Saturday, January 29, 2011

My Republic Day Parade Wish list

I was commenting on Anil's latest post - Musings. I could not resist myself to talk a bit here in my space as well. Oh! how silly we are; we search for a reason to rant; we do that even if we do not get a reason to.

Folks, Belated Republic Day wishes. Pardon me for wishing you late; but was held up a bit at work. Yeah, here is one more RANDOM post about our Republic Day...(I hear few Sighs and Yawns)

I have been watching the republic day parade on Doordarshan since a child. Remember the Doordarshan? Our national channel? Yeah, the grand parade thats held every year in our Capital. The long, organized, predictable parade; which I have been watching with a sense of immense pride and patriotism for my country. I love the display, the march pasts of the defense regiments, the tableau, the folk dances.......Its so rich, diverse, colorful just like our country. Its long, coordinated, sometimes erroneous, a bit chaotic but you know what to expect just like our big fat wedding.

But our big fat wedding nowadays comes with a twist; people wanting to experiment; like getting married in a hot air balloon or having a DJ playing Rap music for the 'Sangeet'. Similarly I would wish to see some twists to our Republic Day parade. Here is my wish list.

We are pretty sure impressed with those sleek missiles and polished battle tanks which are kept in a very neat condition; never used and never fired. We are a peace loving nation dearies. Why not? But I would wish to see a demo of those tanks; but fire at whom? No not at anyone; but at the skies so that the roar and noise can wake up those dignitaries and politicians who are yawning, napping, gossiping, day dreaming, picking and seeming so disinterested.

I would wish to see the tableau of J&K depicting stone throwers, the tableau of Karnataka depicting illegal mining, the tableau of Arunachal Pradesh as a tourist place to visit with "visa" on arrival. I would wish to see a tableau of AP depicting their people boarding a flight to San Francisco and a tableau of greener Punjab where the cell phone providers earn their moolah from ISD calls.

I would wish if they depicted real India. A float showing rain woes in Mumbai or a traffic woe in Bangalore. I would appreciate a float showing rotting onions in APMC yards or a float overtaking other floats on the wrong side and zooming to make up for late arrival due to its previous night at a rave party or a float where every lakes are encroached and apartments showing up as "Lakeview apartments"

It would be nice if our tigers were bestowed with the National Bravery Award and are paraded to celebrate their bravery and survival instincts even with so much danger.

Talking about the motorcycle parade, I would wish to see them without helmets, without license driving on the wrong side. I would wish to see a better daredevil stunts on the motorcycle that can match closer to acrobatic skills of zooming 2 wheelers doing a wheelie on our expressways.

I love the performances of traditional folk dances by school students and their march pasts. But it would be interesting to see these kids' social networking skills, to hear their 'accented' English and their SMS lingo.

I would wish to see our 'real' treasures - the beggars, the homeless, the child laborers, the sick and the needy being paraded than the bejeweled horses. I love the fact that we have a chief guest each year to witness the parade. It must be once in a lifetime experience for them to witness the world's most impressive parade. So it is for me :-)

Monday, January 24, 2011

Silver Streaks

Dazzling bright,
against the brownish black,
Like a double rainbow,
if only for the colors,
just two in number,
yet commanding and conspicuous,
As the blacks bounce and sway,
These twins stand apart,
As if they had a fight,
Grabbing attention,
of the Mama,
As if to declare
"We are special"
Facing the mirror; admiring the mane,
I twitch in disbelief,
Despair and shock;
For these twins
are streaks of silver hair ............

I had a hair cut today. Its not a regular affair; I visit the salon once in 18 months or so. It happens when I realize what the condition of my hair is; unruly and weak. Then I go have a hair cut. I get pampered a bit with wash, conditioner; blow dry and all that.

I came home and was admiring the new style and the bouncy hair; when I noticed these 2 silvery strands. They were beautiful against the light from the bulb. Murphy's Law always in action; they have sprouted right near my forehead to full view of glory. I am in my 20s and gray I thought. But age is not a factor isn't it?

Hmm, souvenir. Let them have their rightful place. I am growing wiser :-)

Saturday, January 22, 2011


Literally it means closure. But today in our country's scenario it means burn buses, throw stones at buildings, loot shops, burn tyres and scare the hapless common man in the name of protests.

I am angry, frustrated and above all helpless. I am a law abiding citizen, do my duties promptly; yet why do I have face inconvenience? The state sponsored agitation in the form of "bandh" today in Karnataka has crippled the lives of common man. In this nation of largest democracy; the common man who is the majority is not cared nor considered.

Order to prosecute CM by our state's governor has resulted in this protests. Is this not a form of terrorism by the political parties on the people who trust them and brought them to power? The ruling party want to protest. Let them do it legally; but why force it on the public? The sight this morning was disturbing. City buses one by one; alighted commuters mid way and returned to the bus depot. What about those people who want to commute to work? School children who were waiting to go to school? Office goers? Travelers stuck on National Highway? No one had any prior intimation as the bandh was declared middle of the night.

We dont have time for all this nonsense, we have our own personal issues. Why jeopardize our life? Loss of crores of money due to closure of business. Would the ruling party pay up for this loss? Would they take up responsibility for the damages to life and property? No one has the right to destroy public property; but these thugs have been ransacking and shamelessly declaring it with pomp. The television clips show them dancing, merry making and laughing away. The opposition are making hay while the sun shines; condemning the acts as if they are all saviors!

All this while, our honorable CM is hiding somewhere. Since last week, major IT companies like Infosys and Wipro want to move out of Karnataka due to lack of support and infrastructure while lands are given at throw away prices and as freebies to kins and relatives of politicians.

What use are the infrastructure and economic development ; when the country is inhabited by rogues and beasts who are not considerate towards fellow human beings.

Appalling and shameful.

Monday, January 17, 2011

In Poor Shape


This is not a remark on any of my report/marks card. I have never got such a remark ever during my school days. But now a well grown up adult; mature and responsible me got not one; but repeated POOR remark.

I was dismayed; was my condition so bad? Well, these were the remarks made by my physical trainer. I thought let me keep this a secret; so that I do see some effects. But a secret and me? That's not at all possible; I am loud-mouthed and brag a lot; due to which most of my efforts dont end up the way I would want it to. Thats OK!!

Age is catching up faster and thanks to my lifestyle and my work; I practically lead a sedentary lifestyle. So thought let me wring my muscles(as if I had them!!) Well, the objective was to keep my tummy tucked in; I do not have the flattest ab but yeah its flat; but I think it can get better. So the just shaping up love handles and a bit of flab that I have ought to be banished!

Two weeks ago I visited this fitness center and enrolled myself in. The first 3 days were building up the stamina. I am proud to have added few more lingo to my dictionary. Thus started my early morning routine. It was difficult and is difficult even now to wake up at 6:30 and rush to the fitness center. Cardio exercises - treadmill, cross training and cycling. Initial excitement and the urge to see the different me bundled with encouragement seeing others working out pumped up my enthusiasm. I thought my body is not that bad; after seeing people with layers and tiers of fat deposits working their sweat out.

But I was wrong!!

Forth day - my trainer got my height, weight, BMI, fat and protein analysis, water content, muscle weight done. Next was the fitness test. Carido, cross training, stretching, weight training. He assessed me; never even once did he approve about my lack of exercise throughout my entire life. A constant smirk, a comment thrown in "Girls are flexible. You are not trying much. This is the minimum weight. You can do it"

Even after much cajoling and encouraging; I stuck to minimal weight and painful stretching. And then my fitness was assessed.

Protein percentage - Under
Minerals percentage - Under
Fat                          - Excess

and so on.....................The only consolation was that my weight and my BMI was normal and within limits. Everything else was either under or excess :-( My trainer had the following comments on my chart

Fat - Reduce 10.2 kg and Muscle - Put on 6.4 kg. (while continuing to retain my weight)


Well, this is my beginning and I have started on my training and workouts according to the plan devised for me. You know how one feels insecure and scared seeing new things and being in a new environment, its the same with me. I dread when I see all those sophisticated machines which exist to help us to look good and keep fit. Their names are as fancy as they look - Chest Press, Lat Pulldown, Hip Adductor, Hip Abductor, Rear Delt, Ab Crunch, Chest Fly, Shoulder Press, Rear Fly.............Phew! It goes on.Their complex mechanism and the enticing digital readings which show how much calories you have lost, the speed and your heart rate. One cant stop but awe in wonder how they can analyze you and size you up.

And now the actions!! Few of them are so desperate to lose those extra flab that they run on the treadmill as if they are running for their life. Huffing and puffing, sweating and panting; they work our rigorously. Few are amusingly thin that they come to add some weight - body building. Few are senior folks who are immaculately fit and are so agile and flexible that they can put a swift teenager to shame. They ritually exercise and are so dedicated. And then there are few who come in the best of designer outfits and fragrance oozing out as they work out; rich folks you see. Few are fit and they workout to maintain -  the boring group; they are not amusing at all.

Not to forget the ladies group who gossip around even while walking on the treadmill and then there are girls who seem to be inseparable from their cellphones. Among all these workouts and fitness regime are the trainers. It somehow seems to me that they get free entertainment watching all these people in action. They are lean and mean, seem to be docile until they flex their muscles. You then know their strength and stamina otherwise hidden deep beneath that slimness.

I whine in pain; smirk my face and close my eyes tight when I have to do weight trainings. My trainer keeps reminding me that the weights I use are minimal. Yet I repeatedly keep asking him if he can give me a lesser weight! Only to be given a look which puts me to shame! I want to run away right then. I bargain lot better with him than with any vegetable vendor. I say "10 of 2 sets each" and he "Its 15 of 3 sets each". I break down even before reaching the count of 5. I look to see if he is looking away and if he is not observing me; I take unsolicited break. I reduce my weight or skip a count. I know I am cheating myself; but what would I do when I feel as my shoulder is being ripped apart! :-(

The bargain persists "I am done. How many counts? Ten..... Five more?........ No, see I cant even raise my hands to comb my hair.....Here let me help you."

He shares my load and tries to weight train me. I huff and puff, whine and smirk; shut my eyes tight while trying to exercise.

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Amidst all this action, a lone soul at regular intervals silently stoops and bends to wipe the floor and machines clean to sparkle and wonders why people want to lose weight and fat in such glamorous way when all one has to do is some bending and flexing in the form of regular chores.

Friday, January 7, 2011

The Adventures of Ms.Commuterix

Its been 2 years since I commuted by the public bus service. Though every 4th day of the month is Bus Day in Bangalore; when everyone are encouraged to use the bus service; I shudder thinking about the experience. Bus was my in my essential check list for years; from the time I went to kindergarten to work; until two years ago. Commuting 30 km either ways was a nightmare each day; hanging around for most part of the journey; half the time sharing a foot of space with 3 other foot; hanging on the foot board with laptop bag and shoulder bag was not a pleasant experience. Jostling and pushing around; and the fashionable me would not compromise on my choice of footwear; that ranged from 1" to 6" heels such that they complimented my attire more than the comfort in a crowded bus.

Last week; I had to take the bus. All these memories flooded me and gradually ebbed away. I have quite forgotten the knack of pushing through the crowd and finding a seat or the smartness to stand farther away from the actual designated bus stop. When has the bus driver ever stopped the bus right in front of the bus stop? My sense in center of gravity seems to have deteriorated as I was finding it difficult to find balance with one foot or to jostle around and push everyone to find my way out. 

I had written about the experiences much earlier and thought let me share it once again. Enjoy :)

Para-sailing? Bungee jumping? Rock climbing? Trekking? Skiing? River rafting? Para-gliding?

If these are what your idea of adventure is; which of course I am sure is expensive in terms of time and money, then read along to find a sport more adventurous than any of the above. You would be jealous if I say Ms Commuterix( New term coined for a female commuter - copyright held by Insignia) gets an adrenalin rush going on an adventure each day.

So hear it from the horse's mouth. This is what Ms Commuterix has to say...

I don't have any better word than "adventure" to describe the journey on the mass transport system - metropolitan bus service. They say a country's progress is determined by how efficient the mass transit system is. As such, all major cities in India boast of a good connectivity. People are being advised to take the public transport - the metro rail and bus to commute. They are called the most efficient and convenient way to travel, yeah it is......if taken with a pinch of salt, sugar and any other favorite spice of yours to give it the sweet but salty and a tangy experience!

It begins with the basic job of finding the right bus. Its not easy as they claim - Buses available at regular intervals and all those. You have to pray that the bus has not left yet; no - its not that you are late in arriving to the bus stop. Its just that most times, the bus is either very early or too late but never on time. Poor them, what would they do? With all these traffic, newly planned one-way and no-way rules which change frequently as our government; coupled with infrastructure development - flyovers, underpass, sky bridge and subways to ease traffic congestion. Hoping that the bus has not left already, one waits at the stop amidst loud jarring honking, traffic at peak hour when the two-wheels use the footpath/side-walks as substitute to regular roads so that they can zoom without delay; without any concern for the folks using the footpaths; while you keep walking to and fro as each bus stops to see if you can take the bus. Other disturbances like people rushing helter-skelter, chaotic, to reach their destination on time.

Even if you are on time for the bus, you might miss it for many other reasons. The bus stopped behind a couple of other buses, you didn't either notice it or by the time you noticed, the bus moved away. Sometimes, the bus does not have a proper name board - the destination mentioned is not legible. Or the bus stopped 300 metres away from the designated stop and by the time you run carrying your bags and stuff; as if you are practicing for Olympics, the driver takes off. I have always observed that such drivers get a wicked pleasure in seeing people run behind the bus and rushing in while breathing hard. Or sometimes simply the driver decides in all his authority NOT to stop at this particular stop. After all, its HIS bus!!

For people who regularly commute at a particular time like office-goers would choose to travel by same bus each day. It might be pretty easy for them if they share a good rapport with driver or conductor. A friendly chat each day with them would ensure that you don't miss the bus.

Alright, after undergoing any one of the above ordeal, I manage to hop onto a bus. There are more amusing experiences waiting in there. Push your way through only to find the men folks having occupied the entire bus, with maybe some space left for ladies to stick in. You find the seats reserved for women(4 seats on each side) has been occupied by ignorant men. So you reach them by straining you way jostling and pushing around and then ask them politely to vacate the seat. Its a nightmare. This is what one can hear - "Why? I cant". "Its not a Ladies seat". You show them the signboard and they ignore. Ask the conductor to help you, he either tells them to vacate for the sake of it which is ignored or he too walks away unheard. Few people indulge in wicked things like scraping out the notice that says "Ladies". They confront women who ask them to vacate, in fact bully them in such a way that it makes the lady who is asking for her right to actually think if she has done anything wrong.

I came across an amusing incident when a guy who didn't know the local language was asked to vacate the ladies seat. The bus co-incidentally had the signboard in local language but there was a pictorial representation with it. He picked up a fight when asked to vacate and was stubborn to say it was not a Ladies seat.

Men are very inconsiderate yeah!. but the worst offenders are the women.No pity to offer a seat if someone is sick, lame, old or pregnant. They continue to sit like a lifeless rock. So having discovered that asking to vacate wont make any difference but would create a uncomfortable scene, I generally stick to the safe-zone and remain standing.

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One can come across several interesting characters while on the bus. A passenger who stands by the foot board and dons the role of a conductor and throws instructions to people on the bus as if he is the appointed one. There's the guy who has opted to switch on the speaker of his cellphone while hearing to music. Radio-Jockey or is it Phone Jockey? Community service. So everyone has no other choice but to listen to his choice of music. And then the teenage college girls who laugh out loud to any silly jokes to grab attention. The girl in salwar who has lost track of where she is and doesn't mind whispering sweet-nothings to her boyfriend on phone while middle-aged women stare at her in horror and then continue with their gossips. Elderly gentlemen who complain how world has changed for bad and how youngsters lack discipline and respect.

With all these, the bus driver swearing at the car driver who overtook him and the conductor hastily pushes past you and way through the crowded bus to have a friendly chat with his female commuters while ignoring the constant plead of a commuter to return the remaining money that he is supposed to give back. As I witness this silently oblivious to the conversation around me, yeah with my iPod on volume loud enough to mute things around me, the driver realizes that he is approaching a speed breaker or just late enough to avoid a pothole, one finds thrown off balance.

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And lo! hands emerge from nowhere to help you stand balanced only to linger around trying to steady you for longer than required. When you want to turn around and say "Thank you, I am fine.", you realize there's no point actually trying to confront as he would have disappeared among the crowd of men. Just as you thought its going to be fine, a fight is picked up by a lady who feels a guy behind her is standing too close and the guy confronting her to "buy a car and commute by car" if she is finding it tough to commute in a crowded bus.

I can make myself deaf; but how can I stop my nose from picking up the smells? A girl chewing mint gum or the man behind who smells as if he has bundled himself with 100s of cigarettes. Also found are men who are yet to get out of their hangover and paan chewing ladies or the ones who could never be caught -  who silently fart.

If you are lucky that day, you do manage to get a place to sit only to be vacated when a lady with a kid hops on at the next stop. Even if you retain the seat, just pray that your rest of the journey is uneventful. Probably it might turn out to be bad one if in case a guy chooses to sit beside you and has tough time to keep his hands idle!!

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It requires lots of patience to remain calm while giving a go-by to the wailing child or an old man looking for a seat - ladies seat always; thereby, whatever remaining seats that is spared after being hijacked by guys is also gone.

And after hanging on for your life and your mood, with all these ruckus; you'll find yourself jubilant and satisfied to have finished this adventure!!!

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Sunday, January 2, 2011

Rural and Rustic

Time for photography again!

Remember I mentioned how I spoilt my humble point and shoot camera? Later, I felt tied down with no camera; missed clicking so many wonderful pictures. But having been a good girl throughout, Santa Claus got me a brand new DSLR; a Nikon D7000 :-D
 Its one hell of a monster; loads of features. It will take me at least a year to learn all the features in it. Sometimes I feel like a monkey being given a garland :-P . Anyway, I got a chance to click few pictures last week when I visited a village just 30 kms away from the city. The village is 20 kms away from Sholay's Rampur a.k.a Ramnagar. It was a 1 hour drive from city to this village outside Bangalore city limits. Such a change in ambiance and practice and the people.

The setting was so rural, lakes and temple and pond. Thatched houses, tiled roofs, hay stacks, cow sheds with cows and calves, urinating while chewing their cud. The air around the place was rustic; the smell of dried cow dung as a fuel giving way to the aroma of food being cooked. Here are few pictures from my camera :-)

Its been long long time since I saw hay stacks as these. Remember seeing such ones in a village where I grew up which was very much part of Bangalore and was in heart of city 2 decades ago. So much has changed!! This is my favorite photo. I was too satisfied with the frame.

The village was surrounded by rocks as these.

An eagle was hovering around for a while

A large pond behind the house we visited. Lotus and other nymphs. While walking to reach the lake, a cobra crossed my path. I was too numb to take a photo :-S

 An interesting trunk of a tree

The air around was so different. No smoke, no pollution, no noise. An occasional "Amma" of these calves, the cow dung, the aroma of the grass......

Which other creature can match this innocence?

An old tiled roof

A water body on the way.

Dodda Aalada Mara(The Big Banyan Tree). This single tree covers 3 acres of land and is at least 400 years old. The main root succumbed few years back to natural diseases and thus now these tree looks like many different trees.

Few of the thousands of roots.

The rays of the setting sun trying to sneak in