Saturday, November 27, 2010

An ode to those who matter to me

There are few people who have a profound effect on you. Not those famous ones whose biography you read or any famous personality whose ideologies you try to follow. These are people who are simple and around us. When you look at them, they seem so ordinary that you would not take a second look. But when you actually analyze, you realize how much impact they have had on your life, how they have influenced you and have formed a part of you. You ARE bits and pieces of so many people whom you have come across at one point of life; and even though the meeting is short, they would have had a lasting impression on you.

I write about so many things. I thought why not dedicate a post to all those wonderful souls who have influenced me to enjoy my life.  Life can never be perfect, you would all agree. There is no beauty to life if its all rosy and perfect. However, with all those pain and sorrows, remains hidden the subtle beauty and joy that we have to unearth. For that we need to overlook those sorrows and pain and look beyond it.

A blogger asked me how is that you can be so happy all the time. I said NO I am not happy always. In fact, I get depressed more often than necessary. Then he told me that all my posts are so cheerful, humorous and positive. I replied "Yes, they are. Doesnt mean I dont have any sorrows in my life. Its not that I am happy 24/7. I have people annoying me at work. I have situations at home that makes me sad. Everyone has it. So what? Doesnt mean I have to crib"

Anyway, so here is my ode to people who have made me. I want to mention few folks who have changed my life, who have made me see life and the world in whole new dimension, who have made me to smile and dismiss any unpleasant situation, who have made me appreciate simple things in life. I am not going to mention the obvious people like mom, dad, husband......but people whom I have met accidentally and without any expectations the relationship turned wonderful. those people whose certain qualities I appreciated and tried to imbibe in me. The list is not in any order of preference.


I know now he will start shivering. According to Gautam, he is the most casual and laid back guy with no particular purpose. He was introduced to me by my friend's friend. He was the last person whom I began talking to in that group. Yet, he is so close to me than others. It happens right? You strike the right chord and everything falls into place. This guy has taught me to appreciate simple things in life. Be it a stale bread, or a simple tasteless coffee or a murky road or a so ordinary landscape. He savors even the boring of the moment like waiting to pick your baggage from the carousel and admires the most ordinary sight like a woman carrying her child on her hip.

I started to admire more the beauty of nature and the happenings around us. My photography skills is also due to him....I started experiencing beauty all around me.


This man probably doesnt even have slightest of an idea that I am inspired by him. He would in fact think that I am ridiculing him. He taught me to love oneself. He taught me to treat my body as temple and take care of it. I started loving myself. If you dont love yourself, who else will? A person who always encourages to do what your heart says and encourages to express thoughts. He is also the person who instilled in me the seed to appreciate music irrespective of the language. I was into music earlier but was confined to a genre or a language, his perception towards music made me realize that even a baby's shrill cry is a music. I still remember the day when we went on a long drive to a mountain in California and he sang

"unnaale unnaale vinnaalachchendrene
unn munne unn munne mei thaazha nindrene...."

It still gives me goose bumps. After that, my passion for music grew stronger and I opened myself to different genre and appreciated a lot. He doesnt have a speck of an idea about his effect on me. Yeah, not to forget those amazing drives in his BMW :-)


She was my English and Geography teacher in high school. This lady was ruthless and always criticizing. I never liked her. She has made me cry so many times in front of the class for my lack of knowledge in Geography and English. I still remember her words "Girls, you need to be observant".  Much later did I realize her intent was not to mock at me but to improve me. Even though I dont approve her way of teaching even today, I salute her for making me what I am. My command over English, my observation habit is solely due to her.


He was my mentor when I first started working. More than learning technical stuffs from him, I learnt other things that is needed to be a person. One important thing I learnt from him was to be considerate. Be it promptly replying to emails or returning phone calls or SMS, or getting back to what has been promised, he was prompt. Be it at work or otherwise, he is a man of words. How can someone so busy with so many things in life still remember to return calls or respond promptly? The same quality is inseparable from me now.


I first met him 4 years back in California. I asked my hotel reception to book a cab for me and then I see this cab driver. He was regular then on, eventually sharing information about each other. He is a Punjabi, calm and poised, his struggle in life without education and his struggle to earn a living in USA away from wife and children is really an inspiration. This man respects me so much, I dont know if I deserves so much of respect from such an elderly man. He often says "You have been my best customer". Shares all his family problems with me, shares such hardships he faces in life that he cant share with his wife. He talks to me about it and asks me for my opinion and advice. I can trust him more than I trust myself. I learnt to respect every life on this planet after meeting him. Everyone and everything deserves respect.


My classmate during my engineering days and my buddy later. Will be a buddy throughout. I learnt from him the never say die attitude and anything is possible belief. I learnt the meaning of dedication and focus from him. But one thing I chide him even now is his lack of punctuality.


My junior in college and my closest buddy. I got the "so what?" attitude from him. I started gaining confidence in whatever I did and always succeeded. He does not even realize that. Stupid fellow. Though an idiot, he has been with me through thick and thin and is a wonderful human being. Even an irrelevant HI from me makes his day, such a beautiful person.


If you have observed, I have had only guys in my list except for my teacher. Somehow I cant relate to women. No offense, but I have had only bad experiences with them. Guys have been my best buddies, may be because I am a tom boy. But this lady is one I look forward to being with. We met each other 2.5 years ago when both of us changed to a new job. She is the first one to figure out if something is bothering me and make sure I am fine. She is ever caring and like my elder sister. I can always talk to her about my problems and she will have time to listen to me. I have grown so much fond of her that I dont go to office if she is on leave :-)

All these people dont even have an idea how they have influenced me and my life; but I would thank them throughout my life. This ode is just my humble bit.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Trying to write

You have this, this, this and that to write and share.

(stares into space, watches TV, Kylie Kwong is showing how to make Ma Po Tofu)

Then you click on Posting -> New Post...your fingers snap and hit the keys....few words, backspace....stare at the wall, get lost in thought.....Get into the mood of laziness

(Sentence not turned out the way it has to...Backspace..........)

trying to dress your thoughts with words in your vocabulary....few more words, erase


....snap the delete key.

As I typed those words above, I did type, backspace, stare, delete, type some more, nod my head in disapproval, delete, try typing again - whatever I did is captured within braces in italics. Yeah, the same old writer's block. I have loads to share, pictures, travelogues, thoughts and everyday experiences. Yet, why don't I feel like writing? Lack of interest. Why am I (stares into space......minces for the right it!!!) uninterested?

 Is that really a writer''s..................

(At this point, nod in disapproval, backspace....backspace....backspace....)

(Uummmppphhhh....need a hot cuppa...should i make it or sit still)

(Thinking.........decide to continue writing)

Yup, so talking about lack of interest. (Pauses) (Pauses again.....really blank..$#@&%)

Am I forcing myself here to write? No, I want to write. Been thinking to write for 2 days now. Yet, I cant bring myself to write something substantial. (Wow....the previous sentence just flew like a river downstream.....Improvement! )

Catches a glimpse of Kylie Kwong mentioning "put in some brown sugar. As the cooking process continues, the mushrooms soften and takes the beautiful flavors together. A tiny little bit of sesame oil for extra flavor, to top it off with fresh green chillies and fresh red chillies. A beautiful balance of sweet, sour and spice"....)

(Concentration lost)

I want to write about how blogging evolves and how bloggers and their posts influence us and what we write.

(Scratches the neck) 

(Caramelized Potatoes is what I see on TV...Hmmm...sllluuurrrrrrrrrrppppp...)

So I want to write a post on blogging, influences and how blog evolves. Just wondering why most bloggers around have either vanished or are not writing anything interesting .......

 (Ooops...thinks this might be an umbrageous statement. Bloggers not writing interesting? Maybe I am lacking interest. So....backspace...backspace....backspace...)


OK!! Not Today!!!

Friday, November 19, 2010

A stroll around San Jose Downtown

My poor and humble point and shoot camera which clicked so many awesome pictures went bust due to my carelessness. I was playing in the sea in Mauritius when this unfortunate incident happened. The service person told me it was beyond repair after hearing about it; I have not yet taken it for inspection yet. I am very angry with myself for being so callous with my camera which served me so well. People who have been following my blog for long time now can understand why I am so mad. The same camera which captured those moments an visuals which I saw and enhanced them aesthetically is beyond repair now :-(

Anyway, here are few pictures taken when I and Gautam strolled around the city of San Jose on a Saturday. Each picture has a story. 

The famous cathedral in San Jose. There was a wedding so could not go inside. Gautam likes this cathedral a lot and he mentioned that its very beautiful inside. We thought we will come back after few hours so that we can go inside but something else came up for me later. Missed it :-( Next time for sure!

A Chinese restaurant. I liked the intricate red gate

A very old piano. Gautam told me that such piano are left outside for the public to play. We stopped and Gautam played Pudhu vellai mazai/Yeh haseen wadiyaan from Roja. I was lost in music and got goosebumps for few moments. Gautam, thank you, subtle things like this are treasured forever. :-)

A very ornate and colorful graffiti capturing the essence of the city of San Jose.

 Hungry, we wanted a quick meal. We saw this shiny hot dog cart and this guy inviting us to savor his hot dogs. His shop was set up new, he said how tough it was to seek permission from the cops to set up a business on the streets. And he readily agreed to pose for the photo. Oh! I did not ask his name :-|

 I liked the lamp posts and the bunch of colorful flowers that fall out from it

These golden leaves and its fruit shimmering in the sun was a delight

We were sitting by the glass partition in a Starbucks coffee shop. Just less than 7 feet was this Light rail track. There was this light rail chugging every 5 minutes. It was surreal to be sipping coffee sitting just close to it. Right opposite on the walkway was this pothole lid made of bronze and beautiful carvings. We discussed as to how such items might not survive a single night in our Indian cities. A real treat to thieves :-)

Outside a Thai restaurant was this beautiful lady

Bright crimson flowers lining a wall sill. 

Abandoned? No just a model piece for advertisement.

The beautiful flowers and the lamp post

A tower against a clear blue sky. I dd some shadow and highlight effect to get this :)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

An Open Letter to Mr. Wisdom

Dear Mr.Wisdom,

You will turn out to be good for nothing. I don't need you. I already have some decent amount of wisdom in me. I am appreciated for being wise, time and again. Yet, God decided that I lack wisdom at this stage in life, maybe I was doing something stupid. He mistook the wisdom that I am missing to be YOU.

Its a painful proposition. You would not be helping me in any way, there is little room in my mouth to accommodate you priceless jewel.  I appreciate you, but forcing your way out and claiming a rightful space of your long abandoned ancestral land is not fair. The battle is tough, agonizing me and totally disrupting my routine for days together. Mr. Wisdom; please note that I have better things to do in life than fighting a battle against you!

I sincerely appreciate your good intentions but please understand that you are the one now least needed for my good oral health. My jaws are smaller, my diets are not tougher. I do not need extra chewing power anymore. In addition, you are also causing trouble to your siblings as well - the gums are swollen and the other molars which are hale and hearty are intimidated by your rising presence. I do not like you bullying them; waging a war against them by harboring bacteria and infecting them in turn.

This is to sincerely warn you to drop your senseless effort to erupt in my mouth. Continuing to do so will have serious consequences. You would be deported as per laws against illegal occupation. Please accomodate my request.

                                                                                               Agonizingly yours,

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Final Countdown

I was tagged by Anurag. I stopped taking up tags few months ago as it involved divulging lot of personal information. But this one comes with no strings attached and is also interesting. Also I thought let me break away from sensible writing for once :-P 
 So here it is.  
1. Put your iTunes, Windows Media Player, IPOD etc. on shuffle.
2. For each question, press the next button to get your answer.

1. If someone asks you, “are you okay ? ?” you say:
Dil Kya Kare Jab Kisi Se, Kisi ko pyar ho jaaye..........One of my favorites of favorites..

2. How would you describe yourself ?
Jaane nahi denge tujhe..... :-o I am not a leech...Now I am not to blame eh!!!

3. What do you like in a guy/girl ?
Remember the time...
When we fell in love...


4. How do you feel today ?
My heart goes sha la la....sha la la in the morning..... \:D/

5. What is your life’s purpose ?
Tanha Tanha Yahan Pe Jeena..yeh koi baat hai.................OK! But what's the purpose?

6. What’s your motto ?
Latoo Latoo mein us pe latoo.........................Lekin kispe?

7. What do your friends think of you ?
Ghar aaja pardesi tera des bulaye re.............They did; a month ago when I was roaming from one place to another

8. What do your parents think of you?
Give me some sunshine...Saare umr hum mar marke jee liye :-)

9. What do you think of often ?
Pyar humko bhi hain..pyar tumko bhi hai..tho kya silsile ho gaye..   :-D Dont ask who is the TUM now!

10. What is 2 + 2 ?
Its time to count it in.....5...6...7...8 

:-O Spooky that this question got me this song..but where is the 4???

11. What do you think of your best friend ?
All I want to say is that They Dont Care about us..............No...No...Not me...but my iPOD :-P

12. What is your life story ?
Ek Mein Aur Ek tu,...dono mile is tarah.............Again!! who is this TU???

13. What do you want to be when you grow up ?
Be a Rebel.....Loose Control....(Rang De Basanti) appropriate!!

14. What do you think when you see the person you like ?
Dil Tujhpe Aa Gaya...Kya Nasha Chhaa Gaya.....:-)

15. What will you dance to at your wedding 4th anniversary?
Chaahe tum kuchh na kaho maine sun liya....Ki saathi pyaar ka mujhe chun liya
Chun liya.....Maine Sun liya.....Pehla nasha....Pehla khumaar
Naya pyaar hai naya intezaar


16. What will they play at your funeral ?
My heart goes shalala lala...shalala in the morning
shala la la in the sunshine.................................  BE HAPPY!!!

17. What is your hobby/interest ?
It's amazing...How you can speak......... Right to my heart
Without saying a word,.....You can light up the dark
Try as I may...........I could never explain
What I hear when.........You don't say a thing

Doesn not make sense here, but another one of my favorite song :-)

18. What is your biggest fear ?
Aye Khuda mujhko batha tu rahta kahan kya hai tera patha
hum tho yahan pe musafir hai, jo dhoonde apni manzil ka patha

Fear!! ?? :-|

19. What is your biggest secret ?
Thok Di Killi.......................:-|

20. What do you want right now ?
Mar Jawan....Mar Jawan...Tere ishq pe mar jawan.............Awwww i am such a hopeless romantic!!

21. What do you think of your friends?
Ishq ishq karna hai kar le..ishq ishq mein jeele marle...........Hmmmmmmm.....

22. When you want to rush to the toilet, what do you think ?
Yahan ke hum sikander :-P

Vo sikandar hi doston kehlaata hai
Haari baazi ko jeetna jise aata hai
Niklenge maidan mein jis din hum jhoomke
Dharti dolegi ye kadam choomke
23. Person you hate the most is in front of you, what will you tell the person ?
think you gotta keep me iced
You dont
think Im gonna spend your cash
I wont
Even if you were broke
My love dont cost a thing..............Whew!!

24. You have just won a lottery. What will you sing ?
Whenever, wherever
We're meant to be together
I'll be there and you'll be near
And that's the deal my dear..........................:-P :-P

25. What will you post this as?
Its The final countdown

This one turned out to be very weird and funny. I want to tag Neha, Madhu, SG and A. I am waiting to see the list of songs :-) Yeah! anyone else who wants to play can take this tag as well :-)

Saturday, November 6, 2010

No country for good men

A brief 10 minutes talk with a man; made me shudder at the thought of living one's life away from the place you were born; the place which you consider your homeland.

While waiting in the queue for check-in to depart to San Francisco at Juan Santamaria International airport, San Jose, Costa Rica, I broke off from the queue to throw some stuff into trash can. There was this man in his mid 30s, who was standing near the trash can. I had seen him while waiting in the queue. It seemed to me that he was lost and restless. A tiny kit-bag was all the luggage he had. He was dressed very simple, he seemed to be traveling alone. A brown skinned man; who seemed Indian traveling alone from Costa Rica. He did not seem to be here on a vacation, was it business trip? The air around him didn't say so.

His presence was intimidating to me, but I had no other choice; the trash can was the nearest I could dispose off the trash. I am conscious of strangers and definitely think twice before talking to a stranger; this man's look seemed even strange. He was searching for a familiar face among that melee of crowd, that made me conscious even more.

I wanted to throw away the banana skin and move away from that place as soon as I could. When I was about to turn; I heard a voice "India-va?" I turned to see it was him. I nodded and gave a smile. Maybe my skin tone and my facial features with a nose stud made it obvious that I was an Indian. "Neengal Tamizha?" (Are you Tamil) - the next question stunned me. Indian fine, but were my looks too obvious to be rightly said a Tamil?

His accent told me lot of untold stories. His was a Sri Lankan Tamil accent. We started talking. His "Neengal Tamizha?" was because prior to talking with me; he spoke with Gautam. Ours was a 10 minute conversation. He was asking me about what I do, where I am from. He seemed obviously happy to have met a person who came from the same part of the world he was from and who spoke his language.

As I mentioned; I guessed right as soon as I made out his accent that his story would not be a pleasant one. He had his parents back in Sri Lanka; but he cannot go there. He escaped and sought refugee in France in the year 2004. France rejected and he was deported to Costa Rica where he spent 2 years at the immigration jail. Later he stayed in San Jose as a refugee and worked for 4 years. An American gentleman whom he met in San Jose offered to help him out. He mentioned that the gentleman worked for the America President's office and he is sponsoring his job now. This man was happy that his grueling ordeal is soon coming to an end. He had a temporary passport from Costa Rica. He was flying to Connecticut.

His life would start now, in his mid 30s. His family was scattered, sister in France, another in Sweden, his parents in Sri Lanka, now he was going to Connecticut. He would settle down in USA. For him, USA was the land of freedom. He wished he could bring his parents. He would not stop thanking God. His eyes were void, that unquenchable thirst to be together with his family, in his homeland, with his people. I thought how sad that the place he was born, grew up among his people, his friends, his memories..................he cant claim as his own.

I wished him all the very best, as I walked away, I got reminded of the cultural show and fun activities we at school put up for child refugees from Sri Lanka. There were these tiny tots of our ages who were separated from their parents and siblings,  now refugees in Bangalore. We invited them to our school, sponsored books and dolls for them, served them food on that day and put up dance shows for them; just to make them happy for at least a day.

 Where does he belong to? What is his identity? There are so many civilians like him in various parts of the world who are fighting for their identity, who cannot claim their motherland as their own. How lucky we are to proudly claim our nationality, our sense of belonging and citizenship.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Proud of what?

This post is in lieu of comments that I intended to pass elsewhere.

When we talk about our country; there are two types of viewpoints that originate.

1. Bash India. Crib and crib
2. Go gaga over what all has been achieved; however irrelevant that might be.

Let me give some examples.

Sunita Williams is an American. She is married to an American. Her father is from India and mother from Slovenia. She is not even an Indian origin; she is just half-Indian origin. We took so much pride in her achievement. How did India contribute to her success? Did India provide her any sort of help to achieve? How was it ever part of her life except for the fact that her dad was from India who migrated to the States long ago. Why do we own and celebrate someone else's achievement as ours?

Lets take Bobby Jindal. He made it very clear that he does not belong to or relate to India in any way. He showed his loyalty to his motherland(USA) when he spoke against outsourcing of jobs. He even mangled his own brother's Indian name during an acceptance speech. But we in this country took pride when he was elected the governor of Louisiana.

What are we proud of? What does Bobby Jindal stand for with respect to India. Our pride is so misplaced.

Now few folks out there are going to call me unpatriotic. But is this patriotism? 

Let me digress from these lines a bit. We as a nation have a funny idea about achievement.  Should we be proud of McDonalds having arrived in India? Is that a sign of progress? If so, is Pakistan a successful nation as well?

We cannot tolerate if someone give us a piece of our own reality. Our traffic? Our roads? Electricity? Public transport? Public rest room facility? Policies? Regulations? Our country still follows reservation based on religion and caste. Have we thought about making reservations for physically challenged? In buildings? On buses? On trains? Do we value life? Have we thought about their inconvenience and made facilities?

These are not material comforts or luxuries; but bare necessities. When would these problems be addressed? India is global, attractive for investments and blah..blah..blah...

An average Indian works hard to earn his living and all he dreams is a good life. How many of us enjoy good life even after doing our duties? A commute to home and office is a struggle; getting a work done from a government office is a struggle.

We take pride in all those hypothetical number of people working in NASA or the number of people working in Microsoft and talk at lengths about the global Indian diaspora. Thats individual success story. What about the country? Do we need to be proud that a branded jeans cost Rs.3000? You can get a stomach filling apple pie for $0.55 in USA, what can you get for a rupee in India? I am not comparing dollar and rupee but just giving an idea of the purchasing power. $0.55 is minuscule if you take an hourly wage of $10 on an average for a maid or housekeeping cleaner.

We are reeling under inflation. How many people here can happily fill their tummy 3 times a day? Go to a Subway and order a Veg sandwich. You have to shell out Rs 80. How many Indians struggle to even earn half of Rs 80 each day.

One can always point out the better infrastructure, better connectivity and better standard of living. One could always say; all is not bad; we have improved. I would say; if not even this; what is the use of being called one of the oldest and greatest civilization of the world?

Nepotism in politics, bribery, corruption, red tape, money laundering, inequality at all levels.....................................I can go on. 

Do you enjoy a decent standard of living?

Is your life valued?

Why do so many people still dream to migrate to the West even when our country is performing good economically?

If someone talks the truth; lets not brand them unpatriotic just because you are a nationalist. Also dont mistake your nationalism for patriotism :-)