Thursday, November 30, 2006

Friendship

“A friend in need is a friend indeed”

Haven’t we all used this statement to eulogize the merits of friendship? How many times we would have mindlessly said this to promote friendship? I was introspecting about my life recently and the profound effect my friends have played in it to make me what I am today. Many have come and gone but all of them have made an impact. As I was introspecting this phrase came to my mind and then I realized that it needed a second thought!

A friend in need is a friend indeed, now what does that mean? If you need something, does that make you a friend to someone? So if you don’t need anything are you not a friend? Or is a friend the “someone” who helps the person in need? Is friendship just helping the needy? Do we not call this act charity or even more grandiosely philanthropy? Is this the definition of friendship that we have grown up with? Do we believe that friends are there to only help us when we need something?

I searched the web for an explanation to the origin of this phrase and the result given below is as vague as the phrase itself:

Meaning
It is sometimes suggested that this phrase means, 'someone who needs your help becomes friendly in order to obtain it', that isn't supported by the derivation though (below). Most people understand it to mean, 'someone who helps you when you are in need is a true friend'.

Origin
A version of this proverb was known by the 3rd century BC. Quintus Ennius wrote: 'Amicu certus in re incerta cernitur'. This translates from the Latin as 'a sure friend is known when in difficulty'.

The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations lists it as existing in English from the 11th century. The earliest version I can find is from Caxton's, 'Sonnes of Aymon', 1489:
"It is sayd that at the nede the frende is knowen."

The morality play 'Everyman' also contains similar lines. The play's date is uncertain and scholars place it a 'late 15th century', which could be before Caxton's work:
Fellowship: Sir, I say as I will do in deed.Everyman: Then be you a good friend at need;

Source: http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/143400.html


Friendship is way beyond this silly proverb or quote or whatever you may choose to call it.

There are so many other quotations that describe the duties and responsibility of friends and friendship. As we know and have used them also, I refrain from quoting any. Blood they say is thicker but we know “Greater love has no man than to lay down his life for his friends”. We do not have the choice to choose our blood line, but we can choose our friends.

My friends have really made life worth living, yes they were not there always when I was in need, but that does not make them any lesser friends. My friends have shared my joys and my tears, been through my ups and downs. They have taught me and learnt from me many things. They have put up with my whims and my fancies, my ego and my idiosyncracies, they have been my safety belt when I wanted to do something rash as also my launch pad when I wanted to simply break free.

Simply put, they have shared my life and made my life a part of their own. My friends have given me money and material when I was in need, but when I will remember them I will remember them for the most precious thing they shared with me, their time. Ultimately the time that they have spent with me is the best gift I have received from them till date and will do so in the days ahead.

So what is the use of this post, firstly it is an occasion to say a big THANK YOU to each and every one of my friends who have shared their lives with me and made my life a part of their own. Secondly to think and wonder how to correct and improve that silly statement that caused this post…


A friend in need…….

(Your help will be appreciated!)

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Read this and you will get nothing, maybe a smile

This morning I got yet another "key to a miracle that will happen to me within 24 hours subject to me doing something" SMS. Its quite simple actually, a seemingly innocuous and sometimes very spiritually soaked SMS lands on your phone. Roses from our lady of Fatima, or blessings of Infant Jesus or some wishes from Hindu Gods start the message. You will be promised a miracle if you send the message to N number of persons within the next few minutes. A stern warning may follow for non believers who just delete the message.

What do you do when you get a message like that? You can choose to simply delete it as I do on most occasions. The non believers, rationalists and atheists would be thrilled to the core by this act of mine, I’m sure. Alternatively you can religiously send the message to the N number of people, make a wish if so specified and wait for the miracle to happen. I have sent many messages like this, but before you make any opinions about me, let me hasten to add that I have a 10K free message option every month in my Airtel plan and it is my ambition to send that many messages at least once. My current record with loads of junk forwards, miracle messages, blood donations, prayer requests and others stands at 6K only. So I send these messages when I have nothing better to do.

I like a certain type of forward that encourages you to say a short prayer and forward the same to others, a call to prayer is always good and I never hesitate to send them each time I get one myself. But the miracle messages, I’m sorry to say are a conspiracy which must be sponsored by the mobile phone companies themselves. If there will be someone who will gain by this mindless exercise it would be them. Its not that miracles don’t happen, a cursory look around will reveal that miracles happen every minute, but often we don’t have the time to see them. A load of cash dropping from the heavens would be the type of miracle that many will relate to, but these miracles dont happen except in soap operas.

Do people really believe that wishes are granted by sending a SMS or its earlier cousin the email forwards? The most hilarious scam however is the “my son / daughter is suffering from whateveryoumaycallitmia disease and the internet / telephone companies have pledged to give money for every time this message is forwarded to some poor soul”. Many good hearted people have done their mite to help such suffering people by dutifully forwarding these messages to all. God bless them. But has anyone ever considered the stupidity of the message, is it possible to monitor the messages that are being forwarded? Has any company actually given any money? Email forwards will have along thread where some unknown will testify to have received money from Bill Gates who is giving money away for testing his beta version of something provided you flood the cyberspace by sending the message to all your contacts. (Now Bill and Melinda Gates foundation is a champion philanthropist organization and I have huge respect for the power couple for their commitment to society). I have noticed that most of these, if not all of these recepients are firangs, you dont see a single desi winner of a few dollars maybe FEMA is active in the net. Size constraints prevent similar activities on the mobile phone else you would have long message threads on similar lines.

Recently I had 4 well meaning people (my close friends D included), sending me a SMS in the peak morning hour saying that 4 children have died in the GH Chennai for want of blood as the blood bank was unable to meet with the demand for various reasons and it called for donors to donate blood. A very noble cause indeed and as a donor I was ready to donate, but the doubting Thomas in me came to the fore. I had not seen an article in the newspaper or the TV before I left home for office so how did this message come about? I asked my friends who said they had no clue to the origin but they received the message from their friends and trusting their friends and being socially responsible they forwarded the message. I called the office of The Hindu and enquired about the SMS, they promptly checked and verified that it was a hoax. Kudos to The Hindu staff who were really responsive and called back with the information.

The moral of the story, any good thing can be abused by some narrow minded people. In this time of fear from terrorism, bombings, riots, natural calamities etc, the communication aids are the biggest assets in recovery processes. Yet they can be the cause of hysteria and fear. We all use the net, mobile and what have you, but using it responsibly we can really make a difference. Next time a junk SMS lands on your phone or an email lands in your inbox, check is it true, is it useful, is it necessary, if the answer is yes to all three you can go ahead and forward even if you are charged for the message. If the answer is no to any of the above, think for a moment is the message FUN? If the answer is yes, go ahead. (I am a champion of PJ’s and junk message forwards, I told you I’m trying for 10 K) Else delete it and go on, tomorrow you will see that when you wake up, you are living again, you are breathing well, you can see, feel, hear, touch normally. Isn’t it a miracle?

Monday, November 27, 2006

Monday morning blues!

Have you suffered from Monday morning blues? (Actually I would prefer not calling it blues, maybe Monday morning sickness; I love blue so the nomenclature.) Anyway coming back to my initial question, if your answer happens to be a YES, welcome to the club.

Nothing gives me greater discomfort than to get out of bed to get ready for another week of work, well maybe the onerous task of getting up early to go to the gym. (But that is worth another post altogether!). In school I swore to myself that things will get better in college, I said the same thing in college and now after 5 years of work I find that I’m no better than my school days.

Inexplicably I tend to feel the tiredest (if that word exists) on a Monday morning. Its not that I hate work, far from it, it’s just that the weekend has so many good things to offer that the end is so painful to accept. In school or college with a five day week Fridays will be the most anticipated day as it was the prelude to a great weekend. Work weeks generally extend to Saturday and so needless to say Saturday rocks!

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t party and paint the town red on Saturdays and chill out on Sundays, my weekend schedule would be quite the contrary. If I manage to get home by Saturday afternoon it means a siesta for an hour followed by the net or the idiot box. Then a choir practice and afterwards hanging out with the choir members would exhaust most of the useful time on a Saturday evening. Then a dinner at home or outside followed by a long drive for desert, rounds off my Saturday evening at around 1 AM.


To the party animals this must be boring, but for several years now I unwind thus. I have been tempted on several occasions to hit the party circuit but I have always declined for a couple of reasons. One, when I was studying I felt that it was a cardinal waste of money to blow up my father’s hard earned money on a party or at the disco. Two, you cannot stag in the night spots in Chennai and I want to party with people I like, so the catch 22 situation arises where the people I like don’t party (actually they wont get permission from their parents) and the people(Hey read the people to mean girls! ; ) ) who party and are known to me, I don’t like. Third, as I’m allergic to smoke and don’t smoke or drink such claustrophobic places make me freak out.

With a long Saturday completed the last day of the weekend dawns late. You don’t expect me to wake up early after sleeping at 2 AM do you? A breakfast that invariably becomes Appams (hoppers if you insist) with chicken curry, stew actually that my mum lovingly makes as the "weekend special" starts off a lazy morning spent lounging on the sofa with the newspaper and the idiot box. Two points of note; one, I have a trace of Malayalee blood and that contributes to my weekly appam diet with stew, two, with the advent of neighbourhood newspapers distributed free I have lots to read, not to mention i get more money from the paper wallah at the month end.

Lunch on a Sunday is a highlight of the weekend, its one meal when the entire family can sit down and eat together on most Sundays. But if you note "the most" in the earlier sentence the exceptions would be caused by either mum or me out on some church work . Lunch follows yet another delightful siesta, then a quick bath and dash to church. On Sundays where there is no extra choir practice this would be around 5 else an hour earlier. The holy mass is followed by the weekly youth fellowship; I am in the last few days of my youth membership. Post nuptials I become ineligible to be a youth and will have to retire! (sad!).Then some bonding with friends over chaat and somehow the weekend conspires to end itself rather prematurely. A leisurely dinner followed by a drive on some days rounds off yet another weekend. I end the day tired out. It is ironical that my weekend tires me out more than my average working weekday and it does so every Sunday with unfailing regularity.

Now after such a lengthy post do you realize why I wake up with a MMS (cool na?) Monday Morning Sickness. I have to contend with sales figures, business targets, irate customers, harassed suppliers, exerted bosses, traffic jams, lunch breaks, tea breaks, coffee breaks, mails, faxes, phone calls, mobile calls, deadlines, memos, meeting, teleconferences, still more meetings, reviews, attendance, online tutorials …….

MMS hits you hard on Monday mornings but mum calls and says that its late and breakfast is waiting. Realization dawns like a flash of light that for my breakfast to be on my table tomorrow and the days ahead I need to meet and take on many more MMS every time. I’m sure that I will suffer from MMS even post retirement when it should happen. However I suspect then it would be a case of acute boredom of not having anything to do till the next weekend.

The cursory glance at the desktop calendar shows another 5 days to go. Ouch!!!! But on the brighter side, today is half done and Tuesday is a lean day at work. Wednesday is a midpoint and from then on it’s all downhill.

Weekend here I come!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Happy St. Cecilia's day!

 To all the choir singers and musicians of the world, a delayed St. Cecilia feast day greetings! Ok, to all those who couldn’t make sense of my greeting, St. Cecilia is honoured in the Catholic church as the patron saint of choir music and singing. The feast day falls on the 22nd of November.

I was fortunate to be invited to sing in the feast day mass at St. Theresa’s Church in Nungambakkam. I was told today that this is a big event in the St. Theresa’s calendar for several years now and many musicians and choir members from various places attend. It was a privilege for me to sing in the choir accompanied by a 40 member orchestra. The orchestra was replete with a host of wind and string instruments. It was indeed fortunate to listen to them play.



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A worthy point of note is that the orchestra was dominated by non Christians. A special song by a group of Koreans who live in Chennai in their native tongue made the statement music knows no languages or barriers come alive.

It is said that the hosts of heaven, make music and joyful noise to God who dwells on the praises of his people. A slice of heaven came down to earth and filled the walls of St. Theresa’s church.

Music is a gift of God and with immense satisfaction I joined the many faithful who today joyously gave back to God what they first received from Him.

Many songs were sung and the orchestra played several pieces too, but today on the feast of Christ the King, the song “Majesty” still rings in my ear and will do so for a long time.

Majesty, worship His majesty.
Unto Jesus be all glory, power and praise…..



Thursday, November 23, 2006

The eagle in the storm

Did you know that an eagle knows when a storm is approaching long before it breaks?
The eagle will fly to some high spot and wait for the winds to come. When the storm hits, it sets its wings so that the wind will pick it up and lift it above the storm. While the storm rages below, the eagle is soaring above it. The eagle does not escape the storm. It simply uses the storm to lift it higher. It rises on the winds that bring the storm.

When the storms of life come upon us - and all of us will experience them - we can rise above them by setting our minds and our belief toward God. The storms do not have to overcome us. We can allow God's power to lift us above them. God enables us to ride the winds of the storm that bring sickness, tragedy, failure and disappointment in our lives. We can soar above the storm.

Remember, it is not the burdens of life that weigh us down, it is how we handle them. The Bible says, "Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles." Isaiah 40:31

--Author Unknown

Now you may wonder why I’m doing a lot of Ctrl C / Ctrl V from the net in my latest posts including this one, the no-brainer answer is it saves time and I’m lazy. But the fact is that the above said came in a mail today and it had a profound impact on me and I am testimony to it.

Today my day started off in the worst possible fashion, I had a tip yesterday that a big account that I was working on had slipped to competition. With a lot of hope and self belief I met the client hoping to salvage the situation. It was hopeless. The deal was lost.

The storm clouds loomed dark above. This deal was already committed to my boss in the MIS and now I have a shortfall of nearly a third of my target with only a week to go. I came out with the sinking feeling of a dressing down from my boss as it turned out that the deal was not lost because of me being uncompetitive but more so because of my ignorance of my organizational policies and set up.

With nothing more to do than meet another prospect, I waited on the client at his office. I have made several repeated trips to this client and never had a chance to meet him as he was always busy. Most of my enquiries were stonewalled by his staff. So as I waited for some documents the client walked in. He actually asked to see me, so I went in with a slight spring in my step. A polite conversation later the client (a Dr. actually) offered me coffee. I generally decline except for these rare instances where coffee actually helps in building relationships. So over a coffee and pleasantries the client offered me a deal that will offset my current loss. Of course this deal is open to competition and the same pitfalls abound, but the lesson has been learnt and I was mentally preparing myself to meet this challenge head on.

As I left the client office, I received a sms from a friend who sends more messages than me every day, mostly bible quotes. The sms reads thus:
“You have nothing to fear about. The Lord is taking care of you. Judges 18:6”

I saw the light in the darkness. I have indeed ignored God and have relied on my own efforts to succeed everywhere. Today I got a wake up call. So this storm will also pass for I’m safe in his care.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Getting Married (Cotd) The complications!!!

“What goes up must come down.” – Old Red Indian saying.

Ok from the euphoric highs of Saturday which spilled over to Sunday and was still there yesterday too, I have come down to terra firma with a big thud. And hangovers can give you a big headache. I have not got a hangover from drinking simply because I don’t drink at all. But this post is not about alcoholism or its effects so I will get back to the topic on hand.

THUD!!! Well you can take this to be the noise that I would have made when I landed back on the ground this morning after the highs mentioned above. I woke up this day after a late night sleep. As is usual D and I had our usual night conversations that are keeping Airtel coffers full. Thankfully both of us are on a scheme that charges 10 p/ min but that is still money. The fact that my dad exploded recently when he saw my bill of last month which was twice the normal is another topic worth mentioning in a separate post altogether so I shall not venture further.

We normally end our late night conversations when either of us starts blabbering incoherently or just drops off to sleep. Incidentally one night we both had slept off and the phone was still on when I woke up in the morning. The damage will come this month I fear. Yesterday was D’s turn to blabber and so I bade her good night a little earlier than usual. Prior to this I happened to tell her about the proposed engagement plans that my folks were working on. She then told me that the number of people from her side were actually thrice the originally proposed number. As all communication gaps and miscommunications go this was a time bomb waiting to explode.

When I told this fact to my folks in the morning, the time bomb didn’t explode but my dad did! And I had to take quite a lot of flak for sharing such confidential data with D. The bigger complaint was that the fact that the communication channels between the two families were supplanted by D and me who were unwittingly the couriers of information. . My folks say something to me, I tell D and she tells her folks and vice versa. Now this is not intentional it is just shared knowledge, however this is the main reason for dispute.

My folks had initially stipulated that the wedding would be done by the family of the bride while the engagement would be our responsibility. And they want a certain degree of exclusivity in both the events. So there is a big Chinese wall that has now been created and there is very little flow of information. Personally I do not understand the need for such secrecy it is a family function and it needs a lot of cooperation in both planning and execution. Sadly that is not the case. So now we have to start from scratch again to mend relations, ease tensions and heal wounded egos and feelings. It is difficult but it is worth the effort. I look back at where I started and realize how far I have come but I find to my utmost horror that I’m walking in a big circle.

Falling in love is so easy, getting married is so difficult I can’t imagine how much staying married will be.

But as Richard Marx and Donna Lewis sang in Anastasia…..

We were strangers starting out on a journey
Never dreaming what we'd have to go through
Now here we are and I'm suddenly standing
At the Beginning with you

No one told me I was going to find you
Unexpected what you did to my heart
When I lost hope you were there to remind me
This is the start

Chorus:
And Life is a road and I wanna keep going
Love is a river I wanna keep flowing
Life is a road now and forever wonderful journey
I'll be there when the world stops turning
I'll be there when the storm is through
In the end I wanna be standing
At the beginning with you


verse 2:
We were strangers on a crazy adventure
Never dreaming how our dreams would come true
Now here we stand unafraid of the future
At the Beginning with you

And Life is a road and I wanna keep going
Love is a river I wanna keep flowing
Life is a road now and forever wonderful journey
I'll be there when the world stops turning
I'll be there when the storm is through
In the end I wanna be standing
At the Beginning with you


Knew there was somebody somewhere

Like me alone in the dark
Now I know that dreams will live on
I've been waiting so long
Nothing's gonna tear us apart

CHORUS 3:

And Life is a road and I wanna keep going
Love is a river I wanna keep flowing
Life is a road now and forever wonderful journey
I'll be there when the world stops turning
I'll be there when the storm is through
In the end I wanna be standing
At the beginning with you



This is for you D.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Getting Married (Cotd) Its a long process!

It’s finally over!!!!!!!!!


Pardon the euphoria, but the big shopping is finally over. We have shopped for the wedding and the engagement saris and they now proudly occupy the top shelves of my mum’s cupboard.

Let me recount the incidents of the day chronologically. My day started before sun rise as I had to go to the Central station to pick up mum’s sisters who were coming to shop for the saris. My mum’s elder and younger sisters came on time at 6.35 AM, so you can imagine how early I had to rise. : (

Anyway the entourage was still incomplete with mum, dad, 2 aunts as yet another aunt was to join us as mentioned earlier. This is the wife of my mum’s younger brother. So another pick up was done by me and finally at 10.30 we were ready to go. Thankfully and mercifully we had hired a cab, a Qualis that seated 7 excluding the driver comfortably. So with a lot of mixed emotions I sat in the front seat and navigated to D’s house.

D and her household had worked out several permutations and combinations with their furniture to work out the best possible seating arrangements for us. So when we reached I saw the same sofa lying in the same position, made me wonder what all the fuss was about.

Anyway after the customary exchange of pleasantries mum borrowed a tray to give them some fruits and sweets as is the custom. I never knew that you borrowed plates for that till then. So we sat down into the much arranged and rearranged furniture when we were offered a lot of munchies which I declined as I was not too keen (surprisingly!). And after mum and me declined coffee (I drink coffe/tea only on business trips on compulsion, else I generally decline, mum avoids them altogether). The other chose between coffee and juice. I was waiting for my juice, but they FORGOT me!!!! I waited patiently trying my best to politely indicate to D that I was thirsty. But as she was made to sit next to me and trying to act coy and demure she chose to stare at the floor.

So as is the norm I texted her though she was next to me, (I thought a nudge would be impolite) and waited for her reaction. Unhappily for me nothing happened. So my people rose to leave with me still parched. Then I loudly asked her if she was carrying her cell. That made her scurry to her room where she saw the phone and my waiting text message and made her come and apologize. Finally I got my drink. In between this the chief culprit my darling sister (now she will be officially my sis in law), who forgot to give me my juice came up and we all wished her for her birthday.

After I finished my drink I announced that I’m ready to go. I had already threatened D that she would drive with me in the cab, but she refused as she did not know what would be her parent’s reactions. So when we came down to the cab, D’s folks announced they would take their car and follow us. Then D’s mum (bless her) told her firmly to ride in the cab with us. So with a big smile on my face we set off.
We were followed by D’s folks in their car, a white Maruthi 800 that had the words “Dirty harry” proudly written on it. Now these words may aptly describe my car in its current state, but I was educated by D that Dirty Harry is the name of some character in an old western movie. So there you go.


There was a lot of banter in the cab, the women folk in my family have a lot of humour in them and they are always needling each other. They have a term in Tamil for it called “Coimbatore Kusumbu”, unfortunately no English translation would do justice to it, and so we can call it CK for convenience. But the fact is they are always ready to needle each other. My dad assumed the job of the navigator and our driver was not very knowledgeable about the many options to reach T. Nagar. As the usual NM Road was chocked with traffic I suggested a detour, the driver took the wrong turn and we went on a long ride. To cut a long story short after a couple of wrong turns, one bribe of 50 bucks for violating a No Entry sign and a humungous traffic jam near the Kodambakkam bridge we finally reached our destination Pothys a big clothing store in T. Nagar.

Now let me detract to tell you that the venue was predetermined by mum who was advised to the effect by our neighbour. Personally I was not keen but mum had made up her mind. D had set her heart on shopping in Kumaran, another shop of repute nearby but as she did not want to adopt a confrontational attitude she accepted mum’s choice.

So it was Pothys and we were guided to the floor where the silks were housed. It was an impressive room with a huge collection of colourful silk saris. So after telling the shop assistant our range we were shown a few saris to start. The shop assistant then asked if we had any colour preference. I had decided before hand that the colour theme for the wedding will be Dark Blue and Silver. Now blue has always been a favorite colour of mine and silver was better than white which would have been very common. So blue and silver it was and we asked for blue and silver.

Now this colour theme is something that neither my folks, nor her folks nor the shop assistants could understand a colour theme. We were flooded with so many shades of green and the shop assistants (can we call them SA for short? ) were trying their best to convince them that they were blue. Now as mentioned before I cant discern colours but I was seeing all red, I was furious that these SA’s could be so colour blind. They asked us for a shade indicator and sadly none of our entourage had anything remotely close to dark blue.

After a while the women started trying out different options and tried to talk D out of her colour fixation. With all credit to D (she is an absolute sweetheart), she stood her ground. I lost my patience and with drew to a corner and amused myself watching the video shoot going on in the shop for some TV show I assume. Finally they managed to come shortlist a couple of saris and D was asked to model them in from of a long mirror which she did and we rejected both. Finally after much searching and discussion the now unfriendly SA’s gave a couple of saris as the best possible options. One of them I can vouch despite my colour blindness was something that looked brown, but every body said it was BLUE. Another was blue, a bright blue that looked very pretty. D looked good in both so when I was asked for the verdict I chose the blue I could recognize.

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In the midst of all this the ladies retreated to another corner and quietly chose the engagement sari which was almost half the price of the wedding sari without mentioning it to D or her folks. The entire process took 15 minutes while the wedding sari took the best part of 2 hours. This sari is in the pink family I think, though I’m sure the ladies may have their own opinion on it.

After this success we decided to break for lunch, as the vegetarians were comprehensively outvoted by the non vegans by 2 to 7 we went to Anjappar the famed eatery where everything that walks, floats or flies are served on a platter, well almost. After a gastronomical escapade we again decided to check for my suits on an impulse. So we descended the restaurant in the rain which had started. (I think it rained because I had idlis for breakfast, I hate them). So we went to a small shop in Challa mall (more details in an earlier post). We saw a few designs that impressed D’s folks and most of mine except for mum’s elder sis. So we took the card and left. It was decided that we would part with D and family as we had more shopping to do, so we said bye and headed back to Pothys.

Amazingly in the next 30 minutes the ladies selected 1 salwar and 8 saris that had to be given to our relatives including the shoppers. So after all the shopping we finally decided we were through with Pothys. While this was happening dad and me decided to check for suits for me in Pothys, but we were put off by the indifferent staff and we decide against it. Not that Potys had a a slecetion of note anyway.

D meanwhile wanted to be around for the thali shopping which was the next in the agenda. Mum agreed to it and so she packed off her dad in their car and she and her mum joined us in Pothys. Trouble was brewing as my aunt pointed out that the bride will not be around when the thali is bought and she will only cast her eys on it before the wedding. Crazy as it sounds it is supposedly the custom. Dad agreed and I was caught between the devil and the deep sea, ok my folks and D if you should please.

Anyway a long meeting took place between D, her mum, my mum and my aunt about the thali. D was not happy with the current chunky design that was being sported by the ladies. She wanted a light and trendy chain to which my folks objected. The compromise was arrived at where it was decided that the thali (technically a medallion) will be bought by us. The supporting chain will be bought by D as per her choice and we will buy a necklace for the equivalent value. D again stuck to her ground and I was told that even her mum could not dissuade her. Based on the compromise we again left. D and her mum took leave with some relief.

My take on the entire issue is that we can do away with the thali. I felt that it was grossly chauvinistic to make the woman wear signs of marriage while the man is not constrained to wear any. I only want both of us to have identical wedding bands as the sign of marriage, but D would have none of it. In fact we were taught by a priest that external signs of marriage are not actually prescribed by the church and we can do away with it. But try telling that to D, my folks and her folks!

So then we bought a necklace for D and a pair of matching earrings. We finally reached home tired. But my day did not end till I had to drop back my aunts who had to leave the same night back to Coimbatore.

It was a long day and this post will give you a fair idea of what happened. It is finally over and now my folks are now getting ready to start the marriage work with a vengeance. I await for my aunts comments and feedback but that will be another post. Till then wish me luck!!!!!!!!!11

Monday, November 13, 2006

Mumbai matters

Hi,
I am in Bombay, Mumbai if you insist. The city that has something for everyone, so goes the refrain of anyone who has stayed in Mumbai for a period of time. Maybe the city grows on you but to me it is one intensely depressing city.
I flew in this morning by kingfisher and the inflight magazine is full of the page 3 crowd of Mumbai. So it is page after page of almost the same faces in cleavage revealing dresses for women and badly unkept look for the men who have graced different events in the last month. One look at the mag and you will believe that life in Mumbai is one big party, i guess it is for some.
The city is a city of huge contrasts. The skyline of mumbai is dominated by the highrises but after craning your neck to see the top floor just look down and the shcoking poverty of the slums comes as a rude slap on the face. It is not that Chennai has no slums but here in Mumbai the slums are everywhere. They really are the two extremes of the city, you see the page 3 crowd wearing revealing clothes as they have too much money and the slum dwellers also wearing revealing clothes for just the opposite reason.
The other important facet of life in Mumbai is the suburban rail service. I believe that they have 3 lines like Chennai. Anyway I was advised take a first class ticket that was priced more than 9 times the second class fare as that would help me to get int the train comfortably. I managed the same but the ride was so depressing to say the least. The tracks run through slums and several decaying dilapidated high rises. They look worn out and so much in disrepair. The city looks so weary and worn out. My meting is in the Hilton, its as posh glitzy and glamorous as any Hilton can be. From the 21st floor the window overlooks a breath taking view of the sea and the Mumbai skyline and also the squalor of the poverty that abounds.
The house that I'm staying is a rented accomodation of my school mate and his friends. The rental for a three bedroom is a mind boggling 40 K for a 3 bedroom house of around 1000 sqft. I'm told that this is a posh area of Mumbai, but the house looks decayed and is not very far from squatter houses. The real estate scene is crazy for legitimate buyers and it is a free ride for squatters with the right connections.
There is lot more that I have observed, but will post later. Mumbai may be a great city but there is no place like home.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Blogging!

I Blog! 


I came, I saw, I blog. I think therefore I blog. I’m jobless so I blog. I’m tired of work so I blog. I have an opinion I blog. What ever the reason may be, I blog.

You are curious about me so you read my blog. You have nothing to do so you read my blog. You are taking a break from work so you red my blog. You are my friend so you read my blog. You love gossip so you read my blog. You want to waste time so you read my blog. You are looking to score brownie points with me, you read my blog. You were just surfing by, you read my blog. Whatever the reason may be, you read my blog.

I blog, you read. The more I blog the more you read. But I will blog even more if you don’t just read but also leave a comment. Comments, criticism, opinions are all welcome as they motivate me to write. I can improve my posts and make the exercise enjoyable for you and me.

So I blog, you read, you comment, I blog more (I blog better), you read more……




Thursday, November 09, 2006

Honeymoon anyone????



The wedding bells are ringing loud and clear in my bank. One of my colleagues has just returned married and he is going on a cruise to celebrate it courtesy his father in law. There are atleast 3 eligible young men (including yours truly) who are awaiting their turns.

The most common question that we face is "where are you going for your honeymoon"? My instant retort would be "somewhere unreachable", but since decorum prevents it, I manage with "some hill station". I do not have the slightest plan of revealing my whereabouts to my colleagues. Anyway I have observed with some enthusiasm my colleague who sits in the adjacent workspace feverishly browsing various travel packages for his honeymoon. I believe he has settled on the road much travelled and is heading to Goa.

Me, I’m keeping my plans a secret. I do not want to go to any run of the mill places and as leave is scarce I cannot afford extended an extended break. Also I will be funding the trip so I am a little conscious of what it is going to cost me. So I have a few options to consider. D is really fond of the Andamans and is keen to go there. She has made two trips there on work and is really looking forward to explore one of the most beautiful locations in India at leisure. So the islands are foremost on my travel plans and they are followed by two hill stations which will remain unnamed.

Anyway all the talk of honeymoon made me wonder how this term come about. A quick visit to the net and wikipedia gave this answer:

"A honeymoon is the traditional trip taken by newly weds to celebrate their marriage. Today, honeymoons are often celebrated in places that are secluded, exotic, warm, or otherwise considered special and romantic. A recent trend among couples is to combine the wedding and honeymoon into one experience or substitute one for another."(Hmmm very interesting to say the least …..)

So how exactly did this term come about?
Again wiki came to the rescue
The Oxford English Dictionary offers no etymology at all, but dates the word back to the 16th century:
"The first month after marriage, when there is nothing but tenderness and pleasure" (Samuel Johnson); originally having no reference to the period of a month, but comparing the mutual affection of newly-married persons to the changing moon which is no sooner full than it begins to wane; now, usually, the holiday spent together by a newly-married couple, before settling down at home.



That is indeed inspiring but what must be noted is that all good things come to an end and so will all honeymoons. The challenge lies in realizing that the honeymoon is not a fools paradise and that the aftermath is the beginning of life. Remember that the waxing and waning of the moon is a continous process and has been going on for millions of years and will continue do so, love cannot afford to do the same. You just don’t love more during the honeymoon and progressively decrease when you encounter life hoping that you will love more again in the future.


I believe that life can be one long honeymoon but it depends on the liver (not the organ). It is the call to love and love under trying circumstances. Yes things will not be good always and life is not always be a bed of roses. Life will throw its ups and downs and will take the liver through an emotional rollercoaster but the challenge is to treat both the same. A true honeymoon is that personal space the loved ones spend together that is insulated from the pressures of the world by the love they have for each other. It may be a minute, an hour, a day, a week, a month, a year or a lifetime. It can be at home, in the car, a walk in the park, in short anywhere.You don’t need exotic locations or major plans, you just need each other.


So I look forward to the start of life and I hope to make my life a long honeymoon with lots of help from D for I know that Love hopes all things, bears all things, endures all things.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

It’s a colourful life!

This post is related to my earlier post so bear with repetitions if any. I joined my current employer a couple of months ago. As a part of my joining formalities I had to undergo a pre-employment medical check up. From the test I learned 1 obvious thing that I’m loosing the battle of the bulge and that unless I do something about it, I will have problems. The next information that I learned transformed my world from 256 K colours or whatever the TV / mobile guys claim, to the basic colours.



It is official; I’m a little colour blind. No I don’t see the world in black, white and shades of grey but if you were to bring me a RmKV multi-colour sari and ask me what are the colours I will call out red, blue, green, yellow, orange, purple, white, black, grey, pink and brown. Maybe I may get a few more but that’s all, with all due respect to the master weavers of RmKV. The fact of the matter is I cannot discern between shades of the same colour and that makes life simple! I see a red as red irrespective of whether it is called blood orange, safety cone or tomato. To me it’s red. PERIOD.



Do you know what a banker’s lamp is? I didn’t till I happened to see it in the shade card (http://www.december.com/html/spec/colorshades.html). Horror of horrors, it is a green. Even worse blue fern is also green. Have you seen a blue cow? It’s yet another shade, thankfully its blue, but a cow???? Now don’t wonder what happened to me that I’m ranting and raving about colours, its just that D and others of her ilk have this habit of coming up with some weird colours that I’m clueless about. Have you heard of bishop's pink? I was wondering when did I last see a pink bishop, till D patiently explained that its the colour of the small cap that bishops wore.
I am yet to figure out which navy wears navy blue, our navy wears white. Maybe that is airforce blue?

Likewise peaches and lemons are fruits. But the orange, well the orange is orange so no confusion.



Initially D had a kind of superiority complex about my lack of knowledge in the world of colours. But ever since the medical report I’m the beneficiary of her sympathy. “Oh, you poor thing, cannot make out colours…. ”. It feels so nice. And she does not make a face when I say her new sari is brown when it would be called something in the maroon family.



When I look around and see, the world is so beautiful and full of colours. So what if it is not in 256 K colours, who has the time to learn the names of all? Lets just KISS!

Keep It Simple Stupid!



Enjoy life in colour!

Getting married (Cotd)

Suit your self!




Hi! It’s been sometime since my last post, 4 days almost I think. So let me start. I had spent some time last week checking out various suits for myself for the big day. I have been looking at the Indian suits for some time and I thought that it would be different from the conventional suits which I think many buy as an after thought or for dual purpose like office or in extreme circumstances a black tie dinner or horror of horrors a funeral!

None of that for me, I want a suit that will be different and trendy at the same time. This is a special day and I don’t want to look like the caterers!!! Anyway I checked out Shoppers Stop, the collection there was terrible to say the least. I was disappointed as the last time (a year or so ago) my dad had got me and my brother suits from there that rivaled the groom of the wedding we wore it to. They were fabulous; sadly their current offering looked like something left behind after a jumble sale. The shop assistant told me rather unconvincingly that new stocks will arrive in the future.

Then on Friday I think, D and me went to T. Nagar to a shop in Challa Mall, you may not know the shopping complex by name, and many don’t but its bang opposite Globus. Anyway this complex has a shop that caters to suits and they have quite a wide selection. They are northies and they have a good Indian suit range you know the sherwanis, kurtas, jodhpurs, bandhgalas etc. These give a trendy and ethnic look at the same time they tend to make the groom look like the groom.

So we happened to see the range and I was sufficiently impressed by the colours on show. I must now interrupt this to mention that I have been medically diagnosed as unable to discern between similar shades. That is two different shades of the same colour will seem the same to me. And above all to me only the basic colours are colours and I do not have the same enthusiasm as D or others of her ilk have for the wildest colours invented. I never knew that there was a colour called PEPPERMINT GREEN, since my kindergarten days I have known that peppermints or “strong mittais” were always white. Likewise peach is a fruit. To me red, blue, green, yellow, pink, orange, black, white, maroon and brown are the only colours all others are the same! So girls spare me.

Anyway D has got a fixation on a black suit with silver trimmings and an orange vest. I know it sounds like a Ramarajan outfit, but it is good and yes D will not call it orange, it is something else. It looks really good and I would not hesitate to wear it. But there are so many more and I have decided to finish my suiting quest there. I think that on the wedding day I will deserve a second look because of what I wear. Clothes make a man, i attest to it!

You are invited to come and see the results on the D-day!

Friday, November 03, 2006

Blogging is fun

How do you blog so much?

I have heard this question from those who happen to read my posts. Their curiosity rises from the fact that I have posted a few topics of late mostly during office hours. They have assumed that either I have absolutely no work at office or I am not doing any work.

Actually I have work and I blog in between work. I’m quite thankful to have discovered the world of blogging. It is really a mode of relaxation when work can really be tiring. To those who have known me and have seen me over the years, it will be obvious that I can be very opinionated (who is not?) and I can be a little more opinionated that others. So I tend to speak out my opinions to all and sundry. This may not be a good thing to do at work especially at my bank where loose talk is sacrilege in their code of conduct. The bank is a highly secretive organization that prides itself on data security and client confidentiality. So generally loose talk or idle gossip is avoided.

To people like me, blogging is the best answer. I can post my opinions, I don’t have to bother who listens and good netizens will tell me their comments. So I blog. But if you wonder how I manage to do it during work, its quite simple actually. I just keep a word file open when I start work and I keep filling up the page in between work. Voila in a few minutes or hours I have a blog. I just login and post. Simple.

Sometimes when my creative juices flow I complete a post at a stretch other times I take longer. But trying to come back to an earlier line of thought after repeated interruptions is enjoyable and when the coherence is still there it is a good post. This post in fact came about during my lunch break time.

Try blogging, its fun. I enjoy it, hope you do too. And remember your manners, if you have read this, do not just go by without leaving your comments.

Ciao!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

The Art of Kissing

Ok, now that you have seen the title and have decided to follow your curiosity this post is about kissing. I have joined a community called The Art of Kissing in Orkut in addition to French kiss community. The French Kiss is probably the most valuable contribution from France and it is probably their biggest ever export of all times! Ok let me assure you before hand that this post is not related to the fact that I’m engaged.

Those who practice the art of kissing, those who kiss, have been kissed or have gaped when others kiss or just yearn for that kiss will all testify that a kiss is one of the most intimate expression of love. I do testify. : ) You may be aware that where you kiss a person shows different emotions. The hands, cheek, forehead, neck, lips… they all tell different stories.

Anyway we have now established an already accepted fact that a kiss is special and it is a sure way of expressing your love. So do we kiss often? More specifically do we kiss the people we love? Do we take the trouble to them that we love them?

Very often we tend to miss out expressing our love for our loved ones for myriad reasons, if you have missed out, I urge you to go ahead. Tomorrow may be too late.

Having said that, have we ever attempted to kiss God? We say we love Him, but have we ever tried to show Him our love? I do. You make think it very silly, but when ever I feel good about myself or feel grateful for His graces of late I tend to blow a kiss in the air towards heaven. (You know, it’s called a flying kiss). It’s my shortest and sweetest thanksgiving prayer. When I feel like saying to God, I Love You and Thank You, I just send a flying kiss heaven wards. I believe that it reaches Him and he looks down on me with love and accepts my kiss.

Today, I’m really tired, had a long day with a mix of official and personal work but I finally got a little time to pray. My work is all done and I’m leaving home so as I wind up this post, I feel good so God UMMMAA, this is for you!

Try it!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Pilgrimage to nowhere


Hi, at the outset let me warn you that this is a controversial post. The objective is not to provoke anger or fury at any reader but it is just an attempt to think about the issue being posted.

Recently I happened to hear two friends talking (no, I was not eaves dropping!) and the topic veered to the recent trip to Thirupathi that on of my friends had made. To those in the know, the seven hills of Thirupathi are sacred to Hindus and is one of the biggest pilgrimage sites in India. It is also the second richest religious institution (it is a massive institution) globally. I have been planning to visit this temple for awhile now but somehow it never worked out. I am a big fan of visiting the South Indian temples of architectural importance to revel in their sheer beauty and I take immense pride in my culture and my ancestry. I must add I have visited many temples and I delight in these visits.

So coming back to the topic, I was not paying much attention to the discussion of my friends till I heard the remark “I saw God, and it was a satisfying darshan”. This really shook me up. Now how can somebody see God, no, I’m not an atheist. I want to know how God can be in an idol made by man. God is universal and it is man’s folly to restrict him into the confines of a small chamber in the seven hills.

Personally, I have been on pilgrimages and it is my aspiration to do many more time and finances permitting. A pilgrimage site is not where God resides but it is a place sanctified by God by his deeds or by his presence. Every religion has its fair share of pilgrimage sites and holy lands. Lourdes, Mecca, Thirupathi, Sabarimala, Vatican, Jerusalem, Bodhgaya etc all have their respective allure, but tell me do people go there to see God?

I go to have an experience of the place and to learn and delight in the works of God that have been manifested there. Miracles and graces abound in these places and the faithful attribute these to God. I do the same. I value the different faiths, but surely God is also in these places and not only there.

When did God take residence in these addresses? Is not the universal truth that God resides in you and me? Then why do people aspire to see him in these places? Before God all men are equal but man makes distinctions even today. We have been burdened by caste but now even financial standing differentiates people before God. The fortunate few “can pay a fee and see God” while the others stand in a line for hours and days before they reach the sanctum sanctorum where they get a passing glance as they will be more often than not pushed away by the ushers. When did got start charging premium rates for time with his faithful?

To see the image of God as visualized by one or more human beings is one thing, but to see God and more specifically in these hallowed addresses are not acts of faith. What we have in these places is the image of God and not God. Many religions including my own have various images of God as visualized by the makers, however they are just a pointer to worship of the divine being and they are never the divine being. It pains me to see people including those of my faith; paying obeisance to these idols and making offerings to them. Wake up people God is not in these, it is your folly if you want to see God in these. God is much more that what the human mind can encompass let not God be reduced to such trivialities.

We have pictures of our loved ones and often have statues made of our leaders, these are reminders of what the people whose images they bear stood for. We have innumerable statues of Gandhi and when we look at them they should remind us of what Gandhi stood for: non-violence, peace, virtuousness etc. But is the statue Gandhi?

If you have seen the movie Muthu starring Rajinikanth (my favorite), Rajini (old man role) asks where the lady of the mansion has gone to, the servants reply that she has gone to the temple. So Rajini asks, why she has gone to the temple, the servants mock him and say “To see God”, to which our super star points to a small temple and the deity within nearby and asks “so, who is that”. Superstar signs off in style saying “Fools, they are keeping God inside and they go out searching for him….”

I invite your comments….