Thursday, December 31, 2009

The last post....for this year and New Year Wishes!

From a seedy cyber cafe in Goa (lappie left at home) here's wishing the readers of My Think Pad, warm wishes for a Happy New Year!!

Thank you for dropping by to read my rather judgmental, generalized and highly opinionated posts, and being patient and counting to ten before posting your comments. Thanks for dropping by even if I haven't posted for weeks. The visitor count to this blog never ebbs even in dry spells. Thank you so much for that. I cannot tell you how good it feels to be remembered...feels like friends keeping an eye on me and that makes me feel all warm inside. And now...I thank Almighty God, my parents....okay that is taking it too far :p

Here's wishing that the hippie sitting next to me takes a New Year resolution to take a bath. Phew! And that the Hippie next to him stops scratching his crotch ( note to self- disinfect hands after this post) and that the old British couple sitting together in one cubicle, sending New Year wishes do not mind my awwwww and that the stupid guy who runs this shady joint stops peeping into my mail box brrr.

Kidding is what I actually wish for you this New Year... (author of this unconventional message is unknown) :)

My New Year's Wishes for you

May you get a clean bill of health from your dentist, your cardiologist, your gastro-enterologist, your urologist, your proctologist, your podiatrist, your psychiatrist, your plumber and the I.R.S.

May your hair, your teeth, your face-lift, your abs and your stocks not fall; and may your blood pressure, your triglycerides, your cholesterol, your white blood count and your mortgage interest not rise.

May New Year's Eve find you seated around the table, together with your beloved family and cherished friends. May you find the food better, the environment quieter, the cost much cheaper, and the pleasure much more fulfilling than anything else you might ordinarily do that night.

May what you see in the mirror delight you, and what others see in you delight them. May someone love you enough to forgive your faults, be blind to your blemishes, and tell the world about your virtues.

May the telemarketers wait to make their sales calls until you finish dinner, may the commercials on TV not be louder than the program you have been watching, and may your check book and your budget balance - and include generous amounts for charity.

May you remember to say "I love you" at least once a day to your spouse, your child, your parent, your siblings; but not to your secretary, your nurse, your masseuse, your hairdresser or your tennis instructor.

And may we live in a world at peace and with the awareness of God's love in every sunset, every flower's unfolding petals, every baby's smile, every lover's kiss, and every wonderful, astonishing, miraculous beat of our heart.

Friday, December 25, 2009


I attended a wedding today in Kottayam. It was a wedding in the church of some vague Christian denomination. The wedding service was sweet and simple, but people like us were seen bolting for the door in panic when the sermon began. The preacher petrified everyone to their seats with his blazing sermon about God and his wrath. Apparently, if we do not repent and read the Bible and call His name every few second, serious repercussions would fall on us. He made God out to be a monster; a deadly creature stalking you evilly, ready to smite you if you were not shivering in your pants at the thought of His wrath and praying continuously.

I wanted to throw my shoes at him. I am so fed up of people like him and the chain mails I get with the picture of Our Lady/Jesus, asking me to forward it to 15 people or die like the Brazil presidents wife, or be maimed like the American Senator’s daughter, or lose my eyesight like the Inca lady in South America, who had probably not heard about a computer, let alone chain mails.

Try as I might, I can never understand these people and their message. What are they trying to say? Every time you hear them it is the same message.

Jesus is the Lord
You are a sinner
You will die
And that will be a big loss to you, let me remind you!
If you want to be saved (Of what? You will die anyway) then say the Lords name!

What about the teachings of Christ, buddy? About love and compassion, especially to sinners. Of being kind to the prodigal son and treating women of bad repute like Mary Magdalene with respect and dignity. And most importantly of not pointing fingers unless you have not sinned yourself! I feel sad for Christ and Christianity, that these self appointed spokespersons of Christ are doing so much damage to His legacy with their own interpretations of the Bible, convoluted, narrow minded thinking and private agendas.

When the service was over, I realized for the first time, that there was so much dignity, piety and humility in a Catholic Mass. A reality check, that was long overdue! But I am glad it happened.

Happy New Year dear friends!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


I was searching for a pals Flickr account having conveniently forgotten to bookmark it when she gave it to me over gchat. Faced with the prospect of quiz questions on the same by her in exactly one hour when she logs in from the US, I tried to search for her album using her name in the Flickr search tool.

The result was interesting. (see text in the red 'rectangle')

Face it Yahoo, you can never do a Google.

p.s. Friends account was not on Flickr. So I got some tarty comments about having no time to go through her neighbors puppies mundan ceremony. Apparently he had a skin problem and had to be shaved.

Friend is right! I am a bad bad girl who does not deserve a pal like her! *sniff*

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Clipping their wings

A week back I walked into this electronics showroom and spotted a familiar face behind the counter that displayed laptops and computers. After racking my brain wondering where I had seen this girl, it struck me. She was my classmate in school!! I never saw her after board exams and later we heard that she had got married and quit studies after her 12th. I was accompanying a friend who is purchasing her first computer and since I know a little about the same, she asked me come along with her.

My classmate let call her FM, recognized me instantly and shook my hands warmly. Then she attended to us and I was amazed at her knowledge of computers, configurations and other things I didn’t even know existed. Pretty soon she had got us what we wanted and we parted ways, after giving each other our contact numbers.

I have come across many such girls. They belong to a minority community that does not allow girls to study too much as parents want to marry them off quickly as per tradition and also because they feel that they will not get grooms if they were too educated. The girls get married and soon the couple realizes that one income is not enough and the girl is allowed to look for a job. Because of their low qualifications, they end up being sales girls or cashiers. They do not complete their studies after marriage due to kids and other domestic hassles. But most of them were good students, and if allowed to complete their studies, would have been in better positions professionally.

The injustice and irony of this situation is just too frustrating. This is like deliberately maiming a healthy individual to a handicapped life. Wish the parents have the vision to see that their daughters would have to work to support the family like others girls in their community and educate these girls and I wish their prospective grooms realize the potential of an educated wife and do not hesitate to marry educated girls due to ego or inferiority complexes.

Thousands of girls like FM are working as lowly paid workers, all because their parents did not allow them to complete their studies, not knowing that they will invariably have to go to work after marriage due to financial compulsions. This is so unjust that just writing this post has put me in a bad mood!!

Saturday, December 05, 2009

State victims

Yesterday night while we were returning from a party, we saw a remarkable thing. Two cops were kicking and beating up a teenager. He seemed to be from a good family and kept fending them off by saying “Sorry Sir”. He cops kept hitting and kicking and punching him. So what was remarkable about this sight? They were traffic cops!

Since the State government has banned random checking of licenses,(which was rigorously implemented due to the wads of cash it yielded),it has become impossible for these guys to make money. Since only traffic violators can be pulled up, they now milk them for all they are worth. A colleague’s son was caught when he had just cleared a signal before it turned red and accused of being drunk. He was asked to shell out 1K or face a formal fine of 3K. He refused as he was not drunk. When intimidation did not work, they subjected him to an alcohol test and released him after cursing him. Such instances are on the rise now as the men in uniform, find fewer ways to extort money from drivers.

What has State machinery like traffic policing become? A mere tool to extort money! Disturbing isn’t it that most State machineries in this country are devices to extort money from citizens! What do you call this? New age mafia? Democracy be damned. Every State machinery in this State is a money making machine for the politicians. Even the huge sums collected for flood relief, went for Ministerial relief.

The final nail in the coffin was, colleagues advising me not to donate money for flood relief. Give food, clothes but never money they advised. Else it will go to politician’s bank accounts. When I put the packet of clothes in the box provided for flood relief work, I couldn’t help pitying the victims of not only floods, but all of us, who are victims of State sponsored extortion.

And we take it without a whimper!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Time to introspect

The offices of a prominent News Channel was attacked and vandalized this week. Doesn't it make you think Mr. Managing Director of the Channel, that in your greed for TRP ratings, you made a molehill of a man into a mountain? So why are you surprised that the illusionary mountain dared to take on you now?

Hope this is a lesson to you and your kinsmen in the media, that for your good health exercising a lot of discretion while covering certain elements would be a good idea.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Tiffin People

Sorry friends if I am writing a bit too much about office these days. But it looks like ‘tis the season to be annoying' for some people. My team in office is pretty close and we sit together for lunch and go for coffee breaks together. We even go for movies together during weekends! Lunch at office is a simple affair; everyone tastes a little bit from everyone’s tiffin and then gets back to demolishing their own tiffins.

We are also a friendly and jovial lot and so we have a lot of people from other teams befriending us. Sometimes these people come and sit with us for lunch, for the sheer joy of sitting with a bubbly group of people. Over a period of time we noticed that there is a particular guy and girl who are almost always sitting with us for lunch.

Yesterday someone remarked that he was hungry. I joined in saying that I was too. So did the others. It was 4 p.m. and we went to this Sagar to grab some bites. That is when we realized that we were pretty hungry these days. One guy remarked absentmindedly that we would not be so hungry if we got to eat our tiffins. Suddenly it dawned on all of us that we were indeed getting very little to eat at lunch. The reason was embarrassingly obvious. The new joinees at our table were helping themselves to our food even after the sampling session was over. And we, i.e. the tiffin people were left with not much to eat.

Now how do we tackle this delicate problem? It is not nice to not share food. But they had their tiffins too. Besides we felt that they were not realizing what they were doing. We tried everything to tackle our hunger problem. I bought extra food, but it was to no avail. One guy got up and went and sat at another table, but the guy and gal merely wandered to his table and helped themselves to the food. We went for lunch early, late, very late, but the duo was always onto us. It was an embarrassing situation and none of us knew what to do.

Finally, we decided to stop bringing lunch and eat at this Sagar. That helped but when we started brining our tiffin, the duo was back. Finally a senior colleague saw us playing musical chairs with the various cafeterias and put a stop to the game. He came and sat down with us for lunch and told the offending duo politely but firmly that sampling meant sampling and not gorging. They got the hint, but their crestfallen faces made us feel so bad for days. We felt like really horrible people who cannot even share a “little” food with their colleagues.

The senior colleague, who told them off, is amazed that we are so pathetic and that we cannot stand of ourselves when bullied and feel bad for the bully when they are told off. He feels that he hasn’t seen such a bunch of losers in his life.

Now we are all suffering from dual personalities. One that feels bad for what we did to the duo and another weaker personality that feels that what we did was right. :p

This has to be my most embarrassing post here.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The mysteries of the heart

Anita (not her real name) was in awe of Rajiv (not his real name). He was dashing, manly, rode a smart bike, wore smart contemporary clothes and was very much at ease with the girls. Girls he had in plenty, vying for his attention. His attention on the other hand was mostly focused on his bike, weekend treks and mountaineering. Rajiv worked with me while Anita worked in another company in the same campus. Both of us were doing our internships. She with a company that is a major name in web searches. Me with a company that is a major name in making Servers.

Rajiv worked in the same department as I. He was a nice guy, who knew how to treat a college going girl…like a big brother. Anita badgered me to introduce her to Rajiv. I was scared. I regarded him like I would an elder brother and did not think it was respectful to be doing such a thing. But Anita was persistent. One day while we were having coffee at the Foodcourt, she came and sat down next to me. I introduced her to everyone at the table including Rajiv. I let out a sigh of relief. I did not have to do the intro now. During the course of the evening, Anita talked only to Rajiv getting monosyllabic replies. But she was undaunted. Pretty soon she had added him to her Orkut account. But Anita was just another pesky fly for Rajiv. He rarely replied to her scraps. He rarely replied to anyone’s scraps. When he was not working he was battling rock faces.

Sometimes I felt bad when I saw her waiting at the exit to catch a glimpse of him or get to talk to him. She looked like an eager kid waiting to catch a glimpse of Santa at the mall. I could not advice her as this was way over my head. I could not dissuade her, as her feelings were genuine. I could not encourage her as I felt that Rajiv was definitely not the guy for her, besides being way too older than her.

One day Anita managed to tell him how she felt. Rajiv looked at her affectionately and told her to concentrate on her studies and think of passing exams instead of nursing her crush. She was a little put down, but vowed to him that she would make him like her one day. Rajiv smiled that indulgent smile, reserved for kid sisters.

It’s been a year since I have seen or talked to Anita. I saw her yesterday when she walked into my office. She was joining the External Communications Team. In the afternoon we had lunch together. She had been seeing Rajiv off and on for some time she told me. However she stopped some time back. By now Rajiv is 28 years old. Way too old for her. Besides she realized that it was no fun trying to get the attention of a man, whose main interests in life were trekking, mountaineering, traveling and other outdoorsy activities.

I did not tell her that Rajiv had possibly done the most gallant and gentlemanly thing…by not leading her down the garden path…by being himself. He might be a vagabond, but he definitely was not a cad.

Rajiv is married now. To a quite homely gal. Someone who is willing to be just a wife. It is a match made in heaven.

And that led me to think, what makes so many girls attracted to such guys?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


I was walking by this Mall today and there was this guy walking on the other side of the road, doing what most guys do when they see a girl i.e. stare. He was so busy staring that he walked into a lamp post. Straightening he kept walking glancing back with his jaws on the ground. Routine stuff with us girls. That got me thinking. “Poor guy. Nature has pumped him with some hormones to make him behave like that when he sees a gal.”

Suppose there was a sudden dip or evaporation of his hormone levels, would he feel embarrassed at all that he had done pre dip in hormones?

"WTF, err I mean what on earth! Why was I ogling at gals?"

Strip us off our hormones that makes us young males and females and what do we have? Some creatures that will look at each other and say,

"That human being with hair on his face is so weird no?


“That human being with no hair on the face is so annoying no?"

Look at the way Nature/God has created us. Each species is divided into Type A and Type B. Type A and Type B are equipped to produce more Type A and Type B so that all the species on Earth reproduce and keep the natural cycle going.

But in the case of humans, if a Type A goes with the Type B of another Type A it becomes adultery. Because he is supposed to stick with his Type B and vice versa.

In some cultures like ours, parent Type A and parent Type B decide which Type B should marry their Type A and vice versa. In some cultures, they allow Type A and Type B's to choose their types. In some cultures, Type B is kept under veils so that strange Type A's do not do what is programmed of them i.e. ogle at them and have natural thoughts.

In olden days, if a Type B even looked in the direction of a Type A not known to her, she would be labeled a charlatan for doing what Nature/God programmed her to do.

Then there are people who are aware of the Types inherent tendencies and make “literature” of things Type A’s and Type B’s naturally do in their bedrooms and make money or land in jail. On the other spectrum, we have "literature" like M&B’s that write about the excruciating emotional roller coasters and ego clashes some hunky Type’s and beautiful Type B’s ride, to finally say “Lets do the natural thing err I mean I love you”.

Then there are people, mostly Type A’s who want to do what is naturally expected of them with Type B’s and in absence of a Type B buy the services of a Type B who is looked upon by the society “types” for doing what is very natural.

The there are Type A's and Type B's who do not want just any other Type A or Type B. They want to be able to gel with them mentally too. This creates lots of problems as Nature/God did not take this into account. They i.e. Nature/God wanted to keep the species head count in a steady state thats all!!! But look what havoc the hormones are creating instead!!

The there is Type A's who like Type A's and vice versa. These people seem to be cocking a snook at Nature/God, but lets not go there now.

When you look at humans from this angle, so many things begin to look ridiculous no?

Sorry for neglecting this space folks. Life has become so hectic that I would outrun a Cheetah by a mile if the race was about the amount of work done per minute. But I am not complaining. The work is interesting!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Its reigning men!

I was watching this Malayalam movie the other day. It showed, Suresh Gopi barging into a women’s ashram and demanding to see an inmate. The heroine of the movie who is the caretaker or manager of the ashram refuses citing rules and regulations. A perfectly normal response. What happened next was disgusting. Suresh Gopi tells her to “Shut your bloody mouth” and walks away. I was shocked!!! Does the film maker realize that this is not a standard response of a gentleman in anger? Or as my friend pointed out, this was considered the smart response in Kerala to women who speak up!! How many people must have watched this movie? How many people would it have influenced and encouraged to behave in a similar fashion with ladies? I suspect many!

Another rerun I saw showed a father in law telling a son in law after he had slapped his wife, that only now he (Son-in-law) had become a man and worthy of respect. There are several movies that I have seen in which physical abuse against women is justified and considered necessary “to keep her in check.” Even the new movies follow the same trend. In a movie that was released some ago, Prithviraj slaps Roma and justifies it by saying that she will anyway be beaten after the wedding so she can deduct this slap from the ones she will get then. And he says it so affectionately. The message of all these movies is clear. Women are to be controlled. And a slap or beating is always shown as the chosen method of control.

Last week I was on the last flight out from Kochi to Bangalore. I was in the last row of this Indian Airlines (now Indian) flight. Two rows ahead of me was a Malayalee youth who looked like he was on the way to Bangalore for a holiday. After take off, he lit a cigarette. A stewardess in her thirties or so, asked him politely to stub out the cigarette. In front of my horrified eyes, he told her to eff off! The lady was taken aback. Clearly she had not been addressed this way before. White faced she went off to complain to the Pilot. The guy grinned and looked around smugly. The grin froze when he saw me. He looked away quickly. He was pulled up at Bangalore and mildly reprimanded, given a lecture in manners and let off!

I have not lived in Kerala. But I know the Malayalam language and hence when I see these movies, I spot these abnormalities quickly. What is surprising is that when I point this out to my friends from Kerala, they say that it is the norm and very much the mind set of the 100% literate State. And what’s worse, women lead the pack that espouses strict control over women. The method most often used to goad men who do not hit their wives or treat them with respect is to call them ‘henpecked”! Women are to be seen not heard is apparently the state motto, I am told. It is no wonder that Kerala has the fastest growing divorce rate in India today!

p.s before anyone asks me, by Kerala standards, my Dad is the most henpecked man from the State. Go figure! :p

Saturday, October 17, 2009

I has the lazy.

funny pictures of cats with captions

A picture speaks a thousand words they say. So I will let the picture do the talking. Some people have the bloggers block. I has the lazy :(

Will post soon! :)

Music - Ajeeb daastan hai

Thursday, October 08, 2009

I am too sexy for your bombs...

India will not be intimidated by Kabul attack says Minister of State for External Affairs Mr. Tharoor

What would you do if you were intimidated Mr. Minister? Go after them?

Then please get intimidated Mr. Minister. Because I am intimidated by these events and more so by your nonchalance!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Holy cow err bison err nothing!

I guess we have all heard about the Shashi Tharoor Tweet incident by now. So I am not going to talk much about the tweet. However the incident gave me hours of fun and entertainment as people after people made laughing stock of themselves. From bloggers who jumped the gun without understanding the fine wordplay to politicians who conveniently forgot that puns, idioms and phrases exists in their language too, in their haste to grab any opportunity however ridiculous to bring down a man due to their inferiority complexes. Everyone involved in the verbal wrestle-o-mania must be rubbing their burning ears by now…or not.

If people had paused to think and reflect they would have realized that Tharoor used some clever puns in his reply and a literary nerd like him will make use of advanced English due to his proficiency in the same. If you are a simpleton who cannot distinguish between literal language and figurative language then the best possible solution is to JUST SHUT UP! Unless of course you think the general population are dimwits whom you can rile to some bile over a non issue.

Let us not get into the inappropriateness of the timing of the remark, or Tharoors naiveté, that’s been discussed to death and resurrection. Let us instead look at the whole drama and the fools who figured in it. A crucial player and the only non-fools in this brouhaha (I am not laughing at brewers, please do not sue me) was the electronic media. The media consists of journalists, whose core skill besides reporting, is a command over the English language. So what did our esteemed and educated journalist do in this situation? Educate the people about the meaning of such phrases? Of course not! That would make the issue a non issue and zilch news to air. So they add fuel to the fire with debates on the same lead by people who have no clue on the topic! Wonderful! What next? A discussion on marriage with a panel consisting of Nuns and Priests only? Or a debate on Valentines Day with panelists drawn from the Shive Sena, Al Qaeda and Ram Sene! That would lead to a very heated debate indeed! No, I do not mean a debate where the panelists sit on heaters please!

It was a relief to hear the voice of reason from the voters of Trivandrum. While they dismissed the tweet as a non issue, they asked pertinent questions about Tharoor’s work record as an MP. That I feel is the mood of the nation today. Inflating non issues, personal attacks, moral policing and rabble rousing does not impress anyone anymore. People want the right to live as they want and they want to know what the people they voted to power are doing!

Like it or lump it, the people of Trivandrum have voted Tharoor to power. Running him down is not going to work. He is here to stay till his electorate decides to give him the boot. It is high time some quarters accepted that!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Corporate hostages

A not-so-senior colleague of mine was recently selected to a Japanese MNC after several rounds of tests and interviews. After successfully clearing the same she had to submit details of previous employers as part of the pre employment reference check. Imagine her surprise and horror when the new employer withdrew their employment offer, because her previous manager gave her a really poor rating in the referral. This gal is known to me and I remember her as one of those people who are mostly seen hard at work with very short tea/coffee breaks.

So what was her fault for getting such a bad reference from her previous manager? That she dared to look for a change after four years in the same company, a better pay packet and a promotion to manager!

Recently a very senior colleague of mine, who had joined a small company so that she could take a break from a hectic job that involved 75% travel and concentrate on her daughter's studies, got the shock of her life when she resigned. Her H.R Manager, after failing to convince her to stay back accused her of giving false employment details (without proof) and humiliated this woman with an enviable track record, before letting her go.

These are not isolated incidents. I hear of such incidents on a weekly basis. Managers and employers getting back at employees who leave, by giving them bad referrals to their new employers. I know of several people who have not joined their new jobs because they are afraid of losing the offer when their background verification report comes in with insidious remarks from previous manager/employer. It doesn’t matter how well you work, if you leave, they screw up your career!

Today millions of employees across India are being held hostage by superiors who have the power to make or break their careers. This creates for a work culture where sycophancy and obsequiousness is the only way you can ensure that you have a trouble free transitions from one job to another.

I think it is time that we had more reasonable employment process, where a company does not have to rely on the word of a prospective employee’s previous employers to hire him or her. It is time companies developed a hiring process that satisfies their queries about the suitability of a prospective employee in a fairer manner.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Happy Birthday to the Blog

Blogger celebrated its 10th birthday this year. What a wonderful tool this is for people like you and me to pen down our thoughts, opinions and ideas and be a part of a large online community with a voice of its own! Without elaborating on that, as it is as comprehensive as it can get, I would like to talk about how I started blogging and my journey till today in blogworld.

Welcome to blogworld! Don’t think what to write...write what you are thinking right now. Your blog is a place to pen down your thoughts and observations. Observations of things that happened without you being too aware of it. Like a certain trait in a person...maybe good...maybe bad...or places...things that struck you as odd, funny, sad, despicable about people, places and communities....the list is endless.

Your blog will hold your thoughts long after you have forgotten them like a mind album that you can visit to see how the 13 year old Melissa thought then. Save your thoughts like you save your photographs so that you can see how you have evolved down the years.

That would be the best way to blog in my humble opinion. Happy Onam in advance! :)

This is a mail I sent to my cousin sister Melissa, when she wrote in asking me for advice on blogging!

When I started blogging in March 2005, bloggers were very few and far between. They may have had readers, but I never saw any and I thought the empty comment boxes were for Errata, Addendum or some note by the author. It looked like the ideal medium for me. A personal space to publish your thoughts on the www, and feel gratified just looking my writing nestling between those cool templates. Besides the added bonus of not being judged by your friends and the once in a lifetime opportunity to diss someone, be judgmental, hypocritical, biased, etc etc without guilt.

It was an incredible high when I first published my first blog post. It felt really good. As you can see from my first post, it was an outpouring of wonderment at the new world that I found on the Net via free hi-speed broadband Internet courtesy a Summer Internship in some company. I wrote again and again and it felt better and better. Then came the spoiler. The first comment by Neil on my first post and I was like “errr wot?” I wondered why he was commenting on my post! It was like putting on music and dancing away merrily in the privacy of your room only to find out that you have an onlooker. That was my feeling at getting my first comment. I went over to Neil’s blog and found to my surprise that he had a blog too. That was my first click through in blog world. This is where I realized that people comment on blogs. But then I thought that only friends comment on each other blogs as I saw only bloggers in Neil’s blogroll commenting on his posts.

I literally learned web navigation from then on. Clicking on Neils blogroll, to enrolling myself on Kerala Blog Roll to discovering other bloggers like Jiby. Those were the days of blogging with few or no comments. And I thought that was the norm. I kept blogging, received a few comments, felt it damn funny that people would comment on my posts till somebody told me to reciprocate. That’s when I realized that people wanted comments on their posts too. I did go over and comment, but soon realized that I didn’t like to be forced to comment. I wanted to comment only if I felt like commenting.

Then I wrote this post and all hell broke lose. It looked like all the people in world were discussing this post. Some via comments, many via mail. I didn’t know where these people came from and why they were so worked up. I was writing at my own corner wasn’t I? Then why the hullabaloo? I handled the comments somehow, standing my ground and this post gave me the necessary experience for the oncoming onslaughts.

Soon I began reading other blogs via Kerala Blog Roll (KBR) as that was the only Blog Directory I knew in 2005. There were bloggers here who wrote on heavy topics. Some posts were abstract one liners that only they could understand….in short blogging those days was the ultimate narcissistic tool for many people there. These big shot bloggers of KBR, would delete comments from small fries like me, or chide me for not doing a PHD in International Politics before commenting on their posts on the same. Most of their commenters, fellow bloggers like them seem, to literally orgasm at each other posts. It was a mutual admiration society party and non admirers were not invited. I used to be so scared to comment here and stuck to Neil, Adarsh , Praveen and later Jiby. Strangely these people were better writers than these big wigs. I was confused and thought that perhaps the big wigs were famous writers in other media too. Anyways I left them well alone. Today not a single one of them blog.

I stuck to my space and merrily blogged my frustration away the only way I could, by taking pot shots at people especially at work. It was so much fun. What else do you expect from a college girl caught in the big bad corporate world to do? Break down? No way I preferred to stick my tongue out…when the back was turned.

Then came this post and I was in the limelight. Don’t ask me how! It just happened. It felt good to be appreciated but I realized that my earlier blogging wilderness days were too entrenched in me. I was wary of both praise and criticism because accepting either would leave you open to suggestions and an unintentional form of interference and control of my blog. I was too fiercely independent a blogger to allow that.

Year 2006 was pure heaven and hell. Besides Jiby, Alexis and MC dropped in and we had the best time of our lives. We enjoyed commenting on each others posts and some hilarious comments followed. I miss those days. It was the best days of our blogging lives. It was just the way blogging should be.

The time also attracted lot of negative attention with, people trying to shake my confidence by some fake advice on blogging to suggestions that I get married (so that my readership goes down as many so called “good but unrecognized writers” felt they were being ignored because they were men). There were also suggestions to pull down some posts, rewrite some as I had made a gaffe and could become the laughing stock of the blogdom to a lot of things that I have never revealed. The energy people spent in trying to pull me down was enough to light up a whole city. Earlier it hurt, these were people much older to me taking advantage of my age and inexperience. Later I took great pleasure in ignoring them.

Anyways, things are better now, mostly because people have realized that it is no use wasting their breath here. I am not going to be bothered. I am often left wondering what they would do if they succeeded in pulling me down. Go after the others?

The desire to be famous and have a fan following is so gripping that there are people who will not comment on other peoples posts till they get a return comment, or write a post unless they are sure it is a moderate to one big hit wonders who sulk at the thought of the glory they ‘once’ had. Then there are those who read Dostoevsky and wonder why their literary gems of posts were ignored for a riff raff like Silverine. Then there were others who thought that I ran some kind of a “gang” who commented only on each others posts. What these people didn’t realize was that the party was open to all. But they wanted to be the Chief Guest!

Then came Think Pad and I was in a totally different league. I started Think Pad, when the realities of life started hitting me. What I thought was life in the safe confines of the family and college was just a myth for most girls I came across while doing my internships. Their experiences shook me. I came to see guys in a totally different light from the prim and well behaved guys I saw at home. All that I saw and heard I poured out here. The feedback was good. My peers were also stuck with the same questions. But Think Pad was too hot for many people to handle and after this post, I enabled Comment Moderation. I don’t know how I survived all these days without it. But blogs are attracting a lot of people and many don’t like a gal with a mind of her own and a platform to air her views, especially if she gets readers for her “libelous drivel” as someone put it :p

I hope this post doesn’t make me look like a freedom fighter and or martyr. I am neither. The good times were far too many than the bad times. All I want to advice new bloggers young and old is that your blog is you. It is not a race for any literary award. Every one of us has an opinion and a view. However except for journalists how many of us get to air them? But our Blogs gives us the platform to put up our views and the satisfaction of seeing your views in print and in a public domain is enormous even if you do not have readers. It is like a guy who wants to fly a jet and gets his own jet even though he is not a trained pilot. He will enjoy flying the plane even if he is not a commercial pilot and his aircraft has no passengers. He has achieved the joy of flying. And this is the reason bloggers blog. And this is reason why some people slack off after the initial foray into blogging because the desire to write and express his/her views was not the sole motivating factor for them to blog!

Use every chance to pour out your feelings. It has a palliative effect which is why Confession by the Church was invented in the first place. Join a community of people like you. Accept and appreciate others right to a view of their own at their blogs. “Do unto others as you would want done unto you” should be the motto of every blogger.

This is not the place to showcase your writing skills...this is the place to connect to people and exchange ideas. There are many exemplary writers here. But they usually drown into oblivion by trying to stand out among peers. If hitting it big as a writer was this easy then most big bloggers would be millionaire writers by now! So chill, relax, have your say and if people find something in your writing they will come to read it.

And the most important thing. Your blog invariably reflects your personality. So if you are a likable person your blog will be liked too. The way you handle comments also gives you away. So remember no matter what a false façade will crack one day. I have seen the best of people crack and give their true selves away in the comments section. If I have survived this far it is because I put up no façade and I have no problems with showing myself the way I am when I blog or reply to comments.

Happy Blogging and a Happy 10th Birthday to our blogs!

Sunday, August 23, 2009


I am awake at this ungodly hour because my neighbor lady is running her blender full speed! Gah! Anyways, since I am up, I thought I would pen a short post to say "I am alive".

First thing first. Thanks for the overwhelming response to the last post! It’s been days since I posted it and the readership is refusing to ebb. You people are so intelligent and refined that I want to nominate you for a Nobel in Good Literary Taste! :|

Secondly, work has been bogging me down and I am too tired in the evenings to write two blogs, so TP is suffering. Right now actively looking for a solution for the same.

Thirdly, thanks to all the Twitterers, most of whom I do not even know, who have been tweeting my posts! *hugs*

Thanks to people like Bangalore Mirror and umpteen other mags and papers who keep publishing my posts on a continual basis (after taking my permission first). I was pleasantly surprised to eat bhel puri wrapped in a newspaper cutting of “Holly Molly

Fourth, I want to say something to a few people (read 'weirdos'). I am not that wet behind the ear kid that started this blog some time ago. I like to believe that I have grown up a lil bit since least in blogsphere so please...

Stop sending me mails asking me for hair dressing salons in Bangalore. What a corny subject to get me to reply!

Please do not ask for recipes, because you saw my comment at some food blog. And I am not taken in by names like Priya Nair and Ranjitha Menon and Sarah Abraham! What a cornier subject to get a reply from me.

Stop emailing me news from news portals under my email ID. I do not read such mails and I think you are a loser who needs to get a life real fast.

Stop asking me for advice on Dogs, Cats, Communications, Public Relations, Fish Molly, Marketing and other stuff you have read on my blog! Bleah

I do not have an Orkut or Facebook or any other social networking accounts (excepting Twitter). So please stop bothering the other "Anjali Philips" at social networking sites with 'friend requests'. Admit it you are one of those "franndship loveship" types, kochu kallaa!

The lady has stopped ‘blending’!

Gunite folks!

p.s. I bet you a hundred bucks you got scared of the title of this post tee hee

Friday, August 07, 2009

Mobile entertainment

Now that the Big 10 bus services have been introduced in Bangalore, I find my self using the service to go to town...quite literally. During weekdays we car pool, so during weekends I use this service to give me a break from driving. During my travels from home to Brigade Road I find myself seated next to a lot of people who use the travel time to catch up with friends, relations, parents, BF/GF etc. Of these, the mallus are the most voluble.

Example no 1: The Mallu gal in Bangalore for higher studies.

This type generally chats up people back home in Kerala during the bus ride. The conversation is held in Malayalam. I have used the liberty to use English for non mallu readers. Typical conversations are like this:

Hellooo! Idhu njaana! Aa! Pinne…avide endha vishesham? Is it raining there aa? Aa! What about at Babuchayans place? Please be careful near the well. You will slip and fall due to the moss. Tell that Vareed to come and clean it no! Has achchan repaired the wall on the other side of the parambu? That Mathukutty's cows will have a hay-day if you don’t. Pinne… tell me what else is new there? Aiyyo jose chetande kada pootiyo? Eppo? So where do you buy vegetables from now? Teresa chechi is gone home for delivery? I hope I can get home by then. Pakshe test undu. Pinne businde ticketinde prashanam undo. Last minute ticket kitoola. Njaan innu onnum kazhichilla amme. Breakfastinnu breadum butterum ayirnnu. Maduthu! Pinne…vere endha vishesham? Aiyyo ende stop vittu poyi. Njaan vekkate? Illa, adutha stopil irangi nadannolam. Sheri! Amme vekkate? Aiyyo stop vannu. Koda eduthatundu. Vayiguneram vilikaam tow? Aiyyo conductor saare stop maadi. Eranganam.

All this is delivered at supersonic jaw crunching speed and by the time we reach the next stop I and other mallu passengers in the bus can write the biography of the entire Kandath family from Thodupuzha!!

Next specimen will be mallu gal from Kerala married to techie guy and now employed in some office. She will talk to her friend also married and living in Calicut.

Hiiiii! How are you? I am fine. Etan is also fine. Ende father in law sick aa! Ariyulla endha problem. Vayis ayille. Pinne enna visheshams? Ivide oru vishesham illa. *gasp* Really??? Aiyyo! I did not hear that! When? Where? How? Ende daivamme!! Did her parents bring her back? I knew it! I told her also. But she was madly in love with him! Pinne what else? Anyone else in our batch getting married? Job is boring yaar. Etan comes home only by 9. I watch TV what else! My neighbor is some Tamilian. Kandooda aa sthreeye! Ende stop vannu. Njaan orkuttil scrap chaiyyam. Balance illa. Bye!

To me: Is this Lal Baugh stop?
Me: No. This bus doesn’t go that way!
Gal: Aiyyo!
Me: Where are you going?
Gal: Majestic!
Me: You are in the wrong bus.
Gal: !!!!
Me: Never mind. Get down at Brigade Road. You will lots of buses from there.
Gal: Hello? Nasreen? I am in the wrong bus *giggle* hahahahahahahaha
And more ahahahaha

After that I and the rest of the passengers who can understand Malayalam can write the entire biography of the Krishnan Menon and Abu Backer Family from Calicut.

Unfortunately no guys will sit next to me as I sit in the ladies section. But like the other Bangalore guys, mallu guys are also not discriminatory and do not mind sitting on ladies seats. Their conversations will go like this after looking around and ascertaining that his neighbors are non mallus.

Hey da I met Sushmita, Renju and Baby yesterday. They are all here. Ramesh IBM’ill annu. Rejoyum, babyum Accentureil annu. Pinne Joemone kandu. Avan Bilkehalliyill aanu thamasam. Navin has gone to the US for his MS. I am in training now. Boring da. After that I will go to Pune. Yesterday was team lunch. Stupid food. Everybody wanted Andhra food. You don’t get malayalam movies here. So Sunday we spend roaming around malls. Jijo is in TCS. Harish is in Infosys. Srinivasan is in Mindtree. Abraham is in CTS and …..!

By the time this conversation is over, me and the other passengers who know Malayalam feel like picking him up and heaving him out of the bus.

Monday, August 03, 2009


Uncle passed away today!

The girl who bought you Pavakkai thoran will miss you a lot :(

R.I.P Georgie uncle!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

The good life!

If you happen to go on the New B.E.L Road at a certain time in the morning and a certain time in the evening, you see a long convoy of over 200 light blue buses carrying employees of a Public Funds Sponging Unlimited (PSU) from around that area. Each employee has a seat and the buses will move like synchronized dancers turning and changing lanes in tandem till they split into smaller convoys and move into different parts of the city. The drivers of these buses (which I am told number more then 300) are also PSU employees. This PSU apparently makes a profit. But like someone in the know told us, it due to the fact that the powers that be I has made it mandatory for all other PSU’s to buy this PSU’s products and that includes our space programmers!

The employees of this PSU do not have much work and they use the free time doing small businesses of their own. They sign in the morning and leave for their respective homes or private businesses and come back in the evening to sign out. Many of them are small scale entrepreneurs in their own right. The ladies do knitting and other miscellaneous work if they are free…which is most of the time. To keep this elaborate machinery ticking, I am told a lot of the so called “profit” of the PSU is used up. This is a very cleverly camouflaged operation and has been going on for a long time.

Let me not even get into the other benefits they enjoy like free medical care and the number of ancillary services employed by this PSU like doctors, club attendants, sports field staff etc. It is a picture of absolute bliss and contentment.

I cannot think of a more attractive job in the country right now. Employment News here I come. I hear they have lost of seat to fill up as old employees retire making way for new people to come and avail the benefits.

I suddenly wanna serve my country real bad!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Queen of Indian Cabaret

I first saw Helen in a Hindi movie video when I was in the sixth standard. I remember being absolutely awestruck and blown away by her, her costumes, instant costume changes and the way she peeled clothes away from her body leaving another garment beneath. I was hooked and with it began a long fascination and fan ship of a person who I think is a really gifted artist and dancer. Thereafter I saw every single of Helen's dances from the huge collection of movies my Dad has and I can safely say that I am amongst her greatest fans.

Soon, I and my friends were dancing behind closed doors to Helen's beats wearing lots of dupattas that we peeled away like Helen. Strings of pearl and colorful beads strung across our hair and colorful tinsel festooned on our bodies. My brother M would call us walking Christmas Trees. The poor guy would be scared out of his wits when he would bump into a girl walking out of my room wearing several layers of dupatta, loud make up, pearls dangling from her hands and hair and a dozen other “home-made” Helen accessories. My Dad tried hard to ensure that we never saw him laughing, my mom was sure were going to hell and my eldest bro wanted to know if this was the latest fashion.

My aunt from Frankfurt chipped in and she was our single biggest source of fashion accessories and sheer clothes that made all us feel like little Helens. It pays having an aunt with only sons.

The Helen obsession lasted long and let’s just say that most of us became specialists in Helen numbers. My mother could not understand our Helen fixation, but what she did not know was that the sheer color and glitz of a Helen number could not be rivaled by a Britney or a Nelly or the other reigning melody queens of our wonder years.

Aa Janne Ja is and will always be my favorite Helen number though I love each and every song pictured on her. The ostrich feathers, large bird cages, colorful ribbons that passed off as skirts, black tights and fantastic make up were oh so mind blowing and out of this world.

I think we spent a mini fortune going to Raja Market to buy pearls and stones to use in our Helen numbers. I still have a big box of them somewhere. Remnants of an era that is still reigns though all of us have grown up now.

I wonder if there is any Indian girl who has not been fascinated by Helen. Recently my NRI cousin dropped in home and I showed her a Helen number. When she went back to Los Angeles she carried every single Helen number she could get her hands on burned on a DVD! Recently she put up the pictures of a party she organized for her friends at home. The theme of the party was Helen. When I saw the photos it hit me. Deja vu to the extreme. The pearls, the rhinestones, dupattas and other paraphernalia that we used was all there, replicated on a bunch of Caucasian, Latino and Indians teenagers! A legend lives on.

I am proud that I was able to introduce yet another generation to the mystery and aura of the most glamorous Cabaret dancer ever!

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

What's in a Brand Name!

What is the height of branding I wonder! Is it Xerox? Even today in India we say “Xerox” instead of ‘copy”. And though most of us here were born in the era of Canon Copiers, we still use the term “xerox’ when we want to convey ‘copy’. This is because our parents use the word and have unwittingly passed it down to us.

Now you might argue that “Xerox’ was a monopoly back in the good ol days when our folks were cutting classes and going to the movies. But I still feel that it has set a precedent in branding in India.

Amongst the newer brands that have managed the same feat, one stands out distinctly in Bangalore. And the realization came to recently when I was unwittingly involved in the discovery. My neighbor has an old Maruti 800 car, probably the first one to roll out of the factory. The car has become a landmark of sorts. Recently neighbors noticed that the car had disappeared. One neighbor came to me to enquire over its disappearance.

Neighbor: Where is Mr Rao’s Maruti?
Me: He sold it and bought a new car.
Neighbor: Oh! Which car did he buy? Another Maruti heh heh!
Me: No, he bought a Meru.
Neighbor: Oh ok!

It was after my neighbor left that it stuck me that I had used the term “Meru” instead of “Mahindra Logan”. For non Bangaloreans let me explain….Meru taxis were the first professionally managed Taxis to run between the new Bangalore airport and the city. The entire fleet consists of Mahindra Logans. And by now I guess most of us have started calling a Logan a Meru. That’s why neither I nor my neighbor noticed the gaffe!

Way to go Mr Meru... if that is your name.

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Monday, July 06, 2009

Just desserts!

News has just come in that the I&B Ministry has warned the producers of the progamme Yum TV Toadies for abusive language and other violations. The Channel has been running an apology since the day before yesterday. While I am against censorship, I am glad that for once the powers that be took affirmative action when it was needed. Kudos to the I&B Ministry!

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Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Black and White King

So the King of Pop is dead. Who the eff cares!! I must confess that his music never really hit it off with me. I did like some numbers but he was just another singer to me. Then came the child molestation charges and I vowed never to listen to his songs again. And I never did. I do not care how melodious the music if it comes from the soul of a pervert. Of course he was cleared of the charges of molestation but we all know how many children’s parents were bought to keep their mouth shut.

What appalls me is the never ending tributes that one encounters over the Internet for this man. A man who was never comfortable in his own colored skin. A man who was never proud of his race or color. A man who was so ashamed of his African roots that he engineered ‘white children’ with white women so that the Jackson name would be carried on by white progenies from the next generation onwards.

Where is the black pride that is so legendary amongst the African American population? What makes this man immune to contempt that he so richly deserves not only for the alleged child molestations but obvious attempts to ‘erase’ his racial heritage.

Has the world taken collective leave of its senses to worship this man?

While the world grieves for this man I wonder why no one is grieving for the children and that includes his own children whom he has left penniless after fathering them for his narcissistic purposes. What a screwed up human being!!! I cannot imagine anyone else that I hold with so much contempt and distaste that this man!

Another take on the subject.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

People governance

The racist/mugging incidents in Australia have been done to death as an issue by now. I would not like to pass any remarks on the same sitting here in India at my keyboard. That would be too foolish. But there are some things that I want to comment about purely on a personal level. Personal as in if I were a student in Australia what would I expect if such an incident happened to me. I would of course expect the cops to take action, but most importantly I would expect support and diligent follow up of the case by the Indian High Commission staffers. I am told by some cousins of mine studying there that foreign students studying in Australia have their embassies at their beck and call for any problems that might arise during their stay. While the Indian High Commission as well as the Indian Embassies elsewhere are notorious for their absolute apathy towards their people. I am told they function more or less like Government offices renewing Passports, stamping Visas and giving foreign postings to government officials who have greased the right palms, besides some diplomatic overtures of course.

While it is easy to sit here and advice a change and petition the government to make our embassies more citizen friendly, what is needed is a deeper change in attitude by our government itself. For example, the new Tourism Minister put off her visit to Australia presumably due to the current situation there. A government communiqué however made it clear that it was her personal stand and that the government would have appreciated it if she had gone to Australia for the Tourism promotion scheme. While it is understandable that the government is keen to promote tourism and bring in the much needed dollar, it is also imperative that it shows compassion and empathy for its people there along with the eagerness for revenue generation. After all it was elected by the people to look after their well being and not mere revenue generation! Economic governance and people governance cannot be divorced. It has been for a long time in our country which is why our students are going abroad for higher studies and jobs. Which is why our embassies are cold mausoleums and why those Indian students bore up the attacks silently all these years. They have long stopped expecting anything from the government. Aren’t they in Australia because of the same?

The hundreds of failed Garibi Hatao movements are testament to this fact that we have governance without compassion. Rolling our official programmes will not help much if you do not understand the pinch of hunger or the humiliations of constantly living hand to mouth. What we need now is not only a government that can govern well but one that understand the more intimate problems of its people. Like crossing a busy road, getting a license, support when abroad, a seat for your not so brilliant son/daughter or personal safety to name a few. Right now our administrators are cold machinery's distant from the people. They only bother about getting the government institutions running and rules and laws enforced. What they do not realize is that these institutions and rules and laws apply to people and should be people friendly. Cold official governance as opposed to governing with humanness, the right mix has to be achieved for overall and better impact.

And when the government gets it right we will have our public servants falling over themselves to be of service to you. :) Maybe that was being too Utopian. But a visit to a government office is enough to understand how compassionate your government is towards you!

Thursday, June 04, 2009

The language of work

My classmate, who is pursuing her post graduation in Mass Communications, recently joined a mid size company of 400 people for her industrial internship. The first thing she noticed when she joined the company was that the owner of the company, an NRI was a man of principles. Employees at this small IT unit were given all the benefits given to employees in the US without any bias. He did not believe in blocking Internet or Chat or Webmails. The working atmosphere in this company was however not very nice thanks to the Indians who work there.

To begin with the NRI who is a second generation Indian from US has no clue about the social dynamics in India. This led to exploitation of the situation by employee’s especially senior managers. The Sysadmin for instance had ensured that all his team members were from his religion. The technical head on the other hand had ensured that all his teammates were Gult. The facility manager had ensured that his team consisted of Malayalees only and so on.

All the team members talked in their respective language and soon enough a situation developed when there was a total communication breakdown between employees, teams and departments besides fierce protection of team members by team manager even if they were not upto the mark. Performance appraisals were similarly rigged in favor of team members.

An interesting thing to note about this phenomenon was that employees who have grown up in metros were resentful of this ghettoisation. It was people from smaller towns who fell prey to this trend.

The NRI boss was totally clueless to the problems on the ground and regarded hiccups like severe attrition as part of the industry trend. Into this scenario walked in an HR manager. The lady summed up the situation pretty quickly and rolled out rules and regulations that totally wiped out chances of managers from hiring only from within their community and or caste or religion. She also banned the use of any vernacular language including Hindi in the office premises and after a rough ride of implementation, peace and a lot of progress has returned to the company.

The NRI learned a valuable lesson and the divisions and misunderstandings caused by use of regional languages vanished. People became more professional and managers were left red faced when they realized their unprofessional conduct.

I was reminded of this incident when I read about two nurses in Delhi who were reprimanded for talking in Malayalam within hospital premises. On the face of it, it does look discriminatory. But such rules and regulations go a long way in providing a conducive work environment in a country like ours. It is not language chauvinism but prevention of language chauvinism. And the fact that such rules are increasingly being applied goes to show that Indian employees are yet to develop a professional attitude at their work places.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Puppies of a lesser god

I was reading this article from Tony and was immediately reminded of my one of own experiences with animal rights activists.

Every summer we head out to Ooty for our Annual Family Vacation. Before we all started working, we would go to exotic places. But now, time constraints do not allow that luxury and we are content with our favorite place on Earth i.e Ooty. We have been coming to Ooty every year from the time my eldest brother was born. So we are like natives here and know quite a few of the locals here. Mingling with the Who’s Who of Ooty has its benefits. You get to sit in a Box at the Racing Club for instance. We go for the races every year in May. As kids we were allowed to bet with the Government run Betting Booth in the private stall. The two punters who sat here were very middle aged ladies operating what looks like a contraption made in the 1800’s. We were very professional gamblers too. After studying the racing guide carefully, we chose the horses with a name we thought was the snazziest. We were allowed to bet Rs. 5 per game and by the end of the races we would recover some and lose some. The place has not changed over the years. The two ladies who sit in the stall taking bets are still there.

Over the years things have changed though at the races. A lady can be seen seated near the racing track with a binocular and every now and then she gesticulates and makes a noise. Since we were ‘insiders’ we got to know that she was from Mrs. Kenaka Handhi’s stables. A highly excitable creature that watches every race like a hawk and reports any “harsh treatment” of the horse to her Madam. Madam would then make life hell for you in the Press. I have seen several such ladies at the races. Each one more holier than thou who think nothing of the malnourished and over burdened Ponies in Ooty because it gives them no mileage in the Press.

Last year we saw a signboard on the roads that indicated a kennel with litter. I was eager to go and see the pups. A kennel is the place for people like me who want to pick up some puppies and play with them for a while. When we reached the “Kennel” what we saw horrified us. Small plywood boxes housed new born puppies separated from their mother who was trapped in a similar box under the harsh sun. The entire kennel consisted of a terrace with plywood cartons housing innumerable Alsatian puppies and dogs.

When I reported the matter to the lady from Mrs. Kenaka Handhi’s stables she pretended not to hear me and walked over to the generous bar laid out by the club on racing night. While she sipped the cocktails courtesy the prize bloodlines at the racing club stables, small malnourished puppies slept uncomfortably in small plywood boxes under the cold Ooty moon. Animals with no birthright because their owners could not provide the Champagne and Caviar needed to grab attention to their plight.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Dining in Hell

I guess this rant will be understood by people like me. By me I mean unmarried folks which would be the majority of people here.

I was at this popular breakfast haunt of Bangaloreans the other day. This place is like a holy place of us old Bangaloreans and we make a pilgrimage least once in two months to eat here. Most of us have had our first solid food here. I did, when I grabbed some Khara Bath(Upma in Hindi and Salt Mango Tree in Malayalam) from my dads plate and stuffed my mouth in front of my horrified mum. Then I insisted on finishing it and never looked at baby food again. Baby food tasted terrible after tasting Khara Bath from M.T.R. In fact everything tastes terrible after you have eaten from M.T.R.

I hated Baby food so much that my parents used it as blackmail to get me to eat food.

“Finish your rice Anju or you go back to baby food.” I was a very chubby as a kid.

So here we were three freinds on our monthly pilgrimage to M.T.R sitting at this table next to a large joint family. The joint family consisted of a grandpa, grandma, their siblings and the grandpa, grandma and their sibling’s older kids and the older kid’s younger kids most of whom were newly married with babies and toddlers. The entire Khandaan sat on half a dozen tables. The women wore ghoonghat (covered their head with saree pallu) and were perpetually busy keeping it in place. The men talked loudly amongst themselves and kids were like brats raised by a she wolf a la Jungle King for they crawled all over the table and under and generally behaved like a pack of baby animals escaped from a hospital for mentally retarded baby animals. Their parents had also ensured that they had all taken their Adrenalin tablets before coming to the restaurant. For good measure I guess they gave them twice the dose this day.

The food came and we watched with interest as the kids attacked the food like a horde of starving locusts. In the melee that followed most of us were treated to an aromatic bath of Sambhar, Chutney, Kesari Bath and Potato Curry and as an after shower perfume we were sprayed with hot Coffee and Tea. M.T.R. is one of the few places that serves you piping hot tea and coffee and this day it was scalding hot. Next time I take Burnol with me when I go there.

*Splat* and a blob of thick coconut chutney came and hit me like a slap. My white top looked like it had a splash of green color embroidered on. My friends started giggling. *Splash* a spatter of Sambhar sprayed on my other friends starched Organdy designer salwar. She looked like she was going to have a brain hemorrhage. I started cackling at the expression on her face and just then a half eaten vada came and fell on our table. The third girl at the table, a prim and proper missy had had enough. She took it and threw it back at the offending table. The occupants of that table stopped chewing, fighting, thwacking, throwing food and generally behaving like a bunch of cave people at an all you can kill and eat buffet and looked at us with disapproval. Then they promptly returned to the culinary orgy. I noticed that the kids had more food on their persons than in their bellies. Now that requires some serious talent I tell you! Hats off!

After the eating spree was over the kids turned their attention to the cutlery and crockery. Suddenly flying saucers and spoon appeared from nowhere and tables started bobbing up and down as determined kids tried to topple them from underneath. All this while the adults talked and chewed and talked some more.

We paid our bill and got up to leave. That’s when we noticed that the other neighbors of the Adams family had pulled their table as far away as they could from this family. Bummer. Wish we had done the same. :(

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Blog Rolling

Back in 2005 when I started my Blog Roll, it was a list of blogs I read. It still is. A handy bookmark that’s all. It was never an affirmation of anyone’s writing prowess. And not being on my blog roll was not in any way indicative of a lack of it either. It was just my reading list. Soon I had people writing in asking me to put on the blog roll. I explained the situation and most were satisfied with my answer. But some were not. I was often accused of putting people who comment on my blog or linking people who link me which is ridiculous as there is more then 300 blogs linking me while only 10-15 of them figure in my blog roll.

Over the years my Blog Roll grew and this year it went out of control as I had over 35 new blogs to add with no space! I hunted high and low for a widget like the Google Followers Widget that so neatly packs in so many links in a small square. But I found none. The other choice was to avoid putting in new blogs. But then like I told you this is my reading list and I have no favorites. So last week I had to take the hard decision of deleting my blog rolls. I just could not justify excluding some bloggers due to space constraints.

My apologies to the people on the Blog Roll and to the awesome list of bloggers I wanted to add. I really have no choice with the present widget.

I also want to add something here. I am no King or Queen maker. Figuring in my Blog Roll will not guarantee anything. And not figuring in my Blog Roll will not make a jot of difference to your blog too. People read what they like and not what I like or link. Period. There are trillions of awesome blogs out there that did not figure in my Blog Roll. My advice to bloggers would be to comment at other blogs so that people can click on your link and visit your blog and through their comments section you get to read a Smörgåsbord of new blogs.

I am a compulsive blog hopper and that is how I found a lot of blogs. I am also a compulsive blog linker. I try to link interesting posts at the end of my blog posts here and at Poomanam. And I will continue to do so. But again…I link only posts I really like.

I am a bad commenter. I really am. I can only write “Good Post’ or “Hilarious” or “Touching” and more in that vein. I have nothing to criticize in any blog as the blog is the blogger’s personal opinion and he/she has a right to it. I cannot tell a blogger to write better or that he/she can do better because I feel that just because you express your thoughts in words and sentences should not make you a liable for literary criticism. That is strictly meant for professional writer’s not personal bloggers. That leaves me with little to comment unless I want to add an anecdote like the wonderful anecdotes people have left on Hindicapped.

If you see me commenting less and less it is because of a very tight schedule. My team which requires at least 8 people is running on 4 due to a hiring freeze. Which means all hands on the deck. And secondly I am hurting some people by not commenting at their blogs. So to be fair I have decided to comment only when I really really want to.

I hope I don’t sound pompous here, if I do I am sorry. Have mercy on poor, homeless, orphan and give me some money err I mean go easy on me folks.

Reposted due to requests. Comments disabled

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Down the long and winding memory lanes and by-lanes

I have a rather tartly friend. I might as well admit it she is my best friend. She is a tartly, sarci, sharp tongued female called Natasha. She is variously called as Pudgy, Pudges, Nats, Mittu and bitch. I might as well admit it; she is mostly called a bitch. She is a self proclaimed bitch because she calls a spade a spade and an idiot an idiot.

She is called Pudgy because she was very chubby in Kindergarten and we pronounced chubby as 'pudgy' for a long time till corrected. But the name stuck.

Pudgy and me met in kindergarten. The first meeting was not so nice. Pudgy was clinging onto her Dad’s arms bawling her lungs out. She kept bawling the whole day and I was pretty fed of the irritating noise. Next day the bawling continued and I remember going to her and doing the decent thing. I pinched her hard. She stopped bawling for a second and then bawled harder till she was blue in the face. I raised my hands to pinch her again. This time she lowered her volume a bit and began whimpering. I was about 4 years old then and there were no hard feelings. I was just using a technique that worked very well in my limited experience. By mid morning of our second day at school she had stopped crying. She still had a sad and mopey look on her face and sulked most of the time but despite that she kept a wary eye on me.

On the third day of school Miss F my class teacher assigned us our seats and Pudges, surprise of surprise was sitting on my table. There were four of us at the small table with colorful chairs. We sat around the table so that we could face each other.

Pudgy's eyes filled with tears when she learned that she would be sitting at my table. However she dared not cry. She had learned her first lessons well. By the end of the second week we were friends. Once classes got underway Pudgy forgot her parents and got immersed in the hand painting, goo making and spitting and barfing orgy that is Kindergarten. And she topped in these classes too. She spat out anything she did not like and that was most of the stuff including her Tiffin. Ms F despaired till one day a sandwich from my Tiffin went down well with Pudgy. It was a Ham sandwich and Pudgy had never eaten non veg before. Throughout our 17 years or so of friendship Pudgy has broken every rule in the vegetarian book courtesy my Tiffin. By the time we were in first standard my mother packed enough food for the both of us.

Her Tiffin on the other hand was greatly relished by the Alsatian dogs at the convent. The ill tempered dogs were always happy to see us and Kempanna their keeper was not too pleased with the fact that five years of training to ensure a very bad tempered beast was undone by a humble Tiffin and six snot nosed girls! Guess he didn’t know much about dogs. For that matter he did not know much about gate keeping either because we sneaked out regularly to buy spiced Guavas from the man across the road till a flasher showed up and the Nuns decided to hire a proper guard. The 'ding-dong man' err flasher still hangs around the school gates though rarely now as he has grown old. Guess he has become too old for the job or perhaps the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.

In second standard as is the practice in my school we were shuffled up and the whole lot of us ended up in different sections. This did not go down well with Pudges. She screamed blue murder and her harassed mom had to come and meet Princi and beg her to be put in my class. I will never forget the look on her face as Sr. A bought her to our class and told the class teacher that she had an additional student. While Sister was talking to the teacher, Pudgy grinned at the class triumphantly. I swear we saw a halo over her head and the devils pointy tail swishing behind her. A halo and the pointy tail describe Pudges best. In college she shocked the prudes by drawling “ I have a Nun and a Whore complex yaar!” I explained to her hyperventilating mom the next day outside the Deans office that a 'Nun and Whore complex' means a ‘little bit of bad and a little bit of good.’ She heaved a sigh of relief. She was one of the most gullible moms I have ever come across.

By middle school we had a reputation. Good girls but undisciplined. Lots of potential but least bothered of developing the same. Talented but prefer wasting their talents. Talkative. Opinionated, clannish, fiercely loyal and should be separated for their own good. We did get separated by the shuffling system, but there were three breaks and the ride home in the same van to huddle together again. By 6th standard the shuffling system was done away with and indulgent teachers ensured that the Band of Sisters sat together in one class.

By 7th standard the band of girls grew up. By now tummy ache tablets, pads and PMS were equally shared. There is a lot of comfort in sharing pain than pain medication at this stage of your life. When we not in pain and discomfort we jumped over the piles of leaf painstakingly collected from the 6 acre tree lined campus by the cleaners and heaped up to be burnt. We never got caught.

By 8th all that was behind us and we began to notice the existence of a species called boys. They looked horrible! Full Stop! We used Mills and Boons heavily to block out reality. We are still convinced that good guys exists only in novels.

By 9th we were more of less sure of ourselves. Surprisingly the gang that was voted most likely to get boyfriends first, turned out to be horribly conservative. The reason behind this we suspect was that all of us had brothers and we were not the gawking gals in awe of guys. We just knew how stupid they were by just looking at our brothers and their friends. The Nuns needs not take credit for our “conservativeness”. For that fact if they want to rear good girls I would suggest making their schools co-ed from KG.

10th standard was one blur of tuitions, shopping, tuitions, movies, tuitions, mall hopping, tuitions, window shopping, tuitions , wearing skimpy clothes behind locked doors, tuitions shaving legs, tuitions, pajama parties, tuitions and some more in that vein.

College was boring. No rules, no regulations to break, no teachers to run behind you, no protective Nuns to keep an eye on you. We who led a life of crime in school were suddenly clueless and jobless. Thankfully the various clubs and activities in college absorbed most of us and we began cleaning and polishing our talents buried under tons of dust and neglect.

College also put us through many virtual relationships as we saw the life cycle of many a classmates relationships from close quarters. By final year we knew everything that we needed to know about relationships except for being in one. We learned our lessons well.

So what’s the point of this saga which began with Pudgy but ended up with me sneaking in the wonder yeas of my life too? Because today is Pudgy’s birthday. And I cannot imagine any stage of my life without her…the North Indian girl with a South Indian heart who feels so lost when she goes to Delhi for vacations that she rushes back to namma Bengaluru and ‘sane people’. The girl who will gouge your eyeballs out if I were to only point in your direction. She will later apologize for not having heard me through or else she would have heard that I was merely pointing to you as an acquaintance. She spitfires first...asks questions and apologizes later. The girl who is sure she will marry a South Indian guy or a guy from her community who is born and bought here like her. Poor guy. My heart goes out to you. She might be my friend but she is a terrible female and you better be smart and well read and down to earth like her to get any. Else you adopt. Period.

Happy Birthday girl! May we live long enough to take our grand kids to the very Kindergarten from where we started off. I will be nice this time I promise. I will tell my grand kid to not to pinch your grand kid too hard.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

I confess...

I have been conferred the Honest Weblog Award by KPJ chechi. This means a lot as I trumpet from every available platform that one must be honest at ones blog. Someone heard my trumpet at last! :p

So thank you Ma’am. Mucho honored!!

Rules of the tag:

This award is bestowed upon a fellow blogger whose blog’s content or design is, in the giver’s opinion, brilliant.”“When accepting this auspicious award, you must write a post bragging about it, including the name of the misguided soul who thinks you deserve such acclaim, and link back to the said person so everyone knows she/he is real. Choose a minimum of seven (7) blogs that you find brilliant in content or design. Or improvise by including bloggers who have no idea who you are because you don’t have seven friends. Show the seven random victims’ names and links and leave a harassing comment informing them that they were prized with Honest Weblog. Well, there’s no prize, but they can keep the nifty icon. List at least ten (10) honest things about yourself. Then pass it on!

So I confess to almighty God and to you my dear blog pals that what I am about to reveal is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth so please don’t strike me dead God, if it is not.

1. I am terrified of sharp and pointed objects like Knives and Needles. But I love cooking…so I am the Brand Ambassador for Band Aid.

2. I cannot hate anyone or remain angry at someone for long. As I kid I used to get frustrated at my inability to hold a grudge forever. I dreamed of working myself to frenzy and taking revenge. Now I thank god that I didn’t plot dark revenge against the kid who took my beautiful pink eraser, pencil box, water bottle, homework etc. Someone rightly said “Don't Sweat the Small Stuff - and it's all small stuff”

3. I am a walkaholic and musicoholic. I can walk for hours listening to music.

4. I can bear cold but not heat. I plan to retire to the hills.

5. Blogging is a big stress buster for me.

6. I am not a feminist.

7. I get blog burn if I hang around blogs…including mine too long. Don’t ask me why. I rarely open my blog page and if I do it is only to reply to comments or publish comments.

8. I sleep like a log and am up bright eyed and bushy tailed in a trice. No lingering in the bed for me unless I am sick.

9. Kissan Orange squash is my comfort drink and moms cooking my comfort food. I love eating Milkmaid!

10. I have never worked under a manager. As a communications professional I have always reported to CXO’s. They are the nicest people to work for. Mature, always busy or traveling and let their team takes their own decisions.

Anyone who wants to wash dirty linen in public may please take up this tag. I badly want to point fingers and laugh rudely at you.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Yum T V Toadies

Pix courtesy Bryon

I hate Yum TV Toadies. Somebody please duct tape the Dysphoric Maniac who produces the show and the wimp he hires as anchor to compere the show!

I do not understand this show…so please bear with me here. We first have the channel advertising auditions for the Toadies show. After which we are put through a prolonged serial display of Dysphoric Mania with the Dysphoric Maniac (DM) and another wimp who apes him, selecting participants for the show in front of the camera.

The selection process does not allow anyone with balls to stand up to the DM and only people who the DM can intimidate are selected. But not before he humiliates kids half his age in front of the camera because they are so desperate for a break on television. Pathetic and absolutely abusive. If he thinks that Toadies is about toughness then he needs to kick himself out of the show and get some real men to select the contestants!!

After careful selection of the Toadies, the DM begins the show where a toy boy called Ran V Joy puts the toadies through various tasks. The Toy Boy looks ill at ease and stands like an emasculated eunuch when the Dysphoric Maniac walks into the show from time to time and abuses and scolds the contestants for the most weirdest reasons and walks out like a coward. After which the Toy Boy picks up the pieces and conducts the competitions and eliminations.

In between the tasks the Toadies face the camera and bitch about each other in Hindi. Just when you are settling in to watch the competition, in walks in the DM stand in front of the camera and scream his lungs out at the Toadies for silly reasons like failing in the tasks. His voice is weak, tinny and irritating and he screams like a spoilt toy dog at a dog show snugly sitting in his rich mistresses arms away from the big dogs. His eyes bulges out, the veins on his neck stand out and you wonder if this guy is addicted to anger! A most unpleasant sight.

And if anyone from the ranks of the Toadies has the temerity to stand up to him, he is summarily dismissed from the show. “GET THE F&%K OUT” are the eloquent words used to remove a contestant from a show because he dared to face the bully. The DM then walks off with a look of supreme satisfaction like a man who has just had his fix after a long bout of cold turkey.

If you must know I watched the show out of curiosity the first time and the next time recently as someone urged me to watch the tamasha. I don’t know when the publicity starved populace of ours will realize the difference between opportunity and abuse.

Watch ‘Dance India Dance’ on Zee TV Mr. Dysphoric Maniac and learn from the judges how to conduct a show.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Degrees of separation

It is Friday morning and I am sitting at the Bangalore airport sipping a horrible Cappuccino and catching up on blogs and news. The airport is quite with sleepy passengers nursing their coffees, teas and hangovers in silence. Thanks to airport car pooling I have arrived very early for my flight to Mumbai. It was just a few months ago that we had individual cabs for airport drops. Sheer waste of fuel, I used to think then. Recession seems to have bought my snobbish company to earth with a gentle thud. Gentle thud…because many other wasteful practices still continue.

I am so engrossed in my laptop that I do not see nor hear a young girl sitting next to me. She is a really good looking Tambram girl. She looks very conservative though from her clothing. She carries a toddler in her arms. She seats the toddler on the chair and goes to get the trolley with her luggage. Before she goes she asks me politely if I will keep an eye on her son. I nod smiling at her. She smiles back reassured. I see her pushing a trolley with numerous bags which she parks near me. Then she glances at the airport entrance and gazes with some desperation at an old couple standing out side. The old couple is dressed in very traditional clothes of Palghat Brahmins. They look so nice and homely that I feel at tug at my heart for the girl who is obviously leaving them for another shore. A young man, perhaps her brother gently guides the old couple away from the door towards the car park. A very tactful move I think. The girl gazes at them till they are out of sight. She swallows hard, wipes her eyes surreptitiously and turns to me and thanks me for looking after her son and luggage.

“Are you the only daughter” I ask.
“I have an anna” she said smiling in relief. She is glad for the conversation.
“Are you married” she asks flicking her eyes at my neck and ring finger.
“No” I say with a smile.
“Don’t marry too far away from your parents okay?” she says turning her face away. She seems to be battling some emotions for it is a while before she looks at me and gives me a polite smile.

She asks me about my college and school and we find quite a few people we know in common. She had studied in a college in Malleswaram and then went on do her Engineering in Coimbatore. We talk about Bangalore and familiar hangouts in Malleswaram, M.G Road and Majestic area, the idiosyncrasies and eccentricities of the people of Malleswaram and Rajajinagar and the numerous book fairs that we attended in droves. She tells me how intimidated she is of girls from my college and how surprised she is that I was normal in spite of being from “that” college. We talk about the eateries in Malleswaram and the movie theaters near Majestic. We realize that we had haunted the same places as college girls though a few years apart. She was senior to me by five years. She was married at 21 on the last day of her Engineering exam and left for the US with her husband soon after. In the US she spent many a boring day confined to the house till her husband returned home late in the evening. She never saw the town she lived in till the snow melted and they were able to go out. Then she was pregnant. She had her baby in the US and her sister-in-law came and stayed with her as her parents were too old to travel to the US. This is her first visit to India after her baby was born. She had apparently had a wonderful time and now a lonely home in the US awaited her after a tumultuous and eventful visit.

Out flight is announced and I help her board with her numerous pieces of baggage. In the aircraft I am surprised to see her heading towards me and asking the gentleman sitting next to me if she could sit next to me. The gentleman obliges. She settles in with a sigh of relief. We talk some more about her life in the US and her loving but rather busy husband. At Mumbai I find her a trolley and help her deposit her baggage.

At the gate we part promising to keep in touch. I spy my cab. Before I get in, I look back to wave good bye. She is standing near the door child in hand gazing at me with some desperation. I wave and quickly get into the car. A tactful move I think. Perhaps she will find another me on the next leg of her journey. I pray that she does.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

View from the other side

An open letter to Gen Kayani by Col Harish Puri (Retd)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Dear Gen Kayani,

Sir, let me begin by recounting that old army quip that did the rounds in the immediate aftermath of World war II: To guarantee victory, an army should ideally have German generals, British officers, Indian soldiers, American equipment and Italian enemies.

A Pakistani soldier that I met in Iraq in 2004 lamented the fact that the Pakistani soldier in Kargil had been badly let down firstly by Nawaz Sharif and then by the Pakistani officers' cadre. Pakistani soldiers led by Indian officers, , he believed, would be the most fearsome combination possible. Pakistani officers, he went on to say, were more into real estate, defence housing colonies and the like.

As I look at two photographs of surrender that lie before me, I can't help recalling his words. The first is the celebrated event at Dhaka on Dec 16, 1971, which now adorns most Army messes in Delhi and Calcutta. The second, sir, is the video of a teenage girl being flogged by the Taliban in Swat -- not far, I am sure, from one of your Army check posts.

The surrender by any Army is always a sad and humiliating event. Gen Niazi surrendered in Dhaka to a professional army that had outnumbered and outfought him. No Pakistani has been able to get over that humiliation, and 16th December is remembered as a black day by the Pakistani Army and the Pakistani state. But battles are won and lost – armies know this, and having learnt their lessons, they move on.

But much more sadly, the video of the teenager being flogged represents an even more abject surrender by the Pakistani Army. The surrender in 1971, though humiliating, was not disgraceful. This time around, sir, what happened on your watch was something no Army commander should have to live through. The girl could have been your own daughter, or mine.

I have always maintained that the Pakistani Army, like its Indian counterpart, is a thoroughly professional outfit. It has fought valiantly in the three wars against India, and also accredited itself well in its UN missions abroad. It is, therefore, by no means a pushover. The instance of an Infantry unit, led by a lieutenant colonel, meekly laying down arms before 20-odd militants should have been an aberration. But this capitulation in Swat, that too so soon after your own visit to the area, is an assault on the sensibilities of any soldier. What did you tell your soldiers? What great inspirational speech did you make that made your troops back off without a murmur? Sir, I have fought insurgency in Kashmir as well as the North-East, but despite the occasional losses suffered (as is bound to be the case in counter-insurgency operations), such total surrender is unthinkable.

I have been a signaller, and it beats me how my counterparts in your Signal Corps could not locate or even jam a normal FM radio station broadcasting on a fixed frequency at fixed timings. Is there more than meets the eye?

I am told that it is difficult for your troops to "fight their own people." But you never had that problem in East Pakistan in 1971, where the atrocities committed by your own troops are well documented in the Hamoodur Rahman Commission Report. Or is it that the Bengalis were never considered "your own" people, influenced as they were by the Hindus across the border? Or is that your troops are terrified by the ruthless barbarians of the Taliban?

Sir, it is imperative that we recognise our enemy without any delay. I use the word "our" advisedly – for the Taliban threat is not far from India's borders. And the only force that can stop them from dragging Pakistan back into the Stone Age is the force that you command. In this historic moment, providence has placed a tremendous responsibility in your hands. Indeed, the fate of your nation, the future of humankind in the subcontinent rests with you. It doesn't matter if it is "my war" or "your war" – it is a war that has to be won. A desperate Swati citizen's desperate lament says it all – "Please drop an atom bomb on us and put us out of our misery!" Do not fail him, sir.

But in the gloom and the ignominy, the average Pakistani citizen has shown us that there is hope yet. The lawyers, the media, have all refused to buckle even under direct threats. It took the Taliban no less than 32 bullets to still the voice of a brave journalist. Yes, there is hope – but why don't we hear the same language from you? Look to these brave hearts, sir – and maybe we shall see the tide turn. Our prayers are with you, and the hapless people of Swat.

The New York Times predicts that Pakistan will collapse in six months. Do you want to go down in history as the man who allowed that to happen?

The writer is a retired colonel of the Indian army who lives in Pune.