Tuesday, January 30, 2007

In the name of God...

My ex colleague R called me a little distressed the other day. She needed a huge amount of money urgently. She had applied for a personal loan which was approved and the bank was to give her the cheque next month. But R needed the money right then. I obliged by chipping in. The money was for a temple renovation work her Dad was undertaking in Kerala. I wondered why her Dad should go through so much expense when they were not well off, but refrained from commenting on the same. R returned the money today. She explained that her Dad had made promises to rebuild the temple and she and her sister had to support the expenditure with their meagre salary or incur the wrath of the devi. She wasn’t too happy about the situation but had accepted the same as any opposition would make her father go into emotional blackmail mode.

Another colleague and her four sisters, all techies would send money every month to their father in Kerala for various poojas and other religious activities that he undertook. They did it reluctantly because if they didn’t, then their father would borrow and creditors would soon come calling these girls for money.

These are not just two instances but among the many I have heard from my mallu colleagues. What is remarkable about these cases are that most of these girls are from “girls only” families and their fathers are usually unemployed, retired, small farmers or in low paid jobs. As soon as the daughters are employed they start flaunting their money and justifying the expense on religious grounds by sponsoring various festivals and poojas at their local temples.

As a non Hindu I really cannot comment on any of this as I do not know much about the religious obligations of Hindus, but from the girls own account these are unnecessary expenditure and they have no choice but to acquiesce till they are married and can hence say “No”!

This post has nothing to do with religion. Such exploitation happens in other avatars in Christian families too. Exploitation of girls happens irrespective of caste creed or religion.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Planet of the dogs!

My little dog Honey is a celebrity in her own right. She is the cynosure of all eyes and I have got to know a lot of people through her. In Church, Supermarket etc I have young couples, girls, old couples etc smiling at me even though I don't know them personally. These are people I meet when I take my doggies for a walk and who stop me on the road so that they can pat Honey.

There is even an unofficial "Honey" fan club in my area with the all the kids living here as members. Honey is a cream colored Lhasa Apso and she looks like any other Lhasa Apso’s, so I have never understood why she gets so much attention from all and sundry.

Anyways, recently my Wi-Fi router konked off and I had to call the Airtel people to replace it. This is the conversation that took between my brother M and the Airtel Engineer as he tried to guide him to our house:

M: Can you see the yellow board on the main road?
Airtel guy: Yes,and I have taken the right from there as you said but landed up at a deadend.
M: Ok, this time come straight down the road till you reach a house with a white gate and…
Airtel guy: Is this the house with the white fluffy dog?
M: Yes!
Airtel: Oh ok, now I know the house!!!

There was a time when she was my pet, now I am her “human” *sigh*

Thursday, January 18, 2007

The new kids of the South block

One of the most endearing things I have noticed, since I started working is a universal love for “Malayalam” among my southie colleagues. The moment they come to know I am a Malayalee, there are frequent requests for help with Malayalam words and a concerted effort to talk to me in Malayalam, mostly to learn or improve their Malayalam. And I am not talking of the guys only but gals too. The interest to learn Malayalam is almost universal here in Bangalore, at least in the IT companies and the enthusiasm very infectious.

There is also a respect when people know you are a Malayalee and an indulgent and affectionate acceptance of the Malayalam accent. In fact unlike some time ago, the accent is now a matter of pride for people who have mastered it. And here in this office I have a Tamil colleague, who is an ace in this. He is much admired for the authentic “Malayalam English” Malayalam Tamil” and Malayalam Kannada” that he can speak like a true Malayalee. The Malayalam way of speaking “English” like “zimble” and “olymbics” etc is common lingo and sometimes we have these “manglish” sessions which instead of invoking laughter invokes pride if you get it right!

In my Internal Messenger I won’t be surprised if someone suddenly messages asking for the Malayalam word for something. In fact it is routine. And if it is ‘colourful’ words they are looking for I direct them to my brother because my repertoire in this is area is limited to “patti” (dog) and “nayinde mon” (son of a dog) :p.

There is so much affection and curiosity about Malayalees nowadays. Almost like we are the new kids of the South block. Be it the language, the food, the culture, temples, towns...people just can't get enough. And the trouble people take to learn the language, is so heartwarming. Maybe because it is a difficult language to learn and hence poses a challenge or maybe not, but the interest nevertheless, is heart warming. One senior colleague of mine, a very respected software architect, insists on talking to me in Malayalam so that he can get used to it. And when I am talking to fellow mallus in Malayalam, I have people listening to me keenly as they feel it sounds very nice.

What can I say but I feel so proud. I do not know the origin of this interest in Malayalam and all things Malayalee, but it sure feels good.

It is almost as if people have suddenly woken upto "The Malayalee"

Friday, January 12, 2007


The first time I encountered 'death' was when I was around 10 years old. An old ammachi, one of my favourite grand aunts died of oldage and her funeral was the first one I have ever attended. My parents as a rule never took us for funerals, but this aunt died when we were in Kerala for summer vacations and hence there was no escaping the funeral. This was the first time I saw a dead body too. I knew vaguely that dead people stop breathing...in fact that was my concept of death. I remember watching my grand aunt as she lay in the coffin and feeling a little suffocated because she wasn’t breathing. I wondered how she was managing without breathing. In school we used to have “holding the breath” competitions and I know the discomfort of holding one's breath. But this aunt was lying rather comfortably even though she wasn’t breathing. I just couldn’t believe that she was not breathing. I watched her stomach closely, very sure that she must be taking a sneak breath like we did during the ‘holding the breath’ competitions. But she lay serene. After the burial as the family slowly wound its way back home I felt bad for my aunt because she would have to sleep in the cemetery now, all alone. I wondered if she would get scared in the night.

That night I badgered my mom with questions and my mom struggled to answer me as she wasn’t sure how she would explain death to me. All I got from her rather reluctantly was that the dead body would decompose and become one with the mud and soil. I was satisfied with the answer besides those were days when you thought that only old people died. Then I grew up a little and realised that young people and even kids died. That was when I got a scare. I didn’t want to die. I didn’t want to be put in a coffin and left in the cemetery. I didn't want to lie in a coffin all alone for eternity. I tried to reason that there would be other dead people in the cemetery to keep me company but somehow that wasn’t too reassuring.

I guess my Dad sensed my alarm due to my frequent questions about death and then one day sat me down and told me that when a person dies his soul leaves the body and goes to heaven. He told me that I live in my body and that I will come out of it when I die and go to heaven. And that I wouldn’t be buried when I die but the body that I cast off like the snake skins that I had seen in the parambu around the house in Kerala would be buried. This took an enormous load off my shoulders and a big nagging worry somewhere in the backend of mind was lifted.

Topics like death should be explained clearly to kids or kids come to their own conclusions and worry unnecessarily. The reason for this rant is my cousin brother’s daughter who was heard questioning him the same way I questioned my Mom years ago. My cousin brother struggled to answer and gave some vague reply about going to heaven etc. With his permission I told his little daughter the same thing my Dad told me years ago. She looked visibly relieved. My cousin brother also looked visibly relieved. Obviously his parents hadn’t explained the topic to him too. In the discussions that followed later in the house we concluded that topics like death should not be brushed under the carpet or shielded from kids. It is because of this that death becomes a morbid word for most of us. I think death like birth should be treated as a natural stage for every human. I have made my peace with death and the inevitability of death and don’t worry about it or think about it. But there are many who dread the word. Sad, life is for the living and not worrying about its end.

This beautiful quote illustrates my view of death.

Death must be so beautiful. To lie in the soft brown earth, with the grasses waving above one's head, and listen to silence. To have no yesterday, and no to-morrow. To forget time, to forgive life, to be at peace."

– Oscar Wilde

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Mr Right

I was going through Orkut with my friend when I came across what is perhaps one of the best profiles I have ever seen. I showed it to my colleagues today and work came to a stop in my office. Check it out for yourself. Girls...this Pakistani guy could be your dream man.


hey hi boys girls and evrybody
im a nice guy
i want great frandship frm all boys and girls
i looking for my queen basically
i can be a very good fradship ...because im nice
evryone add me so dat frandship growth..so frands for ever
im smart evryone likes me ...i very open so ppl add me very quick
...they think i very nice
SO GALS wat u waiting for
add me on nazim_XYZ@hotmail.com
anybody need advise on love topics plz tell me i romantic and i know abt love very much so plzzz add me and tell i about your love problems i always ready to help girls only.i love very well to all gals n womens.i make good lov from every1 and friendship also.i play computer very good,play hockey,cricket and sports and all sports n games.AND!!!! i best player of love n friendship from gals n womens so wat u think of I u can scrap me everytime and anytime and talk me anything

His Testimonials:

Akbar: Nazim If u Staaand Against the oxford profeesssooor u may get them heart attack by ur frandship and luviship anglish budy u rocks


Sardar: Nazim Aka The Friendshipper of Orkut!
Master of all relations!
King of Loveship!
Prince chimp of chicks (literal)

He has the charisma the traits of the Englismen from Voctorian times. He is heir to the worlds largest and most reknowned kingdom ye that of LOVESHIP AND FRENCH KISS- bluff I mean Friend ships!
All make him friend to succeed in all relations!
he is alsio a chaila of all lovers!


Farukh: this man...hmmm how to define him...he is self explanatory...he is the worlds sexiest man and the most lovely person who will always bring smile on ur face when u see him...i love him so much as my friend...he is heart of indian chicks...as u can see from his profile tat he is interested in both men and women so i keep some distance from him lol.....anyways he is the worlds most wonderful man u will ever come to know...i love u nazimship and may our frandship remain like this forever.... U ROCK CATMAN....

THUPERMAN: Peoples not thinking that nazim is bogusfull like baba bengali from bombay local train. Nazim sayings only truths. You having luvship and fraindship problem than nazim solvification it instantly.

No Photo: Nazim saiding Luvship and friandship, eye dr man reallie likung what nazim man saiding.
Nazim man hass halli daveloped englush linguasticship skulls when he was satudung in class 7, but saadalie his taacher was not happyship with nazim man, failung him mani tames in the sam class. Nazim man never lost hopeship but satill pareached Luvship and friandship, He has also bin afferd UN sectarygenral ship by UN man. Nazim man envoy of luvship and Friandship.

No Photo : Nazim is one hot Kid. He is a babe Magnet. Chicks worship him and bow down to him. He owns one of the biggest Harem of Chicks, this side of the Ganges. His dream is to emulate his hero Hakeem Baba Zai and become the greatest sex guru ever.

No photo: Lovship and Friandship God!
Hunk...stealer of hearts...a phenomenon..
Nazimship never rocks...he always steers steady!

No Photo: Nazim i love your mustache, very nice, i'm jealous of it.


What can I say but people were rolling on the floor today in my office. My boss has decided to charge me for the loss of productivity. *sigh*
I guess I will be working here my whole life.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Subscribe to humiliation

There is a nice ad playing in the radio nowadays. It goes like this.

Voice Over (VO): Miss Janice from Goa.

Miss Janice: When I brush my teeth in the morning, my heart goes ‘Dravid’, ‘Dravid’, ‘Dravid’.

When I am having lunch my heart goes ‘Dravid’, ‘Dravid’, ‘Dravid’
And when I am lying in bed, my heart says, 'Goodbye Dravid’, ‘Dravid’, ‘Dravid’ *sobs*

VO: Be prepared to say goodbye to your favorite Cricketers or call your cable operator and ask for Neo TV, the only 24 hour Cricket Channel. Get Neo TV and watch India getting clobbered in Sri Lanka in January, hammered in West Indies in February, bludgeoned in the Afro Asia Cup in March. Hurry call your cable operator now!

(Ok the words in italics are my contributions )

Friday, January 05, 2007

The Y generation

Yesterday, my cousin sister's 8 year old daughter acompanied me to the ATM. She stood watching fascinated as the man before me took out money from the ATM. When it was my turn to use the ATM, I noticed my niece going around and round the ATM with a puzzled look. Finally she looked at me and said "But where is the man who gives you the money?" :)

Kids are the cutest aren't they? She also taught me the worlds shortest Nursery Rhyme on the way back to her house and it is...

Baa baa black sheep have you any wool?
No! F**k Off!

...and I thought it was "three bags full"

...obviously it is not.