Tuesday, December 27, 2005

CheriyaSerry - The little place

Two must-to-dos during my vacation at home are a trip to Guruvayoor temple and a visit to Cherussery, my mom's village. Each time I visit the village, I feel more and more nostalgic about the many carefree summers I have spent there with my counsins and this time it got me thinking. My kids would never get to enjoy all the stuff I had enjoyed as a kid in this place.

But like the whole of India, little Cherussery is changing too. The winds of change are slow but sure. Like the growing pains of a teenager when he grows his moustache step by step and after a few years, before you know it, there's a bush under his nose; And then you sit and wonder where did that come from! Just like that, Cherussery is slowly becoming more and more un-village-like, much to my dismay. Every visit I notice one more paddy field turned into a concrete something………..

Maybe my kids would get to know about life in villages only through the stories I'd tell them. Some of the things they are definitely gonna miss......

- Playing hide and seek among the trees

- Machinga (miniature coconut) toys

- Puddle plays in untarred roads flanked on either side with huge trees

- Snakes and frogs crossing the road

- Snails, earthworms, dragonflies, scores of cats, squirrels, fireflies – you make friends with all of them

- Paddy fields exist not just in those wallpapers and screensavers

- ‘Stoning’ mangoes down. Right now if you throw a stone it will most probably fall on another building

- Sucking on sweet kodappan (plantain flower) sap

- Absolutely no flats/high-rises in sight. It's just green all around. And simple happy people around who are satisfied with their simple lives.

- No public transport after 7:30 PM. You would sit at home and listen to those wild stories from your granny.

- A place where everyone would know you by your granddad's name
"Aha, aren’t you krishan’s granddaughter? You’ve become so big….remember I bought you sugar toffees last year?"

- A punjabi suit and short hair is all that it takes to make you famous in that small place. If a girl wears pants, it might even come in the papers the next day.

- Swings made of different parts of a coconut tree and tied on jackfruit tree/mango tree – your fav afternoon pasttime

- There are more trees behind your home than the number of people inside it.....well, squared!

- Your afternoon snacks consist of fruits and berries your pluck yourself

- You get enough toffees to fill your pockets for just 1 rupee

- The only households that own a car in the village are the rich ones and the kids include them in their everday roaming itinerary just to have a peek.

- Walking around can be a lesson in zoology and botany - if you keep your eyes and ears open

- You learn swimming in the temple pond with coconut husks tied to your body so that you don't drown

- You learn how to dive without hitting any of those evil rocks inside the pond.

- Touch-me-nots are the most touched plants.

- Summer holiday - jackfruit season. Dawn to dusk. Breakfast to Dinner.

- Your friends are the iron wala's kids, coconut climber's kids and the local tailor's kids. They all stay near your house and are you best buds.

- Lunch would be served in a big vessel, made into personalised balls by the granny for each kid and then mercilessly stashed into your mouth. Yummy!!

- You cant survive unless you know Malayalam - Hindi or Enlish won't get you anywhere in little Cherussery.

- Going to 'town' is a once month big thing and is a privilege if you are allowed to accompany the elders

- Women walk around in chemmeen style - lungi and blouse - both very colourful

- Cinemas would never be House Full, and it is a great experience watching your hero doing his thing, while you are sitting under the cool leaking thatched roofs

- Those long hot oil scalp messages that no one can do better than your great-granny

I lost my granny to heaven two weeks back and......

I hold it true, whate'er befall;
I feel it, when I sorrow most;
'Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all.


Applies both to my granny and Cherussery.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Life's oxymoron

They say they are happy.....

...and then they are murdered.

For some women, their greatest blessing ends up being their own garroter.
:(

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Anandabhadram

No doubt about it - Santhosh Sivan is better at cinematography than direction, but his latest film, Anandabhadram is worth a watch. For so many reasons...

- Great performance by Manoj K Jayan. He paints the perfect picture as the black magician Digambharan. A good come-back for Manoj.

- Superb starting sequence. Revathi does a real good job in her 5 minutes guest appearance. She does it so well that it had me wishing that she had a longer role in the movie. Her narration of how the lamps talk to each other when they are alone is so endearing and sets out a fantasy atmosphere right in the beginning.


- The song Pinakkamaano where famous Ravi varma paintings come to life. What a superb idea. Charming. Couldn't help smiling throughout this song.

- Was it Athirampilly where some of the important scenes of the movie have been shot? The place looked so familiar.

- Prithviraj could have done a better job. His portrayal of the transmigrated character was not very convincing.

My favourite picks from this movie would be the Pinakkamano visuals and the reverse 'rape' scene. They way Manoj K Jayan, the evil character, gathers his clothes after he was 'taken advantage of' by Riya Sen and cries out loud "You spoiled me...". Riya Sen's role, which looks like an utter waste till that point, explains itself with this one scene. This scene still has me in splits. We were the only people who were laughing out loud during this scene, much to the chagrin of the rest of the junta in the cinema.

But have to admit this - the picturisation of this movie is perfect. Though the storyline is not very convincing, this is worth a watch just for the cinematography.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Yeh to hona hi tha :)

Everytime I come home for the term break, something always happens that makes me smile and then smile some more thinking about it.

This time, I had just one more day left to get back to college and nothing 'interesting' had happened. And I was consoling myself that maybe this was the exception that would prove the rule.

But no! Something did happen.

I had gone salsa-shoe-shopping in one of Trichur's expensive footwear shops. I had just 10 minutes to make the decision and I did choose a pair in 10 minutes. But then it needed some adjustments and I was talking to the salesguy about it. And while the details of where I wanted the shoes delivered and all that were being discussed, he slips in this question.......

"Are you an actor?"

A very wide-eyed me : "Huh? What did you say?"

I couldn't believe my ears until he repeated it. Maybe it was the utterly spoiled look on my face, or maybe it's my irrestible natural charms, or maybe he has the gift of seeing through people and he was giving it a little practice or maybe he was just trying to flirt. Whatever it was, I was immensely pleased that I had something to smile about in this term break too. No exceptions for the rule!

And I gave him a smile and answered
"Oh yes! And so is everyone else in this world. Don't you think?"

And I made sure that I left the shop before the poor man could comprehend it. I am sure he smiled too. And that makes me smile some more!!

Friday, December 02, 2005

Lotsa emotions

Thankful for some dreams remaining unfulfilled.

10 years back if you had asked me what I wanted to become I would have told you I wanted to fly around the world. And to fulfill that I felt there were no better options than either becoming a Pilot or an Air hostess!! But then someone told me I wasn't tall enough to become an air hostess and surprisingly was tall enough to become an engineer or a doctor!!
Well, whoever it was, thank you!
I had been talking to an old friend of mine who is an air hostess now, and hearing about her lifestyle, it seems they don't just fly around the world.......
I am glad I turned out to be a just a plain vanilla engineer!



Am really happy about something else too. Let me tell you why. Here at IIMK, we typically do around 5-6 projects in each term. That means minimum 15 projects in a year, and 30 during this trying-to-cocoon-out-of-this-MBA 2 year period. Most of these projects are typically googling assignments. But say, around 20% of them are done on organisations in and around IIMK.

But do these projects actually add some value to these organisations? Mostly not. The project ends in a neatly formatted report submitted and forgotten. But somehow the project we (a group of 3) did for our Operations Strategy course of this term, ended up being much more than that.

We only had to study the Operations of the Margin Free Supermarket and recommend some strategies for them. But we ended up starting a Marking Free Shop right in IIM Kozhikode!! Yup, a brand new Margin Free shop opening at IIMK Commercial Plaza.



Also damn confused about the sudden fork in my life. And to make things worse, there are no signboards too! I thought I had done with all the tough decisions for awhile, but someone up there likes to keep throwing them at me......enough already!
:|


Offtopics

A good dig at Bush!
Will Ferrell: Earth to America


If you like to travel around the world, but haven't actually gotten around to it, take the shortcut like I did. 360 degree panoramic views! Visit the world heritage sites here. And more here.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

The world goes on....

...and so does my life.

IIMK hosted Konsult 2005 last week, IIMK launched Spandan- the bi-annual student management journal, one more CAT went by and along with it came all the speculations of what would be the cut-offs and who would get a call and who would not, a little déjà vu with old Mallu comedy flicks Boeing Boeing and Nadodikkattu, cultural nights have surfaced in IIMK and yours truly along with the smooth-dancing guru performed a little bit of salsa....days have been full even though there haven't many classes happening.

Managed two travel escapades too.

It was Wayanad's turn first. Best part of the trip was the adventurous ride on bikes. You would understand how adventurous it was if you ever happen to travel on those roads - the Calicut-wayanad-bangalore route. Steep climbs, hairpin curves, potholes of size XXL and a very excited rider....need I say more?
But I enjoyed the ride one hundred percent. I might have been a little scared in a similar situation otherwise, but sitting pillion with someone you have trusted your life with - it had a charm of its own.

Our Wayanad itinerary included Chembra peak and Pookkot Lake. Chembra peak was more than what we had hoped for - leeches, and wild deer - who I swear cried out my name once, and never ending peaks, and tea garderns, and misleading paths and strangely coloured insects and flies, a supposedly heart shaped pond on the hill-top.....
1. Wayanad Chembra peak
Pookkot Lake was as it was 3 years back. As romantic and pleasant as ever. Perfect place for a lazy evening.

It was Trichur's turn next. Guruvayoor and Athirampilly. Guruvayoorappan made us wait 2 hours before he let us have a peek. I guess this must be the first time I am going to Guruvayoor without my parents. Felt different and good to be the one in charge :)

Athirampilly sunset
Athirampilly was nothing like it was 10 years before. The place was amazingly beautiful......or was I blind the last time I went there? The road to Athirampilly was impeccable and picturesque, it was clean for a change, stone-cut meandering pathways that led to the bottom of the falls, the amazing experience at the waterfall base, the colourful sunset - all made the Trichur trip memorable.

After Athirampilly, I have to say this. I loooooooooove my Kerala!


Sunday, November 13, 2005

Oh! Scar

I was watching the Tam movie Kaaka kaaka the other day. Decided to watch it after rave reviews from some friends and for the lovely song, yeNNai konjam maatri, shot in the open jeep.

Was enjoying the song, drooling on Surya's biceps, taking a mental picture to set it as my screensaver, taking in every single moment of the coyly romantic song, picturising myself in Jyothika's place, gasping in between when I noticed the striking resemblance between Surya and an old school friend, again back to Surya's biceps......and then I noticed this.

The heroine offers a can of Pepsi to the hand attached to those biceps....uh well, I mean the hero :D
They happily enjoy the drink and then...........God forbid!
Surya throws the empty can right out into the road!!!

:O


Would you do something like that? How would you feel about someone who does that and thinks nothing of it?

I wonder how the director Gautam Menon, who has done a brilliant job otherwise include such a scene in his movie. Was it intentional? Or was it included for variety's sake by the cinematographer Rajasekhar? The scene definitely was well planned cause the shot of Surya throwing the can on to the clean highway is taken from a different angle....somehow as if trying to portray a macho look. If this was an attempt to convey coolness of the hero, boo to the person who decided to do so. This definitely is not the kind of coolness we would like our younsters to soak up from their reel heroes. And who are we kidding, kids do soak up almost anything their heroes do onscreen.

Should't the directors be a little more socially responsible and take care of these things? Especially since there was no necessity for such a shot in this movie. The character was cool enough already! These kind of discussions would have emerged after the on-screen smoking ban. Well, I am not a supporter of the ban. If the story line needs a particular scene, it definitely should be included - whether it be smoking or smooching or a violent murder. But THIS, was uncalled for.

I was glad to find out that a couple of my friends also had noticed this scar in the movie and felt the same way. But then there was another friend who laughed at me when I voiced my thoughts and it got me thinking.

Maybe I cannot change the ENTIRE world, but I am definitely gonna try and will start by changing MY world for the better.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

The bike!

I always wanted to ride a bike along the highway and feel the wind in my hair and give lifts to handsome hitchhikers along the way....

Well, I am halfway there! :)



Am a proud owner of this macho bullet, which came all the way from North Wales. More of this beauty here.

Now all I need to do is learn to handle the mean machine and somehow change myself into a comparative size.

Till then, the hitchhikers will have to wait.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Akshardham. Wow!

5 months too late! That's what you are Akshardham.

This place is so freakalutely breathtaking, I am ready to endure one more summer in Delhi to see this place.

Check out this amazing monument here. And while you are at it, don't miss out these amazing elephant sculptures in Gajendra Pith.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Lakshmi's Diwali

It was yet another Diwali day. Lakshmi could not decide whether to wear a sari or a usual salwar. Tired after a hectic day at office the decision was obvious. But then her mind wandered away as usual...............

"You look like a goddess in the red sari."

< struggling to hide the sudden blush >
"Ok, what do you want Tarun?"

"Nothing Lakshmi. Just 2 of those delicious rotis you are making now and a little bit of your love."

"With cocky lines like that, you will never get a girl Tarun. I think I will have to help you out in that too"

"Yes. Please do help while I help myself to the rotis. Where's the ghee?"

"Ghee! Don’t you know ghee is not good for health. Already you look like a Turkey waiting for Thanksgiving. You are not getting anymore ghee!"


That was the last Diwali which she had spent in Bangalore. Her first Diwali away from home. And now the third one is fast approaching. Lakshmi was feeling helpless.

Sigh! Is there some way one can turn off memories? They catch you unawares at any point of time. No rules. No restrictions. And lately this has been getting a bit too out of hand. Her mind was no longer under her control. When was it under her control?

Trying her best not to think about the past, she chose her favourite lilac coloured salwar. This was the third time she was celebrating Diwali away from home. In college she always made sure that she was at home for Diwali. She didn’t want to lose the distinguished opportunity of wearing the pattu pavadai and lighting all the diyas. She loved wearing her pattu pavadai.....especially the peacock blue double coloured one which her aunt had bought for her from Chennai when she had become a big girl.

Lakshmi wandared away again.....

"Lakshmi kutty...would u please take them off and wear your usual clothes. Do you want to spoil it in the first day itself?"

"Please ma....just one day more..."

"Ok...but if you spoil this, I won't get you a new one."

"I know you will. You love me so much that you can't say no to me. I know ma"


Lakshmi was the only daughter of a very well off Tamil family settled in Kerala. You can call her a Kerala born Tamil Desi....but she would never agree to it. She loves Kera-land more than any other place she has ever been in. Working in a software company just like everyone else in Bangalore, she adjusted to the city faster than she herself had expected. Weekend shopping at Foodword, odd hours of work, pizza dinners in the office, putting up with strange people in the office, getting used to Kannadiga hooligans while walking back home at night, always congested hosur road, Radiocity and two lizards and a zillion cockroaches to give her company at her 1-bedroom apartment, evening coffee dates at Coffee day, having maggi for dinner for the umpteenth time, credit bills, water bill, electricity bill, mobile bill and a million other bills to be paid. Her life in Bangalore was full. She never thought much about her future. She lived life one day at a time. Until.................

"oh fo what a time for the kinetic to conk out. Why do you always give up on me my dear kinetic when I am always in a hurry?! Now how will I make it in time for the client presentation at 9? My boss is going to be mad at me and there goes the fat raise I was expecting this year."

If there was anything that Lakshmi was possessive about, it was her Kinetic. She never let anyone ride it without taking a thorough interview of that person. She would make a note in her mind if she ever saw someone handling their two-wheelers roughly. Already Krishnan and Bala were in the black list due to that. Krishnan was too strong on the accelerator while Bala had returned her kinetic as muddy as ever. And she had already given Tarun a warning about this.

"Uto na...its already 8:15, what are you doing sleeping on a lovely Monday morning"

"Oh fo! Is your kinetic misbehaving again Laks?"

"Yeah. Can you pick me up today please? I have to be in office by 9 or else it's going to affect both our QPLCs"

"Gimme 20 minutes. Will pick you up in front of the Ganesha temple"

"Great!"


It was just 3 more days for Diwali and Lakshmi could not go home due to some usual urgent work in office. She hated the software industry for slowly taking her family away from her. What fun is it to spend a Diwali all alone and not wear a Pattupavadai.............

"There you are. Late by 10 minutes"

"Darling, remember I am doing you a favour"

"I am not your darling and your favour will be returned mister"

"Hmmm you still owe me three rides to office, remember?"

"Yeah I remember. How about a homemade coffee and aloo paratha at my place today evening? Call it even?"

"Sounds yummy. Now hop in and take care of your chunni please"

"Of course, Security Srinivas!!!"


The lilac salwar needed ironing, twice. She didn't feel happy this Diwali. You may be surrounded by a thousand people and yet feel lonely. The Diwali celebrations at her friend's place had everything a person would want for a Diwali....puja, diyas all around, sweets to die for, small kids running around and making the occasion even more auspicious, crackers to end the night with.....the only thing missing was the people she truly cared for in this world. She had realised the value of family a little late. Isn’t is true that you don’t realise the value of something until it's taken away from you. She missed her dad the most today. Maybe because he never had much to say. But his actions always compensated for those words.

"Amma....where is appa...It's already 7 and he is still not home."

"Lakshmi...go finish your homework. Appa will be home soon. Did you do the exercise on Fractions"

"No. I won't do it till appa comes........oh there he is. I can hear his scooter"

< Running over to the gate >
"Appa please take me on a round on your scooter....please please"

"Okie but just one round"

"Great"


What Lakshmi didn't see was that her father was really tired from his long day at the factory and was starving. What she saw was a dad who grumbled to give her a lift.

"Appa...next time I want you to take me on three rounds. One round is not fun"

"Ok agreed. Here take these."

"Oooooh Ice-Cream Cone cake. Amma.....I don’t want dinner today"


Dinner at her friend's place was very sumptuous. Everyone complimented her on her lovely Lilac salwar. Lakshmi was walking around trying to call her parents to wish them on Diwali. The least she could do today. She really didn't want to call because she was scared that her mom may start crying.
Damn, the line is busy again. Maybe there are so many suckers like me who haven’t gone home for Diwali.

She thought of her mom lighting all the diyas alone, with tears in her eyes. Her dad out for his evening walk as usual. Her mom sitting alone in the puja room and reciting Devimahatmyam for the second time that day. Mom giving away all the sweets to the beggar kids on the next Saturday.

"Lakshmi, you hardly ate anything. Here take a little bit more of this payasam."

"Sorry Divya. I think I’ll go home now. Have a busy day tomorrow."


It was so easy to use work as an excuse to withdraw into your shell. Lakshmi was doing that very frequently these days. She was worried that she had slowly started to enjoy these painful thoughts. But then what was most difficult was to control her overflowing thoughts.

------------------


"Tarun, lets go for lunch"

"I have some work Lakshmi. I'll call you in 10 minutes"

.
.
.
.
"Office food is getting better day by day. And here at least no one can tell me how much ghee to eat"

"hmmmm"

"How was your presentation?"

"Oh as usual"

"How was your Diwali Laks? I had a great time. Spend the whole day at my Bhaiyya's place. Did I tell you that Didi is expecting? Oh and they asked about you"

"Ok"

"Hey what’s wrong with you? I haven’t seen you like this since ....I can't remember when? Where's my bubbly chubby Laks? What’s the matter?"

"oh nothing Tarun. Just some thoughts that I am not able to shake off from my mind"

"Why don’t you try me. I can be a great listener."

"I donno. I would rather not. Maybe you won't understand"

"Ok as you wish. But at least smile. You look just awful without your smile. And I don’t want to be seen with an awful looking girl. No other girl would come
for lunch with me. Smile for my future kids' sake please"

"Ok.....I really pity your honewali-biwi. Such a big flirt you are!"

"Ha! So you think....she will be the luckiest girl in this world."

"Enough of your bragging. Finish your lunch fast. I have a meeting at 2"

"Relax and take things easy Lakshmi. You know what your problem is? You need a good spanking. Looks like your parents never spanked you when you were a kid"

"Tarun, will you ever get serious. I am worried about where my life is going. Sometimes I feel like I don’t have any control over it and I don’t like the way its going."

"Hmmm.....go on"

"This Diwali was the worst I had in my life and I am feeling bad that I may have made it the worst for my family too. What’s the point of being alive if you can't keep your dear ones happy."

"You are right Lakshmi. But then you took the decision yourself right?"

"Yes Tarun, that is what is scaring me. Sometimes I don’t have enough reasons for my decisions. I think I am losing control of myself. I think I am going mad"

"Well now, you ARE a mad girl. But not mad enough not to realise when you have taken a wrong decision. Do you know there are people in this world who would never have thought or cared about the things that you are thinking about now? Family is important. Much more important than the dollars you may have helped your company earn by working on Diwali. But then you should be happy that you realised it now. What if you had never thought about this? What if you ended up being just like Rajesh who sits in office all week and is happy only when he gets to go onsite. Try to learn from these things rather than getting pulled into a black hole. I think you need to go out more rather then being holed up in your apartment all the time. Go out somewhere today girl. It's a big world out there"

"Yes. Thanks Tarun. Does that mean you would come with me to the Forum to do a little shopping."

"Uh lady....you caught me at that. You know how I hate to go shopping with girls...even with a girl like you who I don’t consider as a girl. Okie will do it for your sanity's sake this time."

"Thanks Tarun. There is a little hope for you after all. Your wife won't be that sad!"

"Whatever missy. Now better not stop smiling today without my permission."


Lakshmi wasn’t a girl to fall into mood swings. Sure she used to get a little lonely living on her own, but then she had her books and thoughts for company. But nowadays even those were not able to satisfy her. She was slowly getting tired of life. She was relying more and more on Tarun for emotional strength. Tarun was just another colleague until that day during her training when Lakshmi realised there were guys who were not MCPs and who could be genuinely nice to a girl without expecting anything in return and Tarun was one of them. And now Tarun was her bestfriend and her mentor. She used him as a sounding board. All her thoughts that everyone else thought were very frivolous and brushed aside, he found them sensible and always had a reason to explain things to her. He was the first guy whom Lakshmi found she could talk to without getting bored. It was funny but Laskhmi used to get bored with people very soon. And due to this one reason, she was quite happy that Tarun was in the same company and that he was just a phone call away whenever she had a problem.

That day went well for Lakshmi. She was no longer moody. She was as usual joking around with Nikita and Neeta and making sure that her team was on track for the big delivery next week.

Delivery.

How different the word can be when used in two contexts. A man, a woman and God together can make a delivery happen right on time and sometimes even before time and produce the most perfect being in the world.
And here we have teams of 400-500 people and fat-overpaid managers working 24*7 not able to deliver a piece simple software code on time.
Life sure is strange.
Lakshmi couldn’t take the smile off her lips that evening.

Lakshmi had forgotten completely about her shopping plans in the evening, until she heard the familiar knock on her door.

"Come in Tarun"

"Hey girlie, you are not ready yet....go change fast and let's get this shopping thing done fast. They always say you should always do the toughest things first"

"Oh I forgot about that completely. You know what, I don’t feel like going out now. Why don’t we just sit and talk over a coffee?"

"Now lady, don’t get me angry. I can't change my mind now...Moreover there’s gonna be all these hot girls in Forum who I want to check out while you are busy shopping."

"Oh fo there you go again. Ok...I will be ready in a minute"

"By the way how’s your schedule for the next two days in office?"

"Oh the usual stuff. Some follow-up to be done and some documentation work. I am planning to do a little bit of it tonight. Have carried that in my laptop."

"Miss overworked, you will never learn."

"I am ready.........lets go"

"Take your laptop along....a friend of mine wanted to see the model. He was ga ga about it when I described it to him"

"Oh ok...but you will have to carry it. I don’t want anything to weigh down my evening today"

"Okay madam. I am a friend, software consultant, flirt, driver and now a porter all integrated seamlessly...just for you."

"Hey drive carefully.....I have lots of unfulfilled wishes left in my life....hey why did you stop here?"

"Oh my friend is in that bus. Come on"

"Oh your friend is going to Kerala?"

"Yeah. Come with me...I think he's sitting in the back row. This will take just a minute."

"Ok...So where is he?"

"Well looks like he isn’t here....hey why don’t you sit here....I’ll go and look for him. Oh there he is outside, I'll go get him while you sit here and start your comp to show to him"

"Oh well. Ok. But lets finish this fast."

.
.
.
.
"Hey Tarun what are you doing near the window...where's your friend? I am ready for my laptop demo"

"My dear friend. Start working on your documentation work. You are going home in this bus tonight."

"What...."

"Yeah...here's your ticket. You need a break girl. And more than that you need to be with your family. Go hug your parents and get back here in two days to face the cruel world and make me that coffee. I'll miss your coffee. But I think I can manage for two days...."

"But my work.....my boss would be mad...."

"It's all been taken care of lady. I've already talked to him and your leave is approved. Now don’t you worry about a thing."

"Thats great Tarun. I don’t know what to say............ You are an angel"

"Say goodnight idiot. Will see you in office on Thursday. And don’t forget to bring Kerala chips for me. Am outta here...my good deed for the day is done."


-------------------------

A phone rings somewhere in Kerala. As usual the middle-aged lady runs towards the phone with her hopes high - especially since it is an STD call. Nowadays she finds it hard to sleep if she doesn’t get at an STD or an ISD call in a day. Life is strange. All the people she cares about are now just phone calls. STD and ISD calls.

Running towards the phone, she was praying for the call to be from Laskhmi or her brother rather than another wrong number.

"Hello..."

"Amma.....I am coming home."

"Lakku.....really! Thats great. What do you want for breakfast and lunch tomorrow? I will ask dad to pick you up. Make sure you cover your ears before sleeping off. And you are sitting in a ladies seat right? Don’t get out to pee in the middle of the night...otherwise like it happened last time the bus may leave without you....and oh do you want dosa or puttu for breakfast? We'll go to Guruvayoor in the evening. You haven’t gone there in 2 months. Your granny will be so happy......Close the windows and......."


All Lakshmi could do was nod and smile and wipe off that one tear that had managed to fall off.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Mamma mia.....IIMK is on a roll!

They came, they saw, they lapped us up. And soon there were none left!

That’s how fast summer placements happened this year for the batch of 2007.

IIM Kozhikode set new benchmarks across the premier B-school recruitment scenario in India by placing an increased batch of 160 students (up from 133 last year) within the first 4 days of the summer placements………


Read more here and here.

Friday, October 28, 2005

And nothing else matters...........

It's been 15 days and I’ve been feeling a little guilty about not spending more time with you, my dear blog. Had been real busy enjoying life……….

Strange are the ways of Internet search. You search for a pin in a haystack and lo! you might just end up getting a huge slice of black forrest cake! No kidding! I was searching frantically for some insurance related topics yesterday just before the midterm, and I came across this comic strip. Something I had almost forgotten about. Something that once had been the number one reason for me to open the newspaper first thing in the morning. Something which I used to collect religiously years ago, but sadly lost it all to the fire-god.

I am extolling so much about nothing other than Kim Casali’s strips on the big small things on love. And the best part about this comic series is that, it had its birth from the drawings and love-notes Kim had written to her husband Roberto.

Some of my favourites…..



















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Simple, yet it gives you such a good feeling to know that finally all that matters in life is not a huge salary or a high powered network of people in you pocket – but these small things. Be it your lover, friend, sibling, parents……………there is absolutely nothing like it!

And every time I see these nangu pangu comic strips it always touches a chord somewhere deep inside.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Wishes....

....especially mine, remain as just wishes most of the time and I used to complain about it all the time. I just realised that I was not doing it right. I was making all the wrong wishes!

I wished for long hair overnight....wasn't granted.

I wished for God to undo the earthquake that hit Pak this week...didn't happen.

I wished for more classes this week....didn't happen. I have on an average half an hour of lecture in a day!

I wished that the count down wouldn't take too long......didn't happen. Feels like the longest countdown ever! :(

I wished for a secret miracle..........didn't happen.

I wished for a nice juicy chocolatey doughnut.....was granted!!!! Not just once...three times over :)

Lesson learnt - You just need to wish for things that have a good chance of happening and bingo! they have a good chance of actually happening :)

My all-time favourite Calvin strip

But then doughnuts in Kunnamangalam?....even that was a little far-fetched!
And I'm doughnutty happy today :)

Talking about wishes, find out what these NR-mallus are wishing or! Absolut-hilarious!
(What's a rice-n-curry girl anyways!!?)

And if you have a lot of time to check arbit links, check out this cool dance party hosted by mother nature.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

The Meaning of Tingo....

…is a book, published in the UK last month. The Independent says that it "is destined to be the Eats, Shoots and Leaves of the autumn" and I say that it definitely sounds interesting!

It's an odd little volume, which brings together hundreds of words from 140 languages, "extraordinary words from around the world" and words those do not have a direct counterpart in English.

One of subtitles in the book is "Atishoo!" and it begins by noting that in Japan, one sneeze signifies praise, two sneezes, criticism, and three, disparagement.

The author, Adam Jacot de Boinod, claims to have become entranced by language when he discovered 27 words for "moustache" in an Albanian dictionary, and another 27 for "eyebrows". This book is his “celebration of the joy of foreign words”.
Some of the words are really hilarious, like......

Persian "nakhur", which means "a camel that won't give milk until her nostrils have been tickled".

Indonesian "didis" - "to search and pick up lice from one's own hair, usually when in bed at night".

The Cook Islands Maori word "papakata", meaning to have one leg shorter than the other.

Or there's “die beleidigte Leberwurst spielen” - to stick one's lower lip out in a sulk (literally, to play the insulted liver sausage)
Haven't done that in a looooong time!

The meaning of "tingo"? It's from the Pascuense language of Easter Island, meaning "to borrow objects from a friend's house, one by one, until there's nothing left".

The Japanese have more than their share of terms in the book, such as the wonderful "bakkushan", for a girl who looks as though she might be pretty when seen from behind, but isn't from the front.

Hmmm I wonder whether there’s any term for “a man who have a beautiful mane of long hair and looks like a woman from behind but is drop dead macho-gorgeous from the front”.

I did run into someone like this some days back.

:P

Friday, October 07, 2005

Flavours of the season……

........are many, but one of them definitely is KBC (Kaun Banega Crorepati) – the lottery quizzing TV show of India!

Couple of months back my junior here at K, Debanjan won 6 lakhs in KBC and threw us a very generous party and made magnanimous contributions to the institute and to charity. Kudos to his good heart.

And more recently a super senior, Piyush Swain, won (supposedly) the highest amount ever in KBC!!!
Congrats Piyush. We are all waiting here at K….. : )

Yesterday saw the birth of another club in IIM K. Da dance club! Moi is a student of salsa classes now!
: )

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

On mallus....

For an outsider, it appears that, though the people of Kerala have become richer with money from Gulf, their thought processes have not kept pace with their increasing wealth; they still think poor. They invest their surplus more in ostentatious non-productive assets than in productive enterprises. Gulf money has not brought entrepreneurship but a culture of dependence on those who toil elsewhere. By conventional economics, the large amounts of foreign exchange Kerala has been earning should have translated into rapid economic growth. It has not; so the problem is not money.....


........According to a well-known anecdote, Dr Varghese Kurien did not set up his path-breaking dairy project in Kerala because there are too many Malayalees there. Apparently, one or few Malayalees are better than many more of any other breed, but in large numbers they become less able. They are like the nucleus of an atom: they are stable in small sizes; when the size becomes large, they become, like uranium, dangerously explosive.


So says Mr. P. V. Indiresan, in Hindu Business Line.

True?

I would say yes to the first part, but not sure about the second part though...

Monday, October 03, 2005

Day out in Kasargod

Term 5 is moving along at a snail’s pace here. 3 weeks into the term and classes are still sporadic. That's exactly what paved the way for the next explore-Kerala trip!

Kasargod and Kannur (formerly known as Cannannore) are not very well known in the tourist map of Kerala. Even so, we decided to explore the place, all thanks to Mr. Mani Ratnam who chose the Bekal fort to shoot one of the songs in Bombay.

Kannur St. Angelo’s fort

Cannons at Kannur Fort
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It’s a 500 year old fort preserved by the Archaeological survey of India. The fort by itself was not very impressive. But the setting of the fort – Arabian sea crashing on a good part of the fort was quite an eyeful. It looked pristine at 7AM. Though can’t say the same about the barracks (which was quite disappointing – pity the people who had to hole in there days on end), the magazine (for the uninitiated, it’s a storehouse where weapons and ammunition are stored), the chapel (currently being used as a garbage dump) and the information boards which are nothing but ‘boards’ now. The cannons, the well maintained lawns and so many varieties of twisted trees were quite impressive.

Had a fleeting glimpse of A. K. Gopalan’s statue while travelling through Kannur town area. Was surprised that I could recollect who he was!

Ananthapura Lake Temple, Kasargod

Where is the lake?
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This was supposed to be a filler and ended up being just that. The drive through the rocky terrain (signal that we were on the northern border of Kerala) in the afternoon heat made the experience less pleasant. From the pictures I had seen before embarking on the trip, I expected this temple to be in the middle of a huge lake, basking in the lost glory of a historic splendour of the 9th century. But all we could see was a small tattered temple in the middle of a very filthy pond.

But there were some takeaways from this place too…
A great story (?) about a crocodile who lived in that ‘lake’. It’s a magical crocodile which is scared of humans and eats rice and who mysteriously replaces itself every 50 years or so. So much for evolution…..

A cave with a small pond inside it, which unfortunately was not open to us. The cave looked very inviting and I would have loved to look around inside it.

Skeletons of Gods. I didn’t know that Gods had skeletons. (By Gods, I mean the deities in the temple). The overseer of the temple showed us some pictures of these skeletons made out of wood – they looked like toys and were a little scary too. It seems the deities were made layer by layer by coating these skeletons with different exotic materials. And this process takes nothing less than 5 years to complete! phew...some project!

The tree who knew only to give…..

The mahaan tree at Ananthapura Lake Temple
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This huge peepal tree, the tree of enlightenment, was covered with so many parasites that it was difficult to see even one of its own leaves. It looked so humble and majestic standing there, a host to countless sap sucking mouths…..

Bekal Fort, Kasargod

Uyireeeeeeeeee :)
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Bekal fort was the high point of the entire trip. Not just the Uyireee.....… (Tu hi re…) effect, but for its sheer size and surroundings. The small openings on the walls that made them a perfect place to enjoy the ocean view and the cool breeze, observation towers of different models, the sea bastion, the green moss covered fort covering close to 50 acres, the underground passageways, huge trenches now covered with a think layer of vegetation.......


View from the fort
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..........the shallow idyllic beach with colourful fishing boats completing the picture, the railway line so close to the beach – it was trancing watching the blue train move side by side the beach - making its way slowly like a blue centipede, the unlittered unpopulated beach with coconut grooves on one side.........I miss that place!

While we were leaving the place, couldn’t help but thinking Thank God, we don’t need these forts for what they were intended for once upon a time.

For the insatiable, here are more pics.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Getting up at 6AM....

...on a Sunday for a lecture at 7 is less painful when you are greeted with such an amazing view.















More here.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Some things I don’t have answers to

Why is my dear Kerala so green?, couldn’t help but wonder this during my short train journey from Trichur to Cochin. Unlike other parts of our country, in Kerala, if you want to see soil, you have to strain your eyes and search for it in between all those greenery. Or maybe even pluck some vegetation. That’s how green this place is!

Why ‘ladies’ flock only to the Ladies compartment, even when the other compartments are relatively empty?
I made the big mistake of traveling in the ‘Ladies compartment’ on my way to Cochin. And to make things worse, there was the morning office-rush too. And this was the only compartment in that entire train that was packed to its full capacity, whereas the other compartments went relatively empty. At each station, ‘ladies’ of all shapes and sizes poured into this compartment without even caring to find out whether there are seats available in other coupes. I got ‘pressed’ royally, while wondering why the mallu mahila junta keep away from the general compartment so religiously. Is it just a psychological thing of accepting a ‘reservation’ or is it because of certain ‘intolerable experiences’ in the general compartment?

Where will I be during the next Onam?
This Onam was eventful for me thanks to the unsuccessful summit, the Guruvayoor trip, Salaam Namaste, Veegaland, the murals and the carvings in the Sani temple in Palghat, the heavenly 4PM rain in Trichur, INDIA by Naipaul, my transformed friend at Tripoonithura, the mini Onam sadya at home and lots more. But the high point of the entire 14 days has to be the half an hour spent floating in the Wave pool in Veegaland. The feel of water splashing all around you and nothing but the endless blue sky above you. Just lie down and drift away. Aaaah heaven!

Why do people keep calling me Priya?
Oh! Once again I forgot that that’s my name. Sometimes it scares me when people call me by my name and it takes me nothing less than 5 seconds to realize that they are calling me and that Priya is my name : (
I hope it’s not the start of Alzheimer’s.
Maybe its just that my parents got the name wrong. Maybe that’s not really my name!

Offtopics

Here’s something to look forward to for all those adventure ride enthusiasts. For me, who didn’t have the guts to try the Space Gun in Veegaland, these are simply out of the question. I am very happy just watching the pics, thank you! And thank god these crazy looking things exist only in someone’s imagination.

Some must-watch censored SUN ads here.

And for all those people toiling in office, while I am enjoying a well-deserved break at home, and still have about 8 months more before I hit the corporate circuit again, here’s something [Rediff-speak on How to work for an idiot] that might come in handy. If you survived in there, I am sure you would have mastered all of this and could even add some tips of your own to this list. But nevertheless, it makes a good read. Enjoy!

Last but not the least, my heartiest Onam wishes to all.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

The divine show-act

Imagine its a lazy sunday and you wake up all groggy eyed to see a group of all-dressed-up people bunched around you. They look quite happy. You think it's just another day and try to go back to that dream when you notice these huge vessles lined up nearby. Each of them contain a different stuff. Edible. But gooey. Not a pretty sight in the morning.

And then the worst happens.

One barely-clad-scrwany guy picks up the first vessel and empties the contents over you. Water. And very cold.

You get a minute before he pours the second stuff - oil - from the next vessel. A good measure makes way to your agape mouth. If you've ever tasted oil, you would appreciate the situation better.

Next comes mashed banana, powdered jaggery, milk, curd, rice powder, ghee..........you get the idea?

By the time they finish emptying the 24th vessel, you are desperately looking for a cake of soap and a nice hot shower to chip off all this stuff. All you can think of is the new shah Rukh Khan Lux ad and that oh-so-inviting bathtub.

Ha ha fat chance! All you get is a quick wash with nothing but water. Hmmmmm....maybe some lemon extract too. Of course, you remain all sticky.

Hold your sympathies in case you thought that I was the victim. Thank God for that. Or maybe thank God I am not a Goddess!

It was Prathishta Dinam (something like Foundation Day) in my family temple and this was the main attraction. 24 abhishekams. Solid 2 hours. Being a God aint that easy after all.

I didn't like this one bit. I couldn't find the meaning of such a ritual. I did ask some of the older generation about this, but interestingly nobody had anything more to say about it other than that it was a tradition and an honoured ritual and you just did stuff like this. You don't think too much about it. And then a murmur "Kids these days. They don't have faith.....what is the world coming to?"

Well, ritualism such a this somehow feels nothing more than a show-act to me. A show-act by the haves.

Couldn't stop thinking about this while walking away, especially since I knew that there was this poor family who lived right next to temple in a 10 by 10 feet mud house who didn't even know where their next meal was gonna come from. This ritual would have been a torture for them. Watching all that food being used for a puja different from pet-puja. All that food thrown away......

Saturday, September 10, 2005

DeeVeeDee

I went DVD shopping today and the prices were a big revelation.

A Moserbaer DVD-R costs near about 15rs.

A Sony DVD-R costs nothing less than 38rs.

Sony buys the DVDs from Moserbaer, sticks its label and brings them out in the market. Unassuming public buy it over the cheaper stuff believing that
Higher cost = Higher quality = Higher reliability

I guess once you build up such a strong brand name, these are some of the luxuries that come along with it.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

A term break….

….is not complete without a visit to the dentist. And this time instead of the regular check-up, the visit had a cosmetic purpose too – to cement off a part of my bunny tooth which had chipped off during a fight a couple of years back.

This time instead of the usual painless dentist I go to, I had to go see another one – this one was painless too, but more like roadrunner – always on the go and he finished the work in flat 90 seconds!!!

And boy! Dentists ARE loquacious! And they don’t give you a choice. They fill your mouth with all sorts of contraptions and then ask you a million questions. You you’re your best to answer using some basic sounds and then later by some weird eye movements.

But today there was something else too. Everything was going fine. I was reclining in his easy chair with my mouth wide open, wondering when the next questions was gonna surface and bang! There it was!

“Looks like you take good care of your teeth. Not much work for me.”

“aaaa haaa” What I meant was - Thank you doctor. I try my best.

“So you studying in +2? Exams over?”



I could hear the Santoor jingle in the background quite distinctly! :)

If only I didn’t have all those pipes gurgling inside my mouth, I would have actually hummed the tune and given one of my special smiles to the doc!

Saturday, September 03, 2005

My roommate passed away yesterday


Originally uploaded by GirlWithBigEyes.
All that is left of Chops are his gossamer wings and that bright orange-red tail and the memories.

:(


More about Chops' lineage
In the bug-eat-bug environment of the Adirondacks, a dragonfly turns out to be one of the best little friends a human being can have. Mainly, dragonflies eat flies and mosquitoes. Anything that keeps flies and mosquitoes from feeding on humans in the north woods qualifies as a force for good, and the adult dragonfly is supposed to eat something like 20 flies or mosquitoes an hour :O

They are, in fact, nature's answer to the electric backyard zappers, which bring to the great outdoors all the ambience of a dentist's office.

This guardian insect has a lot of human admirers, including the makers of at least one sci-fi horror movie. Milt Adams, a naturalist with the Adirondack Park Agency, explains that the dragonfly larva inspired makers of the movie "Alien". The larva, which can live for years before hatching into the air, has an extremely ugly mouth, which suddenly zips out and eats some unwary critter in three one-hundredths of a second. If it sounds disgustingly familiar, at least this tiny creature is on our side.

Miss you Chops!

Friday, September 02, 2005

15 months too late!

From NY Times

What would have been the second wireless camera to hit the market after Kodak’s wireless EasyShare, is now the first: the new Nikon P1, due in stores on Sept. 15. It's an iPod-size, eight-megapixel camera dressed in brushed-metal black, with a list price of $550. (A sister model, the P2, is a silver, 5.1-megapixel version that lists for $400. Online prices will be much lower once the cameras actually arrive in stores.)


We are talking about WiFi cameras here. Quick solution to memory problem.

While I was window shopping for digital cameras, this was exactly what I was looking for. When I asked the guy behind the counter whether he had any wireless enabled cams all he gave me was a blank look. It felt strange that though the wireless revolution was very much underway, no one was out with a wireless camera yet. Well…here is it now. Better late than never.

But it's gonna be some time before I think about investing in another camera :|

Offtopic

The author cracks a good PJ when he says
Incredibly, the P1 can't connect to the Internet at all, even when its Wi-Fi signal-strength indicator has more bars than a federal prison.

Exactly my sentiments, when it comes to Airtel connection :))

Monday, August 29, 2005

Thought Language

I had this discussion with my mom about the language we think in. I happened to mention to her that for me, it's either English, or just picture-thoughts.

And she feels that for being a Mallu or a Tam (actually a bit of both, but not completely any one of those), I am not doing justice to my mother tongue, ‘Malayalam’ – which I think is one of the most beautiful and difficult languages. But my mom thinks that I am cheating on Malayalam :)

Times change. People change. Thought-language changes.
Love for mother-tongue remains the same.


Some of my fav books are in Mallu and I still read Bobanum Moliyum religiously. And not to mention that some of the best PJs I’ve ever heard are in Mallu.
Anju, remember the ‘Pull’ one and the ‘Danthasupathri’?
:)

Btw, What language do you think in? Or never even thought about it?

Friday, August 26, 2005

Relax, Bill Gates; It's Google's Turn as the Villain

That’s what NYTimes says. Not me.

In the New York Times, Gary Rivlin notes a backlash building against the search juggernaut. Google is going corporate, complain some technologists. It's arrogant, say others. Worse, it's hoarding talent.
"Google is doing more damage to innovation in the Valley right now than Microsoft ever did," LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman told the Times.
"It's largely that they're hiring up so many talented people, and the fact they're working on so many different things. It's harder for start-ups to do interesting stuff right now."
And what of Google's "do no evil" mission statement? Well, no one believes that now do they?
"In the day, you'd hear that Microsoft was the evil empire, especially in Silicon Valley," said Brian Lent, the president of Medio Systems, a start-up in Seattle working on mobile-phone-based search.
"Google is the new evil empire, because they're in such a powerful position in terms of control. They have potential monopolistic control over access to information. I like and respect the Google guys, but let's just say that their ultimate aim seems to me to be, 'One Google under Google, for which it stands.' "


Read the complete article here.

Well whatever the media is talking about, GoogleTalk and the new GoogleDesktop is currently creating major ripples among the junta in IIMK and I guess everywhere else in the world too : )
And looks like the next generation won’t be spending much on their telephone bills.

Joke of the day - Bill Gates certainly sees similarities between Google and his own company. This spring, in an interview with Fortune, Mr. Gates, Microsoft's chairman, said that Google was "more like us than anyone else we have ever competed with."

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

GWBE’s back with a bang!

GWBE was offline due to the lowest forms of creatures of all – the spammer! I am not talking about those typically-once-in-a-month-automated spammers who come and put some links to a porn site or to some spammers’ circle page or even worse to promote their own blogs! But I am talking about those people who do it purposefully.

I wonder how the spammer’s mind works. Maybe he just gets up one morning and says to himself – “Oh, looks like a good day to spam. Lets not waste time.”

Or maybe “This blog is too dull. Nothing to my taste. Let me try to bring some ‘action’ here!”

Or maybe “Oh, here’s a happy girl. I am male and am a chauvinist and she's a girl and gullible. Let me act all testosteroney and flood her blog with some obscene comments”.

Well, in my case, I assume, the spammer would have gone by the last one. And this is not the first time I am hearing about blog spammers. They seem to be the flavour of the season. I recently heard about the same problem from another gal pal blogger and then another one in the last two weeks.

In my case, I could find out who it was and put an end to it. But most of the girls who face this problem don’t even know how to go about it.

While I was trying to find out who my ‘special visitor’ was, I did talk to Blogger to see if they could help me nail that person and maybe even take any legal action against him.

All I got from them was this link. They thought maybe I needed a lesson on how to delete comments!

But they do have a Legal cell that takes care of such issues – if you are facing any similar problems do mail them at legal-support (at) google.com. It will be a long journey. But it’s better than putting up with half baked sexist comments in your blog.

If you know of anyone else who is facing this problem, do pass on this info to them. Or if you know of any cyber police related stuff or any other legal stuff related to malicious spamming in blogs and which are valid in India, do drop me a comment. (Comments would be open soon!)

Other than that all’s well with the world

- My hair is growing fast. Faster than ever.

- Days are ecstatic

- Danced like crazy after a long time at the Freshers' party at Taj. Thank you my dear dance buddies.

- Got to talk to a lot of long lost friends in the last one week

- Had the best dinner ever of my life last weekend. Thank you Mr and Mrs. Pabreja : )

- Got to spend one whole day with a good old friend which had me wondering why I never did more of that before. Blame it on the corporate world, which slowly sucks you into it if you are gullible enough.

- Had pizza after more than a year! Yum Yum Yum : )

- Felt good to be back at my surrogate home turf – Bangalore!

Monday, August 15, 2005

Mangal Pandey - the calicut experience

I watched Mangala Pandey - the cinematic rendition of the 1857 mutiny yesterday. I am sure all of us would want to watch this movie, thanks to our dramatic history textbooks. But then, for me the 1857 sepoy mutiny had been nothing more than a sure shot essay question in history which had to be answered with the correct dates and years and nothing more than that.

Mangal Pandey has been a much awaited movie partly due to the Aamir khan factor and partly due to the ‘highly toned’ Aamir Khan factor and yeah more so, the interest of an Indian to go back in time to take a look at what our forefathers had to go through so that we can sit in plush (uh, maybe not so plush in Calicut) seats in a cinema and watch a movie rather than be someone's slave.

The movie, sadly, did not live up to its expectations. IMHO a little less number of songs, a little more momentum and a little more of story-line would have taken it closer to being a classic. But have to say that the cinematography is absolutely brilliant. So is Aamir Khan in Mangal Pandey's role. Loved his moustache :)
The custom of sati and slavery also have been picturised really well. I did not know that slave women had to breast feed the memsaabs' babies. :(

I did not take a fancy to any of the songs except the title song and the ‘Maula maula’ number. 'Mangal Mangal' is a rustic number that has been depicted very well. But it does start off awkwardly at some points in the movie where it does not sound very appropriate. But going by the reaction from the crowd in the theatre, this song was the highlight of the movie for them.

That brings to my main motive in writing this entry. The calicut crowd. Love them or hate them, you just can't ignore them. I almost shouted at them yesterday. The movie ran house full in the Crown cinema in Kozhikode (our only major source of entertainment in the city) and I was expecting a decent crowd for a movie like Mangal Pandey. The crowd was worse than those you can expect at a fashion show in an engineering college.

Laser pointers and all sorts of uncalled for comments and sound effects every single time a provocative scene came on. Well, this was expected. But then when the movie turned a little serious in the second half and when there were more dialogues than 'action', what did the crowd do? They talked! About cigarettes and beedis, about their dogs and bikes and moms-in-law, and about their exams around the corner and a million other things completely irrelevant to the movie. And the result? A movie watched and not heard completely and a very very irritated me. : (

On top of this, some idiot had his mobile ringing all the time - as if he wanted everyone in the cinema to know that he had a mobile and that it worked and that he got calls and that he doesn't answer the call unless someone shouted at him.

Sheeeeeeeeeesh!

Thinking of watching the movie once again in the confines of my room to find out what was actually said.

Something to think about
The crowd went mad when Aamir Khan came on screen – he did look good.
But not a single clap for either the buxom Rani Mukherjee or the pristine looking Amisha.

Oh yeah, I forgot I am in Kozhikode. Puzzle solved.
:P

PS: A small prayer to the good man, without whom maybe I wouldn't have been able to watch this movie at all.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

My daily kani


Glorious Sunrise


This is what I see when I open my eyes everyday morning. An incentive to get up early. But I don't get much work done in the mornings though - it's really hard to keep your eyes off the horizon when such a beautiful show is on.

Take a look at more IIMK sunrises here.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Judo Strategy

Here’s a good LBS article on Judo Strategy – a set of techniques that would help companies put bigger and stronger opponents on the mat. The article is written in a very charming way – drawing parallels between Judo wrestling and intelligent competitive strategies - and makes for a very interesting read.

Something that I found really interesting was the strategy ‘Push when pulled and pull when pushed’. According to this technique, rather than oppose the rival strength to strength – which may be plain stupid cause you are a smaller player, judo practitioners learn to conserve their resources and maintain their balance by first giving way. Then they use their opponent’s momentum to help bring them down. Makes a lot of sense.

Also the example of Drypers using Judo strategy on P&G is downright commonsensical but finally leaves P&G cursing their own move. I would say Drypers used more of a cheeky strategy than a Judo strategy :)


I got hold of this article while googling for stuff on Strategy during my Summer internship days in Delhi. I had this habit of carrying articles/books to read during the forty minutes drive from Delhi to Noida. So one of those days I was carrying a printout of this article on Judo Strategy and was trying to figure out whether I could use this in my project.

My uncle, who I was staying with, saw this article and burst into laughter and started saying things like ‘You can’t learn swimming by reading a manual’.

He felt that due to the rape scare in Delhi, I was totally freaked out (which I was!) and was trying to learn Judo for self defence by reading a Judo manual! All he saw was the title of the article which was “Judo Strategy : 10 Techniques for Beating a Stronger Opponent” :)

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

| |

GWBE is on a temporary pause mode.

Hopefully, should be back soon.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

IIMK's Rainbow







"My heart leaps up when I behold
A Rainbow in the sky"

- William Wordsworth


Mine too :)

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Belated birthday wishes, SOX

Nope, SOX is not one of my 20 odd cousins, but SOX is short for Sarbanes Oxley. Read about it here if you are still not sure what it is.

Hope you had a good birthday, SOX! Am really thankful to you.

Without you I am sure I wouldn’t have had such an ‘interesting’ summer project.
Without you I wouldn’t have got a chance to go to the capital.
Without you I wouldn’t have met so many interesting people.

Like Maxi.

Maxi was one of them - was one of them cause he is no longer in my world. Neither am I in his world. Oh no, we are both very much alive, just that it’s something more complex than that :)

Maxi is no normal Joe. He is someone the Government of India has invested a lot of money in. He is someone who belongs to the so called creamiest of the lot – Yup he has an IIT and an IIM stint under his belt. Or maybe I should say he almost had an IIM stint under his belt. Let’s not get into that. That’s anyway besides the point.

In the little time that I have known Maxi, we've had some pretty interesting discussions. There have been days when just listening to Maxi had been a de-stresser after a long tiring day of ….ahem….work!

Some of my conversations with Maxi went like this.

SCENE 1
Me – “Hey Maxi, what is your dream job?”
Maxi – “I want to be a developer in Wipro or Infosys.”
Me shocked beyond control - “WHAT?! After an MBA? Are you sure?”
Maxi – “Yeah. I always wanted to do programming and I am a fresher you see.”
Me – “But why did you got for MBA then?”
Maxi – “Just for safety. (from what? aliens?) I am a fresher you see.”
Me – “Why do you keep saying that you are a fresher?”
Maxi – “Well just like that. I am fresher”
Me – “Oh well. So you are!”


SCENE 2
Me – “Why do you look so happy today Maxi?”
Maxi – “I met another guy from Vizag and we bonded in telugu!! Later we went to a South Indian restaurant and had proper food. That is what real food is.”
Me – “OK Maxi. Relax!”


SCENE 3
Miss X – “Hey do you know this girl in your college? She’s a friend of mine”
Maxi looks at me as if I had asked him an out of syllabus question!
Maxi – “No, I don’t know her.”
Miss X – “What do you mean you don’t know her? You are in the same college and it’s been a year now…come on Maxi guys would know all the girls!!!“
Maxi – “Maybe, but I am not interested in knowing them.”
Miss X – “Why is that? They are your classmates right? Don’t you ever feel the need to interact with them?”
Maxi – “Yeah but....I talk to people or remember them only if they are useful for me. Otherwise I delete them from my memory.”
Takes me sometime to digest this info and to hide my giggles.
Miss X – “Oh, so you wont remember me after these two months?”
Maxi – “No I will remember you as the most useless person I have met.”
Taken aback.
Miss X – “Ha ha. Btw did you realise that you just went against what you said earlier?”
Maxi – “What? How? That’s not possible! huh?................”

Miss X – “Okie leave it. Tell me, why would you make that exception for me and remember me?”
Maxi – “See now I know you and I think about you...so you are in my subconscious.”
Trying hard to control the peals of laughter.
Miss X - “Oh, so I am in your subconscious? Ahem....what’s cooking Maxi?”
Maxi is all perplexed doesn’t know what to say and after 10 minutes of deep thought.

Maxi to Miss X – “You are not in my subconscious now.”
Miss X – “Okie. Thanks a lot Maxi”


SCENE 4
Maxi – “Do you know that HCL is the most sought after company?”
Me – “Yeah? In what sense?”
Maxi – “Well they are the number one.”
Me – “No. 1? In what?”
Maxi – “Well everyone knows yaar....you don’t know?”
Me – “No. Tell me na...”
Maxi – “Well I don’t exactly know...I'll tell you later. But it is the number one company. I am sure about that”
I decide to keep quiet and not press the matter further.


SCENE 5
Me – “Hey Maxi, why don’t you get a SIM card for your mobile yaar? It's so difficult to reach you otherwise.”
Maxi – “I think Email is the best way to communicate. I can save that money you see.”
Me – “Why do you carry a mobile then?”
Maxi - ???


SCENE 6
Me – “Maxi, tomorrow we have to go to office no 3. So don’t come to our regular office no 4 in the morning okie?”
Maxi – “Okie”

The next day dawns…...
Maxi is missing!

Maxi – “Hey, I am calling from office no 4, where are you?”
Me – “Grr...I told you we have come to office no 3. Now how are we gonna coordinate this presentation?”
Maxi – “Well. I thought you were joking when you said that.”
Me – Huh????


SCENE 7
Me and Maxi are having lunch. Silence for 15 minutes. Then suddenly….
Maxi – “I have a doubt.”
Me – “Yeah, shoot.”
Maxi – “Is Kerala surrounded with water?”
Me – “Aaaaaaaaaaaaaargh!”


SCENE 8
Maxi – “I heard that Kerala is green in colour. Is it true?”
I wasn’t in a very good mood and so….
Me – “Yes and No. In some maps it's coloured mauve.”


SCENE 9
Lunch time again. My Sony Ericsson T610 camera phone is minding its own business and is lying in a corner in the table.
Maxi out of the blue - I think iPOD is better than a camera phone.
Me – “huh?!”
Maxi – “Yeah. It has so many more features. You can store so many files in it.”
Me – “But you can’t call someone from an iPOD, can you?
Maxi – “That’s okie. Suppose you don’t want to call anyone. Then iPOD is better.”
Me – “Okie Maxi, so tell me is a movie or an apple better?
Maxi - ????
Me – sheeeeeesh!


SCENE 10
Me – “Maxi, it's 1:45 already. Lunch pe chale?
Maxi – “No...”
Me – “Why? Skipping lunch?”
Maxi – “I have a meeting with my project guide in some time. I would rather read something than spend time eating.”
Me – “Huh? Okie.”
The meeting never happened. And Maxi kept reading till it was dinner time.


SCENE 11
Me – “The lime juice is real tasty today, isn't it?”
Maxi – “You know I read somewhere that it is proved that the productivity of people increases when they work inside a room, i.e. enclosed by four walls, rather than cyber cafe style bays or cubicles."
Me – “Oh well, there are studies on all things you can possibly imagine about. But this thing is definitely not feasible. I am gonna take one more lime juice. Want one?”
Maxi – “If I start a company – of course a software company, I’ll make small small rooms and put all the people – developers, PMs, TMs – each one in one room.”
Me – “Well maxi, to tell the truth, if I given a room all by myself, I may actually sit and read Calvin and Hobbes or watch a movie rather than do coding or bug fixing. Moreover, when people sit together it aids teamwork.”
Maxi – “Okie…but I like small rooms.”
Me – “Okie whatever. I am gonna get that lime juice.”


SCENE 12
Maxi – “Do you know that the company has filed for listing in NYSE last year?”
Me – “Correction. It filed a couple of months back, not last year”
Maxi – “Okie. But why do they want to go for an IPO. I don’t find any reason why they should go for an IPO.”
Me – “Do the words capital and visibility ring bells?”
Maxi – “Yeah, but still...I don’t agree with it. They should not go for an IPO. This is a big mistake. Can’t they see it? They SHOULD NOT go for an IPO.”
Me – “Why?”
Maxi – “They SHOULD NOT go for an IPO.”
Me – “Oh Okie. Cool down. Btw, if you feel so strongly about it why don’t you go meet Mr. CEO about it?”
Maxi – “hmmm yeah! That’s a good idea.”


SCENE 13
Me and Maxi are waiting for the lift to come up to our floor.
Me - "Kaal is releasing this Friday. Shall we all try to catch the evening show at CSM."
Maxi - "Hey, suppose the lift comes now and the door opens. If we don't get in and don't allow the door to close by blocking it, what will happen?"
Me - "Nothing. Except that we may miss lunch."
Maxi - "But what if I keep blocking it, till how much time will it resist?"
Me - "I think it will go on till you keep doing it."
Maxi - "No, I think there would be a limit that would have been set. After lunch, I am gonna try that out."
Me - "Yeah, after lunch would be a good time. Let's go for lunch now please!


I kind of miss you Maxi! Hope you are doing good wherever you are!


PS – Maxi is just a figment of my imagination. Or maybe not!

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

What a dream :)

"I'm happy I've realized my dream that noodles can go into space."

-- Nissin Food founder and Chairman Momofuku Ando on "Space Ram," vacuum-packed instant noodles specially designed for astronauts.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Nothing better to do....

So here's another one of those pending tags.

Three names I go by
Priya, Piri, GWBE

Three screen names I would like to have
1. Black Mamba of Kill Bill
2. Scarlett O'Hara of GWTW
3. Jamie Buchman of Mad about you

Three physical things I like about myself
Cheeks
Eyes
Stupid grin

Three physical things I don't like about myself
This is tough!
After a good 10 minute thinking, I have come to the conclusion that there is nothing that I don't like about myself. Narcissist I am :)

Three parts of my heritage
M shaped hairline
Erupting veins
Love for music

Three things that scare me
Snakes - esp water snakes
Scorpions
Dogs esp when they chase my Kinetic :(

Three of my everyday essentials
Gmail
Coffee
Morning walks

Three things I badly want to do before I die
Get married
Teach my grand children nursery rhymes :)
Write a book

Three careers I am(would love) considering(accepting)
Housewife :)
Travelling for National Geographic
Working for an NGO

Three places I want to go (soon)
Louvre
Himalayas
Goa

Two truths and a lie
I am doing this cause I am bored to death and am frustrated that I can't cross beyond the 9th level in this stupid game. :(
And I spent 5 hours on it today! :O
Oh, I love such stupid tags.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Synapse 2K5 at IIM Kozhikode

The seminar sessions of this year were kicked off by Synapse 2K5 – the marketing seminar, with a bang. For once I was glad that I was a senior here :)

Though I am majoring in Marketing, due to classes and some other priorities, I had to be choosy about the sessions I wanted to attend. Finally ended up attending the two sessions by Harish Bijoor and Balki.

The session by Bijoor was very much unlike his columns. I find his columns a little boring. But the talk had me asking for me. A simple and entertaining discourse on Rural marketing was the agenda. His mentions about Raja lipstick, Priya and Lovely and talcum powder usage which hinted at the potential of the rural market made me wonder why it has been left untapped save the foray by a few big players. Maybe the huge investment required to set up a distribution system that can span all of India’s villages is one of the reasons. Some of the other reasons according to Mr. Bijoor, were the absolute disinterest of the marketers (read MBAs from premier B-schools) towards the unglamorous work of developing a campaign for the rural markets – they feel the action is in the urban market. Another factor was the complexity involved in understanding the rural population – well, blame it on our diverse culture. Well, considering that I didn’t even think about taking rural marketing as my elective – but I had my own valid reasons for the same, the thing about MBAs’ poor perception about Rural marketing does hold good.
Whatever it is, at the end of the session, I wished that we had Mr. Bijoor as a visiting fac for some of the marketing courses.

Btw, guess what's the name of the book Mr. Bijoor is working on?
Customer Orgasm.

The next session by Mr. R. “Balki” Balakrishnan from Lowe was a melange of ads and their synopsis. Don’t we all love ads – especially the ones which have the comical twist at the end? What made the session interesting was not just the ads – we have the Advertising and Sales Promotion classes for that – but the discourse of the psychology behind those ads. Finally, got to hear about the making of the Liril La-ira-ila ad – a drastic change from the girl in bikini ad series. According to Balki, this new add was made targeting the middle aged (35 -40) customers, conveying the message that Liril can bring in that little passion that has been lacking in their lives. Well, one thing is that the pair in the ad looked more like a couple in honeymoon than a middle aged couple who had a dearth of passion in their lives. Also, it remains to be seen how many couples would have watched that ad comfortably in their living room sitting along with their children or their parents. I know for sure that the channel would be zapped if my parents happen to come across it. Am sure most of the middle class Indian households would do the same. Is such an ad successful?

Read here what the other speakers had to say at Synapse 2K5.

Off topic 1 – One more blessed day I got to see the rain in all its glory. Just like the other day, today evening I got to see this huge cloud moving across the valley – sweeping the area underneath with heavy rain. And in just a minute it had crossed the valley. It was almost like a curtain pulled across from one side to the other. Only that, I was watching it with my mouth open, rather than walking away. Too bad I didn’t have my camera ready to capture the video.

Off topic 2 – For all those who wanted to start blogging but dint know which software to choose, here’s a neat comparison chart on the features offered/not offered by some of the popular Blogging Software.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

I am loving it :)

Our entire campus is WiFi enabled now. Apart from the hostel blocks, which anyway have a high speed LAN connection in each room, we can surf and work wherever we want to.

Until last year we had the WiFi facility only in some 'special' classrooms. But of course, the hotspot used to spill around to the nearby surroundings.
This time even the Library has been WiFi enabled. It used be a pain doing group work in library when you can't all be connected all the time. Now it's sheer bliss.

I am glad I spent quite on a bundle on a Centrino laptop last year. Good RoI, I must say!

Friday, July 22, 2005

The book meme. And the winners are..........

Made up my mind to keep a check on the backlog of memes that I am yet to do justice to. Picked up the obvious choice. Books. But the most difficult.

Total number of books I own:
Absolutely clueless. Has to be something upward of 700 counting the Archies, Hardy Boy, Nancy Drew series to the Encyclopedia collection to the Calvin collection, Recipe books, Novels, Biographies, Quasi-philosophy stuff, Space and science related, Mallu books, NG collection and the textbooks too ;)
To be politically correct, I don’t ‘own’ any of these books. Rather I ‘share’ with my brother. Me and my brother used to make the First day first hour trips to all the book fairs in little Trichur and that we know most of the book-shop guys in Trichur on a first name basis.
Sigh! Our children are gonna be so lucky. Born into a family with an almirah full of books perfect for all age groups!

Last book I bought:
Jazz, Toni Morrison
Am amazed by this author. Absolutely loved one of her other books which I read 10 years back.
A quip about this author - her books are sort of difficult to read. Asked about this once, pat came her reply “Oh good. I find it difficult to write them too”.

Last book I read:
Chokher Bali, Rabindranath Tagore
(English translation of course!)
Was pretty disappointed by the book. Felt like reading those ‘love-story’ forwards. Well, maybe they were a better read and more entertaining. Chokher Bali (eye sore) was more like a desi soap-opera script. Was little surprising that some enterprising Indian had already made a serial out of that.
May be whatever Tagore wanted to convey was lost somewhere during the translation.

Book I am reading at present:
Liar’s Poker, Michael Lewis
This one all about Bond trading in one of the Wallstreet firms. Witty one too. This book has set the record of me not reading it for a year since I bought it. It changed 5 hands before I finally got down to reading it. And the timing couldn’t be better. Our dear Prof. UD is taking FMT (Financial Markets and Technology) for us this term which revolves around Trading and Exchanges and the nitty gritties – in his own inimitable style. It’s rocking till now.

Five books that mean a lot to me:
Five seems like such a small number. Let’s make it ten.

Ten books that mean a lot to me (in no particular order):

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams
It’s no co-incidence that I love PJs. A sure page-turner, it’s one of the funniest books I’ve ever read. The satire and lunacy index of this book leaves one asking for more. Rightly said - Don’t Panic!

Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier
‘Last night I dreamt I was at Manderley again..' brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr
A thrilling story of jealousy and murder and an almost-thriller, it sent shivers down my spine when I first read it. Second read threw insights into the feminism the author has tried to portray and some ethical dilemmas and so many things left unsaid. Loooove this book!

Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell
This has to be on the list of every girl’s top-10 favourite books. And it is in mine too. Hats off to the strong and selfish Scarlett O'Hara. The movie doesn’t come close to the book though.
"Frankly ... I don't give a damn" : )

The Best of Roald Dahl, Roald Dahl
Known as a Children’s author, Roald Dahl is one of my favourite short story writers. The collection of his stories that I have which include selected stories from Kiss Kiss, Switch Bitch and Someone like you are a league apart. The twists in each tale makes you wonder how he comes up with such plots!

Love Story, Erich Segal
I love this book simply for the effect it had on all the people I have gifted this to. Everyone single person I gifted this to cried after reading the book and were moved beyond doubt. Oh yeah, some of them were of the male species. And isn’t Jenny and her dad cool?
"Love means never having to say you're sorry" : )

Randam OOzham, M. T. Vasudevan Nair
Some books are considered deep and immortal because there are ‘pregnant silences’ between each pair of lines which makes the reader think hard. But this is one book, which changed all the rules by giving words to those pregnant silences. That too, the silences that were left unsaid by Bheema in the great epic Mahabharatha. Coming from MT, my fav author in Malayalam literature, it is truly one of his best works.
I am trying my best to share this gem by promoting ‘Second Turn’ which is an English translation of this great work.

When We Were Young, Devi Yesodharan
The heart wrenching tale set in Muzaffarnagar and the intelligent word play used in this work are what I liked best. Who said engineers are all geeks? And who said MBAs don’t think beyond profit and businesses? Alumni of NITC and IIMC, the author of this novel won the best novel award from Oxford bookstore couple of years back. Hats off to you, Devi! Your style reminds me of Vikram Seth's.

Flowers for Algernon, Daniel Keyes
This is the story of Charlie, who has an IQ of 68 and who, can't even beat a laboratory mouse called Algernon at maze-solving. Then the story goes to the other extreme where Charlie develops a super-normal IQ; but sadly, situation is still the same – he is as intellectually lonely as he was before. A painful story.

Bluest Eye, Toni Morrison
Story of a small black girl, Pecola, who prays to God daily for blue eyes.
Love the title too. Two simple words, yet conveys so much! Bluest I?

1984, George Orwell
Brilliant concepts. Thought Police and Big Brother…..brrrrrrrrrrrr
The book conjures a sense of fear because of how closely it fits the reality of contemporary times.
“Big Brother is watching you!!!”

As for tagging some more people for the book meme, well, here goes. Not a compulsion, share your favourite books if you feel like it : )

Abhinav
Anil
Dinu
Neal Whitman
Surya
VKM