Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Stop the comparison please

I was on my way home yesterday evening after work and suddenly notice a tag line on the boot of a Mahindra Scorpio. It read "Indian Hummer".

I don't seem to understand why Indians compare everything to something else. I mean, Mahindra Scorpio is a mean machine; having its own unique character and specialty. It deserves an identity of its own! Why mar its authenticity? Why compare its power to another vehicle. Hummer is in its own category anyways! Anyways there's already a Mahindra AXE which looks lil' bit like the Hummer and also has power, used by the Army

There are lot many things where there are comparisons. Jsut go to google and key in "India's answer to". Lo! you get many posts.

India's very and so.....
India's answer to Wal-mart....blah..blah..blah
India's asnwer to Houdini....blah..blah..blah...
India's answer to Obama...This was an interesing read in a national newpaper recently. There was this poll conducted among public and they have to quote who could be India's best answer to Obama. Mr Ratan Tata won the poll.

Here's another one India's answer to Gelato!!! - Our humble Kulfi it seems. Kulfi is our very own humble dessert made indegeniously. Why compare that to a Gelato?? Both have their own beginnings, own followers...

One may ask what's wrong in comparing with something already successful and proven. Hummer is a proven mean machine. You could say Scorpio is India's Hummer to personify its power. So what are we doing to Hummer in this way? Making it superior?
Well, fine we would like to compare with something that's successful

How about comparing Mumbai terror attacks to WTC Attacks? This is not a celebration to compare! Media screamed with headlines.....


Isn't it absurd? Mumbai terror attack had its catastrophy, emotions and sentiments attached to it. Why compare???

Why do we snatch this unique identity and tag it with something else?

Update : The latest headline in India is about the Satyam fraud - being labeled as India's Enron..
India's Silicon Valley, India's Manchester, India's Oscar, India's .....when would this stop?

Monday, December 22, 2008

Why is it called a toothbrush instead of teethbrush?

"Toothbrush was invented in Kentucky. If it was invented in any other place, they would have named teethbrush"

I got this snippet from a friend of mine. This is one of the regular snippet that's being sent on email that started recently. I did get a chuckle out of this. Immediately, the curiosity in me took me under control and I involuntarily surrendered to my thought process, digging on the Internet for a possible relation between Kentucky and Toothbrush.
First, I began searching on who invented the toothbrush. I got information on how twigs, miswak, roots etc were being used. The Chinese invented the modern toothbrush in 1400s, the first mass-production of toothbrush in England in 1700s. Then I came across a snippet about first US patent for toothbrush was awarded to H.N Wadsworth in 1857.

So there I thought I got a lead. I checked if Wadsworth belonged to Kentucky, no leads. I did read some interesting funny thoughts about why its called a toothbrush and not a teethbrush even though we have teeth.
Few ideas were like "The person who invented it had just one tooth". "People were so unhygienic in older times that they had just one tooth left over or mostly toothless"....and so on.

I still didn't get an idea as to why Kentucky. There were similar statements that I came across on the Internet but this time replaced with Arkansas and then one more with Tennessee.

"Toothbrush was invented in Arkansas. If it was invented in any other place, they would have named teethbrush"

"Toothbrush was invented in Tennessee. If it was invented in any other place, they would have named teethbrush"

"Toothbrush was invented down south. If it was invented in any other place, they would have named teethbrush"

Now what is common between Kentucky, Arkansas, Tennessee? My curious nature just could not stop and there I go
I see all these states are in south-east of USA. So those statements were actually a mockery of the intelligence of the people down south? I don't know.

Whatever....after probing..I got the right answer, and here I am putting it in simple words.

The word is made up of two nouns - "tooth" and "brush"; thus its an compound noun; but the two words are written together. The first word "tooth" describes the second word "brush" and it gives a character to the second word.

The first word "tooth" thus acts as an adjective and becomes an "attribute noun". As it acts as an adjective, it follows the
  • Gives importance to the TYPE of element its relating to rather than "NUMBER".
Eg . shoe rack, footrest, toothpaste, nail enamel, hairbrush......


Hmmm...a bit of gyan here and I am happy that I can sleep without a thing biting my brain.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Didnt find a suitable title...Suggest me one after reading the post

My friend Gautam who follows my "anything and everything" blog asked me if there were any recent postings. Thus started our interesting conversation regarding written language and later moved on to communication.
My reason for not having any recent updates were that I was bored of using the same choice of words from my limited vocabulary. I have reached a point and I feel the need to expand my knowledge and start using more words; write with very less used words that would convey the exact meaning in a more definite way.
Writing without losing the flow is one helluva task, when one also needs to stick to the context. This balance is difficult to achieve. Most of the times, in order to keep the flow, one tends to lose the context and other times, the context remains within the defined boundary while the text remains bits and pieces of unconnected prose.
Thus, both of us started to share our thoughts...(Ignore the use of vernaculars in our conversation)

me: why use "preposterous" and make people crack the word when you can easily replace that with "absurd"
so "absurd" gets used absurd number of times
gautam: but preposterous is like more effect na... it is like to describe more serious reactions illa
but i get what you are saying
something like fragrance and redolence?
ha ha ha
i remember once i used redolence just of making it more flowery and now it seems so absurd!

True...The use of certain words while replacing a synonym does have a greater effect that a writer wants to convey. Here to bring that effect out - taking the word "fragrance" for instance.
This word definitely tingles one's senses to feel the sweet odor of fresh flowers, perfume compounded to give out a pleasant odor. Now the word "redolence" - dictionary defines it as "pungent or agreeable odor". Now that's relative. Agreeable to whom? Agreeable at what level?

What would be best to describe the odor of a flower? Is it "redolent" or "fragrant"? It depends on the flower in question. A rose emits fragrance. Well, the same cannot be told to describe the odor of Rafflesia arnoldii(the Rafflesia emits a repulsive odor, similar to that of rotting meat)

Here is the context(From Gautam's journal)

"A cool hilly westward breeze touched everything in its way with great care and the roses scudded gently as if they were involuntarily swaying and dancing to some melodious tune nature sang. Whenever I found a beautiful flower, I stopped by it to get a whiff of its fragrance. ‘Ah, what a beautiful garden, what redolence…’ I mused. I tasted dew on the roses. It was a demi-paradise of beautiful thymes."

No matter what anyone feels about this piece of text, it sure takes the person to pleasant memories, one can feel the fragrance of the roses, the dew...the pungent aromatic thyme.

So finally both agreed that some words convey meaning in a more beautiful way; even though they have simple synonyms - given the reader comprehends and feels what the writer is trying to say along the same lines with the effect.

Yeah, but how many would comprehend the meaning as the reader wants them to? We, humans stick to the things which we are used to and are comfortable with. Hence, even though there are numerous ways to describe what you want to, we generally stick to that one "trade-mark" word.

Eg. Let us take the word "awesome". I use it often. A website throws in a list of synonyms for the word "awesome"


Main Entry: awesome
Part of Speech: adjective
Definition: amazing
Synonyms: alarming, astonishing, awe-inspiring, awful, beautiful, breathtaking, daunting, dreadful, exalted, fearful, fearsome, formidable, frantic, frightening, grand, hairy*, horrible, horrifying, imposing, impressive, intimidating, magnificent, majestic, mean, mind-blowing*, moving, nervous, overwhelming, real gone, shocking, something else, striking, stunning, stupefying, terrible, terrifying, wonderful, wondrous, zero cool
Antonyms: unamazing

So, we limit our description of our thoughts with just one word "Awesome". The one word to emote our happiness, shock, surprise, sadness, fear, disgust, excitement...........and so on.

I used to over-use the word "fine" for everything.

How are you?
I am fine.

How is it going?
Fine(with frustration)

I might be a couple of hours late.
Fine(with anger, which meant "not acceptable")

Coming to being very descriptive. Here's few more from Gautam;s journal.

"The relatively higher location of our hotel gave us a beautiful view of the lazy town below. Homes exhaling white plumes of smoke and vapor from the morning cookery through the chimneys of the brick-tiled roofs were on both sides of a narrow road, cuddling for warmth; somewhere in the middle of Western Ghats’ womb. the earth is like mother, and that place was so beautiful that it was like a small baby, cuddling and sleeping in the cool misty morning... sleeping as it had not awake yet"

LAZY town, WHITE PLUMES of smoke, BRICK-TILED roofs, NARROW road, EARTH like mother......It sure does give an idea about the place.

Now the bouncer.....

"We were now on our way to Annapoorneshwari Devasthanam. Someone somewhere sometime in Kudhremukh had mentioned to us the presence of a huge dam a few kilometers to the south and so we decided to check it out. It was the Lakhya Dam and it was one heck of a dam! It was like a planar side of a huge sloping hill with a thick layer of grass feeding the cattle that appeared as small dots to two guys, one smaller sitting on the not so small one’s shoulder, trying hard to reach an elevation that would avoid the foliage obstructing their endeavor to capture the massive structure from a distance of a few hundred meters. (Phew! That required some description or what?) The angle of the 50mm lens of the analogue camera could obviously not capture the entire setting, as we were pretty close to the dam. ‘Hard luck’, I thought as we turned our backs and drove off."

I could not help but ask Gautam what did he mean when he wrote "....a thick layer of grass feeding the cattle that appeared as small dots to two guys, one smaller sitting on the not so small one’s shoulder, trying hard to reach an elevation"

To me, it meant as if one cow was trying to sit on another cow trying to reach an elevation...
He told me that he was describing his friend who had a smaller physique than him and he was trying to help his friend sit on his shoulders so that they could capture a wider area on their camera....

The excitement to jot down each event in a very detailed manner did this trick..

Well, the flow and the context together with an eye for detail has resulted in this unique masterpiece.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Dark Green Toyota Corolla and Indians

Whats a specific brand of Car model with a particular color got to do with Indians?
Well, this was just a random observation, but it was too very anything but random to ignore.
There was this particular model of car with that very color seen frequently on the roads of Bay area/Silicon Valley.
And yes, you guessed it right! These cars were always owned by Indians living there, either on a short term or for few years.
Why this model and this color? Well, got to do with budget, one could get a second hand Corolla for comparatively nominal price. And the color? Hmm....just for the reason of low maintainence. And with that dark shade, the car looks somehow OK, even if it were too old.
Once, I and my friend went to El Camino, we wanted to go to Albertsons to buy our groceries. We stopped to have coffee at Starbucks. While we came out, we observed a dark green Toyota Corolla.
My friend told me that it ought to be an Indian's. I just dismissed it. And lo! yes. it did belong to an Indian. I and my friend got into his Royal Blue BMW and started to go, while enjoying the envy of our neighbour. So next time you spot any dark green Corolla......:-)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I hate.....

  • To hear my alarm buzz each morning.
  • The constant honks of vehicles at a signal.
  • The roller-coaster commute each day to work on our bumpy roads.
  • To see little children begging on the streets.
  • Every other food outlet offering "gobi manchurian" without really knowing what it is.
  • The phrases "Synergy, Leverage, Raising the bar....Literally".. Oh yeah! literally...
  • The auto rick drivers charging ransoms when it rains heavily..and otherwise too.
  • To be deprived of my daily dose of newspaper
  • Crowd jostling each other every morning to get to their work, to meet their deadlines.
  • To admit the lost innocence in the children while their parents strive to make them competitive in today's tough world.
  • To hear cliches uttered by those famous page 3s and celebs
  • To see every other trivial news being Flash/Breaking News
And few more.....
Am I sounding pessimistic? Not at all..There are endless list of things which I like and which I cant list as it may become a booklet by itself. What I would like at this moment is a hot cuppa coffee!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Why do Women love shoes so much?

Why do women love shoes so much? Why is there a sense of euphoria when we pass by a shoe store? Are there any women out there who have not envied Sarah Jessica Parker's royal blue stilettos in the movie The Sex and the City? Or hoping if one could ever have as many pairs of footwear as our very own Ms Jayalalithaa? To most women, shoes mean much more than covering your feet.
Shoes are ornaments which accentuates the beauty of a lady's feet. Shoes talk a lot about you, your personality. I read somewhere that the first thing a women notices about you are your feet. Your footwear can tell tales of you, if you are the adventurous type, moody, bubbly....well...A close friend of mine who quite interestingly is also my mentor once complained, "I need to be very particular about my footwear whenever I meet you".
Women feel a sense of belonging when they enter a shoe store. Its the "Wow, I am home!" feeling. How many ever pairs they own, their closets have room for just another pair...or is it just another?
It isn't a crazy fetish, Its their basic need. Would it look nice if a women wore a pair of sneakers with a cocktail dress? Yuck!! See, she needs a strappy stilettos or a high pumps which would complement her dress. Do women buy shoes to match their dress or buy dress to match their shoes? If you ask me...its both!!!.
We don't need a reason to buy those . Ask any women what is that envies her about her best friend? Is that her job? her boyfriend? her new pair of skinny jeans? Nooooo...its gotta be shoes.
Women just cant get enough of shoes, even if their closets are full, even if their backs ache, even if it means paying hundreds of bucks for that 6 inch pointed stiletto which could bruise your feet.
Come on, they are worn to enhance style and confidence.
Its a way of making your own personal statement...

If you see a woman with flats, she wants to go easy and relax
If you see a lady with a pointed high heeled shoe, she flaunts her confidence
If you see a woman wearing a flip-flop, she is in a great mood to chill.

Well, well...when there are varieties to choose from, wedges, flip-flops, flats, stilettos, pumps, heels, peep-toes........why not?

Few reasons why women cant resist them
- There are varieties and are cheap.
- Make a personal style statement.
- Cant wear the same old boring black sandals everywhere.
- Fundamental right to choose!!. Do I wear these flats with this pair of jeans or would pumps go better?
- Phew!! cant wear heels every time. So I need another pair..So one more pair!!
- Those peep-toes are in fashion!, I need to get 'em.

So happy Shoe shopping ladies...and you know why do women love shoes?

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Toothpaste Story

No, I am not talking about the toothpaste history, its ingredients or how its going to protect our teeth. Just some observations that I want to share.
Our pearly white, off-white teeth could be attributed to the different variant of toothpastes available in the market today. Surely customer is the king.
There are toothpastes available to cater depending on individuals oral health. Also based on their age and tastes.
The early toothpaste was invented by Egyptians as early as 3000-3500 BC. Many people in India still use home-made mixtures to clean their teeth - the ingredients range from ash, salt, mud, neem twigs...
About two decades ago, there were mainly 2 prominent brands in India. The earlier toothpaste would come in an aluminum tube, hard to squeeze out. It offered no flavours as we have today.
They started by introducing different colors to the boring white toothpaste later which came in easily squeezable plastic tube. I as a child no longer had to run to my dad to help me squeeze out the paste.

The 90s saw a lot of potential in the oral health market in India.. The market has improved, we see mouth wash, gels, teeth whiteners....You name it and we have it - Salt, Calcium fortified, Herbal, Gels, Flavours targeted for children - fruit flavour, mint, spearmint, peppermint, vanilla, chocolate, animation characters....Toothpastes specific to fight plaque, tartar, fight against cavity, for long lasting fresh breath, for tooth whitening. Each one have their own marketing strategy with an enticing name and a fitting tag line - "Cool blue", Tingly Red", Icy Blast", Oxy rich"..... .
Toothpastes also come with sparkling granular ingredients and few of them are stipred toothpaste which has more than one colored toothpaste.
The boring white paste now comes as a treat to your sleepy eyes with all its colors and tiny sparkling bits of ingredients.

The product which occupied just about 2 shelves in our neighborhood store now occupies an entire section in our super market and it is indeed tough choosing one of them..

I was curious to read the history of the toothpaste. I found a site which also had few interesting facts

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Performer

I am back from my recent trip to Chennai. What I envy about Chennai is its Sea, I miss that in Bangalore. I love the majestic blue water that stretches till the end of the world, touching the sky; the lovely feeling when the pearly wave that crashes my feet as I walk along the waves.
The serene effect that it instills in me and the happiness that I experience out of it.....
As every time, this time too I walked from one popular beach to another one, about 4-5 km, taking in the smell of the sea, the waves, the blue water..the grainy stretch of sand, the distant ship, the clear blue sky with silvery streaks...the people...the cool breeze..oh yes the wooden fishing boats, couples coo chi-cooing, talking sweet-nothings holding hands.....
I took a break and found a wooden boat to sit for some time...It was refreshing to watch the sea, the waves. A street performer came by to make some bucks with his monkey.
The monkey was dressed in a cute red shimmering skirt and a blouse to match. It looked feeble, scared, all it knew was to perform some acts as its owner instructed.
The monkey was tied with a thin iron wire to its neck...he held it tight like a baby, its eyes earnest, as if it had lots and lots to speak, and was searching for a soul who could understand him.

The performer started uttering some verse in a sing-song manner when the monkey started jumping up and down, performing some cute somersaults, its skirt flying... the performer then instructed the monkey to salute, which he did it...I shook hand with the was pretty petrified as I held its hand for quite some time...
The performer was happy as i slipped some coins in his hand, the monkey clueless about the happenings, all he knew was his owner was happy. And I continued to walk along the waves.......

Monday, September 22, 2008

My English Teacher

Each one of us carry our childhood memories of the school we went to - from the day 1 of our Pre-KG where it seemed we are pushed away from mom's safe arms. Looking around, seeing every other child cry, things seem scary, to be far away from the familiar faces we know. I can very well remember the day when my mom dropped me on the first day and I sat quiet like a good child until I saw my mom walk away. Seeing other children cry, some unexplainable fear hovering within me and soon I join the cry already reaching the crescendo. Who could forget the last day of our school life bidding tearful farewell to all that we would miss - the everyday morning prayers, the inspections, the class works, home works, the petty fights and the reunions, the cold fear when facing the teacher's cane.......its endless.
One such person who has etched firmly in my memory was my English teacher when I studied in a convent from class 8. You see, I joined newly from a regular English medium to this sophisticated convent. The choice was entirely mine, I wanted to go to this school as most of my friends back in my old school secretly got admitted here. And I knew about it very late after they got into the school. I along with my mom went to the school to check if they admitted any more girls when the classes would start just a week later. To my surprise, I got a seat quite easily, I had heard the admission process was tough. But as luck would have it, I managed to get an entry.
The first day was almost similar to my first Pre-KG day. The girls were all hep, throwing up attitude and for a girl like me, it was tough to adjust. I slowly managed but yet, was coy to get out of my cocoon.
My class teacher was a lady with her trademark stilettos, strict and stern. She had her favorites pick of girls - the one who knew good English, who could talk about the difference between credit cards and debit cards- well 13 years back...Holy Lord!! Where have I got myself into....I always used to dread Ms Clipetty Clop's class (Yeah that was the name I gave her secretly..and will shortly tell how I found this name), 40 minutes of fear of getting insulted in front of the whole class. She also taught us Geography and Economics along with English and Grammar
She used to point out, esp the new joiners, "Her, you; read this paragraph". I would be internally happy whenever by chance the para would be just 2 lines.

Here I go -
"India's education policy..." Wait.. Girls how do you pronounce "EDUCATION"
Me -(Confused look)...
Its E"D" UCATION and not E "JU"CATION....
Well....Awww...I didn't impress my ma'am even today...Sob...sob...

We used to take turns reading up a para each as she explained. So we all knew which paragraph would one be asked to read. I would re-read it so many times in my mind that by the time my turn came, I would have well learnt in by heart.
....In honor of....."
" how do you pronounce "honour"...
Me - once again confused.....
"Its hONOUR, with a silent 'h'..

So when ever my turn came, I was criticized for my pronunciation, for my limited knowledge in English.
One day "Girls, how do you pronounce LOVE." We, in chorus "LOWE"... "No, its not LOWE, its LOVE....bite your Vs...Repeat LOVE..." Wow...we learnt something new.

One day, we were asked to frame sentences, part of our grammar class. the regular direct to indirect, Simple, Compound sentences...awwwwwwwwwwww....I wish I have the power to vanish. One of us were picked to frame a sentence using the word "full"..
A girl framed thus "We ate our stomach full".
Oh no, she would not forget this day of her life, my English teacher scoffed off at our English language. "Girls, what a shame, can anyone of you frame this sentence using correct word?"
She was rather irritated, and after a couple of minutes of rebukes, she framed thus -"We ate our stomach FILL". The girls laughed. "What girls, why do you laugh? this is the correct form. You speak wrong English and laugh at this correct usage?"
I don't know, its worth debating, as to whats the correct usage.

Ma'am always had the habit of scolding us and exclaiming "You should be observant girls!".
"Does anyone know what oil do the English use in their cooking?" A few hands up..
"Yes, you".
"Ma'am its Olive oil". "Good, How do you know Raksha?"
I saw it on one of the cookery shows on Star TV".
"Excellent!, See that's why I say it helps to be observant".


She would encourage us to learn new words and apply them in our conversation. But the method she used was terrible. It used to be always insults, rebukes, leaving one teary-eyed. And madam could never accept the fact that anyone else outside her favorite group of girls could come up with a right answer.

A Fill up the blanks question in our Mid term English paper "God is all powerful, he is ______________" (Fill in with a synonym)
None of us could answer this.
Ma'am while distributing paper. "None of you could come up with a correct answer. Sinu, you too, you have disappointed me!!" (As if, she was a master in English language)
"Girls, its Omnipotent"

Well, we all immediately take our Oxford English Dictionary out and search for its meaning. Few things that were mandatory in her class was the English dictionary and the Atlas.

Once she randomly picked up few girls, probably whom she felt were weak in reading the poem and made us all read a poem - rather a ballad.
When all started "Stop it girls, Its so disgusting! Why do you read it in a sing-song manner? Read as if you are reading a ballad, observe the punctuations, the comma and read it accordingly, give enough time for the sentence before starting the next one"...Phew!!!

But the one that hit me hard was when she asked me "What is the calorific need of an average Indian child as compared to an American child?"
This was because I was selected to represent in annual Quiz competition from my house which she was in charge. I was chosen against her nominee as the girl couldn't crack a couple of quiz questions as part of preliminary round and that disapproved her.
I could not answer the question.. She spook fire "Is this your preparation for the quiz competition? On what basis did they select you?" This was enough for me to break down

Anyways, couple of things that has changed probably many of her students....
She insisted that
1. We pick unfamiliar words from each prose in our English textbook and learn its meaning, apply it in our day to day conversation.
2. To be observant as it might teach us lot of things.

These two things made a drastic difference in my life. Even though her words were as sharp as a double-edged sword, even though she insulted and made me break down in front of the whole class, she inculcated a habit that has brought me a long way. Since then, I have been observant always to the minutest of the detail and have been learning every day, not only new words, but unknown things to me.

I thank her each day for her initiatives, those that made me improve my personality, my observation to details, at the same time cant forget her bitterness that she had towards me....Yet She was my English teacher.

Friday, September 19, 2008

My hard luck with Ennai Kathrikai

One of my favorites from my mom's kitchen is Ennai Kathrikai. For the uninitiated, it is a simple and tasty Tamil vegetarian curry. It literally translates to "Oliy Brinjal/Eggplant". This brinjal curry is made with extra oil than that is normally used in a sambhar.
A whole brinjal smeared with the masala dripping its a heavenly taste.
I would stay hungry all matter hot tough it would be to stay without eating, just to eat mom's preparation.
But as luck would have it, each time, yes each time out of the innumerable times I have tasted this preparation at home; I have ended up being unlucky in savoring the curry. Let me tell why.
Ennai kathrikai at home is always eaten with hot steamy rice. I would scoop out a spoon of ennai kathrikai and also some gravy, mix it well and start feeling the heaven, I mean relish it with a sense of gratitude to my mom for preparing it.
I am a fuzzy eater, if that's what it is. The habit of segregating curry leaves, onions to the side of the plate always make my eyes rove around for "non-eatable" offense here..
Don't know for what reason, mustard, curry leaves have always been in the list of "non-eatable" for me. Also Holy Lord, the onions..they are the UNTOUCHABLES.....
so in this process, I always end up finding...guess what??
A WORM :-(.
Oh yes.....I always find a worm somehow having escaped the cleaning process in brinjal(They remain unnoticed as the brinjal are just slit into 4 in this preparation). I have found them in varying sizes, to fully grown 1 and 1/2 inch ones(yuck!!!! I can still visualize that in my plate) to tiny ones....
I am a strict Lacto-ovo-vegetarian. so worms are a big NO-NO for me :-D.
But why me? Why do I get a wormy ennai kathrikai always???
the next thing I would do is to throw away the entire heap of rice and remain hungry......My dream of savoring Ennai Kathrikai and finishing off the entire plateful of rice still remains a dream.....
Hopefully I would be able to live my dream...

Friday, September 5, 2008

Karthik and his Tea cup

With due respect and credit to my dear friend Karthik...a.k.a gopalakk....I am sharing a "not-so-Karthik" type tit-bit.
Gopalakk was his login name in the organization we worked...and it was easier for us to address him that way. He comes across as a calm, charming, down-to-earth person, very sweet..hmm Mr Perfect(He had a neat and organized desktop), very prompt in updating instant messenger status as "Away for tea" or "Away for lunch" as he leaves his cube.
And always follows the English grammar etiquette even on chats.....begins every sentence with Capitals...
But he had a not-so-Karthik type habit. Well, there's always some amount of freakishness in each one of us. Likewise Mr Perfect had one too.
What would you do with your Tea Cup; after having enjoyed your fresh dip-tea? Ok...assuming that we have a fair idea about Karthik, what would anyone expect Karthik to do with his tea cup after he has finished his tea? Most of them would agree if I say we expect him to promptly dispose the tea bag and wash his cup dry....But Karthik...Well........The first time he shocked me...
He leaves the tea cup with the tea bag in on his table and lets it nurture growth - a greenish blusish haze being developed around the tea bag.
The chap had 2 tea cups which would take turns in nurturing growth....He and his dirty tea cup.
He says he makes his tea the same way even now..and its tasty!! and has offered me to taste it. For heaven's sake he is far away in the States...and I am saved. I cant comment as I have not tasted his tea, yet this is gopalakk for you....:-)

Thursday, September 4, 2008

English in its interesting form in India

English has invaded common man's life...and how? Its in a way that one does not realize it. Here, in Bangalore, every other bus conductor uses the phrase "Old daene" to notify that the bus driver is supposed to halt the bus for a while. Well,...if you are wondering what is this "Old daene".... Its English!!. Its "HOLD ON". The phrase is pronounced as Old daene. Well, the concept of Bus
Conductors was borrowed from British rule in India.
Coming back to our English phrase, the conductor would use this phrase hundreds of time day in and day out, oblivious to its meaning and more interestingly the language - English.
He would never give a thought to its origin, all he knows is that he has to use the phrase to communicate to the driver that the bus needs to stop for a while.
Similarly "right" short version for "all right" in its adjective form is used to notify the driver taht he can continue(he could now move on)
Such use of English words is part of everyone's life in India, very well blended to suit vernacular language.
Certain English words are used by locals to denote an object..if i can describe it this way, blended perfectly and used as a local language. For eg. it is common for people to call "table salt" as "salt uppu" - denoting free-flowing salt as opposed to rock salt.
Notable here is the term "salt uppu" which translates as "salt salt" as "uppu" in south Indian languages mean salt in English.
In certain remote villages in coastal part of South West India - where fishing is primary occupation, "Nylon rope" is used as a noun to denote fishing nets/ropes. Here "Nylon rope" is something like a brand.
Sometime back when I traveled to Chennai, I visited the beach. I was sitting on the shore, surrounded by hawkers, tourists. One of the hawker was selling packaged water. He was calling out thus "Water-packet thanni" "Thanni"in Tamil means water. Now this literally translates to "Water-packet water"!!! But "Water-packet thanni" for him and for many others its Water packaged in a plastic packet.
Likewise lot of English words are wrongly used to convey something when it means something else. Oblivious again. The word "personality" is used wrongly in place of "physique".
English is used in a variety of interesting forms, but what matters is the message getting conveyed. And yes thats not an issue..

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

At the traffic signal

"Sanjay vaani.....Sanjay vaani......." I heard a distant call probably of a teen-age boy, the call louder as the boy passed by the auto rickshaw I was commuting in. He looked tired after being out on the road all day and was looking to make some money.
It was a typical monsoon day, skies were dark, way dark for a 5 PM. It was drizzling, the rain could pour down heavy any moment. The boy, restless to sell off few of the last pieces of evening paper he had with him. Not a good day to sell newspaper.
I was looking out of the rickshaw I had hired, I wanted to reach the nearest bus depot and take shelter in a bus before it starts pouring. It was at a traffic junction, one among the numerous traffic and women riding motor cycles, mopeds hurrying up to avoid getting wet in rains; snugged in their over-sized jackets and coats, shielding their handbags from rain drops spluttering......distant thunder adding a rhythm to the impatient honks of drivers....The traffic signal seemed too long, rain aggravating to already existing traffic woes. No one seems to pay attention to the call of this poor newspaper seller. A motor-cycle rider meanwhile quickly took out his cell-phone and was checking for any important missed calls.
A cab driver tuning to a different FM radio channel; obviously irritated by the never-ending chatters of the RJ......another driver cozy in a luxury sedan lighting up a smoke........most of them looking at passers-by rushing to take shelter from the rain....the auto rickshaw driver moving forward feet by feet closer to the zebra crossing and finally stopped on the zebra crossing making it difficult for the pedestrians to cross the road........a couple of frail-looking kids dressed in rags...sitting under a ragged shelter...they are beggars who perform acrobatics on the road at traffic junctions and beg for money....I come across such kids everyday....obliging to their " rupiya dedo...didi do rupiya dedo". They deserve good life, home, food, shelter, education....they don't have any of these.
the traffic light turned one was ready to wait for it to turn green...vroooom went the motor cycles...the autos...the buses..the cars.........And the newspaper vendor and the poor girls? Well its another traffic signal for them......

Friday, August 8, 2008

I wish....

This thought has crossed my mind zillion times...whenever my mind thinks "I wish...." proving time and again that I am one among many people out there wondering what ifs...

A fair person want his/her skin tanned....There are skin tanning cosmetic procedures..Gosh!!!
A dark-skinned wants to be fair. We see numerous skin care products promising Fair complexion. Don't these advertisements promote discrimination!!!
Cant help it, its the stigma attached to the society.
The list is endless..........Girls having straight hairs go for perms...girls with curly hairs...straighten them...blond haired people dye their hair black...Voluptuous people wanting to be size zero...thin people wanting to put on weight..........Phew!!!!
Is this in our genes? Are these desires particular to homo sapiens alone? Would a pig wish to have a long tail like a cow's? An elephant wanting to have wings like a bird's? A monkey wanting to have colorful feathers as a peacock's? My mind can imagine without boundaries....
Err....Its not that I am enlightened one..I and my friend have decided to color our hairs...well why?? Oops.. Just for a change..There goes the cliche.....

Monday, July 14, 2008

Heaven on earth

One such place where I experienced heaven on earth was Lake Tahoe bordering Nevada and California. Its a large freshwater alpine lake known for its water clarity. The lake is surrounded by snowy sierra Nevada mountains. That was the first time I was seeing a place with snow everywhere. A white blanket of snow on the streets, decorating the pine trees. Roofs and window sills of houses bordered with thick layer of snow. All this while I thought such scenes were only creative imagination of man but one can beat nature at its creative and beautiful best.

There was not a single creature or humans on the lake shore. We actually managed to sneak into it. The sunlight falling on snow capped mountains and the lake scattered the light and my eye could not take in the bluish tinge and sparkling silver.

I stood there facing the lake, the mountains and gazed at them, my senses could not get enough ot the wonder; the blue clear water, the distant mountains, the thick snow bed, the freshness in the air....
All I did was to thank the almighty for giving me this wonderful chance to experience the power of nature. How blessed I was. What more do I ask Him? I got the chance to experience heaven while standing firm on earth....

Was there any need??

Few of us from various teams at work were selected to undergo a training regarding a new technology at work. The trainer was an American who had specially flown down from US and this was his first trip to Bangalore.
We witnessed a funny incident during the first day of our training. One of the participant was late for the training. He came in when we had our first break after about 2 hours of the class.
He was trying to get an idea of what was explained and what he missed. He interacted with others and all seemed normal.
The session started again and as it was an interactive one, people were free to interrupt and ask queries and discuss. This gentleman had a query and it resulted in a discussion with the trainer. What was queer here was this man until now spoke his normal language, but as he started talking to the American trainer, he started putting up an accent. everyone could sense his fake accent and it was too much for people to digest. This went on throughout the morning session. People shared their queer expressions as this guy started talking. All he wanted to talk in his newly acquired fake American accent and steal people's attention even though he had no point to make.
The unusual observation was he talked normal outside training during lunch break. It was only at class that he got transformed to an American....split personality huh??
This continued through out the day and as we were getting used to our Mr. Big, our trainer quoted an example of Lamborghini to support a statement that he was talking about. Phut!!!! here goes Mr Big again, this time with a question - "What is it that you told?" in his unusual accent. Ohhhooooo...the entire class burst out laughing. All this while, this man spoke and poked his nose into every statement that the trainer made as if he knew the world and now he asks what was a Lamborghini? It was not that all had to know what a Lamborghini was. It was just that he created too much hype as if he knew everything and anything.
Coming back, the trainer was patient, (he knew how to handle things well) and enlightened our man that Lamborghini was earlier an Italian tractor manufacturing company, which also manufactures sports car and is now a subsidy of German luxury car manufacturer Audi. Our gentleman, without battling an eyelid said thus - "Oh, is that so. I have never heard of Lamborghini. I know only HMT and Mahindra tractors" - well still with his newly acquired fake accent.

How I wish I could find the boy.....

Its been a while since I blogged. This particular incident occur ed about 2 months back. It was early May when I and my friend went out to finish off my tasks on a Saturday morning. We were walking on the street, when all of a sudden were interrupted by a boy. He was well dressed, aged about 15 years. He persuaded us to buy "magic ruler" that he was selling. The ruler was a flexible plastic which could be worn around the wrist as a bracelet. It also had 3D images on it.
We didn't need a ruler, and I said I don't want it. He persuaded us to buy and I thought no harm in buying one. He quoted Rs 20, which was at least 5 times the actual price. This time I definitely did not want to shell out 20 Rs for a ruler which I would never use.
I said I did not want it. He then revealed that he was selling the ruler for Rs 20 so that he can earn some money to pay his school expenses. I asked him few more details and I learnt that he would soon be joining class 10, he was trying to save much for his school fees and books during his vacation. He sounded sincere, yet I was doubtful. But his one reason of education was enough for me to buy a ruler. I paid him Rs 20 and bought the magic ruler. He went on his way.
I started discussing with my friend about the boy and his reason. I wanted to know if he was genuine and didn't cook up a story. I recalled how I struggled to complete my education. I remember all I wanted from my parents was that they spend on my education and nothing else.
The times I used to cry when they were not in a situation to pay my tuition fees on time and how I was made to stand out of the examination hall as my tuition fees were due. After much discussions, I would be let in only to lose 215-20 minutes of time and yet emerge topper..
Now that I was in having a good job and earning enough, I told my friend that I wanted to talk to the boy further. I wanted to help him financially if he was truly in need of help for his education. We would have talked maybe for 10 mins, I told her I wanted to go back to the place where we met the boy. We re-traced our path. I went to the spot to find him nowhere in sight. Both of us roamed around, to shops nearby, a park and neighbouring streets hoping to find him..Alas he was gone...How I wished I could track him down....I was disappointed...guilty that my mind didn't react fast enough........

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


Naaah....this is not about Vijay's latest flick. But about kuruvis..aka Sparrows. Common house sparrows. Few years back when the city still retained its old charm, one could see these sparrows; incessant chirps flying around, feeding on grains, seeds...How lovely these birds were. When I was very young, the sparrows would be the source of entertainment. I would beg my mama to spare few grains of rice. When she gave me some, I used to put them on the window sill and watch the sparrows have their field day. Now where have all the sparrows gone??? :-(

Friday, March 28, 2008

What do you always wanted to do?

So asked one of my peer the other day while we were discussing our interests while coming back from lunch. That question threw me off-guard. We were never really very close; we shared a professional relationship. He being project manager of a product that I was involved as a partner member. Yeah....what did I always wanted to do? Apart from the routine work; which of course feeds my stomach.
I hesitated a bit in replying, I was not sure if I must share what I always wanted to do. It was my passion. Hmm...after keeping mum for a couple of seconds, I told "I wanted to sing". This answer took him by surprise; not sure if he expected this answer from me. I have always been seen as a serious person with no passion for other things.
He paused and collected himself and expressed "Oh really!". Then followed the usual Q&A session. Have you learnt music? Carnatic or light-music? Whats your taste? What is stopping you from pursuing now? I answered all his questions. He was also interested in music. I told I do sing; people hearing me appreciate it but I was not sure if I were good or bad. It's an interest that I need to pursue.

He then told me an incident. It seems his wife also sings. He being a critic, commented on her raagams and expressed disappointment that she didn't do justice to the song. His wife gave him a piece of her mind. "You enjoy what you do as long as you don't analyze it. Once you have knowledge to analyze, then all you can see are flaws. I don't know raagas, swarams, but I enjoy when I sing. But since you have knowledge about them, you can see only flaws which stops you from enjoying"
Hmmmm...makes sense. I never really bothered asking anyone their comments whenever I croon, bray or whatever that can be called. OK let me call my crooning as "SINGING"; for my satisfaction. I enjoy to my heart's content when I sing.
Then my peer asked me to sing a couple of lines of "Yengaey yenathu kavithai...". Till then our chauffeur; Satish(oops...if satish ever reads my blog, he is sure gonna beat me up for calling him chauffeur) was quiet with his complete concentration on Bangalore's busy roads. But when my peer asked me to sing, Satish expressed concern. He told he wasn't prepared to take this punishment.
Satish and I used to go to work together when both of us were in California. We used to go out together sight-seeing and also to movies and dinners. Satish had enough of it. He had to put up with my singing for 3 months and he wasn't ready one more time.
Yeah, I told my peer that I had sore throat and was indeed coughing all the way. But he insisted. Ugh...muttered Satish. Much to his disappointment and my peer's excitement, I sang a couple of lines, my peer joined in too. He sang well, according to me.
I also sang a couple of more songs. I guess I was able to sing even with bad cough. Yuppie....we reached office, Satish was happy
Hmm...well Satish finally acknowledged that I SING well. Wow...I can sing...
I don't know what my peer felt. While parting, he told me "You should pursue; learn music. If you are so interested, you should consider quitting your job to learn music"..

Oh my God!!!!!! Quit my work. Oops...
But yes, I would pursue my passion; sometime in future. We all have something that we always want to do; but we don't pursue. Lack of time, work, family, pressure, stress, traffic, boss, fear, laziness.....The reasons can be endless. Hm....I hope to write about pursuing my passion sometime later.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

A Black Squirrel

This was about 4 months back. It was mid-November; winter season when the sun sets by 5 PM and it gets darker within the next few minutes. I wrapped up my work and called a taxi to drop me back to my hotel.

The cabbie reached my office in 10 mins and I walk out to hop into the taxi to face the boring evening ahead. There's a redwood tree just outside the building entrance. Oh yeah I was in the Bay area of California. I must tell that its a quite new seasonal experience.
Last time while i was in CA, it was summer and it was amazing to see sun set only by 9 PM; this time; as my luck would have it; I got to visit during winter. The sun sets off by 5 PM. Extremes!! Oh yeah going from India, its a new experience. I deviating? Lemme get back. Yeah I was telling about the redwood tree. I walked out to reach my taxi and I saw a cute black squirrel. It was startled for a moment; dropped off the food it was holding in its tiny limbs; and scampered around as I passed a bit close to it. I was excited. I have never seen a black squirrel until now. This squirrel was a bit bigger than the Indian striped squirrel. It was completely black -glossy as if it just jumped out of a tub of varnish, no stripes on its back as the Indian squirrels. I managed to quickly take few snaps of the squirrel and this picture is one of my best shot ever. I was happy and all smiles; I saw a black squirrel for the first time and managed to get a very good picture of it.
My cabbie was smiling and enjoying my childish behaviour all this while. I used to see the squirrel everyday after this, generally during evenings. I later read that black squirrels are common in mid western North America.

Wings to my thoughts...

Phew!!!! I created this blog of mine about a year back. I stopped at that. I almost forgot abut this blog.
I have always wanted to pen down things that happen around me, things that influence me, makes me think about it for a moment.simple things like me smiling and waving a "Hi" to the dog that has made my street its world(oh yeah..I wish the dog everyday..I will write about this later) to serious and tough things I get to face.
Somehow I have always backed off from pouring out my thoughts, but why? Yaaawwwnn...same old lame omni-present reason. NO TIME, and coupled with this my fear..
Whatever.. there is a beginning at one point of time. And this is it. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoy writing them. Ciao...