Sunday, December 16, 2007

What's their crime?


They could have been like any other children but for one reason – they are refugees from Sri Lanka. These are students of IGIA and should I add a school that barely manages to survive.. 370 kids, most of them orphans, live and study in the same place. Lunch is provided by ISCON but breakfast and dinner is always a question mark. They don't have electricity for years (they owe 10 lakhs to BESCOM!!) They are even discouraged from talking with anyone from outside or venturing out..The gates remain locked.. Like any other kids of their age they would also have dreams about life after school, hopes of a better future.. But the only thing I see in their eyes is a sense of frustration and longing.. When will their miseries end?

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Remembrances of Times Past...

I love photographs and can easily get lost in the pile of photo albums that I have.. I used to spend hours and hours looking, arranging and rearranging them, much to the annoyance of my mom.. These are the photographs of my childhood, of old friends, of school and college, of family functions, of exciting vacations, of beautiful places,.. The moment I pick an album, I will be taken back to that exact place and time,recollect the beautiful moments, recalling fond memories, replaying conversations, smelling the fresh air,..

There are some of my childhood snaps - the old black and white ones taken in studio or by a photographer who was called home. And there I was with a toothless smile, or with the corners of my mouth curved down and eyes clouded with tears, or with a smug grin on the face (probably coz of the new dress).. I can also see my grandparents who are no more now and remember the stories they told me, the special dishes grandma used to make,.. The carefree days..

Then there was a gap as I had mentioned before. I have very few personal snaps during this time..Still there are some snaps from the family functions where I'll be with my kutti cousin gang, all in pretty frocks and hair full of jasmine flowers arranged as a bow and of course everyone beaming at the camera.. Or the school photo where all the 90 teenagers (yes we were that many in one class) in blue skirt and white shirt, with hair neatly platted on either sides, trying to look serious.. Then the colorful college days, light moments with friends , joyful class trips , excitement and turmoil of a first timer in a Saree , the painful send off parties ,.. Each of those photographs speak volumes..

I bought my first camera after I passed from school. And the shutterbug bit me and it bit me too hard.. I wanted to capture anything and everything around me..Yes I clicked people , places , buildings , flowers, trees,.. Now before my friends pounce on me - mine was only a very basic camera with absolutely no overrides. But it did the purpose. It helped all those moments, places,people and settings stay forever, which would have otherwise faded with time.. Yes that's the whole beauty of a photograph.. It freezes the moment from running away, making the finite eternal..

Friday, November 30, 2007

Match Making !!!

If there is one thing I hate the most, that is when people try to convince me to consider some particular guy..And I have no clue how they come up with this idea that it will be an "ideal match".These so called "abyudayakamshikal" would have no clue about the girl or the guy and their interests in life.. Some instances that I have gone through..

One evening a neighbor cum far relative comes home with three other people - a dad , mom and their son. I treated them as any other guests and finally when they were about to leave I realized that it was an official "girl seeing" that took place there. The guy was in the USA and had come down for a short vacation (read marriage). Apparently they wanted some girl who is bright so that the next generation would be brainy(genes u see). Since I had got into engineering with a decent rank, I matched their criteria of "brilliant" and fell in their radar. The funny thing was although they wanted a professional girl they didn't want the girl to take up a career and so wanted me to terminate my studies, get married and cook for him !! That time I was in my first semester and marriage was not even in my wildest dreams.. Even age wise I had just turned 18 (and this guy was 30+). Luckily my parents didn't agree for the "discontinuing studies" part and so I was saved. But my poor parents got 'galies' from whole family for not considering such a "good proposal" from such a "nice family". I have no idea how the "nice family" matters if the guy and girl don’t get along well!!

I had done my B.Tech project in VSSC, Trivandrum and so we used to take the night train for our frequent travels. We used to board the train from Thrissur at around 10.30 pm , sleep , wake at 4.30 am and get down at around 5 am. In one of those journeys we met this lady who was going to Dubai. Her flight was from Trivandrum airport. All of us ( we were 4 girls doing the project) had woken up and was waiting for the stop and this lady started chit chatting (Somehow I'm always the victim for all kathis in this world !!) . She asked me why we are traveling and I told her about the project. She hadn't heard about B.Tech and so asked me whether it is a degree course n I replied affirmatively. Then she was suddenly interested in my place, religion n caste which made me uncomfortable. Her next question was whether I can marry her brother!!! It seems he was working in Dubai and the biggest incentive that she offered me was that he'll take me to Dubai. She tried desperately to get my home phone no so that they can proceed through parents!! What astonished me was the fact that she was seeing me for the first time(that too only for 15 mins) and had absolutely no idea about me or my family or anything and still wants me to be part of her family!

And there is another place that I dread - marriage halls - especially the ones in the family. All your relatives(most of them will be seeing you for the first time) will come up with some or other prospective groom somewhere. Once I had to put up with one particular "uncle" who was hell bound in marrying me off to his nephew. He made me listen to his nephew's accomplishments for a whole 3 hours!!! After that I was so pissed off that I missed enjoying that much awaited marriage in the family..

And sometimes even friends will fall in this category.. They will try to fix you up with every other person whom "they feel" is suitable for me. And if that guy is a good friend of yours that's it. Many a times I have got his question "You both are very good friends. They why can't you consider him". Sometimes this will follow a big list of positives that I can enjoy if I marry him. I have a friend who even threated to break our friendship unless I considered this guy whom she found was "very suitable" for me. And the culmination is when my mom asked me the other day "You and X are being friends for so many years. Do you want to marry him?". I just wished a chasm had opened at my feet and I was taken in like Sita Devi.. How can I convince people that I'm not looking for a prospective groom in every guy I meet or that a friendship is far different than sharing your life with a partner. I do understand that people don't particularly like a girl staying unmarried. But I feel it's a person’s right to make a choice and everyone should respect that..

PS: You can also check this related article from one of my favorite blogger.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Travel Tales

It is no secret that the wanderlust bug nudges me from time to time.. Once a friend asked me a question "What is it that you like most in traveling?" I never gave him an answer but I did ponder the question. So here is what I discovered..

A couple of reasons
- to see new and exciting places
- to get out of my comfort zone
- to see how others live and experience their cultures
- to try out new cuisines (although I'm not very good at it)
- adventure ;)

But above all these I travel just for the love of it.. I like go on and on and wish the road never ends.. Of course the destination also adds to the excitement.. But many a times I have felt that the road traveled is much better than the destination reached.. I just like to sit at the window and watch the life outside.. It's like a film with endless casts each playing their role in their own way - children playing , women engaged in household chores , family bonding , the green trees, the vast fields, the cute tea shops, the houses , the buildings, the smells, the chaos,.. It's like a constant learning experience and has a strange liberating affect.. it makes me smile..

And I believe travel is something one either loves or hates. So if you are in the first category and is smitten by this bug, I would like to listen to your version of the answer.. And hey don't go away saying you are in the second category.. Do tell me what makes you bond with your lounge chair and the TV remote. Any secret that I don't know?

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Happy birthday, Blog!




I didn't realize it but today is the first anniversary of my blog. My Blogger profile says I've been on Blogger since December 2004, but most of my previous blogging trials were short-lived. So I’m pleasantly surprised that I’ve managed to keep this blog going for a year..

Walking down the memory lane, my first post was very naive. And it took me an entire 4 months to be brave enough to make my blog public. So most of my earlier posts were not read by anyone :) Then there are some posts which I was very skeptical but got so many responses like this b'day post or some of my random thoughts.

Anyway as time progressed, I have come out of my mind blocks like "why should I put up my thoughts on the net for all to read?" or "Why on earth would people read what I write?". I have sure made a lot of friends through this blog. Thanks to all -- I probably would have quit long ago if I hadn't felt that you were listening. It’s been fun so far, and I would like to continue this way.. :)

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Still alive..

Yeah I've been traveling most weekends and so not very active here.. Anyway this weekend I'm in Bangalore and so thought of reviving my space :) The first topic that's coming to mind is of course about the places I visited last month. No, no,.. I don't have any plans to make this a travel blog. Anyway most of my travels were small travels here and there which is not worth mentioning. This is a short writeup only about the significant places... So please bear with me :)

As I mentioned earlier our gang is obsessed with traveling. Every year once we get the holiday list, the first thing that we check is how many long weekends available or how we can make one!! This time also the same thing happened. A holiday that came on Tuesday clubbed with one day leave made it a long weekend. We decided to utilize the long weekend by going to a little far off place. The place we choose was Lonawala but decided to stay in Pune (mostly coz Pune seemed to be an easier bet for hotels). This time also the itinerary was not fixed, not because we are going there for the umpteenth time and the places doesn't matter, but coz none of us could take time out to make the detailed plan.. :( The only place that we had fixed was Lohagad Fort which was the sole inspiration for this trip. A forwarded mail and this site, both of which showcased some breathtaking pictures were reason enough for us to pack our bags.

We landed in Pune at 10.30 am on saturday as planned and checked in to the hotel (Hotel Shreyas,Apte Road). After freshening up and a quick lunch we were ready to go to Sinhagad as directed by the travel desk in the hotel. Btw, I think it would be unfair if I don't mention about the delicious meal in the hotel. We feasted ourselves with the authentic and typical Marathi tali. The best part is you don't have to rack your brains deciding what to order (That made it quick as well :P). You just seat yourself comfortably and a pre-planned menu will be served to you. You can then relish on the wide variety of dishes in front of you.. Most of them were kind of sweet, but real tasty. Even my co-travelers who were accusing me of torturing them by booking a vegetarian hotel , seemed to be satisfied :)

Sinhagad Fort seemed to be the most popular getaway for Puneits. Although the fort is mostly in ruins today, the place is blessed with picturesque scenery,lush green grass, colorful flowers, cool mountain air, and a pleasant salubrious climate. The pictures below would give you an idea.



Second day our destination was Matheran Hill Station . What makes this place unique is the fact that all vehicles (except emergency vehicles) are banned here. The only modes of transport are on horseback, by hand pulled rickshaw, or on foot. It's like you are taken over a hundred years back in time when there were no vehicles. I just hope they go one more step ahead and ban all plastics too (and litter as well). First half of the day we covered almost 12 km on foot but couldn't cover much view points (What else can you expect from a person like me who lacks stamina and is totally unfit). After lunch me n Sid decided to take the horse ride and cover some more view points where as the other three who felt the long walk in the morning was not enough and decided to trek over the narrow gauge railway track (Obviously the idea came from KK who was responsible for the arduous trek in Chimmony.). So we split and our trail was through the thick and shady forests. It lead to some stunning viewing points - cliffs with incredibly steep drops to the plains below.. More than that the unpolluted air, the beautiful surroundings,the magnificent panoramic views,charming forest walks,..All of them make a visit to Matheran a totally different experience in itself. You can easily classify it as "The greenest ‘green’ destination".



The last day was Lohagad. Although we had planned to leave early so as to cover the fort and also the Karla and Bhaja caves, it was not possible since we came back quie late the previous day. So we decided to cover only the fort. The surprising part is that no one knew about this place (which probably is the reason why it's still very beautiful)!! There were no sign boards, no directions, our cab driver also had no idea where this place is. We thought once we reach the village the locals can guide us. But very few knew there is a fort there !! Anyway once we reached there the place didn't disappoint. It was as stunning as it was in the photographs.. The path to the tops was not tough. There were steps and pathways except in one place.. Anyway we finished the round trip in about 3 hrs and reached back where we had some homely food in a place at the foothill (The biscuits n chocolates that we carried were taken by the monkey in the fort!!). That was the logical end of the trip(a long train journey was awaiting us still)

Monday, September 10, 2007

My Blog Rating

Saw this in JollyRoger's blog and was curious to find mine. They have rated mine as a family blog with a "G" rating. So certified that you can read my blog without any hesitation :P



This rating was determined based on the presence of the following words:

* hurt (1x)

Monday, August 27, 2007

Carnival of Kerala



Onam, the festival of Kerala is here... It is part of the cultural repertoire of every Malayalee - a festival that celebrates a happy blend of myth and reality. It brings back nostalgic memories of a bygone era of prosperity, equality and righteousness.. This season the whole state comes alive with activities. To add to that nature is divinely beautiful and every inch of Kerala becomes lush green with the spring season. Flowers bloom in plenty and butterflies bring a rainbow of colour. And there is festivity in the air with people decorating their houses with `Pookalam´(floral arrangements on floor) to welcome Mahabali.. The smell of "Onakodi"(new dress) which is eagarly awaited for.. A time for prayers and ceremonies, a time to celebrate and rejoice, a time for fun and sports.. Then the grand lunch - sumptuous multi-course meal served on a banana leaf comprising more than 10 dishes. From the crisp banana chips to the assorted pickles to the vegetable dishes - each dish with it's own unique taste - be it sweet, sour, spicy or piquant. I feel everything about Onam reflects the Keralite's zest for all the beautiful things of life..

Wishing you and family a very happy and enjoyable Onam.. :)

Friday, August 24, 2007

Felt like sharing this..

The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers, wider freeways, but narrower viewpoints. We spend more, but have less, we buy more, but enjoy less. We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time. We have more degrees but less sense, more knowledge, but less judgment, more experts, yet more problems, more medicine, but less wellness.


We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom. We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often.

We've cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul. We've conquered the atom, but not our prejudice. We write more, but learn less. We plan more, but accomplish less. We've learned to rush, but not to wait. We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but we communicate less and less.

These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion, big men and small character, steep profits and shallow relationships. These are the days of two incomes but more divorce, fancier houses, but broken homes. These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway morality, one night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill...

Remember; spend some time with your loved ones, because they are not going to be around forever.

Remember, say a kind word to someone who looks up to you in awe, because that little person soon will grow up and leave your side.

Remember, to give a warm hug to the one next to you, because that is the only treasure you can give with your heart and it doesn't cost a cent.

Remember, to say, 'I love you' to your partner and your loved ones, but most of all mean it. A kiss and an embrace will mend hurt when it comes from deep inside of you.

Remember to hold hands and cherish the moment for someday that person will not be there again.

Give time to love, give time to speak! And give time to share the precious thoughts in your mind.

AND ALWAYS REMEMBER :

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away..

Monday, August 20, 2007

The transition..

Purpose of the Trip
Then : "We should cover as many places as possible"
Now : "We should just relax and "Chill"!!"

Frequency of trips

Then : "How about this week? We didn't go anywhere last week"
Now : "We went only 2 months back na"

Planning for the trip
Then : Detailed planning by Date,Time,From,Destination,Distance,Duration of journey,Reach by what time, Stay for how many hrs etc
Now : "We will decide the itinerary on the fly"


Kind of stay
Then : "Resorts? Isn't it for honeymooners? Anyway not for travellers like us. We just need a bed to sleep in the night"
Now : "Is the place good enough to relax? What about the ambiance? We might be spending the entire day there"

Room rent

Then : Rs. 500/- per room to be shared by 2-3 people
Now : Rs. 1500-2000/- per Head per day

Food
Then : Anything will do
Now : Food is the highlight


Treks
Then : "Tough trek? Yeh it's a challenge. We'll do it."
Now : "Moderate trek? Nope I can't manage"


Camera
Then : Film PoS , Film SLR
Now : DSLR , Digital PoS

No. Of Photos
Then : Snaps from 2-5 film rolls per head all of which were shared with everyone
Now : 300-5000 snaps in total out of which only 10-20 percent will be shared

If you are wondering what is it all about, it's just a peek into how our "Travel gang" transformed over the years. This gang consists of a group of seasoned travellers most of us from the same office. This "special interest group" was formed way back in 2003 in a training room as a result of our struggle to fight sleep ;) The first successful trip was in 2003 Oct to Wayanad with 10 members and there was not a single person in the group who knew everyone else!! That trip was a huge success in spite of the diverse group and troubles we had with the TT and it's driver.. There was no looking back after that. The gang continued it's journey almost every other weekend and covered almost all places in and around Bangalore most of them multiple times. Of course apart from the "core group" there were some additions and subtractions for each of the trips. Over the course of time the core group also expanded and the initial core members passed the baton (organising part) to some of the new entrants who managed to break the South India territory and took the gang to the top of the world (Leh).

But of late the frequency of the trips has came down drastically. It took us almost 4 months to plan for a trip after the Sikkim Trip that happened in April.. People who know us will certify that this indeed is a very long gap ;) In the last few trips some or other used to be missing and so the goal for this trip was to make sure that everyone could make it.. Finally after much discussions and more discussions , the gang - all the 8 of us - went to Nagarhole this weekend. It was a good trip and we had fun royally. But if you ask me what were the highlights of the trip I have to say "Dumb charades" :P Though we went for a futile safari, most of the trip was spend in the homestay itself which was really wonderful. We have stayed in 3-4 other homestays in Coorg, but this one is really nice . This house is in the midst of a 50 acre coffee estate behind Brahmagiri hills. We took a stroll in the green coffee plantations, walked along the paddy fields , played in the stream flowing behind the estate and devoured the mouthwatering dishes.. But alas all good things come to an end.. Before we realized it, our precious two days in those beautiful vistas came to a close and we were back in the urban rut yet again.. :(

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Yet another day,

but it happened to be my birthday...

When I was small, I didn't know what a Birthday means, thanks to my parents who never believed in celebrations.. And one day during my KG years, I came back from school and demanded that I should distribute sweets in the class next day. I was so fascinated by the attention the kid, dressed in a pretty frock, was getting from both teachers and other friends. Then my parents explained to me that it would be their birthday and I should be distributing sweets only on my B'day. I have no idea whether I really understood what it means.. But from that day I started waiting for my birthday.. And finally when my turn came I was too excited.. An escape from the routine uniform, going proudly to school with the box of chocolates ,thoroughly enjoying the attention from everybody... You would get some new friends on that day and not to mention the fawning, just to get one extra chocolate!

In my early teens, the childish excitement had worn off.. Many a birthdays passed by without anyone (including me) remembering it.. In college , friends started taking up the b'days which meant I would be wished promptly and I even got nice cards and gifts.. They took pains to get the most appropriate gift and the excitement of opening the packet and guessing what is inside - it was fantastic.. Before that I never knew the concept of giving b'day gifts coz I never got any.. Once I was invited for a b'day party of my classmate. Since that was my first time ever, I went there wished her and came back. But I never realised the meaning of the odd look she gave me when I went there empty handed.. Anyway she never called me again :)

When I moved out of home, birthdays started at midnight - calls , wishes , cake cutting.. Sneaking into the dormitory when the lights were off to have a get together (no one was allowed to enter other rooms and so had to really sneak in). In office also there used to be cake cutting , sweet distribution , treat to friends , and not to mention the cake facial.. And then an inbox full of mails and e-cards. At times you will be in for some sweet surprises as well.. Someone long-forgotten calls you or someone totally unexpected turns up or someone just goes an extra mile to make you feel special..

I stopped awaiting birthdays a long time back.. I don't buy b'day clothes any longer, I don't expect gifts any longer.. In fact I am not sure whether I really want another birthday to approach, considering the fact that it's menacingly taking me away from youth.. But still, it's an important day and is always special.. And today was exceptional because I partied, that too with 600 people.. The physical exhaustion of running around everywhere without any proper food for two days can't be put into words.. But the sweetness of Happy B'day Song that the small ones sang,the smile on their faces.. It totally made up for everything.. What more can I ask for?

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Yeh Dosti

Today is World Friendship Day.. The day that marks celebrations of friendship all over the world..

When I wished a friend today, he was asking why do you need a day for that. It's true that we really don't need a day to celebrate a concept like 'friendship'. But how many of us really connect with our friends every day unless of course they are geographically close and you have to interact with them in your day-to-day activities? If I have to be true to myself, I should say I have failed miserably here.. I guess keeping in touch proves to be the biggest challenge that any friendship goes through. It can be a course of study, a job opportunity or a family decision that takes you away from your close buddies, but the distance does tear apart the bonds of friendship. Probably that's what we can do on this day. Celebrate this Friendship Day by taking a pledge to never lose touch with your old pals..

Happy Friendship Day every one.. Let the beautiful hues of friendship colour your life and make it bountiful in joy..

Thursday, August 02, 2007

A Forced sabbatical...

...kept me away from the blog, and the internet in general, many thanks to BSNL.. It's been more than a week since the entire series (including the complaint no) have gone out of order supposedly because of some cable fault. Interestingly, whenever I call the exchange, I get the assurance that it will be done "by today evening". But somehow this "today evening" never seems to be coming. So I decided to forget about it and stay in my cocoon for another week. Hopefully that should be enough and they won't test my patience further.. Anyway I don't have a choice here right?

In office, my hands are completely full and I could hardly sneak out some personal time. I have read your comments for the previous posts, but haven't replied yet. I am not able to visit your spaces either. Bloglines is informing me about all your new posts. I feel a little out of touch with the outside world. Hopefully I'll try to get back on track with that. And yesterday, when I opened my personal mail account after a week, there were around 150+ unread mails. Though most of them were newsletters or forwards I had no idea I was getting so many mails every day. No wonder my evenings are always in front of the comp ;) So If you are wondering what I am upto in the evenings now a days (I don't have to write blogs or read mails/blogs u see), here are some of my latest activities..

Last week was completely devoted to Harry Potter. I liked this book better than some of the earlier versions. Earlier, I was disappointed with the meandering Order of The Phoenix and the flabby Half-blood Prince. But in Deathly Hallows, Rowling is back in form and has proved that she is the mistress of story telling. The length of the book is just right with not many repetitions, yet enough to refresh things in your mind. The plot is well crafted with adequate shocks to keep the interest going.. The young boys and girls have grown up into fierce warriors and the book is filled with actions and bloodsheds which makes me wonder whether it still qualifies as a "children's book". In any case, this journey into the magical world was memorable and the experience has been well worth it.. But now that the end of the road has reached and I'm back to the muggle world, a tinge of sadness remains.. I'm going to miss those days where I used to sit up till 3 am to finish a book (and made my aunt wonder whether I'm reading for some important exam).

Now that the book is over, what else am I doing? Of course I have my own pile of other "to-be-read" books and my unfinished craft works. But I have taken up another project, but is kind of apprehensive.. Yet I have decided to give it a shot.. Anyway I'll let you know about it once I am ready with some "deliverables" :P Keep waiting..

Sunday, July 22, 2007

"Who am I?"

Couple



MIRROR MIRROR ON THE WALL WHO AM I AFTER ALL?

I watched this tele film by Naina Kapur and Smita Bharti in Doordharsan. It's a creative exploration of segregation and integration of self and sexuality as experienced by the students and teachers of an all girls school pursuing the pathway to sexual awareness. I felt it is a very good initiative and is important to conduct such a workshop in all schools. Those girls were confident, comfortable with their bodies and eager to face the world. Read more about it here and watch the film if possible.

When we were in the seventh standard, there was an short film that was shown by the Johnson and Johnson. Although it was an advertisement program for a Sanitory Napkin, it introduced the changes that a girl would undergo to acheive womanhood. And believe me except for a couple of girls who had entered early puberty, none of us even knew such a thing existed (And we were all 12 years of age which is the start of puberty for girls). And that did open up the atmosphere and we started talking about each others experience and realised it's natural and not something to be scared of. And it was not that we didn't have questions before. Seeing the ad of a beautiful white packet with small flowers, we did want to get the same. Our conclusion was that it is something to drink because in the ad Mom gave a drink to the girl and said something like "I'll always give the best to my daughter". Later when we asked our elders to get that drink, they told us it's not a drink, but failed to explain what it is. They just said "You will know when you grow up". errrr automatically?

And I guess there is a greater mystery for sex education. We are just afraid to broach the issue. As a result young people are left to fend for themselves. Things are made worse when they are surrounded by so many "Don'ts". I remember one discussion that we used to have. As girls we were constantly reminded that "cheethappeerundaakkaruthu"(Don't bring shame to the family/school) and we used to wonder "how" and "when" do you get "cheethappeeru". We had no clue whether it is talking, looking or sitting together. Having studied in a convent school for 14 years, I feel the gender relations projected there are really skewed and no where healthy. Boys were introduced to us as some scoundrels waiting to pounce on the prey. I have to confess I was scared even to talk to guys thinking something terrible will bestow on me.


I might be completely wrong in my views as I'm comparing with my school days - a system that's more than a decade old. It might be totally different in metro's like Bangalore, but I am not very confident that things have changed too much in other conservative socities. I am not bluffing here. Do check the excerpt from the rules of a college in chennai.



Denial is the best way to mislead. By refusing to leave the door open for healthy curiosity, we are generating an unhealthy response. Kids will anyway find some workarounds to get the information that they want. And today it will be accessing internet, pornography, misinformation and this will lead to irresponsible behaviour. Instead they should feel it is normal and acceptable and adults should offer guidance, direction and build responsibility around the issue. When we make a choice to know ourselves, to know who we are and what makes us, we become informed, healthy and complete as sexual beings. All we need today is healthy information.

Any other views?

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Traffic and Directions in Bangalore

I had told about the case of an inane email forward which turned out to be some work related to the Bangalore Traffic Information System.

The Bangalore traffic police has now launched a live traffic portal. Check the following link : BTIS

Sunday, July 15, 2007

I Wandered Lonely As A Cloud..

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed - and gazed - but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

"Daffodils" By William Wordsworth


I remember this poem from childhood.. It is one of my favourite poems and loved it since school days.. But at that time I liked it more for it's natural beauty - the host of golden daffodils, the waves of the lake , the drifting clouds , the bright sunshine.. I could visualise the beauty of the place and longed to be there and dance in the breeze with the daffodils :)

But now I love this for a different reason. It's about the power of memory and the joy it can bring in times of contemplation, grief and loneliness. The poet stresses on how something so simple in nature could continue to give him pleasure even when he is not around it.. for the memory of the dancing flowers lasts with him even when he is at home...

In our life too, we have so many such small moments that we have enjoyed without realising it's worth. It could be anything - things like playing with our sister or brother or fighting with our friend for a piece of chocolate or the laughs that we shared with our family at the dining table. We might have forgotten those moments now, but then there are times when suddenly such moments flash back into our mind and that feeling takes us back to that peaceful, pleasant moments.. and our life becomes bit more pleasant to live on..

To me, the poem serves as a reminder that our happiness is best served if we live our lives noticing the simple beauty that nature gives us daily. It's a reminder to stop and smell the flowers, to reflect back on small things in life, to enjoy the simple pleasures of life.. Simple and wonderful..

Saturday, July 07, 2007

I know it's quite sometime..

..and my friends were pestering me for a new post. When I started this blog I was thinking why on earth would someone ever want to read my meaningless musings.. But through this I got the opportunity to know so many wonderful people whom I would have never known otherwise. Sometimes I'm absolutely bewildered when I see the visitor locations from which this blog has been accessed. It's a nice feeling to know that someone living thousands and thousands of miles away in a place which I haven't even heard of is accessing my blog and care to read my thoughts..

And today something different happened - A tag Attack. I got tagged by Guy in the middle. This is the first time I'm getting tagged and at the moment he is a complete stranger to me but I'm sure to know him better in the coming days through his blogs.. But guess I should be careful as amooma who passed the baton to him has described his Innocent Posts as not so innocent ;)
Coming back to the tag, I have seen different tags in other blogs - some really funny , some thought provoking , some silly and enjoyed following the game.. So I decided to abandon the post that I was writing till then and have taken this tag (aarambashooratham :P )

The rules of this game:

* Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
* People who are tagged need to write posts in their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.
* At the end of your post, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.


So here it is..

1) I am a travel freak. I have traveled quite a bit around India and some abroad. But I still feel that I haven't seen anything yet :(

2) Although I like photography I have absolutely no idea about it's various technicalities. The camera I own is a simple POS and until a couple of years back, I didn't even know what an SLR means. And for me that big bulky camera was something that was used only by the professional wedding photographers or the studio people.

3) I am a confirmed chocoholic. In school n college, people used to pay me back in chocolates for helping them with tough maths problems! Me and Akhila (My best friend and the only one who can beat me in this choco gobbling) used to make sure that even the last bit of chocolate on the wrapper is taken. For us wasting even a little bit used to be an inexcusable sin ;)

4) I'm scared to go to a theater to watch movies. I don't like that atmosphere: the darkness, the crowd, the bass,... It's nauseating. Many of my friends have tried their best to drag me for a movie, but.. Think the last time I set my foot in one was when I was in the 5th Standard..

5) I did all my studies in Thrissur and all those institutions where less than 2 kms from my house. Probably for that I made a stupid mistake as well. Although I joined the EEE in REC Calicut(now NIT), I took a TC later and joined GEC Thrissur coz it was nearer to home!!

6) I absolutely adore children. I would never ever get tired with them.. I'm a good baby sitter as well especially for the new-borns. I believe I can handle these little bundles of joy much better than many elders(Self praise :P) There are many new mothers who will certify that ;)

7) Like most other girls, I'm an ardent Krishna fan, but I don't worship him. For me he is a playmate with whom I can play, talk, fight just like any other human being..

8) And finally (since I'm not getting anything else to write).. I hate to be addressed as an "only child". The one thing that I wanted so badly was a sibling and I used to feel so lonely that I even used to tell my mom to adopt a child from the orphanage.

Phew.. It was tough.. When I started writing I thought it will be a cakewalk but it took quite sometime for me to finish. And now that I have said them, I realize it was all very personal and none of you would have wanted to know any of them at all..

Anyway I move on and my tag victims are

Alexis - A very versatile person I got to know recently(or should I say today?). I'm not sure if he'll take this tag but anyways you can read this hilarious post for another tag

Vidya Vijayan - Another person whom I met online. It would be interesting to know more about her.

Sini - A friend who writes well but claims to have nothing to write about.. So let me give her something :)

Priyanka Prakash - Another talent pool..

Sadhana - One among my kids in office and today's birthday baby (07/07/07)..:)

Jaseem - Though my senior in college I got to know him online!! He seems to be a hilarious guy.. Let's see what he has to say..

Richy - A very creative ex-colleague of mine..

and last but not the least

Mathews - Though he is not a regular blogger, his writings are very thought-provoking..I have multiple relations with him : my seniors brother, my batch mates brother, my professors son , my neighbor , my good friends cousin - but the paradox is we too met online and have never met in person!!

Friday, June 29, 2007

Technology on street..



A techie transfer fund for penalty from his laptop near Trinity Circle in Bangalore on Tuesday....


Got this as a forward.. But guess it's very much possible !!!

PS : An Update. This news seems to be fake and the person is actually doing some work on Bangalore Traffic Information System. Please check this link. Thank you Venkat for the info.

Monday, June 18, 2007

The demise of the pen?




My hands are aching so badly now.. Reason - I had to write some certificates and that made me realize some bitter truths. I haven't used a pen for more than 10 minutes since the time I wrote my last exam in my last semester !!! So today when I had to write for 2-3 hrs, it took a lot of strength and effort and my handwriting has become very ugly :(

And it was worse when I tried to write in my mother tongue. There were moments - long moments of indecision when I had to remember just how to write certain characters!! Yes, there is a scary split second when I wonder if I am losing the ability to write in long hand with a pen and paper. I guess that's what you get for being a software engineer where the keyboard is a good friend of yours..

The advent of email and the Web has drastically cut down the use of pen and paper.. For written communication with others, I'm far more likely to send an email than write a letter. That isn't to say that I don't write letters at all. I have cousins and friends who I used to write to frequently, that too very long letters. And I do enjoy receiving letters in the post. But of late most of our day-to-day communications,is via email or cellphone.. And though my relatives are often still best reached by postal letter, I hardly write to them and that's a sad reality.. I have even advised them to get an internet and e-mail so that we can be in touch!

The fact is that we have been moving fast to the e-world and now that the electronic signatures are gaining legal recognition, you don't even need to take the pen to sign a cheque book or a credit card statement.. So friends if you still own a pen, do treasure it.. They will be a valuable antique in years to come - put them away as heirloom for your grandchildren!!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Frozen Tears..

Often in life you

Smile, altough your heart feels like breaking..

Smile, altough you are hurt inside..

Smile, altough you feel like crying your lungs out..

Smile, with a lump in your throat that even loved ones don't notice..

And then you wish all your tears turned into Frozen ice, Frozen tears!!

Friday, June 01, 2007

Manners - Not Table but Travel

According to a latest survey conducted among 15,000 European hoteliers by the travel Web site Expedia , Indians were ranked the second worse tourists in the world, preceded only by French. What an embarrassment!

The different nationalities were ranked according to several key criteria, including behavior, politeness, tidiness, noise, willingness to speak the local language, holiday spending and fashion sense. The best tourists in the world are the Japanese who stood out for being polite and tidy, followed by Americans and the Swiss who were commended for being quiet and considerate.

But here are the toppers for worst Tourist Overall
1. French
2. Indians
3. Chinese
4. Russians
5. British

To be frank some of the criteria looked odd to me. The French took the title of ‘World’s Worst Tourists’ due to their unwillingness to speak the local language, lack of generosity and impoliteness. I personally don't consider "unwillingness to speak the local language" big enough criteria to rank them the "worst". I agree that it's not hard to learn some basic words like ‘hello’, ‘goodbye’, ‘please’, and ‘thank you’ in another language. But most countries have multiple languages or dialects and then some bilingualism will be a necessity if one wishes to travel the world. Imagine someone visiting India trying to learn the 35+ Indian languages and more importantly speak them at appropriate regions!!

Respondents said they disliked Indian tourists for being loud, untidy, and poorly behaved. I haven't observed foreign nationalities that much to comment on them, but I would agree about the behaviors of Indians.We have a general tendency to behave badly :(

The most annoying thing is undoubtedly the Noise. Most of the people travel in large groups and I should say they are LOUD, oblivious to surroundings. We go to a place to enjoy the scenery and the tranquility of that the place and there comes a group who would be shouting away to glory.. As a result, instead of peace and serenity the entire situation becomes terrible.. Many a times I have felt like stuffing clothes into their mouths..:(

Also they never seem to understand how a queue works. Jumping the queue seems to be a sport, even if the time advantage they gain is a minute and they are in no hurry.. When others nicely queue up and stand for long hours, they will be sitting down somewhere and yapping.. And when the queue starts moving and the end of the queue is like no where to be seen, they stand up, pretend that they don't see the queue at all and just go right in front and stand there or sometimes join the queue from the MIDDLE. What’s wrong with these people? I wouldn't have bothered if they were some small kids, or mothers carrying small babies, or aged people, but most of them are adults of working age - most of them Professionals.. But education doesn't seem to have taught them even the basic manners. Instead they seem to be very comfortable jumping queues and act as if they are not in the wrong by doing so..

Another point is they don't like to follow instructions. If they is a "Photography Prohibited" board, they will try to sneak in the camera and click a couple of snaps.. If there is a "Don't touch" board, they will make sure they will touch that.. I have seen people standing under a 'Silence Please" board and giving lectures!! Are they so ignorant or is it just that they just don't care?

And our untidy holiday habits - We just don't keep our environment clean and tidy. If you observe, most(or should I say all) of the common tourist spots are filled with litter - broken bottles, plastic plates and glasses, excess food thrown away,.. a mess that surely made the once pristine place look like garbage mela. Sometimes I wonder what's making them carelessly toss their garbage anywhere they choose..Probably they are thinking that the trash spiffs up the place or that these bottles and cans would disappear on their own.. Or is it that they are leaving the garbage as a landmark, so that they can find their "spot" again!!

Drinking is another problem. This can range from groups of established street drinkers drinking in an area, to gatherings of drinkers in parks or open spaces, or the drunken rowdy groups causing nuisance and intimidation. Oops I forgot another category which get sloshed before a travel and start 'gana mela'(music concert) in the bus/flight !! The poor fellow passengers will be cursing their fate for having had to travel on that day!!

The situation that we are in is really sad. These irresponsible behavior is hurting our reputation as a civilized nation. Like spoiled children, we are treating every part of the world as our own personal playground and showing the world a face that is not so pretty. I think it's high time we launched an etiquette campaign to teach our people to stand in line, stop spitting and littering, stop yelling into the cell phone and generally be better mannered. It would not only make us better tourists but would also make us better citizens of the world !!

Monday, May 28, 2007

A sumptuous tali

"Indian nationalism - It is not the language or race or ethnicity or religion or geography that binds us together as a nation. It has always been the nationalism of an idea - an idea rooted in the spirit of diversity."

A nice article by Shashi Tharoor Do read it..

Saturday, May 26, 2007

The Smell of Rain



It was a crazy week.. Getting busier in office with the new project and the desperate attempts to build up a team.. Also had lots of personal work, so much so that I just couldn't do justice to either :( Days were long, getting up early and sleeping past midnight - got totally exhausted.. Couldn't find time even to think of blogging.. But no I haven't abandoned this space and here I am :)

Apart from the tight schedule, there were lots of pleasant things as well.. Two days back, rains started in Bangalore bringing down the scorching heat that city was reeling under all these days.. Now the air is cold, it smells fresh, like it’s been washed clean of the day’s smoke and dust.. But more than the temperature factor, it is a nostalgic feeling.. It brings the child in you out and gives you freedom to break free of all the traditions and just feel the rain pour all around you..

Yes I have always loved rains.. I love the first rain of the season, the smell of virgin soil, the sound of rain drops hitting the window panel.. Sometimes I just lie in my bed listening to the rain.. I even tend to open the window a crack, so that I can hear it better.. I love standing by my window when it rains and reach out to feel the raindrops on my fingertips..Or I just sit in the balcony watching the different patterns that wind tend to draw in the air using these drops.. I have gone outside when it's raining just to be in the rain.. The fun of walking in it without an umbrella and getting drenched, and then you just burst into a smile, like the pouring rain.. The rain makes you sing, dance, cry.. Something about it seems to excite a multitude of emotions or should I say it is a silent witness to the play of emotions.. For me it holds a promise; the bubbling joy, a silent tear, a hope, a promise that yes, at the end of every hot and weary summer, the raindrops will come down pitter-patter and life around us will wear a new look...

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Not in the Frame

Today a friend was asking me why I can't upload a decent self portrait in my orkut profile. According to him all of them are "deformed" :( Reason why he asked this is coz most of the snaps that I upload there will be cropped from some group snaps and so it won't be a proper portrait.. Also whenever I share snaps after a trip, I face lot of questions on why I'm not there in any of them..

The answers for these questions are
1) Cameras don't lie. So what u see is what you get and I can't do much about that :D
2) I don't like myself to be photographed, especially solos. This aversion came right from childhood and I think I should blame my parents for that ;)

The story goes as follows: Think I was 2 or 3 years then. My parents took me to a studio to take some family photographs. I should have posed well that time. But immediately after that they took me to a nearby hospital and gave me some vaccination and poor me was crying in pain. From then onwards I always associated photos with the pricking pain and my parents never got a chance to photograph me after that. The moment I hear the word "photo" I would be petrified and would vanish to infinity and they won't see me for a couple of hours. Result - I absolutely don't have any childhood snaps of mine (which I slightly regret now). It took quite some years(not until I reached college) for me to get over this camera shyness(or should I say camera ache). Even now If I search the thousands of photo's that I have, there will be less than 10 solo's !! And I'm in no position to publish those coz most of them are the "caught unaware" series by my friends ;) So people now u know the side effects of a vaccination ;)

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Intuitions

I'm getting used to the regular "power failures" in Bangalore and usually during these times I prefer to read. So today I lighted a candle and was reading holding the candle stand in one hand (I know it is a little dangerous). Although I used to do it often, today something in my mind told me that it's going to be disastrous. I had a feeling I'm going to get burned. I get such gut feelings often and experience have taught me not to ignore these warnings. So I decided to keep the candle stand down and while keeping it down all the melted wax flowed down my hand burning them !!! I'm happy that it didn't become too grievous. But as I told this is not the first time that I'm having such experiences.. I remember in Rome, I had a feeling that I'll be pick pocketed and coz of that I was extra careful and was checking my purse every 5 mins. In spite of that I got pick pocketed! Again during the early days of my career, I used to work in a very jolly gang. But whenever we used to have fun, I got this funny feeling that it's not going to last long and I'll be separated from the team. There was no logic behind that as I was supposedly handling a critical component and though I had asked for a component change, the answer given was I had to wait at least for 1-1.5 years. But within 2 weeks I was moved to a different component and out of that department. Similarly I was not interested in pursuing engineering and so though I had got a decent rank, I joined a degree college and even attended classes. But later I ended up taking engineering that too a stream which I was not very keen on and the interesting part is all through I knew I had to do that!! There have been so many such instances most of them I can't remember now.. I don't know how to explain this.. Articles, especially about positive thinking, ESP, holistic or meditation, will tell you that it is the power of your mind. What ever you are imagining , your mind has the power to make it happen and you can even develop these instincts!! But what I don't understand is it's not that we are imagining these things deliberately(who will imagine all these unpleasant things?) nor is it that all things that we are imagining is happening this way (if that was the case, we could have imagined all nice things and made our life much much easier)..

Another similar experience is when you are in a situation, you feel the event has occurred in the past. You can recollect the scene as if from a movie or a drama. All the characters exactly in the same place and doing exactly the same things as if in a replay. My friend's dad who is a psychiatrist once explained to us that this is because of hormonal imbalance during teen years and it is more prominent in girls. He assured us that as we cross the teenage the frequency of such occurrences will be reduced which is actually true in my case(tho it hasn't gone completely). But again what I can't understand is how can the hormones know what is going to happen in future? Or is it that the feeling is only an illusion? But then why is it happening only for some scenes?

Whether it's the power of mind or trick of hormones, I feel it's little creepy. Also I guess most of you would have experienced it(unless there is something terribly wrong with me). Is there any other convincing explanation? Or is this really a sixth sense?

Monday, May 14, 2007

Kannathil Muthamittal


(This picture is downloaded from internet and is not copyrighted by me)

I watched this Mani Ratnam movie (It's an old movie released in 2002) yesterday and I have to say it is one of the finest I have seen in a long time. It does more than just "A Peck on the Cheek" - the characters are well etched, the tale is narrated with lot of feeling and maturity and some of the scenes would bring a lump to your throat or even wet your cheeks. Maniratnam yet again proves that he is at his best when tackling human emotions and relationships. His visual language, his high standard in movie techniques, the way he leads his actors and most of all, the way he tells his stories are all simply outstanding..

The film explores the emotional turmoil of a little girl in search of her biological
mother amidst social and political hurdles, and the effects it brings upon her foster
parents. If you would like to know the story read it here or here,but I have to say it is no substitute for watching the movie..

All the actors have given their best performance but the show stealer is undoubtedly the child artist P.S. Keerthana who portrays Amudha, the nine year old girl. The way in which she responds with a multitude of emotions when she realises that she is adopted unlike her brothers, her determination to search out for her biological mother, the way she yearns to see her mother and get a kiss from her,.. She evokes so much sympathy and her expressions so natural and spontaneous that she leaves you bewildered. She has delivered a convincing and exceptional performance and it's hard to believe that this is her first film.

In short, this is a breathtaking cinematic achievement that takes the viewer on a sensual and emotional journey. So if you haven't yet seen the movie, it's worth a watch. You will easily fall in love with the characters..

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Miles to Go Before I Sleep..

Yes I know it's sometime since I have posted anything.. Got busy with work, but will be back soon :)

In the mean time check this snap. I took it in Rabdentse Ruins,Pelling (Sikkim). I liked the stone pavements and the colored leaves that fell on it.. You can't see anything beyond the curve which reminds me of life's little turning points.. Tell me whether you liked it and what it means to you..

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Starting Anew


Now a days, my evenings are very dull and lack luster.. Ambili has taken up a job and so our routine voice chat that used to consume my entire time has come to an abrupt end (probably that explains why I'm more verbal these days). As a rule I don't initiate a chat/call with my other friends.. I have a feeling that they will be busy with their life and I shouldn't unnecessarily intrude into their time. Cooking has also come to a standstill after my cousin moved out. It's too boring to cook and eat all alone.. I'm not that much of a TV enthusiast either.. But there are so many things that I like to do. I love to sketch, I like to do handicrafts, I like to read, I like to go out for walks, I love to talk to people, I like to shop, I like to keep my house clean, but the problem is I have lost the zeal to do things that I once loved to do.. It's ages since I have sharpened my pencils, my paints are all dried up, there are so many raw materials(for craft works) lying in my house unattended, I have a pile of books that I want to read, it's long since I have bought a dress for myself, it's years since I have gone for my morning walks(and it shows),my house is cluttered (coz of the numerous things that piled up over the years).. The list is endless.. Result - I have started to feel that "Life is boring" which is a little dangerous.

But,as they say, a problem recognized is a problem half solved. So I intend to do something regarding this. I've even taken a few first steps. I went for my morning walk today. It was a nice feeling and I hope to continue the same. I would even try to go to the badminton courts again.. I want to re-start my cooking so that I will eat properly and avoid the junk foods (hopefully that will improve my health as well). I plan to resume my sketching and craft works.. I have cut the papers already and the stitching kit has come out.. I intend to finish at least one book per week.. In my one room house, there is very less that I can do to reduce the clutter. But I still want to give it a try and have decided to keep all the "not-so-essentials" in the overhead rack. I now need to sort out which all needs to go there..This weekend I'm planning to go and shop for some dresses so that there is something new to look forward to.. I don't know how much I'm going to succeed in these endeavours. With my new work commitments which will start soon, I might even end up with absolutely no time for myself. But whatever it is I would like to give it a try..At least I should be convinced that I have done my best.. Wish Me Luck, Please..

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Mangoes, Mangoes and Mangoes


Summer is here and the first thing that comes to my mind apart from the oppressive heat is the sumptuous, succulent MANGOES, aptly named The king of fruits. No other fruit is as delicious and magnificent as mango. There are, I assume, very few who wouldn’t love mangoes. I should say I'm an ardent fan of mangoes (although next only
to Jack fruit) and the sight of juicy, yellow-gold mangoes makes my mouth water. And
the heavenly aroma! No amount of words can describe that…

Mangoes in any form is tasty ,whether it is raw , ripe or in the form of pickles. The
raw ones are used in various curries. The use of tamarind will be replaced by the sour mangoes during this season.. The parippu curry with mango and jack fruit
seeds is one of my favourite. There are different dishes made out of ripe ones as well.. One such is mambazha pulissery which my roomies were very fond of.. My friends granny used to send me dried mango pulp from Andra. Amma used to make manga varattiyathu in a desperate effort to check those ripe mangoes from decaying. There are lots and lots of other dishes as well..

But nothing can beat the smell and flavour of a warm freshly picked mango. It always takes me to my childhood days (I think most of us will have fond memories related to it). There was a giant mango tree in the backyard of our old house which had the sweetest mangoes ever. The branches were so high up that no one could climb it, and we hired someone to harvest the mangoes. One of my favourite pass time was to watch the squirrels and birds that come in as visitors to savour the fruit. Early in the morning, the entire ground will be filled with fallen mangoes.. They were still unbruised and had escaped the birds. The skin was dark green and inside it was golden yellow and pulpy.. ( I was upset for days when I heard that the current occupants had cut down this mango tree. It was as if I had lost someone so close to me..)

My grand mom's place also had many mango trees and one of my earliest memories of my
vacations there, is sitting with my cousins in front of a huge pile to slurp those
juicy delights. First I didn't know how to eat them since it was very juicy and eating them was little tricky. Then one of my cousins showed me the technique and I soon mastered the art. The technique is to squeeze the mango from all sides till it is softened. Then make an incision at the top and suck the juice out before peeling and eating the rest. The experience is nothing short of pure bliss.. By the end of it, juices will be flowing all though our hands, chins, laps and dresses fully stained, and all that's left of those mangoes would be their well licked seeds.. A very messy way of eating, but I guess that's what is different about childhood..

My house also has 4-5 different varieties of mango trees but all of them started bearing fruits after I came to Bangalore. But whenever I go there amma make sure that I get enough and more from each variety to the extend that I skip meals n gulp only mangoes..I can easily eat 3-4 at a time.. ;)

These mangoes become a part of our lives, so much so that the usage of other fruits is next to nil in this season. But the sad part is they will rule the palate only for a few months and then vanish into oblivion.. After that we have to wait again until next summer for a taste of this blissful fruit. So relish when it's here..

Friday, April 27, 2007

Change - The only constant thing

Though we all have heard this phrase time and again, it's difficult for me to accept the situation. Yes I know change is permanent, I know change is constant,I know change is good, but I have realized that I hate change. I hate change to an extreme degree. I hate it when things I liked, felt comfortable with, change on me. Sometimes that change may even be for better, sometimes not, but I still hate the newness of it all. It's like having to move, it may be a great new beginning but I always miss the old one. And inevitably that change is going to force me to adjust and make changes of my own which I will also hate for the mere fact that they are changes..

Bottom line is I'm not that graceful in handling it and so I want everything around me exactly the same way it was.. But Of late there are so many changes happening around me.. From this month onwards, my company changed. I hadn't changed the company for obvious reasons and then one fine day company decided to change itself !!! And here I am with a new ID card ,a new mail ID ,a new profile ,a new work package... The only comfort is that the faces around me are still the same and may be, just may be, I might get to work with some older faces as well..

Last week, I went to my home town and somehow I didn't like the visit, may be coz I saw changes in few things that I was very much used to..Though I had left this place quite some years ago, I still find it very hard in overcoming those feelings of attachments/belongings and that's especially true for temples. I just don't like the temples in Bangalore and so whenever I want to visit one, I long to go back home. So it was really painful when I saw that the temple near to my house - Cherumukku Temple - which I always refer to as my own and is very close to my heart, is getting a new look. It's getting renovated and people are excited about it. But then it is no longer the small, old, serene place which I frequented daily..the old walls that echoed our bhajans are fully gone,a big padippura has come, there are so many other small small changes as well, so much so that I can't identify with it anymore. Same with Vadakkunnathan Temple which was also one of my favorite..It is one of the oldest temples in the state and now they are changing all the wood work.. Some deities are re-arranged.. I just hope they stop it there and don't make it tooo new with some marble floorings or so!! (like the ones in Bangalore)

But I know I have come so far from where I was years ago and that's good, a reminder that I can handle change even though I absolutely do not want to. When I was small I used to think if I get married how I can leave my home and all things that I hold dear and go to an absolutely new place and coz of that I didn't want to get married! But here I am in an absolutely new place just after I finished my studies and the funny thing is though there are many things that I don't like,now Bangalore is more home to me than Thrissur to the extend that when I go back I often refer to my b'lore home as "Home".Or probably it's just that I'm used to Bangalore now ;) But yes even I complain about how Bangalore has changed drastically and I don't like that either. Why can't it be the same old peaceful place with less traffic , less crowd ,and less pollution..

Anyway I know no solutions here, just writing it down.. But just wondering in this world full of inventions and innovations, why can't someone invent something that will reverse all changes or may be we will get a filter where we can choose to take only whatever changes that we want.. I'm waiting for that but until then I can only shout
"STOP! STOP CHANGING! I just got used to this!"

Thursday, April 26, 2007

A sweet surprise

Today I was totally surprised to see this message in my flickr album

KeralaNewsHeadlines says:

Congrats!.
This photo has be selected to be featured as the Photo Of The Day at Kerala News Headlines

Thanks a lot :)

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

THE LAND OF MYSTIC SPLENDOUR

I was on a vacation and this time it was the small but beautiful Sikkim which is situated in the eastern Himalayas. It's a beautiful place not much spoilt by tourism. The higlights of the place are the snow capped mountains, the silent Hills, the lush valleys, fast flowing rivers, the green forests, the wild flowers, different varieties of orchids, the numerous water falls, endless streams singing some natural songs and not to forget the adventurous rafting in the Teesta.. I should say it's a rare and singular experience.

I'll write in detail about the trip later( no guarantee that it will happen ;))

In brief

Hits:
We were very much skeptical about the air Deccan Flight. Though we debated a lot, we had decided to take the risk as the cost of other air lines were almost double. But to our surprise and delight all the four flights were on time and we had an event free travel.

Flower show: Sikkim is famous for it's different varieties of orchids and there was a special flower show going on at that time. We had a real feast with the numerous kinds of orchids :)

Katau: This was not in our itinerary and was suggested by the Sumo driver. It was some 32 kms from Lachung and near the Tibet border. The place was fully covered in snow and not a soul around. We had big fun over here playing with the snow and throwing it at each other.

Rafting : This was one thing all of us were looking forward to and I have to admit it was great fun ;)

Food: The food was excellent and we all devoured like anything. Guess that explains why my weighing machine is showing 2 lines excess even though I'm checking the zero correction desperately ;)

Misses:
Weather was not with us on most of the days. Mostly it was cloudy and misty and some days it even rained heavily. We missed the Khanchendzonga view from Pelling(though one day weather gods were kind enough and we had a nice view from Gangtok

Rhododendrons and primulas: Yumtang Valley is famous for it's picturesque landscape lined with rhododendrons that bloom in different colours. But the flowering is at their best during the month of May and we were little too early :(

Nathula Pass: It is located on the Indo–China border connecting Sikkim with the Tibet Autonomous Region of China. Here Indian troops and the Red army stand face to face and is the closest an Indian Tourist can travel and may be pose a photo with the Red Army. But the days for tourist visit is restricted and the days permitted to visit Nathula are Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sundays. Unfortunately we were there on a Tuesday :(

Helicopter Ride: This is another great miss. We wanted to experience the same but the travel agent said the capacity is only 5 people and we were 7 of us :(

The travel agent was not very professional and so there were some hitches here and there.

PS: Many friends are asking for the snaps. As always there are umpteen no of them. I will upload at least some of them in flickr or the travel blog. Be patient ;)

An Update: Some snaps are available here . Will post some more soon.. I'm in the process of deleting old snaps from the album so that some more can be posted..

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Titbits of News

Today was an eventful day for so many reasons. So just thought I'll mark it before sleeping..

  • One of my works saw the print ink for the first time.
Yes it's a unique experience

  • Did the first recording of my lifetime.
I was damn nervous and have given the poor editing guys enough work ;)

  • Completed 7 years in the same company.
I can very well recollect how I felt on this day 7 years back.I should say the journey was quite long ..

Friday, March 23, 2007

To the first man in my life

Birthdays are a time for celebration. And what better way to celebrate my father’s birthday than sharing my memories of him… the first man in my life. He is turning 81 today..

Whenever I see a warm picture of a dad and little girl, it takes me down the memory line and brings tears to my eyes. It brings in to mind the endless paths I have walked holding his hands, the endless times he has carried me on his shoulder while tucking me to sleep..

We have always shared a special bond probably because of the huge age difference between us. He never refused me anything and always provided me everything that I wanted. He is the one who boosted my self-confidence, taught me morals and induced values in me.. I don't know if I can find the right words to describe what he means to me.

My earliest memories of him are of a tall lean figure, always clad in a white full sleeved shirt and a sandalwood thilak on his forehead, who always looked terribly distinguished to my young eyes. Till I turned 4 years,I was staying in my mom's village since she was working there and he working in the town which was some 30 kms away. So he used to visit us during weekends,bringing lots of goodies to eat. Shortly amma also got a transfer to a school in the town and that's when I started knowing him more.His routine was to get up early(4 am), take a cold water bath and he will be in his favourite easy chair in the front verandah with the newspaper.

He is always the cool and friendly person and generally never lost his patience. But I was given a good spanking once and I still remember the incident clearly. When I was small, I was very much afraid of darkness. This restricted my free movement after sunset quite a bit as it was not easy for me to reach the switch either(I was just four years then). Suddenly one day I got a brainwave and decided to put on all the lights before it gets dark and promptly went ahead with my project(climbing on chairs, windows n whatever I could to reach the switch). When he saw all the lights on(it was just noon then), he switched it off immediately. But me being the persistent kind repeated the exercise. This ON and OFF went on for sometime and finally he switched off the Mains. So next time when I switched on the lights,nothing happened. I did my investigation and found that the big green magic switch is pointing UP and not down as usual. I climbed the window (It was way too high for a chair) and switched it ON and here he lost his patience and beat me until the sticks were broken into small pieces and my legs were all swollen. That was the first and last time he ever gave me a beating!

When I was in 4th std, amma got transferred to another district and came home only on Sundays. So for the next three years only both of us were at home. Everyday he used to cook rice(that was the only thing he knew to make) and pack my lunch box with rice and curds much before I even got up coz he didn't want to see me struggle..

Every day he would pick me up at school, just to buy me something on the way coz he knew i'll be hungry.. He used to get me chocolates without the knowledge of amma (she used to scold coz I used to make that my main meal n conveniently skip my main meals). And guess what? He does it even now. He is yet to realize that I have grown up!!

He is the one who taught me to ride a bicycle, who showed me how to stay balanced, look forward, and to find the right speed. He did the traditional hold onto the seat and run behind the bicycle. He used to be too worn out at the end but he never expressed that. I kept saying "Don't let go!" and he said "I'm still holding on!" but he really had let go a while earlier because I was doing fine on my own. I realized this once I saw that he had stopped holding and I kept going.I felt so brave and happy.. :)

I know there were many times where I have taken my own decisions but he has never asked me to change it even though he would have liked me to take a different path.. I know I have hurt him whenever there were arguments in the family (mostly regarding marriage) but he has never hurt me back.. I wish I could make him all happy... He really doesn't know how I wish I could.

Now he is getting older. He is loosing his memory slowly and doctors say has a weak pacemaker. But otherwise he is perfectly healthy. I know now it's my turn to take care of him but I'm staying away from home and I'm not able to do as much as I want to do.. He welcomes visitors. He likes to talk to people but often forgets what he asked. There are many a times I have lost my patience repeating the same things again and again. How I wish I had inherited his patience.. He likes travelling and wants to go out and walk through the familiar streets he frequented before. But we make him stay at home coz he had blackout in few occasions and we are not sure whether he can manage alone..

I know he does’t know what a blog is and will never read this. So I can safely say what I always wanted to tell, but never did.. I love you very much and will always remain your little girl no matter how much I grow up.. I want to thank you for what you are… because that helped me become what I am..I'm really sorry for all the unfulfilled dreams that you have about me..

Accha, I'm Wishing you many, many, many more healthy and happy years of life..

Friday, March 09, 2007

Eve's Day !!!

Yet another International women's day dawns.. I can see celebrations everywhere.. We are getting so many wishes from everywhere.. We got red roses from the company.. Some malls are giving out special gifts to all women shoppers.. Some company even held a Women's Day exclusive referral scheme to empower women... And the media is checking whether the woman has arrived (were was she before??)

But we are doubtful.. Always woman is revered in text n word,but in deed, she is second class.. Discriminatory treatment towards girl chid still persistents in most places.. Also we can hear never ending stories about domestic violence, eve teasing, sexual harassment,... So for us it's a struggle within - whether to feel proud of being a girl or resent to the fate of belonging to the weaker sex.. Instead of all these noises for just one day, can we hope to get some respect be it in office, home, school, college or any other place? We are not giving the men any fight but only pleading the right to live a life of dignity.. Is that too much to ask for?

PS : This is an impulsive post which is a result of some unpleasant experience that a friend had to face in office from her superior. That was really shocking to all of us. Otherwise I don't have anything against my male counterparts. In fact I have so many nice friends from this community. But a single drop of poison is enough to spoil the entire glass of milk :( Whatever it is, I realise we have a long way to go.. Even today !!

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Some meaty issues

Being a vegetarian some questions that I constantly face are
"Being a mallu how come you are a vegetarian?"
"How do you manage to survive in different places since you travel a lot"

For the first question the only answer is it's a matter of choice. Second question probably deserves a little more explanation. The longest I have stayed out of home is in Munich, Germany. I somehow managed breakfast and dinner without much problems (read as survived on cornflakes/fruits/bread/chocolates/nuts or even cooked if I got some good company). But for lunch the only choice was company canteen. Always when it's time for lunch I used to have a funny feeling like how you get during exam days - "what's in store? " or "what's my fate today". Anyway I used to gather all my courage n march to the canteen,enter and stare at the menu:

It would read something like this:

Brathuhn
Eintopf
Eisbein
Karpfen
Kartoffelsalat
Knödel
Matjestopf
Maultaschen
Reibekuchen
Schinken
Schnitzel
Schweinebraten


Spaetzle
Wurst Salad
Brotknodel
RoteKohl
Schnitzel Holstein
Jagerschnitzel
Sauerbraten
Schweinsmedallions mit Sommermajoran
Schweinhaxen
Bratwurst

And the feeling that I get would be "WOW looks really good. Nice rhyming words!!" How am I supposed to select from this?? The only way out used to be to go by "looks". (If some of you are wondering why couldn't I ask the people serving there, the problem was they speak only German and my German was too pathetic. Many a times I had attempted but it confused both the parties. Sometimes some counterparts would be kind enough to tell me what it contained or what I should avoid. But mostly I had to manage myself). Anyway coming back to choosing "food" - Couldn't pick any spicy/complicated looking stuff. So a safe option used to be Potatoes, potatoes n more potatoes (in all forms - fried , deep fried, boiled , steamed , raw , mashed, salted ). Else a little bit of vegetables which had a natural look (mostly just boiled) or a piece of bread. And then the most delicious part - the desserts. The dessert collection was really impressive and me being a sweet lover used to indulge royally. But even that wasn't really safe as some of them contained alcohol! Luckily I always managed to take the sweet ones ;) (This also explains why I blow up unlike others who shrinks after an abroad trip)

But while travelling around, finding a suitable place to eat out used to be a problem.. Within Germany I could manage somehow since I can ask for "Pommes frites" , "Gemüse Burger" or "vegetarisch Pizza". But non-german speaking areas used to be the "probleme". So to some places we carry food. But again that was not a pleasant option. I remember how we carried lots of bun n fruits to Sicily(Italy) and by the fourth day we were feeling sick even at the sight of it. We were longing to get back to Rome to eat something spicy

But yeh not everything have gone smoothly.. I have had my share of bloopers as well. Once I was picking up chocolates for home. And there I saw these nice looking red n black chocolate bars n in went some 10-20 of them. Actually that was expensive as well but I thought it will be some exotic ones. Once I reached back home I tried out one n eeks it's bitter n have some funny filling too!!! (Can u guess what it was??). All of them promptly found their way to the waste basket :(

Another one happened in Paris. Since it's a famous tourist spot, we were so confident that we would be able to find Mac Donalds or at least some english speaking people. So didn't take any precautions(read as didn't carry any food), but alas we couldn't find either. We were in Notre Dame and too hungry. A survey of the place revealed that almost all shops sell something called Crepe(A famous French dish. can be considered as a variety of Indian Dosa) in different flavours , but they will mix egg. Somehow that trip was toooooooo tiring and JK was not at all keen in exploring for an alternative. His argument was that anyway I eat cakes n ice creams which contains egg n so can have this also..

Next one in UK. When I landed there I felt really odd. Suddenly I could understand the language and even read the sign boards around me!!! Yeh everything is in English n I know that language!!!! May be with that confidence I went and ordered a veg burger combo in Mac Donalds. They promptly handed over the bag too. As usual I finished off the French fries and started to attack the burgers. One bite n hey something fishy (or meaty).. I had a closer look. The stuffing inside was a white single piece thingy, deep fried, like a hard dried log. Anyway since I was too hungry I didn't bother to question them(and I'm not sure whether it would have made any impacts too) and so removed the filling n ate the bun..

And yet another similar one in leh. During our trip we were so used to eating momos and so when we stopped in a daba, P went and ordered a plate of momos. He didn't specify what since by default they used to give us the veg ones. One bite and Pint realised it's pork. Luckily coz of my eating style I hadn't reached the filling..

May be I'll conclude my post with a cooking blooper. This happened some years ago. 4 of us were staying together out of which me n another girl were veggies. We never used to cook non-veg and rarely if we cook egg, it was always the other two who managed it. Then my other veggie friend got a long term onsite and she decided to convert to a non-veg. As a first step she decided to make egg. Unfortunately that day the other two non-veggies had gone out and we both clueless females were trying to make Omelet. Both of us have only seen the cooked form but had no clue how to make it. We knew what all goes in it but the big question was whether to deep fry, shallow fry or make like dosa!!!! Finally we decided to make it shallow fry (Our theory was it looks oily so there should be a little more oil than dosa kinds). And you can imagine how it would have turned out to be !!! When our other roomies returned they were shocked to see our experiment results. They just couldn't imagine how we managed to spoil a simple omelet like this !!!
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