Saturday, July 30, 2011

Prison Life

That fellow Breivik who murdered 96 innocent civilians in cold blood in Norway is set for a comfortable and luxurious stay at Haiden Fengsel prison. Haiden boasts of jogging trails, plush kitchen, flat screen TVs, fridges, recording studio and rock climbing. The guards dont carry guns and the prisoners are not forced to work. They want to create a 'sense of family'.

Haiden is not alone, there are few others prisons around the globe which boast of good life and plush stay. Why that far? I watched a documentary few days ago on NGC about Bangalore central prison. The criminals keep coming back because of the good food and the fun. The daily meal is from ISKCON - tasty and healthy. Fun is salsa classes, music and such activities.

:-/ I also came across a tweet after the 13/7 Mumbai blasts that said "Dear Government, please give protection against terrorists the way you are protecting Kasab".Coming to think of this; it seems life in a prison is safe and punishment could indeed be a pleasure.

Well, my thoughts are about prison today :) Channels like NGC and Discovery give you a glimpse of prisons in their documentaries. American prisons - they prefer to call it 'correctional facility' and the prisoners as 'inmates'.  I always thought usage of such mellowed verbs helps instead of  strong words like 'prisons' and 'criminals'. It shows that even criminals are treated with respect and are not isolated from the society; they are not denied their basic rights and are treated with humanity. A clean facility, basic needs are catered to; they can read, watch TV, have access to healthy food. Well, one doesnt know what happens behind the scenes.

Visited the Alcatraz last year. Didnt write about it then. The island located in the San Francisco bay area 1.5 miles offshore from San Francisco. Its referred as "The Rock"; often featured in many movies. Remember the movie The Rock?

Its told that no one escaped from this high security prison. Even if they managed to get out of the complex, the chilly and strong Pacific ocean currents would make it impossible for them to swim ashore alive.

Here are few pictures.

Main building - "Indians Welcome" makes you happy; until you realize this was the result of native American occupation of the island in 1969.

The watch tower. 

With such a gorgeous view; the guards would sure have enjoyed their job. 

But  the soldier's life seemed to be tough.

Here is where the inmates picked their clothes and shoes. 

Toothpaste and other cosmetics.

Row of showers.

A cell

A closer look

Breakfast Menu...Yummmm

High security cell for more dangerous convicts

 Decks of cells.

2x5 life

Control room

The Social Hall destroyed by fire during the Native American occupation

Water tank

View of San Francisco and the Golden Gate

The statistics

Scary eh?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


As a teenager, whenever I disagreed with my mom; which interestingly happened more often that not; she would sternly command "Dont ask why"

Few questions dont have an answer to this obvious WHY. Certain things in life defy any rational explanation. Why; for instance, does your boss come early the day you are late and vice versa. And why does he have to barge into your cube when you are on Facebook but not when you are slogging at your job? Or much to your dismay, why would that guy you secretly admire at work walk right in front of you when you are yawning away to glory?

Not only at work! Think about this. Why do you get an important phone call only when you are watching your favorite show on TV? Or why are you struck in a traffic jam only when you are desperate to rush to a restroom? Why are you caught by a traffic cop only on the day you forget to carry your papers but never when you have it handy? Why does your car blow a tire only when you are rushing for an important meeting?

Or why is that your otherwise regular maid fail to turn up on the day you have houseful of guests? Or why is that the wine cork opener fails to be located when you have the guests? Why does your internet snap up in the middle of an online transaction; that also only after you have keyed in your credit card details?

Think, why is it sunny the whole day and pours only when you just venture out to enjoy the day? Or why do all the holidays fall on a Saturday or a Sunday cheating you of your much needed break from soul-numbing work routine? Why do you have a bad hair day when you have a presentation to make at work? Or why do they lower deposit rates in bank when you think of opening a RD?

Endless lists - why does this happen only with me? The frustration builds up and spoils the entire day as if you are the lone victim. Reactions vary depending on the discomfort these situations can cause. Some accept it as unfortunate coincidence, while others view it as everything gone haywire from the start; a devil's felony.

Whatever it is - coincidence or felony - such jinxes are part and parcel of our everyday life; strikes each one sparing none. Curse the Murphy for his laws at boisterous trick . There is little one can do about it - Plans made are unmade - by the omnipotent. What one can do is to wish the discomfort goes away sooner.

So, instead of tearing your hair (or whats left of it); its better to take the hindrances in your stride and shoo it away. 

If anything can go wrong, it will :)

Sunday, July 24, 2011

My Joys

"How do you feel about staying in your newly owned flat? " a friend asked me.

"Yeah.......OK" I replied nonchalantly.

He was surprised at my disinterested response. He made me realize my lackadaisical reaction and asked further if I am not excited about the new house. I suddenly felt uncomfortable. How was I supposed to react? Was I not happy about the house I bought with my hard earned money? Yeah I was, yet why was that excitement and that exhilaration missing in me?

"Do you know what you have accomplished?" he tried again to bring that euphoria in me. I just kept numb. I really dont know. Was it that I was taking my blessing for granted? Is it my attitude; supported by a steady income? Didnt I care for my 'achievement'? Is it because I had it easy in my life?

No, I didnt have it easy in my life. I did not have beyond 5 Rs during school. My parents didnt give me pocket money; that Rs 5 was for emergency situations. I bought my first cellphone with my first salary. I bought my car with my hard earned money. I didnt inherit anything; that has made me more capable and independent.

So, is it the attitude? I am capable sorts? What if that MNC had not offered me my dream job the moment I applied for it? I had no other choice, no other networks or contacts. I did not have a backup offer or a backup plan. I didnt need any other choice :) I knew they found me; they need me. Now is this attitude? Whatever I have achieved, its due to me sheer hard work and dedication. That blind gutsy feeling that I can accomplish sails me through rough seas.

What would give me true euphoria if not my own house or my luxury sedan?

Is it discovering that beautiful orange mushroom 'Cocaina' as I trekked in the rain forests of Costa Rica? Is it watching the fog playing hide and seek at the Jog falls. Is it the feeling of the star fish wriggling at my touch in the white beaches of Mauritius. Or is it walking on the road while it was pouring heavily and others under shelter watching me and wondering if I was sane?

Is it the girly giggle I had 5 years ago when a Japanese at the Singapore airport told me I was pretty and gave me a lollipop and helped me with my baggage and parted with a hug? Or is it that when someone who chose to not keep in touch with me pops up a day and thanks me profusely for the support and parts with a "You are really a nice person".

Or when the dog wags its tail in gratitude or when the cat purrs seeing you back home and snuggles in your lap? Or when my manager gives me a huge responsibility and says he believes that I can deliver it? Or when that little girl comes over and we share a tiny piece of diary milk? Or when I found a travel magazine to read when I was locked out of my house for 3 hours? Or when I finally managed to find a rain stick and bought it? Or when I demand for that extra strawberry sauce topping on my ice cream and relish it without any sense of the surrounding?

I cant pick one from here. Each of these incidents has delighted me; it has given me that sense of euphoria which I did not get when I sat inside my newly bought car or when I bought my flat. For me joy is in simple things life has to offer....

The cocaina and the travel magazine and the fog and the lollipop......For me, joy is in finding that rain stick, getting drenched in rain, in the dog's wagging, in the cat's purring, in relishing the strawberry sauce............

Am I crazy to not value what I possess in materials? Is it because I am getting them easy. I dont know; but joy to me are not from material things. Next time, dont ask me how I feel about driving an auto transmission luxury sedan. I am just going to shrug it off.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

No substance

"Dance step involving shaping his hands like the claws of a tiger" 

"When he bashes up people, he mimics the big cat, pawning with his fists while the background score roars"

These two statements summed up what one should expect from the Hindi movie 'Singham'. This movie is a remake of the Tamil super hit 'Singam' which means Lion. Now I fail to understand why the Hindi movie went by the same name. 'Singham' does not mean Lion in Hindi. Yet, the hero's body language and behavior seems to mimic the big cat as mentioned in the movie review. And whats with that extra H there? Numerology? Hmm..Anyway this post is not about the movie.

Its about the remake culture. Lack of creativity and independent thinking seems to be the cause for remakes. Yet, take a close look; directors are creative for all the wrong things - introducing a lion-ish body language or the signature hair-cut of Salman Khan in Tere Naam which was a remake of Tamil cult Sethu.

Put in the unwanted, airbrush the original plot and what you finally get is a messy potpourri; often making audience wonder what the heck was so great in the original movie that it vouched a remake. Its misguiding the audience; isnt it? The originality is lost; so is the opportunity of watching what is in fact a good movie; thereby encouraging a mass wrong opinion about the quality of originals.

There are really good South Indian movies - with wonderful story lines sans the glamor and the convention of how a hero/heroine should be.  Concentrating on the looks and the setting of the movie while forging the story line, script and the character doesnt spell success. Few things are best left in its original state - you can remake a movie but cant remake the character; the dialogues, the timings, the slang, the authenticity.

So then how about dubbing them? Thats insane. Have you watched an English movie in Hindi or Tamil or any vernacular? It will be amusing; if you want a good laugh; watch a dubbed English movie. I recently happen to watch Hindi remake of Sivaji for few minutes. I felt sad; sad because of what the Hindi audience missed. A real good movie seemed crappy. The conversation between the hero and the comedian was reconstructed so pathetically that it wont be wrong if people walked out of the cinema hall and wondered for what good reason was the movie successful in South India.

The dialogues were all below average, the timing totally haywire, the dubbed voice too pathetic to hear; it was sad. If this is one case, there are other cases where the dialogues are copied verbatim in other languages.

Ultimately, the audience are at loss; pay to watch a potential good remake and come out disappointed.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Offended Owl

21 July 2011, 6: 10 PM 
Dear Diary,

I want to share with you something that I witnessed today. I do witness such incidents most days but didnt give it much thought as I am doing now. 


Yelled the auto driver at a rider as he maneuvered his motorcycle very close enough to crash on the auto.

Hey Diary, "goobe" means OWL in Kannada; the most preferred word to abuse or insult drivers on the road in this part of the world I live. Its a way to emphasize how the driver has been driving as if blindfolded; lacking any sense.

There are variants in road-abuse; the more adverse middle finger show to phrases like "Veetla sollitu vandhiya?" - closely translates to did you inform your home before leaving. In Bangalore, the first word that comes out is Goobe. This word is also used to insult someone who is an idiot; who cant grasp things quickly; like in school.

Why am I obsessed with Goobe? Simply because I am a Goobe.

And we goobes have got nothing to do with the road rage. We dont even venture anywhere near humans and yet each time they are annoyed at someone; we poor things gets personified. I feel helpless that they are discriminating and insulting us. We owls are not dumb species. We are skilful enough; but each time I hear one human abusing another human by calling our name; I feel insulted.

We have discussed this in our community and my grandma says that this practice is not new but has been around for quite sometime. Why cant we do anything about it? I have heard human beings have laws against gender, racial, linguistic and all other discrimination. Dont they have a rule against species discrimination? My dad says no. They have rules and laws according to their convenience it seems.

My dad also told me that we are not the only species affected.  Humans have idioms personifying every other animals so that their feelings are conveyed more effectively.

Black sheep, dog-eat-dog, rat race, fat as a pig, a wolf in sheep's cloth, a spring chicken...

I mean what if the sheep has black coat or if a pig is fat?

As slow as a sloth, as deaf as an adder, as mean as a snake...............My dad went on and on. 

What sadists are they to pick on us animals?

Accusing a dog of cannibalism, blaming a rat of participating in a race or accusing that helpless chicken for having born during spring time!! Were they witness to these?

These all just because they are handicapped to be terse without mentioning us. They call themselves most evolved with the unique skill of communicating with defined languages. How preposterous! They cant even convey things across without picking on us.

What if we started doing the same with them? As selfish as a human? As nagging as a women? They are such losers; they wont be able to laugh at their own limitations :)

They can't take that - As egoistic as humans sounds best.

Diary, next time I hear someone insulting with a "goobe"; I am going to ask to knock themselves out.

See ya.

The Offended Owl O_O

P.S : This picture was taken from my office pantry on Jan 2009. The glass partition separated me and the owl.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Few hours at the Zoo

Visited Mysore last weekend just for a day. Mysore is a stone's throwaway from Bangalore and is a nice weekend getaway. Mysore and the surrounding areas have lots to offer - river, waterfalls, nature, culture, heritage......and the Zoo.

Mysore Zoo is one of the oldest in India and the animals are well kept in a clean environment. I was happy to see the area neat and devoid of stenches and garbage as in Bannerghatta National Park, Bangalore. Security officers keep a strict vigil on visitors' activities to make sure that the animals are not harmed.

Watching the animals move about freely in their space without being bothered was nice. Few pictures here.

That special attention a tiger gets; no one other animal commands; not even the King of the Jungle. There were 6-7 cats; most of them 2-3 year old but massive enough to handle a village. Agastya; adopted by Dhoni was the attraction. It seems they released only one tiger at a time to loiter outside while others remained inside.

It was standing on the opposite side; couldnt get a close up shot

The birds and the Rhino are friends for life 


Pack of Hyenas.

Mutual help.

 So tall and so gentle.

This one probably escaped from the zoo.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


Sitting by the window
Accompanied by my shadow
In a boring room
On a lazy noon
Deep in thought
letting time pass
Lots to do,
But I am hanging around.

Those delicate fingers 
taps off the cinders
Fuming into flame; the sparks
Slope of gold and blue and red lurks
The bold face of fire as in hearth
Blown brighter by the breath

Whiff of cold air hits me hard,
I dont know why its sad
The blue blue sky
Is dark and hazy.
I wonder why?
I want to see the bright blue sky
But I just see it dark and hazy

Lots to do,
But I am hanging around.
I am waiting for you
and the blue blue sky

P.S : Thank you Neha for sharing this picture with me :)

Saturday, July 9, 2011

I'm a Hypocrite

I don' cheat nobody.

But myself. My virtues and the damn ethical principles I have set for myself; for whatever good reasons dont let me cheat others. Time and again, it has backfired; yet I dont learn lessons from them. I try to be too nice to people; go out of my way to help them; so much so that its not their fault that they are taking me for a ride. Its just that I am exposing myself.

Whatever  happened to that thing called self esteem? Where did I lose it? When did I lose it? I am not ashamed to accept my flaws. I keep pondering about it; what makes me too nicer to people? What makes me behave so humble with certain people? What do I need from them? Money? Unfortunately; I tend to be the spender :-) So this is out of question. Friendship? Shit!! Most of them are fair weather friends. Physical intimacy? No way!!

So what is it? The way I grew up - turbulent and chaotic? Has this molded me in believing I am a lowly creature? Has that instilled in me the idea that my worth is based on how certain people behave with me? Am I of value only if I get that desired care and attention from the people I wish I did than those who are out there for me?

Hell!! No! If that was it, why do I throw up an aggressive and spiteful behavior with others? Why do I treat few others like shit? Why do I remain unapproachable and walk around with an air around me?

Why do I carry a dual personality? I am a selfish person; selectively choosing as I stride. I walk in haste; scared of encountering unfortunate things; yet I am foolish - falling in traps that are too obvious to be noticed.

I put up a mask of confidence when I am scared within. I have insane guts when I ought to be scared. I hold on to someone who dont care for me and more importantly who dont deserve my love when I ought to let go; I kick someone on the gut who are genuinely waiting for me. Its the fear of losing one side and the audacity another side. I am not an angel but a vicious serpent.

I am a Hypocrite - a bitchy one at that.

Thursday, July 7, 2011


Its been some time since I have been clicking pictures. I am finding it difficult to carry my bulky DSLR in my bag the way I carried my point and shoot.

Not been going on short trips as well. So its been a while since I took few good pictures. One thing I have always shied away from clicking are people. Either that I am conscious they are watching me or that I think I might invade their privacy.. However, I always seek their permission; reluctantly.

Capturing people gives you an insight to their perspective - on life, on this world, on surroundings. You can get an idea of their current mood - few deep in thought, others relaxed, few amused and so on. I did try to click few pictures with people. Here they are.

This young balloon vendor is trying to manage his bunch of balloons. Observe his concentration :) He was not even aware that I was taking his picture.

Micky Mouse, Spider-man all wait to soar up in the sky free. But this woman and that man seem to have tied them up. Even Superman and Spiderman can be under the clutches of simple people with no special powers :)

The Dog - Dont mistake for the title "People". This dog was perturbed as I kept following it to take its picture. Can you see an old man farther? He is possibly homeless, the only property he has is that sack beside him.

I am leaving a trail.....dont follow me for I may not lead you. Buy my flute, play along and make your own trail :)

I can be a lion and scare you, I can be a joker and make you laugh, I can be a Minnie Mouse and entertain you, I can be a Santa and give you gifts, I can be a Spiderman and save you.......But I am a tired man - all I need is a cup of tea and few rupees to have my meal

A devil....tired and old devil....

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


"You are going thin" (Read no belly and no double chin)

Dont you oil your hair? It looks so dry. Why do you chop off your hair? Come here, let me oil your hair and tie a plait.

What dress is this? Loafing around like a boy!

Dont you wear a saree ever? Salwar at least

What would people think about you? Wont they have the opinion that you are not happy in your life? Look at you Velu, poor thing! how you have become.

(Velu is wearing a pencil style jean trouser, a tight fitting T shirt and converse shoes with ruffled unkempt locks that falls to his shoulders)  

All in all, I look like a poverty stricken girl and he looks like a tramp.

Are you guys not happy in your life?

Eat well. What are you going to achieve by earning so much?

My hair gets oiled. Our plates are filled with lot of food. The aim is to make us fat.

I wonder since when was prosperity associated with your body's fat proportion.

I also wonder why do people think I earn sack loads of money and dont spend it on food!!

Its an awkward moment when you cant explain to your 'elders' that you are eating right and healthy and that you are working out to keep yourself fit. Its absurd to be associating your prosperity with how fat you are!! There are other myths which are really funny.

All fair people are rich.

Rich people dont do well in academics.

Good looking guys/girls are good at heart.

Only an academic career can fetch you success.

Girl with a carefree attitude will not be a good wife. 

The list would go on......

Its amazing that how these myths survive even to this day with our strong education and social awareness. They are old wives tale, being carried from one generation to another - without any questions asked. You try to question and you are sure damned. Few of them dont have serious outcomes; thus could be ignored. But unfortunately most of them are not.

How many ever lakhs of rupee of Gold ETFs you hold as investments; you cant pin those bonds in place of gold jewelry for a social gathering, isn't it? You are still poor :-) When would the poor black cat cross the road?

On the surface, these myths look absolutely harmless, but investigate it and you know the damage. Me being 'thin'; (which I am not) would boil down to my unhappiness because my husband is not taking good care of me. Thats because he supposedly does not like me and he is a bad man. My husband having ruffled long locks(which he let it grow for a change) means I am not taking care of him.

We are secular liberals; modern society with futuristic thoughts....yet few things just dont change.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

More than Love

A couple of Nicholas Sparks romantic novels has put me in a reverie. For a hopelessly romantic person like me, these novels have been adding fuel to the fire.

Aggravating it is a recent Tamil film song from the movie "180". The song is "Nee Korinaal". The song gives me goosebumps but the visuals cheat me. Throughout the song, the heroine discovers hidden sweet-nothings, gifts and romantic verses written by her beau on her birthday.

This can definitely happen only in movies and novels.Which girl does not believe in a fairy tale love, prince charming sweeping her feet off and all that shit!!

Yeah! you read that right. SHIT! I could say Shit doesnt really happen. But mind over matter, you still yearn for those mushy mushy lovey-dovey kind of episodes to happen :) Ask your girlfriend or your wife, she might surely answer in affirmative.

Now I am pondering over the obvious - LOVE.

How should it be? We seek love, to be loved forever, to be loved the way we were loved yesterday, the previous day. We want it to encompass us forever. Is it self-destructive? Why cant love be treated as any other emotion? I am sad and I cry today. Do I wish to cry forever? No!! Do I wish to be giggling forever? Thats insane!!

More often than not, being in love means going through emotional upheavals. Why cant it be peaceful? Why does love bring so much grief? Why do we care two hoots to pain and discomfort that comes with love? Remember the moth-flame analogy? Is love that destructive? Why not look at love as a rain on a parched land? We get obsessed with it than able to put it aside as a part of life than the life itself.

More than that its the expectation that we have from a relationship. When in love, we put in all our energies and attention on the loved ones and suffocate it slowly but surely. Does it have to be so obsessive that you want to own each and every aspect of the loved one? Just take what you care for, make the most of the moments together. Avoid delving deep, you cannot have everything, enjoy what you have and avoid yearning for more.

But we hope of an elusive, everlasting love which is unreal. You know it, I know it, yet we are in quest of a bigger pleasure which is unproven; suffocating and killing what could be a refreshing ephemeral pleasure. If we could delve deep and figure out what we are trying to achieve, it seems that we tend to try to fulfill ourselves, try to fulfill that void and loneliness which no one could fill but us. We use it as a door to fulfill all our dreams and expectations. Dont we realize that we are smothering that delicate relationship?

So, instead of grieving what we cannot get out of a relationship, wont it be better to celebrate what we get? No one is perfect, one cant satiate his/her own quest, then how can you expect your quest to be satisfied by others? What if he cannot give all his love to you? What if you have to share it with others? Have you thought if you can do without what you get now? If so, bravo! It requires lot of guts and its appreciable.

In a life of turbulence, when a person's presence can you give a momentary happiness, does it matter if that person is truly and wholly devoted to you or not? That moment gives you energy? Yeah? Then why not relish that and leave the rest unperturbed?

The mistake we do is let love take over us as a deeply emotional and intense entity - disturbing and alarming.  Let it loose, let it not control you, use the short gist of happiness to fuel the rest of your life. No one; none can ever devote 100% to you or your concerns. Get yourself in a life or death situation and you will know - what you choose. Love will take a backseat. "I love you more than anything" is a bunkum.

All said and done, mind is a monkey :-P But this surely helps right? Now I am going back to a third Nicholas Sparks novel. I will surely get out of my reverie once I read the last page of the novel :)