Wednesday, May 28, 2008

A trip down Mysore's (memory) lanes

In what was our first "trip" per se since our move back to India, we visited Mysore. We wanted to take Subhash's parents somewhere because ever since they have come, we haven't gone out anywhere.

2001 was the last time I visited this sleepy town. And in 2008, I find, that its not so sleepy anymore. I remember as kids, we used to hate going Mysore because it was the most boring place on earth. There is nothing we could do except going to the same Mysore Palace and the same KR Sagar and the same Chamundi Hills and the same Zoo ;)

Much worse were the bus trips. My Dad's eldest sister lives in Mysore. She has always been there. My Dad's second sister lived in Tumkur. I remember we were game for Tumkur any day because that was a simple 90 minute bus journey from the very-famed "Majestic" circle in Bangalore. Whereas Mysore was a real "sore" story. 3.5 hours or even more at times by bus. And the road. Ohh don't even ask. Potholes masquerading as a road. And on top of that the buses were truly what we call "Yerra Bussu" in Andhra. (Red bus, in AP red buses were district/village service ones, usually we called someone a "Yerra bus" if they hailed from a village;) Mean, I know!). Since we were kids, we got to have the privilege of being pushed around and would usually end up on the gear box beside the driver. And then would start the nightmare. The drivers would stop for anyone and everyone who waved their hand at the bus. Not so bad, right?! Well think again and factor in the animals these people would bring in with them into the bus. Chickens, goats you name it! And they would dump it, yeah you guessed right, near the gear box. God!!!

I remember this other time there was a farmer's unrest in Mandya and there was major confusion. And all the buses were halted and pelted at (I hate it when people destroy public property, did I ever say that? Now they are doing that in the name of Gujjar agitations, darn it!) and somehow we managed to scrape through out of that place and arrive in Bangalore just in time to catch our train back to Hyd. I think in the process my grandma and uncle got left behind because they chose to take a different route back to Bangalore or some such thing, don't exactly remember there was much confusion anyways;)

So yeah, we hated going to Mysore, just the thought of that bus ride made us repulsive;) Later years we saw trains going to Mysore. In fact when I went in 2001 to say bye to my "Atte" (Dad's sister) before I left for the US, I went by train and I can still remember how relieved I was to not get into those buses ;)

But things have changed now. Road is unbelievable. I can't believe its the same route. I did hear about roads having gotten better thanks to Infy and all that but what I saw was beyond my belief. Mysore is not the sore anymore. Its a much happening place. I am not very sure I like it. this way either;) I hate change firmly ;) But Subhash says well everyone needs their share in the excitement. So I watched Mysore in amazement.

Couldn't really meet my aunt and uncle because it was a one-day trip. We went to Srirangapattana (Tipu Sultan's capital city) and later on to Chamundi Hills. Then had lunch and went on to see the Mysore Palace and later KR Sagar (the very famed "Brindavan gardens" which was ubiquitous in movie songs at one point in time). I hardly remembered any of these places except KR Sagar and its fountains. I think I was going to Mysore Palace after maybe 15 long years.

All in all it was what I like to call a "neat trip". Not much tiredness, accomplished (read as saw) all that we wanted, and came back in good time. We even managed to have dinner at "Kamat Yatri Nivas" on our way back, it came in highly recommeneded from our VP-Engineering when I was moving back. He told me not to miss eating there when I went to Mysore ;) It was good. Simple and good food :)

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Yeah, why Mr. BigB?

I was going to do a piece on BigB's blog. Yeah the TRP comaprison one. Big news in the media and all that (more on the media later). I read it even before they could splash it all over you know. And it was sad to see all my respect go down the drain.

But then I found this post by Dipta that is way way better than what I could have ever conceived to write. So please to read and muse:)

Now onto my thoughts. I think that post from BigB was the last straw. I lost it completely. That curiosity to know him more as a person. Now I rarely "read" his posts. I just glide over them. All the same brouhahas, what is the use.

Then I think some more. Why do I expect him to be an angel? He is a star yes, but why does that elevate him to be angelic. If someone accused me of something, if someone wrote wrongly about me, if someone tried to get back at me by publishing something, of course I would react wouldn't I? That is exactly what he is doing as well right? Just because I thought "he was above it all" doesn't mean he has to abide by it and "let it pass". So he writes. But then the relationship between the media and stars is so synergistic that it almost seems unfair that he retorts back when its bad publicity and gladly accepts it when its good publicity ;)

Well, I never lived the life of a star so to speak so I will probably never understand this. But yes, it does feel sad to see him resort to means like this glibly (but not very successfully) disguising his actual intent. He profusely (and in more words than I could tolerate, too verbose) said a bunch of "sorries" in his subsequent posts (you dare underestimate the media, they will make anyone apologize;) ) but the apology posts irked rather than doing damage-repair. Which made me learn *ALL OVER AGAIN* that words once said, can NEVER be taken back. I should remember that before I say anything. I should. I should. I should. I should.

OK enough said;)

Inviting a (healthy) discussion..

As always, a comment and my reply. I thought this was worth publishing :)

Anonymous sachin said...

Well I have seen the Hyd Airport, to say the very least I was disappointed. We need to catch up. By the way it is not maintained by Govt. It is not complete yet and I cannot even compare that to the third best terminal at Detroit airport. Yeah thats where I live now. This is not a complaint, I want Indians to compete, compete at an international level. We boast a lot, but do little to match that. As for the security, its a joke. I can go on and on.....


Wed May 21, 08:43:00 PM PDT

Blogger DivSu said...

Hi Sachin

Well, you should take into account a lot of things before you compare anything in the US with anything in India. Sorry, but I usually don't tolerate people comparing India to the US and saying roads are cleaner, airports are better, traffic rules are followed bla bla bla.. especially when India has a very severe infrastructural disadvantage when compared to the US (1/4th the area and 4x the population). I never let anyone say that in front of me and get away without having a piece of my mind.

We boast yes, its unhealthy. I agree. We do a little and then we celebrate a lot. But that aside, why don't you compare the Hyderabad airport with the older Hyderabad airport. Its a far cry and we have come a long way. I wish people would dwell on the positive end and look to the brighter side of things. But more often than not people are pessimists. They insist on pulling down every small achievement. Moderation is good, pessimism is not.

Yes, its not maintained by the Government which is all the more reason for us to hope it will continue to be better and not get worse.

We need to catch up yes. No one is saying we are all there and arrived completely. But we are at least trying to run along in the race and that is what you should appreciate. Catching up doesn't happen over-night and far less with just building a couple of squeaky airports.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy Detroit ;)

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The breeze ah!

One thing I always love about summers is the cool evening breeze. And when I was a kid I used to love sleeping either on the terrace or in the balcony. Summer knew no mosquitoes during the nights and we used to go upstairs before dinner and put water on the terrace floor have dinner and go back upstairs to find a cool and inviting place to sleep. We used to take mats, pillows and other paraphernelia and sleep on the terrace. Mostly with cousins. Stories and start gazing and what not :D

In our apartment in Bangalore, the one thing I really loved is that we have French windows in all rooms. Both the bedrooms and the Dining room. During the night I leave the door open with just the mesh (there are mosquitoes all around the year here) and its simply amazing. Especially the last one month has been simply out of this world. Regular rains. Evening breezes. Sometimes, during the right days, we get to see the full-moon while sleeping. Just like old times :D Subhash's parents keep saying that when they look out of our balcony and they see the lake etc. they feel like they are in a hill-station. Not to mention the beach-side-like breeze. I am loving evenings although the days are hot. And the rains are a definite bonus. The sound of whooshing air, the thunder, the deep blue clouds, how beautiful can the earth get.

And how better can life get? :D

A nice gesture

I had gone out with Subhash's dad to check out a place this afternoon. It was around lunch and it was extremely hot very much needless to say. On our way back (we went in an auto) I got off at the gate of our campus and wanted to find out if that small tires shop guy had change for 100 since his dad didn't have any. So I was asking him and noticed this lady walking right past me looking at me. He said he didn't have change and Subhash's dad then went on.

Now I have to digress a little. When I was in Std V in Ann's, I experienced a very nasty theft of my ear-rings. It was school day I think, we all dressed in coloured-games uniform (these were the regular skirt-shirt combo but the skirt was the colour of your house, you wore these uniforms on special occasions like Independence Day, Sports Day and Investiture Day, Investiture day is still probably one of the best days of my life, notwithstanding the fact that I lost out on being Head Girl and ended up as house-captain instead:(, anyway too much digression). It was a half-day and as soon as we were done I came out and waited for the school bus. My sister was still in Std II then and so she didn't come to school because Primary school was exempted from coming for special occasions, they just had a holiday. So I waited and waited and the bus didn't come. We used to live in Kacheguda back then and I was always told to not come in an auto and only wait for the bus no matter what. For obvious reasons. We were too young to take autos by ourselves. Details are a little hazy now, but I decided to wait on. Then a lady approached me. And she asked me what I was doing. Naturally you are taught to distrust strangers so I gave her answers and kept my distance. She then told me that my mom had sent her and asked her to collect my ear-rings so that they are safe. She took me to sit by a bench in St. mary's church which adjoined the school's ICSE building. I was waiting at that gate. Then when I didn't yield she started telling me how she would have to spank me to take them because I was being a bad girl and not listening to my mom's orders. If not for anything, just out of sheer terror of this whole situation, I gave my ear-rings to her and she went her way. I waited for another hour and then the bus came (at the normal time @ 3.15 PM) and I hopped on it and got home. With hardly any hope I asked my mom if "aunty" gave her the ear-rings. (See I was 10 years then, and i might have thought over the story and believed it eventually, you can't really blame me for being stupid like that ;) ). My mom naturally got a shocker. One there was the loss of earrings. Two, the things that could have gone wrong further. I think my mom couldn't decide if she wanted to be happy because at least I was home safe and sound or if she wanted to be upset over the loss. So she was in general overwhelmed I think. And my sister naturally came about saying if she were in my place she would have shouted for help and so on and so forth, you know how younger sisters are, not very helpful in sticky situations, gosh!

Actually this is probably the most mis-adventurous my life has gotten, thank god! I am surprised I never wrote about it earlier ;) This is the single most closest-to-danger thing thats happened in my childhood to me I think.

So anyway, today there was this lady who walked right by me when I was asking for change. After I was done and started walking inside towards the campus, she approached me and asked me where I was going. For some reason, I don't know if it was the way she looked or if it was that umbrella she was holding, for some reason she reminded me of that lady who robbed me of my ear-rings 18 years ago. I felt defensive. In my mind I went "Bring it on. I can deal with the likes of you now. I am older now. When I was young you took advantage of it, now let me show you what I will do" and so on and so forth, all in that 2 seconds. I told her I was going inside. She asked me what I asked the fellow. I told her I asked for change (all along thinking "Yeah, show me what you have got"). She asked me how much change. I said for 100s. I said it was OK anyway now that the person with me left already. Then she started walking with me inside. My my so many guts! To walk into a corporate campus?! Well, the lady who robbed me also walked with me into the school, it was so the same now. She asked me if I worked here, I said yes. She then let me walk under her umbrella. What?! Can she actually be a nice person?! Hmm.. so anyway we continued walking and now it was my turn to ask her questions. I asked her what she did. And she said she was a security personnel for Cisco at the Service gate.

What?!?!?!? Could this have ended anymore ironically? She wasn't really here to rob me but she was one of those people who actually protects me during my work day?! God!!

We talked about weather thats getting hotter and hotter, where she lived, how she commuted, what shift she was in, how long it took her to get to work every day and so on and so forth (you see how information is now flowing from her and not me?;) ) Soon we were at the security post and I wanted to see if she actually was who she claimed. I came in with my badge (Yeah companies here have security check points way beyond the buildings, unlike in the US where you just go straight to the building) and she pushed in through the side without any badge. I was like "Maybe she is after all someone trying to enter the building saying she was with me?" We have been warned enough times about those kind of things (especially in the morning itself I attended a session on Safety and Security;) ) I made sure to see where she was going. I felt good when she walked right into the security booth to talk with those other guys over there :) So I didn't get cheated a second time after all :D

And she actually held the umbrella for me while we were walking in. I felt touched. It was an amazing feeling of warmth :)

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

In need of some girlfriends

My latest and greatest memories of India the past 7-8 years have been old friends. Latest in those latest have been JNTU (my engineering college for those of you who are new here) days and the routine.

Every evening I take the bus back home. The BMTC bus. And for that I need to walk maybe a kilometer to the main road and to the bus stop. This exactly follows the same routine that I had in JNTU. Walk from inside the campus (you should see the campus to believe how big it is) with a big bunch of friends to the main road and the bus stop. Eat Pani Puri (some of them used to also drink tea in the canteen). Catch the bus. Gossip some more and come home. I had at least one friend, K, who would come all the way home. We lived very close to each other. Even while driving we would talk. And after coming home some more on the phone. And then decide to go out and hang out together some more. Sometimes it was her, sometimes it was some of my other friends in the colony. Now I seem to be following the same routine, sans the people :( Every day when I walk out of Cisco's campus I really wish I had at least some of those friends who could walk back with me. It would be so much fun and so de-stressing! Of course if there was a Pani Puri bandi on the way back, what else could anyone ask for! And then anyway I am home alone for 3-4 hours before Subhash heads back. What fun it would be if I had catch-up meetings with friends who lived in the same apartment complex. My my! That would be perfect. That would just be like India 8 years back for me :D I wouldn't really ask for more.

I have been intending to do this post for quite sometime. But this is what actually triggered it. One of my old JNTU friends just got back to Bangalore after her extended stint in Scotland. And I can't wait to meet her. Maybe we can meet after work some evenings as well (she stays decently close enough too!!) and although it wouldn't be so perfect, it would be very close to those pearly gates :D I should say, it would almost bridge those memories over the void of the last 8 years.

The goodness of Nivea (aka Nivea for Divya ;))

I have normal skin. Usually problem free. Not too oily not too dry. I have a bad case of acne/pimples and the scars left behind by them. Unfortunately not much I can do about it, so I will move on.

I had this bad case of dryness once when I was 16 I think. And it cracked the corner of my lips so badly I couldn't open my mouth. I tried everything but without use. Then I decided to come back to normal creams and used Nivea (the original thicky cream in the ubiquitous blue case) before going to bed one night. By the time I woke up, lo! the dryness was completely gone! And I am not kidding. And ever since then I stick by Nivea as if it were religion ;) I had a bad case of dry eye-lids once (due to Johnson's lotions, the one made for adults) and I actually went and bought the blue box of Nivea and it healed overnight :D

Now that I am back in India, I was beginning to have that cracked sides of lips again and it was Nivea to the rescue. Yet again!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Target Shahrukh?

So first it was Amitabh. No matter what anyone says, I thought what he did/wrote here was exemplary of wanting to say something nasty but not having the cheek to do it. Actually worse, trying to mask it under a completely innocent garb. Very under-handed.

Then it was Aamir. And now the media has a field day. What is Shahrukh supposed to do? Maybe start his own blog eh? Actually why does he need to bother with that. With Amitabh apologizing needlessly profusely with completely void "sorry's" (yeah, when you read it you can actually feel the emptiness and complete lack of remorse in his sorries to Shahrukh) and the media taking up the battle against Aamir on behalf of Shharukh (profusely, at least twice a day), Shahrukh doesn't need to do anything. Just concentrate on his T20 team, which I think he is doing. As stupid as they all are, the media is even more so. Man, this is what happens when you have 24 hour news channels. We go the CNN way. Fill the days and hours on tube with insipid, useless rubbish!

I really wish the media would spend more time giving star status to people who do something for the country, document the nation's little successes (like there was this handicapped guy who won in swimming and he felt neglected how no one cared for him, why doesn't the media do more stories on such people, surely we have a large populous to draw an inspiration from), focus on what is happening positively so people are inspired to do better. Cricket and Bollywood stars surely take more than deserved screen and internet space already. They don't have to be all over the daily news everyday as well.

Stress stress and more stress.

I don't know what it is I am doing but I seem to be getting more and more stressed. Or maybe I am just imagining it;)

First off, the maid said she would take off for four days! Ohh no! This is that terrible situation I was so in dread of. Once you get used to someone else doing your work for you, thats it. Well, I was planning to change her anyway because she said she couldn't make it in the evenings anymore and mornings just don't work for me in all that rush. So on Sunday I woke up wondering how much work is left to be done, cleaning, dishes, cooking etc. but guess what?! Like a god-send, a second maid came looking for work. I promptly had her started off and she was a little worried what my original maid would say (they have all these politics and territories and so on). I assured her that I already told my maid I would be looking for a replacement because she can't make it in the evening. Now onto actually doing it. Thursday is the day the old one returns.

Its probably the work too. Getting more and more irked. Its the remote-ness. Its not easy. Especially if you want to be on top of things. You don't get to attend half the meetings since they are at god-forsaken hours. There was a power outage over the weekend and I have to depend on a team mate to take care of my routers for me. It gets a little stressful at times because they are not always around when you have to work. And you can't really demand as they are already doing a favour. And the more I ask, the more I feel obliged which in turn stresses me out when I have to differ with them on any point. I feel obligated and I feel overly stressed when I disagree with them on anything. Damn! It has to change soon...

Then is the absolutely unbelievable real-estate in Bangalore. For god sakes, I only want to have a place to live in. Why should that be so difficult. Everyday I see dingy/dirty apartments (that too from big names) which don't go for anything less than 70L. Else you have to settle for a lesser name in which case, no access-roads, no good quality in construction, no proper water connections and so on and so forth. Even considering building our place ourselves, I am having palpitations. Even before its started. Just thinking about how much work it is. I am already stressed out and we haven't even gotten anything on paper yet :(

Breathe...breathe.. ;)

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Upma combination

As I sit down to catch up on some technical reading, I am eating Upma that was waiting for me when I came home :D And I am eating it with my favourite accompaniment, curd :) I am not sure if a lot of people like this combo, but I love it. I remember when I was a kid and my mom used to pack Upma for us for lunch. She used to devise ingenious ways of making sure it remained fresh till the afternoon. She used to actually pack milk that was just left to curdle (in other words put some curd in it) in a bottle and lo! by afternoon it was solidly good curd. And I used to devour it with Upma :D Those days when Upma was the tiffin, you could see all the assorted paraphernelia in my lunch basket ;) It used to look like I went to school just to eat :)) (I used to wait for lunch bell desperately every single day, so of course I lived to eat ;) )

School days! Never stop missing them:)

My big extended family..

The cousin whose marriage I went for in Hyd has moved to Bangalore now! I have two maternal cousins in addition to the scores of paternal ones in Bangalore with this latest addition!! Yay!!

She visited us last night with her parents, my aunt and uncle. They had dinner with us. It felt good to meet up with them in leisure, the wedding was a rush (adding to which my Dad fell sick) so I couldn't really participate in any conversation back then. This particular cousin is a little special since as a kid i actually used to be dead scared of her. She was a week younger than my younger sister who is three and a half years younger than me. Ok, there its out. Yeah, I was puny and a coward like that when it came to people with definitely better physical strength than me;) Whenever I visited this particular aunt I used to dread her. Anything this cousin asked for I had to give else I could be faced with a broken jaw or anything in a similar degree. I used to run from her and lock myself up in a room and scream for my aunt who was my only hope of rescue. My sister of course, when I was three years older and couldn't do a thing, she didn't stand a chance. So she rarely used to risk staying overnight at my aunt's place. But being the obedient kid that I was, I usually went wherever I was asked to go. I would tell my mom I don't want to, but you know how it is. She is your younger sister, what can she do to you, and all that. Yeah right ;)

So anyway, she has grown into a very nice girl now. I still look at her and wonder (even aloud and even to her) if she is the same girl thinking of whom I used to have the shivers. And she says "Po akka, nenu ala yemi chesedaanni kanu". (No sis, I never did anything like that)

Yeah, shall we rewind? :))

Makes me go back in the past and think of those days spent idling away with cousins. My cousins are all a very important part of my extended family. And I have learnt a lot from them. They say you can never live long enough to learn from you own mistakes. So for better or for worse, my cousins were always around. When they made mistakes and got kicked, I learnt not to repeat the same things. When they did good stuff and got praised, I learnt to emulate. Summers were FUN because of them. My mom has 8 siblings. And I have 18 cousins as a result. Although the younger ones were far too young for us to play with as a team, my moms immediate elder sister's kids were the ones we most hanged out with. Her oldest daughter is 8 years older than me I think, her second daughter is 5 yrs older (she is in Bangalore too!!) and her last son is 2 years older than me. One of our favourite summer pastimes was to dance to the tunes of "Shiva" and "Maharshi" and other such Ilayaraja greats under the able supervision and choreography of my older cousins. Our favourite song of all times was "Botany Patham" from Shiva. When we met after a long long time (almost after 6 years thanks to my US life) in this cousin's wedding, we remembered that and did a mock dance of it much to the amusement of my cousins' kids ;) They were definitely wondering what kind of crazy moms and pinnis (mom's sisters) they had ;) I am sure.

My older cousins have all gotten married and have kids. I saw some of my nieces/nephews come into this world before I left for the US, some I didn't see till now. In those short visits to India, you hardly get time to catch up with people in town and as my cousins are now settled out of Hyd, it used to be impossible to see them. I was dreading meeting my niece from this older cousin. I had last seen her when she was four I think. And she is now 12. And five feet taller. It would have broken my heart if she didn't recognize me. But she did! And she settled comfortably in my lap and asked me questions about why my face has changed, how/why I became thin and such. My god I thought! She remembers all that?! Gosh!! Kids today, I tell you ;) Thankfully the only thing she didn't remember is what she used to call me. And that was "Dayyam Pinni" (devill aunt). It was partly because I used to trouble her a lot and partly because that is the best she could pronounce my name back then (this is how I console myself;) ). I reminded her promptly and we had a good laugh over it.

I so love having a huge family :)


I found these two blogs which inspired me greatly to re-instate that sense of responsibility towards my country:

I want to vote. But I missed out on Bangalore's elections. Since I am an "outsider" or "Not normally Resident" as my tax status aptly puts. (I am a citizen, yet haven't been a resident for at least 729 days in the last 10 years. I think I got the numbers right)

The reason I liked the blogs particularly well is because they echo exactly what I feel. Some things of which are:

1) You have no damn right to call the roads dirty, to call the power shaky, to call the hospitals unhygienic, to call the air polluted, to call the water contaminated and so on and so forth unless you have done your bit to help it. You have no right to compare India with anything else, since as an Indian you have not contributed a single pie to it well-being. If my parents rant about not having power, they have a right to. They have paid taxes to the Government (or the lack of it). So they can. And they will. I cannot. I should not. I haven't ever paid a single paisa in taxes. So I better stay shut. That is exactly what I have told a bunch of my friends at the risk of even sounding hostile. But I had to at times. People don't understand the concept of responsibility. It doesn't come from sitting in your air-conditioned office in the US and raking dirt over Indian roads. They already have enough on them, and can do with out your expert opinion on them, thank you. Its a very simple concept and I fail to see how people can't get it. You should expect returns only if you put in an effort. You can't expect a road (instead of a dirt track) if you haven't paid taxes to have it built. Of course it might be a different matter if you paid taxes and still there isn't a road. Rant on then. All that you want.

2) I agree whole-heartedly that the whole political process is corrupt. And the voting transparency is ZERO. Subhash's mom has stories about how elections are conducted (she is a Government teacher and often got posted on Electoral duty). But is this whole process going to get any better because you are sitting stuffed at home and giving a brilliant speech on how inefficient it is and totally basking in the glory of how justified your excuse to not go and vote is? No. So? Either you vote or you stop talking about how corrupt it is. If you vote, you can rant. If you haven't even taken the trouble to haul yourself to the polling booth, then please spare the eloquence on how dirty the country is.

3) I agree change cannot be brought about by just me going and voting sincerely every election. Just me going and re-registering every time. But at the risk of sounding cliched, if everyone thinks the same, then when do we see that much needed change in the political process? We will continue to be enamored by the proxy-Gandhi dynasty. We will continue to elect uneducated. We will continue to elect corrupt. That is because all the educated guys are busy making millions and ranting away at how long it takes to get to work. If it looks like people are taking an uneducated guess in electing leaders, well, its because its just the uneducated (or poorly educated) populus that is electing them. The educated don't seem to have the time for it. Sad.

I know it will be difficult for me to Register and vote. I know my name will have been long gone from the lists, I applied in 2001, and its been 7 years since then. I know I might not vote this election. Or the next. I know I might not be able to make it to Hyd even if I register at the time of elections. But. I will try. And till I actually vote, I will not crib. I will not insult. I will not rake dirt.

I will simply regret. Not what is happening around me. But that I haven't contributed to making it any better.

Monday, May 12, 2008

No closure

That is exactly what the past week or two has been like. No closure on anything. Not on that problem I am working on at work, not on the maid and her erratic attendance, not on our house hunt, not on anything. I have actually begun to believe in the whole "buri nazar" thing. People think, "Ohh everything is working out so well for them" and next minute you know it all falls apart. My mom used to say some "eyes are not good". Well, the last thing I can help is someone's eyes. So in my true style, I will endure what I cannot cure.

Incidentally I saw Chinmayi write about the same thing. Poor thing! She couldn't go to Canada. I empathize with her. Failed plans are the most nasty things.

Well, well. Let me see if I can get on and push something to a conclusion ;)

Friday, May 09, 2008

Ah, the routine I love~

Just finished dinner followed by 3-4 slices of an extremely delicious "Banginapally" mango! Yumm! I love Indian summers. If its summer, it better be Indian :D Been having mangoes post dinner pretty often these days. Having them with curd rice is another highlight.

Of course the Indian summer and Rasna go hand in hand. They got this new format for lazy fellows like me, the new Rasna "powder". No more mixing that concentrate with huge amounts of sugar and water. Just add two spoons to water and mix. It tastes exactly the same and I love it. Been having it every evening after coming home, along with something that Subhash's mom dishes up for me by the time I get back. Love living with family!!

I always regret having missed out on living with parents while working. Man, that must be such a cool life. Not having to do anything, mom is around to take care of everything, you just got to haul yourself off the bed each morning and get to work and get back thats it. No strings attached. No cooking, no cleaning, no running a house. Just lend a helping hand and thats it. I envy my colleagues who are just out of college, have always lived in the same city and are so familiar with the place. And have college/school/old friends around the city. I wish my first job was in Hyd too. Its like the best of both worlds. Having fun just like in college minus the studies part ;) How much better can that get :))

Right now just loving the summer and the mangoes that come with it. Truly better late than later :D

Thursday, May 08, 2008

The divide and the diversity

One of my friends asked me how the move was and how I was feeling.

Somehow when I saw the phrase "How I was feeling", it prompted me to give her a response that I haven't given earlier to anyone. And that is of the great divide in India. Its wide and its growing. I have been thinking about penning it down for a while now but didn't really know how or where to start. So below is a random collection of thoughts. If it looks like its not trying to make any point, well, you got it. I am not trying to:)

Whenever we step out of the house, I immediately see it everywhere. Its the great divide. Between the IT and the non-IT crowd. By IT I mean anyone working in the IT industry and not necessarily the techies.

I don't know if its the new-found independence of just having finished school and gotten a job. Or I don't know if its just the headiness in money. Twenty-somethings and early thirty-somethings spend like there is no tomorrow. When I left India, it was still a conservative economy, with savings being the mantra. Now the mantra is "Have money, will buy".

How else can I explain that dinnerware from Corelle selling for 7K?

Then there is the non-IT crowd. The whatever-collared jobs in other industries. They haven't seen anything close to the IT explosion consequently leaving them in the same "Saving is the mantra" mentality. And I am not even talking about my maid or my friend's driver. That divide is way wider anyway. And it was traditional in India, came down from the past untouched.

What happens to people in other professions I wonder. Since everyone seeks to attract the IT crowd, the prices and the offerings also cater to this crowd. Everywhere I go, people only sell fringe goods, highly expensive, very luxurious, and extremely far away from being "necessary". That is where the money is. People are willing to spend for luxury and that is what sells. But what about people who don't need luxury and just want to buy something they can afford. All around me things are getting expensive and every day I read something or the other about inflation.

So we had this already wide gap only being made wider by explosive and concentrated growths in cities.

I wonder and I feel sorry for it. I wonder some more and I feel guilty about it. I wonder a little further and I feel outright sad about it. Till when I see that "Standard Sale" shop on Airport road which sells Cotton shirts starting at Rs 29. And stands right next to that swanky Woodlands outlet (and some other myriad host of outlets). And yet has more people thronging it than any hep store can boast about. And then I stare in wonder. Every day and every minute this country amazes me. People just go about their business no matter what. Everyday the Indian microcosm carries on with this delicate balance extremely deftly. The guy selling plastic toys on a wheel cart survives just the same as the guy sitting in an air-conditioned office. The guy selling plastic toys eats Idlis at the thatched hut and the guy in the air-conditioned office eats off Leela Palace's buffet (Ok, not everyone can eat off Leela Palace's buffet I agree, but that is just a depiction of the other extreme end;) . Both survive. In their own bands. Both get on with their life. In their own brackets. Both socialize. In their own circles. Both are happy. One for his extremely good sale, one for his extremely fat bonus packet. Both are sad. One for his neediness. One for his boredom and stress. I find it mind-blowing how every strata in our society finds its own nice slot. And lives on.

Of course, there are people who die because they are poor and can't afford a proper medical treatment. Of course there are people begging on the streets. And of course, this is disturbing. I know something needs to be done about it. But every time I see someone trying to make a living in the hot sun, it first makes me very sad, then makes me wonder just how, how do they manage? It inspires me to see a survival story in them. And all that I feel is amazement at the end of it.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

New Reader item

I subscribed to the BigB's blog today. I wanted to check it out ever since I saw it in the news but I finally found the time (and remembered) today. He seems to have been regular with it. I am fascinated by the BigB's family now (I was never interested in it before) because its interesting to see the dynamics in a family of four equally celebrated and illustrious people. I know not that many people like Ash but I have always been a great fan, ok, of just the looks. How do four celebrities get along with life under one roof. They all come forth on the media as equally strong personalities at least from what I have seen so far. Abhishek is probably the weakest link there, but I like him too, there is a sort of earnestness in his manner. I get the impression that he is a hard-worker and that any day is likeability.

Some of BigB's reactions are interesting. Some are enlightening. All in all I think it will be good to follow his blog. After all he is the most illustrious man our country has known ;) So far he doesn't seem to have succumbed to "blogstipation". I see regular and good-sized posts. It looks like he writes from anywhere he is, on shooting, while flying, at home, abroad, just about anywhere. I wish he would write more about Jaya though, that is one person I want to know more about. How a celebrity wife keeps her sanity and keeps a celebrity household in check:) I'll enjoy this ride I think.

Today is another day

So my previous post sent worry signals everywhere. Especially my Mom (yeah, she is into advanced technology and Web2.0 and all that, she used to work on a PC (Cobol I think) when I was barely in Primary school thanks to being in an MNC). I had to assure my Dad and Mom that all was well.

All is well. When people don't have real issues to worry about (like food, shelter, clothes etc) they take things to the next level things and start to worry about frills. Its just human nature. How else will the world have a balance. Once all real issues are done with if everyone is happy 24X7, this would be Utopia ;)

So anyway, I am doing pretty well now. It was no "real" issue. And real issue in my estimation is
1) Where you have a life-affecting problem - food, clothing, shelter falling in that category
2) When you have hurt/injured someone beyond what you can correct
3) When relationships go bad due to 2 above
4) Loss of life (I don't like the "D" word)
5) Anyone in my family falling sick
6) Sourness in the first circle limited to parents and siblings.

I think thats it pretty much. Thats my small list of issues that I categorize as "serious" or "real". And yesterday's mess wasn't even close to 1/100th in magnitude to any of these. In fact towards the evening I was feeling much better having consoled myself that none of the 6 things above happened so its not that much to fret about. That is how I operate ;)

I wanted to share another incident that happened on the bus yesterday, which was a little do I put it... mildly entertaining and majorly surprising.

I got into the bus as usual and I took a seat beside this girl. Although I didn't look in her direction I didn't miss noticing that her head was following my hand pointedly. Just to test I moved my hand the other way and she looked in exactly that direction. Then she started looking at her own fingers for at least a couple to three seconds.

I am not sure why I mentioned it here or why I even remember it till now. But it was a little amusing. To have someone pointedly stare and that too not even at my face ;)

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Ohh, the regrets!

Prelogue: If you can't make much of the following post, its probably not your fault. If you can, then you are probably like me!

Ever been in a situation where you are carrying multiple layers of regret all at the same time till you are in a state where you cannot distinguish which one you feel more regret for, the root cause or is after effects or its cascades?

One such day today. I am a total mess mentally and feel completely burdened under my own mis-doings. And adding to that, I feel that I totally deserved this torture.

I have been in this situation before.

Something that I totally regret is done. Whether or not its my own fault. Or that of the situation that I was in. Or that of people around me. Whether or not I actually did it. This regrettable thing which is especially prickly is done. While I am still trying to recover from that regret, I go and do something that achieves the nett effect of taking this regrettable thing and putting it into a 1000W speaker, so that now the regret is magnified and pricks a 1000 times more. Sometimes this process repeats a couple or three times.

Then I have this tendency where if someone I highly respect and seek to be always respected by will say something to the effect of "Ohh, you shouldn't have done that". Nicely. Regrettably. Not so nicely. Sometimes not in as many words, sometimes in more words than that. But how its said doesn't even matter. Now lets get on. How many DBs do we have. Heck, I can't even count this in any measurable units. So lets call it the big bang. 2-3 times 1000W speaker effect plus another big-bang type effect. Almost always, the big bang is the worst part (obviously!)

Thats it.

Now I am regretting the regrettable thing. Plus I am regretting the 1000W speaker effect that I created myself. (Remember, sometimes its 2-3 speakers in serial iterations). Plus I am constantly hearing the big bang.

Which in turn affects everything I do. I try to keep my work immune from it. But sometimes it has everything to do with work, something regrettable has happened at work itself :( Whether or not I did it.

Usually I get over it in a couple of days. But that is the problem. I never seem to learn the lesson. Which in turn keeps me going through these phases ever so often, damn! To make a mistake is forgivable, to repeat the same mistake is not.

Maybe after I post this, in a couple of days, I will regret posting a blog about my mental state and that will re-kindle this effect. But then maybe it will be a reminding lesson and I will be the better off for it.

Maybe. Just maybe.

Sunday, May 04, 2008


One of my colleagues asked me how my move was working out. In a nutshell. And this is what I told him:

India, needless to say, has developed a lot. I see a lot more US factor (like US brands and shops and restaurants) here than I would like to, but that is OK. Things move much faster now. We had a smooth ride setting up our house, it wasn't as much pain as it would have been probably 8 years ago. You get a lot of household help and outside help (like someone washes/cleans our car everyday, you can get a chauffeur etc) so as long as you are above a certain income level, you can live a lot more comfortably than if you were making a quarter million bucks back there.

Which is my opinion. In a nutshell. We went to a store called "Hometown" which is like a home improvement/development store. And the sort of stuff you get there and the kind of things you see there are mindblowing. I haven't seen a variety like that even in IKEA/Home Depot. Modular kitchens, designer bedrooms and what not. Urban India has developed. Beyond imagination. You couldn't have imagined this even 5 years ago. Sometimes when I see the cities, I wish I had never left. I almost feel sad that I have missed witnessing all this explosion. But better late than later.

I also look at today's kids and exclaim in awe. They grow up with things that I never saw till I was well into my twenties. Whether its appliances or cell phones or XBOX consoles or whatever it is, they are well into technology I never knew about till I was a decade past my teens ;) But then I think it was probably the same thing with our parents and us. They would have been surprised as much as we are I suppose.

And life goes on..

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Random scribbles

This is one post that will stand true to my blog's name ;)

Week went quite routinely. Some customer escalation at work and it always spices things up, whether or not you have anything to do with it, you get burnt proper ;)

Been getting used to having a maid. I started giving her goodies this week. Some sweets, some biscuits etc. Also a plus of having them is that the trash is cleaned out everyday! For some reason I never realized I loathed piling trash so much till I am having it cleaned everyday :))

We finally got our TV. Subhash's parents shipped it out from Hyd. We got it home today. Yet to get cable etc. But at least the box is there. Its a huge downgrade for me (From 61" to 29" ;) ) but its OK. So long as I don't have to spend any money on it now I am fine. When I can get a 61" in India without having to loot a bank/murder for it, I will change this. Man, TVs are expensive here. Way way way more expensive than in the US. But couldn't really get the TV from there what with the whole NTSC/PAL disaster. Anyway enough about TVs.

We also had our first meal out per se today. I wanted to go out to eat. Except for really routine cafeteria food, I hadn't really gone out to eat (except for my birthday dinner in Hyd I think) with Subhash. But we went at 4 and all the restaurants and I should quote *all* the restaurants in Indira Nagar were closed:(( We settled for a Pizza Hut. I was only too happy because I haven't eaten a Desi Pizza in ages! Loved every bit of it. It was Spicy like it said. Subhash's IIM pal Y joined us for a chat. We hadn't met him since we came back. It was good catching up. The last time we met was when he came to San Jose and we took him to Napa. I think the highlight of our Pizza Hut meal was the Masala Lemonade. Yumm!! Just like on the streets!!

Subhash's parents are coming tomorrow. My mom was here briefly this week. She came for her friend's son's wedding. She couldn't spend that much time with us, but we are hoping my parents will be able to make it here soon as well :) I love how easy it is to go and meet family when you are here. Plus there is a constant stream of people you are interacting with at any time of the day. Good. So far, so good.

Enough scribbling. I was on call till midnight today, but it was a fun call so no complaints. I got to zzzzzzzzzzzz now because tomorrow is really filled with things to do, one of which is to apply for my PAN card. To pay income taxes of course, there is nothing to be happy about in that. But at least I pay back to my own country this time and not to Mr. Bush (which I totally loathed in the last 7 years, to think, *ALL* the time it was just Bush, damn!). I finally feel a sense of being a responsible citizen, a tax-paying individual and all that good stuff;)