Sunday, October 24, 2010

Old and New

                 I sit quietly where I always do waiting for someone to come into my room. The hum of the airconditioner is somehow not soothing today and the cold is uncomfortable. But I need it for my system and am glad they still let me have it. I have had a long and tiring morning. The way I like it. I worked on a dozen samples dishing out the familiar black and white pictures they expected. A few of them jumped up in joy because they had finally gotten the results they wanted, one was really depressed that yet another attempt of her's had failed again. She had been working hard but only a few results turned out to be acceptable. I wished I could console her and ask her to keep trying harder. But I wonder if what I feel would matter anymore. Now that he has arrived my service would no longer be the golden standard. I would be 'what we had' and he would be 'but we this have now'. He would be the talk of the town. they would show him off to everyone and for good reason. I cant deny the fact that he is better.

I was their poster boy for a long time now but I guess things change and expectations change as well. I remembered the time that I first started working here. I was a prestigious catch back then and everyone was pretty exited. Like they are about him now. I was absolutely terrific with what I did and became a favourite pretty soon. I was offered exclusive care and protected like treasure. I had my own technician and both of us had celebrity status. I was off limits to anyone who didnt know me well and was a symbol of pride.

As time went by I settled in and people settled around me. There were more hands controlling me and still more inquisitive to. My job grew demanding and I was working at full capacity everyday. somehow even that was sometimes not enough. I took it to be the consequence of the world spinning faster everyday and science having to spin twice as much. Dozens of students wanted to avail my expertise and the volume they wanted analysed grew like the pile of dust accumulating in an unattended lab cabinet.

Sometimes my convinction and need to please has gotten the better of me and I remember once that I broke down due to over work. But samples found me immediately when I was up and about and I understood they had missed me. Which later I learnt was only because their reports were due. I had been wondering ever since if I mattered only as a source of data or if my potential was truly appreciated. I consoled myself that I was still the only one they relied on to proceed with their work because I was undoubtedly the best. Which is why it felt like a lightning bolt had landed on my detectors when I heard of his arrival. There had been a constant buzz about it for a long time now and the excitement has reached a feverish pitch since he arrived finally. I thought he was one of my own, a second but then I learnt he was better infact unmatchable in every aspect. I felt inadequate. It wasnt something I could change about myself. I am who I am. They would crowd around him now and be told that he is the best. He would get looks of admiration and they would feel the immense power vibrating through him. Yeah...been there done that. But he would experience all that anyway. Once he begins working my workload would come down. I would've thought a year ago that was a good thing but now it mildly hurts when I think I wont be the centre of attraction anymore. Afterall I am only second best.

I wished I could tell him all this. Look at his snobby face and that overconfident smile he must be sporting and feed him with the truth that he might be better but not irreplacable. I wished I could tell him that its the jinx of being new and that it would fade away eventually. But I couldnt tell him that his people would come back to me one day. That wouldn't happen unless he shuts down. I sighed. I didnt want to wish bad things for him. This was inevitable afterall. They would take me apart and put me back in a room next to him. I braced myself to witness the queue outside his door and the squeals of admiration he would be recieving. I wondered if my technician would leave me too. I realized I would indeed be alone. I couldnt afford to become upset over facts.

The door to my lab opened and in walked the girl I had seen in the morning. The one that needed a deliberate dose of luck with her work. She looked around checking if anyone else was inside. Inspite of my reverie I knew she shouldn't be here alone. She hadnt signed the log either. She walked barefoot on the cold floor and came up to me. 'Hey' she said. 'I am probably mad for coming here and talking to a machine like you but I just wanted to let you know something. I dont know if you heard about the new Transmission electron microscope they've purchased. Everyone is so hyped about it. They are going to teach us about it and all...and maybe you know ask us to analyse our samples with it...Iknow its really superior and high resolution and all that but...when I came here I was really nervous about my work and I remember the first time I ran a sample with you. The sphere size was nowhere close to what I wanted but I was fascinated with the image you gave me. It was something I had never seen...only read about and watching it for real was amazing. In some mysterious way my fears were gone and  I was intrigued and pushed myself to work deeper into my topic. You were my first contact with microscopy at a really cooler level and no matter what higer version they bring in my thesis will contain pictures that you took for me and you'll always remain special to me...okay?'. She looked around nervously again making sure no one else had heard her and left after giving me a meanningful look.

Technically I am not supposed to cry because water is dangerous to my system but metaphorically I did. I wasnt just as assembly of  nuts bolts and displays. My ability had actually meant something to someone. To a lot, I told myself. They just didnt come in here and speak out like she did. Happiness swelled in me and if you had a keen eye you could see my LEDs glowing brighter because I was smiling. I heard a voice outside saying 'I will be with the SEM for a while. Got two samples'. More work and I was willingly game for it. A guy entered pushing the door open and as it closed back a ray of light caught the white lettering on my door - Scanning Electron  Microscope

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

When Summer Next comes

Walking along the wet road
I am dull and totally bored
The clouds above are in dark mode
The dragon flies are out and so is the toad

I think of the season that flew by
Summer Now so dusty and so dry
A season that brought me joy and with it change
And sorrow too of a different type and a different range

Summer Past was long but fast
It was she who helped me find myself at last
She came loaded with fun rife
And change she did a huge part of my life

And then came winter with his cold
Thrusting me into a hard and difficult mould
For the person I was, a go-getter
He proved to me summer's choice could've been better

My head reeled under pressure
Too much was expected here even when I was a fresher
People convinced me life after graduation was a bottle of coke
But here a large part of it was a cruel joke!


It was summer now who bought me time
A whole month for me to call mine
She made me see the pink side of things
So happy was the part of me that sings!

Summer Now brought me with the challenge face to face
Of having to survive a tough task with intelligence and grace
She brought in work for both my body and mind
Loving she was but with experience not so kind

With her I learnt to ask for what I need
Of how things flow and change with every tiny deed
I leanrt to draw on my canvas and paint it too
And thats why my future looks so pretty and has a pleasant hue

Now two summers have gone by
Since I decided to fly from home high
The draft is ready to flow in
And am trying to stay afloat and away from the din

I look to the skies and am hopeful
The days will once again become breezy and soulful
For that time draws near
When Summer Next will be here


With summer next I will get my freedom
And work my way up to stardom
I will close chapters on life on my own
And maybe start hunting for a drone!

With Summer Next my music will grow
Inside me and through a guitar it will flow
And with a vengeance I will sweat my brow
To shape myself up and earn back my glow

With summer next my pen will scribble
From the dams of my heart in a steady dribble
What colors I found all along
Who I am and where I belong

With summer next I will be bound no more
I will not let myself land again anywhere sore
Away from fibres, spheres and pore
I will hunt for my yelp and my roar

So there she is Summer Next
Growing in my heart and in text
Sowing seeds of happiness and hope
Like does on christmas night the Pope

Now is what I have
Then is what I had
I wait patiently with drums
To sing my own anthem when Summer Next comes!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Something to think about

       A friend of mine wrote an article recently. I was impressed with the thoughts he had expressed and was making a mental note of the complements I was going to give him when I stumbled upon a line that was a dig at nice women. He claimed they were non-existent. And I couldn't help but wonder for the millionth time why men almost always do that; insert snide comments about women and expect it to go unnoticed. 

I asked him about it and he claimed it was a joke. Exactly like dozens of guys before him have done. If that context were a joke it should've appeared even in the previous lines where the idea expressed was about men. And for this reasonable question of mine I would probably be termed 'overreactive' in his next article!

What is the problem with men? Why do they have this compulsion to mock at women in everything they do? Why is it hard for them to accept two things? - One, women are just as human as they are and two, men are in every way only as perfect as women are.

Why does every post, every article, every tv show, every comment have to have a thought that takes a dig at girls and be claimed funny? The best irony here is that guys get worked up when you tell them 'cricket sucks' or 'football is lame' but a girl is not supposed to speak out when a guy says something that is unfair to her and she is termed a sissy and lacking a funny bone!

I never take to these things easily because this is not a joke. As a woman I have the right to be respected for who I am. Just like guys expect respect inspite of the hundred and one faults they would have if a girl's way of life is the rulebook to society. There lies the problem. And in this man's world I have to be a 'man-hater' or a 'feminist' to voice my disapproval to something a guy said! All that I am, is a woman. And that is the only status I need. Nobody calls a man a 'female-basher' or 'saviour of mankind' when he says something's wrong with women. When a guy teases a girl he is dismissed as 'he's just being a guy' but when a girl says it makes her feel bad nobody goes 'ah she's just asserting herself'!

I recall a dialogue from the tamil movie 'Anniyan' when I think of this 'overreaction' tag. The hero asks one of the wrong-doers - "is it wrong if you steal 5paise?" and the latter replies no. The dialogue proceeds with a build up that goes on to prove that 5paise being stolen 5 million times by 5 people indeed amounts to swindling. The same goes here. Every comment is a 5paise. And everytime its made nobody makes an issue until it grows and blows up in their faces in a relationship.

I am not a man-hater. I do have wonderful friends who respect women. Every guy and girl do have prejudices against the opposite sex. But the expression of it does come to be a problem. Why is it hard to appreciate the good of the opposite gender and accept and respect each other for what we are? Why dress it up in jokes and phrases? Nobody is perfect. Be it a man or a woman. But it is the imperfection that makes life interesting doesn't it?

I've stood up for the girl that I am all my life. And that means I fight with guys who have no respect for women, I argue in debates about it, I write about it and I comment on my friends' posts that bear any signs of being male-chauvinistic. No wonder I am percieved to be a demon of sorts out to get anyone who crosses my path. If you think so too then that's as far as you get. Because it is the same me that stands by my guy friends when they need me, who has had endless conversations with broken guy hearts, who does have a sense of humour, who is not a feminist and by that I mean I don't think girls are the daughters of Mr and Mrs Perfect and who has been able, to be a good friend to them for years. 


My friends love to tease me that I will not land a man, with this 'audaciousness' of mine. I don't deny it. Not every guy can accept a girl who is bold enough to stand up and voice herself. I cannot accept a guy who does not accept me for who I am. Girls are not objects of fun. They do have a heart that can feel. If you really want to win over a girl try giving her the respect she deserves because she will anyway give you the love you deserve...and if at all I do land a man you can be sure he has passed the acid test! :)

P.S 1: if all this ranting doesn't work to make my point this wit would : 'what's common between dinosaurs and good guys...alas! they are both extinct!' maybe girls should start inserting such stuff into what they write...

P.S 2: just because I wrote a whole article inspired by a comment of this friend of mine doesn't mean he is on my loath list. he happens to be a wonderful person and a very thoughtful friend still.


Image courtesy : http://www.thecolorsmagazine.com/2009/05/boys-vs-girls/

Monday, May 24, 2010

Sentamizh Naatu Tamizhmagane


I've always wondered why its men who lay down the rules for women. From humor to satire its always the ladies who have to take the axe. This thought grew on me today as I was listening to one of ARR's hits - Sentamizh naatu tamizhachiye. The music no doubt was awesome..the singer brilliant beyond doubt (RIP). The lyrics by Kaviarasu Vairamuthu suited the plot perfectly. Agreed. BUT that song has become sort of dictionary to refer to how and how not a woman should be, in numerous talk shows and the like. How come men dont get told how they should be?

Well...I tried my hand at answering that question..and here goes. My remake of that song...rewritten for men. The words are not song-perfect like Kaviarasars but I got in what I wanted to say...if there are rules..they are common to everyone! 




sentamizh naatu tamizhmagane vetti aniya thayanguriye
mohanlaluku pakkathu stateil western wearil alayiriye
manaivi mattum kanavendiya boxersai
loosefitting jeansil kaaturiyeeee


st-1


tamizh pesum naatil porandhavandhane
erichala kaata 'shit' edharku?
sutham seiya marina irukka
adhe kadarkarayil kadalai edhukku


patta kara vecha pattu vetti irukkayil
kalloori vizhavil suit edharku
kathiri veyyil koluthum kodaiyil
t-shirtku mel innoru shirt edharku?


stz-2


aanmai enbadhu 'arms' la mattum illa
anbilum irukkunu therinjukkanum
kudumbamum manaiviyum nagaichuvai porul alla
purinju neeyum nadandhukkanum
bore adicha pengalukku neeyum arivurai seivadhai niruthikkanum
sondha kaalil uzhaithu neeyum single aga jeithidanum

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Being Homo sapiens

I've heard my buddies sigh at the fact that they are stuck being human with a lotta responsibilities to shoulder and dozens of chores to do each day. 


They would look at cows on the road grazing away lazily, birds on the trees singing and pruning themselves and go 'wow! look at them...not a care in the world! wish life was so easy'. From their point of view - you did'nt have to wake up every morning to go to school or college or work, no boring lectures, terrible assignments, dreary project work, sick boss, lousy timetables, powercuts, relationships, heartbreaks and on and on...


I cant help but smile when I see that they dont understand the irony they are sighing about! Because I feel pity when I see a cow out of my window and know that all she does in a day is eat, sleep, feed her calf, supply milk and poop! While I wake up to a hectic schedule everyday, go through a mileu of emotions, sleep in boring classes, chat with friends online, eat a horde of stuff apart from my lunch box, listen to my favourite songs, fight with my best friend, attend birthday parties and dance in sleepovers. and when am done I wake up to yet another bizarre day! 


That is a huge gift you wouldnt appreciate unless you were a cow or a bird looking at you and going 'sigh...these humans...they have so much to do rather than just wake up early, dodge a bunch of predators, hunt all morning for food, listen to these male birds singing crap to get me to choose one of them, hunt for evening food, find a nest to hide from owls at night and wake up tomorrow if am alive to another equally boring day...unless am the lead charcater in some Indian author kids book! I have a hard time!


Life is a big blessing. Am not a preacher. No prizes for guessing which of those schedules above sounds fun. Am glad am human and get to enjoy all that I have...well..a pair of wings would help get to college faster but...am happy..just the way I am :)

Friday, April 23, 2010

Of memories...




Imagine this : the love of your life looks at you, calls out the name of someone else and says I love you. What would you do?



I would walk out the door and cry my heart out like the hero did. He can't blame his wife for what she said. Afterall she has had the worst luck in being a victim of a rare inherited form of Alzheimer's. And when he asks 'she says someone else's name and I love you. Who does she love'? You  are  as deprived of words as he is.

A Korean movie about the havoc Alzheimer's plays in a young couple's life left me moist eyed. I was at a loss for explanation. What till yesterday had remained a matter of biology, proteins and science for me, took a reality check and I was deeply disturbed. The heroine is not at fault...she does'nt even remember herself anymore.

I've spoken about Alzheimer's during classes and like all fans of research pontificated about finding a cure for it. But that has always been a thought..a memory...and to think I have nothing to protect me from losing the ability to recollect it one day sends a shudder down my spine.

Imagine not being able to find your way home, to remember people, names, numbers, happy moments, sad moments, fights, hurt, love, laughter, your dog, your favourite color - NOTHING plainly. Imagine the pain that someone who loves you would go through watching you at a loss.

Imagine waking up in the morning and not knowing where you are and who you are, losing your short term memory faster and your long term memory following close behind. Like the doctor in the movie said - a mental death before a physical one?

I watched the agony the girl went through as she struggles to comprehend what happens to her and her husband yearning for a miracle that could fish her out of her pain. Imagine the sorrow he goes through when he takes her to all the places they've been to and she remembers nothing? Imagine how it rips his heart when he reads a letter she writes when her memory is back for a while and she realizes what she is putting him through and leaves the house.

Watching the movie made me realise that the greatest gift we all have is the ability to remember. True it hurts when a memory brings nothing but tears but think about it..down the lane if you had the choice between a blackout with your mind and a pot pourri of emotions ranging from excruciatingly paniful to enormously happy what would you choose? Alas! Alzheimer's doesnt wait for you to decide.

Its one thing to lose loved ones to death...but its a whole other form of suffering to watch them run around with no clue about anything or anyone.

This was'nt the melodramatic love story where the hero wastes away with the memory of her or there is a 'miracle' that brings her back and they do a duet. NO. This was real. This is what happens to people with Alzheimer's. To men and women who've been loving parents, husbands, wifes, grandparents and now have no recollection of having been all that! There is no protein Kleenux that can de-clog circulation and restore life for those poor souls or answer the huge WHY in the minds of their near and dear ones.

Am no Nobel laureate and I'm not a social worker either talking about Alzheimer awareness. This is just what I was contemplating enough to feed my lachrymals. Love completes a person's life but it also suffers at the hands of biology. Like the hero says...you never know how creul life can get. I felt guilty for the times I had employed Alzheimer's in jest because there is nothing funny about it in reality.

A lot of diseases cause pain - cancer, AIDS you name it. A man can cry out loud from it because he understands what he is going through and remembers times he was better. But what can you do when you don't remember what you should be doing and what you should be screaming out loud for??

Am gifted with a wonderful life like many out in the world. And I've realized that I get to live, love, forgive and remember what I have while I do....

I sincerely hope science finds a way to conquer this disease. I would be glad to help if I can...for now, I pray for everyone to remain healthy, aware and happy...

P.S: This is a Korean movie titled "A Moment to Remember"



Image courtesy : http://lovehkfilm.com/panasia/moment_to_remember.htm

Friday, April 16, 2010

MiLaPaNeGa


The title sounds funny does'nt it? Then imagine how it would sound if your toothpaste were to have that as a name. But 5 of us girls would buy every tube of paste if it were named that. Afterall it was something that earned us gangsta status in senior school :)

Well..well.. am talking about an Adzap competition that a bunch of us (mirna, gayatri, preethi, lavanya and I) won hands down at an inter-school cultural fest during our sophomore year at senior school. I still can't stop smiling when I think of that day.

We got together at the last moment..as a team and worked out a framework for the act..am still stunned at how I picked up toothpaste as an example to explain the rules to my girls and how we ended up having to sell exactly that to the crowd!!! Preethi and I almost scaled the ceiling jumping when we picked up the lot.

5 minutes is all we got to rise to fame and rise we did in absolute style...what with Gayatri doing a Nambiar act and a TR limerick thrown in...it was no surprise the whole school turned up to watch us in spite of the bell signalling the end of recess resounding in the distance. We had the audience laughing their heads off!

When the results were announced they just told us plainly that we won OBVIOUSLY! :) Hearing a crowd of people screaming out your name (the name of your school in this case) when the judges go ' any guesses for the 1st place' is something any performer would trade anything for. We were lucky enough to experience that!

We won the prize alright..but more than that I loved what I experienced that day - team work, friendship and pure talent that only the gifted possess..my girls showcased just that...flawlessly!

There was another thing that was ultimately special. We were the only team comprised entirely of girls and we raced up to number one over an all - guys team. The judges came up to talk to us and asked what had inspired us to give such a wonderful performance...I would remember our answer to eternity - "its generally thought that comedy is a man's forte. we wanted to prove women could do it equally well too" :)

Love u girls...and miss those wonderful days of stage play....the best times of my life!!! three cheers to MiLaPaNeGa

P.S - MiLaPaNeGa is an acronym for Mirnalini, Lavanya, Preethi, Nethra and Gayatri :)

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Souped

For almost everyday that i've been at Tanjore, i've been in soup. No not the philosophical 'mess' soup..but real hot spicy soup. There's a stall nearby where a really friendly lady makes it for us. For someone who was this ''eee-roadside food-bad water-salmonella-dysentry'' nutcase, I certainly drink soup by the liter these days.


Maybe because its the only thing that's easy on your pocket and worth every bit...or should I say spoon. And it comes with a perk. There's one flavour every day. It goes like this :


Monday - manathakali
Tuesday - thoodhuvalai
Wednesday - mudakkathan
Thursday - vallarai
Friday - poondu
Saturday - vaazhathandu
Sunday - mushroom


Okay am not using this chance to dish out the choicest of swears...those are names of herbs and spices that are added to the soup one per day. Its a fact though that the soups either look a beautiful green or a dull grey no matter what you presume to be added to it. I've mastered the art of reciting the menu so much that people actually call me up to verify if they got the day's soup right. Am known rightly as the soup-paithyam. Justified because when others demand Temptation bars, beers and multi cuisine treats for birthdays I plainly ask for soup!!!


Its a refreshing art...the art of drinking soup...after a realllllly tiring or dreadfully boring day in college getting back to a cup of hot steaming concotion that indulges ur taste buds and prepares you for the late night movie you are going to watch on your laptop...ahhhh bliss! 



P.S 1: there are also 2 other daily flavours - the vegetable and mooligai (a mixture of medicinal herbs)

P.S 2: i told you the lady is pretty sweet so if you are in the mood for a mix go ahead...stir up all three flavours of the day :) 


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Kids!

I had the chance to visit my native for 'tamizh puthandu' (tamil new year - hah! take that Caeser we have our own calendar B-)). It is a village called Varagur by the way..about 15 kms from Thiruvaiyar the birth place of  Thyagarajar.


I met up with a bunch of kids (sighh..ok..am an adult) my very distant cousins. Two of them were 'graduating' from kindergarden and one was in the 5th grade. I was walking around the sanctum with one of the UKG graduates :P (who is a sweet bundle of cuteness and goes by the name of Anandavalli :)).


She told me she was very close to the temple and the deity and has been visiting 'right from when she was a kid'. Her tone was very serious and she implied that her tryst with the temple was THAT long! She wasnt sure I understood how important  a member she was at the temple. So she said...'I've been visiting since my U...K...G...'. like UKG was smthg she did before getting a double post doc and the nobel :P.


I was terminally amused at what she was saying...rolling on the floor of my gut laughing at her innocence. But a part of me ( hey I agreed am an adult ) longed to be so carefree...so innocent and full of life. To ask questions that are very fair but to which no adult wld have replies...to sing at the top of my lungs and get lauded equivalent to ARR for my scream...sigh....kids!!! good times...good times!!! :)

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Poked

Ok...this is serious : there's something called 'poke' on FaceBook....a crude version of the old 'saami kanna kuthum' technique...except that you use an online network to deliver an electronic pokey illusion...I wanted to try it...it goes like this:


you click on someone's profile


there's the Poke X icon


you click on it


thats when you recieve the most threatening message you could ever have faced : You are about to poke X..he will be informed about this on his homepage


Things around me started to go into slow motion...my past flashed before my eyes...I felt like a warrior on the Indo-Kargil border about to make a decision that would change my life!


With a nervous trembling finger I hit poke


eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee


??
??
??


I thought something huge would happen with smileys and graphical images appearing all over my screen...my id getting blocked by my college server...and I was gearing up for the worst...


There was a prompt on my screen


You have successfully poked X


That's it??


Not even an OUCH???


I realized the obvious : AM SERIOUSLY JOBLESS AND ABSOLUTELY INSANE...


Whats the point of the whole poke idea?? vetti 1 telling vetti 2 that am vettier than you are at this instant???


Now I wonder : 1) why did a dozen friends torture me into joining FB a congested version of orkut??


2) why did I accept the invites?? :P


3) why am I a regular now??


Well my 'realization' pretty much answers question 3...coming to think of it now...one sweet cousin of mine put me up to it...for some reason long forgotten...scrabble I guess...(dont worry you still are one of my favourite cousins! :P)


P.S - 1: as with the step by step poke experience...if you can put up with something as @#@^%$# as poke, you wld infact call the instructions intellectual


P.S - 2: the finger image that appears for poke is distantly funny....

Monday, March 15, 2010

Sweardom

                                 There is nothing like doing something to perfection. Like laying a table for instance. Everything’s neatly arranged and the sheets are bleach clean. You start serving and that’s when you accidentally spill one drop of greasy gravy onto the spread. That pleasant ‘all is well’ piano bgm playing in your mind stops abruptly, your smile snaps off instantly and you go “Aww @#$%$#%^$^” You swear. And yes that’s the same thing you do when the milk goes sour, the dig bites a chunk off the paper, there’s graffiti on your car window, peak traffic, your boss is early, your pen refuses to ink on the night before an exam, you are happy dancing in your room and hit the bedpost hard and on and on…Life is cynical and it is true what you wish for happens. Why would someone want to hit the bedpost, you ask me. Exactly. No one does. But it does happen and your mind knows there’s a lapse of control and it snaps.

                                 That little fact fuels your anger and you let out steam with a well-meant fully powered swear! This is a human being’s way of making it clear that he was in no way responsible for what happened and he’s as defeated and perplexed as you might be when taken unawares. In addition to the above stated obvious swearing also stems from frustration, impatience, boredom, defeat, irritation and any other unpleasant state of mind you can add to that list. This would explain your reaction to that imbecile who never gets anything you say, a computer prompt that gives an estimated 5 hours of download time for a movie you desperately want, the same prompt that shuts down after 99% download with an error message, when you wait for a long time to meet someone who isn’t going to turn up, a colleague who kisses up to the boss or a loud death metal song next door when you are trying to read.

                                 Like it or not everyone swears. Some swears are international while some are personalized. Common swears you might hear are probably ‘shoot’, ’crap’, ’WTH’, ’WTF’, the F-word, the S-word, ’SOAB’, ’goddamn’ and a whole lotta combinations of these basics!

                                Man has sworn for eternity. He did in the past – from grunts to grrrrrrr in the caves, he does now – you can Google for every one of those swear words replete with dialect versions(!) and he will in the future – maybe something like ‘in the stinking name of superconductivity’ or ‘ son of radioactivity’ :P.

                                A phrase I read somewhere says anger is one letter short of danger. True both ways – whether you explode into an uncontrolled reaction at the source of your anger or if you are an amateur at meditation and try to hold it in. It would only come out stronger later. So maybe swearing for a moment to vent out isn’t bad after all… (It is better indeed to learn to dissipate your anger).

                                Did I just write an article about swearing??

The Green Water bottle

                      After an hour of roaming in the streets a little after noon last week, I came home visibly tanned and perfectly cooked like a sausage in a microwave. My eyes were taking their own time to adjust out of the bright sunlight and I was sweating enough to supply the Cauvery delta with salt water. The cap I wore was steaming and the ceiling fans were on a vow of slow-motion. Summer is finally here and as much as I love it, it comes with its own non-negotiable perks. The constant thirst for instance.

                     As I sat fanning myself with a newspaper my mother brought me a lifeline – the green water bottle. No, that’s not the name of a Booker. That’s what I like to call the watermelon. God must’ve been one heck of a thirsty Guy when he created the melon. Men owe Him a big thank you for this fruit that springs up when Mr. Sun decides to hand out rays of early summer.

                     With a thick shell to block out the hard sun, the melon packs a burst of water within its red confines. So much that the water can’t wait till you take a bite…half of it is already out by the time you cut open the big guy. If you are in a big hurry to quench your heat like I was the other day you wouldn’t mind digging into a huge piece allowing the red chunks to melt in your mouth, run down your throat, until steam billows from your ears and your body cools down leaving a bunch of seeds in your mouth, your nose and chin wet from the bite.


                     If you are the melon crazy type like I am at other times, then you would sit with your mother as she carefully slices open the green guy and cuts away the red portions de-seeds them and drops them into a bowl….or at least intends to but that piece has long made its way into your tummy and a while later poor Dad has only two pieces left for him (grabbed artfully from you by Mom before you gobbled it up)!!

                     If you are the I’m-lazy-to-chew type then you would love a melon squash with a dash of mint and a few drops of lemon and if you are a toddler the green shell would make a nice crown to play with! This wonder fruit and his brothers (the musk melon packs a mini-ocean inside) are one of the reasons why summer is fun! A cheap, healthy and natural way to beat the heat. Now, when I venture into the heat knowing there’s a green water bottle back home…I would dare say “bring it on!!!” Happy summer! :)


Thursday, February 25, 2010

Movers and Shakers

                        A couple of years back whenever I was on the highway I used to look at these huge buses (Air buses as they are called) driving past and there would be two thoughts on my mind - 1) who would want to travel for hours in a claustrophobic bus?  2) wow! They look majestic..with nice seats..wish I could go on a ride sometime. Yes. Conflicting thoughts. My wish came true however with me moving to Tanjore. That means quite a number of trips by bus to home and back.

                        Now, I was thrilled the 1st time I traveled by an Air bus. Excitement clouded my judgement and I loved the ride. Then comes the 2nd trip and you start to notice reality. Air buses are of two types. Private owned and Govt buses. But they share a dozen commons.

                     Trips are mostly scheduled for the night and if you are not an expert at infant-sleeping like I am you’d have a strenuous ride.

Rule no: 1 – try getting a window seat. That way you get good air (sometimes could blow your head off) and you get to anchor your head onto the window so you wouldn’t slide down the seat. Which brings us to

Rule no : 2 – all buses by default have seats shaped into an angle that appears no where in geometry with the sole purpose of making sure you come sliding down your seat 10 secs after you have hoisted yourself up! (the ‘ol Tom and Jerry trick).

Rule no : 3 – never expect peace at night. There will most definitely be some movie playing all night, especially the loud ones that educate you on villainism (‘How to be a villain for dummies’). The driver and the conductor will be locked out at the front and listening to the 80’s classics but no, YOU have to endure the ultrasonics.

Rule no : 4 – if you are a germ freak stop being one immediately. All night-riders pull up for pit stops where the rest rooms or rest-whatever-structure that is will make you wish you could go blind, deaf and insensitive to smell all at once. But you have an 8-hour drive in the night and you are not exactly a Yogi to control your impulses. That’s the only time I wish I were a guy!

Rule no : 5 – most bus drivers are wannabe pilots and since they’ve been denied a stick they try to make do with the bucket of bolts you are traveling in. If you are blessed with the kind of roads I get to travel through sometimes, you might even have the privilege to get your femur interchanged with your neck bones or your vertebra in pieces!

                     Then there are the usuals. You are a goner if your neighbor is any of these - talkative, religious, fat, smelly, flirtatious, tossy in sleep or has a high decibel snore. I’ve had friends tell me they sometimes get bitten by bed-mites! Mosquitos are denizens of any bus and I’ve never been this fond of repellent-creams before.

                     These aside I love everytime I travel by bus. Am nocturnal and the night amazes me. The wind in my face, my favourite song in my i-Pod, a bar of chocolate in hand, thinking about everything I wanted to simply because I have time at hand and most of all the fact that am going home – Ah! Bliss.

P.S: don’t ask me about when I come back…



Image courtesy : http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=907864&page=54

Make a wish

                               I was standing at my window talking to the stars (Yes. The night sky is my best friend and I talk to stars). Suddenly there fell this bright one from the sky…rather across the sky – one that is known as a shooting star! Now, this fellow is supposed to be rare to appear or at least rare to spot unless you have quick reflexes. So legend associates magic with him and the simplest form of it is that when you spot a shooting star you are granted a wish.

                              That’s phenomenal considering how much and how many things each of us wish we had everyday. From time to money, clothes to princes our lists keep running long enough to make a toilet paper roll the size of earth! Given that it should’ve been easy to make a wish with my star-wild card. These wish things are tricky. Making a wish is like practicing law. You can never cover all the loopholes. So there’s no asking for a 100 wishes and recharging your wish account at the 99th wish! All you get is one wish and choosing wisely is up to you.

                              Frankly I was stumped! For a person like me who actually maintains a wish list it should’ve been taken a blink of the eye to come up with one but I was just puzzled trying to prioritize what I wanted the most. A powerful wish deserved to be special and obviously targeted at something hard to get. But at that instant the hardest thing I could think of was getting my lab work attested by a strict  prof  before the deadline and I felt it wasn’t worth a star’s grant!

                              The seconds passed by and I could'nt pick on one thing I wanted to wish for. ‘a pretty dress’? – I’d have to wish for that with my Dad, not a star. ‘world peace’? - ya right. Am not Miss Universe. ‘a week’s holiday’? – special classes later? No thanks. I still hadn’t decided what I wanted Mr. Star to give me and I could actually see him up there giggling at my plight and holding up a sandglass to indicate my wish-time was slipping away.

                              I hit upon one thing I wanted finally! It was pretty complicated and it took me 5 minutes to get it out right but a wish is a wish. As Mr. Star tumbled away a 101 things came to my mind neatly organized by priority in MS excel format color coded based on degree of desperateness! So much for an above average IQ.  A guitar, GATE qualification, An i-Pod – how difficult is it to remember these basic short term wishes? Well no luck trying to get Starry to come back. He’s probably laughing at someone else’s confusion somewhere else. Never mind. There are millions more up there waiting to fall.

                            What did I wish for? Nah! Can’t tell you. Not supposed to until it comes true… :)



Image courtesy : http://crimsoncorvus.wordpress.com/tag/rhyme/

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Like a movie

                    One of my professors was once pretty annoyed. The reason being, we couldn’t recall a dozen facts taught to us in the previous class. And to prove to us our incompatibility the professor chose the age old analogy – “ when you can remember a movie sequence after a single viewing why cant you remember academics?”. The answer is quite simple. Our brains are saturated or should I blatantly go ahead and say – bored.

                    It’s a scientific fact that the brain can take in things and understand continuously for upto about 30 minutes. After that irrespective of how good or bad the class is it all goes over the head.

                   A movie stays in better memory for a while because it simple has everything that the brains loves to remember – moving objects, colour and sound. Plus you don’t have to mug the details of the movie to be able to write an essay answer for 15marks later. Try doing that. Watch a movie, better still, one that you know you would like and try writing down every single scene you watched. You’d at the most get a dozen sequences right. And those would be the ones that made a great impact upon you. Probably some PJ, a good shot, a stylish roof top fight, a catchy tune or a signature dance move or dialogue! Think about the movie after two days and you would’ve forgotten most of it!

                   I wrote movie reviews for a friend’s website and I had to take notes for doing it lest I forgot what I saw(absence of a photographic memory is one of the reasons people like to keep copies of movies to watch over again :) )

                  Monotony is what would best explain why students find it real hard to focus and remember what’s being taught. Add to it the pressure of having to perform in exams. The brain hates being told what to do. If you want to make it work you have to get it interested. The same works good for a movie too. Try watching a dozen movies of the same genre back to back. You’d want to run after a couple. Your mind automatically shuts down.

                  Feeding your brain is like feeding your tummy. You feed your stomach with  too much carbs it takes up rapidly at first, then slows down and faithfully makes you a slob and you go hunting for XL sized clothes! You feed your brain with text, formulae and concepts all day, by the time the bell goes the 1.5kg weight in your head is snoring. The trick to stay slim is to eat but eat small quantities of food number of times a day. And that works with the brain too. Try jamming half hour sessions of stuff you have to learn. Put it together in colorful notes, post- its, pneumonics and anything else that’s fun you can get your sleepyhead up and about! Alas! With an alarming volume of textbooks, references, papers, assignments, projects, records and other blah-blah to complete and a hundred exams to take whoever would listen to you when you say ‘make learning fun’!

                 Another obvious difference between watching a movie and attending class is you don’t go to the movies everyday but you have to maintain minimum attendance. Sighhh….
Kindergarten classrooms are all colorful. Why do you think they are? Kids are taught with rhymes, songs, cards, blocks, show & tell etc., Somewhere down the lane there’s too much to learn and too little time before you have to start preparing for entrance exams and the same lovely kids are taught and expected to mug. Doing that all your life and being evaluated for it does make it hard when you are asked to remember the basics now during a PG. All I remember is the alphabet that I learned from a colorful book with huge font!

                Am not quite sure whom to blame. The system? The students?  Their parents?  The society?  The pressure to be the best? What’s the point anyway when even after graduation most of us don’t know what we should be doing?!

               If classrooms are fun learning would automatically be fun. I still remember pictures from lectures done in PowerPoint. I remember what a couple of jovial professors taught me way back, I remember stuff that I learnt out of interest…the brain remembers what it likes rather , what you can make it like.

               The conclusion remains that it’s definitely not even a long shot at comparison between a movie and listening to a lecture. Same brain, same logic, prevalent facts. You just got to make things more endearing. If I were to become a teacher someday I would just like to get a class full of brains hyper interested…like a good movie would! 

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Warm and cozy




                       My uncle built a new house recently and threw a customary and sweet housewarming party. A day of wholesome joy, long-time-no-see-meets and a religious start to building a home was what it turned out to be. A long and hectic month of planning and organizing preceded the success of that day and the whole family pitched in to help. Now being the nephew (ahem!) I had my own huge share of the responsibility cake to handle and my batteries were fully charged for it.

                      We were headlong into the proceedings even before the sun had hit his 1st snooze and the mother-calf duo worshipped as sacred were taken around and inside the house to invoke the Gods of prosperity. The little fellow spared us some brooming as he gobbled up every single flower around him..early breakfast I guess!

                       With the heat from the homam rising, one by one relatives and friends stared to arrive. Hospitality was one of the things on my plate and soon I had to set my heels to full-spin as I went about receiving people and making sure they were attended to. Now that might sound demanding but with the fact that I hadn’t caught a glimpse of most of them for years (that would explain the ‘you were this tiny when I last saw you’ comments) I was thrilled to the point of jumping up and down to be doing it.

                        Families are huge but Indian families in addition are unique. There are cool uncles, trendy aunts, Dumbledorish grandparents, at least a dozen cousins and a dozen more noisy Dennises! In all they create this heavy atmosphere of love and  togetherness like a huge pulsating heart. Add to it an artery of 1st name friends who’ve been with you for so long that they are a part of the family picture.

                       Watching my people, feeling the good vibes and listening to the laughter and chatter, made me feel gifted – to be part of it all. The food was exemplary and added a classic finishing touch.

                       With an exhausting day behind us I could feel the love, happiness, optimism and good energy resonating in every corner long after everyone had left. I realized that the house was en route becoming a home. If this is for a private gathering at home, no wonder the world looks up in awe at the big fat Indian weddings!!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Its in the papers!

               It’s a lazy morning. As usual you want to strangle the shrill alarm but you have to go to college and its time to wake up. You sit up in bed and check out your mobile’s inbox sleepily. There’s a good morning you scroll through and the next message makes you scream and jump up in delight and your roomie hits you on the head thinking that you are the alarm! What wakes you up? A message from a friend congratulating you for that write up of yours that has made it to print…an extra pitch to your scream – you won a prize for it too! And there begins your special day of glory. There’s probably only one thing that can match the endless joy that writing brings with it – seeing it in print. You know your article by heart but you still read it a hundred times and somehow it looks better when published!
              You message every single contact on your list about it and one by one they start responding. From “good one” to “I’ve no idea how you cook up something so brilliant” you get all sorts of comments. The ones that turn the thrill up a notch are those good-hearted, sharp-eyed friends who have read it even before you told them. You try to do normal stuff like wash up and get ready but there comes this bunch of calls – from Mom who’s proud of you like never before, from Dad who’s not surprised you made it because you are “his kid”, Grandparents and uncles blessing you for more such feathers to your creative cap and from a couple of cousins and friends demanding a treat to celebrate!
               You manage to make it to college floating on cloud 9 to be met with your friends there and the niceties continue. All day long your mobile keeps beeping and the keys spelling thank you are over worked!
A few review your work, a few compare and contrast it with earlier ones you’ve written and few even quote from it!!! Friends tell you that a friend of their cousin’s friend like your work!
               By the time you get back home you are feeling like someone handed you the Booker! Your look sweeps the room and you find them -  a pen and a paper. Those two that made all this possible. A familiar sense of satisfaction flows through you because you’ve decided to do the obvious : Write about the experience. You sit down at your desk and forge the usual and powerful connection between your mind, heart and the pen…a few pages filled, you pick up your article to read it for the nth time before you go to bed, a huge smile and a heavy sigh conveying wordlessly how thankful you are to be in love…with an art called writing!