Friday, December 29, 2006

Creativity at work

Last week we had our Christmas party at this lovely Lounge Bar. It was a cosy get together of just our department folks. The highlight of the party was imitation of the big bosses and little quirks and eccentricities of the good folks in our team by a bunch of amateur actors in our team. Quite harmless and funny and hysterically funny after the cocktails started doing their stuff.

The most hilarious two was of a guy and the way he talks to clients on his mobile falling off the balcony and getting up without pausing and continuing his persuasive sales talk ( his mobile bills exceeded his Sales figures this year but he still met his target) The second skit was that of a gal and the way she parks her car.

The parking of a car by a gal was quite similar to the forwards you get in emails. Anyways, the 'actors' showed her driving in and nearly knocking a pillar or two of the basement car parking. Then she parks the car only to be told by security that it is wrongly parked. Finally she manages to park the car after several tries.

She then turns the rear view mirror towards herself and combs her hair, checks her makeup, pops an Orbit in her mouth, offer some to others in the basement and then gets down only to realise that her laptop and bag are in the rear seat. So she gets in again and removes the laptop and locks the car again only to realise that she has left her phone on the dashboard of her car. She retrieves this and then goes around checking the doors of the car that has central locking system. After she reaches the Lift she realises that she has left her tiffin carrier in the car and dashes back. By now she is loaded with a laptop, hand bag, Tiffin carrier, Mobile and car keys. She drops these in a steady stream on her way up the lift and to her floor with the security guys picking them up one by one. The last scene showed the security guys with a loaded cart coming to deposit her stuff in her workstation and the gal counting all her stuff carefully and then exclaiming, "but where is my IPod?!!"

I was laughing hysterically till my friend told me that it was me they were mimicking. Then it was not so funny. But a quick round of cocktails made me see the funny side of the performance again.

For our New Year get together, yours truly has something planned....and I have all the big bosses blessings too , heh heh which means quite a lot of skeletons of people are gonna come tumbling out la la la la

Life is good!!!!


Monday, December 25, 2006

A merry Christmas indeed!

It’s a lovely Christmas eve morning if I may put it that a way, here in my village in Kerala. From the time I have landed here, I have been roaming around visiting people, in our neighborhood. It’s a delight to see people’s reaction as you open the gate and walk in. Pure joy, some tears and some emotional outbursts, it’s like walking back into time to childhood. Yesterday I went around the small township, walked into the quaint old shops, wished the elders, took blessings and reveled in their attentions. I prefer to wear a salwar as I do my rounds. The gesture is appreciated. Women landing up at the market in pants are still looked at as outsiders.

I can see several NRI’s shopping. Some of the buxom ladies are wearing tight pants inviting stares. You can see the chasm between the two sets of people. One are quite oblivious of the stares and quite comfortable in their outfits, while the townsfolk are embarrassed at seeing fat women in pants. I am caught in the middle, while I giggle at the jokes doing the rounds in which me, “our” girl is included I empathize with the NRI ladies too because they are acting naturally and not trying to make a statement or something like that. Annam, my maid, who is accompanying me is wonderstruck at the NRI ladies and whispers that she thinks they are going to explode any moment. I tell her that these ladies were wearing what they felt comfortable in and that we had no right to pass judgment! She agrees solemnly trying hard not to laugh.

As a kid I remember, when we drove out back to Bangalore after our vacations, we would stop at this small village market and say bye to all the uncles who ran the shops here. There would be wistful byes and the all too familiar scenes of people standing at bus stops waving goodbye to families heading back out of Kerala. We would be the only ones going to nearby Bangalore.

There is a change in the air now. People seem somehow ‘grown up’. There is a comfort level among people. Unlike yester years, when family members worked far off in the North, nowadays most people have their kith and kin in Bangalore and Chennai. Visits are frequent and thus there is more contentment in homes.

Infosys, IBM, Microsoft, Accenture, GE are common names and being an English grad is not such a sad deal anymore :P People understand what I do, or least have a hazy notion and know that there is more to IT companies than software/hardware engineering. I saw an appachan working in his field wearing an Accenture T Shirt. “magan accenturil annu” he informs proudly.

The area is seeing a huge rise in IIMites. A good sign indeed! Changanassery town hasn’t changed much, though I can see some snazzy Supermarkets and shops. But the white mundu clad men and Ammachis with the ubiquitous umbrella still abound.

Today at church I met the entire village. This is an agrarian community and everyone knows everyone. There is so much joy when people spot you and as is the usual practice, we lingered around till 11 after mass, greeting people asking about "viseshams”. My Dad comes here every month or so, so he is not the centre of attraction…we are :P Thanks to the many airlines that have mushroomed, my Dad can now fly down monthly.

Liberalization, besides providing job opportunities, has bought families closer together. Children drop in more regularly and not only during summer vacations like the olden days. There is less talk of whose car is better and more talk of which car is more fuel efficient. More emphasis on two wheelers than four wheelers. I see a lot of people who want to return and in my area; land is being preserved for such an event. A very heartwarming thought indeed.

There is less talk of getting girls married and more talk of a girl being career minded *whew* :P A welcome change I see in the women folk is the increasing trend to marry late after settling down in a job.

The contentment in the air is almost palpable. Yesterday I went to meet our old parish priest. He presided over my parent’s marriage, our baptisms and First Holy Communions. As I wheeled him around the well manicured lawns and garden around the convent, he filled me in on all the happenings in our village. He is like a social barometer for us. An acutely sensitive person, he has always rightly predicted the mood of the people. He seems to be happy that the young population has more opportunities to come home now. He feels this will infuse new thoughts and ideas into the population here and bring about changes in the mindset. He feels that this is the crucial transfusion of new thoughts that Kerala needs. Sitting and talking to him I feel so far away from Bangalore and more close to my roots. I realized as he talked, how much part of this community I am, wherever I am and whatever I may be at work.

Change is inevitable, this community is also experiencing it, but what I witnessed is a change for the better. Perhaps there are ugly sides to it, I don’t know. But for the common people, there seems to be reason to cheer this Christmas.

(This post was written on 24th December)

Thursday, December 21, 2006

To a special person...

This time last year, my family and extended family were busy with a big event in the family and that was my eldest brother’s wedding. I was damn excited about the whole thing with no care in the world. Since my brother is the eldest grandchild in my Dad’s family, it was considered a special occasion with the entire family dividing duties for the wedding. It took a big load off our shoulders.

It was a couple of days before the wedding that the import of the occasion struck me. Here was a guy who doubled up as an elder brother and Dad during my growing years and who was now getting married. It was like as if my parents were getting married to different people and going away. I suddenly felt like an orphan. The realisation hit me like a thunderbolt and I went into a minor depression. I remember writing in a mail to a friend that in a few days I would be losing my brother. I do not know why I wrote that and why I thought that. She replied right back telling me that I would never lose my brother no matter what.

Around this time the realisation that her eldest son is getting married must have hit my mom too because she also went very quite. This was the little boy who helped her raise her other two younger brats because my Dad was in the Gulf then. ( the reasons are here) The boy who had to feed his little sister when he was barely 8 years old and keep an eye on her while his she, my mom battled with the onerous task of keeping my hyperactive second brother from killing himself with all sorts of aimless brainless activities. This was the boy whom her daughter called “achcha” for the first time, which according to family legend is what made my Dad pack up his bag and leave the Gulf for good. (Though he hotly denies this, my Dad did spend the first month after getting back teaching me to call him achcha :p ). And this was the guy whom young moms in the family consulted when my mom was out and they needed help.

Young mom: What is that you used to give your sister when she had a tummy ache
Bro: Bonnisan!
Young mom: And what’s the dosage?
Bro: A teaspoon three times a day and be careful, if your son is anything like my sister then make sure you don’t show him the bottle or it will be smashed to pieces.

While most boys his age played and enjoyed themselves, my chetan had to keep an eye on me as I crawled around the house besides attend to his studies and homework, with a lot of “silverine spit the dog out right now!!!” thrown in. This was the guy who never had a proper childhood due to parenting duties dumped on his lap when he was so small. And this was the guy who loved being a parent to his younger siblings and never grumbled about the responsibilities on his young shoulders.

He was the person my teachers complained to because complaining to my Dad was useless. He would swell with pride when informed that I had pulled someone’s hair or not done my homework. He bought a semblance of order in my life, a discipline that normally should have been put in place by my Dad. He is the guy who kept an eye on my Dad, when I was forbidden to eat Ice Creams for a year due to a throat condition. My Dad somehow managed to get me one though my brother’s strict vigilance did pay off and I completed that year hating him for being so rigid.

And a lot more things besides...

On his wedding day last year (Dec 31st) I was a mess, I was sniffling around the house. My Dad was a little emotional too and my mom was not doing too well either. My second brother was too busy running around and the house was chock full of relatives. By mid morning my friends got a little concerned and I started getting calls from them telling me not to cry and spoil my brother’s big day. This made me cry more. Relations were teasing me saying that I could not barge into my brother’s room anymore and that made me feel worse!!

Throughout the day people like Sunitha and Anish kept calling trying to cheer me up. By evening my brother noticed the plight that mom and me were in and took us aside for a meeting and told us that all that he was doing was going to the Church for some time, getting married and after the Reception would be right back home for our annual New Year get together. When he put it so matter of factly like getting married was no big deal, things just fell in place. On his wedding day instead of glowing like a groom to be, he was back to parenting me and supporting his mother :(
Suddenly the past three days emotional outbursts looked childish and silly. I felt really bad for acting like a kid and spoiling that one special day in my big brother’s life. I got through the Wedding Mass and the Reception without a hitch but a lingering guilt remained and still remains. Like most of my misdemeanours in the past I know my brother will brush this one too aside indulgently, but the incident did make me grow :P

This is my 100th post here and I want to dedicate this to one of the most important person in my life. Thank you, you are the greatest Cheta.

Wishing you all a very happy and joyous Christmas and prosperous New Year!!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Weekend blues

Yet another Friday approaches. A practise that I have been following from my last company was sending out “Yipee its Friday” mails. Friday morning these mails go out and all the girls respond with their version of happiness, exuberance, ecstasy etc. at the thought of the weekend. The guys look on with tolerant amusement. Most of them can’t understand what the hoo ha is all about.
Last Friday as is the practise I bought my car which means I can hang around in town without worrying about missing the office transport and the whole gang of girls can chill out for some time before heading home, PG digs, Apartments etc. As I left the office, almost skipping on my way out, a guy colleague asked me why we girls were so enthusiastic about Friday. I told him that the thought of doing nothing, or taking care of girly things like pedicure, manicure, a hair cut or washing clothes that needs careful washing etc makes us feel like a woman again. The office sort of desexes you (stop guffawing G and stop grinning Sachin R K). Besides just curling up with a book in your bed is also something to look forward to. We girls rarely get bored. My colleague seemed satisfied with my answer but remarked that most single guys found weekends boring.
I have noticed this myself. Most singles guys in my office find weekends boring though they do welcome the weekend break from work. And this is something that puzzles me. Girls always find something or the other to keep them occupied and rarely talk of being bored. But guys seem to want something more than just reading or lolling around and what is more amazing is that they have all the resources like a bike and the sheer freedom of being born a ‘male’ to do stuff that we girls cannot do.
In my last place of work I was made part of the Activity Committee since I was on grinning terms with everyone in the office and we literally got people off their backs by organising Treks and Weekend Trips to Chikmagalur etc. The activity caught on and now they have it regularly. The activity also bought guys closer and friendships formed as guys with similar interest were introduced to each other. But it took a lot of efforts from my part to do what girls would have done without an Activity Committee. And that is make friends and do things together. Guys seem to live like islands. Which perhaps is the reason they are so lonely after leaving college. They seem to take so long to make friends. I wonder why? Girls on the other hand have no qualms to who their colleagues are. As soon as we join a new company we go around introducing ourselves and soon join the others for lunch, shopping, get together and the whole thing happens so naturally. On the other hand, guys joining newly will be seen sitting alone for lunch or with team mates. Even here in this office, a sustained activity chart from the corporate communications team has helped in bringing the men together. But they exclaim that it was a lot of effort to get guys together.
I wonder why?!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

From perfect to imperfect

I was passing by a house in my friend’s neighborhood. Outside a house a father and a mother were beating up a child. I watched in horror as people walked by not even noticing the event. The parents looked very annoyed and I heard them explaining to an old lady who intervened that the child had failed in his exams. It was unbelievable!!! What lesson were they thinking that they were teaching their child through beatings? The value of education or the fear of physical violence!?!

If it is the latter, they have succeeded. But if it is the former then they have failed miserably. So who should get the beatings now???

I have never understood the concept of beating a child. Beating a child would essentially mean a failure on the part of the parent to communicate with the child. This happens when people have children for the sake of having children and hence are not committed to its upbringing. They take care of its physical needs but his emotional needs are never a consideration.

I have observed many young parents within my family and our family friends circle. Parents who don’t have time for the child are the ones who beat kids. It may not be brutal beatings but some form of punishment like pulling the child ears. On the other hand, totally involved parents seem to guide their kids through life without having to use any force or threat of force with the child.

Before I have parents hurling brick and stones on me, let me explain that I am an experienced baby sitter and I have through sheer common sense got kids to listen to me without resorting to the “I will tell your parents if you don’t listen to me” type of threats. Kids are very practical people and I have noticed that a lot of talking and interaction with them is needed. That requires patience and time.

And what is striking is, when you treat a kid like an adult he/she tends to responds to you better than if you were to treat him like a kid. Of course there will be petulance and sometimes they just don’t want to listen, which I think is a child’s right as a child :)

I love kids and love having them around and there is one little one peeping into my monitor right now as I type. When parents talk about how difficult it is to handle kids, I normally keep quite or I get the “wait till you are a parent” lecture. But then I have been a parent a hundred times over with the kids I baby sit and never have I encountered a child who does not respond to me unless he has been handled badly by the adults in his life and hence looks at me like the adults he is used to.
But even in this case, the moment the child sees an adult treating him reasonably inspite of his past experiences with adults, he will respond positively.

I just wish people would realise the damage they inflict on a child's mind when they beat his body.

Monday, December 04, 2006

The mile high humor club

This week I have done been flying like crazy from one city to another. I flew mostly Jet and Indian Airlines, now re christened
Indian”. I noticed that the in flight crew of “Indian” had a sense of humor while the in flight crew of the private airlines were polite and distant. Here are a few in flight experiences with “Indian”.

On a flight from Mumbai to Delhi, the pilot was coming around shaking hands with random passengers. A lady totally bowled over and all agog by the dashing pilot asked him the name of the after shave he was wearing. He answered with a smile and a wink in my direction” Old Monk”. The joke went over her head.

(And…no I didn’t wink back :p)

On a flight to Chennai one absolutely drunk passenger kept asking a stewardess for “balm” because he had headache. Fed up she sent a Steward:

Steward (officiously): “ I am sorry sir, due to security reasons we are not allowed to carry ‘bombs’”.
Passenger: Oh!!!

He kept quite for the rest of the flight after that!

And lastly people flying “Indian” too have a keen sense of humor as this passenger displayed.

On a night flight back to Bangalore. I am in the aisle seat and next to me in the middle seat is a guy in his 30’s I think. He asks the Air Hostess for a glass of water. The over worked and over stressed lady brings a glass of water and slams it on his table muttering under her breath “f***k y**” or something like that.

Without batting an eyelid our man turns to her and says earnestly “How I wish you would”

Dunno if this was an original line but no prizes for guessing who giggled hysterically.

Friday, December 01, 2006

I survived

This Week

Monday: 9 hours of meeting
Tuesday: 5 hours of meetings
Wednesday: Four hours of vendor meetings and briefings
Thursday: A total flop show by the Event Managers at the venue, redoing of stall at venue at the nth hour and 10 hours of standing and supervising that
Friday: still young ...

Monday I kick ass

R.I.P Ad Agency and Event Managers


Sunday, November 26, 2006

Legal vultures

Mr DJ an elderly small time businessman went to court, because the then Bishop of Bangalore was selling Church land to a powerful land mafia. I am not going to talk about the case here. The case unfolded some startling truth about our lawyers.

When the case was registered, the page in which the entry was made was mysteriously torn off. Therefore summons could not be issued to the land sharks. Then the lawyer fighting for Mr DJ leaked out all the case details and preparation that made the other party have an upper hand in preparing their defense. Finally DJ got monetary aid through a philanthropist and hired a good lawyer and won the case.

A friends Dad was fighting a case against an illegal commercial construction that had come up in his neighborhood. Even in this case, lawyers of both parties got together, exchanged files and prolonged the case for their monetary benefit.

Another neighbor, a retired couple gave their house for rent and moved to their expatriate son’s house. The tenant broke the walls inside the house and made cubicles that she let out as accommodation for working women. Here too, Lawyers of both parties worked together to keep the case going without conclusion.

And there are thousands more such cases. A little bit of enquiry with a friends Dad who is a Supreme Court lawyer revealed some disturbing facts. Unlike the US, here in India laws governing professional conduct of lawyers is practically non existent and what little exists is outdated. It is next to impossible to stop your lawyer from sharing information with the rival lawyer and as a rule lawyers get together and prolong cases. If a lawyer does not appear in court when a case is called, he can get away with an explanation like a traffic jam.

Lawyers getting pulled up for misconduct or malpractice happens but in the rarest of rare cases. And what is disquieting is the fact that there is no debate or discussion in the media or anywhere about this. Nor does the government seem interested in changing the situation. Lawyers are a united lot, and as a result clients fear to complain against them because no lawyer will take his case after that. There is absolutely no way the common man can get his lawyer to discharge his legal duties as per laid down rules as the rules are almost non existent. The lawyer always acts in his interest, never in the client’s interest.

Why are we, the fastest growing economy in the world so slow in changing our outdated laws? A death of a colleague about which I wrote in this post, bought to fore the ridiculous traffic laws we have. Rules are regulations governing lawyers is the urgent need of the hour and a step towards speeding up trials and clearing back logs.

As William E. Gladstone rightly said: “Justice Delayed is Justice Denied

But is anybody listening?

Saturday, November 25, 2006

A fine actress and a finer woman

A comment left by Mathew in the last post "What ails us" bought back a flood of memories. Memories of a fine actress called Sukumari,who made us laugh, cry and think with her innumerable memorable movies.

I noticed Sukumari for the first time in Boeing Boeing. She was absolutely wonderful as the Anglo Indian cook. Her “I don’t care a damn’ attitude was a treat to watch and this movie owes a lot to her presence I think.

I don’t know if she set a precedent of sort by boldly showing the different facets of the Malayalee woman, as I do not know much about the chronology of her career but she broke the monotony of character portrayal of women in Malayalam cinema. The 'characters' she portrayed were bold, self confident and assertive. The nose in the air society lady, or the bitchy neighbor or the bossy Colony President…and even as the sensible lady of the house. She was like a breath of fresh air. And she got a generation of NRK kids like us hooked to Malayalam cinema. At least in my family it did. There was a revival of interest in Malayalam cinema with the arrival of some good comedies starring her. She also evoked a lot of fan following among the women. Ladies connected with her ‘characters’ as they were easily identifiable people from daily life. She is so comfortable in front of the camera and lives and breathes the ‘character’ she portrays.

Her very presence is warm and she gives you that feel good homely feeling when you see her. Even in her interviews she comes across as a down to earth simple Malayali lady. Surely a person you can look up to especially today, when there is such a dearth of role models. And this where Sukumari has come up trumps. She has universal appeal.

During the good old days of VCDs, we used to sit down as a family and watch Malayalam movies. And no prizes for guessing whose movies were top favorite. Those were days of some good movies. There were other actors and actresses too who were very good, but Sukumari ruled the roost in my house as far as us kids were concerned.

If there were to be “Malayalee’ of the year award my vote would go to Sukumari and I will even indulge in some fowl play to make sure she gets it :p She deserves it.

She is the quintessential Malayali lady!

Friday, November 24, 2006

A love letter

A note to certain readers and commenters of Think Pad:

< begin angelic smile >

If you do not like the posts here, kindly leave without littering. And if you must comment then please read the post carefully. The posts here though are not worthy of being nominated for the Nobel Prize for Literature or even internalization, requires some amount of intelligence to be understood. My posts are statements, period. They are not open to debate unless so indicated by me.

I admit to the following:

You are a bad writer: Yeah!!!
You are biased: Yeah!!!!
You are catty, bitchy, childish and gossipy: Yeah!!!!
You are *all the bad words you can look up in the Dictionary*: Yeah to that too!!!

Now that we have cleared the air, there is no need for you to repeat this in the comments section.

So….shooo, begone, vamoose, scram etc.!!!

This blog started out as a friend’s circle where we discussed matters of mutual interest. This is a mutual interest group and a lot of people have fun reading or commenting by joining in the discussions here. And the people in my blogrolls plus the people who think I am the greatest [:P] constitute that circle. If you do not figure in that Blog Roll or friends circle, then please consider yourself a guest here and conduct yourself accordingly. I welcome difference of opinion given in “unparliamentary” (read as “Indian Parliament”) language. But please do not tell me what to write and how to write, what I am or not. There are people who do that ( < end of angelic smile > $%#^@&@#&!!) < begin angelic smile again > and when they do, I take note.

I have definite opinions about certain things that I have experienced or observed ( not the staring kind of observation you dirty minded people) and till my Amma’s prayers that ‘ente daivame ee penninnu nalla budhdhi kodukaname!” goes thru the yards of red tapism in Heaven and reaches God after greasing saintly palms ( in which she is an expert) and fructifies, there is less chances of me changing my opinions than a saint sneaking into a bar in hell and remaining sober or a virgin.

Thank you!

Coming soon: A Guide to Reading and Commenting on Blogs.

Sneak preview: Tan tandaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan!!!!!!!!! < input your favorite music if you don’t like mine >

Second Paragraph, third line of the 'A Guide to Reading and Commenting on Blogs' says:

And XYZ said silverine you are the greatest!!!! *applause* Right way to comment!
ABC said: You are a lousy writer! *Triiiiiiin* Wrong way to comment

p.s before I go in to get dandaas from a customer Mr Dattatreya, whose name was mispelt by my team mate to Datta-3, I want to say that I will delete offensive comments from now on. I just changed my blog template at ENORMOUS expense and risk of brain death ( a Biryani meal for my bro and his friends who spent the afternoon drinking beer and cracking dreadful PJ’s while my bro changed the template drinking beer cracking worse PJ’s) and I don’t like to get it dirty.

p.p.s I know this is useless but I HAD SO MUCH FUN WRITING THIS Yahooooo!!!!!!!!

p.p.p.s I promise there wont be anymore p.s!

p.p.p.p.s but you wont hate me no if there are more will you? *pout*

< end of angelic smile >

p.p.p.p.p.s I am sorry but I have to say this. Inspite of repeated reminders and a post, I am HIGHLY DISSAPPOINTED in all you. Can’t you read English???? I said FIRM RED RIPE TOMATOES, FRESH EGGS, GREEN CHILLIES AND CORIANDER LEAVES if you can spare some!! grrrrrrrrrr

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

What ails us?

Some time back, I was shopping at the Bangalore Central Mall with my friend. There were a group of Malayalee newly weds too, shopping at the Foodworld. The moment the wives saw us, ie me and my friend, they suddenly went clingy …it looked like they expected us to make a grab of their hubbies and make a dash for it. Ignoring them we continued browsing and then my friend who had gone ahead into the cookware section turned around and shouted out to me that she had found something interesting….but the whole problem was...she spoke in Malayalam. She broke an unwritten rule…”never speak Malayalam with each other in Malls”. You will realize why as I get deeper into the narrative.[:p]

The atmosphere around us suddenly changed…the mallu couples froze for an instant and then with an inward groan I saw the all too familiar change in the couple’s attitude. The “lets show them we are as good or even better than them” attitude that dissects you and then shows you how much they are like you or better.

Espying my Reebok “Cheta, lets go over to the Nike section, I prefer Nike over Reebok”

Seeing my pals hooded jacket “You know, I prefer designer jackets, Ivide designer stores ille?

My friend realized her mistake of speaking in Malayalam….I gave her a annoyed look and instinctively we started towards the lifts. We knew by experience that the situation would become really ugly and pathetic now as these folks would use every opportunity for empty showing off. And we were right as usual. The gals grabbed the guys and followed us. They get into the lift the loud talk designed for our ears starts again.

“I told Daddy to buy a Chevrolet, but he bought an Esteem tch”
“We are planning on a Skoda”
“So where are you going for vacations? We are planning on Mauritius”

By this time the guys were looking embarrassed especially when they saw that we were ignoring them. But the girls were still hysterically trying to drown their insecurities. We stumbled out of the lift and literally ran out of the mall. I was cursing my friend fluently because there was no way we could go back now without being hounded and i had not completed my shopping.

When we used to go to Kerala for our school vacations, my Dads car would attract the same hysterical reaction. We would have perfect strangers walking upto us, asking about the make of the car and then casually telling us that they were going in for a more expensive model. Sometimes the enquirer would be riding a cycle, but that didn’t matter, no way was he going to give us the satisfaction of basking in the satisfaction of having a certain car. Fed up of this my Dad devised a response “No this not my car, I cant afford one, someone lent this to me so that I can drive my rather large family down to Kerala.”

We kids were even coached not to talk about anything that would excite jealousy...we were not even allowed to take expensive toys with us, because my parents wanted to get back to Bangalore without exciting too much kannu kadi.

The Mall incident I have mentioned happens all the time. And this gives rise to the general impression people have of mallus, which make mallus try hard to show that they are not like the rest of the mallus by pretending they don’t know Malayalam, overdressing etc in a desperate attempt to ‘fit in’ and the vicious cycle continues.

( I have observed that Malayalees are a 'nervous' people. We get agitated very quickly. It must be genetic, I refuse to believe that it is because of social factors. Any opinions? )

Sunday, November 19, 2006

We are like this wonly!

A male colleague in my office was very shy of taking photographs. Last week he did take one as he had to get his passport renewed. Since I have often pooh poohed his claims that he was not photogenic, he bought the photo over to me as proof that he looked positively bad in photographs. He was right. He really looked horrible. But this was a defining moment. I could admit that he looked bad and forever condemn him to his beliefs or lie, so that he gets over this phobia. So I told him that he looked perfectly normal, in fact I went a step further and told him that he looked rather cute in the photograph.

In the evening he asks me out for coffee. We have a coffee and pastry lounge in our premises with some of the best coffee selection on the menu, and it is on the house. But folks here often ride down to a Barista or Coffee Day, just to get out of the office. So it is not odd to see a gal going out with a male colleague for coffee as we usually take whoever is free with us.

We drove to Barista in his car and it was there that he dropped the bombshell. He said that he was interested in me and if I had the same feelings for him. I burst out laughing. It felt so funny. His face crumpled, but I just could not stop giggling. With great difficulty I composed myself and asked him if he was joking. His expression told me that he was not. I have faced this situation countless times and have usually got out without hurting egos (I hope) or pride. So I told him that I valued him as a friend but at this point of time I wasn’t thinking of getting into a relationship.

“But I thought you were interested in me!” he blurts out.
“Whatever gave you that idea?” I countered.
“You said I looked cute”
“I meant you looked good in the photograph”
“But you were so earnest!!!”
“Because you didn’t believe me when I said you looked quite normal in the photograph!!!”

This conversation took place on Friday. This conversation takes place a million times with the same results. Most girls I know have reported at least two such incidents in their lives. I have always thought about writing a post on how girls view guys etc but never got round to it. A post by a male blogger on the same thoughts that reaffirmed my observation sort of egged me to write this post. Unfortunately I didn’t bookmark that post.

A word about girls and how we view guys. Most gals regard guys, especially in today’s working environment, like we regard another gal…as a friend or colleague. We rarely look at a guy and say “Oh he is a man!” Guys on the other hand seem to be acutely aware that a gal is a female. Of course there are exceptions, but I am not talking of exceptions here. Over a period of time in the friendship, a girl may notice something in a guy that makes her take a second look at him. This is an instinctive response that perhaps signals the first signs of compatibility between the guy and her. And this how a relationship should be born...according to most of us. We like to take it really slow, because we desperately need the time so that we do not make mistakes. A mistake is twice as costlier for a girl than a guy since girls are so emotional and tend to put in their all into a relationship.

And this is why we girls don’t jump into relationship and get scared when a guy starts showing too much interest in the beginning itself or jumps the gun like my colleague. Haste from a guy is also a sign that he does not have honorable intentions. So guys, if you are serious, take it easy.

It is also in the best interest of the guy (and gal) that they don’t pretend to be what they are not and just be themselves when they are around gals. Perhaps something about you may scare a gal away, but then it is for the best than her realizing it after the two of you have got involved or married. On the other hand by being yourself, you well definitely be spotted by a gal who likes you for your peculiar traits.

And lastly, very few girls are open to a love marriage, so when a girl says “No” please respect that.

(This post is dedicated to a band of sisters of which I am a member and on whose long pending request *with a gun on my head* I wrote this post. I need a trigger to write a post and my colleague did just that :p)

Thursday, November 16, 2006

The lost generation

There are two distinct sets of people in the urban Indian society today. The aging pre liberalization generation (PLG) and the young post liberalization generation. The earlier group is also called the ‘lost generation’ since they did not get the opportunities that we have right now. One of the distinct feelings I get when I talk to these people is jealousy, which masks their pain and frustration

Like babies who suck on pacifiers, the PLG comfort themselves with the belief that the IT workers are an exploited, overworked, medical problem beset people. At most gatherings where the PLGs meet, the talk will invariably veer towards the IT people and how rude they are, how they throw their money around and how unhappy they are etc. They seem to badly want to believe this.

Earlier I would hotly defend the IT industry with facts and figures, later I realized that these people did not want to know the facts. They just needed something that would make the bitter fact that they were deprived of such opportunities less hurting. This generation was equally talented like us but had absolutely no opportunities to work with cutting edge technologies or in multi national corporations. All they could hope for was a job in a Nationalized company where they worked in pre-defined roles under managers who were their senior because of age/connection/caste certificate etc. and not because of merit.

The lucky ones escaped abroad, the not so lucky ones resigned themselves to the drudgery of life in pre liberalization India. They lived their lives like machines, working doggedly, saving and scrimping for the day when they would retire. When you look at the fate of these people who were in no way inferior to us, you will empathize with the feeling of bitterness and frustration that this generation feels. Just imagining myself in their shoes horrifies me. I cannot imagine what an English graduate like me would have done in that era. Perhaps become a teacher or a journalist, beyond that there would be no scope for me.

When I see those old black and white Malayalam movies that my Dad is so addicted to, I can see for myself how helpless and desperate were those times. How an entire nation of incredibly talented and energetic people were suppressed by one family. It took the decimation of all members of that family for the nation to be rid of the stranglehold and find its rightful place under the sun.

What a sheer waste of talent and what a horrific example of suppression of the worst kind. It is like being jailed in a small cell for an entire lifetime. Nowadays when I hear the PLG’s dissing the IT industry and calling us 'cyber coolies' etc., I no longer feel annoyed. I just feel sadness…and I thank God for the opportunities that I have.

(Among the PLG is a section that is taking this frustration a level further aided by people whose agenda is take India back to the 'good old days' when poverty and unemployment served their purpose and swelled their ranks. Brijesh has written brilliantly about this here. I sincerely hope that the machinations of these people will not bear fruit.)

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Sculpting life...

Your mother’s love destroyed Maria; her hatred towards you made you a stronger and better person. They say it takes a baptism of fire to make sand into glass. Lesson I learnt today: Sometimes we have to count misfortunes among our blessings.

I left this comment on Sarah’s post some day’s back. Pleej don't blame me for turning a lil bit philosophical...I do think sometimes too, like when I have a cavity in the tooth and it hurts too much to talk :p And if you still feel like cursing me after reading this, blame it on the post "Forgive me" by
Mathew which made me post this after trashing it.

The above comment was nothing but the realization, that there was some sense into the ‘nonsense’ we thought we were taught in Catechism classes. Sounds philosophical and all that blah I know, but it is a hard fact and now that I have had the time to chew on it, it makes a lot of sense to me.

How many of us learn a lesson from kindness? Very few I am sure. But when someone is cruel to you, you make sure that you are not cruel to others because you know it hurts. Someone’s cruelty teaches you a lesson. So should you curse God/fate that he forsake you or thank him for this opportunity to learn to be kind to others and in turn become a better human being?

When someone gives you a helping hand you take it without a thought and a murmured “thanks’ as a formality. But when you have experienced loneliness and helplessness, you appreciate friendship and a helping hand more and you reciprocate it when you see a person in a similar predicament.

And the list is endless. We curse God/fate when things don’t go right….but if things were always to go right with us, would we be human at all? I don’t think so. It is adversity that shapes all of us, not good fortune.

Have you noticed that the some of the nicest people are the ones who have gone through so much travail in their lives?

So where does that leave us? We all want comforts, a happy life…but if you haven’t experienced discomfort and sadness, would we even recognize the feeling of comfort and happiness?

There can be a whole lot of arguments against the above….like so many people living in perpetual sadness, hunger, pain etc. with no respite or hope of happiness, enough food and freedom from pain etc…..some people even turn antisocial due poverty, hunger etc. I acknowledge that.

But at present I am only focusing on what I have observed above and the fact that when we are happy, we should also be grateful for the feelings of sadness and despair that enabled us to appreciate happiness.

(p.s when you are throwing eggs and tomatoes at me, pleeeej make sure you throw in a couple of green chillies too, I like my omelet spicy…. and pleej to make sure the eggs are fresh and tomatoes ripe and firm. A little bit of coriander leaves will do just fine too but if you don’t have it I will not hold it against you)

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Of rosaries, fireflies and kittens

One of my most vivid memories of childhood is the family rosary that is said at the end of the day in my ancestral house in Kerala. In my Dad’s house, rosary was an informal affair. This is a house of six sons, so it was a miracle that my grandparents got them to say rosary and that too without missing it a single day till today.

On the other hand, in my mom’s house the balance was in favor of girls, as my mom has so many sisters and few brothers. Therefore rosary was a serious affair and my otherwise sweetheart of a grandfather would become a disciplinarian during rosary time. Since we split our stay in these two homes, the contrast in the families was quite evident in many areas…one of them being the family rosary.

Family rosary in Kerala in both homes still reminds me of a house with dimmed lights, the altar ablaze with candles and the entire family sitting in various parts of the house. Some people would sit on the ground in front of the altar, some on the chairs in the living room, some outside and my mom with me on the verandah, as there was no way I would sit still for the 45 minutes of the rosary. Wherever people sat, they joined in, as one harmonious group. However this is where the similarities in both households ended.

My moms mother, was very fond of cats. And every time we went home there would always be a poochakutty (kitten) for me to play with. And during rosary, as though by some devilish design, the kittens would be at their naughtiest best. They would catch imaginary insects with their front paws and do somersaults in the air and other such naughty antics that would make it impossible not to giggle. My grandfather would raise his voice often during the rosary and call out my name in a warning tone and I would recede into my mother's lap for a few seconds. But the devil had other designs, because the kittens would come up with some more hysterically funny tricks and I would be giggling again. And they made sure that they used the altar room floor for their antics!! My cousins in the house, who were trained by my grandfather to sit down quietly during the rosary, would look at me with gleeful delight, because I dared to break the family rule of maintaining pin drop silence during the rosary.

My grandfather would sigh as the rosary proceeded with my giggles in the background. After the rosary he would give his favorite daughter, my mom, the 789th talk on bringing up kids the proper way, and how he had bought up his kids so well and even though she is now married to a guy from Pala (who are no good compared to the genteel people of Changanassery) she should still uphold the family values etc.etc. My eldest brother would sit through the rosary quietly and even lead at times. So the general consensus was that he had taken after my mom’s family. The family would then look at my second brother M and me and say with a twinkle in the eyes that these two had a surfeit of the father's genes in them.

The Pala barbarian, the daughter of the family was married to, would of course be safely ensconced in his home, going through the family rosary at breakneck speed as his Dad was hard of hearing, so that the brothers could open the bottle while the evening was still young. He would have warned his wife in mock seriousness before she set off to her home with his kids, that he wanted us back the same way he had raised us and not changed to wussies, which is what he thought people from my her side of town were. :p My mom countered gamely by saying that a few days of good upbringing at her house, would do a world of good for her kids. :)

During the rosary, there were other distractions too. Thousands of minnaminungu (fireflies) would adorn the darkness around the house like serial lights. Before the rosary we i.e me and my second brother M, would have already kept our Horlicks jars ready for the catch. And we would fill these jars with these tiny glowing worms that we caught. They made such a pretty sight with their flourescent light glowing in the jar. My mom would make us release these before we went in to sleep.

After the rosary, my mom’s brothers would take out the jeep and drive over to my Dad's house, where their drinks awaited. The brothers in laws got along really well. After dinner my maternal grandfather would make a small drink and tell us stories about saints and martyrs. This would be followed by lights out as the family retired for the day.

Rosary, in my Dad’s house on the other hand was preceded by my Dad and his brothers making elaborate arrangements for the drinking and card session that invariably followed it. This would be preceded by my Grandma and aunts preparing the snacks to go with the drinks. With six sons, my grandma was a whiz in making non veg snacks that served as accompaniments with drinks. When everything was set, the family sat down for rosary. Rosary, unlike in my moms house would be uncomplicated and without the long boring prayers and it would be over in half an hour. After which we could go out and play and make noise and run after the fireflies. There was no bedtime curfew and soon people from neighboring estates would join in. The partying will go on late into the night, as most of these men went to school and college together. It is a time of camaraderie, jokes and political discussions. The tradition lives on to this day. Surprisingly there are more priests and nuns in my Dads family than my moms!

In spite of these contrasts I liked living in both houses.

(This post was inspired by this post
by Alexis, which reminded me so much of my home in Kerala

Monday, November 06, 2006

Saturday pataka!!

Yesterday was the annual St Joseph’s College fest “Equinox 2006”. Quite an enjoyable day at the college grounds. I missed last years fest as I was working that Saturday, so we i.e my friends and me decided to go this year. The last show on the menu was various bands playing their music. The ground was packed. Since it was threatening to rain, we decided to keep to the periphery of the crowd so that we could make a dash for it when it starts pouring.

The band was in full swing and suddenly one of the band members, a chubby guy, got caught up in the heat of the moment and took a swinging dive into the crowd. He must have been inspired by similar stunts by popular bands as seen on TV. Inspite of the ground being packed something strange happened. The crowd parted like Moses parting the sea and the band member fell flat on his face onto the ground.

I just collapsed laughing.

The crowd helped him to his feet and tut tuted at the plight of the poor guy. He limped back bravely to the stage with a strained smile, waving bravely at the crowd. Everyone was commiserating while I could only clutch my aching tummy and laugh. That was Saturday pataka after Friday Dhamaka.

What a weekend!!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The Wonder Years Tag!

I wrote in a previous tag that I miss childhood. That got me reminiscing and one day I chanced upon this post by Pophabhi where he has described Vishu during his childhood. His description is so vivid and the memories seem so warm like the glow of lamps in the poojamuri. We all have vivid memories of our childhood, both good and bad. And I realize that it would be so therapeutic to revisit childhood and relive those memories. So I decided to write a post on it. And that is how this tag was born.

The Wonder Years Tag

1. Write 8-10 things about childhood ( 1-12 years) that you miss.
2. Write 8-10 things that you disliked about childhood.
3. Tag a few people.

What I miss about childhood

1. I miss being pint sized. Because my dad would carry me around and I could sit on his lap, my favorite place to sit, while he read the newspaper.

2. I miss being fed by my mom while I read an Enid Blyton with great concentration. I used to be hand fed till I was 8 because I was a lazy eater. Then in school, my class teacher found out about this and refused to let me go and play till I showed her an empty tiffin and I learnt to eat on my own.

3. I miss the story telling sessions by my grandparents/dad in the night before we fell asleep. My dad was a horrendous story teller, so he read from books and usually fell asleep before he finished, which prompted me to pick up the book and finish it while he snored. This also developed the reading habit in me.

4. I miss the amazement that books created and the places it took me to, sitting right here in Bangalore.

5. I miss the fuss when I fell sick.

6. I miss childhood Christmases. Christmases in childhood were so special! Decorating the tree, making the crib,helping mom make the cake and lots of things besides that. It was like living in the Winter Wonderland.

7. I miss the childhood vacations in Kerala, when you could run and play in the estates and do anything you wanted. Today I am grown up and expected to behave like a propah lil miss.

8. I miss the carefree days of wearing frocks and going topless during summers.

9. I miss childhood birthday parties and giving sweets in class and wearing ‘colored clothes’ to school on my birthday.

10. I miss getting away with just about anything because I was the youngest.

What I disliked about childhood

1. Drinking milk. I disliked being forced to drink milk and almost every time I vomited it out but my mom wouldn’t relent.

2. Hospitals, Doctors Clinic, Injections,medicines and Vaccinations...I always got fever after that

3. I disliked dinner because I was a hyperactive kid and would be too exhausted and sleepy by dinnertime. But there was no escaping dinner and till today dinner reminds me of hot rice and drowsiness.

4. I disliked spicy curries and biting into a green chilly. Even mildly spicy curries would have me drinking tonnes of water and eating sugar. A bowl of sugar was a permanent feature on the dining table in our house. (I love spicy food now)

5. I disliked hot food because it burnt my hands and I wouldn’t touch it till it was cooled.

6. Being bathed by mom, because she used the hard Pears soap, supposedly the safest for the skin. It would poke me. Till today the smell of Pears, reminds me of childhood baths.

7. Polishing my shoes

8. Fountain pens. It leaked and I was a splotchy mess by the time school got over.

9. I disliked doing the ‘drill’ in the sun, which was compulsory practice for sports day.

10. Getting up in the morning for school :)

And with great delight, ignoring the epithets flowing in my direction I tag.

1. Alexis
2. Mind Curry
3. Jiby (if you have the time)
4. Thanu
5. Praveen
6. Lijo
7. Jeseem
8. BVN
9. Mathew
10. Dhanush
11. Quills
12. Kusum
13. Leon
14. Pophabhi
15. Fleiger

...and anyone else who would like to take this trip down memory lane :)

Saturday, October 28, 2006

The singles dilemma

“So how come you are single?” this is a query guaranteed to make me slap someone, one of these days. What pisses me off is the absurdity of this question. And I do tend to snap when someone asks me this question. Not because it is personal but because it is so stupid.

Yesterday a male colleague asked me this question. Normally I would have given a deliberately vague answer but I am a little fed up of the frequency of this question since coming to this company and so turned around and counter questioned him sarcastically.
"So how come your sister is single?”
He got the point and mumbled an apology.

What irritates me is the fact that I have to give him and others an example to drive home the point. Can’t they see that having a boyfriend is not common but uncommon for an Indian gal…even in the Metros. I can count on my fingers the number of gals among my college mates who have boyfriends, and these are long term relationships. Then why do they ask such questions? And it is not just me, but lots of single gals who complain of the same.

This incident set me thinking of this whole GF/BF thingie. For most of us girls, getting to know a guy and in the event that you hit it off with him, then going in for a steady relationship is not as simple as it seems. For most of us (please note the emphasis on ‘most of us’) a BF is a potential life partner and hence we tend to look for people from within our community or religion. This rules out 90% of the guys we meet. The remaining 10% are scattered and the chance of bumping into someone on your own is slim.

For guys the above-mentioned aspect may not be a consideration at all (or maybe yes, please correct me if I am wrong). There are a few gals who will get into a relationship just for the heck of it, or because it is cool and because you can go for a movie together etc. Quite ok if both parties are not serious. But for the rest, it is not that simple. Our society rules state that a girl should have a good reputation(whatever the meaning of the stupid term) in order to qualify for the post of wife. And since most Indian gals have to get married, it sort of puts a dampner on any hopes of having a relationship that may not work out (read as 'past history').

Besides we have parents to think about and touchy brothers too, who would not like to be informed by their friends that they saw their sister with a guy at the theater unless he is her steady/fiancé/husband/classmate/known colleague.

A few creeps also spoil the party for the good guys. These and a lot of other factors, makes girls vary of dating or having a boyfriend. Which is why so many young people are single today. Most of them are resigned to it, while many especially guys miss having female companionship.

Among my colleagues who stay in PG digs or away from families, many date regularly, chiefly because the fear of being caught or seen by the family is absent. Dating is slowly becoming an accepted thing, but the hesitancy to be seen together unless the couple is very serious is still the norm. There is hope yet. If not our generation, I am sure the next generation will have things easier on this front.

Monday, October 23, 2006

The gentle way of life

Early in the morning, the road in front of my house looks like a farmers market. My house stands where the village limits ends and the tarred road begins. There are about 20 or 30 push cart vendors living in the village. The village still lives in the last century, like so many pockets of areas around the city. The difference between the city and the villages are growing and these people present an interesting study of a people who live in the same city as us but are very different from us.

The push cart vendors (both ladies and gents) congregate in front of my house and then unpack their wares, mostly fruits that would be neatly covered and tied down with plastic before they retired for the night. The vegetable vendors would have already left to pick up produce from the middlemen’s trucks that come into the city bringing fresh vegetables. A farmer will sell his cauliflower for a rupee or two to the middleman and these are sold in the city for Rs.20/-. So it is not hard to imagine the plight of farmers. However the middlemen’s syndicate is very strong and they use mafia style tactics if any farmer tries to sell produce in the city on his own. Sometimes abject misery makes these farmers come furtively into the city at night, to sell their produce. We always make sure we buy from such people. The government has set up a farmers market in the outskirts of the city, but hardly anyone ventures there. City folks are busy people who do not have time to go shopping for vegetables through traffic jams to far away places. The very idea is self defeating.

These vendors like most village folk have a personal rapport with most of the ladies in the area especially South Indian ladies my moms age or ladies who have come from small towns and hence can relate to them. They talk the same language and their conversations are about the weather, children, illnesses, natural cures and just about everything that people in villages sit and talk. When they get back from their villages after important festivals, they bring back something for us. Fresh farm produce, home made sweets, drumsticks and a variety of other things like bangles for me when I was a kid. Their generosity despite poverty is heartwarming. It is not a rare sight for a lady from the village to come knocking on our door for a bit of sambhar or curry or medicines, the relationship we have with them is that of friendly neighbors. For them, our families are like an oasis in an otherwise strange city.

In the evening I wait on the balcony to see them trooping back. There is a bounce in the step and a song on their lips as they plan to go to the movies or discuss the latest releases. Small gifts like a bunch of curry leaves or coriander leaves, a few bananas are left on the gate post for my Mom, a small token of friendship and respect. These are the people who bought Neem leaves when we had Chicken Pox or a herb that is used for treating Jaundice when I had Jaundice. They make it a point to stop and ask our welfare and fill us in with the latest news like weddings and babies in the family.

What saddens me, when I see these people is the realization that they rightfully belong in the villages. They seem so misplaced in the city. I wish that villages provided them livelihood so that they could stay back and carry on with their unique way of life. I dread to think of an India without villages, villagers or village culture. Our villagers are the repositories of our culture and heritage and I wish the government realizes this and does something.

I have a lot of admiration and gratitude for the myriad people like Bina Ramani who have promoted and preserved the rural arts and crafts, but we need more or the gentle people of the villages who are the last remaining practitioners of the Indian way of life will be wiped out to be replaced with a class catering to the cities as cheap labor.

( Do check out this heartwarming tale by Abhishek)

Friday, October 20, 2006

Anything sells

Today when I went to Infant Jesus church I remembered an incident that happened approximately four years ago. We had gone to this famous Infant Jesus Shrine in the south and a guy selling various religious objects approached us. Among the prayer books, medallions and plastic figurines of Infant Jesus were plastic boxes with a small piece of bone kept on cotton. I have seen such a relic in another shrine too, where a piece of some saints bone is kept for public viewing.

According to this guy, the bone was Infant Jesus’ bone and he would sell it for Rs 1000/-. My brother M as usual picked up a box with exaggerated interest and then turned to us with mock amazement and said “Just imagine...Jesus was boneless from childhood! Wow!!"

The man slunk away while we were laughing...we felt a little sheepish that had he our attention for a while. Dunno how many gullible people are venerating the ‘bone’ of Infant Jesus in their homes today? :P

Happy Diwali everyone!!!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


Today I was watching the news…it showed an Asian boy being rushed to a hospital in London for emergency treatment. The people in the hospital reacted quickly as the people who had ferried him from a country in Asia …all whites, looked on anxiously. It didn’t matter to them that the child was non-white…they did their best to save his life.

Over the years so many people have gone from Asia, Africa and other third world countries of the world and settled in England and US and some other countries of Europe. We have enjoyed their hospitality and made use of the sworn principals that governs these societies i.e …freedom of speech, religion and beliefs. And today, we have like snakes, bitten the very hands that feed us.

No matter where we go, we take our prejudices, fanaticisms and intolerance with us. It seems to be genetically rooted. We carry our personal vendetta with us and incubate it in the fertile climes of the foreign soil where our beliefs and prejudices are respected under free speech and then strike at the country of our origin and at our hosts…like parasites.

We use the freedom of speech the West grants us to stifle the freedom of speech of people who disagree with us. We abuse their hospitality by turning on the very society that gave us shelter, work and a charter to live as human beings.

Today the West is under siege. It’s principals eroded by the very people it gave shelter to. The West is facing its greatest challenge. Will it buckle under like France that banned any form of overt religious symbolism or hold onto the principals of individual freedom which may see a return to intolerance. Only time will tell. I for one am waiting to see the compromises the West will make to deal with this abuse of their trust.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Quick on the draw

I was Google chatting with this famous guy blogger the other day. The chat went thus:

Him: You on Orkut?
Me: I was, not any more
Him: Why?
Me: Well, it is more like a pick up zone...
guys seem to think it is a place to meet girls
Him: That's what I heard
I am in Orkut...
but no has tried to pick me up yet
Do you think there is something wrong with me? :)

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Spot ‘em young and watch ‘em grow!

Nowadays when I open my mailbox, I see many job offers, due to my other blog. Earlier it was small companies, nowadays it is big ones. A mail from the HR of a large American media house caught my eye the other day.

This company entered India around the time I finished college. When they advertised for 'Content Writers' I remember applying for the same even though 'Content Writing' would be too narrow a field for me. I did not get a reply. Of course I was in a good company then and I did not bother. I got another mail by the same person yesterday for the same job, describing his organization hoping to entice me. Finally, today I replied back. I told him about the fact that I had applied to his company earlier and asked him why the scanning process of his company did not spot me then. I went on to ask him how he could justify the fact that they had not even considered my resume! I got an incoherent reply that I didn’t understand and politely sent a letter of disinterest in working for his organization. I hope he does a thorough check of the recruiting procedures of his company, because another friend and classmate of mine who applied with me is now an established writer with a foreign magazine.

I am afraid I am very arrogant with HR folks when they call asking if I am interested in joining their organization and I have every reason to be. I have proved myself and I don’t need to take the nonsense that is the recruiting procedure of people in the communication and support services field.

The scanning process of candidates for interviews is ridiculous. Usually it is the HR team that does the initial scanning of resumes and it is here that the biggest mistakes happen. Spotting a good candidate for a particular job requires scanning of resumes by a person in the same field. But this rarely happens. The HR team does the first scanning of resumes and forward these to departmental heads. By this time many good candidates are rejected or ignored due to the inability of HR teams to evaluate the resume due to their lack of knowledge in this particular skill.

The interview procedure is even more ridiculous. Most of the time, the last incumbent would have quit and people with no knowledge of the field will interview the candidate. I had an HR executive calling asking me if I know how to draft a Press Release. It is like asking a Doctor if he knows medicine!! And this girl belonged to the HR department of one of the largest Semi Conductor companies in the world!! I wasn't looking for a change and declined the offer.

In my first and second job, the concerned Manager insisted on going through the resumes themselves and that is how I was spotted. In my last company, when I was short listed for the job, the then HR Manager protested vehemently because " she is too young"!!!! My boss put his foot down and I was given the job. Since then he made it a point to go through every resume that comes for a job in his department. His actions didn’t go down well with the HR powers-that-be, but it spoke volumes of his perception of the HR department’s abilities to get him the right talent.:p It was no wonder that his department had 0% attrition.

I am afraid that such practices by HR departments are robbing companies of talents and talented people of the right jobs. My classmate in college a really gifted and wonderful writer now works in software marketing.

How many such talents have been snuffed out no one knows.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The ideal man

Who would be my ideal man? This was the topic of conversation last Saturday between us friends. Each of decided to give this topic a really really wild shot. No holds barred kind of expectations from our future mates. ( guys pleej to note this point)

I am not a teenager anymore, when your idea of the ideal man would be a judicious mix of the looks of a romantic star with a body of an action hero and the sense of humor of a comedian. So my shot at the ideal man was very ‘wild’ too but in a different way. Here’s my take:

My ideal man would have had a live in arrangement with a gal for at least a year. (Freshers need not apply.) The one year would have made him fairly used to living with a gal and it would have smoothed out the rough edges off him. He would of course be over the girl too by the time he becomes my ideal man :p ( It would be just like being gifted with a cute puppy that is housebroken and trained, my idea of a perfect gift!)

There was pin drop silence when I let out this piece of information and then lots of “What!!!!!!” and “Are you crazy?!!??!”. Then strangely enough there was a grudging acceptance of my view of an ideal man. After all we were being wild and not boringly serious weren’t we? The girls still had the age old feeling of distaste at the thought of a man who had already lived-in with another woman. But the more we talked about it, the more the idea became palatable to the crowd. Suddenly the girls began seeing more and more advantages in such a guy.

Ok I admit that maybe subconsciously I am trying to do away with the first few difficult months in a relationship when a guy has to be housebroken (:p). (yeah girls I can see the nodding of heads).

As the gals warmed up to the idea some brilliant suggestions started pouring out. For example, one bright soul in the group hoped that that her ideal guy would be used to helping his ex putting mehendi on her hair as she finds it difficult to do it on her own, another hoped that her ideal man would have been taught by his ex to put nail polish on her toes, yet another gal wanted him to be thoroughly coached in cooking by his ex…. and there is more. One gal wanted her ideal to be trained by his ex in aerobics and another in pole dancing. By this time we were rolling on the floor laughing. I shall refrain from revealing some of the ahem…other talents the girls wanted in their ideal guy.

I for one am happy that we had that talk session. It was liberating in a sort of way because from a hesitant start the girls got really creative ( the Breezers helped). And after the discussion as it always happens with us, we fell into a collective silence, as we ruminated on the fact that each of us had a personality of our own and based on that we had some idea of the kind of man we would like to spend our lives with… and the sobering fact that for most of us, an arranged marriage awaited in the distant future.

But till then we are gonna party!!! :p

(Penned this in-flight on my lappie with a weirdo sitting next to me trying desperately to peep into my lappie)

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Songsters of the sky

Verditer Flycatcher
Photo courtesy Kolkata Birds

As a kid, around 8/9 years of age I found a couple of magazines in my Dad’s small library of magazines and books, which he had collected while in the Gulf. The magazine was titled ‘Outdoors’. I think it was a Canadian magazine. The colorful pictures of sprawling blue mountains, snow covered slopes, rivers winding through snow and the sheer beauty of the landscape had me hooked. In the same section of the library I found books by Jim Corbett, and E P Gee and some other authors. I was a voracious reader then and these books were devoured in a trice. ’Outdoors’ was a magazine for hunters and I soon developed distaste for it. My Dad had apparently picked it up at the Airport Book Shop.

However chancing upon this magazine and these books on Wildlife was a life changing moment for me. I had found my calling, my passion…perhaps it was the genes…perhaps not as my Dad was an accomplished hunter in his younger days… or maybe yes, because he changed after he read Jim Corbett, E P Gee and Rudyard Kipling. Till today my Dad cannot explain how or why he purchased these books as he had no inclination or interest towards environmental issues then. But these books somehow landed in his possession as though placed there by fate for me to chance upon. I of course expanded this library. My Dad gladly let me take the books for my collection and these books were the first ‘serious’ books among my Golden Key comics, Enid Blyton, Asterix, Tin Tin and Kiddy Encyclopedia collection.

It was the book, The Wild Life of India by EP Gee that influenced me the most. It’s simple narration and helpless tone over the fast vanishing wild life of India was just the thing to ignite and interest in wild life conservation. I must confess that one cannot just read a book on wildlife and get enthusiastic about conservation. The matter has to take root in your heart and in your mind. As a kid I was fascinated by birds, I have been through the ‘jumping from the table flapping my arms trying to fly routine’ several times. I have spent hours watching birds fly in formation is sheer joy and free abandon from the terrace. The sheer color of their plumage and absolute freedom to swim in the air held me in thrall. E P Gee talked at length about Salim Ali in his book, a man he admired a lot. So it was no wonder that my interest in Birds took a firmer root when my parents presented me with a book on Indian birds by Salim Ali.

Salim Ali pioneered ornithology in India and made it a serious pursuit. It is because of him that ‘Birding’ and bird conservation has become a passion for several individuals and organizations who are now working doggedly to save India’s birds from extinction. Salim Ali died in 1987 when I was a few years old. I wish he had been born a little later so that I could get to meet him and shake hands with him. He is a living proof of the existence of God. Who else but God could have put him in our midst to remind us of these tiny and gentle creatures that form a vital link in the cycle of Nature. Besides delighting us with their color, wonderful plumage and sweet songs.

I am by no means a professional birder or ‘twitchers’ as they are called. My support for the various organization working for conservation is monetary, besides the regular birding outings with our amateur group and awareness camps in college and now in office. However birds are my life long passion and I cannot imagine a world without them. Spotting a rare bird is like a ray of hope that all is not lost. I cannot describe the delight of spotting a bird, recognizing it and following it with your binoculars. It is an addiction and like an addiction there is always one more spot you must try …and you keep walking and tracking through calls or a flash of color or movement in the foliage …till you realize it is sunset and you got to head home.

Nov 12th is Dr Salim Ali’s birthday. God bless you Dr Salim Ali!

( I am travelling from tomorow. Hope to log in and reply to comments. See you guys next week. Poomanam too will be updated only next week. Caio!)

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Winds of change

Today was Karnataka bundh…but I went to work and found quite a few people at work especially the unmarried gals many of them living in PG digs. Over the past two weeks I have met and befriended most of the girls working here. It doesn’t take long for girls to become friends, though I see the opposite in guys. They tend to make a couple of friends within their team or have friends outside the office. Whenever we are, we girls immediately form a group; it is the most natural thing that happens. Soon your problems become theirs and vice versa and we sort of know what is happening in each others life. A married gal would greet another in the morning with a question about her day after she went home, unsolved tiffs with hubby or inlaws or other irritants that would be general knowledge among the gals.

In my last company I was witness to a spate of weddings of my gal colleagues. Most of them marrying with stars in the eyes and then the troubling lightening crash to absolute boredom or irritation with married life within weeks!!! The married gals of course, chuckled with an "I told you so" kind of look.

Today I see a subtle but definite change in the attitude of girls. After living under oppressive and restrictive middle class parents, then tasting freedom and financial independence at PG digs and employment, they are not willing to get back to that kind of lifestyle via marriage. As I write this post four marriages are in the divorce court from my last company and an equal number in this office too. In all these cases, the girls just could not take the pressure of job and housework and realized that they had a choice not to live like this. They had done their best, but when you have lived in a PG/home where food was served on time and all you had to do was make sure you got up in time and reached office in time, they kind of wonder why they have to give up such a lifestyle. The US work culture, lets face it is not conducive to an Indian kind of marriage where the woman does most of the work. And this realization is dawning on girls nowadays. Today gals are taking a good hard look at marriages and what is in it for them. The fact is all of them know what’s in it for them…housework and the onus of looking after another human being. Besides nosey interfering in laws and relations. This is the cold analysis of a marriage from a working gals viewpoint.

The married girls on the other hand, swear that their daughters will not be brought up to believe that marriage is the ultimate goal in a girl’s life. And this generation of girls will soon be upon us and they sure will be very different from this present generation.

Like most oppressed people, the womenfolk of India, at least the younger lot too is beginning to raise their voices and rebel. The world of the Indian gal is in a churn and I for one wonder what this churn will throw up. Will it be embittered feminists or die hard single career girls? No one knows, but the change is underway and what direction it will take depends a lot on the Indian guys.

Will the Indian man rise to the occasion or through his refusal to change make extremists of these girls? The juggernaut of change cannot be stopped but I hope it goes in the right direction.

The ball is in your court dear Indian gentlemen!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

I'm happy!

No folks I did not win a Jackpot or a promotion. I am happy because of some other reasons. When I came into this office I was given a brand new comp with *UGH* freeware like OpenOffice *puke*. I immediately got rashes (I swear this is true) and demanded to see the Sysadmin. Now my Chief Syssie here is a jovial Bong, sweet and chubby and round as a Rosogolla. (But the poor man has a completely mallu team. He still manages to smile despite such tragedies). So I told him of my problems and he laughed. ( He laughs at anything... for example I remarked that it looks like it is going to rain and he was ROFL.) So my MS Office problem had him shaking with laughter and every muscle and fat group in his body got a well deserved exercise. ( The fat group clearly outnumbered the muscle group though at the ratio of 1: 756385754)

Amidst uncontrollable laughter he told a rather shy chota sysadmin to attend to my distresses. The rather shy chota sysadmin came shyly into my cabin and opened ‘My Computer’ very shyly. Then he blushed when he saw that he had forgotten to install MS Office. So he downloaded MS Office and went away blushing.

A few minutes later another chota sysadmin who was a little better than the other rather shy chota sysadmin in the shyness department came and installed Photoshop. After which another chota syadamin came and installed Corel Draw. After everyone had got a chance to come and install something or the other on my comp, the March Past of the Sysadmins stopped. ( it was fun and educative while it lasted, I got to see a variety of Sysadmins and their bumblings. Made me feel very human ) For example:

Chota Syadmin: I have installed Adobe Photoshop for you.
Me: er… I want Adobe Photoshop and not Adobe Acrobat.
Chota Syadmin: ooops ente daivame!! Sorry tow!

So now I have my beloved Microsoft Suite of products without which I frankly cannot live. ( I can almost feel Aashiks evil grin right now :p ).Maybe I am too used to it. I have been using MS Office from the time I was a teeny bopper and could reach the keyboard. It was easier to use the thesaurus in MS Word than consult a dictionary with a million pages and tiny miniscule print. And of course the teacher was none the wiser. I even got honorable mention for ‘Consulting the Dictionary’.

I know, I know I keep taking digs at MS but then I take digs at my Mom and second brother too don’t I? You take digs at people you love. See, I never make digs at Anonymous commenters!!!

After the installation, suddenly all the documents changed their icons and the familiar MS Word icon appeared on them like magic. It was truly a wonderful and breathtaking moment. And then I clicked on MS Word and as the familiar window opened I almost kissed the monitor. (Trust me after beholding Open Office Writer you will kiss even your boss.) So me is back on track and life is good once again.

Pssst don’t think I wont take digs at Papa Billy and his armamentarium. That will continue as an when it irritates or annoys me.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

On blogging...

Picked up this heaven sent tag from Pradeep. Been wanting to write about blogging for some time now.

1. Are you happy/satisfied with your blog, with its content and look? Does your family know about your blog?

I am very satisfied with my blog, because I have no aspirations or ambitions for it. All I wanted was to write without censure and editing. My family knows about this blog and I started blogging with their approval. I am happy with the feel as I am not obsessed about my blog.

2. Do you feel embarrassed to let your friends know about your blog or you just consider it as a private thing?

I am careful about who knows about my blog. I come from a conservative community and everything I write has the potential of a scandal. So only some close friends and relations know about my blog. I also work in a company that requires me to admit to any blogging activity and so I write under a pen name. I would love to blog under my name but then it would restrict the freedom of expression and I do not want to write politically correct posts.

3. Did blogs cause positive changes in your thoughts?

Yes. I never thought when I started blogging that anyone would be interested in my writing. But surprisingly there seemed to be an increasing number of guys reading my blog. And they were such gentlemen!!! And I say this not because they liked my posts, but because they seemed tolerant of a gals outlook on life and guys in general. My perceptions about guys have changed. I have realized that the community of guy bloggers are thorough gentlemen or maybe only gentlemen blog :) I feel good to have connected to so many people.

(All you gals scouring shaadi know where to get the best my blogs!!!!!!!! And it’s FREEE!!!!)


4. Do you only open the blogs of those who comment on your blog or you love to go and discover more by yourself?

There was a time when I had time to blog hop and that is how I discovered most of my blog pals and I sort of settled into reading some on a regular basis because I like their writing. Through my blog pals many people discovered my blog. But nowadays, I comment only on posts that I like reading. If I come across interesting blogs I do comment.

5.What does visitors counter mean to you? Do you care about putting it in your blog?

I put it the Statcounter at Poomanam on Leon's advice last October (2005). It has been a real eye opener. I realized that there are more silent readers than commenters. I get an average of 10k hits at Poomanam and 2 K hits per month at Think Pad. I did care about putting in one at this blog for the same reason. However the fact is, nothing affects my writings. I write what I want and will keep writing till I feel like, whether there are readers or not. That is my blogging philosophy.

6. Did you try to imagine your fellow bloggers and give them real pictures?

No, I didn’t.

7. Admit. Do you think there is a real benefit for blogging?

By real if you mean ‘monetary’ then I do not know. Otherwise it is a great help…most reticent people turn very eloquent while blogging. And once you get used to expressing your thoughts, you get a clearer picture of who you are and what you want in life. I would call bloggers a ‘mind community’. When you see a person in flesh and blood, some prejudices like the way a person looks or some mannerisms can cloud your impression of the person. But in blogs you respond only to the person’s thought process, which I think is the most honest form of interaction.

8. Do you think that bloggers society is isolated from real world or interacts with events?

I don’t think there is a bloggers society. I think we all have our offline life and do not spend our entire time at our blogs to be called a society. Blogging is just another small part of our daily lives. But when it comes to calamities, bloggers do rally around and do their best to help.

9. Does criticism annoy you or do you feel it's a normal thing?

Criticisms of my writing style annoy me because I am not a professional writer. My blog is like my personal diary. You don’t peep into people’s diaries and comment on their writing styles do you? My blog is the same. Just another random rambling. Criticism also means you are taking away the right of a blogger to freedom of expression. Period.

I also do not like expectations from me, something that is happening regularly these days. I do not like my blog (Poomanam) being in the limelight though inadvertently it has. I want it to be considered just another blog and not a regular syndicated humor column, which seems to be the popular perception now.

10. Do you fear some political blogs and avoid them?

I don’t fear political blogs. My favorites are on my blogroll at Poomanam. But I know nothing about politics so don’t comment on political blogs except at DOC and Vinod's and lately Brijesh's blogs… and that is because these people tolerate my comments and have not booted me out yet. :p

11. Did you get shocked by the arrest of some bloggers?

I didn’t know anything about this. But if they have used their blog for criminal or anti State activities then they deserve it.

12. Did you think about what will happen to your blog after you die?

It will die with me. My blog is uniquely me. My friend and my brother has my User ID and password. So they will keep it open I guess till there are readers for the archives.

13. What do you like to hear? What's the song you might like to put a link to in your blog?

I would like to hear:


I see trees of green, red roses too
I see them bloom for me and you
And I think to myself, what a wonderful world

I see skies of blue and clouds of white
The bright blessed day, the dark sacred night
And I think to myself, what a wonderful world

The colours of the rainbow, so pretty in the sky
Are also on the faces of people going by
I see friends shakin' hands, sayin' "How do you do?"
They're really saying "I love you"

I hear babies cryin', I watch them grow
They'll learn much more than I'll ever know
And I think to myself, what a wonderful world
Yes, I think to myself, what a wonderful world

Oh yeah

I can hear anything as long as it is melodious or has a good beat. I would put a new song everyday on my blog :)

This is one time I will take great pleasure in tagging some people. And these are a few of my favorite men err..I mean tagees :p

Alexis, Mind Curry, Jiby, Mathew (if the Germans allow you to blog), Ganja Turtle, Fleiger and Emmanuel. And a very eloquent and elegant gal blogger...Quills!

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Reminiscences ...

Yesterday was my brother M’s birthday. Last year I wrote this post in his honor on a dare ( I was richer by Rs 1000/- the kanjoos!!!). While going over my old stuff I found a Slam Book that was such a rage when I was in school. Here are some excerpts from his entry in a as is where is basis. He was 12 or 13 years old I think.

My name: wuts ur prob
My address: da moon
My phone no: 091-get-out-of-my-face.
My Sunsign: Heat
My biggest asset: Myself.
I’m sad about: Writing this stuff
My most memorable moment: 4 minutes back (before I started writing this duh!!!!)
Biggest Strength: Not u (Ha! Ha! Ha!)
My hobbies: notin u like
My favorite Singer: Myself
A girl/boy I like most and why: Myself (duh!!!)
A girl/boy I hate most and why: u cos u r a pest
I love wearing: Clothes (duh!!!)
My best teacher (Male): MAHATMA GANDHI (Ha! Ha! Ha!)
My favorite movie: Silverine shuts up!
What annoys me: U!! (duh!)
What bores me: Writing this!
My ambition: Millionaire
My dearest pal: My dog (that’s actually my dog)
My dream lover: Me
Love to me is: Mum
Person I respect : Dad
What I feel for you: U dont want to know( Ha! Ha! Ha!)

(I am da greatest…not you!)

Of course I cried and almost tore the paper up because my friends sister's had written such sweet stuff. Thank god, my mom kept it safe till I cooled down. I now have something to show his future wife, in case she needs solid evidence of insanity in court!! :p
On second thoughts I will sell it to the highest bidder muahaHAHAHA

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Life is good!!!

I would describe a perfect day as...opening my blog and seeing two tiny asterix next to a name on my Blog Roll, which indicates that someone has published a new post.

The last two weeks was reading heaven for me. Jiby came out with some posts in quick succession. I won’t even attempt to describe his posts; each one is so perfect and interesting.

Kusum came out with some brilliant posts that left me gawping at it’s sheer spunkiness and subtle sense of humor.

My old pal If I tell ya, I'll have to kill ya resurfaced and put up a rib tickling piece in a way only she can write.

Mind Curry’s latest post on the Cola ban, has me chuckling at the sheer stupidity of some commenters and I can almost visualize MC trying his best to reply to the comments with a straight face. At this present moment I wonder if he behaving like AA in my latest post :p I sincerely hope he is not and that he will continue his crusade to resurrect the land of the zombies. His posts and comments at Save Kerala should be made compulsory study for Anthropologists trying to decipher the Malayaleee psyche. You won’t get such a rich source of study material anywhere. No need to cut open a Malayalee brain to see what make them tick and go BOOM, just read the comments at Save Kerala and you can say goodbye to those tomes and volumes that thousands have consulted in vain to decipher the Malayalees.

Alexis came up with a mega bumper post and lord in heaven… I am laughing hysterically as I type this …it is so howlarious that I am going to get into serious trouble at the office. My new team members who are not used to seeing me giggling into a monitor like my last team, think that I am crazy!!!

Ganja Turtle came up with, not one but four posts with astonishing speed. I would describe his recent posts as watching the New York Philharmonic Orchestra playing at the Grand Canyon to an exclusive audience consisting only of Mother Earth , the orchestra reaching a crescendo as the Sun sinks into the canyon in grand applause.

Matter of Choice …a blogger whose command over English and maturity of thought I admire, wrote about Shine Garments. Every post of his is a satisfying read for me. I simply admire the richness of his language and the mix of wisdom and wit that has prompted me to tell him many times in the past that he should blog more often.

Angel Doc’s posts, in which she describes the elements is second to none. One of those few people who can weave a beautiful tapestry of visuals describing Nature using mere words …her latest post on Dasappa and her description of the rain lashing near the Vellayani lake left me awestruck.

Jeremy the jewel….I call him that because each of his post is like a gem, short and sweet but beautiful and precious and sooo refreshing.

Thank you Sarah for making each day something to look forward to with your story...a complusive read for me.

And last but not the least the very hilarious professor of Iyer Education…he reminds me of Tom the cat. Recently he attempted a story and I realized to my horror that I am a compulsive ‘twist in the tale’ girl. Of course I realized this when I wrote Acid Rain and Silent Killer, but I guess my tendencies are resurfacing again...because when I saw this story by Iyer Education I went into a trance and redid the story…with a twisted twist in the tale. And Sir Iyer fortunately let me off without an imposition!

What to do? I am like this only. I love to read the blogs of a few people...and when they oblige me with a post, I can only say thank you. Blogging is no fun if your favorite bloggers don’t post, but blogging has to be natural too….and so I wait patiently till one of them has to say something. Right now I am in blogger heaven. If I have missed out anyone then I am sorry, I will add an addendum as I remember.

Thank you all you wonderful people!!!