Sunday, May 31, 2009

Shmelessness is not the word!

Converstation with Nassh
Where : On call
Time : 10 PM, today
Me: Where is my HRD Book?
Nassh : You will get it tomorrow night at 8.45 PM.
Me : Does that mean that we are going out for dinner?
Nassh: hmmm.. We can. Lets go!
Me : Does that mean you are going to pay the bill?
Nassh: haan?
Me : In penalty for keeping my book for 4 months and not reading a single page from it?
Nassh : Ok OK. I will. I dont mind taking you out for Dinner.
Me : Good Boy. BTW, Benjie might also join us for dinner.
Nassh : Oh My God. Anything more?
Me : Are you not bringing me a bunch of roses?
Nassh : So far I ve not bought them for anyone other than...... But now that you ve asked for it, I will.
Me : Oh you fell for it? Goodie!
Nassh : Is that all? Anything more?
Me : That will do for the moment!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Berry Unwell

Today Berry fell sick. It had a punctured tire and I noticed it only post Dinner.

It was a feeling as though your baby would fall sick and you run to a hospital. Finally got the tire changed after opening a shop which was closed.

This is Berry's first Puncture. Berry is fine now- up and running again!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Balancing Act!

Proud of being a Libran, I must talk about this - The Balancing Act!

We all know and acknowledge the fact that the Librans are naturally good at the balncing act. This story is also about a Libran and also about the balancing act - Benjie learning to ride a bike. And who is the instructor? Me, the great - another Libran!

One fine day, I and Benjie were going on our usual rounds around the Historic campus of Anna University and suddenly Benjie got soemthing like that of a pregnancy craving - She wanted to ride my Scooty!

Being a good pal, I thought I should fulfil this desire of hers. Trust me, I let her do so only after She convincing me that she actually knows how to balance - she knows to ride a cycle. Initially Benju baby underwent a short briefing about the nuances of riding a bike. Then comes the real test. I let her drive it, me sitting behind.

Benjie picked it quite well. I was very happy at someone following my instructions so meticulously. She was driving quite well on the straight road. Now I teach her how to turn. In the turnings, you must slow down the vehicle; you decelarate by appying brakes. Once you turn, you accelarate. She picked that up also quite well. Now, she becomes proud of her balancing act. She wants to show off and we turn the bike towards SAP - School of Architecture and Planning, our very own Benjie 's Dept. Now as soon as she takes the turn there, right in front of SAP, and lo, she went straight to hit onto the pavement.

This definitely drew the attention of all the people there, which was apparently her aim, but not this way! Benjie fell - Thud. I jumped out, luckily escape without any injuries! All of Benjie's juniors who were hanging around there came running to pick the bike up (Yes, yes, to pick up Benjie also!)

She and I gave oily grins to them saying thanks! I start the bike and silently drove it. Thus ended up the great balancing act of two librans - one performing and one directing!

Monday, May 25, 2009

The Institution of Marriage!

The supreme court of India gave a revolutionary Verdict a few days ago : Live-In relationships are legal in India. Anybody in India, above 18 years of age is free to live with anyone else without the mandatory clause of marriage. It is acceptable.

This has created a stir amidst the Great Indian soceity - the clash between conflicting school of thoughts. Obviously, any relationship - married or a commitment-free live-in has its own pros and cons. Just give it a thought : Is Marriage an essestial requirement in life? Is it that important? What would life be if you dont get married? The more I think about it, the more interesting it becomes!

Ladies and Gentlemen, here are the Top ten reasons as to why one should not get married. The assumption is that whatever I am going to discuss here is predominantly applicable to the Indian context to a large extent. The reasons given below may not be in the order of severity or equally applicable to all of us but each of them would definitely leave you with a Deja Vu feeling if you are married.

Statutory Warning : This post may carry a number of negative connotations. If you decide not to get married after reading through this one, the author may not be held responsible!

1. The first and the foremost - the loss of freedom and liberty. This is more relavant to the women folk than the men folk. Things get worse when your in-laws are with you. When there is someone around you, being with you, it is not that it is always possible to do whatever you want to in conjunction with you and your instinct. You cant sleep when you want, wake up when you feel like, go on a drive in the middle of the night like crazy, wear your favorite shorts at home, so on and so forth..

2. The expenses incurred - HUGE. This is applicable to both men and women equally alike. The thing is that when you are a Bachelor/Spinster, you really dont spend on your house - in buying/ renting a beautiful house, spending fortunes on it - interiors, furniture, kitchen, electronic gadgets etc etc. The things which where considered to be a luxury in your bachelorhood is considered to be an absolute necessity in married life.

3. Like it or not, you will have to develop this virtue - Tolerenace; and also Patience. Most of the things which happen to you are beyond the sphere of your control. You will have absolutely no control over it. It will all happen to you but you will have no role to play in it except for being a silent spectator. For instance, Spouse going onsite and you might have to leave you job/ take a sabbatical and go along with a dependant visa. Your career takes a back seat!

4. Develop a new unwelcome skill - getting into your family/spouse's family with your married status. Those who have married would definitely agree with me. Though your equation with your spouse may be amazing, positioning yourself amidst your spouse's family, even for that matter back to your own, needs a special skill. There a few techniques like carrying a plastic smile, attending almost every insignificant family functions like ear piercing ceremonies, upanayanams, anna prasanams etc may help.

5. Things you have never done before : Learn them. This may include a range of things - from bargaining with the vegetable vendor to cleaning the attic, washing vessels to changing baby nappies.

6. The art of so called reciprocating even without receiving/knowing anything in the first place. Now you will have to play this trick quite tactfully. Each one of your in-laws and their relatives are important. You will have no clue as to which relative will jump from where and when and how, but it will happen. He/She might claim to be the most important person in the entire household. If you had not realised this or reacted a little indifferent to this person, believe me, you are dead!

7. This one you cant miss - the silly, stupid, senseless fights! If you say that a couple got married and they lived happily ever after, then there are only two possibilities : One - they are lying. Two - they are abnormal. It is too much of an idealistic scenario if an husband and wife say there are no fights and they are in perfect harmony. The fights can spring up from any damn thing - misplaced bathroom slippers, an empty toothpaste tube, unpaid electricity bill, neighbour buying a vacuum cleaner, et al, just anything. There is absolutely no basis for these kind of fights.
8. This one is deadly and can chew your brains - Tu Tu Main Main. The male ego is the culprit behind it, further accentuated by the female ego. In today's context, where both the Husband and the Wife are equally educated and working at equally placed job values, the probablity is even higher!

9. The sweet poison - Possesiveness. Or rather Obsessiveness to call it right. It is a nice feeling to know that someone is possesive about you. But at times, it gets on too much that it suffocates you. Badly.

10. The most important of all - Sacrifice. You pretty much leave most of it behind you - your Career, your home, your city, your family with the intent of starting it all afresh. It is a huge sacrifice w r to the past and a huge investment(!) w r to the future. But really dont know if it is worth to take this big a leap ahead!

Someone's recommendation to me when I mentioned that I am bogging on this "Sensitive issue": This book is a must read - Shoba De's "Spouse"

Friday, May 22, 2009

The Generation Next!

It is really an interesting fact - The current generation of kids : The Generation Next!

Sometimes I really look at them with awe! Mutiple factors - The acumen, Smartness, Glib talking, shrewdness and the rationale they provide at times, the farsightedness that belies their age! But at times you also feel like bashing them up for all the big talk they do!

Sometimes it is also dreadful to imagine getting into an arguement, or, for that matter, even to strike a casual conversation with these wizards! The statements they throw at you, simply make you shut up and blink! Read on, and you will know why I say so..

I have a little cousin who was 5 years old when this happened:

I casually asked her "Who are your friends?"
She gave me a long list of names - Sushmitha, Neetha, Priya, Anamika, and the list went on and on with a long list of names of girls of her class.
"Oh, you dont have any boyfriends?" I causually threw this question thinking I was pulling her leg.
In turn it only made me realise that I was making a bulb of myself. "Ah! Boys are so boring" was her reply.

I really dint know what was in her head when she said this. What made her "feel" that boys are boring! I really dont know how many boys did she know and understand which made her categorize them as "boring"! Absolutely No comments!

Another incident which Benjie narrated:

She had been to her cousin's home for Vishu. It is general practice on Vishu, for elders in the family to give small sums of money to the children in the household, which is termed as "Vishukaineetam"! Being a responsible adult, she gives Vishukaineetam to her naughty niece.
Question to her "You have lots of money?" when she saw the Bill, which, obviously, appeared big to her, was extended to her to as a gift! Now Benjie is Dumbstruck - Should she say YES? Should she say NO? she pretty much understands, quite clearly, the complications behind giving either of the answers! It would only result in yet another bulb. As a result, her gaping mouth - zip sealed!

Our little sweetheart was then asked to touch Benjie's feet by her mother. Keeping up the tradition alive through times was the idea!

Reaction - She touched Benjie's feet with her feet. Smartness! Ah! Then the instructions were given to her with some more clarity - "Touch her feet with your hand". She puts her hand up in the air and instantaneously instructs Benjie - "You touch my hand with your feet" Oh my Gawd! These Kids have a way out of anything and everything I say.

I am sure each of you would have, definitely, come across similar encounters with the smart next Gen which would have made to wonder: Where the world is heading to? This generation is too fast to catch up with! Seriously!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Recession, Slowdown and the Downturn!

The whole world speaks about it! The working professionals talk about it! The college kids talk about it! School Kids talk about it! Housewives to Retired uncles, cab drivers to Truck owners! Its on the TV! Its on the radio! On the Web! On the press! It is perhaps there - everywhere!

What is this ubiquitous talk of the town about? The great economic Recession. Some call it Slowdown. Others refer to it as the Downturn. These terms are used interchangeably by all of us. But, in reality, are they the same things? What are they? How did they enter each of our frquently used words in our Vocab?

Recession - A recession is a decline in a country's gross domestic product (GDP) growth for two or more consecutive quarters of a year. US is clearly hit by Recession today!
Slowdown - A market slowdown doesn't necessarily mean loss. It simply means less people are trading. India, as it stands today experiences a slowdown! It still, has not reached the levels of Recession.
Downturn - An economic downturn is when you start to leave the boom phase and start moving down the cycle to a recession. The current recession in a few countries and a slowdown in few others are all a phase in the Economy Downturn!

So, how did it all start?
It all started with the Sub-Prime crisis in the US, the housing market bubble burst. Lending money against homes to borrowers leading to debt defaults. Property prices fall. Home loans precolosed. Property on sale. This led to a chain reaction - Lehman brothers turned bankrupt. Stock prices fell. Companies lost money. Cost control and Cost cutting. Job losses. Obviously, when US catches a cold, the whole world sneezes! Fall from a state of Hyper growth to complete state of lull!

Every economy is sure to go through repetitive cycles of boom, slowdown and recession. Maybe its just time for all of us to redo some Economics lessons!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Namma IIT Madras!

I visited the IIT Madras today. I really prefer to call namma ooru as Madras than Chennai. That is probably one of the reasons as to why I really like our IIT Madras. The pressure from different sources did not seem to matter and it is still called IIT Madras. :)

I paid a visit to this scenic campus today for some reason. It is an humungous campus touching three different areas in Chennai. Yes, it has a Main gate which touches Adyar, two side gates - one at Velachery and one at Taramani. I drove until the Taramani gate and I spotted a Blackbuck, which is tagged as endangered! Apparently, I learnt, that this happens to be the area where the Blackbuck seem to have inhabited themselves.

The Picture you find here is a picture of a Blackbuck on campus. Overall, there are only around 15 Blackbuck in the IITM campus. I found 5 of them at one shot. Perhaps, the male Blackbuck is one of the most elegant antelope I have seen.

Besides, Blackbuck I also found an Owl and sad that I could not click a pic of it!
There are huge number of Spotted deer which are common to all the Science institutes in and around Guindy - IITM, Anna Univ, Birla Planetarium, Guindy national Park and also the Raj Bhavan! If you go back to history, this is one of the non-native species which was introduced to these establishements int he 1940s.

When I got back home, I discovered that IITM houses a huge number of Fauna. There is a huge variety - Bats, Jackal, Anteater, Satrred Tortoise, varitey of snakes, Open billed storks, Water hen, Pond heron, kite, Teal, Egret, a variety of butterflies etc., Wow! Such rich Bio-diversity!

There is a foundation called Prakiti, a wild life club at IITM and you can find more information about the wide-variety of plants and animals found here.
P.S. I had read this book sometime ago - "Catch Me a Colobus" where the author Durrel speaks of his experiences of maintaining the zoo and allso about his expeditions to the forests of Africa to gather some species to add in his zoo.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Pappu couldnt vote saala!

Finally, the final phase of elections in India, got over. The much ado about the extrvaganza for electing the government for the world largest Democrazy has come to a standstill for the moment!

I had big plans for the election day. My Voter's ID is registered for at my Place Tirupur and was planning to go there cast the vote. The polling day fell on the 13th of May 2009 which is a Wednesday. I decided to take off on Monday and Tuesday(11th and 12th May) so that I could have 5 days for myself at a place which held my childhood memoirs! More so, I decided I will drive my little Berry along with a school time pal of mine. A looong Drive!

Everything was set - leave approvals taken, back up support in my absence arranged, route maps taken, all the important people were notified about my visit there etc., etc.,

Just a day before I could fasten my seatbelt and get, set, go.. I get a call from my buddy. There was some kind of a Labour Union problem which resulted in him being stuck up inside the factory premises unable to get out. :(

In such a scenario, what is one expected to do? My beloved dad told me not to drive home alone. No tickets available in train/bus in the last minute. Sad scenario! Plans dissoved! Leave revoked! Long face!

I could not vote! I could not exercise my right! I did not perform the smallest expected duty of a citizen!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

An Ode to Mr.Nerd!

Today was a reason to celebrate. Wanna know why? Read on..

Scene 1:
Date - 12th May 2009
Time - 3:00 PM
Place - My office

My phone rings - a call from Nerd. He says he is passing by my office and he said he wanted to meet me for 5 mins. I jumped out of my seat. I thought - this poor charater is travelling all the way from the city in the scorching sun and let me get him a chiller(yes, its nice once in a way to pamper people!) Met him just outside my office gates and I handed over it to him saying "Enjoy!" And you know what? He hands over to me, a dabba full of my favorite laddus and says - "This is for you. I converted the IIM-S call!" I was pleasantly surprized and was brimming with excitement! Wow!!

I know this character in life for almost 7 years now. No matter what, we have been sticking around each other like the Siamese twins! A Samaritan, Philosopher, Guide, Soulmate, a shoulder to cry on, I can call him anything! Trust me, you can count on him for any damn thing! Honestly, I look upto this great personality in adoration for the sincerity, Hard work and commitment he puts in a lot of things he ventures in. And yes, these are the virtues that made him progress in life to the summit of glory inspite of a strong felt influence of mine in his life!

Yesterday was a very special day to him. Something, which this Soulmate of mine has been trying to attain had just come to him, into his very reach. After a long wait and sleepless nights in anticipation, Yesterday was the Red lettered Day in his life, when he got his admit letter. I was more excited than him, in fact much more excited than ever!

At this juncture, let me pen down how much I owe to him in my life. I was no lesser than a street urchin in my days at Anna Univ until I met this guy. It was him, who had instilled some sense of seriousness deep inside my head. It is him, who sat besides before every examination hitting on my head and make me look into my books. It was him, who tolerated me with patience and smile everytime I got into those terrible bad moods. And the list goes on and on..

All I want tell you is - you deserve a lot of good things in life and this is one of them! I sure I will see you accomplish much more and win a lot of accolades in the days to come! All the very best! Take Care!

Sunday, May 10, 2009


Guess this blog comes a little late.
Had been to Pondicherry last weekend. It was a long weekend. 3 day vistit to Pondy with my Mysore training batchmates. Hence a little about the place which I heard and read!

Pondicherry was once a sleepy small port along the Coromental Coast, was a French colony until 1954. It is in this place did Sri Aurobindo and the "Mother" together evloved the "Intergral Yoga" for the purpose of transforming the earth making it a better place to live in.

Sri Aurobindo who was originally called Aravinda was a revolutionary Freedom fighter from Bengal, a vetaran leader also a great yogi moved to Pondicherry from Calcutta to an adesh of Lord Sri Krishna.

Mirra Alfassa was born in France - a mystic, artist and musician who had visited several countries and had lived in Japan for brief period of time. It is when she moved to Pondicherry did she realise the purpose of the occult messages she receive from the cosmos.

Mirra found the image of Krishna in the form of Sri Aurobindo and He recognised the Mother who is above all self in the form of Mirra. They together constituted the Aurobindo Ashram in the City of Pondicherry. It is there they discourced the art of "Integral Yoga" which is a synthethis of the existing yogas. The power of the Intregral Yogi was belived to have continuous interventions during the Second World War with a spiritual force saving many soldiers in the war. It is though Integral Yoga did a Special protection for Paris was provided. It is through these spiritual interventions did the mankind was saved in the Japanese attacks on Imphal. These are some of the influences of Sri Aurobindo and the mother which were known to the world. Most of the occult actions and interventions of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother are still not revealed to the world.

Many people whether or not they were Sadhaks or Sadhikas, or their relatives, they came to to take shelter to the Ashram to take shelter as it was a haven for them, especially at times of war. There was also a school run in the Ashram which was personally taken care of by The Mother. She became the first teacher in the school. Some of the sessions were recorded and transcribed in different languages. These ones are still preserved at the Ashram collected in seven volumes.

In 1950, it was a voluntary yogic descent of Aurobindo's body that made him leave this physical world and there were no signs of death. His body showed no signs of decay even when it was kept for 111 hours before the burial was performed. While, the Mother made attempts to attain the supermental state where she transformed her body to a more spiritual and elevated state through her Integral yoga. Once she received this state, she left her physical body in 1973.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Those were the days!

Received an email forward today - a few audio clippings of the programmes that were once featured in the Doordarshan, the official TV channel of India. Ducktales, Jungle Book, Surabhi, Malgudi Days.. How can I even forget them? I listened to them after almost their extinction!

Those were the days when the Television sets were an affair of the elite ones in the Inidan context. The Doordarshan was the only channel which was telecasted. There were quality programmes which attracted everyone in the household. I remember all of us at home waiting for Chitrhaar on wednesdays in totality. Ramayan was another such favorite of the entire family. I used to be so crazy about sundays not because I had off from school but for the reaosn that I get to watch my favorite Ducktales and Jungle Book. I used to consider Huey, Dewey and Luey to be my best pals and our little Mougli to be my super Hero. I used to even secretly fantasize wandering in the jungle with him. What craziness!

There were no reality shows which give huge sums of cash and kind to a few and make the rest cry in disappointment. No public mockery in the name of There were no teleserials with housewives as the target audience and apparently with all the rona and dhona, which run everyday promoting the sale of tissues and handkercheifs.

Life, definitely was much better! It was less materialistic! Very nostaligic! Those were the days!