Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Best Wishes!

I wanted to write a big post about the year and its highs and lows and even got the outline ready but then decided that I will share with you my mail that I had sent out today to all my business contacts.




Hi,

As we stand at the threshold of a New Year, we may have mixed feelings, some good some bad, but in a few hours we will start the New Year with the greatest gift of mankind – Hope!

I would like to share with you two poems from my list of favourites as a small New Year gift.

1) From the Gitanjali, written by Rabindranath Tagore, even 61 years after Independence, freedom is a distant dream for many. Battered, bruised, wounded, scarred be it in Orissa, Kashmir or Mumbai in the past year let our country awake into a new beginning….

Gitanjali 35


1 Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high;

2 Where knowledge is free;

3 Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls;

4 Where words come out from the depth of truth;

5 Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection;

6 Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the dreary desert sand of dead habit;

7 Where the mind is led forward by thee into ever-widening thought and action --

8 Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.



2) The greatest question that faces us, the question that can be the source and the solution to many of the challenges we face everyday – What if…?

Rudyard Kipling answers a few questions… (yes, it is on my blog)

IF

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you
But make allowance for their doubting too,
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream--and not make dreams your master,
If you can think--and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it all on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings--nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much,
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And--which is more--you'll be a Man, my son!



Best wishes for a Happy, Prosperous, Grace-filled and Peaceful New Year.

Regards,

It looked a lot like Christmas...

As you enter our colony you will be greeted by our live tree, as it is getting taller you can see how difficult it is getting to string the lights!

Our star is in the balcony as fear of the rain brought it indoors a couple of years ago and it continues...

Our bigger artificial tree, normally we put up two such trees, this year I thought one is enough after all Christmas is not about a plastic monstrosity. Maybe next year I may scrap it altogether

Our crib, created by D. A good job I may add.

The reason for Christmas...



and yet this year it did not feel like Christmas.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas time tag!

I've been tagged!
1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate?
Like the person who tagged me, I haven’t had egg nog. So, I will go for hot chocolate.

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree?
Back then Santa was fun , but now gifts are only from my loved ones and often from whoever picks me as their Chris Child

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white?
We have a real tree that is atleast 15 feet tall and every year we drape coloured lighst on it, but I think that next year I will give it a rest. Christmas did not sprout from a tree

4. Do you hang mistletoe?
No mistletoe. Haven’t seen one except in Tom and Jerry, when Jerry kicks Tom under it

5. When do you put your decorations up?
Usually at the start of advent, now D does it when she can

6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)?
Biriyani any time, holiday or not

7. Favorite holiday memory as a child:
Going to my grand parents place in Coimbatore and having fun with cousins.

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?
I guess early on when the guy who played Santa for a Christmas do pulled of his mask when he had his break

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve?
Cant remember getting a gift wrapped present on Christmas day in recent years, so I don’t remember

10. How do you decorate your Christmas Tree?
The usual stuff, lights, trinkets etc

11. Snow! Love it or Dread it?
The snow I have seen is nothing like what I see on TV, so no comments

12. Can you ice skate?
Nope.

13. Do you remember your favorite gift?
Today, D got me a watch, it ranks right up there

14. What is the most important thing about the Holidays for you?
Family, friends, food, fun.

15. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert?
Ice cream holiday or not

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition?
Sleep late

17. What tops your tree?
Star.

18. Which do you prefer giving or receiving?
Both.

19. What is your favorite Christmas Song?
Joy to the world

20. Candy Canes: Yuck or Yum?
Don’t know haven’t tried one.

21. What do you want for Christmas?
World peace?! (I’m with Bungi on this, others follow)

22. Do you attend an annual Christmas Party?
Guess if, I’m invited by good friends, yes.
23. Do you dress up on Christmas or wear PJs?
I dress normally. Add a jacket for night mass, if its cold.

24. Do you own a Santa hat?
Yup, been searching for it though, haven’t found it this year.

25. Who do you normally spend Christmas with?
Family and friends.
And I tag Trinity,Lemonade, Oxymoron, Rowena, Fletcher and anybody else who wants to play it...

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Guide to entrepreneurship

Note: This post is my personal comment and it is not intended to hurt anyone.


A gloomy market is like a glass half filled with water. It is either half full or half empty depending on how you look at it. Looking at the option of opportunity can make people believe that this is the time for the entrepreneurial jump.

Now what are the options available? Plenty but something that has spread like wild fire spanning the spectrum from cottage industry size to a multi crore, multi location even spanning continents, and mass employment providing operations is the business of religion. Your read that right, the business of religion is booming like no other and the CAGR if somebody were to do it in absolute numbers would make many hard nosed business men salivate.

But why the business of religion? Simple, for starters you need no investment except oneself, many of the corporations started of f with or by a bright spark. A bright idea and good use of the basic four P’s of Philip Kotler and you have a killer service. The variety of services is mind boggling and I am happy to present a few:

For starters you can teach people to breathe, yes, if you know the better way that is or you can teach people that living can be made an art, not a bad thing after all, pity that this art cannot.

Next you could build an outrageous house of God and to make sure that it is eye catching you can build it as the highest, widest, costliest or in a funky shape or you can plate it in gold and live off the starry eyed tourists who come to gawk at this decadent show of wealth and whose fervent prayer will be to ask divine grace for a bit of the wealth. An entire travel industry has been spawned by these must see places.

You can make your own God or if that is difficult, you can say that God lives in you (you aren’t lying anyway) or even better you can call yourself God or if you a little modest about yourself you can simply say that you are an incarnation of God. It never fails, you can even debate this on TV.

Or you can render fiery speeches and use faith to heal every disease known and unknown, when the movie actors say, “God is great!” with a sad voice to highlight the gravity of a hospital scene you know where it came from.

If healing is not enough you can rent a huge stadium and fill it up with a mega sized troupe of performers singing catchy music and when the fervour is at it height you can probably make people swoon, sometimes the Hand of God may be necessary here to ensure that the people swoon. (With Maradona in the country, I couldn’t resist)

You can make fiery speeches and evoke the hidden fervour of some who embrace the K word and set about setting fire to the world. The K word is of course Kalashnikov the favourite toy of most misguided maniacs. K also is for Kill every non believer.

You can have more discourses and make a big song and dance about it, now with the all invasive media you can talk to every faithful and of course you can tell them the various means to send the funds to aid the cause. By the way you must be immaculately tailored and your suits must at least match up to Mr. Shivraj Patil’s wardrobe.

You can do ceremonies and other activities that no one will understand but will surely give them what they want either a gift from above or reparation for earlier deeds. One such entrepreneur even went to the distance of divining the location of hidden treasure also got 5 women killed in the bargain.

You can build resorts or retreats if you please where you can take a contract from shampoo companies for your extraordinary hair style and do your bit for the propagation of the faith through the multiplication of members by procreation.

You can do something new also…

What are the earning possibilities?
Limitless according to your ability and your ingenuity after all there are so many people who search for the fundamental truth that they already know but refuse to believe, millions more want avenues to wash off their sins and are willing to try something new, some more who like to be with the trend of the day, some who just like to try something new, the list goes on. The chief income stream of course is the humble donations that can be collected from a humble dumb box to start with and then you know. Merchandise is another chief source of income and let me not forget the tickets that are charged to see or have a glimpse of the almighty.

So if you think you have a killer idea and a good USP, go ahead the world awaits…


I leave you with the lyrics of a song by Joan Osbourne, whatever her religious leanings, it is worth a read

If God Was One of Us Lyrics

If God had a name, what would it be
And would you call it to his face
If you were faced with him in all his glory
What would you ask if you had just one question
And yeah yeah God is great yeah yeah God is good
yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah
What if God was one of us
Just a slob like one of us
Just a stranger on the bus
Trying to make his way home

If God had a face what would it look like
And would you want to see
If seeing meant that you would have to believe
In things like heaven and in jesus and the saints and all the prophets

And yeah yeah god is great yeah yeah god is good
yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah
What if God was one of us
Just a slob like one of us
Just a stranger on the bus
Trying to make his way home
He's trying to make his way home
Back up to heaven all alone
Nobody calling on the phone
Except for the pope maybe in rome

And yeah yeah God is great yeah yeah God is good
yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah
What if god was one of us
Just a slob like one of us
Just a stranger on the bus
Trying to make his way home
Just trying to make his way home
Like a holy rolling stone
Back up to heaven all alone
Just trying to make his way home
Nobody calling on the phone
Except for the pope maybe in rome

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Digitus secundus (Index finger)




Take a good look at the picture. What does the image of a pointed forefinger bring to your mind? Many things I would guess, but has it ever brought the fact that no less than three fingers are pointing backwards.

When things go wrong, the most used or abused finger is this forefinger and the most ignored are the other fingers that are telling an untold tale, the tale of the often silent accomplice. How much of the issue was cause by him whose hand the fore finger belonged to?

The question is not, what did I do to cause 26/11, but is there something I could have done to prevent it...

Also Indiblogger has come up with a good initiative. It’s called The “Rebuild India” Mission. Check it out.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Terror



By now the media would have numbed you with their incessant reportage of the incidents of “26/11”. Much has been said and much more will be said by every one who thinks he / she has an opinion to matter. I have my opinions too, but they are not on 26/11.

Yes a bunch of motivated, misguided young men created havoc and it spurred endless chest thumping jingoism for all and sundry. We have also heard enough of the “Spirit of Mumbai” that is attributed to the ability to recover each time. Pause for a moment and look at all this with a cynical eye, I did and I think it is silly.

Firstly these men have killed around 200 and wounded double the number in the space of 4 days and they are terrorists, hordes of men killed innocents in Orissa with simpler and cruder killing devices and they are rioters or religious zealots. I ask you for the victim cowering in fear is there any degree of terror, do the flames evoke lesser fear than bullets and grenades? Just because they cannot afford to dine in swanky places and not worth media reportage are they any lesser than those who laid down their lives? Blood is after all red for one and all and there is no blue blood except in books. For many of us far removed from these spots all this is just another gory soap opera, pause and look inward: how many people are killed or maimed by bad drivers, be it a Blue line or MTC bus, a BMW, the ubiquitous Tata truck or any other vehicle every day? The weapon of death may have morphed from a sword or a Kalashnikov to a harmless looking vehicle but the end result is death plain and simple. For such angels of death the law is so lenient that it is a joke.

And coming back to the “Spirit of Mumbai”, as I commented in another blog earlier it is a fallacy and a big joke. Mumbai gets back on its feet and life goes on because people simply do not care. You loose a loved one and what do you do? Cry for a few days, feel dejected, come back to your senses, get back on your feet (in many cases), and carry on. If the deceased is an acquaintance, feel sad for a few hours or minutes then carry on. If the deceased is just a statisic…I think that this Spirit, the Spirit of “I don’t care” is universal, after all we all have our jobs to do, families to take care of, bills to be paid, a life to be lived.

If we really feel bad about it, lets stop the blame game and do something about it. Just see what the power of the people is doing in Thailand otherwise lets get back to work.


Just received by SMS:
“An Olympic shooter wins Gold (only a game) & Govt. gives him 3 Cr + awards. Another shooter dies, fighting with terrorists, (saving our country and our lives) & Govt. pays his family 5 Lakhs. Truly great India?!?
(Pls fwd to all all Indians, that it somehow reaches the President, PM, CMs, IAS & all concerned)”
- Thanks Fletcher and Nitin Naik

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Top 10 addictions of mine




Dhanya tagged me some time ago and when I look back I realize that procrastination deserves a pace in the list of my addictions which I can’t help noticing are very similar to Dhanya.
So here it goes in random order:

1)Internet: Sometimes I wonder how I managed to spend so much time on / in the internet. But the bottom line is it has grown up on me and it ranks very high on the list.
2)Never put off for tomorrow what you can put off today. As mentioned earlier procrastination is a second habit. From time immemorial last minute efforts have been the general order of the day, be it cramming for exam or a report at work.
3)The news: I manage to read 3 newspapers / business dailies a day and always keep one window open on my laptop with the breaking news scrolling every minute at work
4)Cricket : I can watch matches of other nations too and I enjoy the ICL as much as I do the IPL and thanks to T20 I can watch cricket after work and not miss much
5)The pot: well it may sound funny but I sure do spend a lot of quality time in the loo every day where I read one of my 3 papers and very often think, plan, strategize… and generally spend my time well
6)Grilled chicken : I have always been a big fan of chicken in all forms of cooking but considering the cholesterol worries I have become partial to grilled chicken and I attack it with relish every time. (Afterwards the carnage on the plate is like Vadivelu’s line “Total Damage”)
7)Novels: I have always been partial to a good novel and can read an entire novel at a stretch
8)Sleep: I love my sleep, need I say more?
9)Tom & Jerry: I have spent so much time watching the same episodes but I have never ceased to get tired of them
10)Water: no other beverage gives me as much joy as a glass of chilled water can, simply addictive

That’s the list for now I guess.

This is an open tag, take it and see, it is fun.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Through the lens of a Sagem MY700X



Was in Studio5 earlier, I saw these lights and wanted to see if my camera – phone could capture it. I guess it did.



If you thought that only the brainy fruits got into Anna University, look again you will see many fruit eaters too.



Presenting Melissa in D’s tee. Poor M had to undergo a surgery earlier and being the restless being that she is (like her owner), she kept ripping her bandages apart. The vet suggested that we can try putting on a shirt minus the collar as a restrainer for her bandages. D went one step higher and pulled out her tee and voila.
P.S It was an effective solution, the bandages survived this time.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

You are invited!!!



Went to a wedding reception over the weekend with D. Today the template for a reception is so uniform that you can sleep walk through it. Land at the venue, plastic smiles fixed, meet / nod at the unknowns and unknowns around you, queue up for the mug shot with the newly weds, unload our burdens on them (the gifts of you please), rush to the next queue (for food this time), eat heartily, chew on the betel leaves, nod / meet some more, walk out. Every reception is a variation of this template.

Anyway I will cut the frills and come straight to the food. Food is an integral part of all celebrations in India and in most places around the world. Any celebration will reach its climax in the feast afterwards and a lot of care is given to the food served. Some of the guests who had come for my wedding still fondly remember the biriyani that they enjoyed that evening. So you can understand how much importance the feast holds in the scheme of the wedding.

I had an enjoyable meal that evening and though I had prepared myself for a vegetarian spread it was tasty and I cleared out my leaf. As I glanced to the side I saw D do likewise but just beyond her I saw mounds of food being wasted by the others in that row. A look around showed piles of wasted food on many of the plantain leaves food enough to probably feed at least 10% of the unfed guests.

I was very disturbed by what I saw, when I was being served I declined what I would not eat and asked to be served just enough, surely that much is common sense? Will we not do the same at home when we are aware how much we spend for the food we eat? Considering the spiraling cost of food items how much is being tossed in the garbage? How many poor and starving people could have had at least one decent meal, had this not happened? I have seen this disgusting behaviour in hotels especially where you have these unlimited buffets, food is heaped on plates and in most cases dumped in the bin because for many their palates could not accommodate their greed.

How is it possible that for many of these perfectly decent people one small Tupperware box can hold their tummy fill everyday when from their homes and be so insufficient when given free? These may never know the pain of starvation and the horror of a starvation death. Wise men say “As you sow, so you reap…”

The sign of greatness is when someone knows when to say NO!


P.S. If we say NO, we may not see scenes like this...

My portfolio extraordinaire!

“You have a slipped disc” my physiotherapist announced rather unceremoniously last week after subjecting my back to various levels of pressure with his trained hands. Among the many reasons for this condition include my “over healthy” constitution and my excessive bike journeys early in my career. To confirm his diagnosis, he (the doc) prescribed a MRI scan


To the new comers :- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or Nuclear magnetic resonance imaging (NMRI), is primarily a medical imaging technique most commonly used in radiology to visualize the structure and function of the body. Read more

Simply put it is a costly exercise to take images of your body in so many angles that you will actually feel proud of this extraordinary portfolio. Anyway I scheduled a time with the lab and waited my turn on the day (Friday the 7th to be precise). I was advised to change into the hospital outfit that looked like a checked school boy uniform and await my turn till the previous patient is done. This patient was profusely sweating and looked thoroughly exhausted and just appeared as if she had come out from some WWE encounter and that too coming out as the vanquished. As doubts crept into my mind, D also helpfully contributed the fact that some patients like to be sedated as they may get scared or feel claustrophobic. Now acrophobia, aqua phobia and claustrophobia are three things that make me feel a little uneasy at normal times I wondered what could possibly happen in the forbidding machine.


I was made to lie down and strapped into the device and rolled into a tube somewhat like putting the dough in those big ovens. Let me not forget the ear plugs which they offered saying that it may get a little noisy. This was to be the understatement of the year as what followed for the next twenty or so minutes must be experienced to understand. Groans, squeaks, squeals, hammering, ticking I heard them all in varying combinations and had D not warned me earlier that if I moved I would have to repeat the process I froze into submission. The biggest problem was my itching nose, nothing irritates you more than being strapped to a table and stuffed up a tube making noises and no chance to scratch yourself.

The sound effects equaled many of the rides in my last MGM trip and if one were to close his eyes and let him be transported to the realms of the sound I guess the effects will be the same. Anyway the process stopped in good time and I was wheeled out again. I just couldn’t wait for that itching to be taken care of. A moment later it was sheer bliss.

Anyway the travails of that day were worth the report which confirmed that I had a few bulges on my spine. I am now in the rehab process. I’m told that soon I will be back to normalcy again, so wish me luck!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Telling lies???



Saw the movie “Poi solla porom” yesterday after postponing it for so long and at the end of the movie I guess I waited too long. It was an enjoyable movie that was lighthearted and at the same time was a telling commentary of the social systems in place today.

You couldn’t help but empathize with the head of the family and his long desire of buying a plot of land for his dream house. The plot on which he was willing to put his entire life’s savings and the retirement funds that would have been otherwise used for his last days. I will not brief you on the story because I would rather you see it for yourself. (It would be a steal if you can get a 10 bucks ticket at Satyam!)

What I liked about the movie in no particular order:

* The wide range of emotions from expectation, satisfaction, pride at a job well done, to anger, frustration and helplessness neatly shown by Nedumudi Venu demonstrated why Malayalam cinema is famous for realism.

* The absence of the template that defines most commercial masala movies

* A kick ass entry and a sublime ending, that made you want to stay in your seats till the very end

* Absence of speed breaker song / dance routines

* Absence of the usual love rigmarole which was restricted to a simple holding of hands that spoke volumes

* No group dancers, no dream sequences, no separate comedy track, no fight sequences…(there may be more no’s for a discerning viewer)

* The credit given to the original movie in Hindi and its writer ( a first)

* The cute heroine who though not a stunner in the conventional sense is still cute and who with a little training could lip sync better

* KK who does not have to be a US return with a fake accent

* The almost likeable villain in Nasser with his loud and shiny shirts and a pencil moustache

* The inevitable triumph of good over evil

* Mouli as daddy

* The Photoshop touched up pictures that accompanied the titles


Watch it, if you haven't already and tell me what more you liked.

(P.S. Had a tough time restraining mum, being completely immersed in the movie kept jumping up and prompting the actors on their next step. )

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Opinions are like...



If you read the financial dailies you will not miss large reams of paper being devoted to the financial crisis that is sweeping across the world. So much so that it is become the topic of discussion during coffee breaks replacing reviews on the new movie that is giving headaches to its viewers. (note: head in tamil is thala).

Opinions they say is like your backside, everyone has one. I have a backside and so here is my opinion on the financial crisis. I would like to use a few references from various sources to construct my opinion, here it goes:
1) From the Bible (pity people use holy books for only one side of life)

Luke Chapter 6: 48 -47 : That one is like a person building a house, who dug deeply and laid the foundation on rock; when the flood came, the river burst against that house but could not shake it because it had been well built.

But the one who listens and does not act is like a person who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the river burst against it, it collapsed at once and was completely destroyed.

The bottom line here is the foundation. If business is done on sound fundamentals, it does not matter who the owners are the state or the citizens the business will weather the storms. (Funny that this was there for over 2000 years and still people seek for answers)

2) Core Competence of the organization: The concept of core competencies was developed in the management field. C.K. Prahalad and Gary Hamel introduced the concept in a 1990 Harvard Business Review article. They wrote that a core competency is "an area of specialized expertise that is the result of harmonizing complex streams of technology and work activity."

If you know fishing, try to fish for bigger fish or newer fish, don’t make shoes. Even way back then one very smart thinker upgraded fishermen to fishers of men.

3) “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush” – old English proverb : I have 100 rupees in one crisp bank note sitting safely in my pocket and I am better off than somebody whose money is but a number in the cyberspace. Most of the wealth that has seemingly evaporated existed in number only, so why cry?

Actually my opinions don’t stop here, but I will because I know you have backsides too. So don’t forget to leave your opinions (only) in the comments section.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

How the mighty have fallen!!!









“If it can’t get any worse it can only get better”

“If you fall, fall on your back that you may see the sky and rise again”


In the midst of the financial crisis that is sweeping the world these two statements may be a band aid to many bruised, battered and wounded souls. Crashing markets, sub prime crises, pink slips, pay cuts, layoffs, downsizing… the list of taboo words are growing.

In the middle of this carnage, I remember seeing an article where people have started reading Marx again and another in which better the west is slowly accepting that the Indian banking system was not a bad thing after all. What goes around comes around…

Sub prime crisis to the unknowns is simply giving a loan to somebody who is not credit worthy. When I joined work in lending, the two basic principles of lending were clearly laid out to me by my first boss: Before you lend check 1) The ability to repay and 2) The intention to repay, common sense tells you that ONLY if 1 AND 2 are right the client generally will repay. So why did no one tell this basic rule to these giant organizations who have crippled so many economies with foolish lending? What is even worse is that the company that taught me the basics of the lending business has forgotten its roots and is facing its first ever loss in 30 years of existence. The erstwhile prudent and conservative organization tied up with a financial whiz kid from the South East and went the same way as so many others who have fallen by the wayside. The culprit here was not secured loans like housing but an unsecured clean loan that went by the name of STPL (Small Ticket personal loan) to many undeserving candidates. I call them undeserving simply because they did not have the ability to repay and it did not take any rocket science to detect that.

Often the solutions for many big problems lie inside and I’m sure many of these mighty organizations will realize it when see look within and realize that strong fundamentals will stand the test of time.

And as I sing off it seems that prudent, conservative and many other unfashionable attributes are not bad things after all.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

I swear...




Wasteland, did you inform your house that you are making your last journey?

Death-seeker (not the Death Eaters from Harry Potter), have you no other vehicle but mine to kill yourself?

Buffalo! See how it goes…

Foreign stranger, don’t know who taught him to drive?

Spoilt brain, having no clue what he is doing…

He is who is going to get ruined....will he never learn?





(every time, a bad driver crosses my path, I swear)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The St. Paul I know



The following is an essay that I wrote for a contest in our church for the annual parish feast. I did not win anything for this, but would like to know your feedback.

"The St. Paul I know"

As the fires burned around them and bodies fell many Christians like you and I huddled in the shadows of a village in Orissa. These people feared the loss of their limbs, their goods, their loved ones or even their lives from the marauding mobs before them. Even as they peered through the haze they could vaguely see the faces of their tormentors even as the smoke cleared their horror increased as the faces of their neighbours were in the forefront. The very same shopkeeper, milkman, vegetable vendor, who had been an in separable part of their lives are now threatening to end their very lives.

Even as the persecuted wondered at the sudden change of events, several questions arose that went abegging for answers. What had happened in the space of a few days to tear a community apart? Can something as intensely personal as one’s faith be the cause for so much suffering? How will they ever relate to people of other faiths before? Why is my own neighbour persecuting me?

History has the habit of repeating itself. Turn back time to nearly 2000 years and you will probably find yourself yet again cowering in fear from marauding mobs. You will be hounded to death because even back then you simply were not one of the chosen people and you had no right to inherit the land of your forefathers because you believed what the majority did not. As you huddled in fear you may see the face of a zealot who led the rampaging mobs spreading terror in the hearts of those who opposed him. This young man hailing from Tarsus was called Saul.

Saul of then or the zealots of today look at them closely and you may not find many differences between them. They were conditioned to believe that they were right and maybe they were right but what they did can never be justified. But Saul is remembered today because he did not remain Saul, he experienced for himself the truth and as the saying goes the truth set him free.

The transformation of Saul to Paul has been documented and I will not dwell too much on the topic, but I admire the depth of change that Paul underwent. It is easy to go from good to excellent but from Saul to Paul nothing short of a miracle will suffice. The miracle in question is a deep and intimate encounter with Christ. Religion after all is not about rules and procedures; they are for the leaders and politicians who can use them for their own ends. Religion is simply a deep relationship between oneself and his God. As St. Paul said I now no longer live, Christ lives in me, sums up how intimate the encounter was.

Many of us tend to get a spiritual high from various spiritual exercises and often I tend to come down to planet earth and go on with life till the next high. It maybe the same with others but with St. Paul it was always a life of highs. Even in the depths of despair it was his faith that carried him through.

It will be hypocritical for Saul to write about love but for St. Paul who gave us one of the best descriptions of love it is simply the only way of Christian life. St. Paul has shown to us that no matter how evil we can be God will still call us but the choice to listen remains with us.

The transformation of Saul to Paul and the growth of the church is a reminder for us that the blood of martyrs is the seed of the church. Through the ages the church has faced persecution but has been resilient and has grown for 2000 years. History will still repeat itself and when the mobs attack I pray that God will call yet another Saul to Paul.


PS: The image taken from the web is supposedly MIchelangelo's conversion of st. paul

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Breathe Easy!



Being a teetotaler, bars and other watering holes have no appeal for me except for the fact that they are sources of great entertainment. You just cannot imagine the crazy things that inebriated people do; well everything except puking all around their antics are a whole lot of fun. However the main reason I stay away from night spots is that the smoke kills me. Did I forget to mention that I don’t smoke too? The divine forces intervened to give me an allergy to smoke especially the carcinogenic kind, so smoky places are a big no, no.

I met up a couple of friends in Escape, the bar (ok pub if you please) in Green Park, Hyderabad. I was so happy to find that I could actually breathe easy Thanks to Mr. Anbumani and even better see other people in the darkness. The turn off though was the music dished out by the resident DJ. It ranged from “Heal the World” to “The reason” and even when we were left pondering if Escape was a gay joint considering that we could not see a single member of the fairer sex around Dire Straits made a stealthy entry only for the CD to get stuck. We had fun and the best part was we had the Happy Hour tariff, with a tag line that ran “You buy one, we give you one, you buy one, we give you one… till you decide to stop”. The “One” in question was either RC or Fosters for the curious. With my talent to nurse one orange juice even for hours I lessened the burden of the bill.

If I can breathe easy and get some great entertainment at Happy Hour rates I don’t mind pub hopping in future, but yes I would prefer that the DJ’s realize that Happy and Gay may not exactly mean the same thing especially when it comes to music.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Animal Manners

The following is an extract from The Times of India Chennai edition dated 13/10/08.

Animal manners
Dogs seem to better understand the plight of the starving. On Sunday morning, an old lady with tattered clothes came begging to a teashop. When the tea shop owner shooed her away, she pleaded for some biscuits, but he could not be moved. Seeing the dog outside the tea shop eating biscuits, the old lady tried to pick them up. The tea shop owner chased her away, saying the biscuits were for the dog. When the woman turned and started walking away the dog pranced up to her with a biscuit in his mouth and dropped it at her feet. The woman picked it up and walked away. Humbled by the dog’s act, the teashop owner called her back and gave her tea and biscuits.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Life goes on...

It’s been a while since my last post and when I look back I see quite a lot has happened that warrant a mention. So here it goes in no particular order:

1. Got a forward from a colleague and being a real sign of the times, many people in USA woke up to another bank that ceased to exist. Wall Street is the new Fall Street and all those who once envied its lofty heights are rubbing their hands in glee at the depths it has reached. Brings and old Red Indian saying to mind, “What goes up, must come down”. What is indeed sobering is that this is not an isolated case and many top shot companies may cease to exist if they don’t correct their courses…



2.Saw an absolutely gripping F1 race yesterday. The Singapore experiment seemed to be a big success and a big part was the absence of rain. Also it showed how team work can work wonders. We had Nelson Piquet Jr. crashing into the wall and handed the victory though not on a platter but somewhat closer to his team mate Alonso. With all due credit to Alonso and his superb driving the accident changed the course of the race. The other notable team was Kimi who did not want to climb the podium without his team mate Felippe (who should have been legitimately on top had the pit crew not been trigger happy with the go signal when the fuel pump was stuck to the car. What followed was funny to all who saw except the Ferrari crew and poor Felippe who drove so beautifully till then) crashed into the wall ending a sorry race for the team.



3. In a strange coincidence the India Post has got a make over the day after I chose to write about the post box. I’m told the old logo was designed in consultation with IIT Mumbai but it looked as staid as the company itself. O&M has given a new image that is stylish and quite eye catching. Hope that translates to better service to the clients. Incidentally I hear that the recently renovated, refurbished Annanagar post office is air conditioned and looks swanky like a bank. Must visit it sometime and probably pay utility bills (they do that too!) I guess.



4. More attacks on Christians and churches by some fanatics. These fanatics are fighting against forced conversion and what do they do? Burn, kill, maim those who convert and bully the others to reconvert to their original faith. I guess re-conversion by force is fine because it is backed by the rulers. It is a real shame that faith which is so personal to every individual is being used a political tool and is a rallying ground for thugs, goons and scum of society. The same fanatics who see God in stone and afterwards trample on the same stone and stoning churches, irony cannot get any worse. History tells us that the blood of martyrs were the seeds of the church. The days ahead will prove or disprove this.




5.And to sign off, I worked this Saturday. As you may guess I was not very happy about it, but the bright side is this week where I have so many holidays to look forward to.



Happy Gandhi Jayanthi

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Saar Post!!!!!





The other day I saw a post box. Now, there was nothing remarkable about that post box to warrant a second glance but I couldn't help myself. I looked back and thought when was the last time I actually posted a letter.

I guess it must have been in Pondicherry when I was doing my MBA. Back then we were so cut off from communication that the post box was the best friend for poor students like me. In those days mobile phones were a luxury I could only dream off and only the cream of the lot had one. I remember vividly my classmate and good friend Jonah sitting on the terrace of our hostel trying to catch a clear signal so that he can talk to his folks living in Uganda. The others like me had the option of walking two kilometers to the nearest phone booth and if that was closed hike, take a bus, cycle or whatever means possible to get to the nearest PCO (remember those?) 3-4 kms away from the campus. Every incoming call to the hostel was an event in itself.

But since this post is about the post box I will come back to my writing days. I remember having a few pen friends (you are forgiven if you have never heard of the concept) to whom I would diligently write and share the happenings of life. It was a great time when the arrival of a letter meant a lot of expectations and joy. We shared our joys, sorrows by snail mail but somehow we still connected. I have lost touch with my pen friends sadly and it is mainly because I have lost my writing skills even as I furiously type on the keyboard.

Life was so simple and so uncomplicated back then. Every letter not just had meaning they also had feelings and they were so intensely personal never mind my handwriting that veered from gloriously legible to something that resembled an ECG report. But it was my letter and it had a part of my personality in it.

When I look back on those days the absence of modern communication tools like the cell phone and the internet managed to bring people closer while today we seem to have drifted further apart. Communication today is so impersonal and cold that it lacks the warmth of old no matter how attractive or comfortable it may be. No e-card can do what the good old greeting cards can, I miss those long hours browsing for cards for every memorable occasion and collecting cards received from loved ones was a pleasurable hobby in itself. Likewise special letters were treasured and retained till the termites felt hungry.

Today in the social networking world I have so many "friends" in various networks, some of whom I have never met in real, some of whom  like me in the virtual world but do not even acknowledge my person in real life. And email the invention that killed letters have also disappeared. Nobody writes an email to ask me how I am doing, they ping me, text me, scrap me, call me, voice chat me. I have an email box which is full of mailers, promotions and so much more but no connect if you can understand what I mean.

As I left that place I realized that we have changed but the postbox is still there and will still be there for those who still really care.

The more we try to connect virtually the more we get disconnected...

PS: The postbox image was downloaded from the net and is not the box I saw.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Generation Gap

The theme of the call-in show was “Generation gap – does it exist today?”

I thought of calling in and giving my point of view but sadly I was too late. Anyway debating the topic in my mind I came upon this insight that I thought I will share it with you so.

I believe that the most important responsibility for parents apart from bringing up children, providing for them etc is instilling values in the children. Value systems are the building blocks to character which is probably the best heirloom that children can inherit from their parents.

So there will be a generation gap if value transfer stops. But it is very fashionable to take trivial things as the basis for generation gap as it exists today. What people take to be a generation gap is often the different metrics people use for the same values. Values are fundamental but I think everyone can have his or her own metric to measure the values. My parents instilled values in me but I can see before my eyes how they measure the same values are sometimes different from mine and of course the eventual tensions accompany them. I know that my kids will raise hell when the same comes to them, but I know the challenge is to ensure that the difference lies only in the metrics and not the values.

Recently I had gone on a social visit to an uncle from the in-laws side. By default I wished him an informal hello after all he is family, but the old man took offence as I wasn’t as civil as I should be. He complained to my in-laws and you know what happened next. Clearly a difference in metrics and not values.

I have no problem with the difference in metrics at all; change is the only constant in life so how can I expect my kids to be like me or I like my folks. If every one did the same things the world will be a boring place to live in. I hope that when a day comes that I face the same question of a generation gap from my kids I will be able to rise above my fickle emotions and check whether it is a generation gap or just a measurement gap.


Thanks to Cartoon Stock for making life so much fun.










Monday, September 15, 2008

Random thoughts again



It’s been two whole weeks since I last blogged. It’s been even longer since I received a visitor or even a comment on my page. Maybe my writing standards have dropped or maybe others have improved while I have stagnated.

I think it is time to start blogging again, because in my blog I can be just me. I do not have to be politically correct nor must I try to balance the feelings, sensibilities, responses, expectations of those around me. At some point of time being selfless is self defeating in itself. Of late life in isolation does not seem to be a bad thing after all at least in good doses.

I have realized that often the best solutions to problems come when one detaches himself from the problem and analyses it rationally. But either I am too emotionally attached or I just cannot seem to be rational. Rationalism by itself can be so cruel.

If failures are the stepping stone to success, I guess I’m ascending a very long staircase. Why do we climb such high staircases when we know that we have to come down eventually? Why is ground level not good enough when 99.99% are more likely to be there?

Advice is so sweet when you hand it out but very unpalatable when it is dished out to you. Yet everyone is qualified to hand out advice solicited or not. At least my industry of insurance is subject to solicitation.

There is no such thing as an accident, this line was repeated a few times in the Kungfu Panda movie and it was not an accident either. But somehow I contrive to end up in an incident that was not planned by me. I busted the right wheel and tyre of my Wagon R on a small rock and even after two days am not able to recollect how it happened. One sleepless night and numerous mind storming sessions later I have decided to defer my biggest purchase decision of a flat. I had written about getting my own “castle” and the challenges it posed. Never in my wildest imaginations did a battered wheel and tyre figure as a possibility. Maybe I am senti-“mental” but I have discussed this problem earlier, so it is not an accident.

Too much of good is bad, I had given this unsolicited advice (yes, I don’t practice what I preach too) to a friend who somehow entangled himself into so many additional commitments that at one point he struggled to stay afloat. What was worse is the way he chose to get himself out by simply running away without notice. Wish I could do that too, but it takes only a second to come back to reality.


Today is a holiday for state government institutions and those organizations that choose to accept the request from the CM, but I work in one of the many that chose the other way so I will sign off and get back to work.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Fire!

The inevitable happened yesterday. I’m talking about the fire that ravaged a part of one of the many death traps in Chennai. This trap which goes under the named of Saravana stores like many others of its ilk are grotesquely ugly multi-storied buildings that are built with scant respect for the laws and rules of the land. These buildings have neither fire and other disaster safety mechanisms nor simple things like a fire exit or even worse windows.

The damage from this fire is estimated at 1.5 crores, peanuts when you view in perspective of the business done annually. What is disturbing is that money power has tied down the legal and government machinery here. Unlike Delhi where on the strength of the Supreme Court verdict, mass demolitions of unauthorized constructions went on till politics intervened.

Sadly nothing will change, despite this accident and all the hue and cry it raised. Why? Simple, nobody died. Down the ages someone had to die for others for any good to come about. It started with a cross and it goes on today. Only when a death occurs will some knee jerk reaction happen for the guardians of public safety when regulation could have nipped such incidents in the bud.

The question is how many more must die?

Monday, September 01, 2008

It happened one Sunday

Two things happened yesterday that will stay in my mind for some time.

First: I was on my way to the part time MBA class (I was going to teach) I had to cross the railway gate at Tambaram Sanatorium. Like many other crossings on that line this one also will be shut for long periods. Anyway when I saw the drop gate closed I pulled up my bike and started to wait. As usual there were so many who ducked beneath the gate and went across the tracks on foot or on two wheelers, many often chatting on their cell phones. Parents’ handholding their kids and showing them how to cross train tracks added to the absurdity of it all. In some time there were a few other motorists who pulled up alongside and waited for the gate to open. I was happy to see that in the midst of all this law breaking madness there were still a few who believed in self discipline. Suddenly a delinquent sporting a big moustache tried to muscle his way through and started screaming at all for blocking the way. The bike rider next to me asked him to shut up as he was breaking the rules and he had no right to scream at others trying to follow rules. He became incredulous and screamed what rules was he breaking and we were all mad. I lost my cool and told him to get lost with his mouth shut with the most civil words I could muster. This angered him further and he started hurling abuses from the middle of the train tracks. I was reminded of street dogs that bark a lot but only from a distance. I had half a mind to roll up my sleeves and throw a punch on his ugly mug just to make a point. But I would have to still cross the closed gate which was the cause of conflict; I decided to hold my peace. Some of the other law breakers tried to tell us that it was normal practice and we should allow it to happen since we were new comers. If waiting was a problem then they could have taken the detour across the bridge a couple of kms away, but when there is a short cut, people will take it, no matter the costs. My neighbour wondered how law breaking idiots can afford to get angry even as the gate opened and we parted.


Second: The concert which many of you missed despite my invitation was a success several counts.
One: It gave the captive audience good live music that is so difficult to get nowadays and that too for free for nearly two hours.
Two: It succeeded as a benefit concert when we handed over 3.9 Lakh rupees to the Friends for the Need with a promise that we may increase it a little more as more donations were expected. The overwhelming generosity of so many benefactors warmed my heart for the second time that day. It feels good to know that there are still good people around.
Three: It was a nearly full house and considering that most of the publicity was low key, spoke volumes for the popularity of our choir among music lovers.
Four: We did a reasonably good job from the feedback of the audience, so all the hard work did not go in vain.
Five: This is personal to me, for though I missed many practices and some how got through the concert, I finally realized my role in the choir and that I was needed there.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

You are invited!!!!!!!

Hi,

Good day to you. You are warmly invited to a music concert on Sunday, 31st August at 6 pm at the Sivagami Pethachi Auditorium (Inside the M.C.T.M Chidambaram Chettiar school) in Mylapore on Luz Church Road.

This is a concert done by The John Millns Choir in aid of an organisation named Friends For The Needy and also in memory of the Late Rev. John Millns who was in Madras during the late 1940s and 50s as a minister of the Wesley Circuit of Churches. He was a great Tenor singer himself and trained many when he was here, the Founder-Conductor of the John Millns Chorale, Jabez Janagaraj, being one of them himself.

The concert will be accompanied by an Orchestra (all of whom play for Ilaiyaraja and Rahman) comprising 8 violins (4+4), 3 violas, 2 cellos, 1 double bass, a trumpet and flute and will also be accompanied on the keyboard by Samuel Abeysekera, the Founder-Director of the famous Tamil Trio - The Three Chords. An added attraction will be the trombone for one orchestral number called Nostalgia, arranged by the Leader of the orchestra, Jerry Fernandes, played by the trumpeter himself.

You could watch out for the following numbers which are bound to arrest your attention:

- Mine Eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord, an arrangement by Jabez Janagaraj, the conductor.

- If I can help somebody as I pass along, a song dedicated solemnly to Rev. John Millns who lived his life helping others.

- Ascotte Gavotte from My Fair Lady, a jolly tune with the orchestra going in full flow.

- Sixteen Tons, a song based on the misery of coal miners in the 1930s by Merle Travis, sung as a solo by my good friend and great bass singer, John Fredric with the choir backing him up.

- When the saints go marching in, with the audience participating in it.


You are most welcome to join us that day. Bring your friends who love music and choir singing.

For any other details call me.

+919840080405

Seen and heard @ Hyderabad

Seen: A new housing project in Hyderabad called (can you believe it?) "Space Station 1", the project has been promoted by the Alien's group (sic). They invite people to become an alien. Whatever will they think of next. Makes you wonder if people have become so short of ideas.


Heard: Actually this was heard during the train journey to Hyderabad. I usually tend to be serenaded by the clatter of the rails that tend to put me off to sleep. The rail track lullaby was rudely overshadowed by a thunderous noise, which grew in cacophony as more sources of the sound joined in. In all my life I have never heard such loud snoring and that too in a chorus! I had nightmares in my sleep from thunderstorms to earthquakes with accompanying sound effects.

Seen: I'm a little wary of the rains in Hyderabad as when it rains it floods the city so when the heavens opened up while I was in an auto I was just a bit uneasy. My unease increased when the auto driver refrained from using the windshield wiper sitting proudly on the windshield. My doubts were laid to rest when the auto driver parked his auto and manually dragged the wiper back and forth to clear the raindrops. Talk about manpower Vs battery power.

Heard: Hyderabd is a lousy place to live in. Coming from a resident of nearly three years, I was a little curious. But my friend went on to explain that the people are too laid back and act like the Nizams of old, worse the high cost of living is making normal people yearn to be Nizams too! All said and done, Namma Chennai pola varuma?

PS: The 369th Birthday of Madras (I still prefer that name) passed us by on the 22nd of August.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Happy Independence day!



We will be celebrating 61 years of independence tomorrow. A popular radio show was asking people what was their take on independence. Various views emerged but somehow they all seemed to be on a very superficial level.

So what is my take on independence?
It means responsibility.

Why responsibility? because when you are free, you think you can do anything, but you cannot. Freedom means you have the power to choose between good and bad, right and wrong. And in the choice lies the responsibility. Life is often the consequence of our choices.

Happy Independence Day!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

I wonder...



Been out of blog world for some time now. Work, illness, marriage have all taken their toll I'm struggling to find that all elusive balance.

Boss says "When you have no results at work, personal life takes a back seat", but why work if there is no personal life.

Right now personal life and work are getting intertwined so much I take time to realize what I'm doing.

I should bounce back soon.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Little drops of water



The homily of yesterday (20th July) struck a chord in my heart. I have ranted, raved, cursed and done all the usual things many of us do about the ills that plague our society and how powerless we are to do anything about it. Feeling powerless is one thing but apathy as to why bother is a terrible crime. Anyway coming back to the homily based on the gospel of Mathew, the preacher Fr. Abraham SSP said “be the leaven for the bread or a mustard seed”. He proceeded to tell how little tasks make a big difference, like a smile or a word of comfort to the needy or sometimes the mere presence to grieve a sorrowing person… the list if endless if only we choose. The words of a favourite hymn goes “ … It only takes a spark to get a fire going, and soon all those around can warm up in its glowing…” Simple isn’t it?

Strange how a simple phrase like “Thank You” can mean a lot to some. You may have seen the Munnabhai series of movies where the protagonist hugs a sweeper in appreciation for his service of sweeping the floor and changes a grumpy old man to a new being. I had a similar experience today (July 22nd). As I was parking my bike a worker of the Neel Metal Fanalca (the conservancy partner of Chennai Corporation) was raking the leaves on the road and she glared at me when I made to park near her mound of raked leaves. I waited patiently for her to remove the leaves and when I had enough place to park I said a “Thank You” from habit and proceeded to park my bike. The grumpy lady’s face turned from incredulous surprise into a full smile and she looked positively radiant, her smile was so infectious that it caught on to me and I smiled at her in return and moved on.

While on the topics of smiles and thank you’s, never try to be stingy with either of them in a restaurant; even worse if you should try to mistreat the service there, you may actually get some special service from the team. The waiters are not above spitting in to your soup before it lands on your table. Beware.

Finally a toast to the elixir of life; water. I remember taking a tag where I had mentioned that my favourite drink is water and more specifically cooled water from an earthen pot. I cannot think of any other drink that can give the same kind of exhilaration and satisfaction that a humble glass of water can give. To drink water you don’t have to be a connoisseur and you don’t have to be an expert who swirl, sniff and chew on their varied beverages before coming up with bizarre descriptions for the taste that they have experienced. Water can match and be a wonderful accompaniment to any and every possible form of food and you do not have to embarrass yourself when it comes to say matching wine with food. There are but four (I cannot find any other) ways to serve water hot / warm, cold / chilled, room temperature or simply frozen. Like I mentioned before with food I prefer naturally colled water with that distinct earthy flavour at all times though experts advocate warm water with food to aid digestion. All the glorified colas and other beverages are simply glorified sweetened and flavoured water which if drunk warm would be worse than many medicines, but still will not dispel thirst and even worse they can reduce the potency of the digestive juices by reducing their temperature. So colas with food is not just silly and self defeating it is also unhealthy .

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Superstar Ver. X.01

Hi. Been a little busy, so haven't posted in some time. Capt. Jack sparrow had been raving about the newest dancing superstar.Don't know where he finds these, but after his constant recommendations I found this on Youtube some time ago.

Frankly I have no words to describe this... but I think you may.

PS: He is called Sam Anderson, more of the same on Youtube, don't miss the In da club & sivaji mix version.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Flikr Tag

Saw this tag on Lemonade's and Anju's blogs. I'm not into Flikr but this was a post I just cldnt resist..


Here are the rules.

1. Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr Search.
2. Using only the first page, pick an image.
3. Copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into fd’s mosaic maker).

1.What is your first name?
Clement (incidentally it means mercy)
2. What is your favorite food? Right now?
Biriyani (all time favourite)
3. What high school did you go to?
St. Bede’s
4. What is your favorite color?
Blue
5. Who is your celebrity crush?
Nayanthara, international I like Charlize Theron
6. Favorite drink?
Water (can't beat it ever)
7. Dream vacation?
Seychelles
8. Favorite dessert?
Tender coconut pudding from Fruit Shop
9. What do you want to be when you grow up?
Satisfied
10. What do you love most in life?
My family.
11. One Word to describe you.
Unique
12. Your flickr name.
Clement_kw

This is an open tag, you are welcome to take it.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Heard and seen……

Some random incidents that I have heard or seen...

Heard : Woman in nightie, wearing a dupatta, speeding on a two wheeler on Poonamallee High Road today morning. Seen by D and reported to me.
I wonder: A nightie + a dupatta = daytie??


Heard:“Eating out is bad for health and makes you pile on the kilos.”
Seen: I think the first part is right but I have learnt that one sure fire way to loose weight is to eat out more. Inflation is shrinking portions so much that soon you may need a magnifying glass to locate the mini idlis floating in the sambar and yes, mini coffees will be served in table spoons henceforth.


Heard and seen: I had named our dog Melissa, so long ago. She is a bitch. (Remember wise people that a female dog is a bitch and a female whale is a cow) At that time I was a Computer Science student and when we had this pup at home, mum suggested that being the techie guy I should name it something to do with computers. I tried RAMy, ROMy, Floppy (sounded good) but without the Disk and finally settled on Melissa. Why Melissa and what does Melissa have to do with a computer? Those of you who may remember a notorious virus that created havoc on many boot sectors will recall that the virus was called Melissa. However our Melissa is incapable of any malice and damage and a visit to our house will confirm it to you. But the story does not end there, we usually call her Lisa nowadays after our long time neighbour once asked us, “Yenga Melissunu koopidereenga, ithu rombo gunda irrukku?” translating to “Why do you call it lean when it is plump?”


Seen: The road that runs alongside the beach and is parallel to Santhome High Road is probably one of the messiest and foulest smelling roads in Chennai. But it has it own charm to the many love struck couples who throng the place. I have heard love is blind, but it now emerges that lovers are oblivious to stench and dirt. After dark you will find so many unattended bikes parked randomly on the road and no owners in eyesight. Surprisingly when dawn breaks you will not find any sand castles in that place. What else were they possibly doing? I wonder.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Quotes!

Got this from a friend some time ago, was clearing out my mailbox and read them again. Thought I will share them with you....

"Don't let your worries get the best of you. Remember, Moses started out as a basket case"
Some people are kind, polite, and sweet-spirited - until you try to sit in their pews.
Many folks want to serve God, but only as advisers
It is easier to preach Ten sermons than it is to live one.
The good Lord didn't create anything without a purpose, but Mosquitoes and Sand Gnats come close.
When you get to your wit's end, you'll find God lives there.
People are funny..... they want the front of the Bus, the middle of the Road, and the back of the Church.
Opportunity may knock once, but temptation bangs on your front door forever.
Quit griping about your Church; if it was perfect, you couldn't belong.
If the Church wants a better Pastor, it only needs to pray for the one it has.
God Himself does not propose to judge a man until he is dead. So why should you?
Some minds are like Concrete, thoroughly mixed up and permanently set.
Peace starts with a Smile !
I don't know why some people change churches; what difference does it make which one you stay home from?
A lot of church members who are singing "Standing on the Promises" are just sitting on the premises.
We were called to be witnesses, not lawyers or Judges
Be ye Fishers of men. You catch them - He'll clean them.
Coincidence is when God chooses to remain anonymous.
Don't put a question mark where God put a period.
Don't wait for 6 strong men to take you to church.
Forbidden Fruits create many jams.
God doesn't call the qualified, He qualifies the called.
God grades on the cross, not the curve.
God loves everyone, but probably prefers "Fruits of the spirit" over "Religious nuts!"
God promises a safe landing, not a calm passage.
He who angers you, controls you!
If God is your CoPilot - swap seats!
Prayer: Don't give God instructions -- just report for duty!
The task ahead of us is never as great as the Power behind us.
The Will of God will never take you to where the Grace of God will not protect you.
We don't change the message, the message changes us.
You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage him.
The best mathematical equation I have ever seen:
1 Cross + 3 Nails = 4 given

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Don't know what I'm blogging about

Started and almost completed a post on traffic in Chennai and the short supply fuel crisis, but somehow saved it and may never post it. It’s one of those days when you wake up and everything seems like a blur and you are just going through the motions. It’s one of those days when the weight of responsibilities seems to weigh down even more and you wish for a brief respite.

It is a day when I wish I was back to the “wonder years” when my biggest worry would have been a simple school exam. Today I have to take up so many tests daily; passing them is not enough, it is a given; I need to do exceedingly well as in the workplace you are made to believe that you are expendable.

I have to answer so many questions that are thrown at me from every possible direction but the biggest questions are those from within. I do not have answers and am searching for words nowadays. Words that just have meaning are useless and I need words that not only mean what I intend to say but must also have the desired impact of the receiver.

You shall serve the Lord alone… and yet I find myself answerable to so many bosses. I have run out of words and thoughts have clouded over. I need a break.


PS: Web2rank widget alongside is driving me crazy, Quo Vadis is dangling between top 50 to top 100 and back to top 50 every other day. It is changing so often I think it is as confused as I am right now. Am I writing better or worse? Do tell.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Life's like that


The other day I was driving down one of the side roads in the madness that is T.Nagar. Thankfully I was on my bike, as is the wont of the public utilities a big portion of the road was dug up bang in the centre of a four way intersection. Being a crowded intersection at as it was in the peak hour, the place was manned by a single traffic cop.

Anyway drivers were driving everywhere possible till it became a stalemate with vehicles jammed in every conceivable square inch of space on the road. Horns blared, load cursed thrown back and forth but no body budged, for there was simply no room. People of all kinds and classes unmindful of the fact that they were on the wrong lane and that they were hindering the onward traffic tried to bully their way through. I parked my bike and started trying to work out some order in the mess. I saw that a couple of auto drivers and another well dressed guy (presumably returning from office like me) had a similar idea. We managed to reroute the traffic and did everything that the poor cop couldn’t do alone. There must have been 300 odd vehicles of all shapes, sizes from 2 heels to 10 wheels that had got piled up but the sorry state of affairs was that only 4 of us were doing anything about clearing the mess dumped by them.

I am no saint,common sense tells that unless somebody did something about the mess, nobody was going home that night. Since even Divine intervention has to be routed through mortal men, I thought that I can be that somebody so that everybody went home. Makes you wonder why is common sense such a scarce commodity these days.

Half an hour of thankless work in the noise, smoke and dust brought some sanity to the proceedings. But what was disheartening was the moment an opportunity opened up again people jumped lanes and tried to start another mess. I was too tired to continue and when I looked up at the other good Samaritans they indicated likewise without even saying a word. No words exchanged we separated and left on our ways.

The entire incident left a bitter taste in me. It is not something new; we are the most undisciplined, uncouth, boorish, ill mannered people and often behave like the scum of the earth the moment we leave the close confines of our homes and our social enclosures. We will not hesitate to trample on our fellow men so that we may go ahead. We believe that self is above all and for self we will sacrifice everything. We point our fingers and roll our eyes at thieves, robbers and other delinquents and tell our kids that they should not grow up like these bad people and we do the same things. Does taking away someone’s liberties and rights and using it illegally become any less condemnable than simply taking the person’s goods? By driving on the wrong lane, we hold up our neighbour’s right to drive and deprive him of the happiness of reaching home on time to be with his wife and kids. It sounds so trivial that you may laugh, but big criminals started with stealing small change once. Yes you can always ask “who is my neighbour?”, you will not be the first (somebody beat you to that question 2000 years ago) nor will you be the last.

You can read this post and do many things. You can laugh, comment, mock, introspect or just move on. If you are one of the few who still believe that live and let live is not a bad thing after all do think what we can do about this. It will be a drop in the ocean, but little drops of water did make the mighty ocean. I was doing my drop in a wonderful initiative called IFix, I’m sure that there can be many more.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The pursuit of happiness



I have not seen the Will Smith movie (surprisingly spelt happyness), but the reviews said that it was ‘tear-jerkingly’ good. Anyway one sure fire way to pursue happiness was a philosophical statement by D. In all fairness I have read the same elsewhere and maybe D did too, but how many of us bring back the knowledge gleaned from various sources when needed and more importantly put it to use?

She said that (I have rephrased a little) “Happiness in life is being satisfied with what we have as we are better off than so many others than being sad with what we don’t have like a few others” another version goes “Always compare yourself with those who are worse off than yourself and feel grateful instead of comparing yourself with those better off and feel dreadful”. Its amazing how profound thoughts of wisdom come at the most unexpected times and places. It was close to midnight and we suddenly felt a little bit hungry (both of us had finished a few phone calls that stretched way beyond our bed time). (After my MBA days I don’t remember midnight snacking). So I decided to get dosas from Kathick Tiffin Center. (If you are from Annanagar, you would have surely heard of it). Anyway after the snack D remarked how blessed we were to be able to afford a midnight snack after the usual dinner when so many others are going to bed hungry or just sustaining on a single square meal a day.

PS: Do check out D’s new blog. It is also a pursuit of happiness.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Bloggers M(eat)ing @ Sparky's Diner

Lemonade is a good organizer and you can take my word for it. Blame it on the fact that she has been twiddling her thumbs too long after having so much time on her hands and so little to do, she hit upon the idea of inviting us for a meeting over lunch. By now I guess you would have understood the headline: it was a meeting to eat and catch up on stories in between.

So the venue was Sparky's Diner, if you haven't visited this place, you should. It is not like any other you would have seen in Chennai. Personally it looks decked up as if one of MGR's or even Ramarajan's costumers had a say in the d├ęcor. Considering that both these heroes had a mad fan following it is not too much of a bad thing. And if you like red shirts, yellow trousers and red and white leather shoes on a mustachioed man you will fit into this place like a glove.

I have been to Sparky’s a couple of times before and I think the menu has been changed. Anyway as the resident expert Anju was in attendance we promptly left the honours of ordering to the expert. So we had the food with lemonade: no, we did not put a straw into the blogger, so please dispel the thoughts, I’m talking about freshly squeezed lemons that result in a lemon juice and for those who were a little choosy iced tea.

Sparky’s Diner has another claim to fame; it is the weekly meeting place of the Powerhouse church which many of you may have read in the Times of India recently. Sunday services are held there every week and some of the worshippers stay back for brunch, (Nifty sales technique if you ask me). Bungi joined us a little late and as always we made a lot of noise. Surprisingly the discussion started off with how quiet things are in Tokyo and Japan at large. It only took a few minutes for me to realize that we will never fit into the place.

Btw if you have heard this joke - why was the lazy man sitting on the beach with his pants pulled down? Answer – he was waiting for the waves to clean his butt. I was told that Tokyo will reduce this man’s endeavours considerably, you have a flush (costing 1 Lakh a piece here I’m told) that does quite a lot, washing, cleaning, deodorizing… Phew!!!! Now don’t ask me why we should talk about the output when we were just starting on the input, bloggers are not always rational. If they were you wouldn’t be reading this would you?

Anyway coming back to the food, I think it was safe to say that it was good and Chef Thom is a testimony to that. True to the tagline “Don’t trust a skinny chef” he lives the part to perfection. Sparky’s is the labour of his blood and sweat and he actually was bleeding as he spoke to us during his many visits to our table. And yes he will tell you what he will not recommend you to order in his place. He is a mean sales man too and managed to get us to buy two of his signature T-shirts. Hey! I thought brand ambassadors got paid. Just got reminded that my Indiblogger T-shirt is somewhere in transit.

All in all it was a good way to spend a leisurely Sunday afternoon and I think it will not be a one off affair.

PS: Photos can be added on request by those in the photograph

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

I'm Rich! Woooohoooo!!!!!

Hey ppl! Guess what came in my mail box today?



Now can anyone tell me a good format for a resignation letter?