Dec 31, 2007

2007 in review

Continuing the tradition of 2005 and 2006, it's time to work on the exercise of looking back on the year 2007. There were some areas where I focused upon very well and other areas where my focus has reduced.

1) Got enrolled to PGSEM course at IIMB this year. My dream to study in one of the best institutions has come true. The past six months have been eventful and a wonderful journey has just begun.
2) Worked on many projects at work that kept me busy throughout the year and has been a very good learning experience as well.
3) Was part of the Dream Newsletter team at Dream a Dream for three months. Took interviews of volunteers who were part of other programmes such as art, drama and summer camp. It was fun to take notes while asking questions and then creating an article out of the interview. Since my Saturdays are occupied by PGSEM classes these days, I couldn't contribute much to Dream a Dream this year.
4) Visited Kodaikkanal and Vythiri,Wayanad (first time to the Northern part of Kerala)
5) Blog updates have increased to 72 this year, thanks to my sudden outburst of writings in December. Rambled 18 English and 4 Tamil poems and 6 short stories.
6) Visited a planetarium for the first time in my life.
7) Visited my primary school after a span of 17 years. Nothing has changed - the same "big" master, my LKG school miss "Ruby". I was so glad to relive those childhood memories.
8) Went for day trips to Mysore, Shivasamudhram falls and Kotilingeshwara temple.
9) Attended driving classes and then stopped in between as I got scared to drive in Bangalore roads :-( Anyway, I'm glad atleast I learnt the basics of driving.
10) Contrary to the previous two years, my reading habit has gone down considerably.
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (the fitting finale)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Fake book written by an avid Harry Potter fan)
- The man-eater of Malgudi by RK Narayan
- Joker in the pack by Ritesh Sharma and Neeraj Pahlajani

My 2008 goal is to achieve balance in all areas of my life and not focus on only a few and ignore the rest.

Wishing everyone a very happy and bright new year. May 2008 be the year when your dreams become a reality :-)

Dec 20, 2007

Journey on the road

My contribution to Totally Optional prompts - Road signs redux

A journey on a road called life
mysterious signs are intuitions
crossings and speed breakers around
guiding directions are values

option to stop and relax
or take the highway and zoom past
traffic signals to regulate,
recognize and not stop aghast

Pristine beauty all around
A smooth ride it is!
Potholes and bumps abound
A rough ride it could be!

excited and energetic
dull and dragging,
continue the drive
the journey is the destination

Contradictions

My contribution to 3WW

Words for this week - clumsy, fire, overlooked

A posh car driving down 4th lane, RC Nagar in a misty morning is not something new. Ravi goes to the nearby park for a jog, parking his car right outside the main gate. Though it's hardly a kilometre from his villa, he prefers to drive down to the park and then start his jog. Switching on the heater, his fingers tapping the steering wheel for a Bryan Adams song, he feels the warmth of air swooping past his face.

The rustling noise of the broomstick from the sides of the road doesn't reach his eardrums. Or does he purposely overlook the actions of people from the rest of the society? Muthu wonders. He is an employee of the Municipality and his daily duties are to sweep the roads and streets of RC Nagar and the neighbouring areas. His sweeping of the 4th lane and observing Ravi's car taking a turn towards RC Nagar has become an everyday affair happening at the same time in the early mornings. As a sweeper, his work is never clumsy and the roads look clean after his strenuous efforts, for all the irresponsible people to throw garbage again throughout the day.

Dropping a half smoked cigarette bud, Ravi gets down his car and enters the park. The waste papers and garbage collected so far has found their purpose now. Muthu picks up the still-burning cigarette, gathers the papers together in a lump and lights up the fire. He feels the warmth in his shivering palms and places them on his swollen cheeks. Slowly the sun peeks out of the clouds, veering the temperatures of the day. After a good rest, Muthu continues his duty, with the sun giving him the needed warmth.

Dec 19, 2007

Magic

My contribution to Monday Mural

A universal language
no words spoken,
no pleasantries exchanged
no adjectives needed

intrigues every living being
the presence of a companion
hearts to share
willingness to care

realization of the soul
that someone is mine,
time stands still
a message from the divine

A sparkle in the eyes
when soul mate is around,
the magic of love
spreads peace abound

No moribund state
in its life cycle
pure bliss in eternity
an unexplainable miracle

Dec 18, 2007

Slow down

Immerse in fresh air
smell the bloomed red roses
admire the smile of an infant
feel your breathing patterns

Not a roller coaster ride
that starts and ends in a few seconds,
a graceful ballet is life
that has its own twists and turns

Reality not an ultimatum
Embrace inevitable changes,
focus not on the momentum
but every step towards the ranges

Target not the summit
as new horizons appear,
but the stones and sand
that glitter in the near

Slow and steady
says the turtle,
the rule that works
against every hurdle

Dec 16, 2007

The birthday wish

My contribution to Writer's Island - "This season"

"Ma, where is my blue bag?", shouted Sheela from her room. "I don't know, search in the cupboard" Rathi answered in a not-so-interested tone from the living room, watching a reality show on TV.

Sheela didn't mind her mom's unresponsive attitude. She has been used to such responses since her childhood. She has all the comforts in the world, a 15 year old teenager could ask for. A room of her own, a personal computer, the top-notch school that she goes to and all the books and gadgets every child would dream of. Although born on the New Year's eve, her birthday was never special. It was just another day but with a huge cake party with her parents' friends and colleagues. When Rathi was expecting a baby, she hoped and prayed fervently that her baby would be a boy. But to her utter disappointment, it turned out to be a girl. Who says gender discrimination prevails only in low income, illiterate families? There are many such upper middle class, well educated, discriminating "Rathi"s throughout the world.

Sheela was very well aware of her mother's coldness but what made her happy was her dad Diwakar's affection. She has been his little angel and gave her all the care and comfort she ever needed. When Sheela asked her dad that she would like to spend her birthday this year with her grandparents, he immediately obliged.

Her packing was almost done and she was eagerly waiting for her dad. It's an overnight journey to the village named Kishanpur. Vishnu, her grandpa has been waiting in the railway station for his son and granddaughter.

"I have to leave in 2 hours. I'm taking the day train back to Mumbai", Diwakar said to his mom Sharada who was expecting this reply. "You carry on. We have our little Sheela here for 2 weeks. We are going to have lots of fun together", Vishnu was expressing his joy.

"Grandpa, what are the places to see around in this village? Dad has got me a new digital camera as a birthday gift". "Lots of places, my dear. I can take you to some temples and then we can walk through our fields". Sharada, meanwhile served her a plate full of different home made sweets. Sheela could sense the happiness in her grandma's eyes. She hasn't stayed at her grandparents' house before, thanks to her mom's hatred towards her in-laws.

The first few days were spent in roaming around the village with both her grandparents by her side. "This is our grand-daughter", exclaimed Vishnu, though the priest in the temple never questioned who this new girl was. There were many new experiences and special moments in her first week of stay at Kishanpur - the first time she ever tasted the sweetest tender coconut water, stepped onto lush, green fields, ate her meal on top of a banana leaf and most importantly, the first time someone caressed her hair when she was falling asleep. She loved the pampering showered by her grandma and her excited and lively grandpa. She relished every moment spent in the village. She was more than happy to share her experiences in Mumbai to the awe struck villagers. Though initially hesitant, she has also made some new friends of her age in the street and also started to enjoy the new games that these kids taught her.

"Happy birthday, dear Sheela", sang her grandma and grandpa. In front of her was a dish that looked like a cake but it wasn't. "Sorry dear. We couldn't get you the normal birthday cake that you would be getting in the city. So I made this milk sweet in a round shape", blushed Sharada. "Oh grandma, this is lovely. Let me blow the candles and taste it", hurried Sheela. "First make a wish, my child", said Vishnu. Her wish was undoubtedly to spend her next birthday with such caring grandparents. This day turned out to be her best birthday ever. Although small in monetary value, the gifts from her new found friends were a treasure to her. Her grandpa has gifted her an antique violin piece." I used to play regularly but these days I'm not using it. I hope you get to learn and enjoy the music", he mentioned.

As every good thing comes to an end, so was her vacation. With lots of beautiful memories, she came back to her home in Mumbai. While unpacking, she touched the violin and could feel the presence of her grandparents. "This holiday season was the best", she started to write her diary.

Dec 14, 2007

A perfect evening

My contribution to Sunday Scribblings - #89 Dance

A culmination of music and soul
so enchanting, so pure
I sway in a trance
tapping my feet

shoulders move to the beats
hands swing to the rhythm
the enthrallment has begun,
transporting to a whole new world

I jump and rejoice,
expressions now flowing
I feel the emotions
Grateful, it's drizzling

A cool breeze to
give me company,
My palms filled with
raindrops so many

The nature's concert,
to all six senses
I dance like
a little princess

Dec 13, 2007

Unbounded life

My contribution to Totally optional prompts - Birds and bonds

Gliding into the clouds
flapping the wide wings,
Exploring the distant lands
A life so unbound

Roam around the world
Reach for the distant skies
No boundaries, no limits
A life not to belong

Love and care for the nestlings,
snuggling in its cozy nest
A harbinger of growth
A life so worthwhile

Vast blue oceans,
New unknown territories
flying with no measure
Experience meant to treasure.

Dec 12, 2007

A peaceful end

My contribution to 3 word Wednesday

Switching off the headlights,
parking his four wheeler
Closing the front door
he walks towards the lonely trail

A dark, muddy, less-trodden path
Spooky, freaking noises
Carefully taken footsteps
Wandering, fearful eyes

Destiny unknown
Direction unclear
Lands in a virtual land
at the end of the world

No armor to shield
faces the worst fear
brainwaves at the fastest speed
peaceful death so near

Dec 11, 2007

The moment

My contribution to Writer's Island prompt - The moment

A sunny morning
an anxious beginning
Will I get through?
to be part of software crew

To make myself stand out
prayers chanted loud,
Shutting down other choices
Ruling out external noises

The deciding moment
no room to repent,
heart pumps fast
adrenalin flows aghast

no reason to sob,
I got my first job
The offer is mine,
pay myself to dine

freedom to stand
on my own feet,
the turning point
a memorable feat

Dec 9, 2007

Joker in the pack

Another interesting, light-hearted fiction in the lines of "Five point someone". This time, it's not about the IITs but the IIMs, specifically IIM Bangalore. As a present student of IIMB, I could relate to many of the instances and characters. But it would be more appropriate for full time PGP students/alumni since it reflects on one of the important phases of their lives.

This story captures the exact emotions and ambitions of a typical middle class family and the relatives' pressures, how a kid's life turns topsy turvy with the board exams and engineering days, how the peer pressures impact one's daily life etc. The subtle humour is really good at some places. The storyline is very easy to relate by someone who has passed school in the late 1990s like me. This is definitely one interesting book to read on a lazy Saturday afternoon.

The protogonist Shekhar Verma and his adventure in various places in UP on account of his summer placements is very well narrated. The interviews during placements were gripping and I was hoping that our hero gets through. It's all a happy ending except for the split between the hero and the heroine Anoushka.

"Joker in the pack" is not as humourous as 'Five point someone" but I would definitely recommend it to someone who enjoys stories based on school and college life.

Competition

My contribution to Sunday Scribblings #88 - Competition

A benchmark to accomplish,
A horizon to reach
A milestone to target,
A landmark to set

Doesn't end there,
Compete with full spirit
The bar set high,
There is no limit

Takes you to new heights
and achieve new targets,
Healthy competition
creates a perfect mission

Realize your full potential
with a never-give-up attitude
Challenge your self today
for a better tomorrow

for without competition,
Minutes are dragging
Days are boring
Life is never soaring

Aim for the pinnacle
and way around obstacles,
If it's worth a fight
Never let go off your sight

Dec 7, 2007

Seven traditions

My contribution to Cafe Writing - December project (Option six)

I would like to relate the word "tradition" with the different festivals that we celebrate throughout the year.

1) Diwali (festival of lights) is our favorite festival that we look forward to every year. We buy new clothes for everyone in the family, put a small mark using vermilion on the edges and place them in the Pooja (prayer) area, on the eve of Diwali. It's a traditional way to thank God for the new clothes.

2) Another special festival is Saraswathi (Goddess of wisdom) Pooja, the ninth day of Dussehra (a 10 day festival in October). We keep our textbooks, pens, pencils and other tools in the Pooja area and then offer prayers. The textbooks remain in the Pooja area for the whole day. As kids, we loved this tradition because of the fact that we don't have to study the whole day.

3) Bhogi is an interesting occasion in the month of January. During childhood, I used to love celebrating Bhogi with my grandfather. This day is marked by burning old and unwanted stuff on the streets early morning and playing a set of small drums. My grandpa would bring all sorts of junk items from the nook and corner of the house and dump them into the fireplace. We used to be astonished with the amount of junk he has been collecting over the year. As I grew up, I became aware of the extent of pollution this tradition was causing and I stopped celebrating Bhogi. Nevertheless, those times that I had spent with my grandpa were memorable.

4) Bhogi is followed by another festival, Pongal. Though this festival is celebrated in a grand manner in the villages, we, the city dwellers miss all the action. The only ritual that we practice is to make Pongal (a sweet dish made out of rice, pulses and jaggery) and shout "Pongalo Pongal" while the dish starts to boil. I've been continuing this habit ever since I started cooking myself.

5) Do you want to see if you have committed any sins in the past year? Then Vaikunda Ekadesi is the perfect day to get those estimates. We play "snake and ladder" that day and whoever falls as a prey for the big snake is the one who has committed many sins. Interesting, isn't it? I still have the traditional snake and ladder board and the special dice that we roll to play this game.

6) The best festival to satisfy your tastebuds is Krishna Jayanti that falls sometime in the month of August. Lots of sweets and savories prepared over a span of three days and stacked neatly in huge boxes!! The waft of the sweet smell would pervade the entire kitchen for those three days but we couldn't taste those preparations until the prayers were offered. I also liked to create the imprints of baby footsteps to mark the arrival of Lord Krishna.

7) Last but not the least, I love the entire month of Margazhi (between Dec 15th and Jan 14th) for the perfect cool weather and the divine renditions of Thiruppaavai in the nearby temple early morning. I used to make colourful kolams (designs made in front of the house using rice flour and colours), wearing a scarf to beat the cold and listening to the songs being played. I used to maintain a book full of different kolam designs and always wanted my kolam to be the best in the whole street. This habit is almost gone these days and I wish I could revive it someday soon.

Dec 6, 2007

Tradition

My contribution to Cafe Writing - December project (Option five)

I loved this challenge. I wrote this poem in 9 minutes (between 10:01 AM and 10:10 AM) and haven't edited it. I know this is not a good one but I hope I will get better at it soon, with more practice.

Tradition
not something that you follow
not something that you crib
not something you adapt
not something you adjust

Tradition
a binding love force
a proud realization,
turns monotonies into
fun and laughter

Tradition
celebrating festivals
family time together,
meals and delicacies
on a certain platter

Tradition
something to remind
for years to pass by,
something to carry forward
for generations to come

Tradition
defines one's character
with principles and values,
designs a game of life
with expectations and surprises

Tradition
loved by everyone
but rare to accept,
will to follow
but lazy to admit

Tradition
Converts diversity
into unity
Converts singleton
into groups

Dec 5, 2007

Necessary ritual

My contribution to Cafe Writing - December project (Option four)

"Sumi, where's my coffee?", Shyam's first question in the morning as always. "On the dining table", replied Sumathi, his wife. He savours his coffee with another of his can't-live-without habits, reading newspaper ofcourse. Shyam has always been an early riser. Sharp at 5 AM, he is awake and bustling with energy. His next course of action is to walk to the nearby CM Park and jog along with his friends. He likes to observe the different people who visit the park and their mannerisms - some prefer to walk briskly while some others prefer to take a lazy stroll. Being a regular for the past 28 years, many of them recognize him and offer a smile.

He quickly gets dressed up after coming back from the park. He heads straight to the Pooja (prayer) room to offer his daily prayers. "Breakfast ready", Sumathi's voice echoed from the kitchen. After a sumptuous breakfast, Shyam leaves for office, waving goodbye to his wife. The clock struck 8 AM. These 3 hours are preprogrammed into his system. He knows exactly where he will be and what he would be doing. Such was the schedule he has been following for the last 28 years. He is very happy about this and always believed that this jump start every morning has been the secret behind his success. He is a senior manager at a reputed multinational bank.

It's a different story today. Although the schedule is the same, it doesn't give him the jump start as it used to be. He is happy about his retirement and glad that he gets to spend more time with his family. But he is wondering what he is going to do starting from tomorrow. No more excitement, no more monthly paychecks, no more jump start routine. Sumathi completely understands his feelings and doesn't want her hubby to get a post-retirement syndrome and become depressed.

Sending good-bye emails, meeting his friends at office, settling all the financial matters and a big farewell party - the day that just swooped past him in a jiffy. He returns home with lots of gifts and good wishes but a feeling of emptiness inside.

Opening the door, he realizes that his house is completely dark. "No power? Sumi! where are you?", Shyam enters the living room. He notices a candle glowing in the store room. There is dead silence and he is starting to get freaked out. He enters the store room. "Surprise!", shouts Sumathi from the corner of the room, switching on the lights. He's in fact expecting this surprise from his wife and knows that there will be a cake in the middle of the room, having known her for the past 30 years. But that's not the case this time.

The room is looking colourful, with the two opposite walls in splashing red. A painting board is standing pruodly with lots of brushes and paint colors around in the corner where Sumathi is admiring her hubby's reaction. In the other corner, there is a huge book shelf with classics that Shyam used to love reading once upon a time. He also notices that his computer has been shifted to this room from his study. "Who told you that you are retired, Shyam? Your work from today onwards is to renew your painting hobby and also get immersed in classics and other books that you loved to read. I want to see you here in this special room every morning at 8 AM. All right?", Sumathi expresses her wish to her dear hubby. Shyam is happy that he doesn't need to give up his necessary morning ritual. Just because he is retired from the bank, it doesn't mean that he is retired from life! He is now looking forward to restart his painting hobby after 28 years. Life is colourful again, thanks to Sumathi.

A new beginning

My contribution to Cafe Writing - December project (Option three)

Sun rays at dawn
piercing the skin
awakening the senses
touching the soul

Bird flock from the nest
aiming for a new horizon
The blooming white jasmines
adorning my flower garden

A cool breeze
through the window
the wafting aroma
of fresh coffee

Gift of a new day
not a mere ritual,
but a miracle of hope
microcosm of peace

Dec 4, 2007

The present

Winter at its full bloom,
Nothing better than a warm room
Distant fields in complete mist
Only the clock ticks in the wrist

Time stands still
welcoming the festivities,
Colours of Christmas
and a hope for a new year

Time to dream
Moments to relish,
with loved ones
hours to cherish

This beautiful month
has lots to offer,
Everyone's waiting for
the cool December!

Dec 3, 2007

Not to be ignored

My contribution to Cafe Writing - December project (Option two)

I have the power
to face boldly
the commanding heights,
the worst fears

A small stature
but a larger than life image
one single move
can make the enemy rage

Not to be ignored
I trip the opponent
I initiate the first move
I win close contests

Arsenals of attack
can become useless
So many options
at my defense

One step at a time,
my king in his prime
in the life game of chess
I'm the impeccable pawn

Dec 2, 2007

ஏன் இந்த அவசரம்? (Why such a hurry?)

I hope all those rash drivers who only know to honk and cause chaos on the roads because of their impatient and arrogant attitude are reading this poem.

பொறுமை இழந்த மனிதா
எதற்காக இத்தனை அவசரம்
இரவுநேர அமைதிப்பொழுதில்
எதற்காக ஒலி எழுப்புகிறாய்
நடந்து சோர்ந்த கால்கள்
ஓய்வு கேட்கவில்லையா?
வேலை செய்யாத கைகள்
சுறுசுறுப்பாகி விட்டனவா?
பகுத்தறிவு இழந்த மனம்
கல்வியால் மாறிவிடாது
எறும்புகள் கடைபிடிக்கும் குணம்
எக்காரணத்தாலும் மறைந்து விடாது
பொறுமை ஒருநெல்லிக்கனி
அதன் விளைவுகள்
ஒரு நிமிடத்தில்
கறைவதில்லை
ஒரு நொடி வேகத்தால்
ஒரு வாழ்வை
இருட்டி விடாதே!
ஒரு அலை கோபத்தால்
உன்னை நீ
இழந்து விடாதே!

A rough translation in English

The one who has lost patience
Why you are in such a hurry?
Is there a reason to honk
in this quiet, peaceful night?

Doesn't your swollen feet
demand you for some rest?
or does your inactive hands
want to be busy?

Your mind with no common sense
will not change with your education
The discipline followed by ants
will never change for any reason

Patience is like a gooseberry
It's effects
doesn't vanish
in a minute

Let your one second of speed
not darken another's life
Let your one splash of anger
not make you lose yourself

A moment that could have been

My contribution to Cafe Writing - December project (Option one)

Does her effulgent smile claim that she has the whole world's happiness? One might ponder. Her glistening eyes and the joyful look on her face might reemphasize that she is the happiest person one has ever met. She is returning home with lots of stories to tell her dad. Her new friends, her class teacher, the black board and the different colour chalk pieces, the school bell, the text books and pencils - she wonders where to start. A new experience for the 3 year old, Shrishti. It's her first day at school.

Her dad, Prakash is a postman and wants the best for his daughter. Shrishti is his only source of happiness in his struggle to get ends meet. He has faced many twists and turns in his life but today, the turn he takes towards RC Road prove to be a bad twist in little Shrishti's happiness. The speeding car, with no respite for traffic signal hits his bicycle and he collapses in the middle of the road. His vision starts to blur and memories of his childhood starts to kindle. How his life was shattered after his father's death! He has to live for Shrishti. He cannot see his little daughter suffer.

Sparks of conviction and will power bring him up his feet. He gets up and looks at the world staring at him, with no one to offer him a helping hand. He has been delivering mails for so long but today, there is no one to deliver a message to the nearby clinic. With blood oozing from his left side of the face, he starts to walk. A little girl in her bicycle comes by that way. She is appalled by the observing crowd and rushes towards Prakash with her handkerchief. Some of them, clearly embarrassed offers to take him to a doctor.

Lying on the hospital bed, he prays that nothing serious has happened to himself and he can get back to work soon. He sees Shrishti standing next to the door, with tears gleaming from her eyes. She walks towards him and brushes his hair softly. The magical touch of his daughter feels a bliss to Prakash. Seeing her smiling face, he knows he is perfectly fine. "Dad, this is the picture I drew in my class today", she showed a piece of paper proudly. The happy moments are back but on a different note, those could have been stolen by the rash car driver.

Walk

My contribution to Sunday Scribblings #87 - Walk

free steps
swaying hands
relaxed shoulders
gentle motion

I walk
towards my destiny
I smell
red roses

Fully blossomed
on either side
with dew drops
stay abide

blushing towards
the reddish sun
blossoming in
serene beauty

My legs rejoice
my heart enjoys
my eyes glisten
my face brightens

birds in harmony
reciting a symphony,
"morning's here
fly with no fear"

The woods
feel fresh
I dance
and relish

my best buddy
offered by nature,
my everyday walk
on this green pasture

Nov 26, 2007

கனவுலகம் (Dream world)

கண்கள் சொருகி
பார்வை விலகி
சென்றேன் கனவுலகத்திற்கு
திரும்ப மனமில்லாமல்

விடுதலை வேண்டும்
கண் கருவளையத்திலிருந்து
வேக ஒட்டத்திலிருந்து
கால சக்கரத்தின் சுழல்களிலிருந்து

நிற்க வேண்டும்
ஒவ்வொரு நிமிடத்தை ரசிக்க
கால் தடத்தை பதிக்க
இசை வெள்ளத்தில் மிதக்க

நடை போட வேண்டும்
தென்றலின் திசை நோக்கி
இயற்கையின் அழகை நாடி
சிறு ஓடையின் தெளிவைத்தேடி

காற்றில் பறக்க
சிறகு தேவையா?
கடலில் கலக்க
கால்கள் தேவையா?

அளவில்லை
உளறல்களுக்கு
எல்லையில்லை
கனவுகளுக்கு

A rough translation in English

In a state of trance
with my vision blurring
I stepped into my dream world
with no desire to return

wishing for freedom from
dark circles around my eyes
speed of the race
rotation of the life wheel

wishing to stop for
relishing every minute
leaving a footprint
floating in music

wishing to walk towards
the direction of the breeze
the beauty of nature
the stillness of the stream

To fly in air
Do I need wings?
To walk in ocean
Do I need legs?

No limits
to ramble
No boundaries
to dream

PS: Inspiration can come at any time, any place.....in a macroeconomics class as well! :-)

Nov 9, 2007

Evolution of Diwali celebrations

In the 20 odd years that I remember, Diwali is one exciting festival that I look forward to every year. I could think of so many memorable experiences that this day has offered me. The most distant memory I could recollect is waking up to the music of Nadaswaram at 3.30 AM on the morning of Diwali. The musicians used to visit every house, played Nadaswaram and Mirudangam for a few minutes and collected some money. The specific rituals would be in the order of taking oil bath before sunrise, wearing new sets of dresses, eating a delicious breakfast with a lot of sweets, firing crackers and visiting relatives' houses.

There used to be times when I was so scared of crackers that I would hide inside my house. When I had to go to my nearby grandpa's house, I would run fast with my ears tightly closed. My only interest was the harmless sparklers which my dad used to buy a bunch of boxes, especially for me. My little brother had all the crackers in his control with no competition from my end.

Then came the times when I started bursting roll and dot capes (remember the red dots and rolls!) and bijli crackers (tiny ones). My brother was happy to share them with me as he had already moved to the next level of lakshmi crackers and double sounds. Slowly I started moving to sparrow crackers and my fear started vanishing. My bro had to share the entire crackers box with me with a strict ratio of 50:50. He couldn't believe that he has to relinquish his monopoly one day.

With years passing by, the manner of bursting crackers has also changed. There used to be times when we used to untie the 28 wala or 58 wala (stringed crackers) and burst them one by one. But as we grew older, we started tying bijli crackers into a bunch and bursted them. How can we miss the heroics of lighting bijli crackers by holding them in our hands and throwing them to neighbours house?

Once I remember we had a very bad rainy season just before Diwali. Most of the crackers never bursted. A creative person, my brother is! He collected all the crackers that didn't burst and lighted the pile. Pishshhhhh! Black smoke all over his face! We had to rush to the hospital and give him an injection to avoid any infection.

In our apartment, we had a competition among the kids as to who bursts the crackers the first. My brother and I used to get up very early, burst a 100 wala outside and then come home with a big success smile. We also had competition among the apartments in our street. Which apartment has lots of bursted crackers and papers outside the gate? To win this competition, we used to burst a lot of lakshmi crackers. For people who are not aware of the properties of lakshmi crackers, they are the ones that spit out the most paper bits.

In the past few years, the passion with crackers has considerably gone down. We like to just laze around, watching TV and teasing cousins who fear to burst crackers. Whatever it is, Diwali is a special day to share joy and happiness!

Oct 16, 2007

4 month anniversary

Today is a special day and you know why! It's been 4 months ever since I joined PGSEM in IIM Bangalore. It would be highly dramatic if I say that life has changed a lot. Maybe, I will try to keep it subtle. It has been a long cherished dream to study in a premier institution like IIMB.

Fridays and Saturdays are days that I now look forward to every week for many reasons - getting back to student life, interacting with students from different backgrounds in software industry and Profs who are experts in their respective area. Ever since the first quarter started on June 16th, it has been a busy 4 months so far. The learnings that I receive from the classes every weekend have been excellent, which is the key motivating factor behind my full attendance. The mode of communication has been two way with students and Profs discussing every aspect and the situations we face at work. Apart from the classes, the projects/assignments that are part of the curriculum are very interesting and helps me to learn a lot more beyond textbooks. I love the case based approach of learning. The strategy cases have been like reading some interesting stories about different companies and their leaders. It has been an enlightening learning experience that has broadened my perspective and look beyond the comfort zones of software development.

I have been managing my time better. I know there is a still a long way to go. With 8 more quarters to go, I'm sure it's going to be a nice, steep learning curve that should help me realize my full potential and become a better person.

Movie time

I've been wanting to watch Chak De India ever since the movie got released. With a single day weekend and unwillingness to go to the other end of the city just for the sake of a movie, a trip to PVR cinemas had been disappointing, with the movie shows running house full. So my hubby and I decided to drive down to Innovative multiplex to watch Chak De. We were shocked with the ticket prices for a multiplex so far from city - silver class for 180 and gold class for 200. Heights of inflation, I swear!

We had some time to dispense before the movie starts. What better time than now to visit Homeworld! With the huge banners and advertising in the newspapers, we cannot miss this chance. It's a massive complex with a variety of options for home decor. Anything and everything you need for a house is out there. The display pieces are wonderful but not the prices, ofcourse! The less expensive furniture models are of poor quality. The display pieces had many cracks and very easy to figure out that these are the cheap models which can break easily while you transport the stuff to your home.

After a quick lunch at the "Village", we entered Innovative for the first time. A single dull lamp was the only source of illumination in an otherwise dark cinema hall. The movie started on time with no advertisements or trailers.

Chak De is a movie with a predictable story line. Though the opening sequence was melodramatic with the usual sad tone when Shahrukh and his mom vacate their house, the story picks up once the girls start registering their names. The movie clearly depicts the plight of Indian sports other than cricket, how some states are given a more preferential treatment than others, how team work always wins, why egoistic attitude takes you nowhere etc etc. Though there are so many messages, never once I felt the movie is getting preachy. No wonder my CEO suggested all the employees to watch this brilliant movie.

The world cup sequences are shot well, with the final match bringing the audience to the edge of their seats. The kids who were watching the movie got so engrossed that they started clapping and cheering when the women's team won the championship. The characters are well chosen, with King Khan portraying the role of Kabir Khan brilliantly. He fits such roles (like Mohan in Swades) better than the hero-running-around-the-trees movies these days.

Sports sells and movies based on sports are definitely super-hits. It's good that for a change, movies are being based on sports other than cricket.

Oct 15, 2007

Something unique and new

I like spending time at CCD (Cafe coffee day). Though I don't do it quite often, the moments I engage in a cup of coffee are memorable. I love the CCD at the Crosswords book store after roaming around and browsing through different collections of books and having a quiet chit-chat (an oxymoron?) with dear hubby. My preference would always be for a cup of milky latte. Having been brought up in a South Indian family where coffee is close to everyone's heart and a daily morning ritual, I like my cup of coffee as a mixture of strong decoction at the bottom and frothy milk all the way up.

I came to know of this new coffee place Brewhaha in Koramangala while whiling away my time reading blogs sometime back. Having got disappointed with the tickets of Chak De not available on a Saturday evening, we decided to hang out at brewhaha around 7 PM. It's a unique place with a casual ambience and with many college-goers playing Scotland Yard and Scrabble. They have implemented a different concept where you can hang out with your friends, play a couple of board games and enjoy different flavors of coffee. I also heard from friends that they organize many interesting events. Their website (though not updated recently) shows that there was a Harry Potter quiz held on 22nd July. How did I miss that?

Now for the bad part. The service was pathetic, with the waiters focused more on setting the table for the buffet dinner than getting our orders for coffee. I don't understand the need for a buffet dinner when the USP (unique selling proposition) of this place is coffee. It looks like this place has lost its primary focus and trying different things. We waited for 15 minutes and finally got hold of the menu card. As usual, I ordered a latte and hubby went for a chocolate milkshake. This time, the wait was over 20 minutes and we were wondering if the coffee beans had to be plucked from the plantations of Coorg.

Though the idea is unique (coffee, events, hobbies and board games), trying other options like buffet dinner is not a good idea. The differentiation aspect goes for a toss. Moreover, the poor service adds to the fact that their operations is not upto the marks of CCD and Barista. Coffee places are picking up big time in India and it's a good business to venture into at this point of time. With a clear market leader in CCD, new entrants can succeed if they have some unique aspect that differentiates them. And I guess that is the reason behind Brewhaha's strategy. But lack of focus and customer service with not-so-good operational model can become a huge setback for their unique strategy. On top of it, their prices are on the same lines of CCD which shows that they are not very keen on capturing the market share with low prices. I'm not sure if they are advertising through any form of media. Being setup right next to a college (Jyoti Nivas college in Koramangala) really helps in capturing the pocket money of the college-going youngsters. It will be interesting to see if any new branches of Brewhaha opens soon.

Oct 5, 2007

A drive to Shivasamudram falls

Having been a proud owner of a Tata Indica Xeta car for the past four months, this is our first time to test drive the car on a long distance situation. I'm not going to ramble about the car performance or mileage related details but just about the journey and the destination itself. It was a totally unplanned trip (unlike me) when we (six of us) decided to drive down to Shivasamudram falls on a Sunday morning. At 9 AM on a bright morning, the traffic was smooth and the drive started well. We were driving on Mysore Road when our stomachs started grumbling for breakfast. Our first pitstop was Kadu Mane, a Veg restaurant where we had thatte idlis, vadas and coffee. Once our palate was full and the plates were empty, it was time to hit the road again. The highway was smooth with very little interruptions by the barricade lines and speed brakers here and there. It was a good idea that we decided to buy lunch parcels since there is no good place to eat after the left turn from Maddur to Shivasamudram falls.

What a scenery it was, with green fields and coconut trees on both sides and a beautiful lake filled with lotus and lillies! The white clouds dispersed as different shapes in a clear blue sky were not to be left behind. It was a visual treat. We stopped for a while to take in the beauty that's so close to the city (a couple of hours drive). Though the state highway road was bumpy with many potholes, the drive overall was very nice. The direction boards are everywhere on both sides of the roads and it really helps. As we drove down, we started seeing glimpses of the river Cauvery. After parking our vehicles, it's time to get a sight of the majestic waterfalls. What a wonderful view! Water flowing down with such a force and sound makes you admire the falls with awe. We walked along the rocks to reach a spot where the water force was less so we could take a bath. Initially I was hesitant to get close to the waterfall. But I couldn't resist my temptations. After all, it's not a day-to-day event that we drive down to such beautiful waterfalls. We got drenched for about 30 minutes, after which it felt so refreshing. We emptied the lunch parcels quickly (fearing the attack by monkeys!) and headed back to our vehicles.

After a quick stop for coffee at Indradhanush restaurant, it was time to drive back. A clear sky in the afternoon and rains lashing in the evening. This is the order of the weather these days. After careful manouvering in the rains, we reached home at 9 PM. Our first day trip in our car was worth it. No wonder, people keep driving to different places over the weekend. There are many wonderful places around Bangalore and in Karnataka which I'm yet to explore. Hopefully, I get to visit many such places soon.

Collector personality

My contribution to Sunday scribblings #77 - Collector personality

A very appropriate prompt that's applicable for me, to explore my collector personality. There's one thing that I have been accumulating since childhood, since the time my friends started to exchange presents during important occasions, since the time I started to feel the myriad colours, sizes and shades of greeting cards. I have been collecting all the greeting cards that my friends and cousins have given me in my lifetime so far. They are precious to me, that I have them neatly tucked in a small handbag inside my cupboard. Whenever I receive a card, I ensure I store it carefully inside the bag. It's a treasure bag, worth exploring once in a while, to remember the old friends, to reconnect with special moments, to laugh at funny verses, to feel the touch of once-upon-a-time-best-buddies, to admire the handwritings of close ones. I do not browse through this collection often but very rarely, once in 6 months or a year. But the hour I spend with those beautiful cards is memorable.

There are birthday cards, good-luck cards (sent by cousins and friends during board exams!), New year cards, Pongal wishes (Tamil vazhththukkaL with actress khushboo's picture :-) ), Diwali wishes and many more. In the world of electronic greeting cards, the charm of real greeting cards is lost. My collection reminds me of my best friends and the time we spent together in school and college. Sometimes, I'm tempted to display a few of them in my cube. But the very next second, I realize that's not a good idea since the cards might get lost or damaged. Now that I write about my collection, I feel I should browse through them this weekend. It's been a while since I opened that handbag of treasure.

Sep 19, 2007

Her preciousness!



Hanging in there
pretty close
to the window,
hoping I would open
and let her reach me
to put forth
her preciousness

"I'm cool,
I'm unique,
I have the power
to refresh
and rejuvenate
I bring along
my best buddies -
Wind so forceful,
yet so gentle
Lightning so powerful
yet so bright
Thunder so wrathful
yet so still

Wet soil
with a fresh smell
Green grass
with a tiny dewdrop
Cloudy sky
with a peeping sun

I bring magic
to the monotonies
I bring life
to the dull
I topple
day-to-day routines

Why don't you
rejoice and
dance with me?
Why do you
shun away from me?

Why don't you
feel me on your
tender palms?
Why don't I
caress your
brown hair?
Why don't I
be your
best buddy?"

Oh lovely rain!
I'm moved,
Such a darling
you are!
Now I hate
my black, boring
umbrella
I wish
you would
come again today!
It's time to
dance and play!

Sep 12, 2007

Customary gifting practices

Having been brought up in a traditional background, I have attended quite a number of family functions and weddings. Elders in the family usually took the responsibilities of picking up gifts before attending any such events. The kind of gifts vary with different occasions. For a wedding, if the bride or groom was a very close relative of the family, the gift typically would be a gold pendant or a ring. In case if it was for a distant relative, the gift would be a silver lamp or kumkum storage box. If the gift was for a friend, it would either be a display item or just plain cash.

Now that I have grown up to be someone who can no longer outsource the gift buying responsibility, I decided to buy a gift for my cousin's wedding recently. After marriage, my cousin would fly off to US. So any bulk gift would just be lying idle in her house in India. Based on my criteria that the gift should be useful as well as usable while they are living abroad, I bought a pair of Titan watches for the bride and the groom. On the day of wedding, after presenting the gift to the newly wed, I was sitting relaxed in the marriage hall. My other relatives came to me one by one and started enquiring about the gift that I had presented. When I said that the gift box has a pair of watches, they were shocked. "A gift of either gold or silver would be the appropriate gift for such occasions", was the blunt response from everyone. I couldn't convince them that gifts ought to be usable and not meant for storing in lockers.

In another situation, I had to buy a gift for my friend's wedding. I knew that she didn't know to cook and so I bought her a set of cookery books which I felt were very useful based on my experience. Again, another cousin put down this idea that books are not good gifts for weddings and she argued that items which has a good look are the best gifts.

Giving gift vouchers is a better idea as it gives the person ability to buy what he/she wants. But amidst the bustling crowd during the wedding, the small vouchers are bound to get lost. I hate the idea of gifting cash since I feel as though we are paying for the food that we have during the event.

Due to lack of space, most of my wedding gifts that are display items are lying stacked in a cardboard box. Sometimes, I wonder why this gifting is needed in the first place.

This post was triggered by a very nice advertisement of Cadbury's celebrations that I happened to watch recently. A display item getting exchanged from one family to another and finally gets landed up in the same house from where it originated! Simply hilarious. A pack of chocolates is indeed a better gift. I would prefer even more if it was a pack of Dairy Milk chocolates. Anyone listening?

Sep 9, 2007

Man-eater of Malgudi

It's been a long time since I touched my RK Narayan collection. Before I left for Vythiri, I took this book from my home library, hoping to read atleast half of this book during my vacation. Thanks to the heavy rains, I finished reading this book in the past three days. It's always refreshing to read RKN after a while. The town of Malgudi, the people and their lives, the characters and their attitudes are very similar to any other RKN novel.

This story is about the lives of a printer Nataraj, his helper Sastri and his friends and how their day-to-day lives get affected by a taxidermist Vasu. Nataraj is a friendly person by nature and he doesn't have the ability to say No. Vasu comes to his life and inflicts pain to Nataraj and others in the village in many ways. How the villagers cope with the complications caused by Vasu and what happens to Vasu in the end is what this story is all about.

The characterization of Nataraj and Vasu is so clearly written that you feel so sorry for the poor Nataraj and feel very angry with the actions of Vasu. You can easily relate to the other characters, be it the tea vendor, Muthu, the poet or the journalist. Every character in this story has a well-etched personality to it. The story is gripping and at times, you wonder what's going to happen to the evil Vasu in the end. The climax was disappointing and the way Vasu dies is a bad end. A man of such evil and atrocious qualities should have faced a tough death. Though the author has tried to link the coincidence of Rakshasa in Hindu mythology and Vasu, the evil character deserves a worse death. The subtle humour that is prevalent in almost all of RKN's novels is somewhat missing in this story. Anyway, it's a good read, very typical of RKN and Malgudi.

The Vythiri experience

Wayanad has been part of my to-see list for the past four years. As a keen lover of God's own country, I want to explore this state so much. Though I had visited the central and southern parts of Kerala, the Northern region was something I didn't get a chance to explore. A break from my first quarter and a long pending vacation from work provided the perfect chance to visit Wayanad. After the initial rounds of browsing and gathering details on best places to stay, my hubby and I finalized on Vythiri resorts. We made the bookings and also got the travel arrangements done.

The Kallada travels bus got delayed by an hour and we left Bangalore around 10:40 PM. After a six hour ride, we reached a quiet village called Vythiri around 5 AM. It was dark and spooky. The jeep that was supposed to pick us up was no where to be seen. A small tea shop owner asked us to walk a few more metres to find the jeep. We found the driver and he took us to the resort, around 4 kms from the main road, inside a dense forest region. It was a scary ride, with bad roads and distinct sounds of the jungle.

The resort doesn't have power supply and it runs mainly on diesel generators. So at that time of the hour, it was rather dark. A torch light came in handy and we were taken to the cottage allocated to us. Sleep was no where near our eyes even after a bumpy 6 hour bus journey. We were waiting for the sun to rise to take a walk around the resort. Around 6.30 AM, dark clouds and a slight drizzle greeted us. We were thrilled to see the gushing stream running inside the resort area and a hanging bridge to cross the stream to reach the restaurant. After a hot cup of tea, we roamed around for a while.

It was time for Yoga and meditation. The asanas reminded us of the Yoga classes we used to go in the mornings a year ago....Can't believe our bodies have become so stiff. After an hour's Yoga session, we felt very hungry and headed for breakfast where we were served a nice mix of both continental and Indian dishes. Since it was drizzling, we decided to remain in the resort the whole day. We played a couple of games of table tennis and carroms, also caught up on a couple of RK Narayan's books, had some very nice food and slept like logs for hours together. We also got a refreshing massage and strolled around the resort many times. It's such a quiet and peaceful place and all you get to hear is the gushing stream and the continuous voice of the insect "cricket".

The monsoon rains have been pretty heavy this time and it was continuously raining, most of the times very heavy and sometimes, a mild drizzle. As a result, we couldn't roam around Wayanad and see different places. Our activities mostly got confined to the resort premises, thanks to the heavy downpour. In between, we managed to catch up a short trip to Pookot lake and tea plantations around. The lake is very calm, surrounded by lush, green forests. We took a walk around the lake. The boating was stopped due to the rains. Also, we caught a glimpse of the famous "Chain tree". The story surrounding this chain tree is hilarious and every tour guide will take you to this tree.

Inside the resort, we spent some time observing snails and huge squirrels, popularly called as Malabar squirrels. Sept is not the right month to visit Wayanad due to South West monsoons. We heard from localites that the best time to visit Vythiri/Wayanad is from Nov to Feb. Anyway, our primary reason for this vacation was to laze around and unwind which we managed to do quite a lot.

As far as the resort is concerned, the food was very good. The service was of superior quality. The ambience of the resort amidst thick forests is definitely worth a visit. The people were friendly and helpful.

For the high price they are charging, the facilities were not upto the mark. There is no parking area. So if you are planning to drive down to the resort, your car had to be parked outside the resort in the open. The library was just a small rack of books, mostly French. If you end up spending most of the time indoors due to rains, it's better to carry some books (thankfully, we did) or any other indoor games like monopoly or scrabble to keep you occupied. For the adventurous, there are plenty of trekking options available, provided you are fully equipped to handle the leeches.

I will definitely want to visit Wayanad again to take a trip to Edakkal Caves, Kuruva Islands and Soochippara waterfalls. Maybe, during my second or third quarter break!

Aug 16, 2007

What a voice!

I've been listening to Rahman-Unnikrishnan combo since morning. I haven't heard Unnikrishnan singing any new songs off late. He has such a soft voice, perfectly suited for melodious music. The classical background from which he hails from is a huge plus point. Also,the crystal clear pronounciation of Tamil words makes his rendition all the more worthy to listen.

"Roja roja" from Kaadhalar Dhinam is one of my favorites. A very nice melody with good beats and a unique background score (birds chirping between the first and second stanza). The picturization could have been better. Everyone would agree with me that his best song is indeed "Ennavale" from Kaadhalan. A less popular but a superb romantic number is "Sonnalum" from Kaadhal Virus. Apart from Rahman fans, no one else might have heard of this song as it's never played in Sun Music. Another classical song of Unni Krishnan is "Narumugaiye" from Iruvar. A poetic number with such not-so-commonly-used Tamil words. The very first line "Nee oru naazhigai nillai" is a good example. Though the popular trend is to write Tanglish lyrics, I would prefer pure Tamil lyrics at any day. The language is so vast and poetic that you don't have to mix English words to sell the songs.

I have this strange habit. Whenever I don't get sleep in the night, I switch on my ipod and listen to "Thendralee" from Kaadhal Desam. By the end of this lullaby, I'm asleep. Both Unnikrishnan and Mano complement each other in this soothing song. One more feather in Unnikrishnan's cap is "Thirakkaatha kaatukkulle" from En Swasa Kaatre, one of my favorite Rahman albums. I don't understand why the songs are not so popular. When we talk of hit songs, the ones that come first in my mind are "Adhisayam" and "hairabba" from Jeans, the former being a melody and the latter being a racy number.

Rahman's songs have these cycles - at one point of time it was Unni Krishnan singing most of the songs, then Hariharan and now it's Naresh Iyer being his favorite singer. Hope Naresh can keep up to our expectations.

Jul 29, 2007

The saga ends

The saga which began 10 years ago (it's 4 years back when it all began for me) has finally ended. I finished reading the Deathly Hallows in a span of three days last week and was completely enthralled in the quick narration of events that kept me glued to the book for long hours.It was a fitting end and all the loose plots were tied together beautifully by Rowling. Not even once did I feel that the pace was slow or slacking. It was action and magic right from the first page.

Potter fans who haven't finished the book yet, please don't read further. There might be some spoilers that I might talk about.

As always, the story begins at the Privet Drive but Harry, Ron and Hermione are not to board the Hogwarts Express this time. Many people die in this book, first ones being Mad Eye Moody and Hedwig. Hagrid escapes by a whisker. The story unfolds with Death Eaters disrupting Bill and Fleur's wedding party. The trio escapes to Grimmauld Palace, seeking shelter and Kreacher becomes their friend. This part is very interesting with Kreacher, once loathed the presence of these guys at the Blacks' house and now taking good care of them. A visit to the Ministry of Magic with Umbridge attacking the Muggle borns and then Harry attacking Umbridge to get the locket,the way the three friends apparating from one forest to the next, seeking the horcruxes and destroying them were really gripping.

I always knew that there's something fishy about Snape. Dumbledore wouldn't have trusted someone so easily. The past life of Snape was well written. This part actually ties many knots together.Polyjuice potion has been used very extensively with the seven Potters. I can't imagine Fred and George to look like Harry. But the sad part is the demise of Fred, one of my favorite characters. The important part that this book lacked was the subtle humour that Rowling brings about now and then in her previous books. This one seemed to be more on the serious side.

Some of the unanswered questions - What happened to the Dursleys? Why so much importance was given to Dumbledore's past? How did Mad eye Moody die all of a sudden? How did Lupin and Tonks die? A sequel can really answer these questions. Rowling, are you listening? :-)

I also watched the Order of the Phoenix last week. Though it's comparatively well made when compared to the 4th book, I felt it could have been better. The fifth book is the bulkiest of the lot and was written to such detail that the movie fails to capture it. The scenes on Dumbledore's army and brutal acts of Umbridge were good. The duelling between Dumbledore and Voldemort was picturized poorly. As it always holds good, the books are the best. Movie adaptations can never come close to the details and style of the books.

Jul 20, 2007

A Harry Potter weekend

Yay....I'm going to grab my copy of the seventh book tomorrow (prebooked it in advance 3 weeks ago). Unfortunately, I cannot go to the bookstore at 6.30 AM and collect my copy as I have my MBA classes and on top of it, my midterm accounting exam. More than the anxiety of exams, I'm excited about the Deathly Hallows :-) That's what a Harry Potter book can do!

The way I got hold of the "Half Blood Prince" was a complete surprise. To read it in detail, check out my hubby's blog link below. He has given a beautiful narration of how events unfolded on that day.

http://chells.blogspot.com/2005/07/art-of-living.html

I'm also thrilled about the movie "Order of the phoenix" that I will be watching tomorrow. The promos look superb. Looking forward to Dumbledore's army, the crucial attack at the ministry of magic and most importantly, the duelling between Dumbledore and Voldemort.

It's sad that the series is coming to an end. Let's just hope that the boy-who-lived doesn't get killed by his own creator.

Jul 16, 2007

A visit to Malgudi

Being an ardent fan of RK Narayan, I wanted to visit Malgudi (I wish I could visit the fictional town but all I could do was to visit the restaurant in Bangalore) ever since I heard of this restaurant. Saturday was the day. My friends and I decided to go for dinner to this place. The ambience portrayed a typical Chettinad house with the pillars and paintings. To catch a glimpse of such a house, watch the first half of the movie "Kandukondein Kandukondein".

The menu had varieties from the four South Indian states. Being a vegetarian, I just had two choices for soups - tomato and drumstick lentil soup. I opted for the second and to my shock, it was horribly spicy. Though I knew it's going to taste like sambhar, I still ordered it and spoilt my taste buds. At a normal situation, I would have added salt/pepper to soup but I was forced to add sugar if at all I need to taste a few more spoonfuls of the spicy sambhar-so-called-soup. Even after adding 2 tsp of sugar, it tasted bad and I had to waste it.

The veg starters were better compared to the soup. We ordered vazhaipoo vadai and finger baby corn. The vadai tasted awesome but the baby corn was a disappointment. It wasn't cooked so well.

By the time I had to order the main course, I started being extra careful about my choice, given that I was pretty hungry. Based on Biju's suggestion, I chose "neer dosa" accompanied by cashew masala, praying that it tastes good. The neer dosas were very soft and tasty, reminding of the raw vadaam that my grandma used to make on top of a banana leaf and then sun dry them to get crispies. Cashew masala was also good to go with the neer dosas.

The non-veg fans were drooling over the prawns and the aatukaal soup. There are many non-veg varieties in the menu. Veggies, don't get scared like the way I felt reading the different items in the menu! :-)

For desserts, they serve sago payasam (which is not my favorite) and gajar ka halwa.

Malgudi in general is definitely overpriced and you can plan for lunch/dinner once in a while. It's definitely not worth a regular visit.

Jul 5, 2007

Excited!!!!!

It's not just my blog that didn't get my attention but my health as well. The past one month has been exciting and busy that finally had it's toll on my health. I was down with migraine in the past three days.

Let's not talk about the bad migraine but the good and exciting events happening around.

First and foremost, I've got an admission into PGSEM programme of IIM, Bangalore. Exciting would be a simple word to explain the feeling. I'm thrilled. Classes are going great and keeps me quite busy. I'm getting used to balance sheets, strategic case studies, supply and demand curves etc etc. The best part is that back-to-school feeling after 5 long years of work. Ok, that's an indirect way of saying that I've completed 5 years of professional work life on July 1st.

I watched the most hyped film of the century, Shivaji. I'm a very big fan of Rajni and have watched most of his movies umpteen number of times. Shivaji had many typical Rajni scenes and dialogues, the one I like the most is "Singam singleaa thaan varum". Wah, what a dialogue! With such huge expectations I entered the cinema hall, I would say that the first half was below average. I didn't like the Rajni-Shreya part at all. During intermission, I was wondering if the hype is all worth it. The second half is a treat to all thalaivar fans. His style, mannerisms with the chewing gum and the one-rupee coin and dialogues - so typical of Rajni movies. I wouldn't mind watching the movie again.

Also watched a cute, romantic movie "unnaale unnaale". Such movies are becoming rare in the industry, with all the heroism and violence engulfing the tamil movies. It's so sad that director Jeeva had to face an early death. I loved all his three movies for the colourful portrayal, superb music and simple down-to-earth characters.

Another movie that I happened to watch by chance is "naan avan illai". That proves that I had no better work to do that I ended up watching this stupid movie. If at all you get to see this movie and do not want to get bored, I suggest you to count the number of times the hero uses the phrase "naan avan illainge". It's just too much. One hero and 5-6 heroines, the most irritating one being Sneha.

The climate in Bangalore has been amazing in the past 3 weeks, with black clouds as a thick blanket and sun peeping in between to check on us. Perfect! The only bad part was that I didn't sit to pen down some poetry or trickle the little drops of creative juice within.

With exciting events happening around, how can I even miss mentioning the superb knocks of the little master? Though he missed a couple of centuries, it's great to know that he is back in form.

This month is special for two more reasons. People who know me well would have guessed it by now. It's the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows book release and Harry Potter and Order of the Phoenix movie release. I simply cannot wait for the two.

All I can say is that I'm pretty excited. I've got to catch up on my income statement now for tomorrow's class. I hope to keep my blog active as it used to be.

Jun 13, 2007

Credit Card Troubles

I neither have a credit card nor do I need one at this point of time. Last week, I got a call from a private bank. This is how the conversation went.

The lady on the phone : Madam, I’m calling from xxx bank.
Me : Is this regarding credit cards?
The lady on the phone : Yes, madam
Me : No, I’m not interested
The lady on the phone : Since you are working for company, we are offering you a free credit card
Me : I don’t need it
The lady on the phone : It’s absolutely free, for lifetime
Me : Still, I don’t need one
The lady on the phone : We have already allocated the card for you and we will be dispatching it soon
Me : (In an angry tone) Who asked you to allocate it? Did I ever apply for a credit card? Just because I’m from company, you just send a credit card to me? You are not sending the card to me. Why do I have to face the hassles unnecessarily? After a year, you will charge me with some useless charges. Why do you guys cause so much trouble to people?
The lady on the phone : No charges will be charged, madam. It’s absolutely free. Why do you reject a free credit card?
Me : I don’t want a credit card, even if it is free. Please cancel it

And the worst part is that the same bank had sent me a credit card to my home address without me applying for it a couple of years back. I wonder how they got my details. I had to put an unnecessary item in my to-do list to cancel the card. Though it’s easy to cancel, I don’t want to spend time on such useless work. It’s so irritating when these people call and disturb you all the time. If I need a credit card, I would call different banks and enquire about the options. Why do these banks adopt such stupid marketing tactics? Is it that they believe that if anything offered for free, people will just grab it? I guess that mindset has gone past long ago and people are more aware of what they are getting into. Just by using the word “FREE”, the agents cannot capture the consumers.

Mysore revisited

What do you do when your cousins visit Bangalore on their summer vacation? Take them to Mysore, of course! Though I had visited Mysore last October, I didn’t mind going again. We hired a Tavera and started very early, around 7.30 AM (What do you expect on a Saturday morning?). Once we hit the Mysore Road, it was a smooth, no-traffic ride. We stopped at a restaurant Indra Dhanush, around 80 kms from Bangalore for breakfast. It’s a good enough place to have a sumptuous South Indian breakfast. We then visited Ranganatha Swamy temple in Srirangapatna. It’s a beautiful, ancient temple and had lots of visitors as well. The only negative part is the parking charge of 30 rupees which I feel could be reduced.

The heritage city Mysore greeted us warmly and our first pitstop was the famous zoo. The kids had a good time, admiring the different species. It was two and half hours of excitement and fun. Our stomachs growled so much that we rushed for lunch to a restaurant Hotel Saptagiri. The food wasn’t so good. Wish I could wake up early on such outing days and pack food from home, like how my grandmothers used to do.

This time, I definitely wanted to visit the Mysore palace. Last time, I couldn’t go inside because of the huge crowd during Dussehra. The camera had to be deposited in a particular place before we step inside the palace. I was a bit apprehensive about the safety of my camera. But I had no other option. When I deposited, I was surprised to see that the people in the counter placed the cameras inside individual lockers, locked them and gave the keys to the camera owners. I was very glad to see this kind of service. The palace was amazing with lots of colourful paintings adorning the walls. A piece of information that shocked me was that the palace was constructed in the 1890s and the total cost was (Any guesses?) around 42 lakhs. For the same amount, today all I can get is a 1300 sq ft apartment in the outskirts of Bangalore. Sigh!

We decided to skip Chamundi hills and head straight to the Brindavan Gardens. A lovely breeze swept away all the tiredness and we felt refreshed, sitting under the shade of a huge tree in the sprawling gardens. Waiting for the colourful lights to be switched on, we took a stroll around. It was a lovely sight to watch the lit gardens and a glowing evening sky. We took a small boat ride to reach the other side of the gardens to watch the musical fountain show. By the time we reached the other side, there was a huge crowd waiting for the show to begin. All we had to do to get a glimpse of the dancing fountains was to climb a nearby hillock and it was worth the effort. The perfect finishing touch to this show was the way the fountains danced to the tunes of “Saare Jahaan Se Achcha”. Impeccable, I should say!

After a quick dinner in the same place where we had breakfast, we headed back home with sleepy eyes, tired faces and most importantly happy memories.

Jun 4, 2007

Simple

Is it so complex to write about the word "simple"? I have been thinking of what to write on this topic for the past few days. I got a glimpse of a few ideas but I never tried to spend some time exploring them. Forget it, this is the time!

"Simple" means many things to me. A simple, yet delicious tomato rasam (South Indian tomato lentils soup) with a roasted papad and yummy curd rice is one perfect combo with which I can survive for long. After coming back from a long trip or a wedding function, all I need to satisfy my appetite is this kind of simple home made food.

A simple song, according to me is one where minimal musical instruments are used. The Tamil song "Pottu Vaiththa Oru vatta nila" from the movie Idhayam is a perfect example. It's a beautiful, soothing melody sung by the genius Yesudas and composed by the melody raja "Illayaraja". There are many such simple, yet lovely songs composed by the maestro worth listening to umpteen number of times.

I like to interact with people who are not complicated in their thinking and lead simple lives. One such person is my grandfather. Although he could afford the materialistic riches, he led a very simple life, with 4-5 pairs of clothes to wear. As a kid, I used to observe the way he spent his days. He maintained a very strict schedule, getting up everyday at 5 AM, listening to the radio news, raising water from the well using a hand pulley, watering the plants in his garden etc. After retirement from his work, he tried to resolve issues in his village, typing letters to the concerned authorities using a small typewriter and following them up with the government officials rather than enjoying his retirement life.

I try to be a simple woman. More than the external appearance, I want to be simple from within. Whenever I come across a problem, I want to think in a simple manner and not complicate the solution. The materialistic and the gadget freakish world has only complicated the lifestyle.

Life was more simple in the 80s. All I had was a small TV with just a single Doordarshan channel to watch. I never had to think which channel to watch. There was no concept of "remote". Eating out in a restaurant was considered something very special. Travelling in a train was something to look forward to. Things have changed so much in the past 15 years, some for the good and some for the bad. I guess it's all part of evolution and it's upto me to find the simple pleasures in these complicated days of life.

8 things about me

Tagged by Skely

1) Whenever I go to a restaurant, I ask for the menu, peruse it for a while and then order Veg Pulav.
2) While walking on the pavement, if the person driving a motorbike on the same pavement honks at me from behind, I shout at him angrily in my mind.
3) I make peculiar sounds while I’m sneezing.
4) I get amazed by watching aeroplanes. Whenever I hear the sound of flights, I look up and observe them with awe.
5) I talk to the moon and the stars. Of course, I have to be in a certain mood for it.
6) When I lend a pen to someone (even to my husband), I ensure I get it back.
7) If I get hurt, the first emotion I express is anger, after which I feel the pain.
8) I can converse better with guys than girls.

I tag everyone who is reading this :-)

May 29, 2007

It's raining!!!

A lovely cloud cover in the evening followed by thunder and lightning eventually leads to heavy rains lashing the city. Such evenings are perfect to remain inside the cosy comforts of one's home and welcome the monsoons and not to roam around the busy roads. On Friday evening, I got stuck for about 2 hours waiting for the rains to stop, asking every auto driver to take me to my place and finally, with one auto driver agreeing, little did I know the mess is not over yet. There was a huge traffic jam and the auto driver refused to drive further. Thinking it's just another half a km, I started walking. A few steps further, I noticed this waterlog; knee feet deep it was! With no other route to take, I started walking, with my heavy bag lurking on my right shoulder. I managed to cross this pool of water and rushed home. Never make the mistake of hanging out in the shopping malls or multiplexes like me on a rainy night.

It's been raining movies as well. In the past week, I've been a watching a lot of movies. Spiderman - 3 is ofcourse, part of this list. I thoroughly enjoyed the movie. Well picturized action sequences, a pacy flow of the story and superb acting of Peter Parker makes it worth a watch. I didn't enjoy the ending, with the friend Harry sacrificing his life and the sandman turning out to be a good guy, all of a sudden.

I've been a fan of Tom Hanks, ever since I watched Forest Gump and Cast Away. So my hubby didn't have to convince me so much to watch "You've got mail", a slow, romantic movie. I loved this story of how 2 people who have met over internet become friends and how they are enemies in their real life. Some of the dialogues were witty and interesting.

Last night, I was feeling tired and no mood to surf through channels. When hubby switched over to DVD to watch a Hollywood action movie, I didn't resist (which I usually do!, Can't stand the dishyum dishyums) for a change. I was sifting through the newspaper when the titles were being shown. Then he explained me what the story is like. BTW, this action flick is "Face off". Somehow, I got intrigued by the story and watched it with no distractions till the end. It is a very interesting movie, indeed. The two protogonists have acted brilliantly and they fit in their respective roles very well.

There are some Hollywood movies which I have never watched till the end. After 30 minutes or so, I usually fall asleep. I have watched the first 30 minutes of the lord of the rings (Part I) 'n' number of times but could never go past that time. The same goes with the Matrix as well. But thanks to my hubby, I've started watching more Hollywood movies these days. Hopefully, there will be a day soon when I understand the matrix :-)

May 22, 2007

Masks

I opened my journal last night after a long time and scribbled for 15 minutes. Posting the contents here.

How I used to love writing! I always used to be proud of my handwriting, flaunting my neatly written course notes to my friends and teachers. And these days, I hardly write. It's been a long time since I heard the screeching noise of the fountain pen talking to the white paper. I realize that this noise has been completely overshadowed by the crackling keyboard and clicking mouse.

This week's Sunday Scribblings topic is Masks. This term brings to my mind the kind of masks superheroes wear all the time. I always wonder why superheroes wear them, what makes them so special. After giving quite a bit of thought, I understood the significance of masks in superhero stories.

When the superhero takes off his mask, he is none other than us. He looks exactly like us - his eyes, nose, ears, cheeks and chin are the same. But we fear the super hero in ourselves; the hero who is capable of doing extraordinary things, who can change the world, who can make a tremendous difference to himself and others. Yet, we fear to face him and end up wearing the mask of an ordinary human being - the one who sticks to limits defined by others, the one who doesn't dare to think beyond the ordinary, the one who is content with what is available and not venture into distant lands beyond the horizon.

There comes a day in everyone of our lives when this mask of an ordinary person that we wear will be torn into pieces and we realize our full potential of becoming a superhero. On that day, we don't need any masks. We are ready to face the world, go beyond the horizon and realize that a superhero is present in each one of us. That day will come in our lives. All we need to do is keep our eyes wide open and watch out when the superhero is being awakened.

May 13, 2007

Second chance

How would you feel when you had taken a 3 week vacation, where all you had to do was to roam around the city, spend the evenings visiting new places, wake up late with no hurry, eat at new restaurants and realize the minutes of the clock moving slowly? Don't you want to experience it often? Don't you love to give a second chance? This topic has brought back those wonderful memories I got to experience in Dubai last May. 3 weeks of a complete vacation! Most importantly, I returned with a fresh mind and took a very important decision in my career. Vacations do help to give clarity in your thoughts, think from a new perspective and provide a break from day-to-day schedules. I wish I could have such a vacation every year, where I'm totally away from workplace and get to see new places and meet new people.

I guess this is the best time to share my Dubai travelogue I had written for my office magazine.

Dubai - A friendly city for everyone

I was really looking forward to my 3 week vacation in Dubai. My husband and I boarded Air India and after 3 hours, the sprawling Dubai airport greeted us. Tall buildings on either side of a well-laid road, different kinds of cars moving at a very good speed but strictly following traffic signals, beautiful parks at almost every junction - Dubai impressed me within the first few hours since I landed.

At temperatures soaring above 45 C, Dubai was at the beginning of summer in May 2006. The shopping city, the city of gold - Call it whatever you want. But this beautiful city can be a host to anyone by catering to the different tastes and likes. The city of Dubai is divided into two parts - the traditional Dehra and a cosmopolitan Bur Dubai, thanks to the creek that runs through the middle of the city. The commuters cross this creek everyday using the water taxis that cost just half a dirham (equivalent to six Indian Rupees).

If you are a shopping freak, there are a number of malls worth visiting, especially the City Center, Bur Juman and Lamcy Plaza. City Center also has a multiplex, so you can catch a movie after a busy day of shopping. There are many electronic showrooms like Lulu Center and Jumbo electronics where you can get good deals. Bur Dubai caters to many computer showrooms, especially in Al Fahidi Street.

A good place to unwind and relax is the well-maintained Dubai creek park. There are many families who manage to have a picnic every Friday in this park. As you might know, Friday is the official weekend in Dubai. The 45 minute cable car ride is a visual treat that covers the entire stretch of the creek park and gives a wonderful view of the creek. Another nice park is the Zabeel Park where you can spend a few hours amidst greenery. Jumeirah Beach is a clean, crystal clear beach where you can go for a swim or just watch the waves and spend a nice evening. A water theme park "Wild Wadi" with many adventurous rides is also worth a visit.

If you are interested in knowing more about Arabic culture, the heritage village is worth a visit. It depicts the lifestyle of traditional Arabs, the houses, the utensils they made use of etc. The Dubai museum also portrays a conglomeration of Arabic culture and traditions and shows the various stages of growth of this city. You definitely need more than two hours to have a look at this museum.

Many travel agencies organize a three hour City Tour that covers the important places by bus including the King's Palace and the famous 7-star hotel Burj Al Arab. The highlight is of course, the Desert Safari. A couple of hours from the city is where the desert safari begins. It is an amazing and fun ride on the jeeps that pass through sand dunes of different heights and shapes. The ride ends somewhere in the middle of the desert for us to take a superb view of the sunset. A short camel ride in the evening, Henna designs, Arabic coffee, belly dancers and a sumptuous Arabic meal are the other interesting aspects of this trip. If you are a non-vegetarian, the dinner will definitely be a feast to your taste buds.

As far as food is concerned, there are many Indian restaurants like the Woodlands, Sukh Sagar, Saravana Bhavan etc and also places serving traditional Arabic food like Yahala. Commuting through the city is easy, thanks to air conditioned public buses and taxis. But the traffic situation gets worse during the peak hours. With respect to climate, June to August are the peak summer months when it becomes difficult to go around. The shopping festival happens in January every year when the city is at its best.
If you are planning for a short vacation abroad, then make sure Dubai is on your list.

May 8, 2007

Blissful

Two places where I love to hang around in Bangalore are Crosswords, the book store and Planet M, the music store. Though Crosswords is not as spacious as Landmark, it's such a peaceful place to browse through books, sit down for a few minutes and read a couple of pages before deciding to buy a good book. It's not very crowded as well.

Planet M, though very crowded and a noisy place has a quiet corner for Indian classical music lovers. When I visited last weekend, there were hardly a couple of people in this section. What a pleasant and serene evening it was, listening to my favourite Hariprasad Chaurasia's flute and Zakir Hussain's tabla being played in the background and browsing through a nice collection of Carnatic and Hindustani classical music. The traditional Indian music has such divinity and tranquility in itself that regardless of the kind of raagas, it mesmerizes the listeners' ears. I don't understand the kind of raagas or other intricacies of classical music but when I listen to them, I forget the world around me and I enter a different world altogether.

Though I'm a big fan, I'm not a regular listener of such kind of music. The television and the numerous FM channels are occupied with repetitive film music. I've got tired of listening to the same old songs again and again. I'm looking for something new and fresh to my eardrums and at the same time, suits my taste of soft and slow music. I'm looking at revamping my music collection and take on a new dimension of interest. Right now, I'm listening to the Hindustani instrumental album "The valley recalls". It's soothing and a perfect way to spend a slow afternoon.

May 6, 2007

How forgetful and irresponsible!!!

I wish I could shout at certain people like this! People who forget to bring a pen when they visit a bank. Yesterday, I had to go to a bank to get a demand draft. It was crowded and I had to finish off this work soon to catch up on some other appointment. I was waiting for my turn after filling the DD form. A guy came near me and was asking for my pen. This is not the first time this is happening to me. Whenever I visit the bank, there would be someone without a pen and would borrow it from me.

My turn finally came and I went to my counter. While talking with the banker, a girl patted on my back and was asking for my pen. I got very irritated and replied that I can't lend as I need to sign the form. She had a handbag but not a pen inside. I don't understand how someone can forget and borrow from others with no regret whatsoever. The worst part is that they don't bother to return it back. When will these people ever realize their mistake?

Ocean

I love to observe the vast expanse of the waters, the distant ships and the roaring waves. I also wonder everytime how it would look from the horizon towards the coast. For boatsmen, it would be the end of their long journey. For cruisers, it would be a pleasant sight to see a new piece of land.

The topic "Ocean" reminds me of my first-ever sailing trip in the Pacific Ocean when I visited San Francisco on an official trip. I didn't quite understand the intricacies of a sail boat. I was watching happily when the sail was set and we were ready to go on a 36 hour trip in the Pacific. Crossing the Bay Bridge and the Golden Gate Bridge, our boat was sailing smoothly, with the coast still within the reach of my eyes. A perfect evening it was, with the sun setting in the background and the sky reflecting different colours of yellow and orange! After a light dinner, I dozed off on the wooden bench inside our boat.

A cold weather woke me up early in the morning. I walked up to the open area, to witness a calm blue sea. It was just the sea on all four sides, with no land to be seen and no waves at all. A thick fog engulfed our boat and it was a scary sight. I couldn't bear the cold for long, so I came back to the cabin and continued my sleep. I woke up in between and went out to see the eerie, quiet sea again. With no swimming experience, I was scared. I tried to churn out all negative thoughts and went back to sleep, this time for hours together.

We returned back to the coast around midnight. I felt delighted to see the glimpses of the coast and the brightly lit city. Though it was a different experience, I faced a slight trace of sea sickness for a couple of days.

Exactly a year later from the sailing trip, I visited Maldives, an amazing group of islands and a pristine clear Indian Ocean. The most exciting experience was a trip in a submarine. I was thrilled to see the enormous number of creatures under the ocean. It is quite believable that the most number of living beings are present out there. I got to see different types of fishes and interestingly, the star fishes and sea horses.

One of the items in my wishlist is to play with penguins. A visit to the Arctic Ocean might fulfill my wish ;-)

Apr 30, 2007

Wings

Huge and strong,
Wide and colourful,
Pink shades
intertwined in white.

Beautiful pair
makes everyone stare
You give me
the power to dare

a wish to fly,
a dream to roam,
the ride to glide,
the height to stride

I fly high
I see places
thanks to you,
my dream comes true

Wish I had you
by my side
not just when I'm asleep,
but also while I'm awake.

A real fake

Sounds like an oxymoron, isn't it? Being an impatient person, I couldn't wait for July 21st to get my hands on the final book of Harry Potter series. So I was casually browsing through the net a couple of weeks ago to catch a glimpse of the HP cover and what other fans had to predict on the storyline. Little did I know that the next two weeks, I am going to be engrossed in a fake "Harry Potter and the deathly hallows" book. A casual web search took me to this book. I didn't care who has written this book or if it's worth a read. I desperately needed a break as it's been a busy 2007 so far.

If I have to review this book in one word, I would say "brilliant". How can someone imagine in such a way and write an unputdownable book in the first place? I'm sure that person should have read and re-read all Harry Potter books several times before attempting to start this fake book. He/She has given attention to so much detail. When I finished the book, all I prayed was "Let this not be the original that's expected on July 21st".

There were some occasional spelling and grammatical errors here and there that can be ignored. At some places, the story was moving quite slow. When I read JK Rowling's versions, there were moments when I would laugh so much at certain situations like Ron's remarks and dialogues. When Dumbledore died in the sixth part, I felt very emotional and my eyes were brimmed with tears. As far as the fake book is concerned, it never brought such emotions in me although it was a nice read.

HP fans, If you are impatient like me and want to read something for fun, search and download this fake book. Meanwhile, I'll try to continue the story from where this fake book left. I have already decided the title - "James Potter and the Deadly Dudley" :-)

Apr 24, 2007

Happy birthday Sachin!

There couldn't be a better day than today to write about one of my superstars, whom I admire for his stylish approach to his batting, his impeccable commitment and above all, a simple, down-to-earth human being. On this day when he celebrates his 34th birthday, Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar is a star to millions of Indians. Whatever the media says or people who don't like him try to anguish his fans like me, the statistics speak for him. I'm not going to elaborate on the statistics and prove that he is a great player. Cynics never agree on them, anyway.

As Tony Greig often says in his commentary "What a player!", he is truly a gem in the current, high pressure game of cricket. It wasn't a smooth journey for him in the past 17 years of cricket, especially the last 7 years. His consistent, flawless and ferocious approach to the game for a span of 10 years had taken it's toll on his physical health and he is not able to perform at the same high limits that he had set for himself. As a result, people expect him to hit a century every single inning. More than individual fans, it's the media that takes him to an unbelievable height when he hits a century and drops him to such low depth when he fails, creating a speculation that he is due for retirement. Whether he performs well in his batting or not, his sheer presence makes wonders in the mindsets of youngsters. According to me and many of his fans, there is still about 4 years of cricket left in him. All he needs is to become completely fit, focus on some key areas where he gets out most of the time these days and work on them. That's it! There's nothing wrong in his style or manner of batting. He is still as aggressive as he was 10 years ago. I'm sure he is going to bounce back soon, entertain his fans and quieten the cynics. This day is not so far!

Apr 19, 2007

Secret Identity

You glow bright
basking in twilight
I admire your beauty
all through the night

You change forms
You change shapes
Yet, something
unclear of your nature

A silver plate to
the richest
A perfect pancake to
the hungry rest

Not crystal clear,
yet not far off
An irresistible
illusion you are!

A characteristic that
you can be proud of,
Obscuring the reddish,
powerful, distant sun.

In few seconds,
the earth gets
to witness glimpses
of day and night.

Not so common,
yet can't be ignored
Your secret identity
in a day of eclipse.

Apr 17, 2007

Cut, cut, cut......

Time is flying at a brisk pace. No wonder, it's already April 17th. I'm contemplating on things I see, topics I discuss with friends, situations I face and minutes I while away in useless thoughts. I'm wondering about the sudden downpour on a sultry summer evening in Bangalore, followed by the continuous power cuts. These days, you cannot claim this as a "power cut". The power goes off for hours,comes back and then goes away for hours. This cycle keeps repeating for the past few weeks ever since we started experiencing a glimpse of summer. Is the Electricity Board playing hide and seek with common people? Whether the concerned authorities are taking any action or not, definitely God has understood and thanks to him, the evenings are cooler these days.

I understand the need for power cuts when there is a shortage, especially in summer. I'm thinking of a solution that can be proposed to the Electricity Board. Let's say, the power has to be cut for 2 hours everyday. The individual in every house can choose a block of 2 hours in a day of 24 hours. If a simple device could be designed, it would be useful to program the input of 2 hours every day since the requirements of power in every household would vary depending on the day. For instance, I might not need power during the afternoons in weekdays and in the mornings over the weekends. If a block of 2 hours was not set, by default the power will be cut from 10 PM to 12 AM. As a long term solution, we will have to think of alternate sources of energy if we need to sustain with the current supply and increasing demands. The time is not far when the hand fans used by our grandmothers become a fashion statement.

Recent humming

I'm completely mesmerized by the sound track of Mozhi (Mozhi means language). This is definitely my kinda music. I simply adore the title track "Kattrin mozhi" - the tunes, the lyrics, the singers and the picturization. I've been listening to this song since morning and feel so relaxed. I do like Vidyasagar composed melodies. Though it might sound like you-have-heard-this-tune-somewhere, still it is very beautiful. My other favorite song "Kannal pesum penne" is sung by none other than SPB. It's been a while since I heard him sing a soft tune in the recent few months. Even after so many years of singing, his voice sounds so fresh. Wish he keeps singing such nice songs for many more years to come. Again, you feel that you have heard a similar tune somewhere. But who cares? As long as it is soothing to eardrums, repetitive tunes or tracks hardly matter. My third favorite "Sevvanam selai" is being played continuously in Sun Music. I guess this is the most popular song of the movie. More than the tune, I like the picturization with Jyotika in different costumes. I used to hate her when she entered Tamil films because I always felt that she overacted. But she has improved tremendously in her acting skills and Mozhi is a classic example of her depicting subtle emotions. Ok, enough of my mozhi about the movie "Mozhi" now. All I can say is that it's worth a watch and a hear!

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