Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Chinese Lucky Tag

:-) Anything 'Chinese' raises eyebrows huh. I read Antarman's post out of curiosity; it was a tag. She had done it beautifully. I was tagged, so taking it up.

Warning: I am not feeling sleepy; slept for 3 hours in the evening; so to kill time; the tag here. Skip it if its boring!

8 TV shows/News Channels I like to watch

I am no TV freak, now that not many nice stuffs are shown on TV. I tend to watch TLC a lot. Yet, let me try....

1. Nigella Bites on Discovery TLC : I just love the way she describes the food; so sensuous.

2. The Week That Wasn't on CNN-IBN : Rib-tickling humor by Cyrus Broacha and Kunal

3. Super Swank on Discovery TLC : Show on over the top luxury where money is no barrier and every whim is indulged

4. The Foodie on Times Now : Kunal Vijayka's indulgence in food makes you crave for it right away!

5. Passport to Great Weekends on TLC : Travel show by Samantha Brown. I so envy her!!

6. No Reservations on TLC : Anthony Bourdain has really no reservations in where he goes and what he eats!

Hmm...pretty much done

8 Places to eat and dine : Few eateries that I loved and would want to go back for the food, the ambiance....

1. The Cheesecake Factory in Farmer's Market, LA
2. Saravana Bhavan, Chennai
3. Millers 49 Steak House, Bangalore
4. Taqueria Canonita - Mexican restaurant beside the Grand Canal in The Venetian, Las Vegas
5. Kabab Studio, Bangalore
6. Riverwalk Tandoor, Singapore
7. Thea Mediterranean , San Jose, CA
8. Fern Hill Palace, Ooty

8 Things I look forward to

This is getting difficult. Let me se....Hmmm......

1. Feeling sleepy so that I can hit the bed
2. A great week ahead
3. Meeting a couple of my friends.
4. Bit of travelling
5. Buying Nikon D40........................................Gautam, get ready!!! :-P
6. Getting a tattoo...........................................Might be difficult :-(
7. Some breather at work
8. Pick up few books.................Its some time since I read something!!

8 Things that happened yesterday

Its mostly work!! Might be boring.

1. My team mate and a good friend commented on my outfit and accessories....(As usual)
2. Bid farewell to one of my team mates. It was his last working day. Gifted him a lovely watch
3. Went out for lunch. Ate alright!
4. Interviewed a couple of candidates for openings at work. Phew!! finally selected 1 after rejecting quite few :-S
5. Gave some gyan to a friend on his love relationship :-D
6. Finished a product design specification document after dragging it for a long long time....Yiepppie!!!
7. Didn't cook food at home, was lazy :-D
8. Paid my cellphone bill :-D

8 Things I love about Winter

Ooooooh...winters...I love them!

1. Layers of clothing
2. Only Jeans and no Salwars for me :-P
3. Snugging inside the thick blanket and waking up late
4. Hot cup of coffee
5. The fog and the mist
6. Monkey caps
7. No heat, dust and grime
8. Shivering!!

8 Things on my Wish list

Hmmm....oh my!! its turning out difficult. Should I be philosophical or just casual?

1. To pursue photography. I want to be half as good as my friend Gautam. Hope I learn fast!!
2. To study further...But lazy that I am, I don't know!!
3. To visit as many countries as possible in my life time and with my financial position...its too ambitious!! But yeah a wish is a wish!!
4. Learn a foreign language - Spanish? French?
5. Try to be shrewd and rough...Can I?? Oh God!!
6. Learn to manage my finance least decent enough
7. A Tattoo!!!! Get a tattoo...but it might be difficult
8. A BMW :-D

8 Things I am Passionate About

1. Reading
2. Photography
3. Music
4. Blogging
5. Sleeping....zzzzzzzzzzzz........
6. Learning new things
7. Animals
8. Maintain silence and calm

8 Words/Phrases I often use

1. Yeah right!!
2. Fine!
3. What the heck!!
4. For what joy?
5. Dear me!!
6. Classic!!
7. Oh!
8. Tata!

8 Things I learnt from the past

1. Never be dependent
2. Go by your rules
3. Be answerable to yourself and your conscience.
4. Never expect, it only hurts.
5. Be assertive.
6. Work smart
7. Everything has a reason to occur
8. Its OK if you don't do good to others, but don't do anything bad

8 Places I would like to visit

Let me name the countries :-D

1. Italy
2. Egypt
3. Morocco
4. Peru
5. Greece
6. France
7. Mauritius
8. Brunei

Anyone game??

8 Things I currently need/want

Nothing really!! :-)

PS : I am not tagging anyone. Anyone interested can take this up :-)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Why is it a not a teethbrush?

I was net-hopping when I came across this statement - "Toothbrush was invented in Kentucky. If it was invented in any other place, they would have named teethbrush"

I did get a chuckle out of this. curiosity...Sometimes it doesn't listen to me. And I become a slave of my inquisitive mind. 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. Check the below link.

"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 Google Maps.
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".

E.g . shoe rack, footrest, toothpaste, nail enamel, hairbrush......

Tell me I am not crazy :-|

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Artfully Lethargic

OK, I am getting nostalgic. I guess 'nostalgic' is too exaggerated a word; because 'those' days I am talking about were just 3 weeks back.

Yeah....just about 3 weeks back, I spent my entire 8 hours at work in meetings, discussions and technical presentations. Presentations are hectic, discussions are interesting but meetings....hmmm...I am not a fan of them. Especially when the meetings are just a monopoly when only one talks and everyone else......snoozes.............Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...............

Restless that I am, I very soon get bored of meetings or for that matter; anything where I have to sit and be passive. I don't know what is wrong with me that I cant sit at one place for more than 10 minutes. There was no need at school as my teachers always made the topic interesting. College was a different league; got bored very easily; restlessness started then.

But I didn't want myself to sleep or feel lethargic. I didn't want to day dream; I wanted to keep myself occupied with something else effective. I have been carrying that legacy while at work too. I started DOODLING. Well, this one requires concentration!! at a different level.

My favorite environment in Yahoo Chat is Doodles. Few of the doodles have transformed into nice paintings. I doodle while on the phone. Give me a paper and a pen, and I can doodle while tapping my keyboard :-P

I started the same during office meetings. My notepad has more doodles than important information. I was caught off-guard a couple of times when my manager asked me to jot down minutes of meeting. But I would never give up my favorite activity. :-); for it helps a person's memory significantly :-D

So start DOODLING people and improve your memory!!

Few of my doodle collections

Yahoo Chat Doodle

Thursday, January 21, 2010

My Name is BOND.....

How many of you are happy with your name? Would I get a decent count? Hmmmm.....I guess not many. I have always felt my mom could have named me with something "nice".

And this "nice" is what one likes...for some weird reason. You really don't know, but you have few favorites and wished you had this name.

There are reasons for people to feel embarrassed about their names. Awkward names....I had this classmate in my engineering whose name was "ANAL shah". Poor Anal....:-P

There are few names which lifts your spirits. A boy from my school had this name - "Bright Joy". Wow!! how much more optimism do you need? I also know a guy whose name is "Happy Mon(mone in Malayalam) and his brother "Nice Mon" :-D Such names brings happiness.

There are few other gender independent names. You cant figure out if it belongs to a guy or a girl. "Apoorva", "Kiran", "Vachan". It puts both parties in embarrassment. "Hello Mr Apoorva, how may I help you? " - only to hear a female's voice!!!

And yes!! I have come across people who have 3-4 names. But why?

Hey Sid, please send me your resume.
Sid, you have sent someone else' by name Rajesh!
But its my resume, my official name is Rajesh.
OK, what other names do you have?
My friends call me Ranjit, my official name is Rajesh, my mom calls me Siddharth and my colleagues at work call me Sid.......


What do you think about these names - "Min-Y", "Pin-I-Pai", "Ben-Hsu", "Khoa"........these are all South East Asian names. You would die trying to pronounce then correctly; without offending the owner of these names.

Awwww....the surnames. Surnames originate from caste, family names, native towns. People from southern part of India generally have initials instead of surnames. Most of them do. The initials are generally the first letter of father's name. While filling in promotion report for Bright Joy, one of my teachers gave him tough time asking him awkward questions as to why he didn't have an initial. He was fruitlessly trying to explain that his father's name was "Joy"!! But to no avail.

And few surnames are rather best forgotten. No "Godse" would want to name his son "Nathuram". Or how about a "Mittal" in your surname. You would be constantly tired of denying that you don't relate to Laxmi Mittal in any ways. But you do end up feeling good about being asked if you relate to Ambani or Mittal or Mahindra!!

Few of them would want to name their kids after celebrities, so a remote village in southern India would have girls named as "Aishwarya Rai" and a boy would be named "Amitabh Bachan"

Talking of celebrities, why do they end up naming their kids as weird as possible? "Apple"?....Next what? "Cucumber"?

My name is a two syllable word. Many people ask me "That's it?" Huh!! Yes, that is it. Did it end before it began? Not my problem, ask my mom. I was called by various names, before she had her way. Ladies have the final say. But my surname is so long that it crosses the character limit in visa application forms :-(

It is a concatenation of my father's and my grandfather's name. I was cross verified at JFK Airport as my surname was chopped off by that computer which generated my E-Ticket. It was scary to be cross verified; I was already late for the flight!!

Few people call me BONDS. Here is the story behind it. We friends went to a bowling alley. Each one was trying to help the guy feed the names so that we could start playing. My friends were so excited that each one spelled out my name and what the guy who was typing understood was BONDY.

BONDY became BONDS. Few of my friends call me BONDS.

My name is BOND :-)

Monday, January 18, 2010

Macro Madness

I got some breather today after a devilish week that went by, including weekend. I had to slog myself out; so much so that I didn't realize when Pongal came and went by, when the solar eclipse happened. :-(

I took a break from my work for few minutes yesterday; wanted to do something else. So as usual, I started clicking things around at home. Here they are.

Macro shots with no flash and low light :-)

Blushing Bridegroom

Wanted to see how this would turn up having the lens so close to the object. Pretty satisfactory!!

Looks like a Jewelery advertisement :-D

Shells colored in pink

Where is Micky Mouse?

To keep things in place.....a glittery clip :-)

One cent has never been this beautiful :-) This was with flash on; the shadow is the spoiler :-(
Fire is so beautiful...lest you are away!!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Does it have to be so obvious?

I have been busy for almost 19 hrs a day with work; for the past week. But yes, I could still find time to blog. :-)

My state of my mind is utter panic and chaos just like the servers I am working on. I want to come out of this ordeal soon as I have my vacations planned coming Saturday.

I am working even at this moment. But I still wanted to write this away. What made me to write is the phone call 10 minutes back. I was getting this call incessantly while I was busy talking with my manager about how to overcome this critical juncture; about our product. As I was done with my manager, I had to call up another engineer to discuss about few things. While I was pressing the keys on my cellphone, I again get this call.

I picked up the call; it was one of my mom's old friend. Her daughter is doing her engineering in computers.
She wanted my help as her daughter had some doubts. Her daughter spoke and informed that she had her exams on Java and need to clarify few doubts. For the uninitiated, Java is a platform independent language developed by Sun Microsystems.

I absolutely don't have time for this nonsense now. Pardon my language, but this is my state. I am working day and night to solve a potential issue and someone wants to clear some queries on the phone!! These people can remember only when they need help. I still ended up listening to her, thanks to my charming ways and the disability to say a firm NO.

She wanted me to explain some technical concepts. Excuse me!! I am done with my engineering 4+ years ago and after college, I have never seen the face of Java. My domain is entirely different. I tried explaining to this educated poor girl that I have not worked on Java since a long time and have long forgotten everything about Java. She still persisted.

I did explain a few technicalities about my work and that Java, or any relative of Java's shadows don't come in my line of work!! Her mom grabs the phone and asks "You are a compooter engineer, you should know everything about compooter. What sort of engineer are you, you cant solve my daughter's doubts. You also learnt all these things in engineering right?

Yeah right!!!! Is it that obvious? I ask, tell me people, is it that obvious?

Just because I am a compooter engineer as that madam said, should I know everything?

Something similar happened during my initial months as a new joiner at work. I flaunted around and went about saying to everyone and anyone how I got a job in a large organization who are leaders in advanced technology and all that.

Some time later, a neighbor came to my home and earnestly asked me to fix his printer. Why? Because I was working for the same organization that has manufactured his printers as well!! I had tough time explaining its an entirely different thing and let alone fixing printers, I cant even insert a paper in the right tray of the printer!!

His looks were so mocking!!

"How much do you earn ma?"
"My monthly take home is XXX Rs Uncle"

"Oh...nice!! Just out of college and you are earning so much!! Call centre is it? "

Is it that obvious that only call centres pay you good? Or is that obvious that anyone can get into a call centre right out of college and earn good?

And this "You don't know that place huh? You say you were born and brought up there?"

So what?? I don't know.Is it have to be so obvious?


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Too late

He was always aloof, taking things easy and was never responsible. But that year was special to him. It was his graduating year; he would be free from the clutches of studies, exams and professors. He dreamt big, dreamt of securing a job in a nice organization and earning handsome, having fun throughout.

He knew he had this one final hurdle to cross, final year in engineering was most easy. He would just have to write one theory and submit two project works. He had elaborately planned and even succeeded in buying some exotic project. Easy way than slog for months. His project works were ready and all that was required was submission and one final theory exam and then he was free bird.

The project submission, the semester everything went well. He even managed to get his attendance adjusted. He even attended a couple of interviews and the results were positive. Things seemed to be working his way; in spite of his irresponsible attitude and carefree ways.

Just one last ordeal left. He had to write one; just one theory paper. He never attended any lectures; as he thought it was not necessary; management paper after all. You write anything and you end up getting some marks. Pass marks was all he wished for. The subject was so generic that he never even felt like browsing once to revise.

The exam was scheduled. All set, projects done, college done with, just one exam more and then he is out of this ordeal. The day before the exams, he sat to read and understand the concepts; thinking he would be done within a couple of hours. It didn't seem to, he decided to sit whole night and read through it.

He was done with some time during early hours in the morning, he was satisfied and happy with his achievement that he could revise a subject in under 12 hours. He thought he deserved few hours of sleep before he got ready for his exams which was scheduled morning at 9:30 AM

He woke up that morning and was all rejuvenated. He came out of his bath and checked the time to leave home for college.

It was 10 AM.....

Friday, January 8, 2010

Phunny English

Its been quite some time since I wrote a thing on English. Here it is now.

We speak English, variety of them, mixing and matching with our own vernaculars...a potpourri of a different language in itself arises. As they say, Hinglish, Tanglish, Kanglish, Punjlish and what not.

The mission is accomplished if the matter to be conveyed is understood; be it in whatever manner or whichever English. True, that's why we are able to dominate the services sector and India is a melting pot of different languages and still we could communicate.

I have already put my views about pronunciation and orthography in the post - Ingilees or English?

There's one more dimension to manipulating the language by us. Its the speaking error; like the typing error.

Sample this - I sawed it

Oh no!! I was shocked to hear this statement from my junior engineer at work. "Saw" is by itself a past tense, you want to past past tense it again???

Instead, let me get sawed; will be saved from hearing such language!!

There's another common speaking mistake I have come across.

"There are lot of peoples" .....PEOPLES???? Plural'ing a plural?
"I have 2 childrens".......Poor children, imagine their plight!

A computer instructor once said See in the computer - his literal translation for "Computer mein dekho"

And here - Rain is coming - From where baby?
I once corrected a friend of mine; that the more appropriate way was to say "It is raining"
Guess what? Phutt! came the response. So then it is It is bussing instead of "Bus is coming"

I learnt my lesson not to correct anyone henceforth.

Then there's this He didn't told me........what??.....that you are killing him by your language????

Another most ignored blunder is when a pronoun is replaced by an adjective while referring to a third person

"Let she come" is what most people say. The meaning is of course conveyed but the usage absolutely wrong.

One more unavoidable kind is the influence of vernacular. I had this computer instructor who was from Bengal. He was once talking about usage of computers and he said Automated Tailor Macin

That was the ABC of computers we were learning and we all thought he was obviously referring to sewing machine; but when he wrote the spelling on the board; it was "Automated Teller Machine"

:-S could I forget people ending up replacing a simple word with a complex one just to show off that they use sophisticated words. "Revert" is used in synonymous to "reply". How very wrong!!!

"Revert" means "to go back to original". How can it be used instead of "reply"

I will revert to you later....... which means Sometimes later, I will become YOU....instead of plain and simple "I will get back to you later".

Jargon yes...but all wrong.

And extension of it is "revert back". I cant understand using "revert back to you" in any plausible manner!!

The cake here - Revert back to me with information
It would literally mean that I am asking you to get that information and become ME and back!!
(Maybe you can become ME if you drink some magic potion!!!)

Absolute nonsense!!

Its similar with repeat again , refer back and return back. Redundant usage.

Finally, its the one that irritates- SIMP-SIMPLY

Oh its not a new word that's been added in English. Its the literal translation of "Chup-chupke"

I am SIMP-SIMPLY dying here; unable to bear this all.............

Spare me!!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

What I experienced in Kerala

Me back!! Me back!!

Back to reality, deadlines and rush!!

My trip to Kerala was not a typical one. Oh yeah!! there are pictures as usual but otherwise the trip was a bit hatke

It was a self realization trip about life, the understanding of what basic necessities are, what luxury is and how it feels to be stranded.

Few highlights here. This trip was mainly to visit relatives. So we did end up hopping from one home to another.

How does it feel to be taken care and pampered? The hospitality was really really great, we were looked after so very well, just like how a mother would care for her infant. It was bizarre for me as I have never been looked after since a child, it was always self help right from childhood and as such I was never dependent for any needs and could take care of my needs without any body's assistance. As such; it was awkward for me to be served food and tea, my bath ready, my bed made ready.......I felt sorry for them and was feeling uncomfortable and guilty that I was troubling my hosts.

How peaceful is a life with only basic needs. I visited Idukki district in Kerala which is very beautiful with forests, tea estates, greenery all around but unfortunately supposed to be a poorer district. Most places have no usable roads, the villages are inaccessible and folks literally climb and cross hills to visit other people's homes. Minimal facilities to sustain life but ample nature around. Those old but crowded buses, people hanging around the jeeps as it bounces up and down to get to the nearest town which is 15 kms away; even for emergencies.

What its like to be cut off from the world. No TV (wanted no more of TV anyways), no mobile network most of the times, no access to newspapers, no laptop, no Internet access. I didn't know what was happening with the outside world. All that was available was the aroma of tea, endless area of mountains and tea plantations, streams flowing just outside the house, plants of pepper, cardamom, vanilla around you, blanket of sky and chill breeze.

What is it to be indulging in things that you wont normally do. Borrowed a kid's bicycle and cycled around the tea plantations. Woke up one morning to walk amongst the tea plantations having a puppy for company and surrounded by mist. Walk further down to a tiny pond to catch crabs with kids not older than 9 years. Sit unaware for hours gazing at the tiny streams flowing by with pure water. End up eating stuffs that you haven't tasted before. Visiting a tea factory and learning the process of tea making, watching women gather tea leaves. To be using home remedies like asoefitida, ginger, honey for digestion, cough and cold.

How sweet it is to be welcomed by one and all. Unlike the stares you get from your neighbor in the city, each one knows the other so well in those villages. A new visitor is welcomed with excitement and one wont leave unless he/she knows where we are from and other details. We do end up feeling suffocated and as if its prying but its actually excitement and care that someone from outside has come to visit them. A stranger greets you with smile, a lady sitting beside you in a bus initiates a conversation and departs with a broad smile, a kid comes to you and talks incessantly as if you and the kid have known each other for ages, each one greets the other.....Everyone knows everyone else.

How does it feel to be stranded when your car breaks down in a place inaccessible to none on January 1st!!! At a place where the mobile network is none. At a place where you can not find a single living creature for kilometers at a stretch. Only to get some help after hours of waiting!! To tow the car down the hills and figuring out there is no proper car care shop? To figure out the mechanics know just to fix jeeps but not cars? To endure the delay as the spare parts were not of the car model and we need to go 120 kms away just to get the right spare parts!!

It was all these and IT IS AN EXPERIENCE. Pictures now :-)

One among the many paths we tread. Poor car!!

Walking is along such paths.

A view in front of the house we stayed

The roads again....which was the reason for the car breakdown

Path to?

One of the many crabs that were caught

These boys caught 15 crabs and 2 fishes in under 1/2 hour. They are searching for more

The puppy which accompanied me for the morning walk among the tea plantations. His name is KULFI

The AVT tea factory that we visited. No photography inside.

Out of the world.

God's Own Country...Truly

Once again for the proof

Women picking leaves. They wear layers of clothing and boots to protect themselves from snakes

7 AM....this is how it was.

The misty road

What I got from Kerala? Memories, photos and this wine holder :-D