Monday, December 31, 2007


An enthusiastic heart.
A fresh start.
Ready to play the part.
Tough, bold, smart.

All the happiness you can take.
The bad stuff to forsake.
All the goodwill you can make.
And a spirit thats hard to break.

Health, wealth, opportunity, creativity, happiness, ambition and peace of mind.
A very Happy 2008 to all of you!

Sunday, December 30, 2007


They were not uncommon in those days. And when she drove, those rare moments of solitude provided her with the solace of unburdening her heart from those tears. As she navigated through those mounds of stone left on the road for some construction, little children running around unattended, cars honking behind her, her eyes had already welled up. Sometimes the tears rolled down her cheek, sometimes they refused, unwilling to take the plunge.

And then, foggy eyed and deafened by the protest of the honking vehicles behind her, she braked when she saw the little puppy jump on the road. The honking increased beyond comprehension: an incessant, approaching sound. She turned to see a man driving by, notably agitated, mouth irate profanities at her. And he was gone before she could get a hold of what was happening. Gone. Didn't he see her misty eyed face? The tears were still there. This time they took the leap, and slid down her cheeks before they made her shirt wet.

And she drove on, helpless.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

And this is what we do.

For this is what we do. Put one foot forward and then the other. Lift our eyes to the snarl and smile of the world once more. Think. Act. Feel. Add our little consequence to the tides of good and evil that flood and drain our world. Drag our shadowed crosses into the hope of another night. Push our brave hearts into the promise of a new day. With love: the passionate search for a truth other than our own. With longing: the pure, ineffable yearning to be saved. For so long as fate keeps waiting, we live on.
- courtesy Shantaram.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

One Way Traffic

At the risk of some creative mess, here goes. It was necessary to do this to convey it all. (Click to see a clearer, magnified version.)

The credit for all of this can be given to the one-ways of Bangalore. That they inspired this piece of um..whatchamacallit (colour-coded, no less!) from me at 2 in the morning, that says it all. I must be really troubled. :D

Makes me Happy.

Picture this.

Early morning.
Golden beams of bright sunlight pouring from in between the leaves of the trees.

This sight makes me very happy. It just does.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Project 2008

Yet another New Year arrives. And the urge to give myself yet another makeover overwhelms. :)
I should rephrase that. Yet another urge to give myself a makeover overwhelms.

What wonders a simple play of numbers can do to you. It can give you the inspiration to quit smoking, lose weight, stop eating red meat, spend more time with family, whatnot.

Then there are resolutions that simply cannot be tracked.
I will drink less.
A very safe resolution, especially for one that might undergo public scrutiny. Define 'drink'. Define 'less'.

Last year, just about this time, I heard a lot of people resolve to make no such resolve. Disappointing. 'Happy New Year!' is but the fun of finding out what kind of resolution you can make, how hard you can be on yourself, and how long you will last. And you don't have to be too hard on yourself if you don't follow through. The bar is set pretty low, if you look at the averages of the human population. Once, many many years ago, I decided to become a vegetarian on the 31st night of December. I was a determined, naive young girl. I started a whole four hours before the clock struck twelve. I actually lasted a whole three months.

So, I was wondering, what might be the resolutions I can take the liberty of making this time, in public eye? This blog is read by most people who know me on a personal level.

Therefore, I have decided, to let this open to all readers. The near, the dear, the queer, even the never-seen-'er.
So, dear reader, whether you know me or not, I'm sure you have some suggestion. Please drop in to the comments section, anonymous or not, and tell me what you think. I intend to pick what I think is appropriate, realistic, and very importantly, useful. This under the assumption that there are comments. So do pitch in.

Psst.. Comments are being moderated for a while. So don't worry if your comment doesn't show up immediately, it will eventually.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Can we still be Friends?

Does that sound familiar?

:) I don't know what 'being friends' really entails.
Sharing secrets.
Taking advice.
Sharing woes.
Expressing joy.
Being able to tell you on your face what you should or shouldn't do.
Laughing together.
Remembering birthdays. :)
Going out together.

Does it take all of this? Or is it an implicit understanding? I'm around, and I'll be there if you need me. Is that enough? Can you hurt someone when you're angry/upset and not apologise later because they'd understand anyway? Can you not be in touch with one for months/years and meet as though no time had passed? Can you be annoyed with some habits and mannerisms of your friend?

Phew. Apologies again for the vagueness. A farrago of thoughts, and an attempt to bring into them some coherence.


I've always believed that one can balance everything one wants in life, and have a bit of everything. Enjoy this, do that, enjoy another, do what you must here. But do it all.

Maybe its time I rethought that.

Does it makes sense to prioritise what is important to you, and give up on some other things completely? Do successful people eliminate the (relatively) less important to manage life? (A successful one at that.) Or is an effective balance the better solution?

In retrospect, I can say that I've never actually given up on any thing I really wanted to do. I've done what I had to do and done what I wanted to do, and managed a slightly above average result. Is that satisfactory? Subjective. The equation tends to be going towards an inverse relation between Success and Having it All. Very easy to contest that result but it seems to be the general tendency.

And then again, the very definition of success could also give one all these answers. What does success mean to you? What is an individual's definition? It seems that it must differ for each one.

Happiness, money, sense of achievement, family, career, love? A tricky combination of more than one.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Matrimony, Parents and the Bounds of Indian Propriety.

This isn't the love vs. arranged marriage debate. That's beaten to death. I might beat it some more sometime, but that's for another day.

So this friend of a friend, is going through the marriage-process. The things most girls in India go through at some point before their 30's. Unless you have found yourself a partner who is agreeable to your parents. Which, by combining the odds of (a) Finding a Partner who's any good, and (b) Of him being agreeable to your parents, becomes very highly improbable. In the event of a & !b (I am an engineer), you also have the option of running away from home, but that's gone out of fashion ever since the legendary DDLJ of a decade back. (If Shahrukh tells us all to win over our parents, we will. Hail, SRK!)


The Marriage-Process. It gives me great pleasure in describing this once-in-a-lifetime(-mostly) activity. The Marriage-Process would be a misnomer actually. Lets call it the Hunt-For-Man-Eligible-to-Get-Daughter-Married-to. The hunt. The search for the one, the big battle that culminates in the ultimate - the marriage. The peace of mind that comes with seeing the daughter safe with the stranger. Well, to be fair, the stranger is mostly, by the time the marriage happens, known for atleast a couple of months.

Hunting through multiple profiles and photographs. Sifting through the innumerable lies, and lying photographs. The meetings. It all seems so odd. And well, understandably discomforting. I'm taking the safe path here and not going all out against this stuff, because someday, in the event of ! a, I will, in all probability also be subjected to such rituals.

What follows the meetings, if positive, will be the phone calls and the recently added to the means of communication, chats (in the face of technological advancements and potential grooms in widely separated time zones - but of course.)

As if all this is not strange enough, what is most amusing, is that all these activities happen in parallel with many potentials. I'm not too sure of the exact situation here, but from the tales that reach these ears, some have 'em one by one, some all together. The men have what is the equivalent of parallel talks on business deals with multiple clients. The girls talk in parallel with their many suitors. Each is judging the other. Each is being judged. If not by many, then atleast the one chosen for that time period.

And this is where the irony of the Indian culture shows itself in full form. The very same parents who might have been scandalised at the idea of you going on a date will now offer you an array of (filtered, no less) men to choose from.. Here kid, look what we have for you.. go on, take a pick.

Once they have filtered the men in the categories of Financial Stability/Well paying Job, Education, Family and other itsies - not necessarily in that order of priority, they will encourage you to have long conversations with a man you don't know, to chat with another (and read over your shoulder), and maybe meet a third for coffee. :) You're not going to marry all of them, but now its okay. Okay to step out of what would ordinarily be inappropriate territory. Propriety, Indian culture, what will people say all forgotten :)

:D It all seems ridden with hypocrisy. It also amuses.

It only seems like all involved should enjoy this one window of parental license to flirt and date. But then, at the end of it all is the responsibility to make decisions that'll stick with you for life. Uh huh.

Forwards and Some More.

Luck took my side today, if only for the center line, if only for Rs. 60. But luck took my side today :) Thank you, Lady Luck.

I'd like to put up a great read forwarded by a colleague, also friend. Return to India is a fantastic read on the, well, trend of Returning to India. I'm not very proud of the eloquence I display in that last sentence :) but you will like the read. A tad long for a something-on-the-internet-article, but well worth it. Enjoy.

Yet another fantastic forward I received in recent times, (thanks Raghu) that I shall put forth. A video, a funny video. That, interestingly, also predicts that the viewer will blog about it. And so I duly do.

I've recently gotten into this practice of giving rhyming replies for SMS's I receive. And what better to have a reply that rhymes back. Exuberance from Trivial nothings. Pleasure from Passable Poetry.

Yet another thought that comes to mind, but this one must be granted the dedication of an entire post. So we shall meet again, and Soon. (For a change.)

Saturday, December 01, 2007

The Art of Procrastination

In my defense, atleast I finally got down to writing this. But then again, it isn't like I'm bound by deadlines. Well, I do have a sort of vague deadline in my head : but if I tell you about it I might actually have to stick to it. So what were we talking about again? Procrastination.



Okay. Let's just do this, shall we? Are you a procrastinator? The why do today what you can put off till tomorrow kind? Welcome to the club. Procrastination affects most people I know in some way or the other. I speak as though it is a terrible thing. I assure you, it is nothing of the sort. Well, atleast, recent studies show me there is some hope. By recent studies I refer to articles on the internet I read last week. We'll get back to that.

Let's dwell on the procrastination habit then. There are things I like to do, and things I don't. And yet I procrastinate. In both the above categories. I wonder if it's just become part of the routine of any activity. Think, procrastinate, think while you procrastinate, and only then, begin. Well its there, and how. To get up and go to the gym, to begin studying for that exam (the next day), to get started on that article I've been meaning to write, to make the move to the drop-box to pay my bills, many many things.

What do I do about it? Berate self. Make (yet another) resolution for the new year. Read articles on the internet? :)

Paul Graham writes about procrastination
. Positively, I see. Ah, this looks good, think I. But then I get disappointed. He categorises procrastinators and picks the category that puts off the small errands for bigger, more important stuff. He calls them the Good Procrastinators. Oh them, I realise. We all know about those guys. No help this is.

Then I find yet another article-on-the-internet. This is what I call good advice. I'll quote him here.

Please don’t get me wrong: I’m a skilled procrastinator myself. But you need to be smart and tightly wrapped to make it a way of life.

Begin by ascertaining accurately what “the last minute” is for a given project. A big project will generate many tasks that can, of course, be done the night before, but there are even more that can’t. Learn to identify each type.

The great procrastinators indulge in a pre-crastinatory phase that involves the full range of thumb-twiddling, foot-tapping, and snoozing while they determine when is the right time to put the pedal to the metal. They then enjoy the procrastinatory activity, which often includes late-stage work on other projects. In this way, they are mixing procrastination with multitasking — very 21st century. They treat themselves, after the successful event, to a period of post-crastination, in which they ponder how to put off things more effectively in the future.

But for most individuals, procrastination is dynamite. Don’t fool around with it until you’ve achieved a certain level of proficiency.

The complete article is here. Now this is the kind of advice I'd like to see more often. Do procrastinate, just do it well. In fact I can think of more than one other person, who I would call a Skilled Procrastinator. :)

Friday, November 30, 2007


Where do all the auto wallahs want to go? Which is the one place that would make them agree without hesitation?

This morning, I wanted to go to Residency Road. You know, that place in (almost) the centre of the city? And no one wanted to go. Many auto wallahs rejected my request in quick succession, until, almost out of pity, one guy after 5 minutes of thought, said he'd take me.

You know, like, Oh aaall right. If you reeeally want it. I'll do you this favour. And charge double the fare.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

No comments

I don't mean the comments on this blog.

When you ask someone for their opinion, some people like to say "No comments." Some of these some people actually have nothing to say, positive or negative. Some others of them are being kind by not saying anything bad. I think its worse than saying the bad stuff. Don't say anything. Don't say 'No comments' either. Somehow it seems to carry with it an implicit displeasure. Or am I just imagining things. Because when they say so, I assume they're saying it because of factor 2 : not wanting to say anything bad. Naturally then I must assume something is bad. Then I must wonder what exactly is. You could've told me directly for the same results. But then of course, you've safely exitted the scene by the time the realisation occurs to me. :)

But then again, you might have nothing to say, either. Who's to know!


I'm peeved.

- At love songs that claim that 'tere liye jaan de doonga' or 'I would give up my life for you' for the Hindi-impaired. Thoughts like this are what take the (stupid) people in love to another standard of stupidity. Note, only the already stupid ones. And no, its still not okay.

- At fairness creams and ads that claim that:
  • You will become (very) fair within X days. That's a good thing..even if it scares the people around you, because some such people who became fair are known to have begun glowing in the dark.
  • Once you become fair, you will:
    • win dancing competitions
    • spotted at the local talent hunt (on account of the new-found fairness: who can miss the face that emits light. In other words, how can you avoid the face that..)
    • the leading role in a movie which will doubtless be successful, and then of course with the fame you get, you can go back to your first love - theatre.
    • ..or win the love of your life (who will presumably be willing to give up his life for you, now that you are all fair, of course.)

Friday, October 19, 2007

Beauty. Happiness. Peace.

I saw the most beautiful child today. I was driving, and passed by the slum that lies on my regular route. This child was about five years old, traces of mud on her face. Dry, brown locks of hair, fell carelessly over her face. And through the dirt I saw her eyes. Shining. She walked with an air of owning the world, that was only endearing, to say the least. A little child with so much presence. In retrospect, I shouldn't find it so surprising. She was surrounded by people who laughed with her. Who shared the same confidence. The same air of contentment. Or did they? They teased each other and played around. Whenever I pass by them, there's always some gathering that is laughing about something, so preoccupied with each other's lives they are. Not once have I seen just a family by themselves. They're always together. Little ones sitting together, oiling and combing each other's hair. Women carrying buckets across the road that divided their housing. Men. Engaged in conversation. Laughing, chatting. And festivals, they bring on another different level of merrymaking in their lives.

Atleast thats how it seems from where I see them. What thoughts went behind these faces bronzed by the sun, I wonder. Was it the same everywhere? Is it like we see in the movies, where behind closed doors unfold another story of abuse or grief or the unshared burden of responsibility? Lines of worry covered by this bronzed contentment? I hope not. For faces that seem to glow with an inexplicable satisfaction, I sincerely hope not.

What would they answer if I asked them if they were happy?
What would you?

Thursday, September 13, 2007


Noun. [an-tis-uh-pey-shuhn]


An emotion involving pleasure in considering some expected or longed-for good event, or irritation at having to wait.

How does it feel to look forward to something really pleasurable and count the days, hours and minutes as the time approaches?
How does it feel if the event does not happen because circumstances change?
How does it feel at the last minute?
How does it feel when it happens? :)

Remember the school trip that was scheduled just after the test? How the night before, you just had to study and get through the hours till you were done with the paper? Even the summer holidays that began just after the final exams of the year. Ah,
the elation at walking out of that exam hall.

Me, I get so excited, I can barely think of much else. Even despite the fact that I believe that there is some value in doing what you must in the hours that you are counting. Some satisfaction at a job well done. Some happiness well-deserved. Some pleasure to enjoy without guilt.

Chug on I will now. Who knows when I'll have something to look forward to. :)

Saturday, September 08, 2007

The Art of Conversation

There are an infinite number of ways to start a conversation. Only I don't know any of them. As a certain someone says, there are 'different folks with different strokes'. And sometimes you are just stuck with another person alone. What must one do? How must one proceed?

The little kids are the easiest I guess. There are the standard set of questions that are guaranteed to give you returns whether you like it or not.

Which school do you study in? The answer to this one is, more often than not, UKG.
But that is your class. What school?
Oh forget who is your best friend? This seems to be every kid's favourite question. It's easy to answer, doesn't require much thought, because everyone has a best friend. Or think that they do. Maybe more than just one. And thus begins Priya, Divya, Karan, Rahul.. Note that as generations progress, there seem to be more names belonging to the opposite sex in this answer than earlier, and well, stranger sounding names.

Then we get to the in-their-teens-and-almost-resembling-adults category. I feel at my egotistic best with these ones. No one admires and respects a 22 year old more than these darlings. You can exhibit so much knowledge about so many things they don't yet know, and still come across as someone they can identify with. So we don't have to talk about them. Seems, however, that I already did.

Category 3: Peers. Same age group. Maybe older. Ah, all the same! There are people here that talk and talk and talk. And there are people who don't. At all. I'm put slightly at ease by the people who smile. It's easier to venture into communication with such people. But the other set that don't smile..and don't talk either. Why? One teeny smile is all I ask of you. Makes life easier for the two of us, seems to me. I think I must research the art of comfortable silences for them.

Again, when I say conversation, there are the normal must-fill-silence questions that I use on a regular basis (with different people!) : Where do you stay? How do you commute? Oh, the traffic.. this usually branches of into enough conversation about traffic, Bangalore, people, etc. to fill the next five-ten minutes. Unless the other person belongs to must-not-talk-or-smile category.

Again, note the difference between having a conversation and being an information market.
Conversation: exploring each other's thoughts, opinions, learning something interesting, getting to know something.
Information market: One party provides the other party with a lot of information. What kind of information? Well, depending on the listener, either interesting facts, uninteresting facts or irrelevant facts. Either way, it is one-sided, and some amount of discretion must be used when in this mode. :)

Well, there you have it, from kids to teens, information shops to he-who
-must-not-smile... a lot more categories waiting to be listed there, but for the fact that this post has gone on too long for me to go any further.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

New Blog Post

This time I just want to tell you how it feels to write a post. There are these thoughts in your head. You bring them out through your fingers. I love the way my fingers move on this keyboard, and help me convert thought into word. At times I am amused, at times I am amazed. There are times when I'm feeling sad, there are times when I'm happy. But writing here somehow makes me feel good. I read and I re-read what I write. And feel strangely proud, regardless of the quality of the final product.. :)

I hope to see a time where I can write more, write better. Magically transform all these random thoughts to coherent sentences. Nice coherent sentences. Fun-to-read. Informative (and/or) Entertaining (and/or) Delightful. I'll get there someday :) My promise.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Horror-Scope (neologism borrowed)

I'm guilty of reading my horoscope everyday.

:) I'm not guilty of taking it seriously. It works like this: If it sounds good, I hope it'll work. If it doesn't sound good, it doesn't bother me. Either way, I forget about it within approximately 120 seconds.

But today, apparently, fellow Ariens, 'karmic Saturn enters your 6th House of Health and Diet.'

!! Seriously? It would seem unlikely that the astrologers don't just make all this stuff up as they write. Get up in the morning, (maybe its the previous night, they like to be prepared) think, what can I tell the gullibles today? Hmm.. let's make a new House altogether!

Why stifle creative juices that flow in the veins of those who have taken this up as a career?

While we're making the new House (upper case!) lets get them a little health conscious. My bit to improve the world. Lo and behold, ladies and gentlemen, presenting to you, (sound please) the 6th House of Health and Diet!

I have nothing more to say. From today on, or is it only today, I have to make improvements to my daily health and diet routine. Thank you for telling me that, Astrologer. Only us Ariens, is it, again?


From time to time, I have found, I see the need to give my reset button a push. I have to start over. I cannot forget the old, I do not think it necessary that I should, but it gets easier with practice to let go, or atleast start afresh with new perspectives.

I love that, as opposed to earlier, or even as opposed to other people I have seen, I can now condition my emotional reactions (atleast in part) to be the way they should be. (Who defines what they should be, is another story.)

Incremental self-improvement, said someone. A continuous attempt, said I.
Seems it helps. Well, so long, older life. I'll keep your memories. And learn from them. You hang in there :)

From quote archives of Groucho Marx:
I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn't arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I'm going to be happy in it.

Monday, August 27, 2007


Happy Onam to all my fellow mallus! Above is the pookalam that we made at home today. Do pardon the stark simplicity - attributed to lack of more types of flowers, and well, creativity! My neighbours, Abhishek and Abhilasha, however, brought about a gem : absolutely fantastic.

A friend recently asked me the story behind Onam, and I gave a really vague story, much to his disappointment and confusion, I think. :) Which is why I have now researched the details, and will present the details for his benefit..and others. Here goes.

The story goes that Kerala was ruled by an Asura (demon) king, Mahabali. The King was greatly respected in his kingdom and was considered to be wise, judicious and extremely generous. It is said that Kerala witnessed its golden era in the reign of King Mahabali. It was the peak of its prosperity - everybody was happy and content.

Now seeing his fame as such a great king and leader, the gods upstairs started feeling a tinge of insecurity, so to speak. They felt challenged by his growing powers and felt the need to curb it. So Aditi, the mother of the Devas, pleaded with Lord Vishnu to do something about it. Persuaded, Lord Vishnu took the diminutive form of Vamana, a brahmin kid.

Thus disguised, Vishnu went to the king and said he was a poor Brahmin and asked for a piece of land. The King, generous as he was, told him he could have as much land as he wanted. The Brahmin said that he just wanted as much land as could be covered by three steps of his. The King was surprised to hear this but agreed.

A learned adviser of the King, Shukracharya sensed that Vamana was not an ordinary person and warned the King against making the promise. The King replied that it would be a sin for a King to back on his words and asked the Brahmin to take the land. The King could not imagine that the dwarf Brahmin was Lord Vishnu himself.

Just as King Mahabali agreed to grant the land, Vamana began to expand and eventually increased himself to the size of cosmic proportions. With his first step the Brahmin boy covered the whole of earth and with the other step he covered the whole of the skies. He then asked King Mahabali where is the space for him to keep his third foot.

The King realised that he was no ordinary Brahmin and his third step will destroy the earth. Mahabali with folded hands bowed before Vamana and asked him to place his last step on his head so that he could keep the promise. The Brahmin placed his foot on the head of the King, which pushed him to patala, the nether world. There the King requested the Brahmin to reveal his true identity. Lord Vishnu then appeared before the King in his person. Lord Vishnu also granted a boon to the King.

The King was so much attached with his Kingdom and people that he requested that he be allowed to visit Kerala once in a year. Lord Vishnu was moved by the Kings nobility and was pleased to grant the wish. He also blessed the King and said even after losing all his worldly possessions, the King would always be loved by Lord Vishnu and his people.

It is the day of the visit of King Mahabali to Kerala that is celebrated as Onam every year. The festival is celebrated as a tribute to the sacrifice of King Mahabali. Every year people make elaborate preparations to welcome their King whom they affectionately call Onathappan. They wish to please the spirit of their King by depicting that his people are happy and wish him well. The second day, Thiruvonam is the biggest and the most important day of this festival. It is believed that King Mahabali visits his people on the second day.

And there we have the story of Onam. It feels strange to depart from the seeming theme of atheism, if for a while atleast.. :) and then give you a story of the gods!

Monday, July 30, 2007

Are you absolutely certain?

Scott Adams presents some really delightful writing as he reasons why an atheist must, ironically, think himself God!

And a reader responds back with proof.


Monday, July 23, 2007


I apologise for the stark vagueness of this post. I hope that the generalisation, however, makes it easy for the reader to relate to.

I have the choice today. Its entirely in my hands. Yet I am unsure what course to take. In the interest of, well, myself, I attempt to explain without going into the details. I step up the abstraction just a notch.

Choice 1 : Unwanted at the moment. Atleast this is not how I imagined myself years ago, not how I hoped things to be. Yet I cannot evade the possibility that this might someday be my only choice left. And it might not be a bad choice.

Choice 2: There is the familiar, there is the thing I've wanted all along. I have it today, only I'm not sure I want it anymore. I think I have outgrown the long-coveted.

Choice 3: The attraction of the unfamiliar, the novelty of the unexplored. Could it be my best choice? I will not know till I go there.

One of these three? Or find a fourth?

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Random Thought 3

The worst part of trying to mentally condition yourself with the atheist view is that when you want something to happen, something that is out of your control, you can't pray to someone and hope it'll happen. I catch myself very often these days midway in a God please....and then I have to remind myself. But then again, you can console yourself that no one's out to get you. ;)

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

To do or not to do

What do you do when a beggar begs you for money at a traffic signal? I know a lot of people who have a strict anti-begging stance and will not give money ever. There are other people who always give. Me, it depends on my mood. When I feel s/he seems sincerely unable to make a living otherwise, I give. Else, I don't. Of course, I don't always analyze like that. Many a times it also depends on how much accessible change i have.

So one day, at a traffic signal, there was this man selling boxes of facial tissues. The easy-pull boxes that people generally keep in the car. I don't recall whether we had some in the car already or not, but not buying atleast a box from the man, made me feel terribly guilty that day. Here was a man, who was actually working for his living. I could easily afford that one box which would have probably made his day, may not have, but it would have contributed to hard earned money. And I had a use for the product. But I didn't buy them. And I drove on ahead. And felt guilty. And then in due course of time forgot about it.

A few days back at the same signal I saw a man selling the same thing again. I did not know whether it was the same person, but here was my chance to work off the guilt of that earlier day. Then I saw that there were two of them. So I asked the guy standing at my car for the price. Three for a hundred, he said. That was a tad too much. I asked for just one. He gave me the emotional rigmarole, as a result of which I ended up buying two boxes for 60 rupees. All this while, the time spent in bargaining, haggling, fishing out for money, fishing out for the change, was enough for the signal to change colour to green. The man behind me started honking incessantly (see this for more on that) but I was helpless till I received my change. This was when the second guy realised he had a chance. I drove on (while the signal was still green) with him following me by the window, till the signal turned red. Meanwhile, honker behind me gets stuck in the second round of the signal, and is presumably (and understandably) heaping curses on me. Seller 2 wished to sell me more boxes. I told him I couldn't buy any more. Emotional rigmarole again then. He told me how seller 1 had now got his boni (first income of the day) and that he would also get his if I bought some. I fell for the tale within a few seconds (we're talking traffic signal cycles here.) Bought one more box from him for a 30. He asked me to buy another and this time I gave him my piece. I told him that even I worked for my money. It doesn't come easy. He didn't want to hear more. This time when the signal turned green I was ready to move. I gave way to the guy behind me, who in turn gave me the dirtiest glare he could.

At the end of it, I had mixed feelings about having helped someone (in a good way) and having been vulnerable enough to fall for all that they said. I could have done my bit with buying just one. I wished to give them the benefit of doubt. But I couldn't say. They'd probably had their boni and much more by that time of the day. But I couldn't say. I now have 3 boxes in the car. I will eventually use all of them so it's not a waste. I looked at the price on the box (late, I confess). Rs. 50. I wonder what I'll do the next time around. What would you do? Continue buying? Buy more? Buy less? Never buy again?

Thursday, June 21, 2007

And then there were none.

"The worst moment for the atheist is when he is really thankful and has nobody to thank."

I'm thankful for a lot of things in my life. To whom, I can't say. Why things are the way they are, I can't say. While the mind wrestles the point of whether I must believe in the religious entity that my parents genuinely believe in, and to their credit, have never forced me to believe, a part of me wishes that life, in all its glory, wasn't so purposeless, as it so probably seems.

A friend recently got cornered into admitting something that I suspect a lot of us secretly think. When I asked him if he believed in God (the use of upper case is what got resolved after much deliberation and no substantial conclusion) he vehemently confirmed. Having been in the process of reading a book called The God Delusion (I still am) I was stongly inclined to atheistic views. So I confronted him with all the arguments I had so freshly been armed with against the existence of his deity. Whatever he said in his support, I had an argument against. Somewhere, though, the argument deviated to the difference between luck and coincidence. And somehow, the fact that some people are lucky, and some are not, lead to the God Conclusion. He, however, countered his own statement by saying ultimately that 'luck is just coincidence in your favour.' By the end of it, he gave up, (partly, as you shall soon see) and said, "Look, I know there is no God!.." (wait, its not over) "....but I use the concept as a tool to keep myself on the right track."
Said I, "When you know and admit that yourself, why would you need a 'tool'."
And then I heard the earlier statement again and again in different ways.
Are many of us closet atheists?

Quoting Richard Dawkins:
"We are all atheists about most of the gods that humanity has ever believed in. Some of us just go one god further."
And then there were none.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Random Thought 2

[I make no claims about the profoundness of this post.. ;)]

Have you ever had to sneeze during a drive? From experience and from here, it's an involuntary reflex to close your eyes when you sneeze.

According to, a certain Muriel Simmons from the British Allergy Foundation says that if you sneeze while driving at 70 mph, you will travel 300 feet with your eyes closed!

That's scary. Most of the time I manage to suppress the sneeze, but in the one-off case that I realise that's not going to happen, I stall until the road is reasonably clear ahead of me. Then 'sneeze'. And quickly resume safe open-eyed driving.

But then, apparently you can open your eyes and sneeze. Go here and check answer 4 to see how. For those who go not want to go there, here's what answer 4 says:
My sister sneezes with her eyes open. She will only do this when she drives because she is afraid of getting into an accident. She screams with she sneezes. And in doing this her eyes remain open. It is bizarre and I have tried it and it does indeed work. It sounds like a very loud screeching, inhumane sounding sneeze but it is a sneeze with ones eyes open.
I have to try this.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

My Love n Hate Lists.

Pardon the negativity, but I'm going to begin this one with telling you things I hate. Well, maybe hate would be too strong a word. Its just that I have a problem with them. Then, as if to make up for it, I will tell you about things I like. So let us begin:

[Note: Do notice the difference when I say I dislike someone as opposed to someone doing
something annoying.]
I dislike:
- Pretentious people (yeah, they're always someone else, not You :))
- Peas (yeah I do, I cannot think of any compelling reason why)
- Dieting (self-explanatory)
- Sleepless nights (tossing and turning, all with the realisation that you still have to get up at just the same time that you do everyday)
- (this I've mentioned on Orkut) People being unable to say 'I don't know, let's find out' or 'Maybe I'm wrong' ever in their lives
- People saying things that actually do not mean anything. And yet, they pretend that they made a lot of sense. And ironically, there's too many of these people around.
- Visits to the beauty parlour. (Yes I go, and no, they cannot transform you into a beautiful person. They can make you seem, well, cleaner, at the most. Yes, that is why I look the way I do, despite the fact that I go.)
- People not being open to the fact that their perception of something may be hugely different from its reality
- People not being able to appreciate silly but funny things in life. (Loosen up a bit will ya?)
- Household chores. (I manage to wriggle my way out of this way more often than I can safely not feel guilty for.)
- Getting out of bed earlier than required to exercise.
- Taking the stairs (its not a sin to want the elevator to work)
- Bad breath (okay, have your onions, but you don't have to let me know in such an obvious manner!)
(I'm getting a little worried that the list is this long and I know that I can go on much more)
Bad spelling. This one is a little mean, but there are the obvious things that I wish people would take care about. Preety? And no, the writer did not mean a name.

I'll stop here. For my own good. Let's move on to the nicer things in life.
I like:
- Laughter and smiles that are genuine.
- Weekend siestas.
- Good food.
- Sitting with my family in our outer balcony-turned-room and talking about random things and each other.
- Meeting old friends. Having 'pajama parties' with them.
- Meeting present friends. Laughing, talking, having fun.
- Reading random articles and comic strips on the Net.
- Bedtime, especially when you're dog-tired after a long day.
- Dark chocolates.
- People who bring me dark chocolates ;)
- Singing a song that catches my fancy, again and again (and again!) This could get me on someone else's Dislike List.
- Listening to the same song about 20 times or more in a day till I tire of it and switch to another song.
- Writing in this blog.
- Seeing an increase in my site traffic. :)
- Praise. I am but human.
- Getting on chat, and finding the right people online ;)
- Long fun chats with these right people.
- Receiving a text message from someone dear after a long time.
- Ranting about things I don't like with someone I like and finding that they don't like them too!
- Giggling.
- Giggling while playing TT with Anitha ;)

I'm happy now that this list is longer than the first. Neither of them are by any means complete. But they say much of what I feel.

EDIT: I'm aware that much of what I've said could well get me on other hate lists, and much of what I do already has me on those lists. :) Well, we all have our vices.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

"Yes please, and thank you very much!"

I like politeness. Period. People who are polite, people who say 'thank you', people who will smile when they see you and the likes. By smile-when-they-see-you, I'd like to mention that it's a given that a person you know must get the benefits of your smile. What about someone you don't know? Now I do not mean the absolute stranger you walk past on the road. I do mean a colleague you've never been introduced to, but know of. I do mean someone who stays near your house who you haven't spoken to, but each of you knows of the other's existence.

Indians, as a whole, are not very polite. One could argue that politeness should not be measured in terms of a 'thank you' or a 'please'. True, it is a very culturally biased method of examination. But have you actually not seen the following scenarios in India?
- Someone barging up and trying to get ahead in a long queue.
- [Some] men staring at women in the most unnerving manner.
- [My favourite topic: traffic] Honking beyond necessity, and rushing ahead to overtake with little regard for the vehicles at risk.
- Bumping into someone and rushing off without apologising.
- Answering a phone call mid-conversation without excusing oneself.
- Leaving a phone on loud during a presentation, or say, in the theatre.
- Answering that phone call and making your telephonic conversation known to all.
- Fiddling with the cell-phone while having a conversation with someone [I'm guilty of this one]
- Burping
- Lack of courtesy to, say, the cleaning staff, or the driver who drove you home.
- Chewing out loud (esp. in a presentation!)
.... and then there are some dirty habits that I'd just rather not go into at this point, lest a tirade be launched.

If any of you do any of the above things, firstly, welcome to the club. Secondly, I urge you to try getting out of this club as soon as possible! Really, not something to be a proud member of!

PS. A friend recently made me realise that I have this bad habit of calling out to people not by their names, but with a 'Tchh' sound. Point noted. I'm working on it.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Horn Not OK please

A hard-to-disagree-with article on helmets in Bangalore.

How true it is. There isn't a single day when I'm out of the house and I don't see these 'hand-helmetters' in Bangalore. It could be that they value the safety of their hands more than their heads. Well, one man's meat ... Yesterday I even saw a rider implement a particularly efficient system where his pillion slid the helmet onto his head as they approached the traffic policeman. And dutifully removed it as they drove well past him.

Other in-traffic irritants :

- 2 wheelers which are 2 seaters having 3 seated on them.. (or maybe even 4, and well, 5 isn't impossible.)
- People on 2 wheelers driving parallelly and having a merry conversation.
- People honking way more than is necessary. At every traffic signal in Bangalore you will see the following scene. 5 seconds before the signal turns green, there are these People in a Perpetual Hurry (lets call them PiPHs) who start honking as part of their duty to remind the front row junta to get going. Maybe they think the front-benchers can't see. If only someone told them they can. If only. Then there are the PiPHs who will keep honking for you to give way, only you're in a narrow lane and can't possibly budge enough to give them that coveted space of theirs with which they can overtake and move ahead. If only you could.

Any more on your list? I'd love to hear about more traffic irritants. Let us vent together. :)

Random Thought

In slimming centre advertisements, I think there should be a Before, After and then a Much After photograph. Not that they'll be honest true-to-date photographs, but atleast there's a point. Also there should be a law against ads stretching photographs of models in swimsuits horizontally to make a Before photograph.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Woman against Woman?

The India Today magazine dated 16 April 2007, has an article about the women of today. Smart, sassy, confident, ambitious, bold, what not. What interested me really was the section that asked the women the worst cliche they heard about being a woman. AIDS activist Anjali Gopalan says, she's heard "You're as good and strong as any man we've known" and "You're so powerful we forget you're a woman."


Men, seriously, what were you thinking! I know you have such a thinking set deep inside your minds. While I appreciate your honesty and frankness, it would help at the very least to be politically correct and not make such shocking statements.

Anyway, my point isn't about men and their stereotypes. I have a complaint. Its against my own fellow women. Many women, I believe still implicitly support these stereotypes. For example, I've been in a car when someone in a car ahead may have been driving rather foolishly. There is automatically an assumption throughout my car that the driver of the vehicle ahead is a woman. Fortunately or unfortunately, more often than not, the person turns out to be a man. Which pleases me no end. But thats just my weakness. Its happened so often, that I now automatically assume its a man. I'm now guilty of gender bias too, only I'm biased against men. I strive to get to the point where
i. I will drive flawlessly.
ii. There will be no bad driver ahead of me.
iii. If there is, I will not ascribe a gender to the person, and not picture a foolish person of that gender at the steering wheel of the vehicle ahead

Anyway, back to my point of women supporting stereotypes (I acknowledge another weakness here of digressing too often from my main point, but I hope that's pardonable if the other point is more interesting.) Second example, heard from many women: "He acts like such a woman." Utopian scenario, I'd like to assume you were complimenting him. But back here in the real world, I know you aren't. In fact, its an insult. Why? While on the one hand, you are all for women, why women are the better sex, on the other hand, a man being like a woman is a derogatory accusation.

Another way of looking at it: you actively defend yourself when men say women gossip a lot, but when a man gossips, you say he's acting like a woman. Double standards? Are we women just confused? Are we victims of the stereotypes passed down over the generations, just as the men are? Are we acknowledging then the truth that we are like that? [Why do I get the feeling that this last option will be a favourite of all men reading this post :)]

I'm not trying to make a point here about who is superior and who isn't, who is capable, who isn't. Because at the end of the day, I don't believe we are equal, we're all differently wired, although we each have our strengths and weaknesses, and we have different ways of manifesting our abilities. I only want the women to stand by themselves and get rid of their own prejudices first. Me included. :)

Friday, April 06, 2007

What-should and What-not : Part 2

Had to share this. Advice from a colleague, from whom I expect a comment this time (Mr. Karthik Madathil, there's your cue!) A facet to the what-should and what-not dilemma.

"Life is a constant struggle between your higher (reasoning) self and your lower (emotional) self. Who wins depends on whom you keep more fit."

I'm still trying to determine why emotions are so underrated. Why emotions necessarily equate to lower. Read The Politics of Emotion to see what I mean. After all, emotions are what make us essentially human (also the opposable thumb, but well, that's another story!) They are what make us live the ups and downs of life. Of course, for the highly emotional human, the downs can get even lower, and the ups higher. It probably all boils down to which part of the spectrum you choose to be in. And I think I contradicted myself somewhere in the last few lines. Better said, than left unsaid.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

For one of the only two men of my life that I have known forever

Just like me, when you were 4 or 5, you wanted a little baby sister. Presumably because all your friends had baby sisters. Years later, when your baby sister outgrew your bullying, you wished you had a brother you could beat up (or atleast fight with). But you stopped giving her those trademark whacks of yours that would lead to hours of excruciating howls on her part. You put up with her when she knocked a little too often on the door that you closed when you were studying. Also when you were sleeping, pretending to be studying. You put up with her when she demanded to know why the door needed to be closed. You hit her on the head with your textbook when she sang (unsure of choice of word) outside your room window. Only to discover that the singing was more bearable when compared to the wailing it then gave way to.

The road-trips to Kannur where you fought over what music to play. You wanted English songs. And she Hindi. You let her sleep with her head on your lap during the journey. Those were the times when we both sat in the backseat of the car, and Mumma and Papa drove.

We grew up, a lot of things happened. You shifted to the front seat of the car, took charge of the steering wheel. You fell in love, and I met the person who is today your wife. You left home to work, I saw lesser of you, I missed you. You brought an energy into the house when you came home. We all giggled at your antics, laughed at your jokes. I marvelled at your knowledge. And intelligent remarks. We saw you through ups and downs.

Two years back, you got married. You brought home a wife, who became more of family than we ourselves ever could be. My bhabhi, my friend. Someone who matched your energy, or should I say far surpassed it.. :)

Amidst all that, you still remain that silent support. The person I can bank on, without having to give an explanation. You understand quietly without needing to hear anything. You couldn't bear to see me in pain when I was admitted to the hospital. You are the sweetest, kindest and most understanding brother that any sister could ever ask for.

Love you Etta.
Happy Birthday.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

On that operation table

For those of you who know me, you know that I recently underwent surgery to 'get those darn tonsils removed.' Not without reason, they were causing me a lot of trouble, they were. But the experience. Something I know that I do not wish to experience again in my life, and yet a truly out-of-this-world experience.

After a lot of debate on whether I should bother you with the details, my not-so-generous mind fell in favour of Bother. Got admitted on Friday night. Dingy little room, with a tiny little TV set, with bad reception. I had complained that my breathing was a little uneasy, so they put me on a nebuliser. I had a something strapped on that would only have otherwise been called an oxygen mask by me, except it was a nebuliser, and the mask was connected to a machine that when switched on, started emitting air no different (according to me) from the air outside of it. I was advised to breathe deeply from it for about 20 minutes. Then an IV to administer some medicine, and no food till after the operation. Also a sleeping pill, so I sleep well, despite potential worries.

The operation was scheduled the next morning at about 10. I was told I'd be moved in to the operation theatre at about 9.30. And I have to admit, as that time grew nearer, I really began to get scared. Once I was in the ICU in that green gown, that was as afraid as one could get. Felt nauseated, and actually vomitted a little bit of water, despite not having consumed anything for the last 12 hours. They then took me to the operation theatre. This is where the real experience began.

The anesthetist held up a mask to my face saying it was oxygen, and given his designation, I realised it was some form of anesthesia. The next thing I remember is being in some sort of dream state. There are voices around me, and the beeping of machinery. After a while of what was definitely a dream, I slowly became aware that I was being operated on. I remembered that I was getting ready for surgery, so this must be it, and this is not a dream. And then I could distinctly identify my surgeon's voice. Heard him say some things, but I heard only bits and pieces. Apparently I kept drifting in and out of this state of awareness. Fragments like "That is difficult" and "Remove it" I recall. It seems unbelievable, but I knew what was happening but couldn't do anything about it. I had also decided then to blog about the experience. I couldn't even lift a finger. My mouth felt open and I realised he'd put some sort of support to keep it open. Then the clanging of his instruments against my teeth. I felt a sort of tugging against the insides of my mouth and it got a little uncomfortable. I wondered if the dosage of anesthesia was a little lower than should have been, because it was leading me to be this aware. I wanted to tell them to give me some more, but again, I was helpless. Only the brain was working overtime, everything else had taken the day off by the looks of it. But my assumption was that I kept going back to dream state and then snapping out of it, I felt the need to remind myself that my operation was happening, and that I need to be aware of it. The whole experience made me thoroughly uncomfortable, especially the tugging in the mouth, and yet, I believe it was something. It reminded me of something I had read in one of Feynman's books in which he had described how he would be acutely aware of everything that was happening in the course of his dreams.

When it was over, the surgeon stopped tugging and I could feel some spraying of water in my mouth. He called out my name a couple of times, informed me that it was over. I think this was when they put me off the anesthesia, but I was still unable to react for a while, although I heard him loud and clear. Tried moving my fingers, and then it struck me how similar this was to the movies and recovering patients. After a few attempts, I did it, moved a finger, and was able to grunt out a response to the doctor. He asked me some more questions (Do you know who I am?) to which I replied, I suspect, in barely audible tones. Then I was moved to the ICU again, where I was in some sort of trance, and slowly realised I couldn't speak much and that my throat had begun to hurt terribly. Well its still hurting, 5 days later, now my ears hurt too, but I told my tale!

Also, for all those people who believe post-tonsillectomy is some sort of heaven where you're allowed to have all the ice creams and goodies that you want to, I have to let you know that its near-hell, the ice creams are forced down a throat that cannot swallow anything and it still hurts! And you'll soon become sick of eating it. The pain more than overshadows the taste. And 5 days later, I still haven't been able to consume anything without bearing a lot of pain. So there.