Wednesday, December 19, 2007

auf weidersehen 2007

Xmas is round the corner and this is the only second time in my life I ll be spending time away from home on a Christmas Eve…Nevertheless it is a time which brings lot of pleasant memories…

The best part I loved about Christmas is making the crib which we would industriously do and present em to folks at home gallant about the engineering marvel made of sticks, twigs and hay…Every year we would take Jesus, Joseph and Mary from the cupboard and give a nice polish before we start it all…Sometimes we change Joseph with the latest Joseph available in ‘Chinnu stores’ because he looked less glamorous than last time…Mary is given a fresh coat of paint and Jesus is given decent makeup…I cant really think of something else as satisfying as making a good looking crib...Christmas as a kid fully revolved around the crib. Those days reminds me of cribs we used to make with playing cards and replacing the shepherds with hulk Hogan and undertaker because we thought they were more cool...I often wonder if the lord was born in a 3 BHK house it would have been such a pain to make the crib...Unfortunately now it revolves around Christmas sales and Gluhwein…

The festive time was nice for it promoted a heightened state of ‘spirituality’ among all the uncles and there were plenty of good X’mas special delicacies for us…Most of the time the Christmas eve would be at our native in changancherry where the entire family goes enmass to the nearby church...On the way back my elder cousins would buy us kattan kaapi to beat the night chill…The church program is elaborate on xmas eve as you know. But I usually miss out a good deal due until they burst the crackers at midnight…I remember one particular xmas which turned sour when we four cousins skipped the church prayers and went back to the cars to catch a few winks. We had planned to get back inside the church when the prayers were almost over…Unfortunately that day we just forgot to wake up on time and the solemnity of the day saved our ass.

The festive time also means as escape from the school routine and the all awaited trip to naadu…The anticipation of the trip several days before the actual trip when we boarded the vanchinad express are cherished memories...It would be the time when Ammachi would ensure that we did kumbasaram(confession) before the Christmas eve ..I still remember confessing to one particular priest...”njan ammayude bagil ninnu mottayi kattu eduthu”(I stole a candy from Mom’s bag)..And the priest misunderstood it for egg...and he advised in typical priest like demeanor...”motta ellavarkkum vendi ollathu alle”…maybe the innocence of being a kid didn’t make me ROTFL in the confession box…Not as bad as these days when the confessions I make can cause the priest to abandon clergy out of sheer desperation...

It was also interesting that when uncles used to get together for the Christmas special military rum…and when we kids used to lurk around the corner to relish the beef fry ‘touchings’ there would be someone who anticipated the hidden intentions and give us a teaspoon of rum…There would be someone who might be celebrating the breaking of noyambu (lent) on that day with a mid night peg...Little pleasures and little satisfactions were all that mattered those times..

I can’t stop wondering how things have changed now…I can’t anticipate the gifts anymore…I have unfortunately become the gifter…I can’t anticipate the Christmas cards from abroad and save those stamps…

Christmas for me is all about sharing joys and meeting up…Almost all Christmas we end up talking about the last Christmas before...Amma would say the Appam came of better than last time...There is a feeling of time passing by which sort of hit you as the new year is round the corner as well…I love the last 5 days of the year…though they say resolutions can be made any day, I feel there is still much more motivation to make one on a new year eve than any other day…This time I would love to get my parents in here for the summer...In this race I find it difficult to choose the resolution than actually doing it…Probably I should stick to easier ones like “I ll shave at least twice a week” or like ‘learn Deutsch”..


Since I would be on holiday from next week this might be the last post of the year…Till then AstaLaVista amigos...
Christmas greetings to all and have a great year ahead!!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

time machine

Blog rating: -16(suitable only for kids under 16)

This post is not for you...it is for the next generation kids…

Some decades from now a grumpy old Mathew would be sitting near a riverside and a bunch of kids would come and talk to him…The kids having finished playing the last of the play stations because Sony would have ran out of ideas by then. They ask the senile man to tell stories of the past coz they had nothing else to do…

But the old man knew no stories and thought of teaching them things they never knew or heard of …So they all went to his house and squatted on the couch…That’s when he asked the youngest kid to go and get the Bible from the shelf…Little Bill gets that heavy book and is happy that the old man would actually read stories from his favourite book..

‘Son…why did you bring the Harry Potter…I asked you to get the Bible’
Glumly Bill asks him ‘Isn’t that the Bible. I thought that it was the one…I have been reading this ever since I remember’

‘So that’s the first thing I would like to tell you…The Bible came much before Harry Potter…I used to think Tintin was the Bible when I was a kid…you know..’

‘Children... probably you need to learn the basics first…tell me who is God’

There were eager faces ready to give answers…

‘Sachin??’

Uh...

‘Michael Jackson??’

‘Barbie’

‘Hohohohoh…children I think you are too young to learn all these…I think we have to leave this for another day…I tell you something else’

Many many years ago we used to have Postman…Do you know what a postman means…??

There are confused faces all around…

‘Okay…A postman was a person who used to send letters…He comes in a bicycle and puts the letter in your letter box…If say I wanted to send a letter from Delhi to Bangalore, I would first put the letter in a box in Delhi…and the postman would take the letter and give it another postman…and then finally the last postman would put it in the letter box in Bangalore…’
Amidst yawns one of them interrupts…

‘Apoopa…Do you mean...its something like e-mail...we just download it from our mailbox.’


‘Download..?? I thought we do that in the toilet…haven’t you got a better word for that.’

That’s when one of the older boys came to pick up his bro…He looked all angry and was seemingly furious…

‘What’s the matter son?’
‘Dint you know that...they are taking back our jobs…’
‘Whose jobs...do you mean that the one about closing down call centers of BPO companies’
‘Yeah...the Americans are taking it from us…they say its their right to handle the phone bills…electricity bills…of the people in United states...how audacious …’
‘But son...it was their job before we took it from em’
‘Old man...you don’t understand the times don’t you….uff…’


Now most of the kids had gone back home…Only Isabella was staying back and she walks with him to the church…

The old man meet a few priests and talked to the nun’s who were going for prayers…And after sometime when he looked at Isa, she was all sullen faced…

‘Why do you look sad mole?’

‘Am cross with you…Why dint you tell me it was Halloween today...we are the only people here without a costume…I want one of those white robes which all are wearing …please Apoopa’

It took lot of time to convince her the priests were not indeed the people who are in Halloween costumes…After sometime the old man walks back home contemplating the years bygone...On the way he met another bunch of older noisy kids who were like showing the middle finger at each other..

Children...what is that you young fellas are doin here...’

‘Hey...that’s how we say hello to each other…quite customary oldie’

‘Really??.…think am really out of touch with the times…we used to do it with folded hands and say namaste…the new style looks a bit weird though…’

‘Never mind ...my hello to you fellas….’

No points for guessing how the old man said hello…

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Being un-eeek...

Just when I was hopelessly running out of ideas to blog I got tagged after a really long time by a blogger who can write blogs out of thin air…Abracadabra …just like that!!

The tag sounds simple and should have been a cakewalk for rocket science experts like me. But the ‘unique’ clause in the tag made me ponder a bit… Neways here goes the tag.

5 Unique Things Found in My Room


Since I have changed house thrice over the past one year, I don’t really have a room which is close to my idea of a room…Nevertheless I guess like all single guys who are lazy enough to polish their shoes by nonchalantly brushing on those bristles on the elevators, there is always something special in our rooms…
  • F.C St Pauli scarf...Not a football buff but love the ideas what the club stands for.
  • A Mozart memorabilia miniature violin which I bought during the recent trip to Austria...Got to parcel all the stuff gathered over the last few months else I ll have to check-in at the airport carrying a 60 kg baggage and pretend I never knew that they allowed just 30 after all..
  • Highly confidential documents printed from the office printer about places to visit during Christmas…
  • A trainer cycle which is a unique decorative item in the room. There is always a next day for starting the exercise...right?? ;-P
  • A bottle of ice-tea which is such a good drink when you are watching television.

5 Unique Things Found in My Bag
  • A ‘Saint Nikolas’ chocolate gifted by a colleague in office. It looks so good that I am having trouble to eat it.
  • It sounds so girly, but I carry a Vaseline lip balm because it gets so cold out here. ;-P
  • Any novel which I always carry in case I get bored. right now its “My name is Red by Orhan Pamuk”
  • A small pic of Mother Theresa
  • An airplane model which I got to gift to a family here…

5 Unique Things Found in My Wallet
  • Visiting cards of travel agents who can give me tickets for 0 Euro but with taxes and surcharges of 100 euros…clever eh..
  • A washing machine coin which I need for washing clothes here.
  • It is silly…a bit of paper with bank account numbers...I have never managed to remember all those numbers even till now.
  • Old Indian sim card ...I was supposed to be abroad for three months and I assumed to use the old number once I got back...But it has been a long 16 months and I still don’t feel like throwing it away.
  • A million Euro...am one of those rich dudes kind…driving Porsche’s…dining at the Ritz…flying private jets…yeah all these after I cash that piece of paper (they have written on the lottery, the first prize is a million Euro)...I was joking...hahaha...I don’t need that money!!...No..No..On second thoughts, I don’t mind… ;-P

I will pass on the tag to new friends in here… abhi..Ann..Regil..Elijo and Zee.. I am sure i can carry on this espionage and submit the reports to Agent Silverine who is doing a psycho-analysis report on bloggers..

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Edelweiss and Apfelstrudels!



Edelweiss, Edelweiss
Every morning you
greet me
Small and white,
Clean and bright,
You look happy to meet
me.

Blossom of snow
May you bloom and grow,
Bloom and grow
forever,
Edelweiss, Edelweiss,
Bless my homeland forever

Nice poem isn’t it…When I was a kid I used to sing this and enthrall my folks during weekend get-togethers(just kiddin..due to scientific reasons if I ever sang it might cause the dead to come out of the coffins)…But unfortunately most of you know that this is indeed a song from “The Sound of Music” and probably the sweetest song of all times.. ;-P



As I had mentioned in a blog before I was away on vacation to the place where Julia Andrews pranced in the Alps with a bunch of kids in wartime Austria…The flight to Vienna was pleasant thanks to Lufthansa airhostesses who makes you feel that you’re a judge in a Milan fashion show while they are walking down the aisle as if in a ramp show…and who said flying isn’t fun anymore...and when that 6 foot Claudia Schiffer look-alike said “auf weidersehen” while getting out of the aircraft I was heartbroken..;-(

Neways a old friend of mine was joining the trip from UK and I had a plenty of time waiting for him to arrive…This guy who has been staying in England for sometime isn’t really well versed in German…When we met at the hotel he looked crestfallen and told me that the people in Austria seems to be very racist .While coming to the hotel he kept asking local passerby’s for directions and he said he was showered with expletives straight on the face all the way…Now it didn’t take much long to figure out coz I had faced the same trouble during the first few days in Germany...For the uninformed the Germany word for “Okay” is “aahsoo”..As you see this word when pronounced in a particular slang can be interpreted as a widely popular expletive. I had to do a bit of convincing there that Austrians are actually very nice people…



Talking of Vienna I must say I absolutely loved the city...Smaller compared to other European capitals like Paris…Berlin…or Rome...This city is bathed in typical European charm...Gothic style churches...Wagner architecture...and trendy shops too.

The next day took a train to Salzburg…the same train in which Shahrukh goes Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenga in every film…Checked in at the hostel and set out for a tour of the town...We did a packaged tour of Bavarian Alps and the salt mines where we were shown the Eagles nest...Hitler’s guesthouse which was completed bombed after the war...It was so ironic that such a evil man was born in one of the most beautiful places of the world...I couldn’t stop wondering at the anti-climax of it...

The tour guide was a funny chap whose interesting quotes kept the tour in good vibes...Like on of the announcements…

You can leave your luggage when u get out of the bus...our driver is a thorough professional”
After a short pause he says...”Robert will make sure that you won’t even notice it”

That evening was spending roaming the narrow alleys of the town where Mozart was born...and ofcoz had lot of Gluhwein, Apfelpunsch and Orangepunsch to keep our spirits high!!

The tour we took on the second day must definitely be called the highlight of the whole trip…Called the ‘Sound of music tour’ which takes you to all the main locations where the movie was shot..





Now here we had a Brit woman as the guide and she was at her humorous best...And ofcoz to our embarrassment she cajoled all of us to sing ‘Do-Re-Mi’ during the bus ride…Considering the ‘Sinatra like’ voice I have it was such a pleasure…all I could do was a 'LaLaLaLa' in between laced with 'HoiHoi..HoiHoi' which was hopelessly out of rhythm inside the bus…The stares just reminded me how a powerful German punch on my Indian face could crush my jaws…

The places we were taken to was simply stunning and I was transported in time to the settings of Sound of Music...The best part was in the end we had to fill a feedback form where one of the questions was the number of times we had watched the movie...that’s when my travel mate confessed that he hadn’t ever heard of the movie...forget having seen it..!!

During the ride the guide was pointing out one of the beautiful villas on the way and mentioned for the info of the ladies in the bus that it was owned by the most eligible bachelor in Austria...And of coz after a short pause and by the time all the guys in the bus were sulking at being brushed aside she revealed that the owner was apparently a 90 year old eligible young guy..



Back in Austria we visited all the well known palaces, museums and touristy areas…and not so touristy areas like the Mozart toilet which is one of a kind in the world where you can relieve yourself to Mozart’s symphonies…Nice marketing there..;-P

The trip was memorable having been able to meet a old friend after a long time and seeing a place which is almost picture postcard like…I must say the country beat my expectation and infact Switzerland you would have been nowhere but for your banks and marketing!!..

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Jab we Met

You are surrounded Mathew... surrender…I repeat surrender!!”

Flashing sirens…SWAT team armed with laser guns arrive at the scene in BMW six series cars. Helicopters hover over the Hamburg cityscape and warnings are issued in television advising people to stay indoors…

The microphone crackles again…

“Put your arms on your tummy and lie down flat on your head...ayyo…I mean put your arm on your head and lie down flat on the ground.”

The media has gathered in full throttle.flash lights..breaking news..every damn thing.

This is Schmidt from CNN reporting live from Hamburg. In an unprecedented incident an unidentified malayalee is keeping hostage 34 people at the Altona fish market. The assailant is reported to be dangerously unarmed.

“Mister Mathew we understand your demands. Your manager has agreed to your demands…Please release the hostages…I repeat please release the hostages.”

The most wanted criminal is somewhat convinced…

“Okay...Okay…On one condition …I don’t want the same manager to do my appraisal next time too.”

Affirmative…Your manager has also agreed to give a 30% hike in salary as well.”

Few minutes later all the hostages release the captor after he was severely manhandled coz the Chinese toy gun started playing a Christmas carol accidentally on trigger.

*Flashback over…*

Most people assume software engineers to be boring uncreative geeks who don’t have anything remotely entertaining to do in office…But then they probably don’t know anything about the annual ritual called appraisals when these geeks turn into psychics like you saw above…Typically occurring in November it’s a time when employees sit with their bosses in discussion rooms and start bragging about themselves trying to prove why he is the best possible ‘resource’ who walked on earth..

Nowadays I find this ritual as an opportunity to make up the most creative lie ever said…

Manager’s typical appraisal cross-question

“What value addition have you done in the project for the current cycle?”

“I have been the critical resource who saved the project in crunch situations meeting deadlines and providing deliverables to the best of customer satisfaction and delight.”

Manager notes it down in his lappie…”wow...nice one...I think I ll say the same for my appraisal

“Okay….so where do you see yourself 5 years from now...”

“dumbo...what does he think. I ll say Canary Islands...eh”

“I expect myself to grow with the company and reach a position in sync with my profile, add value to the company’s vision and uphold the mission statements to the best of my abilities”

“Mind boggling …What doest that mean”

“It means that coffee is getting cold…Cant you see how hard it was to make up that”

“Okay…what role change do you expect in the current cycle?”

“Personally based on my stupefying skills and path breaking profile. I would see myself to be appointed as the CEO of the company...but I can settle for less just for the time being…I ll go with the post of Senior delivery manager’

“Are you asking that you be made the boss of my boss’s boss!! ..”


“Not a penny less”

By this time the manager is making mental notes about the person sitting across, who is as well making notes of how far he can stretch his boss. As in any boss-employee relation the external adoration is inversely proportional to internal hatred.

Well let’s talk about client satisfaction. How do you rate yourself?”

“See boss…last week I made nice egg pakodas and served em for the clients out there...My client manager was admitted to the intensive care unit and is now in life support systems…But on a positive side it is in line with out company motto ...Living on the edge

Few minutes later I was escorted out of the room…The manager shook my hands and gave me the visiting cards of the best mental care institutes in the country…But it was too late and the inevitable happened as explained in the beginning..


So the next time I am having a appraisal I go with a nicely packed box of apples in one hand and a gun in the other...I ll choose what to give when I come out…I swear!!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Bonjour Madame!


Years ago when I was a kid my world went as far as I could bike without tiring out...and when I finally was panting of exhaustion I ll look at the horizon and think about going a mile further ahead the next day…But my childhood travel exploits never went far enough…Places like London, Paris, America sounded as good as say moon for Neil Armstrong when he was a kid…But over the last year I felt like him after seeing places which I wouldn’t dare imagine a decade back..Last week I got the chance to see the city of love… Paris.

As for any average person the name evokes of Eiffel tower the chef-d'oeuvre which was almost torn down coz Parisians of yesteryears thought it was an ugly junk of steel blemishing the Paris skyline. But I thought I ll wait till night to see it in full glory and hitched for the Louvre.



After a visit to Louvre and Vatican museum you can very well assure yourself of having seen the crème of all the master artpieces in the world. The museum is so huge and exhaustive that you would just give a passé over a Rembrandt coz another Da Vinci piece is just around the corner. As expected the biggest crowd was near the Mona Lisa who seemed to smile-and-not-yet-smile at the crowd of wannabe photographers trying to get a shot. I was baffled when I overhead a kid tell her mom that the lady on the wall looks like Maggie aunty. Sigh!! Hope the kiddo didn’t pester her mom to take that painting home to gift her “Maggie aunty”…

Few painting which I loved a lot...


























The museum can take days to be appreciated in full glory, but due to limited time we came out in the evening and went straight for the tower.




























The tower without any doubt is mesmerizing. You will surely be stumped at first sight and the brilliant golden shine effusing will convince you why the heck people are so crazy about Eiffel tower.


Just across the other side is this beautiful building.



After a tiring first day it was important to get some good sleep for the fun in Disneyland on day 2.


Mickey Mouse ...Donald Duck...Tom n Jerry…Superheroes for almost a decade of my life and probably still. It was like preparing myself to meet them in real.

I sort of loved and hated this place. I loved the rides…the shows…the animation studios…but also hated the commercialization of my favourite cartoon characters...Mickey mouse was all over there right from G-strings to bread toasters. It was disheartening to see such excessive marketing in a place where you are expected to be transported to a fantasyland. But it was more of a reality check if I could make out there were more shops...and restaurants than the actual rides or shows. Nevertheless I had my own share of fun.


Can you believe that the next two shots are as well from Disneyland and not any bird park?



I managed to convince my friend who was accompanying me that there were casualties recently after a freak accident on the roller coaster ride…Well how would I convince him that I was afraid of it when out there were 6-7 something kids who were complaining that the three hundred and fifty six spins weren’t exciting enough..

Though I happened to try out some of the less scary ones. :-P
I couldn’t get into some of the other rides coz they had mentioned outside the gate that for those rides kids should always be accompanied with parents…and it was almost impossible to get in my parents there on time.

But the best place out there was the Walt Disney studios where I almost momentarily fell in love with Donald Duck!!

Later in the day visited Champ Elysee’s which is a magnificent road with the triumph de arc on one end.



I visited several other places as well like Notre Dame…Seine…Sacre Cours...in between. But I ll skip em to keep the post short.

On the third day took the train to Versailles where Napoleon uncle spend brainstorming with his generals for his next attacks. The boulevards were actually what I found stunning although it was the fag end of fall.

The city of Paris is charming but it moves fast unlike other European cities. I liked the city for the sheer variety of places it offers. The city has as many tourists on a single day as the residents itself. So it wouldn’t be surprising to see a sea of people holding a map seemingly lost and walking together. To sum up the travel I would say Paris is a nice place over the weekend...But I would rather love to live in Florence which is by far my favourite city!


P.S. If anyone is interested in the above snaps...you can get em at http://www.flickr.com/photos/68796762@N00/sets/72157603056575579/show/


P.P.S This month I have declared myself to go bankrupt on a traveling spree with a trip to Austria planned in the last week... ;-P

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Vielen Dank!

Today is special on three counts. . First I saw a crocodile flying in air and it gave me high fives before vanishing in thin air...And secondly I got a bundle of three million Euros in the bus which I used for buying a 30 percent stake in Becks…Thirdly I got secretly married to Vidya Balan...Okay no more kidding… ;-P

Today is special coz I finished 2 years in the blog world and this is my 100th post in blogger(lazy me adding up number from other blog as well.. ;-p)…

These two years has shown me an amazing mix of creative...humorous...sarcastic... beautiful...touching...informative and gratifying posts…It has helped me with a 360-degree perspective of many ideas. Many concepts which I previously saw in one dimension now looks more clear in the three dimensional view…I have had a hearty laugh reading many of them...sympathized with many of them…looked in awe at many of them…felt hungry at many of them…and occasionally got angry with some of them…

Looking back I realize that I never did bother to thank the many people who write these amazing blogs...and many people who have spend at least a few minutes of their lives reading this blog...This post is dedicated to all the special people who have come by this blog at some point of time…I also would like to thank a few special people whose blogs as well as their personalities that I admire…Thank you very much for all the lovely posts and comments…

Alexis

More than a blogger he is an inspiration. And am sure all fellow bloggers would agree with that. His sense of humour is amazing and his posts are beautifully detailed…And not to mention his naughty surprises like Sixela Noel. Maybe having studied in the same college I feel a deep sense of nostalgia whenever I read his posts... I admire his will power and his strength to face adversity head on...I wished he blogged more often...Once in a while I re-read his old posts and still never get tired... Wishing you good luck for your new book.

Anjali

Her blog is any day my all time favorite. Someone who writes with amazing consistency and each post of her is a gem. Her humor is free flowing and she can make us laugh even with most trivial of topics... She was one of my first visitors and probably I might not have been blogging now but for her first tag… I often wonder how can the same person write both Poomanam and Think Pad. She is a truly gifted writer…And bud if your blogs are being plagiarized and you get ridiculous comments it is just the indication of how terrific your blog is!!…This is a blog that I don’t miss checking out every day.


Jiby

I think he is the blogger most alike me…Coz when I read some of his entries, it almost feels like he is reading my mind…There seems to amazing synergy the way he thinks and I can easily identify with it. His writings are honest, clean and laced with a no frills approach making them a terrific read...On a lighter note Jiby is as confused as I am with life!! ;-P

Mishmash!

Mash chechi is probably the sister I never had. J Got to read her blogs quite late...In the beginning I used to drop by her blog just to get some recipes .It was almost like a quick sprint from the kitchen...“ohh ookk...2 teaspoon of coriander and then”… ”Grate coconut”…
“Hey Sunil..grate coconut..”
“Oye…Being mallu doesn’t mean you have to say Great coconut...stop glorifying!!””
Over a period of time I took time to enjoy her posts and then realized the narrative was as good as the recipes...Her comments are very morale boosting and I identify a family like attachment with her comments. I wouldn’t recommend this blog to anyone else just coz it will leave you starved with the god awesome dishes on display!!


Deepz

Ex-college mate...Though never knew her back then coz I was the studious rank holder types and I was always in research at the Sallap labs...oops…Machine Labs!!…;-P
For introducing me to the gems in blog world. Poor lady the blogger block in office has stopped her blogging. I found the first three blogs after blog hopping from her blog...She used to drop by my blog when during the initial blogging days out of 100 hits 99 were mine and one was from her!

Nanditha
Almost identify her as a twin of Mishmash. I usually don’t like reading philosophical stuff, although I like to write fundafying stuff...On a serious note her way of expressing complex thoughts through simple stories makes them a great read! The food for thought is expressed in beautiful stories without making the reader feel like listening to a sermon…

I know it is difficult to thank all here considering there are good number of blogger buddies out here like Kusum..Jac...Keshi...Sreejith...NC…Velu...Neers...Venky…Ruchika…Abhi…zee…Di…Regil...Aravind…Vidya…And many more to whom I want to mention my gratitude…

To all bloggers buds danke..


Gracias..…

All anonymous commenters and readers for dropping by.

My friends Vishnu, Vinod and Vinu who drop by occasionally…I know these guys are too lazy to comment…but still thanks idiots!! ;-P

My Mom for instilling my love for the English language although sometimes I feel she is being paid by Oxford to find grammatical mistakes...(.Are all English teachers like this?;-P)

Thanks everyone...cheers…
(P.S. am dead tired after the paris trip..got to check out all the blogs i missed for last few days..:-))

Monday, October 29, 2007

It’s all about exclamations!!

Recently I read in a blog the nostalgia of sending letters the old fashioned way, drafting a beautiful hand written letter…and then buying the post cover…sticking the stamp, strolling to the nearby letter box and awaiting the reply after a few days…Although I embraced e-mails, chats etc without much fuzz there is something which was amiss.

Technology has made things too predictable. There is no asking the postman whether any letter has come. Letters come in virtual mailboxes and the postman has now reinvented into a faceless pop-up announcing, you have got mail. No bated wait during the ceremonious opening of the letter or passing on the letter until everyone in house has read it again and again. Even movie tickets and rail tickets come online these days and you can even select the seats.

There isn’t the surprise factor anymore. Now why am saying this is coz recently my friend and his wife visited the doctor to check the status of their upcoming baby. This couple had requested the doc right from the beginning not to reveal the sex of the child. You see a little surprise factor when the baby pops out.

The couple as usual goes for the routine check up and enquires about the lifecycle status.

But this dumb moron of a doctor did this…

Couple (in typical ‘never-been-there’ curiosity): “Doc…Hope our baby is doing fine...”
Doctor:” Of coz he is doing great...Don’t worry about him... Everything gonna be fine”

Couple (in a collective sigh!!!): “Doc…You just ruined the surprise of a lifetime”

As you see like Newton’s law every climax can have an anti-climax…Once trying to be the smart Alec I have utilized anti-“get surprised” factor to disastrous effect. It could have actually cost Dad his job…This big sarkari boss calls home one day when am alone at home. As a précis I have real prank-friendly cousins who are masters at voice makeovers...And this time I tried to play smarter with my Dad’s boss whom I assumed to be one of my prankster cousin’s.

Hello…May I speak to Mr.Mathew...This is Chettiar calling from Delhi”
“HAHAHAHA...ambada...ee number manasil irrikattei…sound maati patikaan nokendaa”
(Keep this trick in your sleeve…don’t try to bluff me by changing your voice)
Is it dubble 55 dubble 66…..”
“mm..pinee...englishil paranjal manasil avulla ennu vachu alle”
(Well…Do you think your talking in English can cover it up?)

Promptly he cuts the phone. The satisfaction of not being gagged by my cousin was short lived when Dad came home red faced that day. Apparently the big boss was malayalee enough to understand everything I said and this humble child did definitely create a lasting impression on him.

Talking further about surprises, there is huge percentage of people surviving on fake surprise syndrome...How many times you have heard…

Oh my Gaawd!!!...I can’t believe it!! “” people with wide-eyed expression of make-believe surprise.

The line is often repeated during parties when the guest neway is expected to bring gifts for the host…but the trouble is that the occasion demands you to get surprised. And the gifter may probably feel shattered if you don’t display that exaggerated version of surprise with multiple exclamation marks. It just reminds me of the surprise lunch at the office canteen where they duly notified us about the surprise one week in advance so that we are prepared to be surprised about the surprise lunch and that it doesn’t come as a rude surprise!! How thoughtful!!

Real surprises happen when you actually planned a trip or a movie with friends after strategically avoiding a few “pain-in-the-ass” types…Only to find them at the same place…

Surprise...surprise ...What a coincidence...We changed plans and there you are…Maaan...you don’t know how happy I am for you!!!”
This will be followed by series of high fives and some display of brotherhood…
Meanwhile in silent eye-eye language we say...”Dumb idiots here as well…#%&!”


There isn’t really much surprise these days unlike school when I used to surprise parents all the time…But my idea of surprising them with single figure grades did not go down well… I thought that the shock and awe method of attack would work wonders and probably my poor grades wouldn’t matter much.

Appa...You got to sign my Progress card”
*Appa’s eyes pop out in natural reaction to the display*
“You call this a PROGRESS!!!… :-O”
“Appa...Please do it fast I have to study chemistry between 5 and 5:30 as per my timetable”
(contingency plan 1)
“What is that 3 besides Math…”
“Appa…err…it means like being third in class”
“And what about that 100 just besides the three”
“Whaa...whaaat...You scored a three in Math!!!!”
“Appa...the Paper was very tough...Moreover they were asking about ‘sin’ and all which you know I won’t do neways”
“What is that little circle beside biology?”
“aah...well that is the smallest living unit...the symbolic representation of a cell...”

By this time I have run out of all ideas and feeling ashamed like a fully covered Rakhi Sawant.

“Wait…i see some comments out here…”need lot of improvement...parents are requested to meet the teachers”

ahh…That’s nothing dad...it is just that the teachers are trying to get the best out of me…they say that I have it in me to make it big. So that’s why they say that I can still improve…kind of motivating.. You know dad…and probably, they might just say something nasty about me when you come to school. But they just do that to relieve other parents who have bad performing kids...never take em seriously. I rock actually”

The geography teacher had taught me that most stars are millions of light years away and very difficult to see with the naked eye...But I knew they lied coz that evening after dinner, I saw them…millions and millions of em...ayyo…*thrash* ...ente Appa...Next time I ll score better…I promise..ayyo...bwwaahh..!!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Scary Movie part VI

It was one stormy night in Sydney and it had been raining torrentially for the past few days. The windows rattled violently and the outhouse doors squeaked almost falling apart…Few minutes later in a deafening thunder the power was gone too. It had never been this bad in Sydney before. Last time it was this horrible was way back in the 70’s when ‘Psycho’ was released…

Impulsively Andrew woke up with a shudder...He began to cry aloud...

“Mammaaaaa…. Mammaaaa………………”

Mamma ran to the room to console her little boy. But Andrew was shivering obviously scared the hell out after that chilling dream.

“Andrew Boy...What happened…don’t cry my cutie pie”


*Another blinding thunder for effects*


Still panting and sweating… Symonds unwraps the gory nightmare…

“Mamma…. Mamma…I saw …. I saw him...Bwaaaaaaaaaaahh….”

The blonde Mamma is all distressed now.
“Tell Munna… what u saw”

“I saw… I saw him coming…Sreesanth…”


Mamma hugs Andrew Symonds who is still bawling and the camera slowly focuses to the picture on the wall of a grinning Ricky Ponting …

The bold and powerful Australians had feared none until now...

In Early 21st century downtown Australia difficult kids were put to sleep with a threat…
Sleep…or else Sreesanth will come and give you a stare… ” And it did not take long before it became part of folklore. Those skull-bone warning on high voltage electric lines were replaced by Sreesanth graffiti...Patient bed ridden with decades in Coma came to life after being administered a steady stream of “Stare” videos.

Cricket commentators analyzed and gave expert useless opinion on the aggressive nature of this malayalee cricketer...Rumours flew helter skelter…The Indian government forms a “Patel commission” to look into the matter…well Patelji had a good time in Kovalam is another story. Australia lodges a protest in United Nations against the Indian’s aggressive behaviour and its influence on the average Aussie’s psyche.

Sreekuttan’s Papa talking to the press…”When he was a kid I taught him that we are supposed to hate Pakistan. But I realized that he actually hated the wrong country when he called for a strike in school coz David Boon had mentioned ignorance about Atlas Jewellery!

Rodriguez Mattancherry (old school buddy from Fort Kochi)…”He was always waiting for the elusive break…but when it was getting too long a wait. He started doing break dance...and he never stopped thereafter”

But all the confusion...myth...was shattered one memorable day…

“MY BEST FRIEND IS FROM TRIVANDRUM”...SREESANTH ADMITS!

This quote was splashed as headline in malayala melodrama and other newspapers throughout the country..

Few weeks later a special investigative team was send by the Australian Cricket board to Trivandrum to study the influence of Sreesanth’s best friend. In a much-hurried press conference 24 hours later at Melbourne cricket ground, Ricky Ponting issued a statement withdrawing all allegations of vulgar/aggressive/taunting behaviour about the young Indian fast bowler.

The sudden turnaround was received with cynicism by the press. Reporters from Reuters and BBC flew in and camped at Trivandrum for weeks. Later they documented few gruesome incidents…

Lecturer in college questioning student union leader why he had came late for class.
Lecturer: - “I need an explanation from you for coming late for the lecture””
Student-Union-Leader (sporting “Trivandrum cherra”...now famously called Sreesanth stare)
Lecturer (now stammering) “Oh..oh..okay..yeah...I understand...Its okay son...please do have a seat”

Ticket holder asking someone who occupied his seat in the movie hall
“Chetta…this is my seat…see my ticket number”
Venomous Trivandrum ‘cherra’ oozing from the guy sitting there without the ticket
“Oh...enikkum kozhappum onnum illa... njan vere ticket medichoolaam”
(“No worries boss. I ll get another ticket for myself…Okie dokie??”)

Trivandrum cherra or cheerayal definition in Oxford dictionary

The act of looking eye-to-eye for an excessive period of time or stripping down
a person with a rude stare. This technique has been perfected over the years by
residents in the southern city of Kerala. Some liken it to an exaggerated
version of Clint Eastwood stance just before he pulls the trigger.

Usage:

The ‘cherra’ is typically used by public when someone tries to jump a queue
anywhere in Trivandrum or when a non-trivandrumite inadvertently mouth
obscenities at a trivandrumite. Usually results in severe physical injury if the
‘cherra’ is not taken seriously or relevant reconciliatory measures
adopted…

The Australian press camp found the environment very hostile and attributes Sreesanth’s behaviour as a natural influence of his Trivandrum friend. On a positive note the Australian board has signed a memorandum of misunderstanding with Trivandrum mayor to train few upcoming Australian players in this exquisite art. And thus the whole debate over the famous stare came to rest after this recent acknowledgement from Sree.

But we Trivandrumites are furious about the whole thing...Sreesanth has brought disrepute to this ancient art…The ‘cherra’ which was used over the years to ward of attack from the Romans…the Spartans...and the Mughals. The ‘cherra’ that was used as the first line of defence for the not-so physically agile college anti-heroes… The ‘cherra’, which cannot be imitated by any silly non-trivandrumite, has been shamelessly adopted by an outsider and that too for a silly game called cricket!! It is going to take years of hard work to get back the lost glory …

Viva l'arte!! Viva l'arte!! Viva l'arte!!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

alas!!

Last week I was very busy...Work pressures...status reports...deadlines...it was all getting on me. My other 'busy' friend and I had to fight out till the end. At the end of the day during the crucial status update meeting Joe said ...

"2195"
hahaha.... I made 2600...I win!!...Now you have to do that online course on 'Effective Time Management' for me...

Now playing "Snake" isn't fun anymore..

Amidst this busy schedule I do browse youtube...Someone had once said that you cannot concentrate on one task for more than 45 minutes at a stretch and a break is always good for better efficiency...And usually after 45 minutes of coffee and chit chat I take the much needed break to browse through youtube...And this resulted in a amazing discovery..THIS...It was a big shock when I understood that this music was blatantly lifted for our famous GUPT GUPT!! jingle... Now I did a search in google for songs plagiarized in bollywood..The results were nonetheless startling..

Listen THIS..and THIS

Listen THIS..and THIS..

Listen THIS(love this one.. ;-P)..dint get a clue..eh.. Listen THIS

And many more like this..well disguised in this..our own khambakht ishq and this super hit..

Thanks to youtube I was able to figure out the original and appreciate the talent of real artists..See this link for complete list of copied/inspired songs...Maybe these music directors might have given us an opportunity to hear these awesome originals in a desi version...but why did they never bother to acknowledge the original artists in the credits...Now in a time when the film industry raise a hue and cry about fake CD's..Theater prints..etc..why don't they first cleanse the rot within ...

P.S Sadly i now see many bloggers doing the same..and never bothering to acknowledge it!!

Monday, October 15, 2007

untitled

Wish …

All pain vanished like sublime steam, flirting zephyr...
All happiness spread like waft of fragrant incense…
All hardships mellowed like ripples in tranquil pond…
All love effused like the Vesuvius egress…

Oh I wish…

Poems were true!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Historical and Geographical Secrets...REVEALED!!

Unknown to the outside world there is a story long long ago about Vasco da Gamma who got a Work Permit and arrived at Calicut in his little dingy boat...

The following excerpt from the immigration office files in Calicut reveals what transpired on that day.

Immigration Officer (as usual enjoying his parippuvada and tea): -First name?
VDG (in all Latino gallantry pose): - Vaasco!! …Amigo...
Immigration Officer (a sreesanth stare at him): - mm....Middle name?
VDG (rest one hand on the officers desk): - Da!!
Immigration Officer (furious and pointing finger at VDG): - You call me “Daa”...phaaa!!. Do you know who I am? I officer of Malabar panchayat…Pre-degree…!#%&*#!*!!

Luckily his boss Beraankutty interfered and allowed Vasco da Gamma a 3-day tourist visa, which he used for visiting Goa. Later he was deported to Portugal by Indian authorities for over-staying. Being the first to get an Indian tourist visa he was proclaimed as a hero throughout the world. The existing history books however give a doctored picture of the whole story.

The problems in the immigration office never ended there...Years later when someone from the Middle East arrived to buy some spices to make palpaysam.

Immigration Officer (as usual enjoying his pazhampori and tea): -First name?
Middle East guy (adjusting his head gear): - Sheikh
Immigration Officer (as disinterested as ever): Shake what??
Middle East guy (desperate to impress the officer): - Sheikh Tintumon
Immigration Officer: Are u nuts!! ...From which country do you come?
Middle East guy (ayyo at the officers response): - Kuwait sir.
Immigration Officer (la Sunny Deol): You ask me to wait…You wait. I don’t wait…Out of the line potta!!

After sometime Middle East guy get back in the line.

Immigration Officer (now frustrated): O’ man ...You again!!!
Middle East guy (pleading): - Sir…Oman…our neighbour...I Kuwait!!

K-YOU-double YOU...!!

Now the frustrated Immigration officer calls in the security and packs him off to Saudi…

If you thought history is interesting, there is geography, which is overwhelming... I was always interested in geography and probably the only guy in the whole school who used to find delirious pleasure in memorizing country names, capitals..etc..etc Remember the kind of kids who would sit in the front bench waiting for the teacher to ask a question…

Teacher: - Who can tell me the average rainfall in Cherrapunji?
Bespectacled Genius me (raising both hands): -Eleven thousand four hundred thirty three millimeters Sir !…
Teacher (oh..even I never knew it.. ;-P): - Very good boy...You are smart as a whip!!

I sit down proud of the precise answer. After all a welcome change from the Math class where I usually have to stand on top of the bench! Unfortunately the rest of the class used to think...”Huff…whaat a bore”

If you thought geography is boring just look at the map and behold. You can learn a lot about the people just from the names. For example…Some countries are so arrogant even when they name their country …Like what is so great about Great Britain??…even the most arrogant people like us didn’t name our state as The Great Kerala...but we did come up with a Greater Cochin!! ;-P

And there are some downright funny ones. Greenland. .hahaha…Greenery in a place where people don’t even turn green with envy!!

Some names are difficult esp. for rest of the world (I mean India). My north Indian friend insists it is “Anda artica”…”Lovely Khanna… its Antarctica!!”... But the crazy egg lover wouldn’t agree with me...

Can you believe there are countries like Burkina Faso and Honduras who have capitals like Ouagadougou and Tegucigalpa...those are some serious tongue twisters dude. (I warn you never try pronouncing in the absence of a trained medical professional)

Geography can as well be used in psychology classes. Like if you want to explain what is Inferiority complex. You can say, “It the state of emotional turmoil when a Russian asks someone from Maldives to show Maldives on a world map…”You see the amazing possibilities with geography!...

Then there are something’s that baffle me like how the American kids learn geography. Just imagine how a 10 year old kid can memorize the name of 50 states and their capitals. Probably even the American president doesn’t know it either!! Those Yankees must be real envious of kids say from Vatican...

*In some school in Vatican…*

Teacher: - Which part of our country has the highest agricultural productivity?
Maldini: - “The kitchen garden in cute Monica’s house”
Teacher: - “Bravo…son!!”
Teacher: -“Tell me who is our head of state”
Maldini: - Pope
Teacher: -“Brilliant. Now tell what is the staple food in our country”
Maldini: -“Popcorn”
Teacher: -“Amazing...Tell me who is more popular in our country...The Pope or Shakira”
The entire class in unison…”SHAKIRAAAAAAA!!”(Oh baby)

Well over the years my fascination with Geography has left me dumbfounded as well… I happened to save the phone number of a friend of mine whose name is Kanagaraj…To label it as land number I put it like…

KANAGALAND
445566

A guy from ICELAND who was sitting near me makes out the first line and blurts...

“I have never been there before...Is it in Europe??”

*THUD*

“Oh...am really sorry ...Africa..eh??”

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Ala and Myra


Somewhere in the north sea lived a petite seagull called Ala…Ala was just a year old and enjoying the summer playing with beautiful seashells she had collected carefully. Life was good and every day her Mom used to go out to get food and brings home delicious chunks of arctic salmons. Fish was not aplenty with giant fisherman boats taking most of what was left. Well nothing profound for Ala to be worried about and she was the playful kid as always…

But there was a problem, which perturbed Ala’s Mom. She was worried that Ala was still afraid of the mighty ocean...she feared the water unlike her cousins who could swim with élan...She hadn’t yet learned to fly into the unknown horizon and swoop down the waves to catch her food...Ala was very well aware of her own fears…She knew how badly mom wanted her to be like her cousins...But then she was as always comfortable in the golden sand dunes with her little pebble potpourri...


1000 feet below quite near the same place lived a school of fish...Myra was probably the youngest of em all...energetic and naughty but adored by all... Myra loved hearing stories and often used to nag his Dad for stories about giant monstrous sharks and other adventures of his hey days. Myra always used to look in awe whenever he heard those tales…Sometimes when he gathered with friends they used to talk about the world outside the water…they talked about the sky...the sun…and the flying creatures…There was so much he hadn’t seen. There was so much of fun outside which he craved for...

Few weeks later...

She gathered all her courage and ventured into the sea that morning. As she flew down, her tiny claws emerged out for the first kill she might make in her life...the gentle sea breeze trying to calm her nerves…The waves petrified her for a brief moment. But she knew it was her moment of reckoning...Unaware her mother was watching from a distant perch praying that her little Ala overcome the demons...

A few feet away from surf their eyes met each other in a fleeting glance... Myra all eager to have a glimpse outside the sea…that brilliant streak of light called the sun...and Ala’s eyes trying to prove her worth…but still unsure…that brief moment when their eyes met each other...they knew it was either one of em...


We are often the fish or the seagull...Maybe they are different manifestations of our thoughts or ourselves... Sometimes we fight it out to over come fears…sometimes we take risks to see the unknown…sometimes we do it to prove our mettle...Sometimes we just get plain lucky…There is always an Ala or Myra in each kid who took his first steps in his life…each child who rode a bicycle for the first time...worried about the fall…each adult who is apprehensive about future…about finding a soul mate…It is just perspectives that matter!!

P.S…Random thoughts inspired by the seagulls I see in my every day ferry ride to office…They have a soothing calming effect on me… :-)
P.P.S. I got a hot date finally..But she is pretty expensive..Yeah gonna meet Mona Lisa at Louvre Museum , Paris in 3 weeks time... :-P

Photo credit: http://www.photographerone.com

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Swades

We are a proud people…Proud of our culture and values…Admittedly our values are the best on paper...though questionable how much we practice it…Quite often the pride sometimes lean towards arrogance and disdain for other cultures. I used to smirk at western culture and habits without actually thinking about it and rather more based on a stigma. But over the past year I understand that there are many things which we should appreciate and learn from them…Would love to share a few things where we are lacking and would do wonders if we pulled our socks...

One of the striking things that I found here is that they follow discipline…for example you don’t see cars jumping lanes or anyone horning superfluously. When the traffic light turns red , all the cars line up in the respective lanes in a military harmony...Our system would do a lot good if people are trained not just how to drive…but also how to drive within the framework of RULES. Probably there is not one among us who haven’t jumped the lane one time or the other. And we all have a plausible explanation that everyone does it neways…The license should be issued only after sufficient training , the police must be given rights for harsher punishment on law breakers and more importantly the public should understand how we could infact move much faster and comfortably if all followed the rules..

Talking about traffic I couldn’t help but mention our system of having a police convey for every dumb wit… why do our ministers/MLA’s have to break all the rules, blast sirens , create unnecessary hullabaloo. .and drive in screeching hurry...As if a minute delay might bring all the developments in the state to a standstill… Do we need such special privileges for special people..

Cleanliness…Our attitude says we keep our home clean…Everywhere outside our home is our garbage bin…Why can’t we bother to keep our surroundings clean as well... We teach our kids to keep our country clean without ourselves doing a bit about it…Littering is probably a national pastime for many of us...Is there any penalty for littering in our place…forget it.. Is there anyone who can bother to impose it…Such basic civic sense would help a lot and make life easier for the garbage disposers…


Perfection in work...Although we are fast working industrious people…quite often the quality of our products are questionable. I mean here, people make sure that starting from a safety pin to an aircraft the products they make are of the best quality in the world. I heard from a German colleague that the simple motto behind how a German worker creates a product is “To find a mistake in the product”. This work philosophy has ensured that they don’t make any junk products…We have our limitations of a developing economy but still we can make sure that we don’t go the China way…
(P.S. Two Wal-Mart’s at my place had to be closed down recently. Probably coz the predominantly Chinese products wouldn’t sustain the law which states that any product sold in Germany has to provide a minimum warranty of two years.)
Although we have few companies which create world class products, they are sold to the west rather than for the domestic market. I don’t get a clue why the companies serving domestic market do the same.. Deep dent on the profits...eh??


I personally appreciate the noble intention behind Tata’s attempt to bring out the 1 lakh car…but I would have loved if he would have invested that money in some mass transport metro network in a few cities…Our environment is not healthy enough to suffice the surge in pollution nor our roads which already cannot bear the mad race .I wonder when the 1 lakh car is out in the market will we fall into a point of no return.. The cheap car will sure be a big hit in the market where the real price will be paid our next generations..


The obscene big political thamasha. I might face lot of brickbats for this...But the whole idea of state/national governments giving monetary soaps to cricketers’ sucks!!... Are our government coffers overflowing money that they are clueless about how to spend em...If these political pawars (err...powers) suffered from momentary loss of sight please do look at our roads..our slums...and our rivers…The days of fighting for independence was over long time back...please stop all the bull shit rhetoric you say in those speeches...biggest democracy…peaceful co-existence of religions..blah..blah…get down to some serious work dudes…Unfortunately unlike us they have a appraisal only once is five years and they always get a role change by then!!

Why don’t we just dispose of with the whole caste system...Let us pass a decree one fine day
that there aint any castes among us...Well they cant do it coz that leaves 60% of our parties without a cause!!…Just how much effort and blood is spilt just for the silly name tag called “caste”...And don’t assume that making people literate and educated shuns these prejudices…Coz I have seen a friend of mine in trouble marrying his love coz the so called “castes” are different (both families are well educated folks)…

I can list out a 100 places where we can improve...so easy to write it and yet difficult to follow enmass..Probably I crib like this coz I love as much to see my country in a better shape…India is rising and shinning ...we are a huge growing economy…but remember all these sweet talk is about getting a share of the pie...It takes a lot more from than a “chak de” from each one of us to make us a prosperous and developed nation..

Monday, September 24, 2007

Guten Appetite

Saar. Would you like to have Italian/Mexican/Chinese/Spanish/French/Thai/Indian?
I want food!! (I think he testing my geography :-O)
Saar...That’s what I asked, what kind of food..??
Indian
Saar...Vegetarian/Non-vegeterian/Humanatarian/Manchurian/Pomeranian
How dare you ask a puritan who has always abstained from green leafy things such questions? Now what??
Saar...South Indian/North Indian/East Indian/West Indian/American Indian/Pakistan occupied Indian??
For god sake bring me some south Indian chicken dish!!
Saar...Chicken chettinad/Chicken kasargod/Chicken Ooty/Chicken Hyderabadi/Chicken Maananthavaadi??
ww..waaait…Okay..I accept that you absolute rock with places. Btw ..Am I on candid camera? ;-P
Saar..Spicy..Medium spicy… Light spicy. Spicy with tinge of sweet…Sweet and sour…spicy and astringent
Thengakolla!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!(Mallu swear word with U certification)§$§”%”!#
Sorry…Sir we don’t serve that….



Ballet Dancing…Taekwondo…Space walking…Dining out…This was part of the list that came out in international survey to find out the most challenging activities in the world. I have been hearing interesting stories on why Dining out can be a mentally and physically challenging activity...

Typically a niche restaurant has assorted weaponry like spoons, knifes, forks and an armored cloth to protect your torso…mmm…Good enough defence to protect a small country like the Vatican. These equipments are necessarily what make the diner a loser or a sore loser…But then you learn from mistake as an old wise man said and keep repeating em to prove it again and again…


1) Avoid ordering grilled chicken. Dissecting a dry fried piece of chicken is an exquisite art. Some surgeons whom I talked with said that doing a Cataract surgery with one hand is much easier. It’s like formula 1 racing. A split second mistake can cost your chicken leg, which might have landed in nearby Parthasarathy’s soup…

2) Don’t order Chinese food if you don’t have control over the slithery noodles…You might end up with noodles puffing out of your mouth and look like that girl in The Exorcist... Infact during my first few days in Germany I learned that I couldn’t basically eat the way we eat Onam Sadya back home. For those unaware of how Onam Sadya is eaten, It’s the most dignified way of eating where you eat so much that you can go actually go without food for months like the Arabian camels…

3) While having dinner with vegans never talk about how tasty that mutton chaps was…or how tasty is chicken mughalai … It is not polite to let them know how lip smacking tasty they really are..;-P
But I really understand how bad they feel when recently a Russian colleague was explaining me how tasty the buffalo tongue is. Some hardcore delicacy there…yuck… For god sake doesn’t he understand that am a pure non-vegetarian!!!

4) Don’t try forks to eat pappads especially if your boss is around you…Give the chicken leg piece to your boss and help yourself with the gravy…And during company dinners if the boss orders Palak Paneer, order the same and make sure you make it loud and clear how much you love Palak Paneer (however yuck they tastes). Breaking any of the above mentioned rules could cost your job without notice…

5) Never order “chicken 69”...There is no dish like that. I make it loud and clear there is only chicken 65!!

As I say this I ll pass a few techniques to get out of embarrassing dining goof-ups

Imagine taken a bite of something too hot and you are in a catch 22 situation. Start repeating the shloka...”“Waaah…Waah...Waah…bwaaaahahaaaaaaah” .It will spare the tongue of blisters and moreover the host might assume that you are really enjoying the food…

And sometimes it happens especially in Christian families when during dinner someone starts with a prayer...”Let us praise the lord”. And you don’t know how to finish the prayer and somehow make it up like... ”And bless the lamb who sacrificed voluntarily for our gourmet delight.”


Another important aspect is topic of conversation during the meal. Make sure that you talk about something relevant and interesting to all. Last time I had been to a project dinner I stood out like Bush in a party of Einstein, Stephen Hawking and Edison... Coz I was the only bachelor and all they talked was about baby food and the price of prams in town whereas all I wanted to talk was about Cuba and Bill Cosby…!!

And you all might know there are guys who trick us in this business...I wonder how Georgekutty can make chicken mughalai when he himself is Syro Malabar and what he should be making is Malabar chicken curry!! Broad Day light cheating I would say!! How do they make Kentucky fried chicken when am sure the chickens are from Kanjikode...The icing of the cake is when they bring a bill in a nice folder and you have to open it holding your breath and surprise!!. 1000 bucks for that chicken bone...when you can buy a whole poultry farm for that money…

And for redemption the only thing you could do possibly do is steal a few toothpicks, which seems be plenty and free!! :-(

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Dennis the Men-ace!!

I have been reading many blogs about the troubles faced by woman in today’s world like harassment at work place, work sharing at home and men not being understanding. “Not being Understanding “ isn’t that a cliché...Someone who doesn’t agree with you is someone who is not being understanding. Well they all are trivial if you think about what men go through…
.
Have you ever wondered how difficult it is for a guy to shop in a supermarket? I remember last time when I accompanied mom to a store and I had to buy some Dal for use here.

And Mom started…”Channa Dal…moong Dal...Green Dal…black gram Dal…which one do you want??”
A slightly shaken and wide-eyed me: hihi…Just “DAAAL” would do…!!

C’mon do you think a guy can answer something like that for god sake…For a guy It is that one crore question in KBC!!!.

Talking of shops I often hear the typical sales boy trick to sell something...
“Sir...Your missus would like it”
WHAT ABOUT ME DUMBO…and well how do you know what my missus likes... hmmph”

And don’t assume that a guy is really aware of the price of stuffs you get in the market. A guy might buy half a kilo of tomato in a grocery shop for 200 bucks without battling an eyelid. The last time he might have bought tomatoes might have been a year or two ago and he might have assumed the higher prices due to inflation...globalization…market capitalization and other such complicated jargon.
And you thought men cheat on women?? Kidding...eh!!. Don’t you see this day light robbery where men are cheating on men?

Contrary to popular belief ladies do lot of cost cutting when they go shopping...They precisely know where exactly the cheapest things are in the store…Haven’t you seen ladies asking the sales boy when that particular brand of “Maida” which comes for 12 rupees 43 paisa is arriving again…
Men don’t think that way. If maida is not there buy beer... All calories anyways aren’t?

The only place where a guy can stand longer than 2 minutes is an electronic shop. It is sheer pleasure for him to talk about RAM, gigahertz and memory sticks. He will drool over LCD screens and anything which has a word Mega or Nano in it…And ofcoz needless to say the quintessential liquor shop where all those svelte bottles seem to say in unison...”Here I come Baby!!...Buy me my lover!!!”
Another reason why I hate supermarkets is coz there aint any television screen in a supermarket.
Men love places where there is a TV screen like a Barbershop or say a BAR…We cannot bear without knowing what happens around the world. If you ever come across a guy who says.”Well I couldn’t catch up with today’s news”. You will find all the guys scurrilously avoiding him.
Whispers fly like... ”Psssstt...He is the one…Oh...yeah…I hate to be seen walking with him”

Now I don’t understand what is it with woman’s beauty parlour. It is very rudimentary for us. Walk into a barbershop and yell...”Babu cut 2 inches of hair from head!!.” yes that’s it. As simple as that..
No silly questions like “do you want a facial…do you want a streak of yellow just above your eye brow…or do you want sky blue nail polish or Mediterranean blueWhy do they make it all complicated!!

Something, which I hate about, are stereotypes...Why all criminals are chased in Manhunts!!.. What about woman criminals…Why are all dangerous animals Man-eaters...Why don’t they eat women..?? This is all not fair...thump!

History has proved that always. That bad hair day when the Titanic sank it was “Women and children first”
What about men…Are they amphibians. Just imagine the guilt the ladies might have lived through after the tragedy...aww…Those poor men…Even when they wrote the book “Men are from mars and woman from Venus”. They gave the smaller planet to us. This is all not fair…

Remember that Story of Adam and Eve where Adam ate the apple offered by Eve. In spite of the fact that Adam was allergic to apples...!! ; -P
Do you know what mistake he did…He tried to be “understanding”!!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Home Alone and some economics…

Warning: Long post. Do read only after you got bored of playing snake in office for the nth time…


Looking back…


While reading this blog about travails of families where parents had to work in separate places gave reminiscences of my home.

Back to the time when I was waiting to start my higher studies and my brother was still in school. Probably the time didn’t matter at all. It was difficult in the beginning to adjust to the new lifestyle when a ridiculous central government policy resulted in mom being transferred to an island near Mumbai and dad to some forsaken place in Tamil Nadu. And ofcoz we were envious of Mom coz she got to work in a place where the military stores all the ammunition they got and rumors say the stationery stores out there sell past expiry date Prithivi’s and Agni’s for Diwali…The kids out there had plenty of fun

So it fell on myself and bro to take care of the 12 bedrooms, 8 cars, 11 swimming pools attached bungalow in a 250-acre plot we have in Trivandrum (sorry I got dreaming while writing this part..; -P). We had pledged full confidence in taking care of the house partly due to the newfound freedom and primarily to give some confidence to parents who were going to work elsewhere.

The initial few days were wonderful or better said it was gastronomical nirvana. Chicken...Mutton...Beef…Fish all cooked and ready to eat stocked in the fridge…amazing television time for the idiot-box deprived...a round the clock working computer (updated with the latest NFS 5) which was bought under the pretext of learning C programming by this humble and devout student (well Vinu if u are reading this the Michael Jackson video which we copied on the first day instead of installing some C language was a big disaster... ;-P)…Waking up early morning at 11:30 and lazing in the sofa reading the morning newspaper at leisure.. Long telephonic conversation with friends…so lazy were those days that we wouldn’t defrost the fridge until the fridge started shivering!!...

If you don’t find these outrageous I must say it was more outrageous than a Britney spears joining nunnery…coz we were not exactly the rich kids in the block. Just like the typically sarkari family going for the cheapest government supplied ration rice and frugally metered telephone calls …So all what we did during the first few days of staying alone at home were obscene even in our own eyes…

One month later…

The phone bills skyrocketed much faster than a GSLV…and the telephone department started sending letters to Dad telling how they were grateful to him for holding up a crumbling enterprise

The house had gathered enough mud that would have made a decent miniature ancient Greece or something...

Our house had more dried leaves than whole of Kerala. (Who said Kerala is green. you should have come to my place back then)

Our green color Maruti now had a new color. A chisel was used to chip of the thick layer of chocolate dust on the bonnet.

And more importantly the fridge was now stark naked almost pitying at its once prosperous barracks.


Year of Glasnost

A revolution was imminent under those circumstances. There was widespread discontentment amongst the plants, the car, the kitchen and the goldfish in the tank (which we were not sure was still alive due to a thick layer of green algae). The kingdom was in utter disarray with criminals like cockroaches, lizards, ants, spiders etc etc enjoying a free run. In an unprecedented move the inhabitants decided to change the face of the country.

We learned work sharing and very important economic principles at a young age coz my bro found that he was actually doing the difficult part of scrubbing the plate’s n stuff. So a new system of living called Kureekatism (in the lines of communism…socialism or whatever u call it) was introduced at home. Work was split on mutually agreeable terms and the famous ‘Pattom Pact’ was signed. The residents rejoiced this decision. Even Jesus whose photo was hanging on the wall seemed to give a funny smile at us.

The new laws and work regulations did wonders and new age technologies were introduced like using pressure cooker for cooking rice, vacuum cleaner for cleaning the floor and hit spray for killing mosquito’s. Domain skills in cooking curries, breakfast and other edibles were improved (received the golden globe award from medical college thattukada association). Infidels like insects and others were driven out from the country even though they kept coming back. The kingdom was fighting back!


New challenges

And then it was one fine day we got the news that our paternal grandmother would be staying with us coz her caretaker relatives were going abroad…. A relative had arranged a caretaker for my 90 something grandmother and to complete the mayhem my grandmother’s caretaker was another 60’s something grandmother. The new ammachi at home would cook food for us and lend an ear to my grandmother’s small talk. So it was in the end a picture perfect scenario of two schoolboys and two grandmas’ in one home where their combined age outnumbering ours by several multiples. Needless to say our responsibilities increased manifold. We had to heat water to an optimum temperature and carry it all the way to the bathroom, place a stool and several other attachments inside... After each bath we had to dry up the bathroom floor coz ammachi feared she might slip in there. All this on a daily basis. And to make matters more complicated ammachi was strict on punctuality (a very strict pathyam follower). She wouldn’t take lunch at 12:55 pm…she wants the meal on the table exactly at 1 pm.and if it is 1:01 pm she would be unbearably hungry... She couldn’t bear the television noise past 9 o clock for she slept quite early...I guess ammachi was with us for about 8-9 months before she went back to our native place. So again the house was like old times with just myself and bro and a house.

The Wonder Years

Staying in such a house had its own fun...

There was a half yearly ceremony called combined studies which occurred usually a day or two before the university exam when the house would be swarmed by my friends, at times the number reaching 15…One of the rooms was exclusively for my bro... all other rooms with 3-4 guys in each and each room were used for certain specialized studying activities. One room for core studying, which would be used sparingly. One room for studying the intricacies of playing cards … one room for television viewing where we suggest how Mohanlal or Al Pacino could have acted better… one room for random kathifying (blabbering of everything under the sun)...And finally in the evening we ride to the nearby Ambalapattu restaurant to finish whatever they cooked that day. The university exam would happen next day but the real adrenalin rush was on the day before when we discover in sheer hopelessness how huge our syllabus really was…

We were given a lump sum amount to take care of house expenses like food, phone/electricity/water and other umpteen bills. We had a finance budget day where I will present this ‘heavily doctored’ budget (sure taking in mind how much we can ethically steal ;-P). After a few budgets the Prime Minister’s relief fund cut down the rampant corruption by providing generous aids and in the process teaching a few good lessons.

And then there used to be frantic cleaning of the house as soon we got a call from either of our parents that they might come down soon. There was war footing working happening on the day before D-Day…Cleaning the house for me meant hiding the dust to obscure corners or coating the car with a bucket of water. But my method differed with bro and we finally decided to do some actual cleaning. And next day when parents come they sigh in relief seeing that we are after all not bad caretakers and we sigh glad that they can go back to their workplaces without worrying about home .It is used to be lots of fun…

During those times the citizens in the kingdom were rewarded with ESOP’s called weekend happy meal allowance for dinner in a restaurant in the weekends. The clever entrepreneur’s we were, the dough would be saved for more useful things like having a beer or hanging out with friends and the usual fun in college. Here I used to get envious of my bro who might have been the richest man in India but for the withdrawal of ESOP’s after economy became self sustainable…

Today

Eight years gone by…Jeez...Cant believe it…
I can go to the best hotel in town and eat till I can’t take in anymore. But they don’t taste as good as the parotta bought using hard saved money from Ambalapattu…
I have some frugality rubbed off on me. Though I hate to admit that. ;-P

These are just a few tit bits. There are countless many more which I might have learned sub consciously.

Now looking back at those years…I guess it wasn’t easy...but definitely worth the lessons it taught us…

Friday, September 07, 2007

golmaal hai bhai sab golmaal hai…

Way back in 1992, I saw it for the first time in life .I don’t remember anything more than an animation of the human digestive system which the teacher was showing in that dabba screen. Understandably yours truly was over-awed by the occasion of having the darshan of a computer for the first time. Technology has come a long way since then and over the years I have kept pace with inventions that have bygone. Well most of the time my outlandish ideas out running the sluggish thinking of the techie inventors.

Google ever since they came up with “google earth” I was always tempted to call up Larry Page and ask for something more…I would love google to come up with 1mm resolution images, which could seep through the roofs of houses to my little dingy room. It will come in handy as I always forget where I keep my pack of toothpicks and I don’t have to search all over the house all the time… Rather i ll sit on the cozy couch and do a Google earth search and do a Eureka hip shake after I locate it. It will come in handy for misplaced or lost needles at home too coz Mom always says she can’t find where she kept her needles. Very useful especially in office that I can find when my Boss is just near the door and I can in a jiffy close the arsenal.com website and open some complex power point!!

Btw guess u all know Steve Jobs is one smart fella...Would be terrific to see him coming up with some iOpeners ideas like inventing iLashes for ladies or a touch screen iCar …These days he claim that iReland and iRaq belongs to him…exactly why iRish don’t see i to i with Steve. Well brainy chap he is that why they say he is an iCon. After I met him at iOwa, I had an iDea that I should have a quick brunch somewhere. I walked into the KFC counter and had an unhappy meal that reminded me of something else.

I want KFC and Mc-D to come up with French fries and chicken nuggets that help reduce weight. Just imagine if they come up with a secret formula for the KFC chicken that will help you loose weight. More Chicken nugget you eat...The more you loose weight…1 chicken nugget you lose 100 grams…and another one 200 grams. I get Goosebumps when I think of that. It ll be the invention of century. . You can start catching the chickens even before they hatch....woo!!…All scientists out here I am giving you free ideas!! ;-p

After that light lunch which made my pocket feather light I took the flight back home. The Kingfisher airline pilot was red-faced coz I reached the airport quite late. But I say there was too much red out there and with all the kingfisher planes parked together in the runway it looked like a red light area. They should recruit airhostesses who wear white saree’s, make them wear full white sleeve blouses serve kingfisher neem extract instead of the beer and play bhajan’s in the in-flight entertainment system. All these just for the heck of it…scandalous wouldn’t it be.eh!!

Talking of airplanes, nowadays we keep hearing about big aircrafts, which can carry 555 passengers... Only if they knew our airlines if given a chance could accommodate at least a thousand in a small turbo prop plane and our railways have been holding the Guinness records (most humans/goat/hens all in a single coach) for decades... And I have not seen any other organization with as much innovation as Indian railways. Would love to see a special train on the lines of “garib rath” where people can travel ticket less...This train will cater all the ticketless travelers in our country. The TT will be forcibly recruited hardcore criminals/terrorists from our jails and shoved in each compartment... Wow... And then the fun begins. Saves a lot of money and health for the Police too!!!…


Last week I saw an ESPRIT umbrella at an up market shop here...Never knew an umbrella was a fashion accessory until I saw that...My close friend who specializes in business espionage says, taking cue from the current brand craze Starbuck’s is going to introduce branded pappads. Eating Star buck pappads will be latest in thing in town, which will guarantee jealous glances from passerby’s…Ladies will drop on the knees seeing guys who could afford Starbuck’s pappads!! And Versace is coming out with retro-bindi’s starting 1000$ excluding tax and ear buds embossed with high quality Versace embroidery work... Our ‘Popy kudaas’ and ‘Haldiram’s’ should reinvent themselves as chic fashion statements. If ESPRIT can do it why cant Popy!!

Taking cue from investors in gulf and due to rising land prices I would love to see the land mafia back home to create islands like the ones near Dubai. But instead of shapes like palm trees I would like one for me shaped like an ‘arivaal…and one for my bro shaped like a ‘chuttikaaa…There will be a separate island accessible only by air to simulate Malayalees who can’t bear without going to Middle East. And to make them feel at home we will have a brand new “Kalady Duty free” shop at the airport…To give the authentic touch sheikhs will be invited once in a while and wearing sun glass (which in neutral Minglish is called a kooling glass) made compulsory in this district...

And the last request of all. Why don’t all the people in the world decide...Say..Okay let’s slow down a bit. Why are we competing hard against each other? Let’s have a 4-day weekend. And the whole world will work only for 2 days henceforth…well who is in a hurry man…;-P


P.S Folks who are severely malnutrioned after Silverine's miracle diet.please help yourself with a calorie boost from the chef's kitchen..

Monday, September 03, 2007

Mr. Schmidt country and some lessons …

I still remember writing a blog from a small café two days after I reached Hamburg.. all excited and gaga over the trip..And a year went by as quick as...well 365 days!!!.. giving me unforgettable experiences...fulfilling many a dreams and a lot more..

I complete one year of stay abroad today. And a year has taught me some wonderful lessons. (As if am going to learn ;-P)…All the lessons learnt in the eyes of a small town boy who was exploring a new country just like a scaled down version of Vasco de Gama…


Lesson 1

For someone like me who never had to interact with a Caucasian before in life it was a new experience. When I was a kid a white man/woman were a kauthukka vasthu (can’t get the exact English translation for that. I guess it means ‘curio item’)..I used to look in awe at the phoren tourist who came to shed their clothes at our kovalam beach. They were looked at like aliens with a curiosity to touch them to see if their skin is like ours or if they had five fingers in each hand just like us.. Like we always looked down ourselves as a poor hangry people. ‘no money..poor poor..please Saar some Singapore dollars..you white fair and lovely..very rich fella..’

The whites were a people much above us...The last one year helped me shed this apprehension or stigma I attached to interacting with a Caucasian..If I say in more dramatic cinematic style I ll lift the line from a movie and say, I learnt to talk man to man.
The white skin doesn’t awe me anymore. I understand they are as human as us..and as inhuman as we are.. I might have still carried that baggage of white “the better guy” stigma back home.

P.S. My co-workers are nice folks who happen to appreciate our culture and ideas..I like my work place coz I get to work in a team of Indians..Germans..French..Spaniards..Brits..Russians..Poles and Japanese ..We have Hindus..Jains..Christians..Atheist..Muslims..Bhuddhist and Jews in our team.. Am sure this combo is a real heady mix…

Lesson 2

Had a picture that poverty existed only in Africa and Asia..Learnt that poor people exist throughout the world even in the supposedly affluent west. And sometimes I think the trauma the poor here goes through might be much more agonzing than what the poor back home face coz here they are simply alone. Completely isolated from the society in the midst of prosperous and affluent lifestyles...At least back home the poor have a network of their own...they have people amongst themselves to share their miseries and sorrow. Here the poor are folks who have succumbed to drugs or binge drinking and in the process became social discards…

Lesson 3

Faith is almost non-existent here.. Church is a place where they can get married and they can be packed in neat caskets for the delivery to hell or heaven..wherever...
Otherwise the church isn’t of much relevance…The west now suffers spiritual poverty. This country is now having an atheist population of 40-45%.I have nothing against atheists myself having harbored such sentiments in the past. But the point is atheism has indirectly resulted in an intolerant society where atheists ridicule sentiments of the believers.


Lesson 4

However communication gets better. However advanced be Gtalk..Skype..Messenger..it is just not the same as having the friends around you. Technology still doesn’t get better than bytes or pixels.. I have learnt how important is to have friends near you. I have friends out here but they wont ever be like the friends back home..

My close friends are now in different corners of the world. Wondering when we ‘ll get a chance to meet again.. There is nothing like the nostalgia of good old times that can make you crave about home.


Lesson 5

Although the foreign land has all the facilities you can think of… the majestic Alps…the charming castles…Disneyland…stylish cars…trains…it doesn’t stand up to the beauty of our country. We have more people smiling in out part of the world despite the fact that we don’t have reasons enough to smile about… We have more people sharing food from the same plate despite the looming poverty…

Our country is colorful …Almost as if we try the extra bit to literarily make our life colorful...Everything looks like shades of grey out here…

The colors…the tolerance…and the spirit of our people are simply unmatchable…You learn to appreciate how good our country is when you stay outside, even though there are thousand reasons to crib about our own country. How true when Gregory David Roberts said…” In India the heart is the king.”

Addendum

I got lucky when I was given the thinking blogger award from Mishmash who in her own rights is one of the best foodie bloggers around here having a distintive style of lacing a food blog with anedcotes of little stories back home.Thanks a lot..

I would pass on this award to my obvious choice of fantastic four who might have already got this award and a few others like ..
Shruti..who blogs quite far and in between..but I love reading her philosphical insights about life..Alex who create sparkling gems from no where..and Rupa who writes some thought provoking posts...

Dedicating this song for friends out here..