says "Whats your hurry? Cant you see I am on the phone?"

To the lady whose tele con I interrupted today... I am sorry lady. Next time I will drive on the footpath. My Bad! :|

Smile and have a rocking weekend friends! :)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Laughter the best Viagra err medicine

Watermelon: A Natural Viagra?

Researcher Says Popular Summer Fruit May Have Viagra-Like Effect on Blood Vessels

An excerpt from the article:

So, the burning question is: How much watermelon does it take?
"That is a good question," Patil says. Unfortunately, "I don't have an answer for that."


Who says medical reports cannot be funny? Read more for a chuckle or a good laugh.

Link courtesy MP

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Residual Romanticism

This is a post I wrote last placement season then forgot all about it. This year the incidents that motivated me to write this post raised its heads again and led to the publishing of the post finally! Please note this post refers to people I know personally.

I have noticed a phase in life that some young men in Kerala go through! I have termed this phase “Residual Romanticism”. Someone who read the draft of this post tells me that this is Quixote Complex. But then I am no psychoanalyst, so I will stick to the terminology that came to my mind when I first observed this phenomenon.

Residual romanticism can be observed in guys and to a lesser extent girls in their late teens and can last up to their mid twenties. It is a phases of angst and restlessness and rebellious thoughts against the predictable march of life. The phase sets in during final year of college or maybe earlier for some. Typical symptoms are talk about boredom and or unsuitability with their professional course or jobs and a restlessness to pursue something more ‘meaningful/suitable’. Definition of ‘meaningful’ not known to these restless folks. Some people start feeling restless from day one on the job. Some during training. Some for years after that. All of them feel trapped in their present roles by circumstances beyond their control.

“Residual romanticism” is nothing but the residues of wonder and awe that are evoked in childhood when these young men were younger and read or heard about the exploits and achievements of heroes, conquerors, Formula one stars, Sport stars, famous investigative journalists, social workers, advertising legends etc. All of us have gone through this stage. Including me. We read or hear about these achievers and want to be like them when we grow up. Most of us outgrow this stage as we mature into people who can appreciate that these achievers were extraordinary people. However some young men do not outgrow those wonder year dreams and reality, like college and a job comes as a bitter boring pill to swallow. They think that they are cut out for a more illustrious future than coding or marketing or whatever! They feel that the “real them” was sacrificed at the altar of their parent’s desire for their economic security.

They are sure they could have made it big as writers, sportsmen, painters or musicians. This leads to restlessness and a feeling of extreme disappointment. They sit in cubicles and wonder why they cannot be in the great outdoors doing things that their heroes did. Then comes bitterness. You get mails telling you how miserable he is at his job and how he wishes he could do something more “worthwhile”. As I write this I realize that daily life is pretty humdrum when you compare it to the fables you hear in childhood. And when your mind is still stuck in the wonder years and its shining stars it is no wonder that you are miserable as an adult.

These people are yet to appreciate or understand is that routine life is normal. That there is nothing wrong with going to office on a 9 - 6 job like others. That all of us cannot make it as novelists, Ornithologists, Journalists and copywriters. And the irony in this scenario is that these very people can be seen lazing away at weekends instead of pursuing their passions. I have some cousins like this. One such guy is a guitarist who thinks that his parent’s ambitions (engineering college and a job) have nipped his talents in the bud. When I ask him if he practices and pursues his passion during weekend, he says that he does not. If he really was a budding musician, it was in the head. I know several passionate musicians and sportsmen. All of them have jobs and pursue their passion during weekend and on holidays.

I am not suggesting that most of these people flounder due to this tendency. They do stick onto their jobs, but hate it passionately for some time. And a terrible amount of time is wasted in angst. Some of these people do pursue their passions and return beleaguered to their professions older and wiser. I have to admire them for trying though they waste precious amount of time away from work and have to start at the bottom. These past two years I have spent considerable amount of time drilling sense into some of these people in the family. And succeeded too. But the energy I spent was exhausting.

I wish teachers and parents who exhort their kids to be like larger than life heroes and heroines put some reality checks in their exhortations as there are quite a few young impressionable minds that take these stories to heart and to adulthood and often end up comparing themselves to these legends and falling short in their own eyes.

Ramesh Menon is a New Delhi-based journalist and documentary filmmaker. He received the 2006 Ramnath Goenka Award for Excellence in Journalism for an article in India Together in which he reported on pesticide poisoning in Punjab. Here’s what he has to say about Kerala’s Development Paradox. Link courtesy a reader of this blog.

p.s do check out a report on the quite extinction of an endangered species in Kerala.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Musings of an obscure blogger...

There is something about personal blogging that I have learned in my three and half years of blogging. If you are a likeable person, people will like your blog too as your blog reflects your personality and your thoughts.

You have to strike a chord with the reader. And this happens naturally. No power or widget on earth can do that for you. Some of you may connect while some will not, no matter how hard you try. And this is the secret of the popularity of certain personal bloggers like Sidin and Great Bong. It all boils down to the blogger. I can say with a certain guarantee that there is nothing anyone can do to get readers, except perhaps letting people know that you blog by a comment or joining a directory like Kerala Blogroll or Blogstreet.

Good writing skills also matter I agree. But I know so many good writers who don’t get readers. Therefore I conclude that good writing skills, your personality and your outlook towards life in general is what makes a blog tick while others go phut!

Blog for yourself and leave the rest to God and readers.

So why am I writing this? Because I get several mails asking me tips to popularize a blog. And I have always written back that blogs are like movies or books. It is left to the readers to decide whether he likes your content. I also get comments like, "you suck and your readers too as they read such crap" And I feel only pity for those frustrated souls. I wish life was this easy! Wish we had widgets and gadgets and applications to make people like us. But life is not that easy is it?

Have you noticed that only blogs with a good amount of readers get virulent tripe while the same content at a lesser known blog would be ignored? I don’t think those people who post angry comments themselves realize this. But if they looked deep down and analyzed why they dislike a particular blogger, they will realize that it is because of his/her readership. I know that many of those people have not analyzed this or realized this. And those who have realized this have quietly integrated into this large, friendly and tolerant community.

I wish bloggers who go crazy for readers and those who hate people whose blogs have readers realize this. A lot of rancor in blogosphere, sorry not a lot of rancor, but some people with such rancor would sleep in peace in the night if they reconcile with this.

And I wish such people peace of mind! Hakuna Matata!

Sunday, October 05, 2008

The damning note!

First of all let me say that my heartfelt sympathies are with this family.

Secondly I have to say that I am getting more and more concerned with suicide notes! There is an increasing trend to blame someone for suicide and invariably that person get arrested without even an investigation. If newspapers are to be believed, a death note or statement before death is infallible (not verified if true). This makes anyone vulnerable to people with chronic depression who may kill themselves under the mistaken assumption that someone was the reason for their depression.

Why I am expressing concern is because of two incidents that happened with people I know. First was my senior in college who has a small design studio. When she sacked one of her employees, he attempted suicide leaving a note blaming her. Luckily he survived and it did not become a police case as his parents never saw the suicide note. And bribing the hospital staff ensured that the case was admitted as accidental poisoning. I will never forget the trauma my friend went through. All she did was fire him because of complaints from female staff of inappropriate behavior and two warnings that he failed to heed. If the suicide note was discovered then she would be in jail now charged with abetting the suicide. I am told there are thousands of people in jail for the same.

The other instance happened with my best friend. There was this boy from an uptown college who used to hang around our college gates and follow her around while we girls went shopping or to eat. Our first method of getting such people off our backs is ignoring them. We ignored him for some time as he kept his distance. But he kept hanging around college and following her around. Fed up she told my brother and he confronted him and warned him to stay away. This guy also made a weak attempt at suicide blaming my brother as the reason! Luckily his parents were reasonable people and understood the situation. But the situation scared me and I am forever wary of guys now. And I am not alone. Amongst my college mates there are instances of girls who have married guys under threat of suicide notes!!! And many have had the experience that my friend have had.

I remember a cartoon that came as a forward in which a girl is shown trying to stop a car. A bubble above her head reads: “Stop or I cry rape!!” Apparently this cartoon came out after Rape laws were modified and made more stringent. The suicides situation is similar now. Many people do not do this on purpose. Suicide is I guess a result of depression. But how many depressed people can analyze this. They naturally blame the last incident that pushed them over the edge. And the last incident could be a romantic interest who didn’t return your affection, or her family or an employer who gave you the pink slip.

It is high time we modified our laws so that such suicide notes and last statements are investigated. Or as is the case in Karnataka, many people will be rotting in jail due to an outdated law* that states that a depressed person’s last word is literally the last word in the case.