Wednesday, December 28, 2011

My hopes for a white Christmas were dashed but a white New Year doesn't appear to be a pipe-dream now. It snowed heavily for a couple of hours in the evening today. It did snow a couple of times last week but there was nothing dramatic about it. The flakes melted as soon as it hit the ground. A walk in the snowfall had the similar result as being rained on. Not today. I look out the window and see the empty car parking(thanks to holiday season) opposite to my house has accumulated so much snow that it appears like a white carpet. Towering buildings in the neighborhood are obscured by mist. The lawns on either end of the street have turned white. Bare trees are sprinkled with snow. The cars on the streets are wrapped up in snow. I wrote 'My first snow' in a window of one of those cars and before I could click a picture of it, it was gone. Not that I'm complaining. I couldn't be happier.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Stupilecious

Many weeks have passed since I wrote something inordinately stupid. I'm not saying I have been churning out Pulitzer prize material lately (hell yeah! with this kind of writing, I would come last in a writing competition that includes Jeppiar, and here I am bragging about Pulitzer! :P ). The satisfaction of writing something enormously stupid is missing. That surprises me, given the boundless supply of stupidity I'm endowed with. Some men are born stupid. Some achieve stupidity. Some have stupidity thrust upon them. To me, it's all three. I consider a day wasted if nothing stupid and embarrassing happens. And I can proudly say that I haven't wasted a single day so far. :) So before my gift of stupidity is wasted away on hot chicks, who generally take a long detour to avoid running into me, let me put that to some awesomely stupid use and write a profoundly stupid post.

All this talk of stupidity reminds me of the movie I watched last friday night -  Desi Boys. I am extremely picky when it comes to Hindi movies. I can't stand to watch a non-sense movie in a language I barely understand. But I let my gaurd down when I was lured by my friend who told me that she would bring her supposedly hot friends along, only to discover later that she had pulled a fast one on me. I am not a thrifty person by any means, but nothing - except the reason mentioned above - would induce me to spend money on a Hindi movie. If I were to make a list of ways to spend my money, 'Watch a Hindi movie' wouldn't figure in the top 50, and it would certainly be below 'Feed the money to a shredder'. So I was not in the brightest of moods(that most of those who came to watch the movie were eyesores contributed significantly to my bad mood) as I slouched in my seat, preparing myself for a couple of hours of torture. The movie was only half as bad as I had expected. That could be put down to the fact that I dozed off in the second half. Dashed clever of me, I'd say. When the ordeal was finally dispensed with, I felt like I had spent a lifetime in that place, but I was enormously relieved too that it was over. So if you are hot Hindi-speaking chick and want to take me out to a movie, here's a tip: learn Tamil, because Balaji is done with Hindi movies. Period.  But then again, I may end up watching another Hindi movie next weekend. My friend has promised that she wouldn't trick me next time. :P

I had to watch a few favorite movies over the weekend to recoup. I watched It's a wonderful life, Life is beautiful and A moment to remember(Korean). Much to my surprise, I cried bucketfuls during each of the three movies. A sign of getting old?  :-| I didn't shed a tear when I watched these movies before but I used up a bundle of tissue paper this time. It's amazing how same books or movies touch us in different ways at different times in our life. That reminds me of a few classic books I abandoned because it was going over my head by several miles. Perhaps I can understand it better now. I should give it a shot. But no Jane Austen. Even P.G.Wodehouse says "she bores me stiff". So I'm not going to go down that road again. So there!

Last Thursday was a memorable day. I saw snowfall for the first time ever. Ever seen someone act childishly for something lame? That was me that noon when I bolted out of the office to revel in the snowfall. I was excited beyond words. L tagged along too, not wanting to miss a moment, a snapshot of which will be saved in my memory forever. :P We set off on a walk along the road that leads to Lake Ontario, that is, L walking and me jumping and hopping and dancing, trying to catch snowflakes, looking into the sky and letting snowflakes settle on my face, feeling the chill prick of stream that rolled down as the snowflakes melted. She seemed amused by it all and perplexed as to why someone would be so excited for snow. "Is there no snow in Chennai?" she asked. I gave her a look of intense disbelief. I wouldn't have looked more disbelieving if I were asked "Are you a gay?"

But this has not been a year of all sunshine and snowfall. I have been in for some rude shocks at times. But the biggest disappointment of the year is, I can't get a tourist visa to U.S until I complete six months in Toronto. I don't complete six months until the end of this month. Not that I'm not eligible to apply, but the chances of not getting are insanely high. Why is that a let down? Since the day I set foot in Toronto, I have been dreaming about going to Las Vegas to spend the New Year with my friends. Now that door is closed. :-| I will have to wait longer. Sigh!

All right, I'll have to stop here. I will resume from where I let off some other time when an urge to do something stupid steals over me. :-)

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

While my guitar gently weeps

Down with Kolaveri virus? Here's a song that will pull you out of misery.

I've made no secret of the fact that I love The Beatles. I'm rather surprised that no one recommended me to listen to The Beatles. May be people just assumed that they are so good that everyone would have heard them. It was John Lennon's popularity that created a curiosity in me to hear their songs. The more I listen to them, the more I am becoming a fan of George Harrison. I recently noticed that many of their songs that I play on repeat are penned and sung by George. Here's one of my favorites:


I wish I could express what is so magical about this song that makes me love it but the lack of music knowledge forbids me. George, who doesn't believe in coincidence, decided to write a song based on first thing he reads upon opening a book. He saw "gently" weeps, laid down the book and wrote - bless his soul - the song 'While my guitar gently weeps'. The piano riff at the beginning of the song sends shivers through me everytime. Apart from Ringo's spectacular beats and Paul's mesmerizing bass, Eric Clapton - not a member of The Beatles but played lead guitar for this song on George's request - is mind-blowing. If I could play like him, I would swoon and die. True to the name of the song, he makes the guitar weep with some haunting riffs.

Isn't it funny that Kolaveri has got more youtube hits than this masterpiece? Whatever! That doesn't make this song one bit less special.

Plug your earphone, close your eyes and be swayed! :-)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Aargh!

Aiyo! Last two days have been horrible. I am so full of anger and spite now that I'd say human life is dangerous within a radius of five km of me. I hope tomorrow doesn't hold any nasty surprises for me. I can't take it anymore. This is the farthest I can be from sanity, without turning into a ruthless psychopath. These two days have been littered with episodes I wish I could undo. Not that I care anymore. I only wish the harsh words and curses that slipped out of me in exasperation doesn't become true. I wouldn't wish such a fate even on my worst enemy. If only there was a way to undo the past or a way to explain I didn't mean a thing I said. Whatever! It was totally uncalled for and I acted like a moron.
Aaaaargh! :-|
To hell with you, X!

Update - 2 hours later: In case you are wondering if I have lost it - and you are in the right if you think so - let me assure you that all izzz well. It's amazing how a game of squash can do wonders to a wounded soul. It's like applying soothing balms over pained areas. More than an hour of aggressively smashing squash ball all over the court has left with no energy, anger and frustration. I wouldn't have felt better if I had punched the person I was mad at in the nose all day long. It's a wonderful way to work off anger and frustration, along with some calories. :) I am back to my cheerful old self. Roses have come back to the cheeks. :-) So if it occurred to you that it wouldn't be inappropriate to send me "get a life" or "get a brain" greeting card, save that for future. :-)

Toodle-oo!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

There are something that nothing can buy

Road Trip to Niagara : $200

Five Tickets to Giant wheel : $60

Rocking the giant wheel box back and forth when it's at it's peak to see petrified Karthik scream his head off: priceless

Seeing  Karthik's child-like face glowing with relief on getting off the ride : worth dying for.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Misty Monday Morning!

If you haven't figured out from the title yet and consequently haven't dropped you jaw in shock, yes, this is Mr.EarlyBird Balaji writing. Neither my house is on fire nor I have an appointment with a gorgeous chick early in the morning, yet here I am, writing this silly post when there is no earthly reason for me to be up and about.

Oh, I have a reason now. What with a gush of chilling wind trying to send me back to bed (I must not give in to lure of the beautiful view from my balcony. I should change my writing location to bathroom :) ), I bustled through to kitchen to make some hot drink and out came I, with a cup of Bru(sigh!) coffee and an epiphany. I happened to watch a few TED videos last week and was struck by a speech of I-don't-recall-the-name, who suggested the idea of trying something you have always wanted to do for thirty days. This thought which had been lurking at some unknown corner of my mind thought that the most opportune moment to show up  would be when his master was in the process of making a brown liquid which he proudly calls coffee and in thinking so it hadn't erred.

I have always wanted to become a morning person and the closest I have been to becoming one was this one time when I woke up one early morning with a full bladder.  It didn't take long for my fresh and unused brain to put two and two together. (Is the expression right? Whatever!) And since I woke up early, I will make this day 'Day One' of my try-for-thiry-days experiment. Also, waking up early makes me feel as if I have all the time in the world, as I am saving a lot of time which would otherwise have been spent knocking on the bathroom door, begging my room mate to come out. So I tweaked slightly the agenda to 'Write Every Morning' for thirty days. You can shake off that look of horror from your face as I promise I won't torture you with a blog post every morning. I know I can't churn out publishable post every day. Of late, I write frequently on my journal and that's going to bear the brunt of it. Or most of it, because I shall try to write posts on this blog now and then.:-)

Cheers,
Balaji

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Random in tandem


1) They say too much of anything is bad, but my player is pouring out nothing but Beatles lately and I feel too much of Beatles is barely enough. I can't seem to get enough of them. "Yesterday" and "Something" have topped my 'most played' list, dethroning 'Mrs.Robinson" from the pole position it(she?) enjoyed for several months. :P I have been listening so much that I have a Beatles song for almost every situation. I better hit the guitar and practice a couple of Beatles numbers so that I'm not found wanting when the moment to woo the special someone arrives (hic hic!) :-P

2) I haven't watched a game of cricket in heaven knows how long. It's incredible how I am able to survive without things that I once considered as critical as air, water or Amala. (Speaking of Amala, I stayed up till small hours yesterday watching videos of Amala. More than a decade and my crush on her hasn't waned one bit. :-P ) The last time I watched a game, I was awake through the night to catch the match from the beginning. Not a wink of sleep and what do I get in return? An interesting match that we should have won ended in a draw, thanks to Mr.Duckworth and Mr.Lewis. They must be long dead I suppose and if ever I happen to visit their graves, I will not return without dancing a few nifty steps to my heart's content on it.


3) With each passing class, my misgiving about signing up for creative writing gains in strength. Not that it's not worth the money, but it's too good for me. Even though the course is extremely entertaining and illuminating, I feel pretty silly in the company of writers who mean business whereas I am there only because I have a lot of time on my hand and a few dollars in my wallet. :P Any little flame of hope of writing I had was extinguished beyond rekindling by the beautiful writings of fellow students. I feel like a fifth grade student with dyslexia, wondering how the hell he wound up in a room full of rocket scientists. :P

4) While the writer in me has taken quite a beating, the reader in me is on a roll. A haggard looking Mr.Writer returns home from the class, feeling like Indian team at the of end of English summer, and Mr.Reader jumps at the chance to mock and sneer him. "A terrible day, what? You look terrible. Tch tch! My life is one grand sweet song. My biggest problem is to decide to which book to read tonight. Herriot's Dog Stories is damn hilarious and Wodehouse's letters are charming and full of wit. And there is Animal Farm. I am at sixes and sevens. And heaven. And I get all that for free from the public library, whereas you pay to get beaten up. Pretty silly, what?"

5) I am on the brink of giving up vegetarianism. It's so hard not to give in to the temptations of  delicious-looking and mouth-watering chicken, when my plate is filled with green salad and - yuck! - tofu and half-baked vegetables. I was living on burger and sandwiches but I had to stop "Project Burger Everyday" when my internal organs protested with loud growls (mostly when some gorgeous chick is around) and turmoil. It's almost impossible to find veg. food that's delicious in the food court. That's not a surprise, as people here are vegetarians not so much for religion as health reasons. As they say, all desirable things are expensive, fattening or committed to someone else. :-|

6) If this cold weather is just an indication of worse things to come, then I am sure I won't live long enough to taste Canadian winter. I can barely survive fall here in Canada, let alone winter. I am roaming about all bundled up looking like 'pulla pudikaravanga'. On the bright side, I am totally in love with my hat. :-D The best thing about this place is you can walk around with an absolutely revolting hat and no one will look askance at you and there will be no dogs to chase you around. :-)

7)Felt so happy when a stoic of a friend dropped in a mail saying he misses me. Hey Jumbo! I miss you too. :-) (I know you read my blog surreptitiously. :-P)

Cheers,
Balaji

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Socially yours

It must have been more than a year since my last tweet. I reset my long forgotten Twitter password today and logged in. I felt like a man who had ventured on a voyage into the blue and returned home, only to discover that it was a completely different place. Ok, that's an exaggeration but I could see that Twitter has changed a great deal from the last time I logged in. People tweeting away to glory,  giving a minute by minute account of their lives, debating current affairs or just harping on this and that. It must be a lot of fun. Strange it may seem, I find it intimidating.

The reason for this is manifold. Even though I make the most of my life and work as many enjoyable things as I can into my calendar, I always have a sense of flatness that my life is not as interesting as it could be. I might as well keep it under wraps than show it to the world and make an ass of myself. I would rather write a post on my blog (which gives me all the privacy as there is no one really following my blog) than tweet about it. Besides, being out of social networking sites gives me a lot to jaw about when catching up with friends. It's so much more fun to hear it from them than reading about it on internet.

Being an introvert doesn't really help in this matter. This may surprise a few but the fact is beneath the cheerful and friendly exterior I maintain, there is a shy person who feels uneasy in the company of strangers. Social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook serves largely for people who revel in the company of people, strangers or otherwise. Moreover, one needs to have a reasonable intelligence to not make an ass of oneself on networking sites. There is a quote that says "It's better to be stupid and quiet, then to be stupid and let the whole world know". Believe it or not, an appreciable amount of human beings (myself included) believe that Balaji Srinivasan has a wise head on his shoulders. :-P The best I could do to them is keep my mouth shut and not let them down. :P

Most of all, I positively believe that friends can stay connected without any social networking sites. Friends never go out of touch. Yes, you get to meet your buddy from fifth grade about whom you never gave a moment's thought until Facebook sprang him/her on you, but how does that change your life? (Unless you renew your childhood crush and begin a new innings but it's most likely that he/she will be married or committed. :-) ) Yes, Facebook reminds you of your friend's birthday, but the sentimental fool that I am, I'd rather take blame for forgetting my friend's birthday than be reminded by Facebook.

Gee, what started as post on what I did today turned into introspective and self-defensive. I logged into Twitter to check a photo of my friend. Once done, I wrote a tweet for old time's sake ("Boo! You never belonged there," says an inner voice). And logged off. So long, Twitter!


Sunday, October 9, 2011

D-day

It's Johnny's birthday. A legend who lives through his music. Happy birthday, sir!

One of my favorite Beatles Songs:




Saturday, October 8, 2011

Fall from space

I was so high up that I could get a panoramic view of the city. It looked beautiful in the setting sun. I have been living in Toronto for over three months but I had no idea there were so many trees in Toronto. I wish I had made the most of the chance and taken in more of this beautiful city but when you are so far above the ground with the intention of jumping off, enjoying the vista is the last thing on your mind. I don't remember if there was anything on mind at all. The only emotion I was aware of was extreme nervousness.

I wasn't the only one to be nervous. Shiva and Ashish were nervous too. They were so nervous that neither of them spoke a word for a while. If you know how talkative both these guys are, you will understand what it means. We locked arms. I was in the middle and Shiva to my right. We were ready.

"I am not quite sure whether our decision was right," spoke Shiva at last, breaking the silence.

"Too late to think of it. We can't undo what we have done now," I replied.

Silence fell again. A little while passed before the silence was broken again.

"I wonder why so many people have gathered to watch us die," remarked Ashish, good-humouredly.

That's when I noticed that there were about fifty people, eagerly looking skywards to catch a glimpse of three guys being pulled down by the force of gravity from so high up. Some of them had whipped their cameras out and were recording the moment. Why would anyone want of snap pictures of unknown guys doing something foolish, I wondered.

"Look at those guys taking our snap," said Shiva, reading my mind. "Our photos will be all over Facebook. Thousands of people will "like" the videos and photos of three damn fools doing a foolish act."

"Pity you don't have a Facebook account, " Ashish said to me. "But I don't think that will matter anymore." 


"I don't know how rotten it's going to be, but this might be our last photograph ever. We might as well put a big smile on our faces,"  I said, forcing myself to grin.

Both of them followed suit and we jumped off.

What ensued in the next one minute was the most exhilarating moment of my life.

At the end of it, I opened my mental check-list and ticked off "Do sky-flying".

Monday, October 3, 2011

All I need is Coffee

In the near future, if you read or hear the news about the sudden - and not sad - demise of  an unidentified person owing to excessive consumption of (free) hot chocolate, waste no time in trying to identify the person. That will be me. I have been drinking hot chocolate by the litre everyday that I am surprised I haven't dropped dead yet. That can partly be put down to the fact that I can help myself to an endless supply of hot chocolate at office, and partly because Coffee - without which I thought I couldn't live three months ago -  in this part of the world tastes much worse than my Pepper Rasam. Some like it bitter. A little bit of bitterness adds taste to coffee but not so bitter that it puts 'Kasayam' to shame. No, thank you. I am not a tea person but I'm sure that doesn't taste any better, either.

It beats me why any man in his right mind would want to drink coffee without milk and sugar. That's like making Sambhar without tamarind and onions. Takes the essence out of it. Not that milk and sugar are not available. You can go on adding milk from dawn till dusk but at the end of it your coffee will still taste bitter. It's an acquired taste said a friend of mine who's from Chennai too but after three months all I have acquired is an acute distaste for coffee.

Toronto teems with Indian restaurants that it's impossible to turn around a bend and not come upon an Indian restaurant. However, there are a handful of restaurants that makes me think I am in India, while the rest makes me wish I were. Not a single place that serves coffee that tastes the way it's supposed to taste. I have almost forgotten the aroma of freshly brewed coffee. I wish I could get them all a copy of R.K.Narayan's My Dateless Diary in which he describes to a nicety how Filter Kappi is prepared in South India. 

Three months ago if anyone had advised me so much as to cut down on coffee, I'd have tied a brick to his neck and pushed him off into a lake. I can't believe myself that I have survived for three months without coffee. I tried out instant Bru coffee from an Indian shop and it was a big let down. When it comes to coffee, I don't settle for anything less than the best. Looks like it's going to be so long before I get to taste good coffee again.






Sunday, August 7, 2011

In memory of my Jerry

I wrote this several months ago. I published this post in my company's internal blog but didn't publish on this space. Here you go! :-)

***********
There are not many works that demand more effort and will than waking up at 6 o’clock in the morning. More so, if one had imbibed a few bottles of beer the previous night and stayed up till the wee hours of the morning, discussing philosophy and girls with bosom buddies. :-P So it was with a tremendous effort I opened my eyes, and peered at my friend who, it seems, had had a harrowing time trying to shake me out of slumber and was presently hurling some indecent remarks at me. Having retorted with invectives no less indecent, I asked him why the heck did he wake me up.

‘That filthy pest of yours’

‘Eh? What are you blabbering about?’ I asked, puzzled and wondering if he was still under the influence of alcohol.

‘That stinking rat. What else?’

For the uninitiated, among the rich diversity of fauna of my house, which by the way includes my friends,  there was this rat, which I think must have been a scathing critic in it’s previous birth. It frowns upon anything that it believes is an eyesore  or crappy. It expresses it’s disapproval firmly by sinking it’s teeth into the poor object and ripping it apart. The annual gift bean bag suffered a cruel fate because it did not think, I guess, maroon was a suitable color for a bean bag and dug holes in ten places.  It is extremely finicky when it comes to books; it leaves P.G.Wodehouse books untouched and uses ‘Kumundham’ and Chetan Bhagat books for relieving himself of unnecessary stuffs accumulated in it’s bowel. ;-) It has an acute distaste for blue colour and nibbles at anything that has a picture of Actor Vijay on it. :-P It generally announces its presence by pushing the kitchen utensils off the shelf, loves “Mortein Rat Killer” and has a flair for games, which invariably involves pinching the fish-food and hiding it in places we can’t reach for. Even though it caused innumerable troubles, I took a fancy to this rat and put my foot down when my friend, who was pretty sore at it for nibbling at his favourite blue underwear, came up with the suggestion of using mouse-traps.

What did it do now?’ I asked, hoping it had not done anything to my new guitar bag.

‘Go see for yourself. It’s your pet, after all,’ he said with a sympathetic look.

I endeavored to rise to my feet but the gravitational force, which seems to have a special liking for inebriated men, didn’t let go of me. After tripping and stumbling a fair number of times like a newly born deer, I finally got on my feet and proceeded to kitchen to find out what wreak this beast of a rat had caused.

And there it was, in a corner of kitchen, unmoving, upturned and dead.

When I was in class eight, I had a cat named ‘Teddy’, which gave birth to ‘Humpty’ and ‘Dumpty’, and Dumpty in turn gave birth to ‘Jack’ and ‘Jill’. And Jill was my favorite. When Jill died I couldn’t give him a proper funeral- it was just thrown away- as I was admonished that it wasn’t sanitary and that has always been one of my regrets in life. But I wasn’t going to add one more to the list of regrets. I decided to give this rat a proper funeral.

Mournfully, I lifted it by the tail and dropped it into a small cardboard box. While I was thinking of some suitable place to bury it, my friends were involved in a discussion as to what caused the downfall of this mighty rat, which had escaped many sophisticated traps and thrived on rat poison. When I proceeded to perform the funeral service, the discussion had reached nowhere near the conclusion. Opinions were divided as to whether it was the rasam I prepared or my stinking socks that finally did the poor jerry in.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Sound of Silence

You are enjoying a stroll in an empty park on a fine day, you come upon something suspicious and upon examining it you find yourself gaping disbelievingly at a bag full of money. Or you are being taken to tasks by your boss and a lightening appears out of blue and strikes him on the head. Take your pick. These are incidents that will certainly light up one's day - certainly mine. The ecstasy one derives from these can be paralleled only by the ecstasy of discovering good music by chance. (Why the hell don't you come to the point in a jiffy, you ask! Well, brevity and eloquence have never been my forte. Beating around the bush, is. :P )

I happened to experience that ecstasy a few months ago when I was watching a movie. Not very long ago, the most important work in my life was playing cricket on Saturday mornings and following it up with a movie at home with a bunch of half-wits who also happen to be my bosom buddies. In a moment of rare brilliance, S suggested that we watch The Graduate. In retrospect, I am glad we didn't throw his suggestion out of the window as we normally do. I did enjoy the movie and have watched it three more times ever since, but what caught my attention was the title song of the movie. The Sound of Silence. (I have a pleasant memory associated with that movie and that's what makes me watch it again and again. My lazy bones permitting, I shall write a post on it sometime.)

I don't think there is any other song that has made a better first impression on me. The first time I heard, I was hooked. I have heard a million times ever since but each time I hear it I feel a sensation that is no different from what I felt when I heard it first. Without further ado, ladies and gentlemen, I give you The Sound of Silence.


The Sound of Silence isn't my favorite song of Simon and Garfunkel. Mrs.Robinson, is! Here's to Mrs.Robinson.

If you don't hear the Sound of Silence or don't find Mrs.Robinson attractive, you and I may never see eye to eye on music. :-P

P.S: I'm a music illiterate. I know as much about notes and pitches as Kalaingar knows about English literature. However, music is one of the few things that makes my world go round. It is well within your rights to think that I don't qualify to write a post remotely related to music, but this is my blog and I will write whatever crap I want to write. So there! :-P

Saturday, July 30, 2011

To Chennai with love

All things eventually come to an end. It's too bad though, that good things meet with its end sooner and bitter episodes last longer. My short stay at Swathi Apartment, Adayar is one of those beautiful moments tucked away in a corner of my memory. My three months in that heaven, unclean though it was, was laced with so many wonderful episodes and memories that will last eight lifetimes.

Physically I am several thousand miles and a couple of oceans away from that place but my heart is still in Chennai. Not a day goes by that I don't think of it. Some days, it's my first thought in the morning and the last before I crash. What I wouldn't give to get that life back again! But then again, there is nothing so valuable that I could trade for a piece of my past. Perhaps, that's what makes it precious. And priceless.

I miss the last night strolls every night to have steaming hot coffee, even though it tasted nothing like coffee. I miss bickering over tv remote and the fight that eventually breaks out. I miss Saturday morning cricket. I miss Friday night parties. Late night ice-cream. I miss those birthday celebrations and how we kicked the hell out of the birthday baby in the name of bumps. I miss watching movies at Jeyanthi theater and listening to Thala complaining that he'd never go to that theater again. I miss chatting over a drink at Fruit Shop until the shopkeeper would ask to leave. I miss how we cared for each other but never really made it explicit, thanks to our alpha-male attitude! I miss Thala's dumb attempt at wisecrack and how only he laughed at his own jokes. I miss pulling Mean-mullu's leg over his stinginess. I miss watching movies with Suna-panaa, who'd driving us nuts by reciting the dialogues before it came on screen and how he would irritate us by rewinding and doing it all over again. I miss mami's sense of humour.

Above all, I miss the children we were.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Notes from a big country

If you have not heard of Bill Bryson, skip the next line. :P

If you are wondering if this is a review of Billy Bryson's book, you are wrong. The shameless guy that I am, I copied the title of his famous book and used it as the title of what I think will be a series of posts on my life in Canada. Yeah, it's an utter disgrace to Billy and Billy will be turning in his bed - he's not dead yet to say grave :P - but as I said, I'm a shameless person. :)

I arrived in Toronto last Saturday night at about nine. I slept through the journey and woke up to find that the plane was about to start its descent to the airport. I looked out the window and it was bright and sunny. I thought the plane had arrived much earlier than the scheduled time. I might have asked the guy beside sitting beside me what the local time was, but he was annoyed with me and wouldn't talk. This being my first experience with chopstick, I had a pretty hard time eating the noodles I was served in the flight and so was the guy beside me, what with noodles flying all around me. My take away: Never travel in flights that serve Chinese cuisines.

Despite the street names that are easy to remember, a large part of my first two days in Toronto was spent getting lost. Yonge Street - which I'm told is the longest street in the world - is the reference line and there is subway line that runs through this street. The names of other places are suffixed either east or west with the name of the nearest subway station on Yonge Street. Pretty simple, isn't it? But not for me. Thanks to my horrible sense of direction, I would come out on the wrong side of the subway station and wander about for a while - two hours and twenty minutes if you want to be precise - when the hotel room was just about 100m south of the station.

I stopped stepping out alone after the first couple of days. Partly because I didn't want to get lost again but mostly because I needed someone to order for me in eateries as nearly every time I couldn't make out what I was being asked. I don't have a problem when people speak fast and without accent or when people speak with accent but not fast, but when combine the both- which is what happens in all the food joints here - the best I could do is grin like a stupid sheep. And when I'm in doubt I always nod my head vigorously and say yes. It saved my face a couple of times but not always. :P

Last night in Sub Way, I managed to order a veg sandwich which was stuffed with so many things I don't like but was there because I nodded my head when I was being asked. Then in the counter a good looking girl asked something which I heard as "Doyawanadrnk". Even in normal circumstances I would have said yes, but this was a pretty girl and I couldn't say no even though I didn't understand what she said. As usual, I replied in the positive, nodding my head all the time, to which she asked, "fountanorbodel". Again the same response from me. She said the same thing again. Again. And again. Realizing that this conversation was going nowhere and that I was holding up the queue, she said I should be fine with a fountain and held out a paper cup. That's when I realized I was ordering a drink. :oops: Imaging someone asking you whether you want a fountain or bottle and you replying "yeah, yeah", much like Rajini does in Padikathavan movie, nodding all the time and grinning sheepishly.

As I walked to the table, I thought about the whole episode and said to myself that that should be added to my list of embarrassing moments. A voice from my mind retorted, "You think that's embarrassing? If you call that embarrassing, what would you call the episode that happened on your first night here?" :P More on that later. :P So long! :)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Notes from a big country

All right folks, here comes the much awaited first post from Toronto. :) Ok, I'm the only one waiting for it but that's enough to call it much-awaited. :) A lot of interesting things has happened since I arrived, but it would have been a lot more interesting if I didn't keep getting lost everyday. Last evening I came out on the wrong side of the subway station and wandered about for a while - two hours and twenty three minutes to be precise - when my hotel was just about 100m south of the station. Did I say south? Gee, I'm a half-canadian now. :-P Canadians, or Canucks as I call them, use north, south etc when giving directions and seldom use right or left. I know it for a fact because a large of part of my last two days was spent asking for directions.

I really want to write about a lot of things I experienced or observed, but the owner of this laptop is threatening that he will mix my lungs in tonight's dinner if I don't hand over his property at once. So long folks! :)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Tussle

The sky has taken on a shade of grey. Reflects my mood today - gloomy. The air smells of rain. (Yeah, I could smell it from within this cage which is popularly known by the name cubicle.) How I wish I could tuck into my bed now and curl up with a book - preferably Ruskin Bond! There is something about reading Ruskin Bond when it rains. Something that I'm unable put into words. It's as enjoyable as partaking hot bajji and filter kappi on a rainy day. My idea of heaven. It has started to rain. It couldn't have chosen a more inappropriate moment. My mind and heart are engaged in a tug of war. My heart wants to swim in the sea of memories this rain evokes. My mind reminds me of work that needs to be completed today. For the moment, it's mind that is on top. Sigh!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Hmmm

As much as I like to think that I enjoy blogging, I find writing a difficult task. I don't have a natural talent for writing. Words pour out of me no more fluently than water drips from a leaking tap. Every turn of phase is an outcome of intense agony and desperation. The ones that I come up with are as eloquent as the way Namitha would pronounce vazhaipazham :-| There are numerous bloggers out there write beautiful posts and it's unfortunate that I make a point of reading many of them; unfortunate because they make me feel insignificant. Reading good blogs is as enjoyable as a good night's sleep and a good writing invariably creates a desire in the heart of the reader to write. And this is where my doubts regarding insignificance is put to rest. :P

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

tweet-o-post: All in an evening!

God! This maven exception is eating my brain. Why do these people use such esoteric softwares? I have never worked with any build tools and now it shows!

It takes me a day just to understand what I’m supposed to do. Reporting directly to clients doesn’t help. I have no choice but to stay back and complete the work, unless a King Cobra slithers in and gives me a sting to relieve me of this trouble called work.

Everyone around is packing up and leaving for the day. Yeah, rub it in guys! I needed that a lot!

Here he comes! 6 o’clock on the dot. He expects delivery on time but a new seat request raised a month ago, which shouldn’t take more than 2 weeks, is still being processed. So much for his perfection!

A client who has a sound technical knowledge is a pain in the ass.

Nothing boosts the productivity like last minute panic. Calvin is so right!

System almost always hangs when I am hard-pressed for time.

What wouldn’t I give to get out of this hell-hole? Every second seems like an hour and a simple math tells me that I have 60*60*4 hours to go for the day. Amazing!

Now people look askance at me. They probably think I have lost it! They don’t realize that a homo-sapien with a deadline looming large is bound to talk aloud… to himself.

Another mail asking for updates. I spend more time updating what I have done than I actually do something.

Epiphany! Now I’m know why my enthusiasm is at an all time low. I am a part of an all-men team. Is my manager a male chauvinist? I dare say he is a sadist.

It’s 7pm and I have not completed even 10 percent of my work. Heaven help me!

Desperately hoping for a miracle. It happened once. Will it happen again?

I didn’t know I could type so fast keeping the spelling mistakes to a minimum. Perhaps I was never in so much hurry ever before.

It’s good to communicate with clients through emails. If I had stood in front of him, he would have spat on my face for asking that silly question. I have asked him so many questions that he might as well have done it himself. That would teach him not to delegate any work to me. ;)

I reserve a special hatred for people who talk so loud on phone. Why do they need a phone in the first place?

Must. tone. down. my. sarcasam.

Gee! I just noticed that my client’s first name is an anagram of his last name. How’s that for a coincidence? Or is it?

My manager just said on the phone that he gets no “satisfication”. Thanks boss! I needed that stress buster. :)

Why do people say “No problem” for thank you. What happened to the good old ‘welcome’? Gone out of fashion?

I had no coffee in the last three hours. That’s a record of sorts.

Close to five years in an IT industry and I still don’t understand the meaning of this cryptic and mysterious expression - “paradigm shift”. But if someone donated me a rupee everytime I heard this expression, I’d have become a crore-pati by now.

Comfortably numb!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The question of answer

1) You wake up late yet again. You don’t want to be late for work as you have an important call in the morning. You get ready in record time. You are about hit the road when you encounter the kizhathu mami (ground floor mami) and she greets you with a question: office-ku poriya pa? (Are you going to office?). You curb your impulse to say “illa, central station la sonpapdi vikka poraen. (No, I’m going to central station to sell sonpapdis)” and instead mumble a gentle ‘yes’ in reply.

2) You signal a share auto to pull over. The driver asks, “Enna sir share auto va?” You come within an ace of saying, “No, I wanted to know how you are dealing with fuel price hike,” but you don’t because you don’t have the nerve to mess with an auto-driver. You get into the auto that is already loaded with more people than the population of Australia and brood over cowardice and population until a hot chick hops in the next stop.

3) You are waiting in cafeteria for a seat with your lunch plate/box. You look around desperately for a seat and find one of your acquaintances gorging on thayir sadham contentedly. You give a wry smile that’s tantamount to saying “You’ve had enough. Now get your posterior off that seat”. But that’s obviously lost on your acquaintance who says “enna ennum sapadaliya? (Not had lunch yet?)” with a pleasant smile.

4) It’s 9pm. You are breaking your head with an issue but cracking it seems harder than comprehending Arundathi Roy’s essay. You are on the verge on turning mad when you get a message in OC: machi, still in office? :|

No points for guessing what’s common to all these situations: dumb questions. Questions to which they already know the answer but that doesn’t deter them from asking. Questions that make you wish you didn’t live in a civilization so that you could spear everyone who asks such questions and throw them to crows.:P Questions that make you want to adorn them with hot tar. :P

Someone said one can judge a man by the question he asks. I am not sure if he/she is still alive but if he is I’m sure going to whack him over the head with a blunt instrument because what he said was one hundred percent untrue. Everytime you think you have a measure of how much dumb a person is, they make you to reassess by throwing an incredibly dumb question at you. Some people never cease to amaze me with their interminable array of dumb questions.

The day after a haircut is the most dreaded day in a guy’s life. There are people who think their soul won’t rest in peace if they did not ask in their lifetime at least fifty people “You had a haircut?” with a surprised look that one has when peeping into guy-next-cubicle’s payslip. :P But there is consolation here. This question being not uncommon, one can put to use the time one is at the mercy of barber, pondering over a variety of funny replies to this question. I always have a dozen answers in stock for that question and choose any one based on age/gender/designation of the questioner. ;)

One day I was returning home from office by train hanging on foot-board as usual. I boarded the train at Sanatorium station. The train came to a halt in Chrompet and I got off to make way for others. As I stood waiting for the train to start, a young man who wanted to board the train walked up to me and asked me a question that I felt pummeling him to a pulp: ”sir, is this ladies compartment?” How could an educated guy -well, he looked like one - who spoke in English not deduce that a decent guy - I look like one at least - wouldn’t get into a ladies compartment? Now, what’s the name of the bloke who said ‘there is no such thing as silly questions.’ If you ever run into him, tell him from me that he is a cuckoo.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Rants of a dormant reader

So many books to read. More than fifteen days have passed since I started Sea of Poppies but I’m still on page 15. There is unfinished Papillon. And a Bill Bryson’s book, which I enjoyed so much that I don’t want to finish. I read two or three books parallely. And I almost always read P.G.Wodehouse. This might give you an impression that I am a voracious reader, but sadly the only activity of mine to which I would attach the word ‘voracious’ is eating. My reading interest can be best described by Sine Wave. Alternative cycles of peaking and hitting the nadir.

It’s the latter part of the cycle that I’m going through now, which was preceded by a spell of intensive reading during which period I finished seven books in a span of thirty days. By the standards of a few avid readers on ch1 this may not be a big deal, but to me, whose previous best achievement was reading an entire copy of kumudham at one go while waiting in a saloon, this is quite an achievement.

A change in my work timing has contributed to dampen my spirits. My day starts at eleven in the morning and I turn in so late that by the time I reach home IPL match is almost over. That doesn’t mean that I do not read because of my hectic work(hic hic!). On the contrary, I mostly read a lot on days that were packed with work. And on days when my important task was deleting the forwarded mails, I reach home too exhausted to lift an eyebrow, let alone a book.

It doesn’t help to have a bunch of clowns for rommies who think reading is a waste of time and whose idea of a good book is one that has a skimpily clad women on cover (that’s an exaggeration!) and has a storyline that, if adopted into a movie, Mallika Sherawat and Moncia Belluci can do full justice to. Not that I would shy away from such books, but my literary preferences aren’t restricted to such books. It would be an exaggeration to say that they stand in my way. They go about their business of watching movies and I go about my business of reading, only that I will have to switch off the light and read.

Sometimes I flirt with the idea of waking up early to read, knowing fully well that I can’t rise early to save my life. I set the alarm clock for 6am before turning in for the night and this is what generally happens:

6:00 am: The alarm goes off.

6:03 am: Roomie 1 wakes up. Kicks me in the ass. I don’t budge.

6:04 am: I realize there is some commotion going on.

6:04:02 am: Alarm goes on snooze mode.

6:09:02 am: Alarm goes off again.

6:10 am: Rommie 2’s sleep is disturbed. Hurls invectitudes at me.

6:11 am: I begin to wonder if there was any important work to be done.

6:11:03 am: Alarm goes on snooze mode again.

6:16:03 am: Alarm goes off again.

6:17 am: Roomie 3 wakes up and switches off the alarm.

9:30 am: Good morning. :D

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Small friends in my life

There is no dearth of peculiar peoples in my life but Chicha stands out from the crowd. Chicha had the knack of doing silly things and getting himself injured. That’s not his real name though. I don’t remember the episode that gave him that sobriquet. The name spread around like wildfire in no time and everyone in the neighbourhood started calling him Chicha. Even his parents. He disliked being called Chicha but he seldom protested. He knew that the more he showed his dislike the more often we would call him Chicha. He must have thought we would soon forget it. On the contrary, many years later as I write this post, I have forgotten his real name.

He was introduced to me by our mutual friend Mohan anna, himself a peculiar character. We were all living in the same street in West Mambalam. Mohan anna was a middle-aged man. And jobless. He claimed he played cricket for Railways and once bowled to Rahul Dravid in the nets. He was extremely popular among the children because he was an excellent cricketer and and we always fought to have him in our team during street cricket matches. He was hated by every parents for spoiling their kids. There was not a kid in neighbourhood who wasn’t warned by his parents not to mix with Mohan anna.

The day Chicha nearly became blind is still green in my mind. It was twilight and me, Chicha and a few more guys were playing with bambaram (Top). Chicha was the best of the lot and he was beating our bambarams to a pulp with his. Mohan anna happened to pass by at that moment and as usual he was curious to find out what we kids were up to. Chicha beamed at him, full of pride. But that pride soon vanished when Mohan anna grabbed a bambaram and did a trick with that that left us gaping at him with amazement: he spun the thread around the pambaram in a jiffy, tossed it down and just a millisecond before it hit the ground, he pulled it back and lo! the pambaram sat on his palm, spinning gloriously.

Soon Chicha and I began practising the same. We knew that would stand us in good stead when the time came for wooing the girls in the neighbourhood. Chicha did everything right except that he pulled it back too hard. The bambaram went miles in the air. And there was a power failure and the whole place was engulfed in darkness. We couldn’t see a thing, let alone a pambaram that was somewhere above our head, coming down at the speed of 9.2m/s. Finally I spotted an object coming down. Sharp as my eyesight was, my vocal chord did not spring into action when it was most needed and I found myself incapabale of performing simple tasks like shouting “Hey! step aside. It’s on you.” I was rather tongue-tied and remained a mute spectator as the bambaram landed right on his left eye. Sigh! He was immediately rushed to hospital. I thought he had seen the last of us as he would return a blind man.

We were so relieved when his mother greeted us the following morning with the news that all was well with her son. She was baffled why her son kept mumbling “Mohan anna… Mohan anna” all the way to hospital. ”Very affectionate about you,” she said to Mohan anna, not without a touch of conern. Mohan anna fixed me with a penetrating gaze as I struggled to suppress my giggles.

One would imagine this would have caused Chicha to stay indoors for sometime but he was not the sort of person who could be confined within four walls, even if he was half-blind. He joined us the very next evening for a game of cricket. He managed to go through the first half of the game without injuring himself further. But things took a turn for worse when he came in to bat.

In those days, word of the Captain was final, because often the kid who owned a bat would be the captain. Whatever he said, were the rules. When he claimed he hadn’t nicked when playing a shot, no one argued because we would rather give him an extra gajji than risk irking him, which would lead to him walking away with his bat. So when the captain hit the ball straight down the road and nonchalantly asked Chicha to fetch the ball he couldn’t refuse.

The ball had travelled quite a distance. The enterprising guy that he was, rather than walking all the way, he flagged down a two-wheeler and hitched a free ride. When they approached the place where he thought the ball was lurking, he asked the man who was riding to pull over.

“Niruthungooo,” he shouted, his words thickly laced with brahmin accent.

“KYAA,” replied the man, shouting louder to assert his decibel supremacy.

“NIRUTHUNGOOOOOOO,” he bawled.

“KYAAAAAA”, the man bawled too, as if there was a contest going on.

This hollering back and forth continued for a while, much to our amusement. An enterprising guy as he was at times, he was largely a dumb (affably dumb, if I might add) fellow who couldn’t figure out things that guys with IQ as good as that of jelly fish’s would do without breaking a sweat. Like a guy wearing turban and sporting big beard and replying only in Hindi, might be a Punjabi guy who can’t speak or understand tamil. Not being able to deduce simple things in one thing, and jumping to foolish conclusion is another thing. And Chicha concluded that the guy was trying to kidnap him.

“Kapathungoo.. kapathungoo.. kidnap.. kapathugoo”. He began to scream to get the attention of the people around.

They must have thought this was clownish, for everyone enjoyed the buffonery rather than come to his rescue. Taking matters into his own hands, he jumped off the moving vehicle… and was left with just one hand to take futher matters into. He suffered a fracture in his right hand.

I thought a half-blind, partially handicapped Chicha would be a mellowed boy. Not to be. He soon proved me wrong by trying to make nellika juice by feeding a peice of nellika into sugar-cane juice machine. He did make juice.. of his fingers. This soon faded into oblivion when he sustained several injuries, while performing a Bangra step in premature celebration of his victory in a cycle race and lost control and the race. And once he tried to jump off the first floor with an umbrella, when someone told him that umbrella was a miniature parachute. Good thing he was told ‘miniature’, or he would have tried to jump off the LIC building. And many more.

Three years later he moved out of that locality. That was the last I saw of him. Never heard from him, either, after that. I wonder if I’ll be able to recognize him if and when I run into him. Given the myriad damages he would have inflicted upon this anatomy through these years, he’d look a totally different man.

Monday, April 25, 2011

A fine balance

This is not a review but merely an attempt to write a few lines about a book that I recently read - A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry.

My friend when recommending this book to me said, “This will suck out all happiness in you.” Half-way through the book I was drained of all happiness in me. When I finished it I had a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach and a lump in the throat. The novel is sad, grim, haunting and depressing, and although there are moments of joy, comedy, romance and happiness, it’s not a happy story. This is the most depressing book I’ve read so far.


This novel chronicles the life of four strangers thrown together under one roof in Bombay. Dina Dalal is a widow in a constant struggle to make both ends meets and keep her precarious independence, much to the chagrin of his wealthy brother. Maneck leaves the himalayan hills and his family he loves to purse a diploma in refregiration in Bombay, a course which his father thinks will equip him to carve a prosperous future for himself. Ishvar and Omprakash, uncle and nephew, leave their town plagued with “untouchability” with dreams of saving up enough money and returning to thier town to start their own tailoring shop. This is a story about how these four come together and find family in each other. This a story about their friendship, laughter, sharing and caring, their courage to struggle despite their problems, and the State of Emergency declared by the Prime Minister that leads to a series of events that wreaks havoc in the lives of these four and other poor people.

There are many moments in the book that will bring tears to your eyes. The author’s brilliance shines through in the last few pages and the unexpected twist in the end will blow your head off. Or make you sob if you are weak-hearted like me. For people like me, who can’t stand suspense, do resist the tempatation to read the last page in middle of the story. It’s worth it.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Man of the match

The match between India and England was a cracker of a contest. Both teams did extremely well to snatch tie from the jaws of victory. Whenever one team tried hard to lose the game, the other team tried harder and came out on bottom. There were some skillfully dropped catches, most accurate misses of direct hits and spectacular misfield. The third umpire not wanting to be overshadowed by players gave a contentious decision that provided fodder for the likes of Durkha Butt and Ar-drab Goswami to run a one hour debate on whether Sharad Pawar had anything to do with it. All in all, it was a game that will go down in history as one of the most incredible matches, witnessed by thousands of politicians who got free tickets. :P

It was not just politicians but also thousands of fans all over the world who were cheering for their favorite team from their homes. Among these thousands were four guys from Chennai who were cheering for Sachin and India from their dwelling in Madipakkam. Among these four guys was one guy who single handedly almost steered India to victory.

And that guy is writing this blog post now.

Hear me out before you label me jackass, which you anyway will do after hearing me out.

At the end of first innings India scored 338 runs. Ravi Shastri with the help of all his experience and common sense which he doesn’t have came up with an expert advice that ‘England needed 339 runs for victory and needed to bat really well to win the match’. We were so impressed by his ingenuity and acumen that we decided to switch off the tv and spend the evening hanging out rather than marvel at his brilliance. After all, Indians had the match safe in their bag.

But when Ravi Shastri is at the commentary box “something’s got to give in”. It did. When we returned home and checked the scored, England required just 58 runs off 48 balls or something with 8 wickets in hand. India was staring defeat in the eyes. Then something happened that set Indians on course to victory. I began to strum my guitar.

Every time I pick up guitar, pandemonium breaks loose. Dogs go scurrying for cover. Neighbors lock up their windows and stuff their ears with cotton. My roomies who have no place to go to hide themselves except bathroom, which they feel is worse than the cacophony, hurl opprobrious names, abusive words, rotten tomatoes and unclean underwear at me to stop me from creating soul-stirring music. But I was undeterred. I carried on strumming even though the sound that emanated from guitar was more like a disgruntled groan of a constipated cow. No sooner I had started to strum passionately than fell a wicket. So did a lizard from the wall.

I don’t know if it’s a common phenomenon but we guys are extremely superstitious when it comes to cricket. Once when my roomie went to bathroom Sachin hit a boundary. We thought it was a good omen and locked him up in the bathroom. He was released not until Sachin got out some thirty minutes later because we felt locking him up wasn’t a good omen. :P

My roomies were now egging me on to play guitar as they thought it was a good omen. We all have our moments of glory. This was mine. Spurred by the fact that I now had an audience who would lend a listening ear, even though their heart wished I were in a mental asylum, I began to strum faster and harder. Wonder of wonders, another wicket fell the very next delivery. Now everyone was convinced beyond that I was the lucky charm.

For the next twenty minutes I treated my roomies to an entertaining and enthralling performance during which span England lost four wickets and were almost knocked out.

When India got back into the match and looked like scoring a comfortable victory, my music became a nuisance again. My roomies felt India wouldn’t require my service any more and asked me to quit playing in a few well-chosen words that would have made any Chennai auto-driver proud. :-P

After I stopped playing, the tail enders of England hit three massive sixes and managed miraculously to save the game. The match ended in a tie.

Now, you tell me.. don’t I deserve the man of the match award for my smashing performance? ;-)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Blah Blah Blah

I was returning home from office by train, foot-board traveling as usual. I boarded the train at Sanatorium station. The train came to a halt in Chrompet and I got off to make way for others. As I stood waiting for the train to start, a young man who wanted to board the train walked up to me and asked me a question that I felt pummeling him to a pulp. He asked, "Sir, Is this ladies compartment?" How could an educated guy -well,he looked like one - who spoke in English not deduce that a decent guy - I look like one at least - wouldn't get into a ladies compartment? Thank god none of my friends were around. That would have been enough for them to pull my leg for this lifetime. It would not be surprise if they present me a pair of bangles for my next birthday. Now, what's the name of the bloke who said 'there is no such thing as silly questions.' If you ever run into him, tell him from me that he is a cuckoo.

They say change is the only permanent thing. I think there are somethings that will never change, such as the way I devour cream biscuits. Not that I'm only one who loves licking the cream instead of biting along with biscuit, but it's just that I don't mind doing that wherever I am. Not even in the meeting room. Last time I busied myself with this intricate act, I didn't realize that my team mates stopped discussing and turned their attention toward me. For reasons unknown to me, all of them broke into giggles and laughter, as if they caught a glimpse of a gorilla in a zoo eating a biscuit thrown at it. Hmpf! If that was so distracting, I shouldn't have been offered one in the first place.


For the next few weeks, I'm not going to read any books, watch any movies, practice guitar or indulge in bathroom singing, because the cricket extravaganza has begun and all my waking hours will be spend watching cricket, highlights and arguing with friends over what Dhoni should have done after winning the toss and so on. Perhaps the reason why cricket is the most popular sport is because anyone can become a cricket expert. Even Mandira Bedi. It's funny how these people dish out their advices without batting an eyelid as to how Sachin should correct his footwork and so on. What kind of half-wits watch these program? I guess more than Mandira's gyan, it's her wardrobe - or the lack of it - that attracts the viewers. Cricket isn't gentleman's game anymore.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Wodehouse Mania!

One of my regrets is that I went through the first twenty two years of my life without reading a Wodehouse book. Heck,I hadn't even heard of that name. I happened to come across his name first in an internal blog. It wasn't even a post but a lengthy comment by my buddy R who was waxing grandiloquent about him. I made a mental note of him and just as it happens to all things mentally noted, it was forgotten.

Another couple of months passed without Wodehouse. Fate, in the shape of my friend H, stepped in one day and decided to change my life forever. H handed me a small book called 'Adventures of Sally' because he had misplaced the book I had asked him. The author's name stuck a chord and I condoned him for failing to bring along Scott Adams.

The book didn't make for an interesting read(I loved it on the second time). The plot wasn't engaging, long sentences made reading a challenging work and the language - 'Old bean', 'he shook his onion' etc. - seemed so weird. Even though I didn't enjoy reading, I stuck with it and completed it. I thought that would be the first and last Wodehouse I would ever read, until I encountered Bertie and Jeeves.

I don't know for the life of me why I bought 'Right ho, Jeeves' during my next visit to bookshop but I'm glad I did. For the next few days I was smiling, grinning, giggling, laughing, guffawing, chuckling, sniggering and what not. I fell in love with Bertie, the good-hearted blunderer, and wished I had a guy like Jeeves to save me whenever I find myself in a soup. The character names cracked me up - Pongo Twistleton, Gussie Finknottle, Tuppy Glossop etc. In short, I was having fun. After that there was no looking back. My passion for books grew exponentially. Wodehouse and I became matey. Uncle Fred, Lord Emsworth, Aunt Agatha, Aunt Dahlia and others became an integral part of my life.

His language is impeccable. It is hard not to be astonished by his mastery over the language. Reading Wodehouse will definitely elevate one's language to a higher plane. His humour is free from disgusting double enterdres and libidinous remarks. The plots are simple and one knows that all will be well in the end, for in the world of Wodehouse nothing bad ever happens, but getting there is never boring.

If you have never read Wodehouse, I'd recommend you start with Bertie and Wooster series. You'll definitely be tickled by Bertie's blunders and Jeeves ingenuity in pulling him out of trouble. Don't expect to take a liking to Wodehouse on your first read. Wodehouse is like wine. The older, the better.

P.G.Wodehouse never fails to amaze me. I concur with Douglas Adams that he is the best comic writer ever. No other author has made me laugh out loud till my sides ache as much as Wodehouse. If I am in a happy mood while reading him, I become happier. If I read him when in blues, he never fails to bring roses back to the cheek. What more can I ask of a friend?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Anxiety!

The hours leading up to the CAT result are always filled with anxiety. When CAT was a paper-based test, aspirants had a fair idea of what one could expect. With this online CAT, predicting scores would be an exercise in futility. CAT score doesn't depend on one's performance alone. A nod from Lady Luck is imperative to fetch good scores from this online "lottery".

Some of my friends who had already check their "leaked" scores(which the convener of CAT says is unethical. Bah!) are praying that it shouldn't be authentic. Others who have got good scores fear the contrary. And rest like me, who haven't checked their scores, are hoping that destiny would smile at them. :-)

Much as I hope I get what I deserve, I have a thought running at the back of my mind that another CAT goof-up is not an impossibility. Whatever be the case, I wouldn't let this feline break my spirit. On second thoughts, can it get worse than last year? I got a whopping 7.07% in DI. What a shock that was! It took me a few minutes to believe what I saw. If my ego wasn't so inflated, I'd have shed a few drops of tears too.

A whole year has passed now and I'm back at square one. In a few hours CAT 2010 result will be out. It would be an understatement to say that right now butterflies are having a gala time in my stomach. I'm repeatedly playing the exam day on my mind. Rewind, play, rewind, play. silly, but I can't help it. I know I've given my best shot and I'm happy about that. I may get more than or less than what I deserve. Whatever be the case, one thing is for sure - I'd emerge stronger.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

To hell with title, Kallis and Prometric!

First off, Happy new year folks! I'd been away from my blog for a long while - not that there are blokes hitting my blog by the hour, hoping that a post would sprout out of nowhere. What with Airtel(& other SPs too) charging one rupee for a sms on new year eve too, people - and that includes me - have stopped sending new year wishes through messages. Greeting cards made way to smses and emails, and now facebook has taken over.

Talking of facebook, I'm in the race to receive the most "unsocial guy" award for not having a facebook account. Looks like it's easier to find a honest politician than someone without a facebook account. :-P I guess I'm still an old-fashioned guy that prefers emails to posting message on the wall. I'd love to send snail mails(I resent that retronym) but my friends, who think I'm up to some mischief, refuse to give their addresses. And it affects one's "macho" image too. ;-) As for now, my grandfather is the only lucky soul who receives my letters. :P One reason for not signing up in facebook is the presence of most of my relatives in facebook - right from my 8-year-old cousin to my atha-patti. Given the gorillas I have for friends, I've little doubt than no sooner than creating an account my family will be in possession of many of my dark secrets. :-P And definitely I wouldn't want them to know why me and my friends were chased by Goan police ;-)

New year started off on a quiet note. For a change I spent the new year eve at home, watching Schidnler's list for the nth time. Not a good choice of movie for celebration but it wouldn't seem so stupid in the light of the fact that I had only two movies in my recently-formatted hard disk that night - the other one was "bayam" ravi's movie.

The quiet and serene new year day was followed by a horrific and disastrous day, thanks to XAT. If IIMs can hog the limelight(for all the wrong reasons though), can XLRI be far behind? IIMs have the unbridled support of Prometric, arguably the best in the business, who can infuse insanity(and malware) into any sophisticated system. Since XLRI hasn't partnered with Prometric, no matter how hard they tried they couldn't mess up the way the exam was conducted better than IIMs. So they came up with a novel thought of setting the paper so difficult that aspirants would mistake it for IIT-JEE and walk out. They even asked a few questions from IIT-JEE. How good is that? These are the same guys who crib about dominance of engineers in entrance exams and set papers designed to keep arts graduate out. Bottomline: yours truly for the first in 4 years failed to clear quant cut off. (Now you know why I'm bitching :-P)

It isn't so easy to get the better of IIMs. Not for nothing they are the best institutes in the country. Add Prometric to that, and you have a deadly combination! Even before people came out of XAT shock, CAT result was leaked, and that became the subject of every mba aspirants' discussion. XAT was pushed to the back of their mind. A masterstroke by Prometric, I say! :P Apparently they have loaded the cat results in database and testing was underway. And what more, it was available to public access. Duh! Some anonymous aspirants in eagerness had hit the website and checked his result. The word spread around and before noon thousands had checked their scores. By the time I got the word the application was shut down. Bah! As vadivel says "Nadathari tanam panalum nasuka panna matanga". Now all my friends know their scores and I've to wait for 6 full days to know mine. :-| And that's not easy when you know that people who took the exam in the same slot as you and whom you expected to get 99.5+%ile got only a meagre 90.1%ile. Normalization, my ass!

As if this was not enough, Kallis heaped more misery by scoring a defiant century in the second innings as well. I hate him! Much as I'm glad that he surpassed Ponting, I hate him for doing so when India is on the verge of a series victory in South Africa. One more day to go, 340 runs away. Can our guys pull it off? I've firm belief in law of averages - with the exception of CAT score - and Sehwag is due to score a big ton. No better time to do it. I hope! Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies. :-P