Sunday, December 18, 2011


The fort of Chitradurga is always celebrated as impregnable. It was built in stages between 10th and 18th century. The fort is built in a series of seven concentric fortification walls with various passages, granaries, temples, reservoirs.

Having read about it in school, I always wanted to go; but could not make it until now even though it was just 200 kms away from Bangalore. Visited it last month and boy! I was impressed. The technology they used to build a self sustaining; self protecting fort is amazing. Few pictures from my visit.

Chandravalli caves. Ancient archeological site.  Ankali Matt is situated underground and has huge lingas under giant stone.

Inside the caves; underground. 

Visited the house where the last generation of King of Chitradurga lives. They have good collections of items from the bygone era. Seen here is a water can that was carried to quench King's thirst. Its not that there was no water anywhere else; just that they wanted to consume only the water from their sources.

Swords used in battlefield.

The fort.

The outer wall.

A huge grinder to make gun powder

The seven enclosures had seven gates. Each has its own unique stories and art. One of the gates.

Of the lost era.

The tiny shelter was a temple. It has a 10 feet deep hole which was used to hide jewelery and other valuables in case of an outside attack.

A pond laden with moss. Its said the two queens plunged to their death when Hyder Ali invaded Chitradurga.

Temple and a deity worshiped by Obavva. She was a woman who fought the forces of Hyder Ali alone with a pounding staff.

A lamp stand on the fort wall.

Temples on the top.

More temples.

A closer view.

Weighing Balance

An old temple nestled at the end of the fort.

Carved out of rocks.

A 'Dwarapalaka' at the entrance. Almost chipped off.

A window view of the watch tower.

View of the town

Lost legacy

A view of the enclosures design. They form a maze.

A sacred pond.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Corporate Priest

Have you any time wondered what it is to have all those quality and performance measurement goals of corporate world applied to a common man with a merge earning to feed himself?

We have all those jazzy terms to make our life complicated. What can you do if someone intends to make it complicated? Service level agreements, performance, appraisals, quality metric blah..blah..blah....

These terms were invented for the sole purpose of not giving someone something that they rightly deserve. I truly believe so. Anyway these thoughts struck me after visiting a temple. It was about - What if a priest went to work for corporate world?

What is his qualification?
His caste? Maybe, maybe not. 

What are his skill sets to be on this job?
A couple of lines of Sanksrit chants. You may not even know if he is uttering them right!

What are his development plans?
Whats that? 

How regularly is he updating his skills?
Nothing of that kind. 

What are his people management skills?
Smile at devotees/small talk/distribute prasadams...

What are his operational activities?
Perform poojas, chant mantras, offer prasadams....anything else?

What are the SOPs he follows? Who lays down those SOPs?
Errr.....came up with funny ideas.

What are his cross functional activities?
Communicate to God, interface with Devotees...

What are the appraisal metrics on which he is assessed?
People management, YoY donation collection from Devotees.

Bonus? Perks? 
Closer proximity to God. He can now access God's jewelery? 

Such a simple job, but look how complicated a corporate world can make :)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Global Communication

What happens with two people are talking to each other over phone? can follow each other, maybe not get the tone of the speech but its fine. What happens if a group of people are meeting in a room and having a conversation. They could take turns talking, or there could be one member talking and others listening, or there could be a synchronous Q&A session or there could be a situation when each one is talking and there are many meetings in progress :)

Now what if this is meeting over phone across geographies and among large group of people having their own sweet accents. There are no protocols as to how to take over a conversation, who should talk, who should listen, how to pass a topic. Its a chaos.

I attended a Global Communication skills training few days ago. The above scenario is not new; been in this situation since I joined this line of work. But what I discovered were those subtle things that we miss out. For e.g. It would be so easier if each participant mention their name each time before they mentioned something. It seems funny but it so helps everyone. It gets awkward when you have to answer a query but you don't know who asked that question!!

Another conspicuous factor is the tone and frequency when you speak; in person or over phone. A tone in which you state can change the dynamics of a conversation. "HEY! THIS IS NOT RIGHT" can always be mellowed down and instead said "Hey, You know what? This is fine, but it might not work effectively in our scenario".

What else changed apart from the tone? The choice of words. Stressing on NO, DONT, NOT is so so negative. Its a contradiction. Instead of contradiction, challenge the case in the form of a question. Instead of a "No! I don't agree!" ask "How do you think this will help our case?" This shows you are willing to pursue provided you have supportive data!

The cultural differences plays a important role in communication. Keep silent in a meeting among group of Americans; they would probably think why doesn't he go take a nap if he has nothing to talk? Keep silent in a meeting among Japanese, they will appreciate and assume you understood it all and probably thinking!! See! :)

Use words that the majority of the crowd connects with. It makes it easier to present your case and make the crowd understand what you are trying to say. Last but not the least, small talk. Americans talk about weather and pets. Indians talk about traffic and food. So get into the groove and have fun! :)

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Office Spouse

A famous newspaper that is known to contain ads and gossips more than actual news had an interesting article of late.

The article started with a question as to how would you like it if you had someone who would be constantly supportive, your agony aunt or a punching bag at work? A spouse without having to marry!!

Few things sound dramatic when you give a name to them. It might be as simple as having a supportive colleague; but look at the term. Office Spouse!! The term Spouse brings in lot of packages with it - Nuptial agreement, promises to love each other in sickness and health, be loyal and honest until death..err...job hops do us apart!

Can we claim a no harm being friendly with colleague relationship as a "spouse" type? This very word is going to draw flak and make people wary of a healthy relationship at work. So yeah! you definitely would be bound to like one person more than others in the group. Like minded people would like to steal few minutes to go for a walk and talk on topics they could relate with.

There could be situations where in you could work better with a person having similar working styles than in isolation. Its all team work and productivity. Sometimes you need a person who is going through the same pain of working in a stressed environment and could relate with your verbal diarrhea. You need someone who knows the working of the organization and the frustrations of working with some people who you both know can be a pain. Should one give just a controversial name to it? I find it out rightly hilarious.

These sort of friendships among colleagues are everywhere and its a no harm thing. Tagging it with a ridiculous word as these could be extremely misleading and could lead to complications. Well why not? one would think twice before taking a walk with a colleague; lest others dont start speculating and send wrong signals!!

Imagine, the work place would be then a boot camp.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Steve Jobs - My thoughts as I read

Books are piling up in my closet. I have many pending to be read. I finished with all those Nicolas Sparks mushy far-from-reality romances. I did lap up on treasure hunting thrillers.

I was reading short stories by Forsyth and abandoned it mid way to read Steve Jobs. The world mourned the death of Steve Jobs just few days ago. He was a saint to many people. I was not particularly inclined to him and my only association with Apple has been owning an iPod and a MAC on which I am typing now :). I chose an Android to an iPhone and have restricted from owning an iPad. The first time I heard about Jobs was sometime in 2005 just after his Stanford commencement speech. Few friends in college thought that I was too up-to-date and too technical to know who Steve Jobs was and when I asked who he was; I recall getting that dirty look. I dont know if I should be mortified to confess that I still have not viewed his commencement speech :-/ Few things make you unperturbed and ignorant for not any particular reason.

The second time I heard about Jobs was the very next year. I was in the Bay area on work; one Saturday decided to visit Hewlett and Packard's garage at their Palo Alto home. I stopped on one street and an American couple were unloading their groceries from their car. I approached them and asked for HP's garage. They gave me directions and added Steve Jobs apartment was 3 blocks away. I just nodded and left. I still didnt know why Steve Jobs was so important.

So now I am reading his biography; I am half way through; at the back of my mind I fail to fathom why he was treated like a saint after his death. Steve more than one way revolutionized the personal computer industry and made our lives so simpler.

When they sell their first PC Apple I; he realizes its presentation was as important as feature. He transforms an engineer's hobby to a business and thus his friend (Woz) had a conflict with his belief and Job's ambition.
He had a way to get people do so that he can get what he wanted. A time when he takes Woz's help to design a game in an optimal way; he intentionally hides the bonus he was being offered by Atari and just shares his base earnings.

Or the time when he flatly denies he fathered Lisa and got around with a statistics that any one among the 28% of the male population in USA could be her father; later agreeing for providing for her just before Apple went public!! His college friend Kottke at Reed who stood by Jobs was not provided any IPOs. So very untrustworthy, non ethical and a person who could steal credits as he famously quoted "Good artists copy, great artists steal" when he hijacked Xerox's PARC GUI design. Was it his heist or Xerox's stupidity?

What set him apart was his ingenuity to bring art and technology together. Technology should be aesthetic. How he could go at any lengths to dominate. He cried when Scott assigned him a employee #2 so that it keeps his ego under check and Jobs requested for #1. #1 went to Woz; Jobs wouldnt have any of it and finally asked for #0 but BoA wanted a positive integer for a payroll account; so he had to stick with #2 :)

Throughout; he tactically talked people into his job; used them and disposed them off. "All you did until now was shit, so why dont you work for me?" was what he said to a Xerox engineer. Thinking otherwise; if he had not got his way; we might not have products as its now. Like GUI, the mouse, the book sized laptops; which all others like Microsoft copied.

He did not ask to read the draft and wanted people to know the real him. Is this why he is regarded as great? I could see him more as a shrewd man who could stare anyone down to get things done his way. Maybe there is more to him.

I will be able to understand more once I am done with reading the book. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


I heard about 'Kolaveri' few days ago. My first reaction was how could people turn so violent that they have started using these phrases in songs!!

Why this kolaveri di?

Is a Tamil song that has gone viral since less than a week and already has over 20 lakh hits; it was 10 lakh when I checked this morning :-/. There is this normal looking next door guy - in a simple black shirt singing for 'Soup' boys. What is it? A jingle for Knorr soups or something? Thats when you understand that 'soup' means 'failed'. The song is for the guys who have been jilted in love and treated like a piece of chicken in a soup!!

The song is half English- half Tamil written by Dhanush (Tamil actor and son-in-law of Rajnikanth) in his spare time; which has become a rage of sorts to everyone and anyone. Everyone seem to relate to this song and it has crossed the Southern belt; and yeah it has invoked this mass hysteria without ARR!!

The setting is a music studio; Dhanush is singing the song and its being recorded; while his wife and Shruthi Hassan looks on. No glamor, no drama, no gimmicks; just him enjoying the song as he sings. The lyrics are lunatic, meaningless and is insanely funny.

Is it the tune? I didnt find it catchy! definitely not as catchy as Ringa Ringa or Appdi Podu. Is it the lyrics? Is it the laid back drawl? Maybe its a combination of all; combined with it the sub titles in English giving out the lunatic lyrics like "White-u skin-u girl-girl-u...girl-u heart-u black-u" which takes it to an audience beyond that of a regular Tamil song.

The dialogues rendered in an utterly easy-go way in between like "What a change over mama...OK Mama..Now tune change-u"  and lyrics like "Cow-u Cow-u Holy Cow-u, I want you here-u now-u" makes it a random jam grabbing your attention and wants you to listen to the song again.

And that wonderful word. Kolaveri in Tamil means barbaric rage but it seems to be used in a mere comical sense asking the lady what is that she is angry about? "Why this kolaveri?" sung in a casual tone had captured the listener and its now a muse. I have been following tweets and rants; "Why this kolaveri di? is being used in every context and in synonyms to "Why are you cold?"

Very soon, I am sure we might find it being used for jokes pulled out on politicians. This was a bonkers hit! I dont think they expected it to be such well received. A song recorded during a break has surpassed any expectations. Very soon, get to hear the Bollywood version, remix version, club version, Cola adverts and so on.

Was it really a random incident? Or a tactical marketing strategy by Dhanush and team? Is it a fad online to grab even the silliest of things and share? Whatever his infectious grin and laid back rendering is doing wonders.

His father-in-law would have blessed it and so we are liking it for sure :P

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Horny Power

My iPod is my savior in many situations. It helps me a lot during my commute - spared of hearing lewd comments and helps me be oblivious to my bumpy auto rickshaw ride. But...but one thing that my iPod is also helpless is in dealing with Horny India.

Yes, India is horny, Indians are horny. They are horny all times; right out in the middle of the road in full public view; any time of the day. Men and women are equally horny. You can see them incessantly blowing bugles - the horn. Peeeee!! Paaaah!!

Why do we blow horns all the time? At the signal when it is RED, at the traffic jam when the vehicles cant move an inch. Are we a group of insensitive, impatient folks? Few of the countries I have visited erased the notion from my mind that only developed countries had disciplined drivers. Hell! no!! It has nothing to do with economic situation of any country.

Is the driver honking assuming that his honks will turn the RED to GREEN eventually? Much like pressing the buttons on the lift panel will cruise you through! What if its bumper to bumper traffic, deadlocked situation, or just plain signal?

Horns are used in extreme situations; either to evade a possible accident; to attract attention; to vent out frustration that results to due to a fellow driver breaking some driving etiquette. Look at us! We cant think of a traffic without horns. A silent drive is a crime. A perfectly empty road; not even a stray dog; and still you have your thumb pressed on the horn and it blares!

Which makes me wonder for whom is the horn for? There is no one on the road. For the plants and the trees? I have read that talking to plants helps them grow healthy. So if talking helps them grow, honking will help them sustain for a longer time is it? Go Green eh? Or is it for the driver himself? Self motivating mantra? Maybe! the driver is trying to get in touch with his/her inner self. Ummm...

No! there should be some other secretive rationale behind this! We Indians dont do anything without a reason, no? There should be something behind it? Is the horn supplying the much needed Green energy to propel the engine forward? I would pursue this search.

HORNY Power did I say?

Monday, November 14, 2011

Simple things

Every morning; my dad would go out to get half a liter of Nandini milk; mom would pour out the milk in a bowl and pour half a cup of water to the empty packet; shake well and drain the last drop to the bowl. This empty plastic sachet was then put in a sack and collected religiously to be sold once the sack was full. Half of the milk was used for coffee, the other half saved for the evening.

For bath; it was that brick like Lifebuoy which I hated the most. It was meant to survive all odds. We used to wait and wait for that bar of soap to melt. The only other one Lux "Flmi sitharon ka soundarya sabun" was a LUXury. Talking about sachet, washing hair would be preceded by going to a kirana shop to get Re.1 shampoo which came with freebies like a hair clip.

A kirana shop would hoard 5 varieties of shampoos, equal varieties of bath soap; mind you it was not beauty soap then. Just one fairness cream - you know which one I am talking about. Still, it felt that the shop was hoarded!! What do I call for varieties now? Choices! what else? A head wash meant washing your hair with soap or shikakai. We never heard about conditioner, face wash, after wash, moisturizer.....lifebuoy was omnipotent.

Not much choice with toys, bags, shoes either. A Hero pen, Bril ink pot was a luxury. Do you remember going to a shop to refill your fountain pen with ink for 10 Ps? Or segregating all the left over pages of your notebook at the year end to make one book to be used as "rough note"

Around noon, a cow would come looking for starch water/vegetable wastes; those were collected to feed the animal. Not only cow, your neighbors came to borrow a cup of sugar, a glass of milk promising to return them later. Your mom sent them away if it were someone looking for curd after the lights were powered on - a belief!! Siesta time for an hour and that authentic filter Kapi later - who knew the espresso or the mocha?

Buying vegetables meant a trip to the market in a rickety bicycle; outing meant a cinema when tickets were Rs 10 for 4 of you; masala dosa indulgence in a dharshini on the 5th of every month. No multiplex, no Thai food, no Pizza..

Its more nicer now, but I miss the simple things then.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Random pictures

People, I am missing reading your blogs. I wont say I dont find time; its just that I dont find quality "me and blogs only" time. When I steal some time and try to read; there are so many things on my mind that I cannot bring myself to concentrate. For now; I can catch up blogs on weekends; will read all at once :)

Few pictures for your eyes only :)

The sun was setting and these clouds were rushing as if they want to obscure it; and it was as if the sun said "Its ok; a brighter morning tomorrow" and had a last laugh :)

On NH 4; those distant wind mills rotated to produce energy. I liked the texture the sun was throwing - shadow on some area and light on others; while the clouds loomed ready to pour.

Beautifully carved miniature Nandi - probably belonging to 13-14th century. I liked this particular Nandi as it seemed to be smiling and joyful.

Pepsi, Coke....nothing can beat the Goli Soda :)

Deep in thought. What could the monkey have on mind? Where and when can I get my next meal of bananas?

Squirrel scampering around. These look so tiny compared to the black one I saw in California. But they are equally cute :)

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Misplaced notion

Ra.One, Metallica, F1, Rath Yatra....These are the hot events that occurred recently. No, I am not talking about any of them. Those are left to the experts. So sit back and take a deep breath.

November 1st 1956 was when southern states were carved out from the erstwhile Madras presidency. Since then, every year November 1st is celebrated as 'Karnataka Rajyotsava' meaning 'birth of the state of Karnataka. I dont know somehow when, but eventually it got renamed as "Kannada Rajyotsava' - no harm but please note that the name of the state has now been replaced by the state language.

The day's celebration was extended by a week for convenience; later the entire month was celebrated as Rajyotsava; off late the celebration goes beyond the end of year. We have mandatory holiday that day. Auto rickshaws display huge Kannada flags. There are others who display the flag as well; I will come to it later.

This day is marked with the government asserting Rajyotsava awards to people who have contributed to the growth of the state; cultural shows are held along with the procession of the state Goddess. Few others choose to show patronage to Kannada by "showing" hatred or intolerance to other languages; especially Tamil.

Its a known bitter truth that few sections view Tamils as close to their enemies. God knows for what reason. The Cauvery issue in 1992 saw the struggle on Tamils in the state. The abduction of Rajkumar; by Veerappan in 2000 saw fear among Tamils in the state. He was in captivity for 108 days; and those days were smeared with unrest and violence. The so-called self promoted protectors of the state and the language blocked all Tamil channels and no Tamil movies screened.

Other two south Indian languages dont get affected. Anyway, so what happened this time. Screening of a  Tamil Diwali release which was running packed houses was abruptly halted. What if it protagonist of the movie was invited just couple of months ago to grace the occasion of the music launch of a mega budget Kannada movie? What if he greeted his fans with few words in Kannada? What if the function created traffic jams and uncontrollable crowd; which was falsely attributed to a made up reason "fans of Kannada".

The posters were teared down; theaters forced to stall the shows; threatening the theater authorities of dire consequences if the movie was screened. When the actor visited Bangalore; he was garlanded with Mysore Jasmine, Mysore turban and a sword; interestingly these movies distribution rights are bought by Kannadigas.
All these happened just because there was not a single Kannada movie releasing on Nov.1

Earlier in the post; I said there are others also who display Kannada flag. Yeah, the self proclaimed saviors of Kannada attached to a "kannada outfit" whose job is to target MNCs and other corporations and extort money. They act as judiciary system as well. They are moral police who have the power to vandalize properties. Its not common to see Kannada flag and a photo of Rajkumar who is considered the cultural icon of Karnataka displayed at prominent places like shopping malls, MNC offices. These are considered as respect and patriotism; when in fact the sad but true reason is these malls and MNCs are scared of their properties being vandalized; scared of their work being stalled, scared of inviting wrath of these narrow-minded men who are linguistic fanatics; when in fact they are not patriotic but have used this as a tool to make easy money and fool the innocent folks.

Does it reflect the insecurity? Hell! yes. Every year during these times; we prepare to hear to lectures on "How to save Kannada", watch patriotic songs on TV, few patriotic folks at workplaces start a movement to teach free Kannada. How can you love your language when you cannot respect others? Does one show patriotism by hating others? It will really help the cause if "outsiders" as they like to call feel at home, are allowed to take active participation. No one likes to be forced; when would these ignorant folks realize they cant invoke love for Kannada by stalling movies and threatening common people?

Monday, October 31, 2011

Always right

Dancing at the first beat of music; carefree of the people around .

 Making a plaything even out of a broken twig.

Talking to a toy as if it were with life; oblivious to the smiles around.

Identifying animals out of clouds.

Excited seeing the arch across the sky - rainbow.

Not worried a wee bit to talk sense - with all the goo-goo-gaa-gaas.

Just scribbling on the wall makes it a beautiful picture.

When do we lose this innocence? Is it a gradual process or do we lose it over a night's sleep? Measuring words when we talk; worried about what others will think about us.

Chasing false praises and fake success. Trying hard to live for others and make others happy. Putting up a fake smile for others' jealousy.

Dance amidst a group but lonely in reality.....

How long -

To measure what one speaks?

To wear a fake smile?

To try to be right always?

I dont know :) OK! this post is a witness to how worked up I am due to work! Yeah its naiceeee..........:P

Friday, October 28, 2011


Gautam's questions and Anil's analysis in my previous post is definitely worth a fresh post. I thought; why not bring it on the stage so that all of us can have a healthy discussion.

Why is money measured as wealth?
Why do we need money?
Why is there an unequal distribution of wealth?

I might not touch upon all, I might deviate or just cut short; but these ones are worth a discussion. In earlier times; in our land; temples served as secure area to store people's assets. Their role in those times were one of the roles of present day banks - safe haven to store assets; which were not in cash but in kind. Cut to present day banks; they operate in an interesting concept. They charge interest on money borrowed which feeds as interest credited to the money saved + other investments. Was this a practice in then banks/temples in our land? I do not know.

I cant help but think about the banks bailout in USA. The President passed bills to accommodate bank bailouts which funded the Congress for the campaign and other activities; only to downgrade their credit ratings. What an irony!

Anyway, why we need money and why are people selfish to accumulate wealth is obvious. I dont want to discuss these. But why is GDP the chief economic indicator? Is owning money/wealth a sign of happiness? Is our happiness linked to possession of material wealth? Progress is defined as a mere increase in commercial transaction in our conventional model which stresses on economic growth; which is limited as the measures are quantitative.

Gross Happiness Index is been around for a while - countries like Bhutan and Denmark had realized quite early that the ultimate aim of most people is not be rich, but be happy and healthy. So we find, India more happy and healthy than the USA, Bangladesh more happier than India and Costa Ricans lead a very peaceful and healthy life than most of us only next to Vanuatu and Columbia. Gross national happiness has more insights.

Coming back to do we need money? The answer would depend on if we want to go back to barter system? The devastation in Greek's economy has enabled her citizens to make use of time bank. Its a reciprocal service exchange that uses units of time in currency. In simple terms, services are bartered in cashless transactions. The "time" one spends in providing some service earns "time" that one can spend to receive services. For e.g. a teacher can spend her time teaching piano in exchange for a legal assistance.

This has emerged has a creative solution to a crisis called Greece. This exchange network has not only eased people's crisis but also is bringing people together and building solidarity when any economic upheaval can divide people. What about tax, deficits, credits and all such factors in a given economy? Are these relevant? Can such a priceless commodity be adopted; how will this be accepted among world economy?

Saturday, October 22, 2011

My tryst with Amma

Its not only the feeling of love or pain; even helplessness and frustration can bring out the poet in you. 
A damsel; with security galore
made a trip to Bangalore.
Make shift court was our central prison
Security concern was the reason

Silvers and sarees, diamonds and footwear
Among all her other wealth
Austerity; and so she no longer wears.
But she arrived; surrounded by human sheath

But why do I care? I wouldnt have I swear
Only if I left my work; bit early but hard luck
Stuck with neck deep task; and a conversation to bask
I missed my time; so here I chime

Cops blocked the stretch, all did wretch
They seemed to ignore; did they just maneuver
Civilians cursed; cops cussed
Hectic long day my dear; damsel's security is all clear
Common man at pity; politician's apathy.

Her convoy of 25 did zoom,
I think I saw the vehicle that was her room
You may ask; how was I sure?
See did I; police hanging outside; with a support mere
Scary at the lack of their safety
Their job of protecting the 'Mother' was lofty.

Waste of taxpayer's money
To attend court for alleged crimes honey!
Thousands of police personnel,
Charter plane for arrival,
Can India afford such luxury?
When millions are living in penury

Well, what happened to me?
Lost so much time; let it be!
Did not get a rick or a bus
Walked kilometers to find one

Frustrated and desperate; found a crowded bus
Pushed and jostled and stamped; I prefer to tell less
Hopped off to find no rick; I began to feel sick
3 kms to go; laden with bags; I did walk
Found a rick; hundred bucks? Was it a mock?
No it wasnt; I was tired;
Hopped on to it; all fried.

And thus ended my tryst with Amma :-/

Monday, October 17, 2011

Crunchy Carrots

The color of the carrot is enough to entice us. In Ooty fresh luscious bunch of carrots are sold everywhere.

Clicked a couple of pics. Inspired me to write few verses. Just random words with rhymes. Dont try to find a meaning :)

I was walking along,
Found a carrot on the ground,
Look around to see to whom it belonged,
But no one was around.

Fresh green stalks,
Gave way to flowery leaf,
Is there around; a rabbit?
Instead saw perched; a parrot.

I took the carrot
thats when it started
They are a wonder
The best is down under

Loveliest of orange,
No! not a mirage,
My love is like the carrot
I heard from the parrot

What you see at the top,
Is just a tiny drop
My love; like a thunder,
Emerges from down under.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

In the Wild

Two days of Dusshera holidays saw us pack our bags to foothills of Nilgiris - Masinagudi. Driving through Bandipur and then the Mudumalai forest area makes me happy. One has to go through Bandipur if you have to go to Wayanad or Ooty. The drive is peaceful amidst bamboos and other wild trees; passing along numerous sign boards mentioning to maintain silence; no use of plastic; no stopping and such. Occasional sights of bashful deers, curious langurs and if you can get lucky herds of elephants to keep one happy.

Went on a night safari and also day safari this time. At night; spotted herds and herds of elephants seeking refuge beside road. They escape the harsh mosquitoes and come to the edge of the forest.  Saw 10-20 together a couple of times. No photos. Sorry! I didnt want to introduce harsh lights on them. I felt guilty about going for the night safari; it was a private one; courtesy the resorts. The jeep drivers are not sensitive to the elephants. The driver of our jeep went very near to those herds and was heckling at them to grab their attention. He took the jeep too close for comfort and used harsh headlights on them. It was however; cute to see mother and calves; mother protective of their calf; the calf being naughty and running away while the mother pulled the calf's tail.

It always brings me immense happiness to get close with nature. Few pics


Bandipur-Mudumalai forest reserve. Spotted deers all along.

A curious langur. Another was hanging from the tree; few others curiously looking at us and maybe wondering "Who are these monkeys?"

Clicked just one picture of an elephant though herds of them were spotted at night. This was the closest we got; and enough light so didnt need to use flash. There was another gentle giant walking in the opposite direction on the road and it was scary; what if it just comes and topples the car? But he didnt bother; and we went our way.

They dont simply compare a beautiful pair of eyes to a deer's isnt it?

An ostentation of peacocks; unaware of the intruders.

A lovely sunset.  Oh yeah spotted few bison and pheasants as well.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Regarding my previous post...

I got few emails and few concerns from well wishers about an incident I mentioned in my post "Children" which I decided to remove. I am putting it back; thanks to Anil for bringing back my senses.

Child abuse - yes that was it. We have given a name to it now. I am not justifying nor supporting the cruel act. But I just want to say that it was kind of 'acceptable' and normal for parents to use the stick to discipline their kids; 20+ years ago. Why? Didnt teachers in school use them as well? Is there anyone who has not been beaten in school or at home for wrong doing? If it was NEVER; I am seriously happy for them to have been in a matured environment.

Now; thanks to our education and exposure; we have realized that is not the right thing to do. But people; my whole idea in that post was to bring out the differences between kids then and now. I wanted to say how we would fear to speak a lie or utter an expletive or even lacking an idea of what a condom was!

Please take it easy :)

Monday, October 10, 2011


plural of child (Noun)

  1. A young human being below the age of full physical development or below the legal age of majority
I want to make sure I got the right definition of 'children' so that I could justify my frequent "mouth wide open in shock" reaction during my recent picnic.

Well, yeah its only the physical development that decides if a human being is a child or an adult. So if thats not taken into account; is it alright for them to curse, smirk, give that sensuous look like adults? :-/

People, this is an honest question. I get intimidated with kids around - for the way and the topic they discuss. 5 kids aged between 12-17 accompanied by their respective dads. Bandipur tiger reserve on a jungle safari - the kids were talking non stop. Guess what it was about? Brands - Nike, Puma, Reebok....each one had high end cameras with them. Another girl was incessantly yapping off about her trip to Singapore and how the safari here is so mediocre.

Their disappointed verbal expression of not spotting a tiger was the final nail in the coffin. I and Velu exchanged looks. What got us uncomfortable was this "Daddy, this is not done. I did not expect this. Lets go somewhere else. WTF!" Another one joined "Yeah! WTF!!" Others joined in chorus. All these among others also in the bus. The dads were indifferent; surprisingly. One of them gave a stern look; one kid was smart enough to catch that and exclaimed "WTF - World Taekwondo Federation". Our wide gaped mouths just shut!!

Now why am I mentioning all these is because I got reminded of my childhood. I was in 1st grade. I stole a pencil from school and got it home. My mom was so furious with me that she heated a knife and placed the red hot stuff on my hand. The mark still exists and each time I see it; I recall that day. Yeah that was harsh but that was the last day I stole.

Few years later; I should be 11 years old or so; a neighbor kid had a fight with me and she uttered an expletive. I didnt even utter it but just said "You too". My mom was a strict disciplinarian. She overheard it and on that occasion I was punished so hard that I never used expletive there after.

Again around that time; we had to attend a cousin's wedding. The groom's friends presented them with a packet. The bride and groom spent 1 hour unpacking it; as the gift was wrapped in layers of newspapers. Around a kg of gift packet reduced to a small carton box and a Lacto King chocolate. As soon as they discovered what it was; the newly weds threw it on the ground. I picked it up. I was playing with it; even about to attempt to blow the balloon ;-) My mom noticed it and knocked it off my hand. I was protesting when she gave me a stern look and that was all that I needed to keep shut.

We were so innocent then; where has the innocence gone? Its nice to see kids know the world and they are sharp and smart; but really sad to see what all they have lost.

Do we celebrate the gain or feel sorry about the loss? I dont know but I get intimidated with kids around

Friday, October 7, 2011

Piling up memories

What in your opinion is the ultimate infestation in most homes? Pests? Fungus? No; these can be handled by calling in pest control. Once it invades; you have no escape. What is it? Junk - books, magazines, clothes, utensils, appliances, empty containers etc - which you intend to clear and think its under your control - but before you realize; they pile up.

You would think that its not junk and that some day; you will definitely use them - that utopian day would never arrive. Maybe one day that 28" slim fit low hip jeans would fit again or you would wear to office that dangling multi layered neon green chandelier earrings you wore to college. Yeah? Usually, you attach emotional value to these which were once a part of your life - that barely there soccer ball, an old journal, a faded shirt.

You never know what all is in store? I uncluttered 6 months ago before shifting to my apartment; yet when I brought those carton boxes down the loft to search for something I misplaced; I fainted at what all I had stored. A crumpled yellow background paper napkin with  Jack-o'-lantern on it; which I picked up from the very first Halloween celebration I attend few years ago in US; fees receipt of my engineering semesters, CET entrance fee receipt, my first flight journey tickets, letters from my school friend, slam on. Oh yeah, I definitely found the preserved love letters; greeting cards, photo of an old flame; it is obvious!

Gaze at each one fondly; memories rushing back; reminiscing those wonderful times; sifting through them; undecided what must be let go and what must be held back. You fail to notice; but junk have a life of their own; their life span is as long as ours. Every time you sit to clear them off; you sift and shuffle and create more junk - you get your dose of resurrecting your 'those' days - "Was I really that slim?" "Did he wear his shirt with cuffs folded?" - creating feelings of priceless joy.

My progress/marks report from Lower Kindergarten till 10th grade, photos through the years.......They cant be called junk and I will continue to preserve them while others are mercilessly thrown into trash.

This is the pyjama of my salwar suit. I remember the kurta had lace works. I was no more than 3.5 years. I cant even push my hands till my elbow now. Its a nice feeling - was I that tiny? I have diligently preserved this one for so many years now :)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


I think I figured out why I am wary of posting on my blog - choosing my words and typing in to be precise. Communication explosion at work. I have never earlier talked to 30 different people and respond to 40+ mails each day - choosing the words and framing statements so that the message reaches the way you intend to - firm, crisp and diplomatic. 

I can segregate write-ups (emails, technical documents) as one of the below; with my experience :)
  • A long writeup which can help relieve ennui or might cause headaches; you scan for relevant and useful data but you find none.
  • One that is scattered with too many morphemes the way Anil writes(for most of us thats giving our dictionary extra work); which can lead to a confabulation later. Anil, this is a compliment :) 
  • Firm and point blank, assertive ones which can be mistaken for aggression. 
  • Write ups which are not mindful of the language flow, continuation and grammar. It still could pass the intended message or cause chaos.
Shhessh!! I have even started to bullet out my blog post!! I have been learning a lot on written communication. Its difficult to gather the tone of the other party when all that you get are words to read. You dont want to read more to it; neither would you want to miss the message. I have been weighing the statements I make, the choice of words. If you have been reading me for sometime; you might have noticed my obsession with "never". I am taking extra caution about not using 'NOT' and other negative words.

Another trick I have learnt is to not give the other party a choice of YES/NO but to be assertive and ask for next set of information. Its not "Can I please use the infrastructure?" but "I plan to start using the infrastructure; please share the relevant details."

So yeah, lot of things in BIG GOOD(pun intended) corporate world :) I am learning! I am learning :)

PS : I just noticed that its quite a short post for communication.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Just a HI

Have you clicked on 'New Post' without knowing what you want to write about? If not; then you are sober; you are not addicted yet. Or maybe blog is just another pass time for you.

I feel cut off if I dont post something on my blog every 3 days; yeah I know; the frequency has reduced. Many factors. First being lack of quality time; its not that there is no time; its just you dont have the time to feel 'connected' with the blog. Next one is lack of activity on the blog space; yes its discouraging and contagious. People vanish or go slow and it affects you. Third; you have exhausted your topic; creative juice does not flow anymore.

I have to get into a conference call in another 41 minutes as I write now. I am sleepy already. Its going to be thankfully; 30 minutes meeting only. But its still a long one for a Friday evening. I dare not say another word as my manager is pursuing me to share my blog link. I am evading it; I even told him why I was apprehensive. I do not want my peers to form an opinion about me; after reading my thoughts. Yes, people are mature not to pin you down; yet I am skeptical as they are my colleagues. I am sassy yet my professionalism comes first. Its not that my blog is a secret; its out there; few of my peers read it; but I dont want to explicitly advertise it.

I have been wondering why Anil and Balan have slowed down as well.. Are we connected by telepathy? Anil and Balan, please raise your hands; no email forwards from you guys either. Ousu vanished but I see some activity off late. Neha is going slow as well; anyway we are connected on chat most times so its fine. Chowla sir has cut down on blogging; so has Shilpa. Bikram, dont worry too much about what people are; make sure you are making a change in this big bad world :)

I am feeling sleepy; mentally tired. I need a vacation :-P; OK! I know I just had one. But it seems so long ago. Been working a lot; my task list is raising exponentially. I am not complaining; I am being recognized and appreciated; so its fine. Yet; tiring. Its not that I would relax on a lounge chair on a vacation. I squeeze so much activity in my attempt to explore and learn everything about a place that it leaves me tiring at the end of the day. But thats what I love; no complaints :) On TV, I hear turquoise beach, palm trees, Caribbean..Jamaica....Wish I was there right now!; not relaxing but exploring. I should have taken up traveling as my profession; Uummpphhh!!

Got to prepare for meeting :-|

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Girls and Machines

Gadgets, Motorcycles, Cars.......

Somehow for reason unknown to me; I was and still am drawn towards sleek gadgets and mean machines. I would devour information on latest bikes and cars in town. I have been a regular reader of automobiles supplementary that comes every Thursday along with the newspaper; I do not miss single episode of The Auto show and similar kinds on TV. I am always up to date on new arrivals, their specifications, price and performance and such.

Did I not yap about how a Z4 gets it life at the Bavarian workshop? Now; it so happens that people either think that I am bluffing away or they think I am abnormal. These are all GUY thing huh? Thats what I am told time and again. I am not going to complain or crib about 'whoever enforced this conventional rule". I am going to share an incident that happened while in 12th grade.

That was when Bajaj introduced Pulsar; that period when Indian motorcycle market was bumped with small capacity bikes; bigger capacity motorcycles didnt exist except for Bullet; and the CBZ hit the market couple of years earlier. I read about that bike and also watched a couple of shows featuring the new bike in town.

I had this girl who initially was my commute mate; we belonged in the same class and eventually became good friends.One such day while going home after class; we got started talking about mopeds, motorcycles, cars and the likes. I mentioned about this new bike in town and its specificity. We had a healthy discussion. A couple of days later; this girl comes up and says that her dad warned her to maintain a distance from me. I did not understand initially; I asked her what was the reason. This is what she had to say

"I was telling my dad about our conversation the other day on bikes and cars. He asked me how you knew so much about them. He added that you might have a boy friend and thats where all your knowledge on bikes and cars are coming from. So he asked me to maintain distance from you"

My reaction? Nothing; just a smile at their ignorance :) Oh by the way; new addition to my gadgets - a  MAC. I am thoroughly enjoying it.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Two bucks

"Ma'am, please give me 2 dollars. I wanna buy beer". I remember this call from a tramp sitting near an intersection on Hollywood Boulevard. I visited Los Angeles in 2005. The image of this tramp is still vivid in my mind - unruly hair, torn canvas shoes, a tote bag. He was intimidating; I just walked by while he continued to call out for 2 bucks to buy his beer.

In Bangalore. "Didi, 2 rupyah dedo didi, subah se kuch nahi khaye" - An incessant plead; almost about to cry expression; lurking forward to hold your feet; you find them everywhere on the road; kids as young as 5 years. They might not even know how much that 2 Rs is worth. They are made to beg in most cases by their handlers.

Cut to San Jose, Costa Rica - lotteries being sold on the streets. People throng the shops to buy lotteries - 2 Colonies each ticket. They want to try their luck; get rich. 

Back in Bangalore...

"1 dozen fishes"
"How much do they cost?"
"24 Rs"
"2 Rupees each?"

12 fishes is what the cat fish we have at home eats every alternate day. Those beautiful creatures are alive. They are breathing - as we are. They can see, sense, touch, eat, breathe, we do. Their value is 2 Rs each; we buy 12 of them every other day to feed to the bigger one; we watch as the cat fish eats these 12 one by one.

2 bucks was all that was needed :-)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Nepal - People

Well, if you an avid traveler; you want to see all and do all. I am one such person; never ever get enough of traveling. But its good to leave some; the mystery it holds is enough to entice you for your next sojourn - to somewhere else.

Its the same feeling with Nepal as well. Each place brings in a uniqueness that no other place can ever give. Its not just about the place; but the moment, the time, the people. Even if you could visit the same place with the same set of people in the same manner; it sure wont be the same as the earlier one!!

Meeting new people; dousing their curiosity, sharing anecdotes between smiles is a pleasure by itself. Met few interesting people in this trip as well. I tried to click few portraits - the absence of sun light made it best to capture a character - the depth which gets lost due to that sunlight; I feel.

The hazy surrounding highlights the portrait and captures the features quite well. Thats what I tried to do. Here are few.

Flaming red T shirt, Ray Ban aviators, a garland - does he not give our Bollywood heroes a run for their money?

Sadhus galore at the Pashupathinath temple. Smoking hash, talking expletives, they have their way. They bless you only if you give them money. These halo around this Baba was the effect I gave so that he looked spiritual :-P

A Sadhvi. She cussed more than the Baba. Tall, well built lady.

It was Rakhi bandhan day. Brahmins sit near the temples and offer blessings to people who offer them fruits and money. This man was waiting for people to come by and seek his blessings.

A Tibetan mother and her daughter. The older one was pensive; concentrating in her prayers. I asked them if  The wrinkles on their face is proof enough of their ordeal, they are refugees. I could click their picture. They obliged :)

This girl was diligent in her work, trying to shielding the lip smacking sweetmeats that was all around her; not once did she eye them.

What caught me was this lady checking her watch; time and again. The entire crowd was in a festive mood; and this lady had some other important work I guess.

At the monastery in Swayambhunath temple. This Lama was around when I sneaked into the monastery and quickly walked out. He wanted to know where I was from. He readily posed for a picture. It was a perfect setting with no light. His eyes talk stories :)

Stern and strict - a police officer guarding the palace at the Kathmandu Durbar square.

Naughty kids - readily posed for picture; later one of them kept nagging me for money! :-/

My dog picture :)

These school girls looked so pretty; liked their skirts :)

A dollop of vermillion on her forehead, bright green contrasting beads; a busy Newari lady

One of my favorite picture mainly because it was unplanned. She just came in the frame.

Never minding the architectural treasure she is surrounded with; this lady is busy selling her items.

This boy's father is one of the very few; or rather the only craftsman who hand makes singing bowl. singing bowl by itself needs an exclusive post. Behind him are the rows of machine made singing bowls :)

The guide at the Patan durbar square. Shared lot of interesting information.

Finally, our driver who drove like mad bull; never stopping even once to admire the nature. Well, its an everyday affair for him :)