Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Been Alone?

I am asked "Are you alone at home now?" I say yes. Then the volley of questions. Can you stay alone? Are you not scared? Don't you get bored? The questions are laced with pity and remorse.

I did not ask for pity. Excuse me! Did I say I am detesting the idea of staying alone? You can't feel bad for me just because I am a woman. I enjoy the me-time; the only-me time.

My husband is away to Vietnam on a business trip. (You can feel sad for me that I could not visit Vietnam). I will have to stay alone until he returns. I think I am old enough to manage and stay on my own. This is one thing. Sometimes I hear from few friends how much they wish their spouse worked in the same office as theirs. I try hard not to pass any comments there. I mean, you are in each other's company at home; you even want the spouse sticking around at workplace? Wont you get bored seeing the same face day in and day out? I mean, I change teams every 3 years because I am bored seeing the same faces. Agreed spouse is not the same as team. You are going to be together until death does you apart. So why do you need the person around even at work? Common! you cant expect help in getting a cup of coffee. So why?

I once commented about how boring that would be and lo! I was given dirty looks as if I am committing adultery. Folks, simple man is a social being but he needs personal space once in a while. I am happy to spend few days alone away from any interference. Think about it. You get to watch your favorite channel without changing channels. You dont have to cook, wash or clean. You dont have to wake up early. You dont have to comment on the choice of dress :P

Oh! and I can sit in my living room and attend official conference calls and watch TV!! This me-time is so important. I would feel suffocated having a person around me all the time.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

What it means to Die

Oh yeah! How inappropriate. How would one know what it means to die until one dies and how can the aftermath be expressed :)

Well, what I am going to talk here is the hearsay. Death means an end to problems, events, situations, freedom from all. "Go die!" is something we say to an irritating person. So in short death means peace? I think I am close even if I am not right.

This evening at around 5:15 PM, I left office so that I could escape the traffic. I am commuting by scooter since 2 weeks; with all these fuel hikes and the irate attitude of the auto drivers; I decided enough is enough. Anyway; today there was a pile of vehicles on the road, moving slowly feet by feet in snail's pace. The traffic was piled for a km.

My fingers were aching by applying frequent brakes. It was so frustrating; to make matters worse a Mallu guy driving a Volkswagen Vento behind me was constantly honking!!! How do I know he was a Mallu? The car was KL registered. Anyway, it was not that I was having a party on the road. The road was choc-a-bloc, where will I find a path to move? After few minutes, I thought I should do something about it.

I turned behind and asked gestured what was the problem? That guy gave a smile, loser! I just asked him to wait and continued at snail's place. So after those horrible pushing the vehicle for one km, noticed flowers strewn on the road. Not another party procession! But the HC ruled out any party meetings within the city radius! So this must be something else. Any festive procession? What's special today? No festivities. Then I see a policeman helping streamline the traffic. A hearse van ahead of him.

It was the final procession of a dead person. As in some of the customs, they were celebrating his/her final journey. Bulbs of flowers strewn on the road, music band playing the standard music, a couple of drunk men dancing while remaining oblivious to the traffic pile up they created. The road is busy from 5 to 8; there are 2 major Business Parks hosting around 30+ MNCs having 50,000+ people working. Everyone rushes home during these peak hours.

My thoughts were about the dead person. How would he/she have been? Quality? Would that person have liked celebrating any event at the cost of causing trouble to others? Or was that person a trouble all the time that he/she is living(dead) up to the expectations?

Die in peace but leave others in trouble? I hope whoever that person was would have hated the trouble this event has caused; poor thing was helpless.

Monday, May 21, 2012

What to write?

Suppose I am earning a pretty good money; but the work is mundane and if there is no encouragement, will I continue to work? My needs are met; so what? Hmm...there is no drive, no encouragement and no challenges.

The work is fine, loads of appreciation and good moolah at the end of the day. Will I continue? Hmm may be not. No challenge, nothing to rake my brain about.

OK! very good work, loads of appreciation and challenges each time that sets a high bar to my capability, but the compensation is not that great. Will I work there? Ummm...I will look out for the first opportunity.

Well, this post has got nothing to do with my work. Fortunately; I am blessed with good job environment, challenging work and pretty good money. I am trying to compare my work to blogging. Both are poles apart; my job feeds me and gives me a shelter whereas blogging feeds my soul. Both I am passionate with blogging as much as I am passionate about my job.

So? What is the problem? Hmm...not a one-dimensional. Blogging world is slow; no time to read blogs, not many good topics to read....we have lost topics to write on....Enough of cribbing, bitching, complaining :D
No encouragement...many more NOs to come.


Do we write for people to take notice of us and appreciate what we write? I will jump up and say NO. I write for myself, It soothes me and all that crap! But deep down, dont you wish you got that 50 comments per post? And that there were good debate sessions on topics shared? Well, those were the days. Why am I not showing that interest as I did? Why is my blog getting a step-motherly treatment? I dont have other vices like twitter or FB. All I do on FB is share some of the pictures I click once in a while. So why?

I click on New Post many times but dont write anything. I am corrupt now. When I started; I kept writing without waiting for people. And then someone cropped in and slowly the numbers increased; my anticipation too....Any human tendency and this proves I am a lowly human too :)


Friday, May 11, 2012

Dondra Head

As if it were not enough for a treat to appease our visual sense at Hummanaya blow hole; had another detour before retiring for the night at Hikkaduwa. I was reading the book on Sri Lanka; I was traversing the route we were taking and about the towns we were passing through. I came across a red encircled dot on the map of Sri Lanka (the way I have circled in this map)

Yes, the southern most tip of the land. The spot being the southern most tip of the country was not the one that enticed me; we have Cape of Comorin in India and its nice to see that endless ocean. What is unique is that nothing else stands between this cape of land and Antarctica except the empty never-ending ocean. :)

Also read that there is an offshore lighthouse at that point. Took detour and it was pretty dark by then. The light from the light house guided us to the point. As we talked near the lighthouse; I was awestruck by its height and its octagonal shape. We were looking for some one to talk to but all we could hear were the loud crash of the waves. Then from nowhere a Doberman appeared and cornered us. Couldn't move an inch; it sniffed us in all possible places and then walked away only when it sensed we were safe. The keepers of the lighthouse - a government employee and his wife stayed beside in a house just beside the lighthouse. The lady said we could go inside the lighthouse. I couldn't believe it. I think no one is legally permitted to enter the lighthouse; but the lady and the man sensed some quick bucks from foreigners. It was dark so who cared. Anyway; I did break my ethics just to not miss this once in a lifetime opportunity and I am not guilty.

The light house is the highest in Asia. It was built during the British period; the inside of the light house exuded all British; right from fire equipment to wrought iron steps; even the building materials seemed to be imported from England . The light house was 7 floors and 161 ft in height. After admiring the ground floor; we started climbing the stairs - 196 steps in all. We climbed and climbed; as I went up; I was equally excited and scared because I know I am going to see something different but also I do not have the permission.

As I climbed; marveled at the excellent maintenance; the lighthouse is still active. The radar screen guiding the ships, the old light installed by the British and now lying as a witness. Finally to the top; tired and excited; the light was so powerful; it guided the ships up to 30 nautical mile radius. Enough said; pictures now.

The octagonal light house.  In the left corner is Velu and Indika; gives an idea of the height of the light house

Equipments as listed there - made in Middlesex, England

The spiral wrought iron stair case

The top! 40 1000W bulbs set on 3 sides of a triangle. 

The steps tread

 Radar screen. The blue line is the light of lighthouse and the purple dots are ships.

The southern most tip and the wave crashing. I think it would have been picturesque during day light 

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Producing a storm

Have you been told some time or the other that if you really need something, you will get it? Has it ever happened? Of course it would have. And that something would be a life changing wish like getting married to the guy/girl of your choice or getting admission in the school you dreamt of or a dream car.....

I have had many such wishes and I went behind it and realized it. What I am sharing today is not anything of that sort; and yet it was something I really needed and I got it in a short time even without searching for it.

My last visit to the US in 2010; my friend was relocating to another apartment and I was helping him clear off his belongings. This arrangement was temporary since he would move to another place in a couple of months. So instead of moving all his stuffs; he was taking only the much needed and dumping everything off in the public storage. While cleaning a closet; I came across a long wooden tube. When I took it in my hands; it seemed hollow inside and was making a musical sound like falling rain. My friend noticed it and he told me he got it during his trip in San Diego. A note was attached to the instrument. Reading it; I got to know that the instrument was called a Rain stick. They were made only from a particular species of cactus after its dead by Indian tribes of Chile. They used it as a musical instrument to bring rain. They were farmers living in the Atacama desert area. Thorns from the plants are pressed into dead wood. The pebbles hitting these thorns as they fall down the hollow tube creates rain-like sound.

The mention of South America, Chile, Atacama enchanted me. I was holding the 1 meter long cylindrical tube in my hand for a long time. My friend showed no sign of understanding; he promptly took it from me and placed it in a corner among the dumps we were to take it to storage. I asked him if he is going to store that away? He answered in affirmative. I pursued; told him it would be nice to have it with him and he can play it to soothe himself; the music that came out from it was mesmerizing. He said he did not want it. A part of me was thinking then why not offer it to me? I wouldn't ask ever. I was thinking he would change his mind and give it to me later as a token of appreciation for helping him. 

So after clearing up everything, we made a number of rounds to the storage carrying the loads in his car. When it was time for the rain stick, I made one last attempt to coax him to keep it with him thinking he would just offer it to me. He didn't; it went to the dark corner of the cold storage room and shut tight.

I thought about the rain stick for few days; I was wondering if they sold it anywhere else near by in and around Silicon valley or in India. The rain stick was producing a storm within me and I wished I could find it somewhere sometime in future during my travels. I left USA and on my way visited Mauritius. I forgot about the rain stick after few days. Visited Casela National park the second day and while exiting; we had to get out through a souvenir shop. That's when I noticed it; I wanted to make sure I was seeing what I was thinking. Yes! it was! the rain stick. These ones were not rustic and unpainted like the one Shyam had. They were brightly painted in orange, green, blue and red and carved by hand. I immediately bought one. I could get it in less than a month's time was something I never thought would happen.

Its there with me and will be there for ever. Whenever I want to hear the sound of falling rain; I roll the rain stick. :)

Here is mine.

A typical rain stick - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Rainstick_01.png

More about rainsticks - http://www.nativevillage.org/Messages%20from%20the%20People/Rainsticks-Heard%20Museum.htm

Sound of a rain stick - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Rainstick.ogg

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Breaking Apples

Shopping for it was something to look forward to. So was breaking and destroying it. The enthusiasm and interest were equal both ways. Breaking would be followed by shopping for a new one. While shopping; the eye would already be on the next one to be possessed. Either my dad or mom would take me and my brother to the market. We would find a vendor selling his colorful wares - fruits mostly - apple, mango, guava. Attractively colored ones placed in the front rows while the simple nude ones sat in the farthest corners.  They were always boring, colorless and lacking creativity; so a big NO-NO.

Carefully choosing one was a serious business; if I need Apple; my brother chose Apple too...though there were two apples, I wanted to have an unique piece. Raise all hell, a smirk, a nudge, glum faces before being stared by the parent. Choice to be made; so one had to compromise; that would mostly be me being the elder one. So Apple for him and a Mango for me. An offer to even take a look at those non-colorful ones were dismissed in unison by me and my brother.

A couple more reconsideration and decision finally made. A negotiation later might get me the Apple! who knows. While the choice was happening; the elders indulged in bargains; 1 Re here and there and amount paid. The apple and the mango are neatly packed and off we set to start a new saga until next time. Dreaming about the coins and notes that would be slipped into them for months to come.....Yeah the coin bank.
The lucky ones gathered more be it the Apple or the Mango. They were kept at a height far off from our reach; preferably just near the portrait of God and Goddess. Each time we were offered some money; the coin bank was brought down under the supervision of the parents; the notes or the coins slid in. It was a predictable act - slid the coin or fold the notes to 4s and push it in with utmost concentration and prick with a stick to make sure it really fell to the floor of the container and back off with satisfaction. And when the time came to break them apart; there were no sorrows whatsoever of destroying a beautiful work of art. The eyes and mind were on how much got accumulated. The privilege to break rested with the owner; yet who would go first was a difficult decision. A coin toss could have solved the issue!

No remorse, no sorrows, it was pure exhilaration to break them to pieces, accumulate the money and dispose the broken pieces to trash. There was always another one next time isn't it? Perhaps a Coconut or a tomato?