Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Inevitable - Change!

It had to happen someday. I was increasingly getting frustrated at the template changes (code changes) I had to make on my blog. I evaluated different blog-supporting websites (webpress, typepad, rediffblogs etc.) but found wordpress to suit my need. So here it is -

1) From today, all my new blogs would be posted on the new website http://www.sarvamekam.wordpress.com. I have migrated all my older posts from blogger to wordpress (which in fact, was one of the major utilities that impressed me to shift to wordpress). I like the new template too - simple and elegant. As usual, your comments are welcome.

2) I have also started a new weblog - http://www.lucidviews.wordpress.com - which would offer my perspectives on 'life outside mine' as I would like to call it - Politics, Entertainment, Sports, Finance, Economy, Stockmarkets, Technology etc. Do visit that blog too and let me know your valuable comments.

Ciao from Blogger then! Catch ya on Wordpress!

Monday, November 19, 2007

A Sensual Romance!

Amit landed in Delhi after a 3 month trip to Singapore.

Avantika was eagerly awaiting him.

Their affair (or as they say in history books, story dated back) was on for 3 years. They both had passed out of college barely knowing each other. However, in a chance meeting (happened to be a common friend’s birthday party) they happened to hit on each other extremely well and from thereon, their relationship was going only one way – up.

Amit was an architect and Avantika was a fashion designer. The diversity in their professions made their relationship even more spicier and interesting. They both had decided that unless both of them had settled professionally, they would not get married to each other. They stuck to their promise – and their parents now had mutually agreed on their marriage one year hence.

Amit had left for Singapore on an office trip. Since the time of their engagement, they could not keep hands off each other – and 3 months was a long time. When Avantika spotted Amit coming out of the airport - tears of emotion overflowing, she rushed and hugged him - unmindful of the surroundings. Words could not convey their relief - they looked in each other's eyes and smiled. They quickly went back home in a taxi.

When Avantika closed the door of her empty house, Amit immediately hugged her from behind. She could feel his tremble – tremble, due to separation for what seemed a long time for both of them. She let him rest in that posture for a few minutes. Amit murmured ‘Missed you big time’. Avantika turned around and gave him a wide flashing smile. He captured that moment and immediately hugged her tightly, landing kisses all over her face and body. His kisses were like winter fire, slowly but surely wearing Avantika down. He started feeling the contours of her entire body gradually, sensing the laces, linen and her sweat little-by-little but intently. She too responded to his intense emotion – hugging him tightly and responding to his kisses. Time had no meaning at that moment, neither did the surroundings nor that they were still in the foyer of her place.

They made love.

They were lying on the bed, one on top of each other in their post-lovemaking stupor –which traversed the foyer, drawing room and subsequently the bedroom. Earlier, she had asked him what fruit she represented? He had replied ‘Watermelon of course’. ‘Why?’ ‘Ripe, juicy, edible and a fulfilling treat, that’s why!!’ She had liked the description. She had always liked his descriptions, barring a few of his crazy ones. They had made passionate love for the past hour or so and now were mumbling sweet nothings in each other’s ears.

She looked into his eyes and asked “Tell me, how much you love me?”

Amit gave her a surprised look.

She: I want to know.

He smiled - one of those wicked grins. She knew something crazy was coming up.

He: I love you as much as I love free lunch coupons.

She smirked.

He: Er…ok! I love you as much as Wooster loves Jeeves.

She: C’mon Amit, be serious!! Tellll me!!

He looked into her eyes, her hair all over him and said ‘Beautiful’. He wanted to express his love in terms that she loved the most – literature and music.

He: “As passionately as Howard Roark atop the University hill”

“As detailed as Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings”

“As flowingly as Somerset Maugham”

“As silently as a Shakspearean sonnet”

“As longing as a Wagner’s Opera”

“As much as the center of my life”

“And my dear, as madly and crazily as myself”

She looked into his eyes, smiled and said “You are a damn fool” and proceeded to kiss him. The pressure was perfect and the teasing just about there. A long, soft kiss and mercifully unlike the last one. She was drawn in closer to him – a moment she wanted to last forever.

Sunday, November 11, 2007


Numbers - one of the most fascinating discoveries (or is it an invention?) of mankind. A bedrock of industrialisation and now, computerization - numbers have been a part and parcel of everyone's life. The appeal of numbers lie in their clear cut logic and unambiguity at any stage, be it an equipment, any business or dare I say, any entrance exam. The lure of numbers was too much to resist for me. Mathematics, being my favorite subject back in school and college - I was just enthralled by various tricks that numbers played - from algebra to calculus and geometry, the variety was immense and sometimes mind-boggling. I just loved numbers - till, let's say one week back :).

That was when I started for the United States of America (weird...USA or just US sounds much better!). As part of my job/career, I was bound to visit the US at some point of time (sooner rather than later). Anyways, official formalities done, had reached the airport to check-in. This is where I was struck by US's fascination for numbers (and I would list down the encounters I had in the past one week).

- Jet Airways check-in asked me for the address I would be staying in the US. I gave them the address. They asked for the zipcode - I told them I don't remember it and asked them whether they are gonna post me anything (like free vouchers etc. :P)? They replied back, 'Sorry sir, but the US authorities require us to fill the zipcode in our system - mandatory'. I mean they had my whole address - why did they need a zipcode (which, by the way is a five-digit number)?

- Passport number - I understand a fetish for this number, it's mandatory in any country. No complaints.

- SSN Number - a universal number in the US. Even if you wanna register for a walk in the park, you need a SSN. Hotel check-in, purchasing a mobile phone, leasing an apartment, opening a bank account - everywhere and anywhere. The worst part is, they need atleast a month before they can issue a SSN. A 'month' - in the seemingly most advanced nation in the world; beats me.

- Credit score - You need a credit card, loan, utility connection, retail purchase card - you need to have a credit score; everything and anything with the financial world in the US is connected to the credit score. 'You have to build a credit score' is the most common reply I get when I enquire about any of the financial products. Why should I build a credit score as if I was born just two minutes back? I already have a credit standing somewhere else. I feel, I am just paying for your inefficiency for not able to retreive that information.

Having said that, I can understand the sheer efficiency that one can generate when as a personality you are just confined to four numbers - SSN, Credit Score, Passport number and the Zipcode. Especially, the SSN. And this is where I guess, the logic of numbers and hence efficiency of computerization kicks in. I can imagine a software programmer rubbing his hands in glee if he could identify every person in the US by a primary key (SSN). He can put this SSN in a million other tables as a foreign key and just link any table to the main table (a.SSN=b.SSN) and cull out any information [Whoa! That by the way is the maximum amount of knowledge I have about databases :)].

There is a price to pay for efficiency - and I guess I don't have a choice!

P.S -

1) I haven't yet applied for a driving license - unfortunately, they compulsorily require a SSN. So, one month hence - I will be identified not by one but two numbers.

2) India has tried to replicate this system of unique identification with PAN. The reason it failed miserably is primarily because of two reasons - bureaucracy (which essentially means lack of responsibility) and two, a unique number should be issued when a person is born, not when he turns 18, which is when he can replicate his personality multi-fold :).

3) I digress but just couldn't help it - What is it with the fairer sex dressed in red? - All of them look pretty (rather I say...hmm..awesome) :). Not that I am complaining - I am only indicating :D.

4) Will be in the US for some time now. Fingers crossed, 24x7 connectivity might just increase my frequency of blogging.

5) Apart from the usual pics of 'At Statue of Liberty', 'At the White house', 'At Times Square', 'At Niagara Falls' etc etc., I do have some specific and unique plans. Will keep you updated on that. And nope, I am not into the usual IT guy cycle (work in US for 2 years - marry someone - come back to the US for sometime (or settle here) - and go back to India to settle) - (what's wrong with the IT guy cycle - nothing wrong as such, but seems more of a parasitic and generic way of living for me) - been here, done this, hopefully something different next :).

6) I know what you are thinking right now - 'Your P.S should have been another blog!'. Yes, I agree (in the US, you say 'I appreciate it' - dude, why should you appreciate me ya?; beats me again!) - but just couldn't help the digression :). The entire 'Me' or 'You' just reduced to a number - maannnn, strange country :)!

Friday, October 19, 2007

The Art of Gifting!

Before I begin, let me state the rules of the Art first –

Art of Gifting for me – Get and Forget!

Art of Gifting for you should be (must be, infact) – Give and Forgive!

Rules set, let me pontificate on this interesting but often a controversial topic. How do we give (remember again – for me, it’s always get) good gifts? Whom do we give good gifts to? (to me of course, silly), What constitutes a good gift? Should there be any occasion for giving gifts? Questions and discussions range from the esoteric to the merely trivial. There have been fights and scandals over gifts received/given (oh yes! Believe me, I have been a part of many ;)). (And, now I use THE statement – a statement which has been beaten down to death a million times over) Gifting is an art and not a science.

I guess the art of gifting has matured (or immatured) over the years. From being a tradition to a means of flaunting money power, the meaning of gift has changed both in its form and intent. Gifts should be a reflection of understanding and feeling for our loved ones (wow!). Gifting is an experience (yes, a bad experience for me – it costs me money!). The value of your feelings should be of much more importance than the value of the gift (yes, definitely – don’t I do that always – lots and lots of feelings ONLY)!

Sarcasm done, let me get back to the topic at hand. I somehow am very clear when it comes to gifts. Always receive the costliest of gifts (actually, demand) and always give gifts of feelings and love – which I guess (and strongly believe) is more invaluable than the former. But somehow people don’t seem to empathize with me (I get stares (not to mention some English (****) which I do not want to understand till date))! However, when I am in my very good moods, I try to buy something of physical value (I know, how cheap of them to demand a gift which they can touch and feel and also has resale value!!) not exceeding Rs. 250 (after frantically searching for a discount sale). But still, I get the looks!! Guess, I am not attuned (or heavily tuned) to the art of gifting at all.

However, I realize I am very good at getting gifts – in fact, without hinting at the gift at all. Here is an excerpt of the conversation I had with one of my uncles in the US when I was 20 (yeah, 5 years back…now c’mon, don’t make me nostalgic!!)

Uncle: So, beta! How are you? What shall I bring for you from US?

Me: I am fine uncle (notice the subtlety, not very fine…just fine). Why do you want to take any effort uncle. It’s ok (Damnnn…how did I say that?!)

Uncle: No, no beta! I have to get something for you. Tell me, c’mon!

Me: No uncle, it’s actually ok. I don’t need anything right now (Damnn..the second time, not happening)

Uncle: Now c’mon, be a sport! Tell me.

Me: (Before he says, No, No…Time out, Time out…Gifts for you only next time) Ok uncle…if you insist! Actually I have been watching NatGeo quite a lot nowadays and I like people in it shooting with some lenses and flashlight and something else (see..hinting, not specifyin…a talent developed painstakingly over years!) the animals. I would like one of those.

Uncle: Ho hum!! Cough, cough! Beta…but!

Me: (Before he could say anything) I know uncle, that’s too cheap for your standards but, but still, you just forced me.

Uncle: (No choice left) Ok Kiran (Beta to Kiran…now that’s quite a change, probably indicated lots of love) You will have it (Wow! So much love!).

The next week when he came – he got me a zoom camera (although now it’s lying almost in some remote garage because it involved film rolls and they cost a lot!...On second thoughts, I think it comes under my category of ‘passing this gift to someone else’…hmm, lemme chew on that fact for a while)! See what I said, get the gift without hinting at it.

However, when it comes to giving gifts – I reign supreme. For, what better gift than lots of love and feelings towards the other person? What better gift that you wished him/her on that particular day (taking the effort to remember the day)? What better gift than wishing him/her with open arms (empty of course, not with a physical gift, chi chi…what are you talking about?)? I tried all of the above – but somehow the other person doesn’t seem to understand/relate to my feelings. Probably they are too immature in the art of gifting – for the best gift, I always believe while giving is the one you give with feelings and love J!!

Update: Almost forgot, I have Excel worksheets with extensive cost-benefit analysis of every gift I have ever given (physical gifts, that is - feelings don't have any cost-benefit :))! Analysis involves the value of the gift I am giving versus the future benefits (which includes gifts, favors etc.) from that particular person. If you want to have a peek at these, mail me :)!!

P.S –

1) I love the recent ad of Cadbury Celebrations – Gifting chocolates is a novel idea and excellently marketed. Touched upon a brilliant point of recycling gifts (passing on the gift you never wanted in the first place) which we do always (Now, c’mon – Admit it!). Perishability of chocolates doesn’t allow you that freedom along with conveying sweet (literally!) greetings.

2) Courtesy AJ’s question – Bribing officials – Will it come under the art of gifting? Hmm…AJ, my blog doesn’t allow scandals :)

Friday, October 05, 2007

An Internet Tale! - Heheh!

She was in Mumbai. He was in the US.

She sat in her bedroom in front of her age-old computer, twitching the end of her chunni endlessly.

He had just got up from sleep, visibly excited, switching on his laptop – revising one-liners, statements-that-a-girl-will-fall-for and opened the chat application.

They both were online now.

It all had happened by chance. Engineer-MBA guys were the flavor of the season and he was an Engineer-MBA. He wanted to marry an Engineer-girl. Their parents were looking out for matches – traditionally as well as online. During the course of searching through one of these online matrimonial websites, they found each other. Each one liked the other’s profile (and necessarily, their parents’ also liked each other’s family background etc etc) and decided that they should communicate. Because of the distance involved (she in India and he in the US) – after exchange of few mails, decided that Internet chat would be the best option.

Today was the D-day.

They saw each other online.

(Lines in Italics are his/her internal thoughts. Others are the ones which they type on the chat application).

He: Should I ping her first? Or will she ping me first? Will I appear too eager if I ping her immediately? No, let me hold on till she pings me.

She: He is online right now, so why doesn’t he ping me? Is he not interested in me? I guess being a guy he should take initiative. What will I do with such a non-initiative taking guy? Did I make a mistake?

After a 5 minute standoff, where each party is thinking why the other is not pinging, the guy loses his patience.

He: Hey! Hi.

She: Ufff, finally you dumbo! Hi.

He: I was just checking my mails till now. Didn’t see you online?

She: Oh yeah, really! Kid someone else. Same here. Not an issue at all. Glad you pinged.

He: Isn’t this chat a wee bit uncomfortable? It would have been better if we had met face to face.

She: Didn’t know what to say and didn’t want to look stupid. One trick she learnt over the years if she didn’t know what to say, say – Heheh!

He: Ooohh!! She’s funny too! Sense of humor. Good, Good. So…finished your dinner?

She: Ah! How boring? Anyways, let me continue. Yes. Finished it just now. How about you?

He: I just got up. So….

She: So…

He: Strange behavior lady. Take initiative somewhere. So, what do you like?

She: Like, like what?? Her mother had always taught her to keep the guy in suspense.

He: No, in general, hobbies like that, like that.

She: Ohhh..that!! My hobby is photography. I like reading books too. She always found it fashionable to say that her hobby was photography. Never mind she never had any expertise in it. Her hobby was photography simply because she had a cute digicam. Reading books – ahhh..she wanted to appear intellectual.

He: Ohh!! That is greattt. My hobby too is photography. In fact, I love photography. Reading books – ahh..not that much. But I love listening to music. Again, back in Engineering college and his MBA, he was awed by others because he mentioned photography as one of his hobbies (Later, when they came to know about his photographic skills – well, the matter took a different turn J). He had also heard that mentioning the word ‘photography’ turns on many a lady.

She: Wow!! He too likes photography. I think I found the right guy in my life. What wavelength and frequency match. That is lovely!! So…what if I want to do higher studies? Is your family ok with it?

He: He was always told by his friends to appear progressive. All girls want to study after marriage – that was a rule rather than a exception. He didn’t want to whine. She will study right…what the heck? No, no…not at all. In fact, my family would love a girl who is ambitious. They would be proud of having such a girl in the family.

She: Patting herself again that she found the right guy…so, what else??

He: So, what about cooking? Do you know cooking?? His friends had always taught him to add disclaimers when he asked such questions…No, not being a male chauvinist but asking in general!

She: Smiles…adding disclaimers too, he must be intelligent…I know cooking…not an expert though…will you help me? And she didn’t want to upset him with the next line..so…And how about you? Will you help me with the cooking part….Heheh!

He: Oh..sense of humor again…good, good! Yes, yes. Sure. Will help you with cleaning dishes and washing clothes too. She wants me share everything already…yuhoo…I think this is a done deal.

She: And…how about wearing western clothes?

He: Progressive behavior was the order of the day…No, not an issue at all. Unless you decide to wear spaghettis and minis…hehe!

She: Good sense of humor…I like the guy! Heheh! No, no…I was just talking about jeans and t-shirt.

He: So...what kind of music do you like?

She: When in doubt, say A R Rahman! She was taught this cardinal rule repeatedly. Classical Indian was out-of-date. And Spice girls would sound outlandish. Conservative but good-taste – that was the mantra. Nothing really special, but I like A R Rahman.

She: Oops!! Music of A R Rahman….Heheh!

He: Nice timing of humor again…I really like the girl! A R Rahman…Conservative and good taste. Good, good. I like Backstreet boys and A R Rahman too….wanted to sound macho as well as force himself to like her taste…agreeing with the lady was a big plus – he was told.

She: Wavelength and Frequency match again! She was beginning to like it. So…how about food habits? Non-veg, Smoking, Drinking etc etc. You know typical habits..Heheh!

He: Enquring ability…nice trait of a lady! Good, Good!! No, No, No…I am a vegetarian with no smoking and drinking habits. How about you? Not that I am questioning you…but still would like to know more about you – He was told the line ‘to know more about you’ was very satisfying on a lady’s mind. It helped soothe all her fears and anxiety…in fact, it was a big plus for any guy who asked that question.

She: What a gracious way of asking the question!! Now, I really like the guy. He wants to know more about me – good good sign J Nope, am a vegetarian too…with no smoking and drinking habits.

He: Good, Good. So…what else?

She: You tell.

He: So…do you like me?

She: Hmmm…let me think ;)

He: Was that a YES?

She: Ahhh…I never said that…Did I? She was taught never to say YES directly in such matters – it looked too arrogant. In fact, not saying a YES was more ladylike and guys liked it – she was told by her marriageable friends.

He: Should I ask my parents to proceed?

She: Aren’t we supposed to proceed? Heheh!

He: Good sense of humor again. She is the girl I want to marry!! Yes, we will proceed. I will talk to my parents to talk to your parents.

She: Ok! Hope to talk to you at length after you come to India.

He: Of course, of course! Can I call you now?

She: Nope, not so soon! Heheh! Shall we meet same time tomorrow online?

He: Sure, I am already waiting for tomorrow to come.

She: Heheh!

With that, he closed the chat window. She had good sense of humor, could cook okish – what else did he need in life?

She too closed the chat window – He was gracious, although he was slightly boring – which I can change after our marriage, his hobby too was photography. What else does she need in life?

She smiled off to sleep. He went to office excited. And the proceedings began.

P.S – Before you jump to conclusions, Pure Fiction :D

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

I told you so!

Haven't we heard this line a zillion times before? From anyone and everyone. Usually from older, experienced people to the younger ones but more irritatingly, from your peers, friends and cousins - everyone in the world seemed to have known the result of the endeavor you had undertaken, except one - You.

Before I undertake the noble task of pontificating on this topic, I would like to declare that the author himself has used (and abused) this line umpteen times before - however, he has mellowed down considerably in its usage - blame it on his age, experience, blah and blah.

How many times have people come up to you and said 'I told you so' - when something positive has happened to your life? In my experience, I can just count them on my fingers. Rarely, very rarely do you see your friend/relative/cousin/older guy (generically called 'They' in this blog) come up to you and say 'Dude, I told you so'. Even if they did, you would feel irritated - the reason being, you were the cause for this positive result and the result did not happen because 'They' had told you before. Aaarrggghhh!!!

The above scenario is atleast slightly bright - because you can sink the 'I told you so' bitterness in the positive result. However, most of the time (when I mean most, it means >90%) They would come to you with this line when you are actually down in the dumps - negative result. 'Arreyy baaba, I had told you before - you should learn to value my experience', 'Dude, I told you so right - from now on atleast, you start valuing my advice', 'I told you before only na, I don't understand when will this younger generation get over its over-confidence' and many many such lines. The max you can do in such scenarios is give them a dirty stare - the only way to get back (my way atleast) is to get to a positive result and shove that in their face.

Observation over an extended period of time would tell you that all the 'I told you so' scenarios were pessimistic scenarios - scenarios where the result of the said endeavor was negative. My question to these guys (and these guys includes myself) is 'How worse can an endeavor get below the pessimistic level you are exhibiting and expecting?'. More often than not (and research has proved it) it would take 100 failures to make 1 successful invention. What is the big deal about being pessimistic? (I have personally seen even the best of so-called optimists utter 'I told you so' to poor chaps - so self-proclaimed optimists, please shut whatever).

As everyone and their grandma in the world knows, everyone has a vision of 20/20 in hindsight. It is very easy to say why Walmart was a success, why India won T20 world cup and how liberalization/globalization helped India become a big player on the global stage. Analysis, my dear friends is so easy. But imagine Sam Walton investing his entire life savings in his venture at that particular moment of time, the confidence of Manmohan singh (circumstances aside) to liberalize policies at that particular moment of time - if you have taken a decision which can make/mar your life, you can understand what 'that particular moment of life' means.

Decisions in life can be so tricky - at every stage in life. 'Best foot forward' has always been my philosophy. Some of the questions I ask myself before taking decisions 'at that particular moment of time' might range from trivial to the entirely esoteric. Listening to people, taking in the value of their experience in that particular field, mapping the same onto my analysis of the situation (ahh...explaining this would not be possible on the blog - summarily put, it would encompass probability, psychology, behavioral sciences etc etc etc :)) and arrive at a decision. When I arrive at a decision in this particular way, I am really not bothered about the outcome or 'I told you so's. Many of my off-the-cuff decisions have yielded great results and some of them were terrible outcomes. However, the joy I experience after I get to a decision after evaluation is something indescribable. And yes, some of the outcomes were positive and some negative - but look back, and I would have had no regrets at all.

What was the point of the above paragraph? It simply meant that if you are bothered about the outcome rather than the decision (and how it was taken) - you would be troubled by these 'I told you so's within yourself as well as plenty of 'They's. Get yourself to make decisions in a structured manner, least bothered about the results - you would notice a huge amount of difference. If people even then come up to you with 'I told you so's, tell them to 'Go, Multiply' [Totally private joke :)...not really difficult to decipher].

P.S -

1) People who know me well, know that I live by the philosophy of 'Evaluate on how the decision was arrived at than be bothered by the outcome' - what with I have irritated them umpteen number of times with this behavior. This post might have been a rambling out of this behavior - for all you know, I might be drunk now ;).

2) People who forward me mails about 'If you had invested Rs. 10000 in Infosys shares in 1993, you would be a Crorepati now' - please also note that 'If you had invested in Arvind mills (the biggest and the hottest stock in 1993) in 1993, you would be owing around Rs.2000 today. Noone knew something called IT existed back in 1993. 'At that particular moment of time', if you had told me to invest in Infy rather than Arvind mills, I would have booked you for insanity (and couple it with Rs. 10000 to invest was a huge amount back in 1993 - probably three months of savings back then - three months saving in 'what is that, Infisys, Infosys, whatever, shall we call the doctor to see if everything's alright with you?'). Analysis and hindsight people, anyone can give'. Let me know if you have any stock recommendation for today - and probably 1 year later tell me 'I told you so'. I would appreciate that more than the stupid forward.

Monday, September 24, 2007

We Won, Yessss!! We Won!!

As one of my friend would say later, 'Watta match!! Watta match! If you had asked me if a girl's kiss is better than this - I would have disagreed completely!!'

Let me say at the outset, that this match and the tournament was won because of only one man - Ajit Agarkar. Thank Goodness, he was on the bench. Else, I doubt if we could have reached the semis. So, let's just take a bow to this great man for the greatest contribution he has ever made to the Indian Cricket.

Billed as the greatest final that was ever to happen, the match lived up well and truly to its expectations. No one, either in the stadium or across millions of homes in India and Pakistan would have asked for a better match - a match that went right down to the last over - a match where the quality of batting, bowling and fielding was outstanding - a match which starkly reminded me of Miandad's last ball six (which thankfully, did not happen) - and finally, a tournament final which did not end up as an anti-climax where one side would romp home with victory (as has been the case usually)!! Could I have asked for anything better on a Monday evening - Absolutely not. I was on the edge of my chair all throughout the match - instructing (actually ordering) my friends in the room not to move an inch from their places till the match was over (Not that the stars and future of the match was entirely dependent on the seating arrangement of a few people in a room - but where passion overtakes sense, logic is out of the window).

As the ball went sailing over the rope in the last over of Kaka Joginder, silence prevailed in India while jubiliations would have begun in Pakistan. It was all a matter of one wicket or a six. Probably the only person in the world who had to hear more abuses than Agarkar was Kaka Joginder in that particular moment. Then, it happened. Misbah's "mind running like a computer"(I will come to this phrase later) crashed - generating a serious error of trying to scoop the ball over fine leg instead of hitting that lollipop-half-volley-decent pace ball over the bowler's head for a six. Psycho Sreesanth held on to the catch and only just (if he had dropped it, then probably that would have been the end of his career after his magnificient 4 overs for 44 runs is a totally different matter). India celebrated, Misbah cried and Pakistan was shocked. Kaka Joginder redeemed himself to do the jig along with Harbhajan and Pathan during the lap of honour. Crackers were burst, People screamed and when we had dinner at some restaurant later, everyone was in a fantastic mood - smiling, hi-fis and boisterous laughter. It was one party!!

Everything that happened for India and Pakistan in this tournament happened for their own good - Pakistan have found a deadly pace combination in Asif, Umar Gul and Tanvir - if nurtured properly (instead of hitting around with bats and getting into squabbles) would become fearsome. Misbah is more than an ideal replacement for Yousuf (although I cannot say he has a long bright future ahead of him - he's already 33!) and an able and a fantastic leader in Malik. For the Indians, the biggest gain has been the pace attack, Rohit Sharma and Kaka Joginder (who's fate is similar to Misbah). Dhoni's silent thumbs-up to Harbhajan after he bowled Michael Clarke during the nail-biting India vs Australia match is more than a sign that he is here to stay - lest, politics do him in. Needless to say, this signals the end of Agarkar's career whose only credit is that he snatched defeat from the jaws of victory countless number of times!!

Now that India has won the Cup, I need to ask a few questions to a few people - not that their answers would matter - but then, let me exercise my right as a blogger -

Shoaib Malik - How did you assume Muslims around the world are supporting you to win? India has a sizeable population of Muslims and they celebrated India's victory yesterday probably more than the other communities did (I am sure you missed seeing Irfan Pathan on Yousuf Pathan's back enjoying every moment of their victory!!). Why bring in religious fervor and stupid comments to such a wonderful match? Beats me.

Ravi Shastri - What's with your cliches nowadays? Have you run out of them? You used 'his mind is running like a computer' probably 5 times in 5 minutes of your commentary. Others include 'Going right down to the wire' (still can't see the wire), 'Anybody's game' and your oft-so-used-to-death 'Game on'. You better 'go back to the drawing board' and invent new cliches. Please!!

Harsha Bhogle - Dear o dear! What was wrong with you in this tournament? You were so insipid and were looking for words - 'Oh! Misbah has hit the ball over the rope, I just can't describe how he hit the ball' - I guess your job is to do that. Once or twice, I can understand - the statement was repeated across multiple players in multiple matches. Is it 'Familiarity breeds contempt' scenario here? Improve oh dear, Kindly do. So many people in India admire you.

Psycho Sreesanth - I mean whatt!! I guess Dhoni does a security check on you before you step on to the ground, lest you draw out a pen-knife and slice Hayden or some other player. I guess you need to turn your aggression inwards and develop more consistency - else, you are a 'gonner'!!

Freddie Flintoff - It is just not ok to blurt 'I will hit your face, you just wait' to Yuvraj. Back it up and please, to a team of jelly-bean throwers and whiners of 'too much away from home', this attitude would not work - Nope it won't.

Sunil Gavaskar - For once, I guess you should have appreciated that India won - whole-heartedly. We can completely understand that you are grief-stricken that Sachin did not play a part in this 'important historical event that happened after 24 years' but please - for once, could you stop saying 'Both teams deserved to win' and say that 'Indians played a magnificient game under an able captain to win comprehensively. Deserved winners'!! Could you? Somehow pessimism overtakes my usual highly optimistic behavior when it comes to you.

Ajit Agarkar - Oops, sorry! No questions Sirr!! You have played very well. You have motivated the team very well from the trenches (Imagine, players saying to each other - however worse, we can't get worser than him, pointing to Agarkar). No sir, seriously - thank you very much. I don't think you should have expected a better farewell than winning this Twenty20 world championship.

Yeee!! Twenty20 is here to stay. The 50-over match on Sep 29th between India and Australia already sounds boring!! :)

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Keep 'Marriageable' off your radar!!

40000. Yes, 40000. No, I am not mentioning any salary figure – those were the number of marriages conducted on a single day around a week back in one particular state in India. 40000!! I mean whatttt!! Mind-boggling is not the word. However, number of marriages on a particular day is not the subject matter of this blog.

The statements made pre-marriage (just before and after engagement but before marriage) and post-marriage (till 6 months after marriage) is!!
Over the years, I have learnt quite a few pearls of wisdom dealing with ‘marriageable’ (pre and post) people - and I felt it would make immense sense to share these with my dearest blog readers.

1) I met this friend of mine (a girl) at a multiplex. She came along with some guy I didn't recognise (a first-time meet). After exchanging the usual pleasantries of ‘Hi’s and ‘How are you’s, she moved in for the kill.

She: So, this is my fiancée Amit.
Me: Hey Amit! Nice to meet you!
She: So….
Me: So… (still didn’t get the clue, I was waiting for her to start/end some topic)
She: So….(desperately rolling her eyes, screaming silently)
Ah…I pick the clue, albeit a trifle too late!
Me: Hey!! Both of you look lovely to-gether. You make a great pair.
She: Ah!! (smiling with vanity) That’s nothing. But anyways Thank you Thank you.

That was it. I had to push off before the next ‘So…’ :)

2) I still can’t fathom why people getting married (and immediately after marriage) state the obvious ever so often. Am still amazed. Few examples to substantiate.

a) He/She: We are both so happy being to-gether. He/She makes me so happy, we are perennially on a laugh riot. So comfy with each other you know.
Me: Oh..that’s great!! (To myself: if you weren’t happy/comfy to-gether then you would have got divorced or not got engaged at all – you silly!!)

b) He/She: So many things change post marriage you know. I thought that I would never change for that one person coming into my life. I am glad I was proved wrong.
Me: Ha ha ha! (To myself: Why the laugh, I have no idea! They just expect this reaction. Probably I was just laughing at his/her foolishness of feeling vain in proving themselves wrong. How stupid! Ha ha ha!)

c) He/She: It is like we were made for each other. Both of us were like ‘Why didn’t we meet each other before?’ types. It’s so much fun you know!
Me: Ha ha ha! That’s very interesting! (To myself: What’s interesting…Don’t ask! And No, I don’t know. And why didn’t you meet each other before – that is because you had to hammer(bore) me with this statement and many more statements to come. That’s why!)

3) Also, I still can’t understand why they don’t get literal and state the obvious in certain situations – say like what happened during honeymoon? Why? No clue. Probably it was too boring, and that is why they don’t want to share it. However, I am all ears to hear this OBVIOUS part, although it’s boring – all my time, all my ears to it…No, Seriously :)!!

4) Never ever enter these ‘marriageable’ people home(whether they be friends/relatives, anyone for that matter). They will either kill you by

- Showing you different types of dresses/jewellery/why they chose one wedding card over another/food items for marriage (in pre-marriage scenario) or
- Submerge you with reams and reams of wedding photographs with ‘So…how is this photograph? The lighting was not proper, no?’, ‘So…how are we looking in this photograph?’(post-marriage scenario)

You get what I mean. So…AVOID by all means.

5) One common, most common statement I have heard (and got terribly bored over the years)

He/She: You know why there are so many rituals, functions during marriage…mannn, it’s so tiring.
Me: Ya! (And before I finish my short yet sweet syllable)
He/She: And that is why I guess divorce rates are much lower in India. Who in their right mind would want to go through all the trouble (all functions/rituals) all over again. Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha (If I don’t cut him/her off, they would continue the saddd joke and their laughter to infinity)
Me: Yes, Yes..completely agree…the customary laugh…Ha, ha and a ha…So, when you knew that there were so many rituals/functions, why didn’t you opt for a register marriage…so easy and simple, you know...and by your logic, you can get married again and again (A wisecrack indeed…or so I thought)
He/She: A wry smile (didn’t know what to say; they somehow seem to change the entire marriage topic after that statement…still wondering why! ;))

Those were a few of my encounters with ‘marriageable’ people. I know it is a never-ending topic, but then I am not yet in the ‘marriageable’ category (if you get the drift ;)). Not just yet. And if you thought that knowing all the above, I would not be making such stupid/foolish statements and not state the obvious when my time comes – you are very wrong. I am a firm believer in compound interest and I shall have my REVENGE (if you know what I mean, Beware!!) :))

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


Note: Couple of short stories with no relation between them!

They were sitting facing each other.

It was a month before this moment that they spoke to each other for the first time. He in Mumbai, and She in Chennai. He was an industrialist, a multi-millionaire and single. He was on Yahoo chat that day, a rather unusual one so to say and he met this girl. They started talking on the first day, flirting from the second and third day they decided that they were perfectly suited for each other. From that moment onwards, they were on phone almost all day and night, and longing to meet each other. They decided to get married but before that found it suitable that their parents’ should meet each other.

Their parents decided to meet each other along with their respective kids. The boy and girl were sitting facing each other. They exchanged furtive glances, smiles and winks. They looked so much in love; both eager to embrace the other in their arms. The entire atmosphere, it seemed to them was filled with happiness and only both of them existed in the world. The parents had talked all day and then decided that the boy and the girl should be left alone to talk on a personal basis.

Boy: I was waiting for this moment all month long. Finally it happened. How are you feeling sweetheart?

Girl (drawing out a gun): Agent Malini Ramani, Mr. Ratan Shukhla you are under arrest in connection with the 2006 Mumbai blasts case!!

It was a romantic day.

I was alone at home, parents off to some relative’s daughter’s marriage. It was cloudy, about to rain any moment. Slightly windy and chilly. Romance was in the air. Ah! I thought…I wish someone was with me at that very moment…but then I let it pass. I had some household chores to do – finished the same and proceeded to have my bath. Just then, there was a knock on the door. I wondered who? Parents’ would not be back home so soon and noone was expected today. Who could it be? With all my curiosity, I slowly opened the door.

There she was. Wind blowing across her long, smooth hair. She adjusts the hair all over her face onto a plait at the back. It would seem to anyone who looked at her, that she looked as fresh as jasmine – freshly bathed with little makeup that you would hardly notice but would not go unnoticed. Her beautiful blue saree fit wonderfully on her slim frame. She smiled – and how else would you describe a perfect smile? She stared at me. I stared at her. She smiled. I smiled.

She asked “Ammmmaaaa hai ghar pe????”.

My kaamwaali bai had come.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Are You?

I wanna snatch you from the world
People around you - near and distant
And just zip into infinite eternity
Just You and Me; I am willing!
Are you?

I dream of you; loving you
Intensely, passionately and whole-heartedly
But you are just far away - physically and mentally
Just You and Me - so good to-gether; I am willing!
Are you?

I communicate to you - irrespective of the mode of communication
Communication which turned from regular to sporadic; Intensely intimate to the very trivial
I long for communication. I am willing!
Are you?

I am willing to let go off the past;
Turbulences, relationships and the rest
And I eagerly look forward with hope
I dare to hope. I am willing!
Are you?

We danced and sang to-gether
Now, the dance floor is empty
And so are the voices of the heart.
I am willing to dance, sing and LIVE
Are you?

P.S - The theme of the poem being 'Melancholic Dare'! One musing out of the million musings I usually have on a train journey :)

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Time Flies!!

As I sit in Dubai airport musing about the heavy shopping that is going on and various announcements being repeated, I am amused as to how fast time flies! It was 3 months back, that I sat in this airport before I flew to UK and today, that event seemed like yesterday. Time usually flies and before you realize, the moments would have passed. And when you have fun day in day out - well, time just zips!!

It's been an eventful 3 months in UK. Learnt a lot of things - both personal and professional. My cooking skills have dramatically improved, learnt ice-skating, my badminton is much better than before, visited quite a few places (you can find all the pics at http://picasaweb.google.com/dkirand), learnt different types of trekking but much more than all of this is the fact that I made some great friends - each with his own individualities and quirks, but great fun all the same. And to top it, I had my best friends out there in UK which made the trip all the more memorable.

I need not reiterate how a fun crowd can ease off whatever pressure you are under, and the crowd at my place was exactly that. JT with his one-liners and MTV loveline, JK with his amazing skill at map-reading and directions, VS with his god-enthu for Rajni and Tamil movies and VA with his culinary skills (one of the best I have tasted) and fun-loving nature. Couple this with the fact that I was also spending time with my best friends - I was having the time of my life!!

3 months and it passed like a moment. It's already been more than 4 years since Engineering and as I was chatting with my friend, it seems yesterday. I guess the same feeling pervades across every one of us. Nostalgic, yes but then as one of my friends frequently used to say 'This too shall pass!' - we always have something better to look forward to everyday and currently I just see a hectic one week ahead of me :).

P.S -
1) I am currently addicted to 'Everybody Loves Raymond' and 'Two and Half Men', thanks to the past three months. I have no idea how will I cope without these serials everyday!! (I assume that Star World in India doesn't telecast these sitcoms).

2) Was just wondering as I peeped out of the window of the plane - I saw huge thick clouds just before the plane descended and when the plane landed, I just saw a clear sky above. Now I understand why the top management always has a clouded view of the details below them and vice-versa :).

3) Wrote this post in a real hurry coz I know that once I land in India, I would possibly lose this strange feeling and secondly, am getting late to catch my flight!! Grammatical and Spelling mistakes - my Apologies :).

Sunday, July 01, 2007


- Why does everyone nowadays think that he/she is a born photographer? Everybody's hobby/passion/expertise seems to be photography. Is it because of the pervasiveness and cost-effectiveness of the digital camera or something else? I am tired of looking through hordes of poor digital photographs - seemingly thought of by my photographer friends/acquaintances as 'some of their better pics'!!! Is it because people force themselves to be recognised/appreciated through this skill (did I say skill??) - something they can showcase to the world because they cannot/don't have the courage to showcase themselves?? Why doesn't someone ban these digital cameras to avoid all this trouble?? [Probability says that if you have clicked a 1000 pics, then atleast 5 pics would be 'better pics'. So please people, don't get under the impression that you are the next big thing in photography. And yes, if you have done courses in photography, please keep them to yourselves - DO NOT try to impress them or your
photographs upon me]

- Why does every tamilian's sentence have to end with a 'da' or 'ye' or a 'macchii'?? Tamil is such a beautiful language, kindly use its vocabulary people!!

- Why do some people always live in the past? Is it because they are too scared to face/live in the present or do they take pride/pleasure living in the past?

- People nowadays take extreme pleasure in exhibiting self-centric/egotist behavior and they are proud of it. Never can understand why - to quote Albert Einstein 'A life directed chiefly toward the fulfillment of personal desires will sooner or later always lead to bitter disappointment'. The same population exhibiting such behavior know about this and yet continue to do the same - ????

- What is this fascination for Rajni's style or Hritik's biceps, Vidya Balan's eyes or Katrina's smile?? Appreciating perfection - I do not think so! Idolism - No way. Why??

- Expecting people to talk to you and shower affection when you want it and not returning the favor when people are in need of it - what should I call this behavior? Nonsensical, to say the least.

- Can someone convince of the necessity for daylight savings time? No one seems to be able give me a logical answer.

- The whole world cannot laugh/cry with you when you want to laugh/cry. Blaming the world being insensitive because it doesn't empathise with you/understand you is stupidity if not foolish.

- Last but not the least, kindly do not expect me to comment on how smart/pretty/handsome/beautiful you are looking whenever you change the orkut profile pic!! Please don't - if the pic can be commented on, I will - good, bad or the ugly!!!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Ladies, Women, Girls!! Uffff!!!

Statutory Warning: Feminists, please stop reading this blog right here. Further reading might cause feelings of extreme hatred leading to various forms of obnoxious behavior - especially breaking off into Dharmendra's dialogue "Main tera khoon pee jayoonga, haddi pasli ek kar doonga”; please spare the effort and close the window right away.

First things first, I am not a MCP - kindly take that thought out. In fact, I respect and adore the fairer sex to the extent possible and firmly demand that they should be treated as equals and blah and blah. This blog is just an observation on their wonderful and graceful demeanor and antics - in fact, I am so overwhelmed writing this blog that right now if a lady was in front of me, I would shoot her (obviously with my camera, silly ;))!!

The rough estimate of different types of antics by women is infinity. However, to save blogspot and hence google, I shall restrict them to a measly number. Read on and you would know how LOGICAL their antics are -

Shopping: Another synonym for Ladies; invented by man for his basic needs and utilities, abused by women for everything else!
One of my cousins is a shop-freak (and by corollary, deduction being she is a girl). She shops for everything and anything. She has a huge wardrobe - with different types and varieties of clothes. Last heard, her Excel ran out of the standard number of rows and columns to handle her wardrobe - she was migrating to SAS. Just can't understand - shop for x (x generally > 3) hrs and buy one dress; shop for x hrs and buy something you already have; shop for x hrs and buy
something you would never need; last but not the least, shop for something because it would be useful in the future - approximation of future being tomorrow or 10 years later!!

Statements: Slowly entering the dangerous arena!!

'You won't understand!' Boyyyy! One of the most dangerous statements and when this one comes out of a woman's mouth, you better shut down your work and plead her to make you understand (you would never understand anyway, but atleast put up an act!! if you don't, well...the less said the better!!) An ominous utterance - ignorance to the same is fatal. Implore her and find out what is wrong, else hmmmm!!

'Never mind, It's Ok!' - It is NOT OK and you bloody well get down on your knees and explain why and how things went wrong with her. Ranks high up on the list of menacing expressions which essentially means that you (you as in you and me, the guys) have to cajole her, take her out for dinner, probably discuss some women-oriented movie and how women should be empowered - then, then maybe just maybe she would become normal again.

Questions: THE MOST dangerous area of all!!

'Ms. Y was looking beautiful in that black gown, no?' - Now the answer should entirely depend on the age of Ms. Y. Little toddler/teenager or a woman over the age of 40 - rattle all the best and positive statements you ever knew. Start off with 'Completely agree with you. She was looking so graceful and pretty etc etc'. If she is in her mid 20s, YOU DO NOT HAVE a correct answer for that question. Try faking a panic attack in your right ear - ear-splitting pain and
you are not in a situation to hear what she was saying. Try asking her whether she can just let you cool off till the ear comes back to normal state. If the question is asked again, Repeat the procedure prescribed above, probably with a different organ.

'How is my dress?' - She is actually asking you whether you went weak in your knees after you saw her in that dress; That is not a question, IT is a statement and you better answer it in one of these ways 'The dress is very nice, suits you very well' or 'You suited the dress than the other way round' etc etc. NEVER EVER answer in a negative tone - it will only be answered by a shrug, a demeaning look and a 'You won't understand'!! :)

'Do I look fat?' - The dreaded statement of all, dreaded by men all over the world, scarier than Darth Vader or Veerappan - nothing can go right when this question is asked, just resign to yourself that it is a bad day. Don't even try a wacko 'Where?' - she would write you off as the dumbest human being on planet Earth. Try diverting her attention to something else and avoid answering the question. A 'Yes' would lead to a certain murder and a 'No' would make her wonder whether you were blind. I have worked out different ways of answering this question (Warning: Does not work 95% of the time, I just utter a few words under my breath and take it as a bad day) 'You look beautiful anyway', 'The dress is sooo pretty, you have a wonderful taste' with very very limited success results.

See, it is sooo simple to understand women - wonder what all my wisdom personified ancestors were thinking when they said 'You can never understand women!'

Uh! 'They won't understand!!' :)

P.S - With all due respects to the fairer sex who have read till this line (which essentially is the end of this blog) - a big thank you. This blog was not meant to disparage or make fun of your antics. It was just an appreciation of your wonderful, yet profound thought process. We just can't live without you (under my breath, neither can we live with you!!)

Friday, June 15, 2007

Sivaji...First Day, First Show!!

There are the usual spectacular and brilliant movies and then there is Sivaji! The story is as old as our Independence, yet the delivery, larger-than-life screen presence and of course Rajnikanth make the movie more than worthwhile to watch (even this is an understatement)!

My blog was never meant to publish any movie previews or reviews and this particular entry too is not one. This blog is about watching a Rajni movie First Day, First Show (FDFS) - driving 90 minutes from Nottingham to Birmingham and back just to watch Rajni's movie FDFS; about standing in queue for more than 15 minutes inviting shocking stares from the cinema assistants (who were Brits) as to what the craze is all about; shout, scream, whistle and scatter papers whenever Rajni does a stunt or cracks a dialogue - movie meant to be enjoyed the way it is meant to be - it wasn't a movie, it was an Experience.

If you can ignore the gravity-defying stunts of Rajni - the story is awesomely believable. It is the usual Shankar movie plot - one man fighting against the corrupt system against all odds. The comedy track is excellent, Vivek is almost unbelievably humourous. Shreya does what she does best - look very very pretty and hot at the same time (feminists,kindly hold your guns - she acted quite well but....!!! ;)) Suman as a villian is one of the shining stars in the movie. Rajni is subdued till intermission - post intermission, it is Rajni's movie all the way. The last 15-20 mins of the movie prove to all as to why Rajni is such a big superstar - his style, acting, behavior, dressing sense - it just takes your breath away. Doesn't matter if you have missed the first half of the movie, DO NOT miss the last 15-20 minutes.
The only let down of the music being A R Rahman's music - it was boring!!

Forget the movie - I watched FDFS of a Rajni's movie, albeit in a foreign country - am absolutely thrilled with such simple pleasures in life!! :D

P.S -
1. This experience did not come without any sacrifices - I had to let go my ice-skating class for the week; but then who cares, I will make up for it next week!!
2. Couple of my friends accompanying for the movie couldn't understand Tamil and by corollary couldn't enjoy the movie as much. I did - Thanks mom, Thanks Sun TV :))

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Ctrl+C, Ctrl+V, Ctrl+Z!!

Three most commonly used set of keys; personification of a word in English - indispensable; used atleast once in a day by people who use computers; functionality which made the typewriter obsolete; keys which are used from the level of a CEO to a data entry operator and many many more - three most powerful keys, probably without which computers wouldn't be as widespread as they are today.

Coming to think of it, the entire IT industry in India and the subsequent boom would be in doubt if not for these three keys. Indian software companies typically hinge on concepts (you may call them jargon for colloquial use) like 'component reusability' and 'OOPS' - terms, which can be simplified as Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V. If a component is misplaced within a wrong component, Ctrl+Z. Hundreds of powerpoint presentations (typically called a sales pitch, consulting document and a program library in 'conceptual language') use these three keys probably more extensively than any other set of keys.

Imagine computers without these three keys (I know you can't and neither can I...but just consider for a moment) - I wouldn't be able to copy files to another disk (all smart people who want to give me the brilliant idea of drag and drop via mouse, you can forget it - the drag and drop also uses the 'function' of Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V), I couldn't have replicated projects, assignments and powerpoint presentations in my academic life, I would probably have taken double the time to complete documents/projects/proposals - which boils down to one point, the computer in itself would not be better off than a typewriter (Backspace key can just save face, but electronic typewriters have this functionality too!!)

It is funny when I think of it. Three indispensable keys I need when I am at work/study/leisure and I extend the concept to normal life - I don't need them at all. Would you want to copy and paste some event which happened in the past now or some time in the future? Would you want to undo something that you did in the past? I definitely wouldn't. Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V..hmm..I really have to think hard if I would want to use it anywhere...probably if I want to relive the event - then yes, but not definite. Ctrl+Z - I definitely think not. One of the most frequently used keys by me on my laptop and one key I would shun if given an option in life today - personal, professional, academic or sports. Would anyone want to - depends entirely on how they lived their life, and have they given it their best shot? You are your best judge.

The more interesting part - if given control of these three keys on someone else's life, who would it be? Consider it for a moment. Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V is too much of an effort. Probably I would use Ctrl+Z for Himesh Reshammiya's singing career :P!! Let me know your choice of the key and the person!!

P.S - I thought long and hard about the dependability and complexity of Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V - and whether there is any significance to it. Then I realised that these were thoughts emananting from my convulsive effects of watching Shekhar Suman's music video and Tushaar Kapoor's role in Shootout - Apologies :)

Monday, May 21, 2007

Marriage and its Audience!

One of my acquaintances recently commented 'When people are happy in life, they have a tendency to ruin it. They do things like getting married.' I have nothing against marriage though (I am still waiting for a man married for a long time to comment thus :)). It is a wonderful institution of two people promising themselves to live to-gether and blah and blah. Anyways, I do not have a problem with people getting married as long as people don't expect me to show up with precious gifts and lots of blessings. Blessings, I guess I can, but gifts....hmmm!! During my time in Mumbai, I had friends inviting me for weddings - the wedding card explicitly mentioned 'Gifts are not entertained. The only gift you give in my marriage is your blessing'. We all know what that means (For the uninitiated, the guards at the Security gate would ensure that you would not enter the marriage hall unless you have a gift in your hand).

That is only the first step. The second is the most dangerous one - Relatives!! Again, these are not close relative, they are far-off relatives and their probing questions. At one point of time, I was made to meet my grandfather's brother's second cousin's son..whoaa!! More so, they interview me as if I am there not to attend a marriage but an UPS interview. I positively think that the latter interview is much more easier to clear than the former. Why, What, When, How of everything and anything. An example conversation I had with one of my far-off relatives at a marriage a year ago -

R - So, what do you do?
Me - I work in the **** **** in Mumbai
R - what is your educational qualification?
Me - I quote mine.
R - For that, you work at **** ****. My son with similar qualifications is working for Deloitte Consulting.
R - Anyways, how much do you earn (the dreaded question?)
Me - I avert the question - 'Quality of work is more important than how much you earn' and other management gyaan..people typically quote when they are earning below poverty line salaries.
R - (By now, she has decided that I was good for nothing) So, any girlfriends? I am sure you have one. When you are in a place like Mumbai, you are bound to have one. That is the reason, my son works only in Hyderabad.
Me - Whoaaa!!! I have many aunty. The list would take ages to complete (all this, with a clear wink of course). Anyways, I admire your son working in Hyderabad just not to have girlfriends.
R - (feeling proud) Yes, yes. Do you drink and smoke, I am sure you do...but then, don't overdo it, ok na?
Me - Aunty, you forgot drugs...and I walk away because I heard a faint call from another far-off relative sitting a mile away.

Another snippet - this time on my dress. I didn't even know who this far-off relative/friend's mother was, I met her for the first time in my life.

R - Hey, what is this you are wearing - a black t-shirt and a blue jeans. Black should not be worn during marriages. Go, change and come.
Me - But...this is fine with me, I am really comfortable.
R - No, I am not. Go, go change and come.
Me - My house is quite far from this marriage hall.
R - The marriage is not going to stop if you are not here. Go, go change and come. I will wait for you. We'll have lunch to-gether.
Me - Whooaaa..aunty, one request.
R - What?
Me - I will change and come. But you continue with your lunch. I have some friends (imaginary!) waiting for me.
R - Ok. Change and come, I want to see the dress you come up with.
Me - Uh!!

Then, you have friends. Long lost friends, friend's friends turning up, giving a hi-fi for no reason, laughing for the most nonsensical jokes and all of a sudden, there is silence. An uncomfortable silence - at which point you do not know whether to continue with the hi-fis and laughing like you just had puffs of Nitrous oxide up your lungs.

Anyways, lets come to the main event. Food...aah..the wedding, we'll come to it later. Food, I guess is the most important for most of the guests who have arrived at the wedding. I for one, first look at the menu and the caterers and then come into the hall for the wedding. Lest the bride and bridegroom think otherwise, I ensure that I have breakfast, lunch and dinner during the day of the marriage. I am lucky in the sense that I have a set of friends from diverse backgrounds - Punjabi, Bengali, Marathi, Telugu, Tamil, Kannadigas etc. I get to have a wide variety of food - from alu and paneer mutter to idli-sambar. The success of marriage is decided on food - if food is great, then it was a perfect match. Else, aahh...the couple are good-looking, BUT the food was not that tasty...see what I mean when I say the main event of any marriage is food. No wonder there is so much focus on food.

The actual wedding - more of garnishes and decorations. Bride and bridegroom - I guess the only members in the entire event thinking about the main ceremony. Others are generally busy with showing off jewellery, sarees, sons who returned from US recently, daughters who recently cleared CAT. If not for the above, they can generally be found in the dining hall.

I cannot come to a conclusion about this marriage and its audience topic nor can I stop writing about this. All I can say (a.ka. Bush) is that Marriage is a wonderful institution where two people promise themselves to live to-gether and.......................and the audience come in to bless the couple profusely in their own inimitable way!!!!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Living in the Present!!

The title is something I think of almost all the time. A serious problem I grapple with day in day out. Most of the time, I tend to either live in the past or in the future. As and when I drift away in my thoughts, this question strikes me time and again. Why am I not able to live in the present, live in the moment and enjoy every moment to the 'T'?

One of my favorite teachers quoted - Past is past, forget the past. Future is uncertain, why worry about it. Live in the present, 'that' is happiness. The profundity of the statement never hit me, till couple of years back.

The reason might be this - Probably I never realised that I either lived in the past or in the future. I thought I was living in the present, but on further evaluation never was. Slowly but surely, the depth of the statement dawned on me. I try desperately to remain in the present at various instances - and I enjoy it. It is such an elevating feeling living in the present, yet I fall back in my normal mode - either live in the past or the future.

Consider this. Right now, as I am writing the blog, I am thinking of what to do next weekend. I am also thinking of what would I do once I go back to India on a short trip. I would also want to buy a house within the next six months - how much would the EMI be? Will my savings be enough? What are my future career prospects? Will some course help me move on the corporate ladder faster? How will my life-partner be? Is there any way of getting an oppurtunity to appear on KBC (or even flashier - how about Koffee with Karan?? :))? Should I buy the ticket for watching India vs England which would take place some time in July?

The other side - Ah! Childhood was great, we were so carefree, we did everything. Till school life was excellent. Engineering was mind-blowing, what with four years of enjoyment interspersed with a few exams. MBA, maaannnn..was that fun? Absolute, Non-stop fun. Quizzing sessions - lovely thursday and friday evenings. Or, had I prepared harder for CAT/GMAT/IIT etc etc, I would have been in a different league now. Did I take the right decision in academics/career/love/job/friends? We used to have so much fun back then, in the canteen, IEEE bus, events in college etc etc.

Think about your own life. How many times/instances in a particular day have you actually lived in the present? I bet, you can count on your fingers. And how many times/instances have you lived in the past/future on any given day - Infinite. While we all know that living in the present is so blissful, yet we let our mind wander. We are always thinking ahead of time or behind time, never on time. This facet probably cuts across all cultures and countries.

Each one has his own way out of this quagmire. I have mine - I try to remind myself at very frequent intervals to live in the present, to enjoy the moment; that way atleast I am out of the loop of past&future for a few moments. Each one to his own, but never forget to live in the present. Live it once and you will know.

P.S -

1) So what do we do? Past is ok, but should I not think of the future? Of course you should. But not all the time. How about sitting for a few moments to think only about the future and nothing else? Isn't that equivalent to living in the present?

2) I also hate people justifying their past - especially, when things have gone wrong. 'You know, it had to happen that way, because I had to be here' ; 'Good that I left him/her, otherwise, god knows what would have happened' ; To me, it indicates only one thing - unfulfilled commitments/effort at that particular moment in their past and justification as a means to trudge along with their lives. We may take comfort by justifying the past so ridiculously, may look/sound good to others - but to yourself, you are the only judge. Accept it and move on, you would be fine. You have lived your past, thinking about the future. Don't commit the same mistake again. Because as I said earlier, the present is too precious to let go.

3) This blog was long overdue, the idea dated by now. However, yesterday when we were driving at 100 mph on an express way with the drizzle, beautiful greenery on either side and soulful music on the stereo, I let my mind wander. 1 hour drive and the time I lived in the present - probably around 10 minutes. That is, 50 minutes of pure happiness lost. That is when, this post came high on the radar of my thoughts :).

Monday, April 30, 2007

Air Travel – Bangalore, Hyderabad, Dubai, Birmingham!

In this age of low-cost airlines, every Tom, Dick and Harry seemed to have traveled in different airlines – long distance or short. At 24, I had not boarded the flight even once, out of my own volition for quite some time though. However, an opportunity came by and travel I did, on company’s expense in different flights and if you ask me my first impressions…ah..well, flights are not as interesting as traveling in trains.

Bangalore – Hyderabad

Well, this was Kingfisher Airlines in the evening. Known more for its style and panache, Kingfisher did not disappoint at all. The passenger sitting beside me was an Iraqi – huh, great start I thought. He was a consultant in Iraq, helping Iraqi students get education abroad – from counseling to ticketing. We had an interesting conversation at 30000 feet about different food habits in Iraq, post-Saddam Iraq and the way Indian economy was becoming stronger by the day. He was fluent in Arabic and German (that is what he claimed) but was not in English. So, we had a kind of Morse code going on about some words he could not utter. The air-hostesses were pretty and they were taking kisses on their cheeks from all the little babies around….ahhh..I wish…

I digress.

If Bangalore runway was pathetic, Hyderabad was even worse – felt like some speed breakers on the runway (interesting way to stop a plane though J). I would not be wrong if I claimed that the Bus station in Hyderabad is far cleaner and better than the airport. Most of the trolleys don’t work and pre-paid autorickshaws are a misnomer. End of the first-trip on an Aeroplane was exhilarating, watching the land, lakes and the clouds from 30000 feet. Conversation with an Iraqi made the trip even more memorable.

Hyderabad – Dubai

The best flight of the three – flew in Emirates. Very comfortable – seating, food and entertainment. All fell in place. The only complaint was that every announcement was made in English as well as Arabic – so had the funny pleasure of watching every advertisement and hearing every announcement twice. Watched Rocky Balboa and Bollywood Calling again after an hour of admiring the grandiloquence of Boeing and the takeoff it made. Enjoyed them thoroughly. The landing in Dubai airport was near perfect and to go along with it, there was a superb runway and an excellent airport. Had McDonalds and Coke for Lunch which cost me 15 Dirhams. Hopefully my company reimburses this too J

Dubai – Birmingham

Emirates again. Worst of the three. Bad food, Bad entertainment and a 7 hr flight. There were no choices in movies like the earlier Emirates flight. We had to watch what they played. They played ‘Don’ (SRK) which I watched and some arcane Priyanka Chopra movie which I didn’t – didn’t have the courage must admit. The view from the plane over Alps and other rivers was breathtaking. That was the only salvage point of this travel. At the end of 7 hours, was tired, hungry and frustrated. Immigration authorities were kind enough to let me through within 5 minutes. Picked my luggage and took a taxi to Nottingham. The taxi was extremely comfortable – was at my destination in an hour and a half. Charge – 90 pounds. (huh!)

Airplane travel…ahhh..well, it would be great if the travel doesn’t exceed 4 hrs at a stretch and there is good food. Otherwise, it is quite boring. Train or even bus travels are much better.