Sunday, October 28, 2007

Me & the Petronas

I had forgotten about many of my old photographs after yahoo photos had closed some time ago. Only recently most of them got moved to Flickr and there I found this one taken in 2003 during my 2-day stop-over in KL on my way back from San Francisco. I headed to Petronas soon after checking in at the hotel.

After clicking many pictures of Petronas I thought of getting one of mine taken with the towers too. I saw a European-looking friendly couple and approached the guy for clicking my snap. To my surprise, he dropped to the ground and lied flat on his back with my camera. Once he had the towers covered, he asked me to step in the frame. When I previewed the picture, I really liked the angle. After thanking him, I asked what he did for living. He casually told me that he was a photographer for Discovery Channel.

I just got lucky, eh? :)

Bottoms of my Trousers Rolled

I grow old … I grow old …
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.

Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?
I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.

I do not think that they will sing to me.

I have seen them riding seaward on the waves
Combing the white hair of the waves blown back
When the wind blows the water white and black.

We have lingered in the chambers of the sea
By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown

Till human voices wake us, and we drown

Last few lines of The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock by T. S. Eliot written in 1919

Door with no key

There was a Door to which I found no Key
There was a Veil past which I could not see
Some little Talk awhile of me and thee
There seemed - and then no more of thee and me
From Rubaiyat by Omar Khayyam (written around 11th century in Persian)

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

A Child's Perspective

I happened to meet two very active and talented kids last weekend. I had last seen them when they were very young (one an infant & the other two years old). So meeting them after 6-7 years was like starting afresh. Both of them had a penchant for drawing and for all the 4-5 hours that we were together, I had to give them a topic to draw and both of them were competing with each other to do it better and get brownie points from me :). After having run out of all the drawing ideas, I finally asked them to draw my face to keep them busy for longer time. And I was surprised to see what came out of the 6-yr old girl's pencil:

I quite liked my portrait .. for many reasons. She did bring out my curly hair, large mouth, snub-nose, eyelashes and of course the double-chin ;) quite well. The earrings are also exactly like the ones I wore that day! The only thing that doesn't have much similarity is my eyes (I am not cross-eyed yet ;) ) and she got teased no end by her older brother about this. I liked this portrait so much that I got it signed by her and brought back with me.

Aah, you can absolutely trust a child to show you the true mirror ;)

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Girls' evening out

We'd been planning this get-together for months - a girls' evening out - sans the husbands, boyfriends or kids. We finally managed to make it tonight. All four of us - Nisha, Preethi, Suman & I met for dinner after a loooong time. We've been friends for around 7.5 years now - almost since the day we joined Infy together. Lot of things have happened since then in our lives .. some of us have gotten married, have had kids, been in and out of relationships, changed workplaces, grown professionally & personally.

But when we met today .. couple of drinks (ok, ok .. Nisha & Preethi only had mocktails) and we were back to our same old bubbly & chirpy selves .. laughing uncontrollably over silly things, recollecting about all our crushes, checking out men around us. It seemed that those years never passed. And we all promised to do this girls-only get-togethers more often. I am not sure how often we are really going to meet, but I guess it doesn't matter, because whenever we meet it would still seem that we never really were apart .. and that's what good friendship is all about ...

Of Festivities, Flowers and Banana Trees..

It's Dussehra today and I happened to go from one part of Bangalore to the other to attend a lunch get-together. And what a delight it was! Dussehra (or rather Durga Pooja as it is called in Bengal & Bihar) was always a time for great festivities back home but has been quite a low-key affair for me ever since I moved to Bangalore. But today was different - thanks to my 25/30 km auto-ride through the city. Since Navmi coincides with Ayudha Pooja (in which you worship the machinery of all sorts) in Karnataka, most of the vehicles were decorated with garlands, chandan and above all large banana trees. I also passed by a temple in front of which the pujaris were solemnly performing poojas to numerous vehicles and I wondered if something went wrong with the vehicle at some point in time, what would help it more - the pooja that was done or the maintenance/upkeep activities?

Then there were ladies and kids dressed in their festival fineries (it's hard to tell about men when they are dressed up ) - especially women & girls with flowers in their hair. I absolutely love the sight of women with flowers in hair - probably because I have never managed to do it myself (owing to short length of my hair :) ). And all this truly made my day seem quite festive even though I didn't do anything more than calling/sending messages to some people wishing for the poojas.


Friday, October 12, 2007

Wife-beating okay??

An article in today's TOI cover page instantly caught my eye - 54% women say wife-beating okay. And these statistics are only for India. I really want to meet such women who think it's ok for a husband to beat his wife!!! Also, 51% of men think the same. This means there is 50-50 chance that the person I marry would be a wife-beater (assuming that a person who thinks wife-beating is ok is very likely to beat his own wife). Only 2% of these abused women have ever sought police help - this is not surprising keeping in mind our centuries-old mentality of keeping ghar ki izzat within four walls of the house even though the battered woman may have to resort to extreme measures of killing herself (or in rare cases killing the husband) as a result of continued violence meted out to her.

Another startling fact mentioned in the survey was Buddhist women have the highest level of violence .. so much for assuming Buddhism was all about non-violence!! But then which religion teaches us to be violent?
I personally feel that condoning an act of crime is as bad as committing it. To a great extent we women are ourselves responsible for the kind of situation we are in today ....

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Family, Movies, Books etc..

I was feeling quite low due to my sickness that has forced me to stay home for the past two days. So thought of writing something that has a high feel-good factor to cheer me up. Could not think of anything better than memories from my growing up years to make me feel better. I can think of at least three things that definitely run in our family (for three generations, if not more) - 1. we all love films 2. we all (with minor exceptions) love reading and 3. we all (and no exceptions this time) are people of strong likes and dislikes.

My grandfather used to take my Dad and my Uncle (when they were kids) to watch every movie first day, first show. If they missed to make it to the first show due to some unavoidable reason, it was more or less like a mourning in the household. When we were kids, it was our fortnightly routine to cram into our poor old ambassador (2 adults + 5 kids + 2 or more cousins, oh my God!!) and go for a movie on Sundays. I don't think we would have missed watching any movie that was released from late 70s to mid 80s. It was only during late 80s when VCRs became more popular and movie theatres were considered a place where shareef log don't go that this routine came to an end. Thank God things have now changed. So even now, no family gatherings are considered to be complete without watching at least 2 movies in as many weeks :)

The habit of reading also comes from my grandfather. He was not just an avid reader but also a regular contributor in a magazine called Dharmyug. Long after his death, during one of my summer vacations (I think I was in 8th/9th std), I chanced upon some of his books - complete collections of Oscar Wilde, William Wordsworth, Maithilisharan Gupt & Dinkar. What a treasure it was!! My Dad's reading mostly included classics and management books. I remember having read books like 'Born to Win' and 'Don't say yes when you want to say no' when I was in my early teens :). My Mom mostly reads Grihshobha/Manorama and lately some religious books. When we were kids, our parents used to give each of us short-story collections of Premchand as birthday gifts .. until they exhausted all of them that were published! In our generation, I can read just about anything if I have started it (that has its own disadvantages, trust me), my younger sister is more into romantic novels, my elder sisters are currently reading only children's books (thanks to their kids) and my brother reads nothing but comics & an occasional Car & Auto or Computer Today kind of magazines. And we all (parents included) are die-hard fans of comics. We still drool over Phantom, Mandrake, Flash Gordon, Garth, Lt Carry Grant and the best of all - Amar Chitra Katha!

Regarding us all being people of strong likes and dislikes .. I would rather not go into details for my own good. I don't know which of my family members might be reading this :)

(Phantom photo:

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Love in the time of Cholera

Finished reading 'Love in the time of Cholera' by Gabriel Garcia Marquez couple of days ago. I don't think anything I write about it would do justice to the book. All I can say is the book makes you feel like falling in love .. all over again.

The language is quite old-fashioned and I even had to look up some of the words to get their meaning right :) and some pages even made me lose interest for a little while. But overall a masterpiece .. a must read. Someone recommended 'One hundred years of Solitude' by Garcia Marquez, so that's definitely on my list now.


Monday, October 8, 2007

My Past Life

Found a link to this website through a post on Amit Varma's blog. According to the website, I was a female farmer/weaver/tailor in north eastern USA around 1425.

Wonder what happened to me during the 450 years after I died last (assuming I lived to be a 100 years old :) ) and was reborn again as a female but in a less enterprising profession. And oh, I forgot to mention - in my past life I was also a seeker of truth and wisdom and could see my own future life!! And yet I decided to be born this way?? Beats me :(

Sunday, October 7, 2007

The Intelligent Google

I really like how innovative most of Google products are and some of them have been a constant source of amusement for me. Like in Gmail, its ability to scan the text of the email/chat and provide relevant links (at least from whatever sense it could make of the text) as per the context. Today I had a mail of mine opened in which I had written to a friend that I am bored. And Google (such a nice & thoughtful tool that it is ;) ) promptly displayed me links to sites like boredom busters or I am bored.

Then when I discuss about putting on weight, I get links like A secret to lose my belly. But the best one was when I was discussing about relationships/marriage etc with a friend and pat got links to sites titled 'why men lie', 'understanding men', 'how to become irresistible to men' , 'love relationship & romance' .. the list goes on an on. But I am yet to understand how it firgured out that I'm a woman .. quite intelligent :).

Although I haven't used any of these helpful links so far, but it sure feels reassuring to know that there's Google always caring for your needs and providing insightful help whenever you need (or even if you don't need). A true friend indeed :)

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Today's quote

Found this interesting quote when I logged in to my gmail inbox:

"When in doubt, mumble; when in trouble, delegate; when in charge, ponder." - James H. Boren

:) :)

I Love Saturdays

I love Saturdays as much as my favorite comic character Calvin does. Not for the same reasons as him though (can't think of waking up at six on a Saturday!!). But because you know you have the whole day to yourself for doing all the exciting/tiring stuff you want to do and you still have the Sunday left to catch up on your sleep or just laze around so that you are all refreshed for the whole week's grind on Monday.

Not that all my Saturdays are like that every time. In truth, my Saturdays are lazy ones and Sunday evening is when most of the activity begins. Like this week I am going to catch 'Johnny Gaddar' on Sunday night show as the movie was not showing at any other time. After my parents went back home and Vandu had to leave on an impromptu official trip on Wednesday evening (it was too much of a coincidence for me to handle!) I was dismayed at the idea of spending the next five days all by myself. Although I have lived alone for quite a while in the past (and have enjoyed it too), but having so many people at home for so long and then suddenly having the whole house to yourself is a little discomforting.

Apparently, I made quite a bit of noise about being alone for these many days to my friends Nisha & Preethi (I am never subtle about such things, or like Vandu says - about anything for that matter ;) ) because next day Nisha brought me a bunch of DVDs to watch during the weekend (as she was going to be away to Kerala) and Preethi offered to take me shopping. And now that my Saturday is almost halfway through, I realize I haven't started watching any of the movies yet (or haven't even switched on the TV for the past 3 days!) and have spoken to Preethi & canceled shopping plans already.

The idea of a lazy Saturday looks too delicious to miss out on - waking up late, reading a book while still in the bed, having breakfast at noon, listening to your favorite music all through the day, catching up with friends via email/orkut scraps, having lunch in the evening and in between finding time to write a meaningless post for the blog too .. ummmm I'm not complaining yet :)