Monday, January 30, 2006

God's Debris

This is a book by Scott Adams. It is a very different book. The central theme of the book being a novel theory about God and other material and non-material things that exist or dont exist(which ever that is that you believe). The theme was very compelling to read so I picked it up. It is really really good. It has the easy flow of conversation, easy language yet manages to confuse you and then enlightens you. If you are open to interpretations then this is a must read.

U can get the e-book at this link God's Debris

Sunday, January 29, 2006

What did one telephone tell another?

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Heights of Comparison

People have this annoying habit of comparing, dont they? Starting from when a baby is born to the day they die, comparison is almost a part and parcel of life. I think it is at its peak when you are at school. When you show you report card the next question is, ' So what did Shradha score?( Name changed for annonimity.. Well you can read it as Ms. Shradhai also :))'. And this continues in office too where your performance is compared to the others and then "normalized??". Okay this is not what I came here to write about.. It was an interesting conversation with a colleague of mine..

We were having lunch and he suddenly brought in this topic ..

He : There is always a comparison, isnt it?
Me : Yes, Why ? What are you talking about? The appraisal??
He : No, I just had a conversation with my mother yesterday
Me : oh!
He : When I was in school it used to be hard. I was always up against the best. Compared in every way
Me : It happens to all of us , doesnt it?
He : But yesterday was the height of it. She asked me why I wasnt given an onsite assignment while our Neighbour's son went onsite.. How can you reply to this?

Hmm... Somethings can never be answered can it? And I wonder why people compare?

Monday, January 23, 2006

Hairy Fairy Tale

The first time I entered a Beauty Parlour, I was in for some shock.. Guess thats why men are not allowed, lest they should get scared away and stop looking at girls :D

It was a fine summer day when I decided that I needed a hair cut. I planned to chop my waist length hair to a more managable shoulder length. After a lot of arguments with Amma and crocadile tears I finally walked into a parlour. I dont know why but the parlours are always dingy places.. long winding stairways leading to a narrow passage and at the end of the passage will be a narrow door. Anybody slightly heavier than I am can definitely not enter. (side ways maybe... try pannalam :)

Okay so I go into this place and a really jolly, plump lady with smooth hands, crimson nails and an 'asian paints' face with a jarring red lipstick and an inch thick eyeliner, greeted us at the reception. She looked at me from head to toe.. gauging me.. She gave me this look of 'hmmm.. a lot of work needs to be done on this one..'. She raised her immaculately shaped eyebrow and asked me what I wanted. I told her that I was here for a haircut and her next question was .. " Anything else??" Huh!! what? Dont I look okay??.. I scrubbed myself well this morning when I had a bath.... I polietly said 'No, nothing else"

I was asked to wait as the beauticians were busy with other customers.. I looked around. It was a tiny place, may be a 10-by-10 room, with screens and curtains. On one side, lay a lady who had some mud smeared on her face and henna in her hair.( It looked like she had been to a mud fight..) If not for the cirles around her eyes I would not have been able to identify the right side of her face. :) Another one was sitting on a chair with her hair tied up in a precarious knot, face as white as freshly whipped cream. I think it was cream that was bespattered copiously on her face. She had round cucumbers for eyes. Curious as I was I asked another lady seated next to me what it was . She said it was a face mask... hmm.. good way to hide your face I guess..( vayathukula pogavendiyadu ellam munji mela irunthadu )

A stern looking lady came out of a room with a knife( Then I didnt know it was blunt).Dont ask me what that is used for I dont know.. it sent shivers down my spine. (idu enna kasaapu kadaiyaa?( Is this a butcher's shop??)) Another was bending down on a lady's face with thread held in her teeth and hand and making a jerky movement. The lady below flinching as she performed her ritual. I now know it is called threading which is how ladies get their eyebrows made into a bow.
One lady was sitting in a corner with her feet in water and another scrubbing her feet. I guess that would feel like a maharani!! But no I just happend to see that she was scrubbing with some hard, stone like material.. Poor hands and feet.. This is what they call manicure!! .. Hmm to get that blemishless face u need to go through so much!! ( it reminds me of a scene from My Fair Lady when Elisa comes to Mr.Higgin's house and Higgins sets his maids to give her a bath.. )

I didnt know how long I was sitting there.. maybe an hour.. and then out came a lady and said in a rather irritated tone,' haircut?' I said yes. I said I wanted the hair chopped of to shoulder length. and then she asked me, 'u,v,straight, feather, wedge? which one?'. me gave the blinks to her :) ' What is that?' I asked. Annoyed with my ignorance she explained that they were different styles of haircuts. I said U, Mom said V and An aunty next to us suggested Step.. I dont know what the lady understood, when she finally finished cutting my hair she proudly showed it to me.. I was left with this horrible hair style which was er.. I dont know what it was called but it looked like a combination of all the three styles mentioned. I was throughtly irritated. I had a mop of hair in front and uneven in the end. It was shorter than I had expected.

I did complain but what can you do? You cant stick it back on.. Once cut, its gone.. And so, I had to go around with that nasty hair style for the next three months until I could cut it back again. I had to go back in there to get my hair fixed although I would not have wanted to go back in there ....

PS: Inspiration for this post is a post that I read at Kaushik's Blog :D That one is really really hilarious :).. This post is not done yet.. there will be a sequel :)

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Remembering my prized possessions :)

I used to carry a silver coloured pouch filled with various pens with coloured ink. It had everything.. from stapler, glue to even a bell pin.. You would wonder if such a tiny,shiny pouch could hold so much.. But it did..

I love the smell of fresh paper, the smell to ink on crisp white paper and the sound of flicking new crisp pages. I still have a set of brand new notebooks that I keep stashed away in a corner of my desk.

I had a very wide range of stationery thanks to my Mom :). I remember my lucky orange erazer that I used when I was in college. It was with me for four years.. I finally gave it to my bro who lost it..I had an eraser that looked like a roller ball-pen. I had one jumbo sized erazer that I didnt have the heart to use.. It is still there I think.. amma said she saw it hidden in some purse :)

I was even more fond of my ink-pens. It used to be my morning routine to fill black/blue ink into my parker( beta parker that is ) .. Wasnt particularly fond of ball-pens but liked the various shapes amd sizes that u get in them. At one stage there used to be the aroma ball pens and I had atleast two dozens with different scents.. My fav was a red coloured floral pen.

Now in office there is no need for it.. Well not that we dont use stationery but just that we no longer have to carry it with us.. I miss my kutti sliver pouch. Even now, when I go to the Stationery section I get lost there.. My friends have to drag me out of the place.. But I guess I can still indulge myself when I get kids under the pretext of indulging them ;-)I love stationery.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Thamattavaraka and Aamanakku

I have heard of a number of varieties of beans. You have the English beans, the avarakai(dont know the english counterpart names but will give u a description of the vegetable) ( Flat broad beans) and the Kotthavarakai ( the think long light green ones). Three is all I know( contradicting my first sentence i know.. kandukadheinga) but only today I heard of a new variety .

Aparently this is a distant cousin of our beans called avarakai and this one is called Thamattavarakai :D...(I have been repeating this word the entire day in fear that I would forget it :) There was a creeper ouside our complex and a lady in the van that I take to commute to office was commenting on it when I got in today morning. She said 'Thamattavaraka'. I said 'Uma akka varala'. Everybody burst out laughing and then this lady points to this creeper and a fruit( er.. vegetable) and says 'Thamattavaraka'. It is a slimmer version of avarakai and I believe very tasty as well. That was one new word for the day

The second word was 'Aamanakku'. This again is a wild plant and people in the village extract oil from it. This oil is supposed to be the purest form of oil and has a lot of healing powers.

Good then. Two new words stored in my memory... but the one I like the most is the Thamattavarakai :)

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Fuzzy Logic..

What is good? What is bad? What is right and what is wrong? What I think is good, may be bad to someone else and what I think is bad, maybe good for somebody else. There is almost never a clear demarcation of the right and the wrong or the good and the bad. This grey area is, I think, what most people exploit. But then again why am I calling it exploition. I dont know if I have to think about anything as good or bad but I think, end of the day, it should be what I like. I think it must just be the feel good factor for each individual that finally gives us a clear picture of right, wrong, good and bad..

Tuesday, January 17, 2006


Evening is the best time of they day. I love the pallete of colours that nature creates at twilight. She unleashes some of her best compositions then.. I read in a fellow blogger's post, where he compares nature to an invisible painter. I liked that comparison very much. Very true isnt it.. The azure sky slowly turns pale pink and gets darker and deeper to a dull orange.. where the Sun appears like an orange cradled in cotton ..slowly dipping and vanishing into the horizon. If you listen carefuly you can even hear a blip when the sun sets :). Even after the sun has sunk you can still see the few errant rays trying to brighten up our world while the darkness from the other side tries to swallow them.. The darkness finally wins..

The cacophonous melody of the homing birds that rush home to their hollows and bends in the trees. They seem to be in a hurry to get home, to the safety of their nests, to sleep and get refreshed for next day. The leaves of trees and plants seem to be drooping, sad that their beloved sun has disappeared. The flowers are no longer gay. Yet, from some other part, another life begins.. the life of the nocturnal..the crickets, the frogs, the owls, the flowers, the stars and the moon. The sight of Venus, the morning and the evening star on the horizon and the sound of night fall is distinct with the nocturnal beings welcoming the moon and the stars.

There is something inexplicably romantic about dusk. Dawn is good, but to me Dusk is the best time of the day :) ( guess me am too lazy to wake up in time for dawn:). It makes me sad that I no longer have a garden to just sit down and while away my evening, watching the sun sliently dip into the horizon whispering.. 'Shubha Ratri' and making a silent promise that he will rise again.

Monday, January 16, 2006


My weekend began, as usual, with me getting out of bed late.. But once I was up I could not switch on the TV. I had moved to my Thatha's place and there is no TV here. The very thought.. 'No TV!!' is scary..What will I do for the whole of two days. My friends were not in station, so I couldnt go out to meet them either. The prospect of spending two full days without a TV looked pretty daunting..Until last weekend, I did not realize how addicted I have become to the Idiot Box.

I tried to read a couple of magazines. But still time seemed to move very slowly. I listened to some music..I racked my brain.. Still didnt know what else I could do.. It looked like time was actually moving reverse rather than forward.. heights of boredom... Oh I forgot to tell u no comp either.. During the week I can manage without TV or comp.. as I come home late from work have dinner, maybe a novel and then to bed.. So you dont have to kill too much time.. But weekends is a completely different story..

But now I realize that TV sucks up so much of your useful, fruitful time.. Whoever called it an Idiot box, called right. Now I am making a conscious effort to avoid watching TV.. God it is one big addiction..
I have never thought I was very attached to people. Everybody I know says that I am a little detatched. But I dont know why, when Thatha fell ill I was really worried. I just could not think about anything else. I dont show out my anxiety but deep down there is a fear, a concern. Perhaps this is what they call love for a person? I wish there was no time lag, no visa and stuff. I could just fly to the US and visit Thatha..Now, all I can do is to hope Thatha gets well soon.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Pongal - o - Pongal

Have you made Pongal in a mud pot facing the sun ? Well it is an experience in itself.. Let me try to tell you how we celebrate Pongal at our school.. its done the traditional way..

Pongal is a harvest festival celebrated in praise of the Sun God. In school, we had twelve groups each representing one zodiac sign or one month of the year. In other words the 12 raashis.. We would have rangolis of each of the zodiac signs in front of our chullas.. In the center would be a giant Rangoli of a Ratham( a Chariot) which was the vahana of the Sun God. We would spend the previous evening making this one.. Margazhi pani illa dupatta vai talai illa potundu colour kolam potundu hmmm...those were the days ..

The Pongal(read as ponga) paanaigal(Earthen pots), were placed in front of the Deity of our choice.. Once the karpooram (Camphor) was lit and the bells struck, we would take our Pannai to our respective zodiac houses and get ready to make the pongal..

The pongal is made this way .. If I remember right.. First the paanai is placed on a tripod chulla. We then light the firewood and the chulla is ready.. The worst part about a chulla is that the smoke really smokes u :) and u have to continuously keep fanning it.. Wonder how ppl cooked before the LPG days ...We then pour milk and water and wait for it to boil. When it comes out ( didnt find a very apt word for pal pongaradu) we say,'Pongal -O- pongal' and put the rice and the dal in it to cook. We then add jaggery and ghee and keep stiring it until it is cooked... Once it is done we garnish it with raisens and cashews ...

We even had a competition as to which team would say "pongal-o-pongal' first.. It is really thrilling to wait anxiously for the 'pal' to 'pongu'( er.. no other better way to put it in english :). The excitement that you get when your pongal is made and that too when u have never entered the kitchen and this is your first attempt :):) . Then we go around tasting the pongal from the other team. It is served in the traditional 'donnai' (A cup made of Lotus leaves)

Its fun to make pongal out in the open, facing the Sun, decorating your pot and your zodiac sign and wearing a sari :).. its nice to do a lot of things for the first time and even better when u can show what you have made to your parents ( they didnt believe that I er.. we made it :) Did I tell you about the pongal.. Well it had a totally different flavour..( no it wasnt burnt ).. the earthy taste combined with the smell of burnt firewood..and yummy with the cooked pongal soaked in Ghee... A different flavour .. a flavour that we can never get from a cooker pongal.. :)

Happy Pongal To all of you!!!!!

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Enna kodumai ithu..

Pongalukku mattundhan government leave vidumaa,

Idly thosaikellam kedayaadha??
Enna kodumai ithu….
----By idlykaga varutha padum iliaya thilagam

Translated for the non Tamil speaking bloggers:

'Will the Government give a Holiday only for Pongal Why not for Idly and Vada.. ?

-By a Youngster sympathising with Idly'

( Some things can never be translated, can it ?)

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Bilahari - A different note

Come Marghazi( December month in tamil)the music festval begins in the quaint old city of chennai. But now, even after the season is over, we are being treated to a different kind of music...

In the middle of the night I wake up to the high pitched bilahari. Wondering if Appa had accidentally left the radio on, I switched on the light. It was silent all around. I could only hear the sound of the ceiling fan now. So I guessed it was an overdose of music or my hyperactive brain dreaming about something. So I went back to bed. In a couple of minutes I heard the same sound..

Eek!! It was the mosquito.. they were back... making my life miserable as usual..They somehow manage to find your ear and sing in their high-pitched tone 'Hum Honge Kaamiyaab'(he he like in the mortien Ad). Buggers.. if they cant sleep why do they want to disturb me.. They have even become immune to Banish and the like..I make it a point to kill every one of them when I am awake but you are helpless when u are sleeping. My brother says I will be tried in the court of mosqitoes someday :) What ever ...these pests are worth killing.. atleast I will get a Good Night's sleep..(yawn...)

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Resources - "Human" Resources

In school we have all read geography where we have read about natural "resources" like minerals and metals (verum kallum mannum than). It was not until I joined office, did I hear of people being referred to as resources. Yes, I have heard of the word 'Human Resources' but the way these people use or should I say abuse the word resource makes me want to cry.

The first time I ever heard this word(in this context) was when I overheard a conversation between my Team lead(TL) and my Project Manager(PM)

TL: I have requested for more resources for this project
ME( silent spectator but actively thinking :):Oh! he must be asking for comps for us..
PM: Okay. Have you logged a call on the xxx site requesting the new resources?
ME(thiking): Thats nice! they even have an internal portal to get stuff they want .. cool!!
TL: Yes, Sir I have
PM: Okay then. I will approve it and I think in about a couple of weeks or so the you will get your new resources

After this we had a team meeting where my TL announces,"we will have two new resources added to our team in the next couple of weeks or so. SO now our head count will be 5!"It was only then did I realize that he was refering to people and not computers!!!
Well I guess it is alright to refer to people as resources. But to me it sounds like they are refering to another piece of office stationary. Say a pencil . A pencil is a resource and it can be a Steadler or a Nataraj. Same way, these "Human" is a resource and he can be a java resource or .Net resource. It is pretty demeaning to be called some resource when you are more than just a resource. Dont you think it would be nice to refer to people as people instead of resource. After all we contribute more than a pencil!!!

Another time, I heard two people discussing -
Person 1: Hey you have a resource whoz working on abc stuff, right?
Person 2: Yes, why do you ask?
Person 1: Well I just wanted to pull this resource into my team
Person 2: I wouldnt allow you to do that. I am already running short of resources for my project. If you want him then you need to give me one from your team
Person 1: Oh! Not an Issue(this is another term that was added to my corporate vocab)
This sounds like a a deal! Doesnt this remind you of the 'joote do paise lo, paise do joote lo' song..

I tried asking people ( even some APMs) as to why they use the word resource. Their answer was that resource refered to a new or reserve supply. So anything or anybody who has something to offer is a resource. But the very sound of that word puts me off.. Then again, I guess I gotta get used to it as the entire industry is refering to its "man-power" as resource.

So, are we all just resources .... nameless faces working diligently to get some other resource's brain wave working with the aid of other dumb resources(read computer)!!

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Muruga! Shanmuga! Karthikeya!

Karthik is a probably the most common Indian name I have come across. And for the number of Karthiks I know, I think I would need a personal assistant to keep track of all of them:)

Now Karthiks come in a number of variations. Some are called Kartik, while some call themselves KartHik and some others like to spell their name as Karthick(numerology stuff I guess). There are others whose fullname is Karthikeyan or karthigeyan who also call themselves Karthik. The end result - upto date I know about 25 karthiks. Somehow I manage to meet atleast one Karthik wherever I go!! So this time around I was thinking about maintaining an online list of the Karthiks I know.. I guess it will need constant updation :)

Okay, lemme start with my cousin Karthik. Then it was SK who was my schoolmate. My neighbour was also called Karthik. In my twelfth class my class alone there were two- KK and GK. There was also a commerce Student called Karthik. My VP's son was also called Karthik. I remember a senior who is now a playback singer TK from school.Then I have a couple of friends from NIIT called SK and BK. College is a place where get to find more karthiks.. sigh.. I knew about 4 of them.

It was at work that I got to know so many more Karthiks. To start with my PL was called Karthik. A team member was also called the same. Then there was this bay-mate called Karthik. An e-mail friend in office called Karthik. I used to travel by company Bus and used to get in at an intermediate bus stop. So I used to beeline to the first empty seat.(well didnt mind who was sitting in the next seat:). This way I made a couple of friend who were again called Karthik. Oh and a good friend of mine in office called karthik Vaidhinathan.

I guess that was twenty.. Then, I have a couple of chat friends whose ids are Kartik so I presume they are also called karthik. Well I think Balaji's Kid(a fellow Blogger whose blog I visit frequently) is also called Karthik :).He is probably the youngest in the list and most definitely the cutest. A couple of Film actors are also called Karthik. One is the old timer and the other who acted in kanda Naal Mudhal :). Ah I forgot to mention the numerous prospects for a possible alliance that I get whose names are Karthiks.. well if I include them, the list will reach half a century soon .. Well I decided not to include them as I have never met them...

The best part is that am still in touch with 15 of them.. :D. I have sort of made it a mission in life to remember all the Karthiks I have met. Well the list will be updated as and when I meet some more:).

PS: I was wondering if I should include all forms of Karthikeya's names.. what do u say.. shud I include them too??