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!