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!!!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

To the one I love...

To my itsy bitsy chweety pie of a doggie woggie!

I fell in love with you the moment I saw you
You were my baby from the time I set my eyes on you
I carried you home in the palm of my hand
You were so tiny
And then you entered my house
and conquered my home and my family
You became the most important thing for everyone
Suddenly everyone wanted to carry you
cuddle you
put you on their bed and even sleep with you
There was a tug of war and I was left questioning whether you
were my dog or theirs
But I realized that sweetness such as yours was to be shared.

You cried when I am sick
Went off food
and hung around morosely under my bed
or curled yourself into a tight ball...
now and then looking up to see if I was alright
Whined in the morning if I slept late
Scared lest I am not alive
And I always put out a hand
to reassure you before falling back to sleep

You are the first thing I see in the morning
And the last face I behold at night
I have no choice as you…
Hang around me like a shadow

You are my angel that God sent down
To tell me I am special
Happy B'day chweety pie, lollypop, sugar plum, honey bunch, doggylee, fur face, love of my love and all the other things mushy that I call you
except your name.


Thursday, September 21, 2006

Of human perversions

"I was with this girl the other night and from the way she was responding to my skillful caresses, you would have sworn that she was conscious from the top of her head to the tag on her toes."

Emo Philips

If you understood that, then you are among the urban group who have grown up on a steady diet of American books and understand a lot about western society. Any other Indian on the other hand would not understand this joke, because necrophilia is unknown to him. In the US where everything and anything is possible, jokes like these are laughed off. In India it would be treated with shock. And therein lies a tale that is spine chilling and very disquieting.

I got a forward recently sent to me by my cousin in UK. He is a father of two young boys aged 3 and 7. The email was a petition against leniency to two teenage boys who tortured and then killed a five year old by pushing him under a train. The boy was tortured for hours before he found reprieve in death. During the ordeal he cried for his mother. He was apparently picked up from a store when his mom looked away for an instant.

I followed a link in the mail and was soon confronted with sites, which chronicled crime in the West. What I read was horrifying. Apparently crime in the West is not as straightforward as it is in India. In the West you have people taking perverse pleasure in inflicting harm on another human being, sadism and torture of human beings and creative killing and people who take intense pleasure in these acts. Even babies are not spared. Sophisticated weaponry also makes sure that the victims have no chance to put up a fight. The type of the crimes are mind boggling, scary and very very perverse.

I wonder how or what makes people do such things? It cannot be just manic behavior because most of these criminals were educated people who were as sane as you and me. A friend and senior in college, who is a Clinical Psychologist tells me that childhood abuse, violence and neglect is what makes criminals like these. In which case a parent or a guardian who has mistreated a kid should have also, logically been mistreated as a kid! Which raises the question, as to where it all began.

My cousins in US tell me that so many kids go missing in the US and are never traced. Many of them are abused and killed and their bodies disposed off. In fact there was a movie or a book that tried to get to the bottom of missing children.

Why does a society turn against it’s young, it’s very foundation? It is against all natural logic. And if the young were treated thus, then it wouldn’t be too far fetched to surmise that the West maybe, is a nation of troubled adults…would it?

( I am listening to Your Tenderness by Naveen J Anthraper , the rocker from Kochi who is making waves worldwide. This song is an all time favorite of mine. Please wait for the video to load.)

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Leaders in thought and action

Yesterday, as I was sitting at my comp, working, my colleague M, an foreigner dropped by. He had been to some village during the weekend and was amazed at it's primitiveness. He remarked that he felt like he was going back in time.

His remarks left me thinking. Here was a man from the Caucasian stock, a race of people who went through the same process of evolution as us. But look at them!!! Almost every advancement in modern day world can be credited to them.

As I looked around my office floor, I could not spot a single item except the Zero’s written on my notepad that was either discovered or invented by an Oriental. Even the concept of justice and equality is borrowed from them and our Constitution comprises of the salient features from many western countrie's Constitutions.

The computer I work on, the software I was using, the chair and table, the pen and paper I used, my mobile everything, directly or indirectly was made by the white man. What is it that sets apart them from us, as both the western and eastern civilizations went through the same process of evolution from primitive beings?

While we evolved culturally, they evolved and progressed on all fronts. We send droves of Software Engineers to the US, while they discovered Computers and Software Engineering. In fact even the fertilizer used in the village, which my colleague visited, would have been invented by someone in the western civilization. Almost every enhancement in our life, from birth to death can be attributed to them.

Overlooking the obvious criticisms of the western society, I must admit that they are definitely superior to us in intellect. We excel in everything they invent, but rarely invent or discover anything new on our own, even today, when we have IISCs and IITs.

I still wonder what sets them apart from the other races on this planet.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The young and the bold and sometimes foolish

When I joined my first job, my designation was Marketing Communication and Public Relations (PR). I had zilch experience in PR, except for the usual college projects on drafting Press Release etc. I got to write my first Press Release in the first week that I joined. It was a small press release about someone joining our company in some capacity. So I dutifully wrote it, got it approved etc. Now this company had a PR agency, but the PR manager wanted me to have experience of disseminating the Press Release the real way, i.e making a database of Journos and then mailing them individually after calling them up and then following the story as it broke in papers worldwide. During the week that I sent out the Press Releases I learnt some big lesson made some huge gaffes and became a minor celebrity in the PR department.

Case number one:

I call this all-supreme journo in a prominent newspaper and tell him of the Press Release. He grunts when he hears the subject of the release and tells me to mail to him. Next day I see that the news has not come in the paper. So I promptly call him. He tells me that it is not such an important news and that he will publish it on Friday. So I mull over that information and call him again and ask him if he could publish it on a Thursday as Friday is followed by the weekend and people who miss the news on Friday may miss it altogether. He is livid. He asks me my name, when I have joined and enquires if I know who he was etc. I told him that I knew nothing about him and why he is acting so difficult? I heard sputtering and choking noises on the other end as he tried to control the indignation of being spoken to with such irreverence. To his credit he calmed down and gave me an impromptu lesson on talking to senior journalist while trying to get your matter published etc. In my inexperience I missed the point totally. And so I again reiterated that I wanted the news on Thursday, to which he replied that he would speak to my boss the PR manager. I don’t know what transpired between them, but the news got published on a Thursday and my PR manager was suddenly smiling at me. I got a couple of calls from our PR agency people too, all of them chuckling that I had called a spade a spade, i.e called the senior journo ‘difficult’.

Case number two:

I call this very important Business magazine for the same press release. The person I am directed to is the top journo, a business and technology writer who thinks that people should read his bio-data and research his articles before even speaking to him. Not knowing him from Jack I called him and told him that I was mailing him the press release and please may I know when it would be published. There was pin drop silence. Then he quietly asked me if I knew who he was. I honestly told him ‘no’. He suggested I find out and call him again and then he slammed the phone down. I hate rude people and any act of rudeness only makes me bold. So I promptly called him again and told him that it was not nice of him to be so rude. He must have been taken aback but he said mildly “Oh really and what do you expect me to do? Take orders from a rookie PR like you who doesn’t even know how to talk to a senior journalist?” I told him that I was sorry if he felt I was ordering him around and that all I wanted was my press release published. He told me to mail it in and kept the phone down. The news got published and when he dropped by our office to interview my MD, I was called to meet him. When I walked into the conference room he exclaimed “So this is the kid who was talking so boldly to me?” He was a distinguished old man and we took and instant liking for each other and remain friends to this day. He is still Mr. High and Mighty and I am no more in PR.

After joining this new company, as is the usual practice I called up all the journos and informed them of the change and I happened to speak to these two gentlemen. They of course, took lot of pleasure in reminding me of my first Press Release and I was left very red faced at my naiveté.

Today when I see the new PR gals shivering at the thought of speaking to a senior journo, I realize that it was my total lack of awe, bought on my complete lack of knowledge of PR practices that pulled off that coup.

And my PR manager…she just played her cards ( a wet behind the ears PR gal) very well. Kudos Ms SS !!

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Cashing in on the poor

I was passing by one of those seedy movies theaters that you see in the seedier parts of Bangalore. This one too was festooned with streamers and serial lights, which seem to be ever present in these theaters. This time I saw a giant poster of the Kamalahaasan movie Indian. The “I” in Indian was the picture of the ‘older’ Kamalahaasan in Khaakhi. This movie is about an old man who became a killer after the some tragic circumstances in his life bought about by politicians and people in authority. The movie was a huge hit. Kamalahaasan acted as the old man, the wife and the son in a triple role. The poster was signed by a string of names from the Kamalahaasan Fan Club.

During the time this movie was released, a slew of similar productions hit the floor, all with the same theme. Man gets abused by politician, or his daughter/wife/sister raped by a politician or his son/father/brother killed by a politician, and spineless cops etc etc. These themes were sure fire hits and made many a producer rich.

Someone left a comment on Poomanam sometime back that “movies reflect life”. How true. And movie makers who are willing to harvest current sentiments always win. It is evident by the popularity of these movies that there is a great deal of resentment against the all powerful rich politicians. And it is this aspect about our people that puzzles me. If this is the case then ‘why oh why’ do the crowd that watch these movies elect them?????

When I was staying in the city last year to cut back on commute time, we had a maid doing top work in our house. During the local corporation election time I asked her who she would vote for. She named a really corrupt Corporator of our Ward. The reason? Because he got her a seat for her child in school. Now this man was the epitome of corruption and would demand money even if you were putting up a garage in your house. He would ride to power on the votes of the people in the Ejipura slum and the slum adjacent to Games Village and then lord over the Koramangala residents. I looked at my maid and realized that it was she who selected rulers for me and not me the educated and hence ‘better informed’ voter. The fact is it is my maid, the corporation sweeper on the road, the workshop man, the housepainter, the tea coffee delivery boy etc who make the choices of our leaders and not you and me. It was a depressing thought.

And it is these people who throng the theater and whistle when the baddie gets bashed up, usually a goonda protected by a politician. And by the reaction of the masses to these scenes in the movie, one would think that they are aware of the corruption and hence would vote responsibly. But that rarely happens, doesn't it?

And the politicians have never had it so good. Muscle power, Investments flows, a powerless educated electorate makes them the omnipotent class in this country today. Which is why Bangalore the Hi Tech City had dust tracks instead of roads for the past four years and looked like a ghost town.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

A Corporate Onam

Today was our office Onam celebration. This year a lot of malayalees could not go to Kerala for Onam due to project deadlines. So we decided that we would try and give them a semblance of the Onam celebration as it is celebrated in Kerala.

A committee was formed on the spur of the moment and lightening decisions with the help of all concerned including department heads meant that we had an elaborate Onam Celebration in our hands. And it turned out to be a grand celebration indeed with everyone pitching in.

An elaborate Onasadhya was arranged with a caterer who specializes in the same. Nowadays these caterers are in demand as most companies have Onasadhya on Onam day. So we were lucky to get this caterer. We had a Pookolam competition last year, but this year decided against it and we instead settled for a large Pookolam in the Cafeteria.

We started with the Pookolam first thing in the morning. It was a combined effort with the guys doing a much better job than the girls. They came complete with a highly technical chart of the Pookolam design and then went about the whole Pookolam design in a systematic ‘engineer’ kinda way. They cut ropes of various sizes and put them on the outline, then filled the space in between with the petals. Not very intricate like Mind Curry's but neat and clean, looked just like our glass fronted building. Someone incorporated the logo too to complete the picture…and we had the most corporate Pookolam ever :p

Me and my pal Trish, did the small Pookolam in the reception area. What it lacked in precision, it made up in design. A lamp in the centre bathed the Pookolam with it’s soft golden light. The expats in our company were the most enthusiastic lot and it was so nice to see their blond heads bent in concentration arranging the Pookolam.

A Swedish colleague Stefan came and helped me and Trish with our Pookolam and he wouldn’t get up till he felt it was picture perfect.Most memorable moment was watching Stefan cleaning up the surounding area with a broom and dust pan and shooing anyone who came within 5 feet of the Pookolam.

What stood out today was the camaraderie among the people who organized the day. There was a determination to make it as memorable as possible. The Department heads too chipped in by giving the day off for the members of the organizing committee.

Lunch was very traditional with everyone coming into the cafeteria getting the traditional sandalwood paste smeared on their forehead. One of the Teams bought mundus (lungi) for everyone in their team including the expats and it was so nice to see the full gang in traditional Kerala outfits. First time in my life I saw blond mallus. :))

As is the tradition we, i.e. mallus helped serve lunch on banana leaves as we were the hosts of the day. Our CTO an American, wore a mundu, Kerala style and served the Kaalan at the Onasadhya. It was hilarious watching him tie up his tongue into knots trying to say 'Onashamsakal’. He didn’t give up and finally managed to say it with reasonable accuracy.

There were 34 items in the Onasadhya and I think I may eat my next meal for the next Onam, I am so stuffed. By the time we sat down for our Lunch it was already 3. But that was the best part of the day. It felt really good to finish feeding the hordes and then sit down for a well deserved Onam lunch with some Malayalam songs playing in the background. It was a sight to see, a sea of people in white and gold.

This months Intranet articles was all about Onam, (cos the Intranet in Charge, me is mallu of course) and it sort of helped kick start the programme.

Unlike other festivals arranged by the Corp Comm Team, this one was very different because it had a personal touch with all of us Malayalees and some non mallus too involved in every stage. A first in the company. Our Country Head sent out a mail in the evening, saying that this was the first time that a festival had everyone in it’s grip with it’s fervour and color. Today I felt proud to be a Mallu.

Happy Onam everyone :)

Saturday, September 02, 2006

My Super Ex-Girlfriend

Warning: Do not read if you are planning to watch the movie.

I saw My Super Ex-Girlfriend yesterday night at the Symphony. It is a nice movie to watch if you want to give your brain a vacation of two hours to recuperate from being your brain.

The story line is unbelievable…literally. Luke Wilson and his nerdy needy pal Rainn Wilson are traveling by train when Rainn spots Uma Thurman. She looks spectacularly boring like most train commuters but then hey… she is Uma Thurman and you got to pick her up from the crowd to get the movie going. Apart from that there is no convincing reason why Rainn spots her with her brown toupee, spectacles and makeup less mousy face. Rainn convinces Luke to ask her out which he does quite charmingly only to be met with a ‘No’. Just when you are telling yourself ‘cant a guy take a hint?’ the movie takes a bollywood kinda turn. A bag snatcher snatches Uma’s hand bag and runs out of the stationery train. It was moving I swear, when Uma said ‘No’.

Most of the plot that provides the twists and turns in this movie are unbelievable.

Luke Wilson for one, looks good and definitely not the kind of guy who has no love life and hence is desperate enough to pick up a dull looking Uma Thurman in a suburban train.

Uma Thurman acts like a neurotic, jumpy, crazy woman on their first date, scaring the living daylights out of Luke and the audience. Besides this, the scriptwriter gives Luke enough hints as large as a mental asylum, that Uma Thurman is cuckoo, but he still asks her out for a second time, and you kinda say “he deserved it’ when things turn really bad for him.

Luke’s plan was to get laid and move on, but he makes the cardinal mistake of asking her out again, and Uma promptly falls in love with him. When he tells her that he is not in love with her, she literally hits the roof and makes a hole in the ceiling. She vows to make him pay for the rejection and flies away in a rage through the hole in the ceiling. This, of course happens on the second date.

Uma's character is full of holes, which is good actually as she does a lot of flying around in the air at supersonic speed. Adds to her aerodynamic character. She is sensible enough to appear like Superman and save the city from the stupid catastrophes thought up by the Stunt Director, but she is absolutely stupid otherwise. Perhaps the Stunt Director could have directed the entire film, as the only scenes that make sense are the Supergirl exploits of Uma Thurman. She also looks good only in the movie posters and in her G-girl avataar, losing the brown toupee and spectacles. The stunt director has taste I must say.

Then Luke realizes that he is in love with his sweet colleague Anna Faris, whose nice boyfriend conveniently gets himself caught in bed with three girls to clear the way for Luke. She promptly falls in love with him and they make love. (See didn’t I tell you that Luke doesn’t look needy?). Uma throws a live shark into their bedroom scene…the shark fortunately has better tastes and bites off huge chunks of the furniture in a feeding frenzy. Due to some personal ethics not divulged by the scriptwriter, Uma doesn’t go after Anna even though she should… logically.

Finally an ex boyfriend of Uma devices a glowing rock, similar to the one which made Uma super powerful and makes her walk into a trap set by Luke. Of course he forgets to tell girlfriend Anna not to barge in making a huge scene, which leads to the explosion of the rock making Anna also a Supergirl.

The theater was packed with nine people, out of which two were the ushers, one was a guy who kept gazing into his cellpone, besides five girls...out of whom one kept looking around thinking “I will blog about this”, another kept giggling at everything including the 'Please take care of your belongings in the theater’ slide and the ‘Nokia ad’, and another who was watching the movie like she is watching the 'Schindler’s List’ and another who kept exclaiming “The cheese popcorn is soggy, chat popcorn is spicy and the masala popcorn is too bland” etc. The fifth one is still missing.

Oh yes... before I end this rather long review, please avoid the Ice cream in the theater. It is very good actually, but not advisable to be eaten in the air-conditioned theater or you will end up writing movie reviews on a Saturday night sniffling with cold, cough and fever.

Have a nice weekend everyone.


Marvin by Tom Armstrong

(So true isn't it? Got this from the newspaper. Couldn't resist posting it.)