Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Ethan and Joan

Nibble oak nubbins and honey cake nuggets
Climb chestnut trees and eat bowl full of courgettes
Hop down haselbrook and sit near a chapel
That's what I like coz I am a cute little Squirrel

Ethan the teeny squirrel lived with his mommy squirrel in the giant oakwood tree colony. The colony that was the abode of sparrows, giant red ants and many others...The red ants who industriously worked and made castles out of leaves and stored the warehouses with food for the winter. Ethan tried making friends with them but then the ants never liked anyone else. So he went to mommy and asked her.

"Why don't I have any friends here?…Seems like the ants don't like me either. :-("

Then mommy squirrel took out a drum made of barks and oak leaves...She hopped towards Ethan and sang…

Down in the meadows listen to grasshoppers
Run behind dragonflies and ask out for butterflies
Play em your song and come home before sun set
And like I always say don't forget your favourite walnuts

Unfortunately the grasshoppers got scared of him, the butterflies never listened to his song and all he had was a few walnuts and no one to share …Sad and gloomy he walked back home and cuddled near the cushy tail of his mother…His mother tried to comfort him but Ethan was deep in sorrow.

Life is unfair and my heart is in despair
Smiles are rare and friends are nowhere
These days, even skylarks have no time to spare
But then, who seems to care?

Few blocks away lived Joan the kid. Joan just had a fight in the playground because his friends called him a "loser". If there was one thing Joan did not like it was calling names. Why was Joan such a mis fit? Was it coz he was the rich kid of the block and the spoilsport who would run away with the football when he was offended. So that Saturday morning, Joan walked away in anger...

As he reached near the oak wood tree, he threw his cap away and rested beneath the cool shades. The sky was brilliant blue and the air smelt of spring…The meadows across was lively as he saw the butterflies in a beautiful ballet of their own and the honeybees flying away with their precious nectar …Across he could hear his friends continuing to play without him…He was feeling left out.

Another lonely Saturday and I'll sit here all day
Until somebody home come and say
Let go coz you are no castaway
when all I wanted was a friend for every day

When Joan realized that he needed a good friend he first thought of going back to the playground. But they rather liked his football…And he wondered would there be someone, somewhere out there who was like him…some one just eager to be happy for each other…

Few branches above someone did wait indeed
As they glanced each other both eyes agreed
In silence and smiles a spark was born
And there lived forever two friends Ethan and Joan

Friday, August 22, 2008


When I was in school I used to be an avid collector of ‘Reader’s Digest’ esp. the older editions. And every time I get to grab one of em I flip directly two sections before reading further…One was ‘Laughter the best medicine’ and the other was ‘Quotable Quotes’…Now to do this tag from Thomas who am sure when he gets older gets married and have kids would be addressed as ‘Thommanum Makkallum’…Not to mention the fact that apostle Mathew never says ‘NO’ to a buddy apostle though he wont believe it until ‘he actually see me doing the tag’ !! ;-P

So here goes the tag…

Jot down 5 of your favorite quotes from the various books you’ve read. If you don’t have the books with you now, googling (Wikiquotes and the like) can be used to find them. Tag five people and acknowledge the person who tagged you.

1.We don't read and write poetry because it's cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for.
----Professor Keating (Robin Williams) in 'Dead Poet's Society'

2. We do no great things, only small things with great love.—Mother Teresa
This is one quote which inspires me a lot..If there is one thing I can claim that I have never done over the last few years is shout angrily or really hate a person and I must thank Mother Teresa for teaching me the importance of selfless love…

3. It's really a wonder that I haven't dropped all my ideals, because they seem so absurd and impossible to carry out. Yet I keep them, because in spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart.---Anne Frank

4. When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will finally know peace.----Jimi Hendrix

5. Life is like topography, Hobbes. There are summits of happiness and success, flat stretches of boring routine, and valleys of frustration and failure.” Calvin
There is no better reference book than Calvin which explains our life!!

I would like to pass on this tag to

Alexis (I hope to see him back in blogworld soon)

Have a great weekend!!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Food for the distraught

“Found a bolt in chicken dopiaza”<EOM>Tony
“Nine safety pins found in Navarathna Kurma Sharma
“Today’s Roomali Roti sent to Thakur Leather UpholsteriesSecurity
“No Chicken Fried Rice today. All gone in smoke”<EOM>Food committee

If these sound familiar to you then you are part of the brotherhood who suffer from canteen food sucks syndrome. The sufferings such people go through dwarfs the regular pains of an IT guy like low download speeds or password lockouts. I personally know several martyrs who had to be operated because of undigested Idli’s stuck in their appendicitis or folks who have gone into frenzy after having Chicken Jalfrezi.

Jeez, some of the items served in canteen easily violate the Geneva agreement on prescribed food standards for Software Engineers. For example I have seen the shocking case of a dosa which was made elliptical instead of circular. A clear violation of Law 32/C of Dosa standards Organization (DSO)!!

Canteen food is the most talked about thing in IT companies or basically any campus based firm. The canteen is after all the breeding ground for many of our creative engineers besides the bacteria’s. Infact most of the wildlife photo enthusiasts I know take their best snaps in office canteens. People are actually happy if they manage to find one of the rare insects in the Sambhar that would test the best features of their SLR cameras! No wonder why these wannabe photographers hurry up to the canteen during lunch hour, after all the early bird gets the worm. ;-P

But do these folks who complain have any idea about the PDS ration rice that used to be supplied to government employees. Vintage grandfathers and grandmothers used to queue up in one of those shops to get the quota or rice and kerosene which they were entitled to in the prime of their youth. Those times in the 80’s housewives competed fiercely with each other to find rice from the stones. The stones were then packed and send in lorries to huge construction projects like the famous Narmada dam which was built exclusively on stones from Ration Rice…Food quality has actually drastically improved over the years because we don’t anymore receive grains from the USA.

Though it’s not the same everywhere like my office canteen, where the Spanish Paella, the Italian Pizza and Mexican spring rolls come from the Yinchuan province of China…It is almost impossible to buy anything non-Chinese in this part of the world. I pity the global Chinese tourists who can’t buy anything coz even authentic French wine has the label ‘Made in China’!!

Well coming back to the pet peeve of canteen food, I agree it is sometimes bad and sometimes misconstruing too...My mallu friends don’t particularly like Aloo Gopi or Kadai chicken (they can’t believe people actually pay for spoilt chicken)!! And for my north Indian friends it’s not exactly a cozy code to pronounce 'Kozhikode chicken biriyani' nor do they like 'Anupam Kheer'!! I remember myself staying away from ‘Kesari Bath’ for several months due to obvious reasons...

It is unfortunate that we don’t enjoy the food in corporate canteens like in college where having hostel food was an adventure everyday …You know those programs in AXN where they ask people to eat beetles and scorpions...eh... Buddies!! They are a cakewalk!!

The food quality in hostels could be best described as lethal.
There even used to be a board outside the hostel canteen which served as a reminder.

“All products made here are tested on hostel inmates before allowing any guinea pig consumption.”

Am sure even the most hardcore inmates in Guantanamo would not survive the ordeal. Some of the things they used to serve in hostel were virtually unrecognizable and the cooks, they were masters at making fish curry without fish...And we realized why after a few months when the cooks were getting healthier and the inmates tuned into ishant sharmas. The good part is I don’t remember anyone who had fallen sick in my college hostel. Actually most of them did not even manage to stand up after a bite.

Well compared all that food our office canteens sound like ambrosia. But then we are IT guys and not supposed to be happy with what we have got…We love to bemoan over little things and for us cribbing over the food is part of our job that motivates test engineers to find bugs in code and quality engineers to achieve CMM level 5 standards.

For every bad meal we have had in canteens we know we have had worse before. But then this is our guilt buyout to have a burger or a pizza from one of the international chains…Btw which reminds me of something for which I still haven’t found an answer…

“Have you ever seen a Pizza Hut which was actually a HUT??’ ;-O

Monday, August 11, 2008

The wedding “wow” factor!!

It has been ages since I attended a wedding…And I miss it coz I consider wedding a very important and sacred event to be given due respect it demands. It is a once in a lifetime chance to share happiness and rejoice the coming together of two people who are going to spend their lives together for each other and…

And above all more significantly, it’s the day you get delicious FOOD of your lives!! .Now you know why I never miss the bus or the cab to a wedding!! You ask me who the groom or bride was, hmm tough luck sometimes… but I surely could tell you what the food was…

It’s like with the marriage invitation card that lies on the table and someone opens it…

“Hey…Madhu’s daughter is getting married”
“Oh… great! …By the way, who is the caterer??”

Countless caterers owe there popularity and zero wastage history just because of the sheer workmanship of me and my ilk…People often underestimate how important the food is for a wedding because the success of the marriage lies in the hands of the broker, the caterer, the priest and god almighty, in that order!!! There is enormous power vested in the hands and dirty kitchens of the caterer coz good food can make even a funeral sound great!!

But there is a catch to the whole thing…I mean the “marriage” which sort of rhymes with the word “trouble”. The couple gets into a very complicated unbreakable sort of lock called the wedlock and we (the dear patrons of the catering services) get to meet whole lot of people we don’t want to…like say insurance agents who appears in disguise as humans.

And I should mention folks who think would know their names even if we haven’t ever met!! I don’t even remember my email passwords which I changed the other day and how would I know the name of someone who claims to have met me in 1986!!! Like say…

Nameless Aunty: ”Mone... Do you remember this aunty…?”
Me (mumbling to myself): “you must be...hmm...let me guess...AGONY?”
Me (social cheerful face):”ayyo...ente eeshoyeei….so long since we have met.”
Nameless Aunty: “Chekku pandu nammalude veetil vanappol mampazha pullisseri venam ennu paranjathu orkunu ondo...”
Me (to Mom who is standing besides me):”Tell me...tell me fast... Who is she...and did I really say that”

And after embarrassing myself with my complete lack of knowledge of the family tree talking of which is like the most complex thing in the world after that “OMG-cobweb-Olympic-stadium” in Beijing, I go about being bait for others.

It’s often in wedding parties most people esp. in IT miserably fail to explain what exactly their job is!! We struggle to explain the coding, versioning, reviewing and things like that because we ourselves don’t know what they are…I often envy the lawyers who attend weddings because they can easily explain it like say “WE LIE”!! or the ISRO engineers who can tell the Appachen...”We make rockets...YES YES!!…bigger than the ones at Athirampuzha palli perunaal…” or the local politician who can say “I am a politician” and then Ammachi will nod and say “OH ..So you don’t do anything!!”

The marriage day crowd is like the Olympics of Families…Different families sport their best dress for the opening ceremony and though there is no haze you are still suffocated by an overdose of eau de cologne’s…some families don’t send family members in protest of some 'interkudumbam' land disputes…Some arrive at the venue after consuming banned substances called ‘alcohol overdose’ and have to be unceremoniously taken out…And for some it is mixing of politics/money with marriage that shatters the whole principle of the event..

And the funniest part is that the bride and groom are often just mascots of the event!!!
So enjoy the show till it lasts!! ;-D