Monday, December 24, 2007

Why I love reading .

There are probably a million reasons. Here's one.

At times I read something and feel that the words have touched a chord somewhere. They've spelt out a piece of life as I've lived it, described a thing I'd never been able to put into words.

A feeling/emotion/idea/outlook/something lives somewhere deep inside you, beyond the realm of language. Perhaps in some remote atavistic corner of the soul. Something felt , never defined.

And then you read a book, perhaps a story of someone generations apart, continents apart. But the author has described that little thing, just as if they had dug into the recesses of your being, and captured that ineffable feeling with both hands.

The realisation can be even more startling with poetry - the feeling of - hey wait, that's me! that's my state of mind! How did someone else write it out so well?

Its an amazing feeling, at once both exhilarating, and reassuring. To be able to understand yourself better, and also to feel one with this world.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

awaz

kuch awaz si lagi thi
samajh nahi aya , khilkhilahat thi,
ya kisi ki cheekh

abadi bahut door hai
shayad unsuni hi reh gayi
pata nahi cheekh thi ki khilkhilahat

Valhalla Rising - Clive Cussler

Potboiler and very forgettable one at that. The Dirk Pitt guy is unrealistic and not even likeable. Too much of detailed description about seafaring stuff, and not all that grippingly written.

I mean sure most potboilers are not realistic, but I expect either fast paced action, not reams of boring description, or wry humour, or likable characters.

Yawn. off to Manto next.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Countdown

10, 9, 8, 7, 6.....

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Procrastination.

has been perfected by me :)

the whole weekend has flown by, and here I am on sunday night at 10, long past my bedtime, wondering why I don't feel like finishing that work, which was due long back and which I MUST finish before arriving in office tomorrow.

But then lots of things are more important than that piece of work:
1) Testing the remote's channel increment and decrement functions
2) Cooking for the first time in months
3) Grocery shopping in advance for things I might need in the next few years.
4) Washing clothes by hand, the washing machine should be given rest occassionally
5) Cleaning out the balcony, why overload the domestic help
6) Finding new blogs and tracing out whats happening in the lives of these people
7) Staring aimlessly into space.
8) Blogging about my non- happening weekend.

Oh no its 10:30!!!!!

Aaaargh!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Eat Drink Man Woman

A delightful little movie!

Its filled with little surprises all through. The kind of movie you could watch first for the sheer joy of its story, and then another time, and ponder over the surprises life throws up. And think about how much goes on behind the seemingly simple "eat-drink, man-woman"!

Of Biases

Something that offended me a great deal the other day - The cover of the latest issue of the outlook mag.

IT ruining Bangalore's culture or some such shit. And guess what the accompanying pic shows? A woman smoking a cigarette. To start with of course, a cig smoking woman is hardly representative of the IT industry in Bangalore. The women are a small minority, cigarette smoking ones a fraction of that minority.

But thats not the point.The point is that as a cover pic, a jeans clad woman smoking a cig seemed the best way for the morons who designed the mag, to show a threat to this city's culture.

As of course are sundry things that women can and cannot do, which make all the difference to this city's, country's and this world's fragile cultural heritage. Whether its cultural biases, religious biases, regional biases, its women who have to work hardest to preserve, women who do the most to offend, and women who are given the least rewards from the old systems.

I don't know what kind of prejudiced stone age bastards control the mass media, but I can tell you this, they make my blood boil and offend me mightily. Of course our sense of outrage is not worth much, we aren't a vote bank, and we aren't the high and mighty.

Its funny, some little known authors old , little read autobiography's handful of pages, makes front page headlines on the Hindu for a full week. There are repeated references to the offence caused, although god knows who is offended and by what. Chance references to cobblers and goldsmiths in songs, cause furore all over. So many people with such tender sensitivties , protected not so much by laws as by brute power. They are safe, they won't be offended any longer.

And in the meanwhile, the mass brain washing and chauvinistic propaganda continues unabated in the mass media. The hypocrisy and double standards. Women smoking OMIngosh! women drinking - serious threat! Woman raped? ah thats caused by loose moral character. Ever notice how that phrase has common currency everywhere - every newspaper, every article. Ever heard of a man of loose moral character? Does moral character even have anything at all to do with your sexual promiscuity or otherwise?

And there's hardly a murmur about how offensive and pervasive the whole attitude is. A few voices here and there, an occasional publication of short stories by Katha, some spleen on blogs and the occasional animated conversation over coffee once every few years, and thats about it.

Where are our voices ? When did I stop shouting from the rooftops that I am a feminist? That all I ask in the name of feminism is the same respect and freedom of choices that are given to other human beings, the ones with the XY chromosomes.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini

Read it in the past week, and I really liked it. The first person narration of a person coming to terms with the his mistakes is very very effective and is really gut wrenching at times.

Somehow, I could identify with him. Not his situations, his locations or his urge to please his dad, or the story as such, but just him as a frail, flawed human being. It can pull at you even though the story viewed in isolation sounds almost predictable, and the characters are so far removed from our lives and settings.

I can't read another heavy book for a while though. I've cried enough in the Kite Runner and the Tamil short story from Katha. ( Will write about it if I can lay my hands on it, I lost the copy I bought)

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Whine whine whine

I'm sick and tired of this constant whining. Yeh nahi ata, woh nahi ata, i won't do this , this is shitty work, i don't know this, i am perfect and its the system which is killing me.

I don't understand what we software engineers are paid for? I mean people used to starve and work the skin off their backs for a square meal a day, and here we are sitting in luxury having big fat cheques dropped into our accounts and not even TRYING.

For gods sake, surely we can try and think? Is that too much to ask for?

All we want is more salary, more promotions, more this more that, and in return what we want to do in office the whole day long is to sit and watch whether our stock prices are rising or falling.

bloody hell, I think we shouldn't be given any permanent jobs at all, money will only be given when you fix a problem, and no sir, you won't have someone else in the team fixing your problems for you.

I've had enough of this soft industry, I think we need to be shouted at a little more, and learn to get off our asses a whole lot more.

Grrrrr

Counting backwards and drinking water..

Monday, December 10, 2007

Calcutta trip

was nice on the whole. Another one of the college gang bites the dust :) It was nice seeing a bong wedding, the conch shells, and womens' cries. The fish shaguns with paan in the mouth. The rather different way of taking the first phera. The interesting headgears of the bride and the groom.

Some things of course I could have done without, but then thats life. Among other things, it reminded me that first instincts are very useful things and should always be trusted.

Also did a bit of bhraman of the city and quite liked it. Seems like a rather nice city with friendly people. The cats are fearless. The crows numerous. Some houses pretty old, with trees growing right out of the walls. The language sounds rather sweet. And things are really cheap, gol gappas, clothes, leather, even property people tell me. Although service levels are no good, much like Bangalore , whether its restaurants or shops, there is no such concept as customer delight. The shopkeeper is king :)

Monday, December 03, 2007

Thought for the day.

मिल ही जायेगी मुझे
मेरे हिस्से की रौशनी

Mil hi jaayegi mujhko
Mere hisse ki roshni
Laut ke phir aajayegi
Muskurati hui zindagi

Subah hone wali hai
Shamma jalaye rakhna
Lautoonga mein zaroor
Mehfil sajaye rakhna

Aasman se bhi aage hein
Mere khwabon ki bastiyan
Khwabon pe hi mit jaati hein
Aksar kitni hastyan

Poore honge khwab bhi
Dil se lagaye rakhna
Lautoonga mein zaroor
Mehfil sajaye rakhna


- Rohit Suppal (The poet laureate of ICE 97 ! )

Sunday, December 02, 2007

The Glass Palace - Amitav Ghosh

Completed the novel yesterday at long last. Can't say I loved it. It had promised much in the beginning , but somehow I found it didn't live up to the promise.

I just felt that too much happens too suddenly, in a single line, and at times I'm left wondering - what happened in between? How did that character evolve? How is this situation relevant ? I guess taking up the three generations, numerous characters across too many places was just a bit too much for me to chew.

Cooled off with an Agatha Christie after that. Guess I'll pick up a pot boiler next.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Skandagiri Trek

Last week we climbed up the little hill in moonlight, and that was a great fun.

Headed out from Bangalore around 11-12 ish at night, started off on the trek about 1:30. It was almost full moon, the weather was perfect and the view beautiful! The trek itself wasn't hard at all, and we reached up in about two and a half hours.

After reaching the top, we did the "complain about the cold" routine as we realised that it was freezing, terribly windy and we had precious little in the way of warm clothing, shelter or heating. Bags were put to ingenious uses as headcaps and extra jackets.

There was also the fiasco of trying to dish up something warm. The small stove for making tea wasn't really a great idea and it didn't help that we managed to forget both the milk and sugar in the car. Strong back tea was prepared with lot of effort and rapidly found to be undrinkable and discarded.

The sun rise was absolutely fabulous. Made the freezing 2 hour wait worth it.

The return down was rapid and uneventful. After partaking the lunch which one of the office gang generously offered, I got back and crashed straight into bed. Woke up only the next morning after 16 hours, thus making sure that I got my full beauty sleep for both Sat and Sun!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

The Devil wears Prada

Caught part of the flick on the telly today. As far as I remember the reviews had pretty much panned it when it came, but two of my friends had recommended it some time back, so I decided to watch it. I found it watchable enough. Nothing to write home about, but then it didn't instigate an urge to switch off the TV either.

It had a dialog about "tell me when your world goes crashing down, it means you're in line for a promotion". It got me thinking about a sentence I've heard from at least 3 colleagues at work in the past 4 years. Colleagues whom I admire tremendously who I feel could have gone much further "professionally" speaking than they did.

"I now prefer to devote that time and energy to my family".

Sour grapes?
Simple matter of personal choice? After all some people just have different priorities?
The womens' inevitable job? ( yes incidentally? all 3 were women)


The first time I heard it, couple of years back, I didn't understand professional life enough to understand what goes on behind the scenes, what is really meant by time and energy and what it means to rise up in the ranks, or even what it takes, to really make a difference at the workplace.

Heard a variation of it again an year back , in a situation which was pretty stark. By then I understood a lot more of what was meant , what was implied and what were the costs.

And finally heard it again a month back from someone in a different organisation. However it came close on the heels of seeing a lot of politicking and scrambling and power struggles at closer quarters and I could see quite clearly what it meant.

I'm not sure how people strike a balance , but I guess a lucky few can juggle the glass and rubber balls with ease, the rest of us end up chucking one.

Friday, November 23, 2007

FUBAR

That is the status of my internet connection at home.

Its next to impossible to get a decent internet broadband connection in the so called high tech city's "posh" area I'm supposed to be living in , a stone's throw from a whole slew of IT companies offices.

Airtel won't provide it, at least to me.
Our friendly neighbourhood cable, after promising to get back, ignored 6 straight calls from me.
Sify was fine while it worked, but once it stopped, it was a 10 day harrowing experiance of chasing phone numbers which were never picked up, and the "kal ho jayega" promises which were never kept.
Reliance was obtained after much running around for proof of address, half the time it didn't work. The average time you were kept waiting on hold on the call center was 20 minutes. And now finally the last straw- disconnection for non payment of bill, when the bill is not due to be generated for the next 7 days!

And of course it doesn't help that most call center employees seem to be selected for their jobs only after they prove that they have only a quarter of a normal human brain. Sure it looks like I have only half as well, but I think the half has the ability to recognise that its missing a half, while their quarter gives them the illusion that they are "not dumb" as the gentleman I called today told me.

I think the bottom line is that I should stick to reading books, and watching movies at home, and leave the net to work at office :)

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Empathy.

Is it a good thing to empathise? To be able to see easily what a person is feeling, and maybe not sympathise but at least empathise?

Would it really be a boon if we could read each others thoughts? I think not.

I think its bad enough that we can often see what someone else is feeling. I'd love to turn on some sensor blockers , and ignore things I don't want to see. Its not a big deal I know, but wouldn't it be nice now?

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

RSS

no not the lunatic organisation, the feeds :)

Recently discovered how simple it is to add them to google homepage, and now I'm busy doing just that!

So much for waking up early to do work - hah.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

To Marguerite - Matthew Arnold

Yes! in the sea of life enisled,
With echoing straits between us thrown,
Dotting the shoreless watery wild,
We mortal millions live alone.
The islands feel the enclasping flow,
And then their endless bounds they know.

But when the moon their hollows lights,
And they are swept by balms of spring,
And in their glens, on starry nights,
The nightingales divinely sing;
And lovely notes, from shore to shore,
Across the sounds and channels pour--

Oh! then a longing like despair
Is to their farthest caverns sent;
For surely once, they feel, we were
Parts of a single continent!
Now round us spreads the watery plain--
Oh, might our marges meet again!

Who ordered, that their longing's fire
Should be, as soon as kindled, cooled?
Who renders vain their deep desire?--
A god, a god their severance ruled!
And bade betwixt their shores to be
The unplumbed, salt, estranging sea

- Matthew Arnold

Friday, November 09, 2007

Life in a Metro

Good first half - even if built on a rather shaky foundation of too much sex and money. Tight , funny, good, and well intersperced music, characters beginning to take shape, like real people not cardboard figures.

God AWWWful second half, perhaps seems much worse than it actually is becuase of the promise the first half shows..

but eveything gives, from
  • editing - was it even done? Do we have to see Nafisa linger? and what is it with stupid ending where everyone is running after everyone else?
  • story - umm was there one except "everyone lives happily ever after" no matter how ill that fits?
  • characterisation - err whats that?
  • humour - ditto.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Another season change

And another cough and another fever.

At least I took sick leave with a clear conscience.

Mostly clear :)

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Water

Was a pleasant surprise, had picked it up fully expecting to give it up mid way. Wasn't too impressed with the previous Earth, and what I had heard of Fire.

But found it surprisingly well made. The story of the widows in Benaras is told gently, without much too much fuss. Yes it has most of the predictable things happening but its the lack of melo drama which made all the difference. No endless long drawn out weepy scenes with loud ding ding music in the background. And I really liked the fact that it did not end tritely with the remarriage. Things don't change overnight, and such is life..

Missed Nandita Das and couldn't help imagining what may have been instead of the terrible Lisa Ray. If only those stupid kachcha clads hadn't gone crazy. But then it was lovely to see Seema Biswas again. I think she's an exceptional actor, but.. The scene where she asks "Main kaisi dikhti hun" pretty much sums it up.

So if Water is anything to go by, there's hope yet for Air!

Monday, November 05, 2007

The flip side of growing up or rising in the ranks.

You get to see a lot more shit being created - no not just the end product but the actual evolution of the bull shit. And realise you're powerless and uinterested to do much about it.

I really want a demotion back to the ranks of foot soldiers- ignorant of what went on behind the scenes. I want to go back to cribbing without a thought of the reasons behind the results.

I want to be able to throw the greens and my egg into the dustbin, knowing that the only challenge is to escape mom's eye. Not having to know that having them will in the end make me the big loser or protein and iron.

And of course I want to be able to again believe that its logic and competence which determines staffing and its only the EvilManager who does otherwise. And not because the answer is 42.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Life of Pi - Yann Martel

Liked the book I just finished.

On the surface, a book about a boy lost at sea? But then the waters run deep in this one I guess. I'm not sure I've fully pondered over what is being said, but I've enjoyed what I've read. Taken at face value, I found the tale a page turner, if only to find out what happens next and how Yann describes it in his amusing turns of phrase. Scratching the surface a little, it does makes you ponder and consider rereading it again.

In some ways it reminded me of the Paulo Coelho style stories, with one major difference - Paulo's stories have just one level- the super deep one, which at least I find totally impossible to dive into. I'm assuming it exits because people keep telling me how amazing the books are and I've found them badly written, and the prose plodding along.

On now to an Amitav Ghosh :)

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Snow - Orhan Pamuk

Finally finished the first Orhan Pamuk, which I had been wanting to read for quite a while. Its an interesting book.

A poet returns to his hometown in Turkey, to find love, and a city caught between religious extremism and Ataturks followers gone astray.

It has its moments, lines which make you stop, consider and reread them. Then again it has its moments where you feel aargh. But on balance I'd really like to try another of his books.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Ghazals 101

To recap the learnings of yesterdays chat with a friend:

- Kaafiya and Raadif, ( the rhyme and the repeat for dummies like me)
- Matla and Maqta, ( the first sher with kafiya and radif is the matla. The last sher, often having the pen name of the poet is the maqta.
- Beher ( the meter, both lines should have the same meter)
- A ghazal would typically have more than one shers of same beher.


**********************************************************
अपनी मर्ज़ी से कहां अपने सफ़र के हम हैं
रुख हवाओं का जिधर है उधर के हम हैं

here the kafiya is the rhyme, ie udhar and safar.
the radif is the repeat in the end , ie "ke hum hain"

I leave to mull over those lines..
how true..

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Negotiation Skills

Attended the first day of the two day training yesterday before being summoned back to work, thus missing the full benefit of the session.

What did I learn? Lets see:

1) my own skills on this are extremely poor,
- that i could never bargain even in sarojini nagar should be a dead give away..

2) You should have a BATNA
- ( no relation to a banana, its a relative of TINA actually)

3) You should negotiate for a win win deal,
- hmm now thats a thing to chew over - I thought it was a always a war out there!

4) decisions are made emotionally and justified rationally ( or words to that affect)
- quotable quotes courtsey the (in)famous PM of igate), hmm again something to mull over

5) Learn to listen..
- the age old advice which we never follow!

umm there was more. including a very interesting case study of the "woman wanting to leave baby in creche and work", funny that no matter how well you think you've slotted people they always surprise you. But lets leave that discussion for another day.

Quite a bit more interesting than some of the other trainings I've attended!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Chirping Lizards!

There's a lizard in my house which actually chirps, pretty loudly , and at regular intervals. Its been at it for at least the past 6-8 months!

Methinks its unique, becuase I don't remember any talking lizards that I've encountered ever before...

Wonder whether its natural, or the non stop blare of the TV has forced it to come forth in protest???

A League of Their Own

The movie was enjoyed again, putting the recently acquired dvd player to use.

Its a well made movie, chonicling the Women's Base Ball League during the WW years when men were hard to find, most having been sent off to battle elsewhere. It nicely puts in the story of the league being formed in the backdrop of the two sisters fighting it out. A bit which I hadn't noticed last time was the scene when the ball is thrown back from the sidelines by a black lady, ( oops African American). Liked the fact that it was there, just to leave you with the thought to dwell on.

Tom Hanks is of course my all time favourite, - right from the sidey "Splash" to the heart wrenching "Philadelphia", and of course all the way to "Forest Gump". He's adorable even when playing a bit of an butt slapping irritating coach :)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Those were the days my friend..

The song humming in my mind for the past few days..

The lump grew bigger just the other day after the chat we had.. and its dedicated to the 3 friends from school.

For all those dreams we dreamed sitting while preparing for the board exams, fighting in the loos, bunking the SUPW periods, participating in the interhouse competitions- plays, music, poetry,100 mtrs, soda lemon ginger pop.. deciding our colleges, dreaming up our "ideal matches", idolising and cribbing about our teachers, singing "we don't need no education", preparing chits for the exams and for passing across the class..

Once upon a time, there was a tavern
Where we used to raise a glass or two
Remember how we laughed away the hours,
Think of all the great things we would do

Those were the days, my friend
We thought they'd never end
We'd sing and dance forever and a day
We'd live the life we'd choose
We'd fight and never lose
For we were young and sure to have our way
Then, the busy years went rushing by us
We lost our starry notions on the way
If, by chance, I'd see you in the tavern,
We'd smile at one another and we'd say
Those were ..

Just tonight, I stood before the tavern
Nothing seemed the way it used to be
In the glass, I saw a strange reflection
Was that lonely woman really me?
Those were..

Through the door, there came familiar laughter
I saw your face and heard you call my name
Oh, my friend, we're older but no wiser
For in our hearts, the dreams are still the same
Those were ..


Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Trek to Chembra peak.

I've only trekked once before in Mudumalai, but I remembered how much I enjoyed the climb, the breaks, the chit chat with friends also trekking away, the aching muscles and the final push to get right to the top and the final sense of achivement rewarded by a breathtaking view. So this time I'd didn't pass up the opportunity to go for another one, during a team building trip with from office to Wyanad. 11 of us started off after many false starts.

Strangely enough, the first hour was probably the toughest for me, and two of the gang also dropped out here. The sun was up, the sweat was pouring, the jeans uncomfortable, legs complaining,mouth dry.. Just when I was about to give up , we reached our first Milestone, the heart shaped lake. I quickly ran down , discarded shoes and socks and after having having waded in the cool if rather muddy water. I felt better , and decided to stick it out to the end.

After that the trek got easier for me although it was rather steep at places. Taking frequent breaks, with rationed water to moisten our lips, and a few toffees and biscuits, we soldiered on past the little peaks, until we could see the final two peaks.

These were soon christened as the achievable target and the stretch goal, - also known as the developers target and the managers target ;) The clouds frequently covered the sun to boost our spirits. And before I knew it, we had met the achievable target, and after some negotiations, everyone had been convinced to stretch for the final peak.

And pulling in the last reserves, there we were, right on top, enjoying the breathtaking view, after the 4-5 hour climb! All 9 of us were totally thrilled, and having taken the group snaps, we started the downward journey. I found the climb down a breeze, helped by the fact that the it was cloudy and the cool wind against my face was rather invigorating. With just one stop on the way back, we got back to base in about 1-2 hours.

Got back to the car, attacked the food with gusto, and then it was back to the resort.

Lessons Learnt -

1. That flabby stuff on my thighs actually hides some muscles which I'd forgotten all about.
They made their painful presence felt for the next 2 days, every time I got up , sat down or climbed up any stairs :)

2. The leeches are probably over hyped- No leeches attacked us, although there were swarms of dragonflies and also a bee which took a friendly peck at one us.

3. Good shoes are essential for trekking. :)

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Books & movies

Quick reviews of last months fare ..

Google Story -
I'm one of those people for whom the "net" was almost synonymous with Google. Considering that most sites took ages to load, its speed was rather awe inspiring. And I did occasionally wonder - who pays for this? Because of course I had seen the banner flashing ads on most other sites, and my favorite web page's snow white background was a bit of mystery.

The book is an interesting read, giving some of the answers. It also unravels the mystery of the company for people like me who haven't really read much about its history, and are quite curious about where it started, how it grew, and of course how it stays in business! It would be a bit of a stretch to really believe the "Do no evil" but yes it good to see at least the pretensions!

Deception Point -
Regular pot boiler from Dan Brown. Readable and forgettable :)

The Bourne Ultimatum -
The final bit of the trilogy, very fast paced and well executed, cool action, perfect editing, not to mention Matt Damon, who is just perfect. - Drool :) The denouement though, was a bit of a disappointment. But then again, better this, than a convoluted scheme that makes your head hurt when you try to comprehend it!

Got myself a DVD player today, so hopefully some movies shall be enjoyed at home soon. And of course there's "Snow" which I've recently begun and it promises to be good!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Travel Week!

Its been a good week, travelled a lot , met friends, met some new people whom I liked, saw some new things which I liked too.

Too bad it all came to an end, and now we're back to the grind , fearing tomorrow!

It started with a visit to Patiala with college friends to attend a friend's wedding. I must say that I was really impressed with the ceremony at the Gurdwara, it seemed so much better than the weddings I've attended, full of obscure, feudal and irritating stuff. Was amazed to see an elder friend of the family called up say a few words and he spoke so well, and with such relevance. That's something I've never seen in other Hindu weddings, whose vachans are so full of shit and there's no one to talk sense to even mitigate the effect.

This was followed up by a journey to Coorg after coming back to Bangalore. It was a really green and peacefull place. The sort of place I'd love to go off to for a week, go for long walks, splash barefeet in waterfalls, read books, and then look out to ponder over the book, and overlook an amazing view of the hills. We could only make the best of the 2 days we had, but it was nice while it lasted. Also saw an interesting thing I'd never seen before - a Hindu tomb! It was rather an interesting sight, the typical minarets, with bulls and ganesha carved all over!

Finished off with an impromptu, unplanned trip to Mysore, which I wasn't too keen on taking. Saw the Brindavan gardens and Chamndi hills again. Thats a place I'm not so enthused with anymore, it was chock a block full of ppl - most acco places were full. Although architecturally and historically it might be interesting, but its just too commercialised and I've visited it once too often.

And then before you knew it, the holidays were all over and there we were back in office, scanning email and wondering what to prioritise!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

I'm home!

Landed in dear dilli, started getting nostalgic right away- the Good and the Bad.. Hindi speaking counter person! gol gappa stalls on the way! Gud ol DTC buses! Real 4 lane roads! Moving traffic! Hindi sign boards! Typical haryanvi tehzeeb! Warm and humid weather!

And then, within an hour of landing, before I'd even got off from the taxi, the Ugly of course reared its head, if you're in Delhi and you're a female, how long before you get stared down? even if you're not walking down any road?? hmm not even an hour , thats the current record.

Chuckled as the first thought that came to mind was the opening scene from an ol favourite - Hyderabad Blues. The "I'm home" nostalgia abruptly interrupted by a mooing black bull, jutting its face into the car. The resemblance was uncanny :)

Its easier to chuckle now, knowing I'm escaping back to traffic jam country tomorrow!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Thought for the day

घर से मस्ज़िद है बहुत दूर चलो युन कर ले,
किसी रोत्ते हुये बच्चे को हन्साया जाये

The incomparable Nida of course..

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Ram setu

Warning to the religious minded - read further at your own risk , the blog post may offend your sentiments. Don't get masochistic and then come whining back with "I'm hurt by your intolerant attitude" stuff.

The news just gets funnier and funnier!

- "Its not man made, we should go ahead with the Sethusamudram proj. "
- "Oops , lets beat BJP at their own game, no no the prj was a mistake, its totally divine. "
- And then there is dear madam with her national monument shit.

what is it with human beings and their religions?

Is it the infantile urge in us to believe in Santa Claus?
- bhagwan sab theek kar dega, woh jo karta hai achche ke liye karta hai. Sab bhagwan ka diya hai.
Yeah right, including the schizophrenia.

Is it search for the silver bullet to all problems?
- woh sab dekh raha hai.
Yeah right, he's big brother with a million cameras, waiting for you to slip up so that he can eat you for breakfast. And of course he has nothing better to do.

Is it the fear of the unknown ?
-karva chauth ka vrat nahi rakha to tera pati mar jayega.
Yeah right, don't you see the husbands of non-fast keeping population dying like flies?

Is it the stupid side of us which wants to let its hair down , tired of being rational the whole day? Listening to talks about the love of jesus and suchlike stuff?

Is it the bully friend we want when we want to bully down others?
- kaafiron ke khilaf fatwe , jihad bla bla bla.
Yeah right, it has a to be super smart caring and kind god, who would create a world with a few chosen ones belonging to the "true" religion, and the others are obviously created simply to be killed by the "true" religions followers (by birth.)


I mean really ! I just don't get it . The mass consumption religions were either created with , or gathered so much dirt around them that their core philosophies, if any, are totally not visible at all!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Dictation time!

I was teaching a kid "a for apple" etc. For the umpteenth time, with rather limited success.

Its kind of hard to explain that "W" should sound like va and not da.

And the sa sound can be caused occassionally by "S" although.. hmm desember doesn't quite cut it.

And then there kit and cat,

And it begins to get really interesting by the sea, what isn't really a "C"

Oh dear me, I just realised, I still haven't explained week and weak to him yet..

Its an interesting language... :)

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The thing with feathers.

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
and never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I've heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

- Emily Dickinson

Chak De India

Finally got to see the movie yesterday, after having read and heard numerous reviews ( all of which were unanimous that the movie was worth a watch).

And yes it lived up to its reputation. All in all a good movie, it wouldn't make it to my list of all time favourites, but it was worth a watch on the hall.

As an aside I really should mention that this was a real balcony , and even if I didn't quite sink into the chairs, the pleasure of seeing a big screen at the "correct" angle more than made up for it! Which also reminds me that I should check up if my old favourite back home - Chanakya - has shut down yet :)

Anyway coming back to the movie, it mostly stuck to its central theme of a bunch of hockey players being turned into a team by a coach, fighting agaist prejudice and problems along the way. It helped that there weren't any irrelevant side "angles". Although the problems, prejudice, attitudes and characters had their share of stereotypes, it wasn't overpalyed, and were mostly believable. The pace was good, the dialogues mercifully didn't get tacky, and the matches quite enjoyable. And it helped that a healthy dose of healthy humour was thrown in.

For me , I'd say that the most irritating part was rather unexpectedly SRK. Almost all reviews I'd read had assured me that he was restrained, but no matter what he does , he never ever lets you forget that its HIM. Him with his set number of facial twitches, larger than life persona and the ease with which you can almost imagine one look in this movie being followed up with a dialog from DDLJ/KKHT/or something of the kind.

Anyway to give the devil his due, the wild cheers in the halls - and perhaps the very show - would not have been there had it been another umm real actor.

Memories of "A League of their own" are inevitable. It was Tom Hanks who played the role of the coach there. He's among my all time favourite actors. And for a fraction of a second I actually had to jog my memory to remember who it was, who had played that memorable drinking, swearing, bully of a coach's character.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

"The Human Side of Business"

Ha Ha Ha , I just can't stop chuckling..

Just saw that line on a bus of a really human company.

Fellow sufferers would perhaps get the joke ;)

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Grrrr..

So I land up pretty early at office, and enter the gate thinking how nice it is to come in early, with the day gently breaking, and the crowds not yet in, the pressure not yet turned on. And just when you're basking in the glory of the new day , you're hit with the tons of garbage which some uncouth workers have left lying around, approximately 2 feet from the garbage bin.

It always gets my goat, why WHY do we love to litter so much? Why is it that basic civic common sense is so totally extinct? I don't think it has much to do with upbringing , I think its just a mental defect, probably a missing gene, or something wrong with the brain chemistry to the majority of our population.

I wish I'd ignored the mess the way I usually do, don't know why it pissed me off so badly today.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Fermat's Enigma

Just finished the book by Simon Singh couple of days back, and it totally lived up to its advance publicity! I hadn't thought that a book about Maths could be written so well, keeping up the pace almost of a thriller, but ensuring that the content stayed about mathematicians and their stories and no inanities. Recommended reading for anywone who's ever loved Maths ( like me!) and then fallen from grace :)

Luckily there was no electricity most of the day yesterday, so I didn't feed my usual tv addiction. Instead I completed Sphere by Michael Crichton which was also a pretty decent read. This one fell in the -sort-of-sci-fi-thriller genre. Considering that I'd seen the movie already, and knew the "answer" right when I started, it was well written enough to hold interest till the end. Although reading it, one could see that it was almost written to be made into a movie!

Hmm lets see what I can lay my hands on next..

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Pot Pourri

It was an interesting independence day..

Started off with a visit to Mythri, reminded me of a lot of things I'd forgotten , or preferred to forget.

Pondered on some discussions about relationships with friends. Something a friend is going through hits rather close home.

Watched a movie at the PVR here, and vowed never ever to watch one there again. A post about the service levels in long over due. Whats amazing is not that the service levels are abysmal, but that there is not even a feeling among the vendors that something is wrong somewhere, that there is anything like a concept of quality, meeting commitments, standards.. Perhaps my own job is pretty much the same, commitments not met, but I can never imagine lying with my chest puffed up and shouting back to an end user...

As for the movie Blue Umbrella, I loved the first half. I'm not sure whether the second half in general was a little slow, and abstract, or whether I was shaking with too much rage to really appreciate it. Either ways its a movie worth watching ..

The day ended with holding a four hour old baby, I touched her cheeks and they felt like they would just melt away! A really amazing feeling..

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Flowers for Algernon

Read Flowers for Algernon again the other day while battling the usual insomnia. It wrenched at my guts again, just the way it had an year ago when I'd first read it. Its amazing that in such a short story the author has managed to weave the whole dilemma about "intelligence". It something I've thought about and agonised over so much in the past 6-7 years. The perennial questions with no answers..

What is intelligence?
What is motivation?
What is knowledge?
Why do people fear it?
Why is there so much anger & frustration?
And of course.. What is the cost of it all?

It a beautifully written story, a first person account of a persons journey to "intelligence" and back. Maybe I should find out more stuff written by the author Daniel Keyes.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Idols with feet of clay.

I've been watching a few of these music talent shows on tv off and on, for which addiction parents are solely to be blamed - they made me realise the presence of those channels!

Funnily enough, probably the most popular of the lot has the worst singers. In fact I'd go so far as to say that my school's singing contexts often featured better and more consistent singers. And there wasn't anyone I can remember at school who had taken any classical training . Really makes me wonder, is this the best that so called all india contests can be?

I'm no expert , but even to my untrained ear, the notes often sound off, and I feel myself cringe and rush for the remote. After much thinking I've come up with a theory - ( yes I've living a very busy life, I know!)

The abysmal quality is there, becuase that is what the channel was looking for. After all if they had a room full of good singers, where would the voting armchair experts involvement be ? - Thus must have thought the powers that be. Like me the voting junta would not be able to tell the one from the other. Currently there's much debate about "performance" vs singing. However the more self respecting of the aam junta can still claim to be able to differentiate between some of the singing and vote on "merit" because some are so patently bad!

The fact that inspite of such dumbing down of the singing, many a time the voting is based on factors other than singing, does make a mockery of the claims of the "singing" contest. Perhaps the channel needn't have nothered with dumbing down, there would have been plenty of other things for us to base our voing on. The size of the contestent's pimples, how cutely they smile, which state they are from, their life's sob sotories, how provocative their dresses are. :)

As I read somewhere , remember when dealing with human being, rember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but creatues brimming with prejudice.. or words to that affect.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Galileo's Daughter.

Just finished reading the book which was a gift from papa. I think I'm realising that I quite enjoy these biography type books about people from a few centuries ago. Even when they are not really grippingly written ( and this one certainly isn't!)

It fun to be able to discover those little details about how people lived. What drove him to study and write about what can be called modern day physics and astronomy. And the social mores that landed his daughter in a convent. I think I'd like to read a few more of these !

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Monthly update :)

Been an interesting month, travelled , worked ( for a change!) , met friends, saw some new places, read a few books, watched a few movies. Not bad for a month!

Saw "Little Miss Sunshine" which I found really sweet and funny. Reminded me of trans America for some reason. The irony is rather delightful, and the humour throughout is rather good.

Also saw the Namesake, which was passable, worth a watch.

The one which reall let me down was "The Last King of Scotland". I'd been warned about the alleged gore and hard hitting stuff, which hadn't worried me much. But I didn't find any, at least not until the stage where I watched it, it seemed so entirely predictable that I finally gave up. Perhaps it can be watched for the superlative acting, but as a movie I couldn't be bothered to watch it to completion..

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Am I a monster?

Found something I totally totally relate with in this

I'd often spent my childhood years asking myself that exact question, and could never understand the unrealistic ( at least thats the way it seemed to me) portrayal of what a woman is and what is mother should be. Then , as now, children seemed like so much pain and trouble, which some of us are probably better equipped to deal with than others. Just like any other pain and trouble - different people deal with pain differently. Some imbibe it, some face it, some turn away from it, some turn it around. Does the fact that some people can't deal with some kinds of pain well, make them any less human? I definitely don't think so. Yes the perpetuation of the species is very important, and sure , a lot of social norms stem from that, but hey, isn't it time that we recognised it as such?

It still makes me mad when I see the women around me, some of whom I deeply admire, taking the blame for everything that seems to be going wrong with their children, aching to live up to the hallowed portrayal of "motherhood". So often they've already done enough to be considered saints, but then the standards for sainthood for women are probably much higher than men.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Another year goes by..

ek saal aur beeta, aur humne kuch greys aur haasil kiye, ek aadha thoda chupa sa wrinkle bhi kahin chehre se jhaank raha hai - of course abhi use bahut microscope se dekhna padta hai ;) cavity badhi, sunai kam diya, nazar barkara hai.

hmm so what were the years accomplishments? oops bad que to ask, since I don't know the answer to that.

so what are the plans for the next year? ouch ! equally bad que, I don't know that either.

Not sure if I have a script for life, or a goal.. Maybe this year I'll find one, till then I'm just a on looker, watching life go by.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Not again..

Sigh, I'm down with cold and fever .. again! That makes it the umpteenth time since I started working, and perhaps the 5th time in the past few months. :( If I look back at college, I hardly ever remember falling ill, barring the usual cramps. Whats happened?? Double sigh!

Now wouldn't it be nice if falling ill meant that you could lie comfortably in bed and be pampered with healthy food and fruits? Have your whims and fancies catered to? Be able to miss work, knowing that it would all be taken care of?

Unfortunately, none of that happens, all I get to do is watch bad tv with aching watery eyes, and wonder what I'm going to do for food, and try to eat khichdi, which is not only self make, but self made when self is in fever.. now can it get much worse??

Thursday, May 10, 2007

And then again maybe I won't

Finished couple of long pending tasks today, and felt the relief that you can only feel once you've lived with the guilt of not having done them! Though I might have saved myself the rotten feeling for weeks if I'd been less procrastinating and better at managing my time..

Also remembered some beautiful lines I'd heard in one of those Kavi Sammelan I attended with papa centuries ago..

कुछ करने के लिये
मौसम नही
मन चाहिये

Maybe I'll learn, and then again maybe I won't..

Monday, May 07, 2007

Just another manic monday...

Mindless days , one after another..

You meet another human being, and put on your morning act, customary smile, small talk, bla bla bla.
Soon fit into the machine, turn on your engines , perhaps go into auto pilot, tracking, email, meetings, soon the days melts away.
Keep up the charade, till you reach the empty house, and switch off the smile, and kick off the act along with the shoes.
Get a fat and carb fix, and soon turn into a couch potato yourself. Numb the mind, vegetate.

And then it starts again.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

The grey edges.

Finished a book by Paulo Coelho, ( which incidentally bore an uncanny resemblance to another one I'd read ages ago by someone else) Somehow these "life changing books" really go way over my head, never could understand the philosophical discussions they have. Somehow I've not been very comfortable with the clear cut demarcations of good and evil, devil and angel, heaven and hell. Guess the grey's and their analysis appeal much more to me.. not that it gets me any answers!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Small things

So what are the things that make me happy or that make me sad? Was thinking about that today while fretting and fuming at something at work... and realised, that it was usually the small things which made all the difference. The little mail of appreciation, the 10 minutes of uproar with friends, the discovery of a chore done for me already.. and yes also on the flip side, the tiny glance of disapproval, the bus i missed..

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Friends

It always feels good to meet them, to laugh with them, to catch up , to get nostalgic.. its also feels good to make new ones .. now increasingly rarely for some reason.

It has been good to come to a new land and see new things, but it has also been great to see that its a place with some reassuring conections to the past :)

Friday, March 23, 2007

two and a half lbs.

As a friend had said few days back, the brain is also a body organ. Well thats stating the obvious, but perhaps sometimes I forget that all one feels is not always easily explained. Skimp on iron in your diet and you may get anaemic. Cut on vit A and eyes go bad. Take the daily dosage of caffein and you'll feel the kick. So when you're feeling low, is it just the tiff you had with someone, or is some food you're not getting enough of , is it the pms, or is it also the lack of enough exercise and stimulation, or.. or what? Who knows, just a down day today, and the rest of the body is not cooperating either sigh.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Just a job to do...

Was planning to write on something else, but wandering through other blogs , came upon this link to Milgrams experiments on - authority? Not sure if the word authority covers it all though.

It struck a chord because this was something I've always wondered. For any authority to continue, it always needs a huge army of foot soldiers. What I could never understand was, what was the viewpoint of the foot soldiers when the voice of authority seems to cross the bound, the bound as we know it at any rate? When the villain of the hindi movie orders his lanky to burn down the hero's house. When the coloniser orders the torture of the freedom fighter. When the neta orders the elimination of the other. When the prison warden orders the whipping of the innocent presoner. When so many "horrifying" things happen, things always associated only with the evil of the figurehead, how is it that they get executed without a murmer from the underlings... So are they all just doing the job? Would I? Would you? If the authority was good enough? If the money was needed? If we did not believe that ends justified the means? What if we did not understand the ends? What if there was an easy option to walk out?

Disturbing thoughts, and deeply disturbing answers too if the findings are to be believed..

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Chaand aur Shahad !

So for what has almost become a fortnightly fix now, this time's candidate was Honeymoon Travels, which was thoroughly enjoyed. A tongue in cheek look at a group of honeymooning couples, methinks it was pretty well woven, and except for a bit of a stretch towards the end, it always kept good pace, laced with healthy doses of humour throughout. The songs blended in beautifully - after Guru I'd developed almost an apathy for songs but this one reminded me that they have a place in a movie if they go with the theme are properly placed. Everyone did pretty much a good job, barring Amisha Patel, surely someone better could have been chosen? But well there's too much good going for it to really matter.

Its a pleasure to get genouniely funny hindi movies lately, Pyar ke side effects, Khosla Ka Ghosla, Jhankar Beats to name a few. Hope the trend continues!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Rainy car!

Hmmph, so there's this really really wierd ad on tv, which always bugged the hell out of me. So there's this so called Sunshine car, whose flagship family is as follows:

The kid is a little devil , who smashes his cricket/tennis balls into cakes of neighbours, and has no sense of courtsey, just the apalling manners of a little brat "aunty ball please" - no apology , no nothing!

The mother is a rather provocatively dressed female, (hmm did she leap off the page 3 parties, or were her origins redder in color???) who is quite comfortable in flirting with the neighbour under the guise of borrowing something or the other.

The neighbours are SRK and wife (can it get any worse).

Gosh, if there's one car I'd hate to be associated with purely on the basis of its ads - its the "Sunshine car". Wonder whatever happened to the good ol fashioned manners and courtsey in this country?? Not only have we lost them, we actually flaunt the loss!

Monday, February 12, 2007

Friday!

So I finally got to see the "Black Friday" that I'd wanted to see ages back. Quite liked it. For a lengthy movie shot in stark documentary style, I think it holds together really well. I'm sure it would disturb a lot of people's calm when they watch it, but I think it has more to do with their perspective, that it being an inflammatory movie.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Aya Guru, gaya Guru

So what kind of movie do you get when the editor takes a vacation, the lyricist , choreographer, music director are given major time slots, and probably decide that they have been working too hard, and the talented director just decides to let things be, letting through the occasional glimpse of his work, but mostly content to let the story bullock cart along??? Well if you ask me, then you get Guru, - thats what. Was definitely worth a miss :(

Monday, January 29, 2007

Did the tumor come first?

So there is the much done to death question, how can human being behave in such an inhuman manner? I refrain to even use the phrase "behave like animals" , because I really don't think any animals can come up with our level of expertise in giving pain for the sake of giving pain, simply because we dislike "them" ?

I'm not sure there are any simple answers, its not really about whether the riots were a response to train burning, or whether the train burning was a response to masjid demolitions, or whether the bombs came first or the retaliation to them... the stack can unwind endlessly. The starting point I feel is always the differenciation of "us" and "them". Here its religion, at other times it can be various other convinient and not so convinient ways of compartmentatlisation. Gender, region, language, caste, what not. Eventually its the feeling of how "we" are good and "they" are not.

Sad, but I guess thats how it is.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Winners History

Just finished reading a book, which pretty much smashed to bits some myths that we were fed as history during school. Which got me thinking about Orwell, and 1984 which had left quite an impact when I read it some 15 yrs back. Eventually its hard to really read or learn or understand an "objective" history. To start with , people documenting it will always color it with their viewpoints, intentionally or otherwise. And then , to add to that, you will usually read / view it through a prism of your own world view. And the bottom line will be that there will always be more than one history, the winnners, the losers, the readers, and then some..