Sunday, December 06, 2009

knock knock..... curry....koorka thoran...pavakka thoran....pullisseri.....chemeen chammanthi.....kappa with ellu......parotta....beef curry.......burp!!! phew so many in the list done by day 2!!

Sorry for this short abrupt post...but just couldnt find anywhere else to say this! ;-D
Have a great and happy week ahead......... :)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Perfect Delivery.

A few weeks…on a Saturday evening my neighbor who works in the same office as mine dropped by home…This guy was my ex-roommate and now happily married and stays in an apartment in the same complex. So he drops by home occasionally to figure out how bachelors still live and to check out my beef fry since he says that it tastes just like how we get in the Bar!! :-P

So we were standing at the house balcony and I was sipping my wine…Our friendship is actually quite formal and hence our talk often centers around restricted small-talk topics like what’s happening in office...or is there something special in town…and he sometimes say the market is going up or down to which I agree nodding….Since this guy works in the same office as mine I would say we talk more office matter …So that Saturday this is how the conversation went along…

A sullen faced roommate arrives at the balcony..

J: “it’s too much man…too much…!”
Me: “what …what happened?”
J: “I saw this delivery video…it was bad!!”

Working in a place where aircrafts are made and supplied to customers it’s often a gala event… Special deliveries are often marked with quite a lot of glitz and glamour…And the previous day there was a delivery for Air France.

Me: “Really!! I can’t believe it”
Me (thinking): “wow...this guy is so passionate about his work and bothering to check out the videos too...impressive!!”

J: “ was not as I thought…it’s quite a scene!!”
Me: “yeah…you are right… I was there for the last one…and it was awesome!!”
J (his face has now changed drastically): “awesome??”
Me: “ofcoz!!…they even gave us a T shirt….btw…where did you watch it? ”
J: “in youtube…but man…I couldn’t bear watching it!!”
Me: “hmm…I understand…sometimes it get a bit boring...with all the people!!”
J: “I mean its not boring…but its kind off gory!”
Me: “I don’t think so…c’mon…if you saw it ...the Emirates one... they pulled a fine job and now you are saying that they did not do the same with Air…hard to believe it.!! I think for em all customers are alike….am sure they must have made the whole thing spectacular”
Me: “Oh yes….SPECTACULAR!!”


*still silence*

Me (mocking) : “Now what…you agree…isn’t!!”


J turns and walks away…..

And then it dawns on me...

J is expecting to be a dad soon…Apparently the fathers do take part in the delivery procedure out here… he was curious to check out a baby delivery video in youtube….and I was happy thinking about more important things in life like whether I should buy a Reserva or a Bordeaux wine for the weekend….

And I couldn’t help a parting shot now that I realized…

“J…you know what…the pilot gets to cut the cord when the aircraft is delivered!!!”

And he walked away with a grin on his face…

Saturday, November 14, 2009

A game plan !

Mike and Gill went up the hill…
To fetch a completed stadium
Mike fell down and screwed his plan…
And Gill came tumbling after…

Now Mike did laugh and Gill did cry
But his tears soon abate;
Then Gill did say that they should play
At see-saw across the New Delhi gate.

~ excerpt from a nursery rhyme yet to be published.

Some time ago we saw our Prathibhajee doing a Patel pose at the courtyards of Buckingham palace with Elizabeth rajnee in what was arguably a very antique pair of national leaders holding the commonwealth games baton...Though we all wished the queen had given us back the Kohinoor diamond as a token of appreciation, she excused herself and instead offered us kidney pies and a free tour of the palace in a horse carriage which was lying unused at the Windsor stables…And as the ceremony took place we all saw Kalmadiji looking visibly tense pondering over the pace of construction back home…Damn the media for being critical of him!! Losers!! He was later seen shouting furiously over the phone to the bhai at the apparent lacksidal pace at which his villa in Pune was getting in shape. A concerned man indeed!!

Amidst all fennell seeds of distrust which seems to haunt Kalmadiji, we think the games are right on track…After all this is a event to showcase the rising India…Now the commonwealth games is actually a pretty serious event where we have to fight for medals with countries of fine sporting traditions like Vanuatu, Tuvalu, Samoa and of course the dark horse Tokelau. Though the first guffaw is already out when a athlete from Samoa was send a email by a sleepy games official confirming his participation…which went like …”It’s our honor to welcome an athlete from our ally Kingdom of Samosa…” Apparently the clergy is also up on their toes after news gained prominence that India would be welcoming three saints during the event…Special evening prayers are already in place in anticipation of the blessed arrival of St Helena, St Kitts, St Lucia and ofcoz not to mention Saint Vincent and his Grenadines…Personally am looking forward to athletes from Niue, Jersey and Isle of Man as I am not yet convinced that they are not fictional places from Lord of the Rings. But seriously to be fair, isn’t the whole games a huge ragging exercise where big countries like Australia, India, Canada and England invite tiny speck of islands which look more like cinnamon sprinkling on top of coffee. I mean isn’t it cruel to expect a country like Norfolk Island or Niue whose entire population might be less than the support staff of the Indian archery team to put a decent fight!!

However overconfident we are, we face intense competition from countries like Jamaica. Rather small as our spies figured out from a unused Atlas at the RAW office , Usain Bolt and Air Jamaica do share the only runway in that country in turns…It not just in athletics we face threat in our quest for medals…After all Pakistan has become virtually unbeatable in shooting events and Bindra dude can well kiss goodbye…Intensive training camps at Swat and Warzistan have left other competitors aimless and looking down the barrel. Our lone hope in this event apparently in quick gun murugan who might be able to thrown in a few surprises.

The inaugural showpiece ceremony as insiders say would be a bollywood affair with lot of daredevil stunts expected to be performed... Akshay Kumar would be swimming all the way from Caribbean’s wading his way through the shark infested Atlantic Ocean and Pazhassi raja might just drop in to showcase his sword skills… There is already a lot of debate happening over who else should take part in the ceremony. Reddy brothers have claimed the support of 64 IOA members and yet to figure out what they will do with the support. Close Reddy confidantes promises us a mine blowing show…With Kareena Kapoor romped in as a brand ambassador there are already fears expressed in media circles. 15 enormous weightlifters, the pride of our nation who were fed round the clock over the past few years with generous quantities of chickens, paneer, lassi and mutton soup by sports mantralaya inspite of the looming drought in the country have suddenly become frail .Doctors are still trying to ‘zero’ down the cause!!

Well any games doesn’t begin with its own share of controversy… A Mauritius swimmer was forced to swim all the way back home after he was chased by a welcome committee stationed at a western city in India...Apparently his desire to have Bombay duck was not taken too lightly!! The swimmer becomes the first person ever to swim across the India ocean and has wholeheartedly thanked the “Reconstruction Army” for make him realize his true potential…In a unfortunate turn of events the hockey sticks kit sanctioned for the Indian team was stolen from Thyagaraja stadium when visiting grey haired games officials mistook it for walking sticks. The authorities are trying to retrace it back.

To look at the positive side, the games village canteen is expected to satisfy all athletes from various countries. The chief chef promised that the menu was tailor made for each discipline. The games committee was not surprised to see a famous archer munching over arrowroot biscuits apparently trying to figure out the root cause of his loss of form. However coaching manuals leave a lot to be desired after one tennis player arrived at the hockey stadium coz his coach repeatedly told him ‘dhyan se kelo…dhyan se kelo’. He had to go back disappointed without any aces smashed down the court.

The event also promises improved language skills as intensive spoken English courses have started showing results… A recent event pointed out gives us a ray of hope…

Phoren tourist showing the map: “hey maan…I cannot find the place…”
Trained rickshaw driver: “I find Connaught place for you….
Phoren tourist:”okay…thank you…you can find the place...good”
Phoren tourist:”OK…. Lets go Teenmurti”
Trained rickshaw driver:”No sir...I am Narayana Murthy...I take you to Connaught place”
Phoren tourist:” uh!! “

Meanwhile as we speak and the phoren tourist is roaming lost in Connaught place I know deep down in my heart that we were having fun with the British by holding a games long held ago in their honor… And what could be a better tribute in current times than making a movie called London Dreams and hopefully make the queen watch it in Wembley….

P.S. Sorry folks for this post..i know you guys will understand...after all just the other day I saw london dreams.......

Listening to cheap tricks..

Monday, November 02, 2009

just some thoughts..

Strength and comfort shall we seek...
Hugs and kisses exchanged in bonhomie…
Happiness and love we would crave…
Poems written and frescoes painted in pursuit…
Fear and anger we bump into in this ride…
Leaving us abandoned… in thoughts sometimes…
Leaving memories strewn… in a canvas called mind...
Some which got etched without asking us…
And we scrubbed hard hoping they fade...
Though the cobbler had warned… it only shines brighter…
And we move on…with dollops of myriad thoughts…
And we move on… looking ahead…
Hoping to touch that island of hope…and fresh starts…
Which seems so far away and yet…
We wished were close by!

Probably it’s the autumn which doesn’t help me write anything these days…I would like to share a quote meanwhile I saw in a email signature recently…

"If a drop of water falls in lake there is no identity, But if it falls on a leaf of lotus it shines like a pearl. So choose the best place where you would shine...."

I wish everyone of you the same!!

P.S. Today I finished 4 years in blogworld..Thanks a lot for the wonderful people out here who have given me company!!

Monday, October 05, 2009

To Maria

Every time I open a fresh new notebook, before writing anything in it, I glance at it admiringly…so fresh...clean and white… that as you move it closer to your face, it brings a whiff of fragrance like a new born baby powdered with a dash of lavender.. There is a frailty of the untouched…unblemished piece of work which sometimes make you pause before you write those first words in a blank page…There is a feeling of responsibility because you are going to change the life of the notebook for ever…it might pass across several hands...its edges lose the fineness and the pages bereft of aroma of fresh papyrus…I am in a way the first person the book came across in its life…This is what I feel when I start writing the first letters on this book because you were just like this new book for me when I met you and I want you to know that it will remain like that forever… ~ Fred.

Fred was sitting at the hospital verandah where the shades from the maple tree nearby gave patients much needed relief that summer. After writing those few words in the moleskin notebook which he had bought, he relaxed back on his easy chair…intermittently closing his eyes in rhythm with sunrays that escaped through the thick foliage of leaves above….He was soon tired playing this game and closed his eyes, as if making a point to the sun that he was not interested in the mischief it was playing. And soon he drifted in his thoughts…

It was infact one sunny day several years ago, Fred and Maria got married at the Catholic Church in Cologne…

It was the 70’s and Germany was booming…..When the young Goan girl Maria arrived in the country she had no clue about her future…After studying nursing in Madgaon, she was one of the lucky few who got a job in Germany…. A place far different from sunny palm frilled Goa where the flavour of fresh fish curry cooked with coconut milk would hang in air till dusk…A place full of white people with pink cheeks and blue eyes, far different from tanned lean Goan men who took to the sea back in her hometown…But she was sure about one thing….she wanted to embrace the new land….

Maria quickly adapted to the new culture and place….She was the sprightly one among a bunch of Indian girls who where brought in by the catholic mission …Her eyes glowed in eagerness to the new sights and smells while others cowered in fear timidly…. She was the darling of german nuns who took a special liking to the cheerful girl from India who would sing and dance like Julie Andrews to the delight of the kids in the hospital where she was working…. There was a spring in her walk and a song in her heart which was hard to resist for anyone not to notice…And it was no surprise that a fellow Goan chap called Fred did not need much reason to talk to her…a talk which went on for long durations followed by long letters and poems and made official by something pretty short actually….when both eagerly said at the church to each other…”I do…….”

And it was a truly special time of their lives when they were looked upon as the perfect happy family by the whole community…As years passed by, Maria aged beautifully unlike others who were at peace with a age when people didn’t mind gaining a few pounds or greying hair…After all Maria was the athletic lady who would jog every day morning and cycle her way home along the Rhine promenade taking delight in the breeze that caressed her mind and cheeks alike… She was youthful as ever in mind and body in unison….Her children adored her and she was a lovely mother who deserved the adoration….Like the roses in her patio, the orchids and blueberries in the garden she was the color in epiphany for her kids and loved ones….

One day as usual Fred made the morning coffee and woke her up for their morning jog….But that day she was almost frozen…Maria told Fred she could not lift herself up from the bed…Two days later the doctors informed Fred that the paralysis which Maria was affected with was a rare kind off poisoning which affected her nervous system….She would be bed ridden for life…That day when Fred met Maria at her bedside they did not speak…after all in a beautiful relationship like theirs silence did speak a lot…

There were plenty of get well soon bouquets and cards at her hospital room…but the docs could not do anything but feel helpless about how unrealistic those wishes were… Fred’s close friends asked him to move back to Goa where he could live comfortably with his savings and Maria would be cared by nurses whom he could employ… After a few days Maria was lifted on to a wheel chair and taken home….to their little home in Cologne…

Fred held Maria’s limp hand and squeezed it…A tear fell down from Maria’s eyes in a desperate attempt to return the squeeze…but she couldn’t….From that day in 1983, Fred did what not many men have done…He became a mother for their kids…He cooked food for all three at home…He ran the house along with his regular job…He took care of his beloved wife’s needs….bathed her…fed her….Months later, to the surprise of the doctors Maria could finally walk with some help….

Maria is fade shadow of her older self…. She doesn’t anymore look like Julie Andrews…She cannot hold anything heavier than a pen…But her face effuses a glow of contentment… contentment of having a husband who took care of her… a contentment in being able to fight the doctor’s predictions….for being at peace with her unconventional life…

‘Uncle Fred…’….. Someone touched Fred’s shoulders…

The nurse at the hospital woke Fred from his thoughts…and he walks slowly back to the hospital…Maria would be discharged today after her annual blood transfusion....He held her frail yet warm hand and gives it a little squeeze…This time she squeezed back…..

In a few days, Fred and Maria would be celebrating their 35th wedding anniversary… Fred as always is never sure with birthday gifts….He is quite tense whether Maria would like his little birthday present….a brand new moleskin notebook with the preface he wrote that morning…Maria would write poems and bring color again………

P.S. inspired by a real life couple i know in Hamburg..taken liberty of fictionalising into a story..
P.P.S. Post dedicated to a good friend of mine from Cologne.

Friday, October 02, 2009

To tell a telly tale

Last week I was watching the India-Pakistan cricket match with my friends in Hamburg….I am not a cricket buff but when I was invited to watch the match I hurried immediately since I love to see a match huddled together in a group where everyone got a comment about how a shot should have been played, why the field placements are wrong, why the ball should come on to the bat and why it was swinging in the other direction and the list goes on….After all everyone relishes giving authoritative opinions on the game… with all the tension so visible in the faces and a chilled beer to accompany...watching a game together is fun…..So last week while watching the match together I was transported to a incident which happened 5 years ago….

Place: A duplex flat in Pune
Year: 2004

That was the time when we started working and six of us were staying in a 3 BHK duplex flat at one of the most well known addresses in Pune…We were new to the city and we had arrived packing only our clothes and essentials…So like all just out of college newly employed folks we survived on bare essentials… We just had a huge empty flat with not a single chair or bed…. And since we were 6 guys living in this flat (all of em from same college who got placed in the same company) there was never a dull day….The tension of clearing the training at the company coupled with our new found ability to splurge thanks to our salaries, we were having time of our lives…I am sure ‘B’ helped liquor sales double in Pune those 4 months and restaurants sprung up around Aundh after they figured out ‘S’ had arrived in town ….So it was not that we really lacked entertainment , but we missed a television where we could watch a match together…

12 kms from our place stayed another group of 7 guys from the same college…But they were arch-rivals back in Trivandrum, them being hostellers….But then in Pune the famous mallu unity came into the picture thanks to a common love for OCR Rum and beef fry….The old enemies became friends …

Then one fine day my roommate made a grand announcement..…

“Guys…I want to share a great news with you guys….”

We all sprung up eager to know what it would be…did he finally get the scotch we wondered?

“My folks are sending a television from Kerala for all of us …We can watch the upcoming cricket tournament LIVE..!!” he exclaimed……

Our joys knew no bound….and we started marking off dates from the calendar anticipating the expected day of arrival… The television was expected to arrive on match day… So we made space for the TV in one of our huge rooms…Set our bed and pillows in the corners of the room for a viewing experience similar to those mughal dancers with hookah smoking junta around…. Considering our new found friend ship with the hosteller group in Wakad, we has specially invited those 7 guys as well along with a few from the neighbourhood….Around 16 guys were assembled in one of our rooms and it was packed…Serious pre-match discussions were happening around….some heated and others leisurely having their beers….It was like a big party where everyone were waiting for the chief guest to arrive..

Time: 1 pm

We got a call from the courier man that the TV was waiting for handover at the ground floor…Note that our duplex was at the eighth floor…So two of us went down to pick it up…As we signed the papers the courier guy handed us the box.. The HOLY BOX….

After the courier man left , We did not utter a word and just looked at each other…a bit stunned … But we both knew what we would do in such circumstances…..B picks up his mobile…

“Daa…Raghu…Could you come down…bring a couple of guys along…its quite heavy for two of us”… friend rang up ..

In a few minutes we had a couple of guys down who had come down to help us lift the ‘heavy’ piece of electronics…Rest of the folks back at the apartment were getting ready to give a warm reception to the television….As we came out of the lift we shouted at the remaining guys to give way lest the huge TV hits somewhere on the way and gets damaged…

Time: 1:15 pm

There is silence…of the eerie kind by the way..

The box was to be opened in front of everyone …Many amongst us who were quite proficient at therrivili suddenly found themselves short of words to express …mostly out of shock…As my friend did the caesarian of the cardboard box and we looked at in anticipation, and it did come out without much ado and without a whimper of a sound… a beautiful, cute 5 inch TV !!...the kind off which you see in taxis…or somewhere in barbershops or in miniatures exhibitions ...looking more like a lunch box or rather a soap box …and shouldn’t I mention the black and white plasma screen with a surround sound it boasts of…

We kept the TV at our designated area quite ceremoniously like a deity in the puja room…Most of us had never seen a smaller TV in our lives…and hence we sort of felt blessed to see one..

That evening 16 guys watched the match on that tiny contraption of electronic wonder …From a fair distance we looked like 16 rats trying to drink milk from a pan since we had to huddle together into a mass heap to see what exactly was happening in that little screen…The thadiyanmaars amongst us trampled on top of the skinny ones… We don’t remember much about the match…But we very well remember that particular day when we invited 10 unsuspecting folks, 12 kms away from our place to watch a match in a 5 inch screen!! That was a sight to see….

This is the best I got from Google images…the one we had was much smaller..;-P

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Hide and Seek

The big wooden almirah was the favourite hiding place for James when he played hide-n-seek with his brothers and cousins. It was one great place to hide….Mundane and non-descript at a corner in the big bedroom at the old house tucked amidst the thick foliage of tree at his native in Neliampathy. He would climb inside the biggest cabinet and lock himself up…. waiting until he could hear someone unlucky getting caught in the game…Once he closed himself in the almirah, the silence and darkness inside would heighten the thrill of the game. There was a small crevice inside the almirah through which he could see what’s happening outside…The power to see when others could not see you…he really relished that…But otherwise the brief moments inside the almirah was to crawl on top of the neatly ironed sarees inhaling the scent of cuticura talc which seems to linger always in that part of the room…A deeper sniff he could even smell the perfume which seems not to have worn off from the heap of clothes inside …

“mone.…James ee …go and take bath”

He could hear mom shouting from the kitchen…damn it….now of all the time, he sighed.…

He crouched silently inside the Almirah ignoring the warning from Amma….

It seems that Anto had finished counting and was already searching for them… Freddie would definitely be hiding behind the door in Ammachi’s room…and would easily be caught soon….He smiled satisfied with his own better calculations in choosing a much safer spot to hide…After all his cleverness and astuteness were known in the family….Thomas might be hiding under the bed in Appachen’s room….And as always his younger brother Philip would be in the same room as himself behind the huge suitcase….But no one was safe and secure as James himself…

It had been more than two minutes and seems like everyone was still safe in their places so far…

James relaxed a bit and started exploring the almirah….He could feel Appa’s watch and wallet somewhere….He could feel a bunch of keys hidden somewhere under the sari’s….But he kept them back soon for fear of creating any noise which might attract Deepu into the room…Through the little crack he could even see Philip cowering almost as if he was trying to hold his breath like Jerry hiding from Tom….he chuckled thinking about it..

Appa was sitting in the hall watching television with a friend of his… They were drinking something called whisky and talking loud….Appa sometimes become very happy after drinking or sometimes very angry….James wondered what kind of a juice was that anyways…..

What was that sound!!

James could see Deepu walking step at a time…James held his breath…though each step he took inside the room did not make even a whimper of a sound, James felt each a thunder….Deepu was looking under the bed and was checking the bathroom as well….James could see Philip but now crouched, like he was doing number two…And then Philip started walking towards James …

Eeshoyeee…he will open it now!!!

That’s when Amma came into the room and scolded Deepu for making a mess outside in the garden earlier in the day….Deepu went out of the room in a hurry and James could finally breathe…

Now Appa was shouting at Amma…..He began chuckling watching Amma getting scolded for him not taking the bath….

Amma was in a hurry as James could see her hurrying to the kitchen after cleaning up the bed…On the way Amma shouted again…

“James ee…Go and take bath…I ll get angry at you”

But then there was someone who was angry at her too….Appa was furious that beef fry was still not ready…And James heard Amma running from the kitchen to serve him the goddamn beef….He could smell it from here…and James was getting hungry….

Now Appa was in the room…His shirt was unbuttoned and an unlit cigarette was loosely hanging from his lips…He took a matchbox from the table drawer and left the room…

Wait…James could hear someone shouting….

Yes…Thomas has just been caught…He wanted to tell Philip but he seems almost frozen behind the suitcase….

It was almost 5 minutes now…James was sure Thomas and Freddie had been caught…but he waited…

Amma came to the room again and she was exhausted it seemed…And Appa came again into the room….He lighted a cigarette and was walking back…when Amma stopped him…

“Could you find James …He has still not taken a bath…and I have got work in the kitchen”

Appa’s eyes were red now….James was quite worried dad would search for him soon…But instead something else happened…

“Who me…” Appa moved closer to Amma and asked mocking at her…

James had seen Appa getting angry before…But this was different…….

“That little weasel is your son….the liability you bought along… Don’t expect me to be his Dad when I am not…! “…..Dad hissed at Amma in front of his eyes…

Amma slumped on the chair and James could see tears trickling down her eyes…and a desperate attempt to fight back sobs hidden inside for long…..That was a sad woman who was slaved to exist… a resigned existence enclosed in a shroud of a untold past ….Amidst all ado he saw Philip running out and fighting with Deepu…Over the shouting, through the crevice James could see Amma wiping of her tears as Dad went away…but the tears did not stop… Deepu was shouting that the game was over as everyone was caught….and saying James need not worry about searching others for the next round…

But James was worried….Worried that he found himself…and nowhere to hide from the truth…With closed eyes he reclined his head to the little crevice…it was pitch dark anyways.…

The game was over.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009


Oh dear !!
when you are near
Aint no fear.

Oh beer!!
You are
so dear
Bring on more cheer!!

My beloved beer, I sometimes get so overwhelmed emotionally when I sing the song that it leaves me in tears. Beer has always been a lager than life figure for me… My dear friends, today I would like to share with you the qualities of a beverage that makes life all the more meaningful…all the more purposeful…People say some times the existence of sun, rainbows, flowers…. are signs that God exists…But like someone said I feel the same when I see a mug of chilled beer….

Even in biblical passages the importance of beer has been elaborately described as you know from a wedding which happened at Bishop Pereira hall in Galilee….Several barrels of water were converted to nectarous beer by the Lord when there was a shortage of beer at the reception party…Though the French might argue it was wine, its quite obvious that it was beer since the incident happened at Cana from where the can beer originated. Moreover archeologist have recently discovered ancient mugs with a kingfisher label on it disapproving the skeptics.

Nevertheless let me explain to you the influence of beer in contemporary times…esp. in Germany where I currently stay and more importantly coz Germany and Beer are like Bread and Butter or say BJP and Jinnah !!

Any self-respecting beer aficionado would admit that the best beer in the world comes from Germany and its influence in the social fabric of this wonderful country is paramount…burp!! Due to the terrific social security coverage provided here, every new born in Germany is entitled to 6 mugs of beer every day from the day he/she is born. A vital nourishment of necessary proteins, carbohydrates and vitamins during the growing phase of a child…And unlike in India, employees are immediately dismissed if they are found attending office without the influence of beer which is considered gross violation of office ethics. Beer is also the medium of a barter exchange system which has been followed in Germany for several years...Roughly speaking, 3 barrels of good quality Bavarian beer can fetch you a Porsche 911….It was only a few months ago Lufthansa offered me a ticket to India in exchange for a case of beck’s beer. Advanced society it is, but unknown to the outside world is the bane of this country….the dowry system which is deeply rooted in the german psyche…Parents of poor german Heidi Klums have to work hard in the best days of their life to save euros for one beer brewery and a pair of lederhosen …the often acceptable dowry for a young Wolfgang!!…

The german beer is also famous for its excellent nutritive qualities….Consumption in large quantities can increase the intelligences of humans manifold…For e.g.…history has shown that Albert Einstein derived the formula e=mc² during one such binge drinking sessions at a beer hall in Munich….Renewed interest by researchers have lead scientists to notice that a Indian who has been residing in Germany for past 3 years(for privacy reasons person chooses to remain anonymous) started exhibiting remarkable intelligence previously never noticed…. Scientist in his home country and his parents especially consider it as a miracle of sorts… Press reporters contacted the brother of the alleged genius and they could only decipher a furious person shouting...”schmuck!!!!!!!!!”

To mark this event, the German chancellor has recently announced plans to honour another Indian Mr. Mallya for spreading the cheer across the world…He would be honored with a doctorate at the University of Potsdam for noteworthy contributions to the general state of bliss in people around parts of Asia….In a touching speech Angela Merkel told the press that she was so chilled to meet the Kingfisher from India and wished him good times in the years to come. As a reciprocatory humanitarian gesture Mr. Mallya spend several hours at a Kindergarten near Berlin narrating witty stories of Beerbal and AkBAR to the thrilled kids …

Talking about other influences of beer, its an integral part of the german cuisine … German Kanji which is basically rice soaked in beer and allowed to ferment overnight is a delicacy in this part of the world…smells wonderful the next day!!. This is though served only on celebratory occasions like demise of a mother-in-law or a divorce!! Beer is also very good if you are interested in indo-german cooking…One of my favorite indo-german meal is sausage thoran with rice and sambhar cooked in beer…Well if you want to be a tad adventurous you could try beer payasam too...Though I have never tried it coz I don’t experiment too much with recipes..

Nevertheless, it is heartening to see the benefits of beer touch lives in Germany…though sometimes knocking over….In the field of sports…street fights….and even medicine!! Beer is administered using intravenous fluid injections to treat cancer, AIDS, swine flu and cardio vascular diseases bringing care to millions of sick people….Devotees swarm at Munich every October to pay homage and take a dip in a barrel of beer which is supposed to have therapeutic effect to the mind and soul. I hope to make it one day….

It is unfortunate that there are many non-believers in the world whose anti-beer propaganda is causing deep anguish in us….And what all they say…. beer belly…whisky is better….beer smell is a turn off….blasphemy!! well what shall I say …

Grab a beer…or rather get a life!!

Prost!! :-)
p.s pic courtesy

Wednesday, September 02, 2009


Today out of sheer curiosity I checked the sent items from my mail box…sent items which were around three years old…Below are excerpts from mail communication which happened back then….

The mail below was the first one I send to home my relatives…forgive the poorly constructed sentences as it was meant to be a mail to be shared only with my family…some of my sentences are embarassing..i hope you can excuse me for that...;-P

After a really mad rush to buy to stuff before leaving, I finally reached blore on the 2nd of September. September third was onam feast at jimmy chachan’s place. And we were treated to some excellent delicacies by Lissy aunty...And then we played caroms with Ann and Tessa along with jimmy chachan, ravi chettan and Baby...In the evening Amma,ravi chettan and baby dropped me at the airport…On the way we dropped at a church to pray for a safe journey...and thankfully it worked out!!

The flight from Bombay to Charles de Gaulle airport was magnificent bcoz we had all sort of gizmos in the n all. Although the flight was 9 hours long I hardly slept for 3 hours as I was more pumped with adrenalin anticipating for a glimpse of Europe...It was enchanting to see sunrise from top of the world. Finally reached Paris at 7.45 am and had my own time to spare bcoz my next flight was only at 11.50 am. Spend that time marveling the beautiful airport..

The third leg of my trip was less exciting bcoz I was pretty tired bcoz of lack of sleep.And I slept through the flight from Paris to Hamburg.

And I finally stepped on Hamburg airport. I just cant help but recall the famous Neil Armstrong quote..A small step for Chekku but a giant leap for my dreams...hehehe..

And then just like Dasan in naadodikaatu I waved for a taxi and there comes a Mercedes Benz right in front of me..That was a bolt from the blue when I saw that most taxis here are top end luxury cars back home..reached my hotel in 15 min..But I guess that covered about 20 kms..Everything moves fast out here..My hotel is a small dingy room with all basic features..Nothing much to explain about..

I had lunch at 3 pm from a Indian restaurant near the hotel and spend about an hour roaming the places around the hotel.Evening ,I visited the residence of my boss and Had dinner from his place..So day 1 was kind of easing myself to hamburg climate ..

Day 2

Met a Indian colleague of mine in office and her briefed about the work n stuff..
I couldn’t meet my sahippu boss bcoz he had gone to Toulouse, France that day..

On Thursday I finally met my Sahippu boss and he will help me out with all work related things..
Meanwhile evenings I spend moving around the streets in hamburg..Took a tourist ferry which showed all the narrow waterways in Hamburg. They looked like Venice for me..
By the way Hamburg is the 2nd biggest port in Europe so its kinda place where lot of foreigners come..

Now I have started searching for a house here bcoz I cant stay in a hotel for long..Moreover I cant start a bank account /get a resident permit and get a mobile connection only after I find a house..So that the story till now…

The climate here is excellent ..15-20 deg max…Although its going to snow in the coming months..Thats the part am looking forward to..

Guess this is the biggest letter I have written ever…Neways thanx a lot for the prayers and wishes..


Today i got some free time in office.
The initial days of boredom (coz of absence of work) are over. Nowadays am in full throttle at work place...and time runs by fast.. Here its pretty cold now…occasionally dropping to minus temperatures…fortunately the sweaters and jackets help me keep cozy...Once you are inside house there isn’t any problem coz we switch on the heaters. Since its winter now. Sun rises at around 7.45 am and its dark by 4.30 pm...I found it strange that there is hardly any time with proper daylight during winter. The 'fall' part was awesome ..In a matter of weeks...the leaves turned into a hue of…etc…until all of em fell down...In a matter of weeks the trees are left with just the trunk and branches..

Pinee regarding the food part...breakfast is usually some quick fix on weekdays…sandwiches…fruits...corn flakes...leftover chappatis...Lunch time I take something from the canteen in office...Some occasional spurts of adventurism encourages me to try out the german dishes…Though the chicken/pork/fish which they make has little or no spice...they are quite edible. Deserts are somehow what make things attractive for me...esp. the puddings.. Am having some variety of pudding with fruit salads almost daily...And then you have potato engineered into different forms...french fires...baked potato…steamed potato.. and then 100's of breads of different shape and that more or less makes up my lunch..

Veetil timepass is TV...internet...adventurous cooking...I can infact watch Asianet through internet…So at times i get to catch up a few movies in it.. Last week i made fish fry and fish molly...I got the recipe for Fish Molly from the net and tried it out...Although it might not have been exactly fish Molly after i prepared ,it came close to a Fish Susanna or something!! :) ..I had all the things to make the curry except curry leaves. so it did not turnout bad actually...And my andhrite roommate brings up some hot n spicy Andhra dishes which am liking….Food is now not a big headache as i expected!!

Read your letter with more details. Still we all are eager to know more and more about Germany and your life there. Any problem in communication outside office? How is your boss? Have you got freedom to write personal letters at the office? What about your washing and ironing? Did the pickle stain go from your shirts? Are there people helping you find a house? Giving suggestions?
I am very very slow in typing. Still I plan to send an e-mail to you on alternate days. I have taken leave for tomorrow as I have so much work to be completed. Yesterday Daddy and Aunty were here. We played cards for sometime. Special items were cutlets, manga chammandi, and semia payasam. How do you like German food? Hope your life is tension free and the work or training you have is manageable. ..

My dear Chekku
Necessity is the mother of invention and as such I somewhat learnt how to e-mail. Very happy to hear that U are comfortable there. U must have started procedures to settle yourself . Praying God that you may tide over difficulties (if any) successfully. Conveniences of the hotel you are staying-like an average Indian hotel room? food available? cost of living? How many more days can u stay at the hotel? xxxx will pay the bill?After U get internet connection U will know news about India and Kerala?

lots of love

Hi Chetta,
Hope u r enjoying life with beers. Have you substituted it for water. By now you must have watched all the DVD's that you had taken there. Did you get to visit that Nazi concentration camp? If not, would be nice if u buy a digital cam so that we can also have a glimpse of that and also other places u plan to visit during your stay.

My dear Chekku,
We are all very much relieved that you started staying in a house and there is a Malayalee staying with you.. How is your new residence? Facilities? Accessibility to traffic? Can you have one room for yourself? Rent? Advance?
Regarding recipes:

Chicken - 1 kg
Tomato -3
Masala powder: Use the powder taken from here (3 tablespoons)
Ginger paste (1 teaspoon) or if pieces 1/2 tablespoon
Small onions (chopped)-10, or 2 big onions
Garlic - 6 pieces
Salt to taste
Oil (as required, max. 1.5 tablespoon)

Heat oil in a kadai (or pressure cooker) and sauté the onions, garlic and ginger. When the aroma starts from the mixture, add the paste of the masala powders and fry in low flame. Add the chopped tomatoes and fry for a while. Now add the chicken pieces and salt and cook with the vessel closed. Put the weight of the cooker and increase the flame. When 1st whistle is heard, lower the flame and keep for 15 mins more. Now the chicken curry is ready.

You can make modifications according to the flops you make. As your housemate knows cooking you can consult him. Is it common or self cooking?

Is it training or work for you now? How is it? No tension? Manageable? Are you getting letters from your friends? Expecting long letters from you.
with lots of love

When I read these mails I was chuckling….laughing when I think about how much I have changed and how much the people around me have changed as well…the curiousity to know how I was adjusting to a new life and culture....Today I finish my three years in Germany…..It has been a roller coaster of a ride….I can still remember my first flight…my first drive in a Mercedes taxi…my first stay in a hotel alone… first time talking to a non-Indian….my first time having a meal with knife and fork….there were so many new and first things which happened in the month of September three year ago…..I remember that the day before the flight we celebrated onam at my uncle’s place in Bangalore….I think I was not really tense for some reason and I really don’t know why I was not….probably I was too overwhelmed by the turn of events….But today in office...everything was déjà vu…when I opened the door (used to get confused big-time the initial days coz in India we pull the door to open unlike here…), when I had lunch with colleagues with knife and fork (I was trying to sneak a glance how others did it during those initial lunches), when I said hello to my german colleague (apprehension about how to interact with a european colleague)…. It indeed was a learning experience for me all these years….

Thanks to all of you for keeping wonderful company in the blogworld…thanks to my friends and relatives who kept checking on me for the last three years…thanks to my parents…thanks to the Indian community in Hamburg…thanks to my german friends and colleagues…and thanks to Deutschland for being a wonderful host country and teaching me a lot!!! :)

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Happy Onam and a bloglink

Well its the time of the year for all malayalees to celebrate and spend time with family, buy new clothes and enjoy the fabulous sadya....Wishing you all a happy onam....I have been blogging much less these days, but I got something good to read....My aunt who is retired English professor is a excellent writer, a great chef and above all a wonderful person...Recently on her 60th birthday, her kids gifted a printed book which contained most of the articles, poems or speeches written by her. Although I was promised a copy of the book I was too curious to read it and got the soft copy from my cousin...And true to the spirit of a blogger, I could not resist putting them in a blog and share the work to you...The entire content of the book was copied to this blog ( The contents are a eclectic mix of poems, thoughts and speeches...And the language is great true to the skills of a English professor who was teaching for 35 years !!! So this blog is a onam gift to all of you!! Thanks to my aunt!! :-)


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Hochzeit* im Hamburg

Last weekend I was lucky to attend a wedding in town…Normally I wouldn’t have reasons to be tense attending a wedding coz am usually accompanying someone …Back home my parents would take care of the pleasantries while attending the wedding…or if its with friends we usually never bother about the pleasantries part…means we directly go for the kill at the feast…But this wedding was way different.

1) It was happening in Germany european ishtyle and I had no clue about the customs ..
2) I did not have an acquaintance with most folks who were invited to the function.
3) Unlike a panchayat which is roughly the size invited for a Indian wedding this was a wedding attended by 100 odd people…That meant you couldn’t just have your sausage and beer and go unnoticed.

So there was me suffering pre-wedding jitters…or rather pre-wedding attendance trauma…It also meant I had to do my research…Unlike back home where you could walk in to a wedding wearing your old jeans and ‘Che Guevara’ t-shirt. I was haunted by movie scenes from western weddings where men and women of fine tastes strutted around in elegant costumes… And occasionally I have seen some weddings here royal style with a horse driven carriage and all that…Everyone for that matter looked like a James Bond or a Wall Street Banker, polished and suave…That meant I had to actually ‘think’ about what I wear…

Do you have any idea how traumatizing its for an invitee at the wedding to choose his dress??…Someone who normally takes a decent looking polo T shirt from the nearest shop suddenly found himself walking in and out of most shops in Hamburg…The journey finally culminated at Karstadt where a german shop attender at the shop literarily pacified me..

‘Herr Mathias. Das ist nicht your wedding...kaiko tension le raha hein!!!’

kasam se...he said that!!

Finally after research which included lot of wiki-ing, visiting the State library of German Weddings, meeting marriage- divorce consultants, attending self-help groups, secretly filming weddings around town, subscribing to fashion magazines, attending a Versace memorial lecture on trends of 2009, placing calls to fashionably blessed people in Italy, writing anonymous letter to Vanitha magazine seeking guidance, praying and lighting 100 candles at the nearby church requesting the Lord to give me a sign, I finally decided to go for a white shirt and a yorn trouser. A small yet significant step.

The next step was to buy a gift. Well in India buying a gift is so easy… coz you don’t really to have buy one…You just need to pass on the 45th dinner set or the 26th clock which is stocked at home after the house warming function which happened way back in 1990. If you look at India from space, you can basically see that the gifts are never bought, it just gets circulated among the masses from Patiala to Pune to Palakkad and back to son of the Patiala family several years later. But then this is no India…What normally happens here is that the couple would have a list of preferred gifts put up in a popular shop in town where invitees can put their money in full or part if its an expensive gift…This would mean no duplication of gifts!! This couple though had no such list which meant I had to do my espionage to find out what they might actually like as a gift. The process was quite similar to my dress search but slightly less strenuous.. and primarily based on online consultation. It seems like most people like Mont Blanc pens or Swarovski crystals!! L After some path breaking research it was found that the couple were better off with euros than a self-help cook book which I was planning to pen down specially for the occasion. Another small and yet significant step over.

Aug 15th 2009 The D-day

As I woke up I knew it was a very important day in my life…something which could change my life forever.…After grooming myself (I must have shaved 3 times in 2 hrs for continuous harvesting of any concurrently sprouting facial hair), I stepped out of home for the big event. I took the S-bahn (metro) to St Theresa’s church where the bride had just arrived. All around were Reid and Taylor James Bond’s in various hues and colours….bald malayalee James Bond’s, not so bald malayalee James Bond’s, fat malayalee James Bond’s, not so fat malayalee James Bond’s , old Bond’s and new Bond’s, all kinds and I was there in my shirt and trouser.. For the first time in my life I felt like being naked in public inspite of being fully clothed… eww…My mind wandered to a scene from a famous malayalam movie…”ithu pole simple dress itta purushanmare penkuttikalkku ishtam alle…don’t they like” I looked up in the sky just for that sign from god…luckily there were no crows in Germany.

After sometime the arrival of similarly clad germans gave me much needed relief…after all I was not the only one…Inside the church the wedding went smooth…As usual I did lip-sync to german hymns…just making a feeble noise whenever the word ‘Got (God)’ came up….But I think my acting skills were good enough to make me look like a Pavarotti in a passionate stance… Well I forgot to mention the couple…They were two german malayalee sisters getting married to german guys….so it was a double wedding…and indo-german…Of amusement to many were the part of incorporating Indian traditions in the wedding…one of the brides wore a saree...there were malayalam songs….seemati saree exchange…and exchange of thali…Though I think the germans got confused coz they were more familiar with chicken thali at the Indian restaurants than wedding thali…The detailed explanation from the priest saved the day.. Outside the church we had champagne to celebrate the day… Meanwhile I met some familiar faces and made acquaintances in the meantime...

By 18:30 we were at the nearby restaurant for the reception.. The reception reminded me of a scene back home when only the well-abled gatecrashers would have meal in the first rounds after the wedding…People usually have to prepare days in advance for it…Its funny to see peoples faces during the mad rush…torn between voices saying…”maintain decorum maintain decorum” and the rest saying...”food…food...go grab it idiot”…It’s a internal emotional struggle in which people finally succumb to the food…Well here the weddings usually are very small...often the invites don’t number more than 2 dozens….And the great part is there is already a seat in your name at the hall….So its like you already have advanced booking...

There were customary toasts from the grooms…which were so funny coz i noticed everyone was laughing and then the wine started flowing….and soon then the food was ready to be served….Classic Indian fare….and though less spicy it was really nice…fried rice..chicken..beef..noodles...

By 10:30 I had enough food and wine that germans around me nodded in agreement saying…you are one of us now… It was a lifelong ambition to meet german consumption standards… In the meantime I even met a malayalee who had come down for the wedding from US and turned out to a fella from the neighbourhood in my native….again reaffirming the age old truth that all mallus know each other… Pleasant to observe was that there was no Indian “tradition” of sporting kilograms of gold or blatant display of wealth…Everyone were really having a good time…

And then the DJ started playing music….And the couple started dancing ball room style…I was seeing something like that for the first time in my life and the last time I saw a dance was ‘appadi podu kandale’ during a college skit…I noticed that this kind of dance is slightly different…The dancing made all the german couple come out to savor the moment…even arthritis ridden german appachen’s and ammachis started swaying to the music…The Appachen’s danced with bride as well...Though it was funny to see one 7 foot 300 pounder dancing with the poor bride holding her as if she was like a loose thread…just picture yourself dancing with the great Khali!!! Nevertheless I never dared shaking a leg with the crowd considering the serious embarrassment it could cause to our nation and the bigger picture of indo-german bilateral relations.

Oh and btw all along people were consuming copious quantities of liquor…there was a small bar which was set up outside…And it was a chance for me to express my solidarity with Cuba Libre and deep appreciation for white Russians....By midnight the wedding cake was cut…and surprisingly I had enough space in my stomach for a huge chunk of marzipan cake…mighty proud of you my boy!! (a small pat to my tummy)

And around 1:00 am there was the bouquet throwing ceremony…there was a almost a stampede of deutsche Frau’s to catch em...and the music continued….sometimes with small breaks for some video slides of old times...or little games…..At 3:30 am…everyone are out in the open to mark the closing ceremony…they light some kind of hot air balloon and the couple sends them up in the sky…Quite a treat to watch them..

At 4:00 am…I met the couple and gave them advice on how to live further…
Johannes…you shall not drink if your wife objects…
Daniel..*hush*....Tell Johannes the beer is behind the car.....

I think I was very statesmanlike and the couple looked upto me for valuable advice on things in how to lead a noble life...and like that.....At 4:30 am I was on my way home in the metro…The train passes through Reeperbahn…one of the famous red light areas in Europe…and there was a flood of late partying folks entering the train…some clothed partially due to scarcity of clothes in german party scene …most of them had lot of metal parts protruding on their faces….nose rings...ear rings…great hair styles...Mohawks…and outlandish costumes....leather stirrups...

And I was there, the only soul in that coach…neatly combed, wearing a full sleeve shirt neatly tucked to the trouser and sporting polished shoes…you know how it feels to be dressed like that in a coach full of drunk hippies!!;-D


Friday, August 07, 2009

Queen Mary 2

This is just a quick post coz I couldn’t resist share few pics…

While I was on my way home from office as usual I was sitting at the upper deck of the ferry….You get great wind and ofcoz the tiny sprinkles of water from the boats bow sort of cools your face…I have to cross this river and I cycle my way home along the promenade…And today at a distance I saw this…

Hamburg being the second biggest port in Europe is often host to giant ships…And I often see them on the way home…It takes truly someone special to make our necks turn…And from the distance it was unmistakable who she was…

Hamburg is a port of call for the marvelous Queen Mary 2 and I usually never miss a chance to see it whenever it comes down… Somehow I had completely forgotten its latest visit…People in Hamburg welcome and see off this ship with much aplomb…In the evening there are fire works…lot of food…beer…and it’s always a festive time when the ship is in town…

So on a Friday after working late in office (6 pm is late here. ;-P)...I was lucky to have a close look at the beauty…I have seen the Freedom of the Sea (supposed to have a higher tonnage)..But it nowhere can match the charm of QM2…As our boat moved close the ship most of us just looked amazed at the size and aesthetics which goes into the shop…Inspite of having seen it several times before, it comes naturally for us pull out our mobiles to take that just one more snap..…Usually you have to pay a good amount in private ferries to get up so close…Today I was lucky to leave office just in the nick of time..;-D

Happy weekend friends… ;-)

P.S. Apologies for the poor quality of snaps…taken using mobile camera..

Friday, July 31, 2009


Several years ago, jaunting to the beach was arguably the most awaited trip as a kid….For anyone who has lived in Trivandrum would have delightful memories of unwinding at the sandy shores of Shangumukhom on a cloudless evening watching the sun kiss the glorious Arabian sea…The Shangumukhom beach is like the home beach for Trivandrumites unlike Kovalam which had long been outsourced to flocking tourists in the city…Infact they are two distinct beach cultures …You wouldn’t find local residents frequenting Kovalam as much as this beach which is much closer to the city….and probably more beloved to the people as well..

Last December during my vacation home I had gone to the beach with my folks at home….Lazing near the beach , caressed by the salty breeze it was tempting to look back in time…..bringing back a flood of memories…. Of a kid who would be holding chappals in his hand even before the bus came to a halt at the beach stop… And race with his bro or cousins to the beach to be the first to dip his legs in lukewarm waves …Today I was sitting at the renovated promenade watching kids doing the same like we did some 15 years ago…Running with the same zeal and enthusiasm towards the wet sand…. pretending to cheat the wave by racing back to the shore in a gratifying game of taming the sea….I was looking at the whole scene…albeit as an observer….longing to generate within me the same unbridled emotions which pulled you towards the sea as a kid….but you are not a kid anymore…you just don’t ‘create’ those feelings, sensible people say….

And then I look behind in a physical sense…In the earliest memories I have of the beach there was no star fish restaurant….there was no sea mermaid sculptured by Kanhai Kunjiraman….There was no children’s park….The place was all about…the coffee house…the stone pavilion…and the sprawling beach….the sparse beach untouched by commercialization.


Sometime in early 90’s………

When cousins came down to town…everyone had just one question in their lips…

“When are we going to the beach??”

The kids would begin a often annual ritual of begging the elders at home to take us to the beach …Believe me the desperation we showed would have set new benchmarks in begging proficiency…It’s a wild gamble coz we considered our elders as anti-beach people…

I remember in particular a trip when my uncle, aunt and cousins came down to Tvm …After several hours of begging and pleading we were finally going to the beach…They had come in a four seater maruti omni….We were 4 adults and 4 kids…As you can expect the 4 kids were dumped to the boot of the van…rather we preferred it that way…Oh Boy!! We had hell of a time…doing all sorts of antics and showing faces at drivers of other vehicles tailing us…occasionally the youngest one among us was brave enough to indulge in some cabaret or a occasional topless moonwalk in the confined space…which ofcoz must have sufficiently embarrassed the adults sitting snug in the business class chamber upfront…

We enjoyed those beach trips all the more when the cousins came down...coz it was in some sense the chance to showcase ‘our’ beach to the people from a beach-less land…and ofcourse it was probably more exciting coz visiting a beach would be a once in a year affair for them…And it was always extra-special to visit the beach in a car since you could wear your beach wear which would mean the ‘branded’ apparels from Ramachandran textiles….And once the car comes to a halt there is an fervent urge to run towards the sea …almost suicidal…The parents would have to maintain a vigil coz the hyper excited kids behave like dogs out of a kennel … Well there is another sub story which probably only myself and bro would relate to…coz my parents were quite strict and we were not really much used to the free culture…it was more like us guys from Iran who were just set free into Las Vegas one fine day….So you know we would relish every bit of the beach glasnost…Maybe for a few hours forget completely that end of the day we would have to go back to the Republic of Iran in Muttada…!!

I have lost my spectacles...chappals…and countless other things to the waves of this wonderful beach….After a hour or two of getting drenched, splashing water at each other, anticipating the waves that looked so menacing at a distance and then mocking at it, throwing stuff to sea and hoping it would come back, doing racing bouts just for the heck of it, chasing crabs and searching for sea shells…the things you could do in a beach!!!
I cannot remember a single instance when we said…

‘Oh…we are tired...lets go home!!’

Infact I don’t know if kids ever get tired in a beach...its simply not possible!!….Then we get the call from Ayatollahs…I mean the parents…. to get back to the shore and dry up…But then …”oru 10 mins” …”oru 5 mins koodi”…..a ritual which would somehow manage to delay the return back to the shore almost felt like you were leaving a country when you had to relinquish the wet sands to the dry shore…then we would idly sit for sometime allowing ourselves to dry….the parents would toss to us salted peanuts or popcorn bought from the street vendors nearby… Then we all squat admiring at the brilliant sunset…The sunset at Shangumukhom is exceptionally beautiful….It is an absolute stunner of a sight to watch the sun going down with the silhouettes of catamarans coming back to the shore in the backdrop’s a sight which painters dream of…

After that we would get up to walk back home…the kids would then want to bid goodbye to the waves and in pretext of wetting their foot would spend a few minutes at the fringes of the foamy waves…Sometimes we go sit on the little hill from where you could see the flights landing and taking off from the Trivandrum airport…Watching the airplanes used to be a crazy passion those days…Its ironic that I now work in a place where they make those flying things and I am watching them daily….Our eyes would trail the flight path until it disappeared in the sky…the thunder of the engines each time a flight took off would reverberate in our hearts….The curiousness of how it might feel to be up in the air…and how the inside of an aircraft might look like…these thoughts would occupy our minds…

Then the entire family would walk to the coffee house…and have their classic masala dosa and coffee….The smell and feel of the breeze from the beach would act like as an appetizer as we gorge on the food…

By night we are at home…back to enclosed spaces… walls…back to tap water….as we clean ourselves up of the sand which has accumulated in our pockets….After a well taken bath we just sit back and relax….tired yet glad about a day well spend…a trip which would be talked about for several days or months to come when all of us get together….a trip which would be explained in detail to other cousins whose envy would give us delirious pleasure..

And this December after we spend a hour at the beach…I said….’Lets go home!!!’
Listening to mappilla song..have a nice weekend ..:-)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Not too taxing a tag...;-)

I was tagged by Bindu chechi who has been a wonderful encouragement for me in the blogworld….This tag is though different from the usual tags coz this is about unpleasant things….but at the same time it helps in identifying things which can irritate others…So the tag is about 10 things that tax me emotionally...The way I approach people and lives I try the best to avoid emotionally taxing situations…But still you come across some… Here it is..

1. People who exploit others knowing very well that the other person is of accommodating nature…They are people who very well know what they are doing is wrong but still do it with a attitude that says...”oh...i know he/she wouldn’t say anything!!” Well I have experience such with folks….They are quite the masters at pretending to be the innocent person if we question their actions….

2. People who don’t respect time….I hate it when people make you wait or if I am reason for making people wait…Being punctual is a obsession for me….I am not a person for who expects a “ 5 minutes” to last only 5 more minutes….Making people wait is a sign of disrespect to other person and I have huge respect for people who respect it….:)

3. People who talk loud and crib about everything…The kind of people whose attitude is ..”Life sucks!!”, “The system sucks!!”…..Perpetually unhappy people whose purpose in life is to find mistake in everything…Stay away from them...I prefer happy people around me…

4. Folks who complain about others and trying to find negatives about another individual when the person very well has the same kind of flaws. And even worse if the person is insisting in making the other person look in bad light…

5. Friends and family who ask questions I am not comfortable with…Questions which are personal and inquisitive in nature when I have no intention of talking about it….And the funny part is that they know it and still ask questions as if deriving some sadistic pleasure out of it…

6. People who ignore you inspite of the fact that you value and respect the person a lot…When the camaraderie that person shows in absolutely fake…. And there is always a philosophical statement to justify why they behave like that…The pain of realising the truth takes time to heal..

7. People who try to preach religion and give unsolicited advice about how I should lead my life….Like my tagger said… People who go overboard with showing off their piousness but are not so saintly inside…I am not a big fan of lip service as far as faith is concerned. And when people try to enforce me into it , it irritates me.

8. Stubborn un-accommodative people…Any relationship with.. friends…family…colleagues...need a level of adaptation and understanding to the other person’s needs…to lend a ear to the other’s thoughts….And when the other person is not ready to accept the different view or admit a mistake the relationship is as good as putting two Ambani’s in the same room.

9. Waiting for medical results...This ofcoz is a personal phobia…I have a fear of hospitals unless I am visiting the place as a ‘tourist’…but otherwise there is nothing more taxing than visiting a hospital to know the status of health of your relatives and friends...I have to admit it taxes me big time..

10. I am a person who generally suppresses my anger unless I really cant bear it anymore…Sometimes the effort needed to forgive a person and the desperate fight to beat anger at the same time can be emotionally taxing…its probably easier to vent out the anger but at the same time I become guilty about doing it pretty fast as well….Catch 22!!

Well…thinking of it…this tag was quite easy…..This tag is open to anyone…as I am not sure how many of you would like to take this up…..

Do check out the wonderful tribute to the chair here.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

mantrimahodayji kripya dhyan dheejeyee!!

So finally the new government is kicking some dust in the business of rajneeti…Things have come a long way from Roti, Kapada aur Makaan...Nowadays they say Facebook, Twitter aur Orkut….You must have heard that government has decided to implement a scheme where every Indian would have a facebook profile by 2020. Based on your likes and dislikes the government would be able to directly reach out to the ‘basic needs’ of the people…Recently in a trial run I was the lucky recipient of a Padma Bhushan after they misread my crush for Padma Lakshmi in facebook!!

Well…well...I am loving this new government!!…First of all, it was so charming of Mamata to present her railway budget in French…. (My bad French, this is how it sounded though: railway projoct komittee has porformed in interest auf poor shoshity…*interrupted by someone*). And the resident retard was looking very upset and vociferously criticized Mamata’s decision to allocate funds for improving facilities in Patna by ignoring Bihar!! There was even a huge hue and cry when she announced her decision to make Howrah a world class station coz according to the MP’s from Bengal, it was already a world class station modeled around Leningrad 1935….

However point to be noted, the Railway budget has always been like this. We have had instances when the railway minister would promise a Jan Shatabdi faster than an Airplane!! The Air India officials were apparently late in realizing about whom the minister was talking about.. But to give due credit to the airline they have an impeccable and friendly service modeled on which are the now famous Guantanamo bay receptionist trainee program...

Anyways the bottom-line is our govt rocks…We have a prime minister who can attend the G8 summit and invite the Italian prime minister to participate in Rakhi Sawant ka swaymvar considering his profound interest in such matters. Probably he stands a fair chance in the competition. Unless Sarkozy comes into the picture!! It was apparently in a similar event called Carla Bruni ka Swaymvar that the gentleman was drawn into and the inevitable happened…

And I think our choice of ministers is amazing…In a conflict situation, imagine enemy soldiers rounding up people in South Block and they would haul up a paavam looking A.K Antony and shout....

‘Tell us where is your defence minister!!’

He arguably is a defence minister who least resembles a defence minister…Infact he can never look like a menacing defence minister...Along with Chidambaram who with his flowing Tambaram dhoti look like brothers owning a chain of Saravana Bhavans!!

Though some of the ministries amuse me…Are we the only county which has got a ministry of steel …so that is like racism to Aluminum eh….and a Ministry of Natural Gas?!!…hic...well it helps to have a Murali ‘Deo’ to take care of it!! phew...

But unlike the gents the woman politicians are a league apart…The lady from TN, The firebrand leader from Bengal and the statue aunty from UP….We don’t really have a boring woman politician in our country unless we include Prathiba Patel….I mean definitely Mamataji is not the kind of aunty who would make rasgulla’s in the evening when you come back from school and neither can you imagine Jaya aunty making a nice idli-sambhar breakfast on Pongal day….I think the three together would make a nice movie like Charlie’s Angels…

And ofcoz in the parliament you could see the commies sitting like those college guys with 10 supplies and 3 suspensions…you know the rebels who are the verge of getting expelled from college and yet trying hard to look threatening…There is absolutely no prakash in Prakash Karat’s face these days…Probably some Lavlin bulbs at the party office might brighten him thinks..

Btw the Lok Sabha resident psychiatrist has mentioned that the civil supplies minister is in depression over the absence of any depression over Bay of Bengal…The poor monsoon has apparently come as a rude shock to the rodents in FCI godown which for long has never been consumed by humans.

Information and broadcasting minister has banned ‘Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince’ for insulting anemic people in the country. It was after J. K Rowling intervened and convinced the ministry about Indian culture the movie espouses was the movie cleared. Though the movie is expected to face stiff competition from another movie which again espouses Indian culture called Kambakkht Ishq!

Well keeping asides such little differences...It is truly heart warming to see the bonhomie among the ministers.. Little differences are resolved amicably...Even though Verappa loves moily food he would gladly forego it if Jaipal is not reddy for it. Thick friends they are!!

Oh…Just saw this message flashing in the news...

“I am feeling very bored ---Kasab”

Apparently Pranabda felt very sympathetic to the plight of the poor chap…He arranged for 24 hrs streaming of his eloquent presentation of the finance budget and a detailed analysis of the same in 1700 slide PowerPoint by Chidambaram…. Pakistan has unilaterally agreed to stop state sponsored terrorism after the authorities watched in horror what their citizens were being subjected to …

P.S. Listening to Vanessa Paradis

Friday, July 17, 2009

Rahmah and Hannah

Warning: Long post..spare sometime..;-)

When Rahmah was born she kept her eyes shut tight for a long long time…For it was unpleasant to trade the comfortable darkness of the womb, her residence of past nine months with the unwelcome and scorching Arabian sun. Having a good roof over the makeshift hospital was a luxury in Palestine those days…The walls inside the delivery ward had more bullet holes than plug points and the windows hardly any drapes to give Rahmah’s mother the luxury of dignity. Needless to say, nobody cared about dignity in a place where doctors are sometimes not sure whether the ticking sound comes from the medical equipment or a bomb planted nearby…Being alive was way over the price of dignity. And against all odds, Rahmah was born that summer.

In Palestine every new born is greeted by the organization as live ammunition…literally ‘LIVE’. An ammo which doesn’t come under the control of economic sanctions and other global niceties like arms embargo...For them every new born is a potential suicide bomber, a sacrificial lamb for the greater cause...And for every mother a coerced sacrifice which she never wished to see…

Brooklyn, 2003

Rahmah is 9 years old now and attending the Joan of Arc School. The teachers loved the cutest girl in class…energetic, charming and sporting a toothy grin hard to ignore... The day was special coz she was going to sing ‘Edelweiss’ for the annual school talent event.

‘You will just do great Rahmah….don’t worry!!’
Melanie quipped as she drove her to school.

Rahmah was never worried as she kept gazing outside the window enjoying the morning traffic…Rather she was more concerned about Melanie making it to office in time. In fifteen minutes the car drove into one of the finest schools in Brooklyn.

‘Do well… Rahmah….’

Rahmah hugged Melanie and plucked a kiss on her cheek…Melanie hugged her back and bid goodbye to Rahmah….While beating the New York traffic on her way there was a smile on Melanie’s face…

Finally she felt like a mother.

Brooklyn 1992

It is difficult for new immigrants to find a job in this country, especially if you are not precisely from a country and rather a settlement called the West Bank. When Fatimah arrived with her husband as refugees on the run they were madly in love and hanging on each other’s shoulders like teenage hippies on a long road trip... But you know fantasies don’t last long and they figured out in America where people don’t live on goodwill alone, Dollars maketh the man! So after a few months when Fatimah knocked the doors of a wealthy Brooklyn couple for a job they accepted her as a secretary at their home office...

West Bank 1994

Three years of negotiations and several summits later…

‘Arafat and Rabin win Nobel prize!’

The headlines flashed all over the place…People were euphoric in West Bank…It seemed, finally things were going to change…Abdul and Fatimah were among them , back in the land they were born… With renewed hope of a lasting peace, Abdul had no second thoughts about flying back home…Brooklyn did not have a soul he said when Fatimah protested….It is easy to fall for it when you passionately phrase your dreams to the other person …

“Fatimah…Don’t you wish to live near a house at the banks of Jordan, near your mother humming songs of Fairuz and watch our children play in the vineyards we would grow….Or do we live in this concrete country far away from our people…Don’t you have dreams? ”

Fatimah had dreams, but she never felt a foreigner in the country with someone like Melanie who was not just an employer, but a friend...Melanie found in her a companion who brought sanity to the fast lives they were living…They had become pillars of strength for each other.

“Fatimah…Do you really have to go”

“Yes Melanie…There are probably…hmm… some vineyards in Palestine”

Gaza strip 1995

When Rahmah was born Fatimah shrieked in pain…cried in agony for giving birth to a child whose father died only a day ago in an air strike. It was a desperate cry to save her child of the misery than the physical pain…. In Palestine it is rare to find a complete family…Often someone is missing for not so natural causes.

At the make shift hospital, the nurse wrapped the baby in white linen and kept her beside the mother…

‘Rahmaaah…….’ Fatimah whispered to her child…

Rahmah finally opened her eyes to the Arabian sun…

Cairo 1996

Melanie and Kauffman are very tense at the airport. Flying from Egypt to US is usually not a big deal but if you have unauthorized cargo tugging along with you and especially if it is an 8 month old baby, you ought to be tense…A few months ago when Fatimah wanted to ask Melanie to take her back in America, the rules of the world had unfortunately changed…she instead sent a letter.

The family from Brooklyn did not have a child…infact they couldn’t conceive a child….Fatimah wrote a letter to the family with an offer which they could not deny.

The border between Egypt and Gaza is usually like the cosmic black hole but when people desperately want to escape, they somehow find a way out….Rahmah was smuggled to Egypt in a daring escape…A prophet had once crossed the same path long ago for survival of a people from persecution…And today a little baby took the road west.

Melanie would have a lot of explaining to do…but American wealth would help sometimes…

Gaza strip 2004

There is no other place in the world which is called a strip….Probably it is named like that coz it is stripped of any human spirit….stripped of any desire to survive like the drying Jordan river.

The refugee camp was now administered by the Israeli army. Everything was…commodities…letters…These days you never know how they send those bombs… Sharon the tall guy from Tel Aviv was posted recently at the refugee camp. The army treated him well and he had finished the rigorous training with the green berets a year ago…With a wife and baby there was a lot in life he looked forward to.

That day Sharon was shocked when he found one of the letters for the refugees had the photo of his little baby, Hannah. ‘How could it be possible…?’ Lieutenant Sharon wondered holding the card!!

The letter came from Melanie his collegemate whose house he had visited a few months ago. He stayed at their place during a family vacation to the States...….He had met Rahmah whom he could recollect from the card, the beautiful American girl…daughter of Melanie Kauffman…

He volunteered to deliver the letter…curious to know the recipient …

Sitting near a parched well was this woman who looked like around fifty years old…He asked for her papers… she was only 33.…He showed the lady the photograph…

‘Do you know her?’

She looked at the photo of Rahmah holding Hannah the daughter of the Israeli soldier standing in front of her….

10 years of war…a lost husband…life of a refugee…devoid of any ambition…but she still did smile…

“Yes...she is my Rahmah”

The Israeli soldier walked back poignant after handing her the card…He was trained to be devoid of emotions…But…

Two daughters born probably just a few meters apart….unable to play together due to destiny of war…Two adults from across the fence who cannot hug each other…..But there was Rahmah holding his daughter Hannah thousand miles away as if it was the most precious thing she ever knew…

P.S. Orginal photo from flickr

P.P.S. The real name of the girl is Rahmah as well..

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

The tag of Four!

It has been ages since I have done a tag….and this tag from Nona has come has a welcome change from the routine…thanks a lot Nona.. :D

Four places you have lived

  1. Trivandrum: This is the city where I lived as a kid…The place gives me mixed emotions…sometimes fiercely proud and sometimes disgruntled …Over the last 2 decades the city has changed a lot…and evolved from a quiet town to a growing city.

  2. Pune: This place gives fond memories coz this was the city where I started working…For a guy who was used to the laid back lifestyle of Trivandrum, this was truly a happening place… a place which I found more vibrant than Bangalore…I like Bangalore for entirely different reasons…

  3. Mysore: 2 years is what I spend in this town which I would argue as the place with the best weather in south India…I have a fondness for the town which predates to the time I watched the movie Nammakku Parkkan munthirithoppukkal (which was shot there)…I cant give justice to the place in a few lines...maybe a post later..

  4. Hamburg: a school boy or as a college kid if someone told would end up 3 years in Hamburg...i would have called him crazy….but then that’s how it works out in life…go places you never expected…meet people you never would have otherwise!! I am simply in love with this beautiful green city which was recently rated as the 14th best place to live in the world…muhuhuaah….

Four TV shows you love(d) to watch

  1. Frasier: Without a doubt Frasier would be my all time favourite show…inspite of watching the same seasons several times the plots never cease to amaze me…The humour in this show is what I would ideally call classic humour...I think occasionally I am influenced on a subconscious level to imitate the style of this show when I write certain posts …Believe me F.R.I.E.N.D.S fans, this is far better…!! :-D

  2. Seinfeld: I retain this from Nona’s tag coz this is a favourite show of mine too…I like Seinfeld’s stand up routines as well…

  3. Omanthinkkal pakshi: I love the serial for the sheer range of emotions it evokes…the storyline and the drama is something I never miss…even the Nirapara arri ads seems to blend with the plot….usually I try to catch up on the repeat telecast at 3 in the morning to further grasp the essence of the characters. I am the secretary of ‘Omanthinkkal fans association’ in Germany.

  4. M.A.S.H I discovered a online treasure of this classic around 2 years ago…and immediately got hooked to the show…not the kind of humour which would make sense in current times and infact this is more like a show with everything …drama, action and humour...I am a fan of Hawkeye, Radar and other amazing characters woven in this soap set in the backdrop of the Korean War.

Four places you have been on vacation

  1. Granada: This town was part of a 10 day vacation I took in 2007 December at Spain….hard to pick which place was the best but this place stood out for the magic of Alhambra.(guys…it’s a place!) Close to the African coast and extensive Arab influence makes it complete un-european…Must do tip: Sip Turkish tea at one of the café’s overlook the Alhambra at twilight.

  2. Salzburg: Another beautiful and charming place which I visited after being captivated by scenes from the movie.. Sound of Music.. Unless you take the special tour for it the place is all Mozart!!

  3. Rome: Rome was not built in a day...You cant see it in a day either!!…I have spend 7 days in Rome in two trips and I think I have not seen even half of the historic places which makes it one of the most impressive cities in Europe… Must do tip: Throw a coin at Trevi and visit Rome again like I did!:-P

  4. Pyrenees: This was not really a vacation trip...I had been to Toulouse on work and over the weekend visited Lourdes which is at the foothills of the Pyrenees…But I got a chance to see why Pyrenees are one of the most beautiful hills in the world.. .it is no Swiss but the beauty is equally breath taking.

Four of your favourite food

  1. Chakkakuru maanga curry: I really found it excruciating to write this since I love this curry and miss it so much…the tangy taste of raw mango blend easily with Chakkakuru giving it a flavour unmatchable…I am sure in heaven they serve it daily!

  2. Konchu ulathiyathu: I like this dish the way Amma makes at home with lot of coconut bits, onions and kokum…The aroma from kitchen can magnetically attract me from anywhere in the vicinity…I guess this must be dish I have eaten the most by sneaking into the kitchen when no one was around…With Rice and Chakkakuru maanga curry it’s a combo to die for…

  3. Lasagne: usually its very difficult to convince me into loving western like all blue blooded malayalees I any day prefer naadan food…But there are certain dishes like Lasagne which has occupied a special place in my food crush list…

  4. Paalappam with beef stew: Do I need to explain why people in Kerala are happy inspite of communists! :-P

sad…that you can list only 4… :(

Four places you would rather be

  1. Norway: I have been procrastinating on a vacation to this beautiful country for a long time…I want to see the fjords some day.

  2. Agra: I have not seen the Taj….a place I want to see whenever I get back to India for good..

  3. Zihuatanejo: rings a bell somewhere ?..remember the last scene from Shawshank Redemption….That shot in the movie made me like the place and probably the movie has played a part in it too..

  4. Botswana/Kenya: Africa has charmed me ever since I saw the movie ‘Lost in Africa’ as a 8 year old kid…and later ‘Gods must be crazy’ and countless documentaries in Discovery channel.

Four things you hope to do before you die

  1. Get married and have a family: hehe…there is no surprise in there isn’t it...

  2. Build a home: I don’t know whether I can ever get time to do it…but there is something about building your own home that gives such a adrenalin rush…In these days of outsourcing no one does it really...but some how there is a charm in building one on your own…maybe yet to grow out of the fascination for building homes with the Lego bricks…It just got bigger!!

  3. Make a chapatti which is circular: day I will!! I swear!

  4. Visit four place listed above: I don’t know how realistic it is but it would have been great if I managed to visit the four places mentioned above.

Four novels you wish you were reading for the first time

  1. Diary of Anne Frank: I cannot think of another book in which I desperately wished for the person to be alive.

  2. Shantaram: I am not really much of a voracious reader…this book was big but was really exciting that it got be back into the habit of reading…

  3. To kill a mocking bird : This classic needs no description.

  4. The curious incident of a dog in the night time: The narration of the book is funny and sad at the same time…I wouldn’t mind reading it again.

Four movies you can see over and over

  1. Shawshank Redemption: Each line in the movie is worth quoting and along with flawless acting makes it a highly inspirational movie too…no wonder why it’s the highest rated movie of all time.

  2. Scent of a Woman: another movie with a soul and stupendous acting. Most people like Al Pacino for Godfather, I like him for this movie.

  3. Dasaratham: It was hard to pick a malayalam movie as there are so many of em…I would have struggled even if I was asked to choose one Padmarajan movie…Nevertheless this movie in which Mohanlal delivers a performance that could put to shame many top rated actors makes the cut…a class act.

  4. In harihar nagar: you know the kind of movie you would play when you are hanging out with your college buddies …laugh over the jokes heard 100 times over….People still like the movie coz it takes them to carefree days in college.

I think there is enough of information of little importance to anyone else…but it was nice to do this tag…:-)

Well I would like to break routine and pass it to ………


devil incarnate