August 2007- May 2005

August 09

My dil goes ‘Aargh’

Saturn ‘Shani has entered the constellation of my husband…sorry for the transliteration…but if it had been money instead of Shani, I would have put in some effort into sentence creation.

Just finished the real version of Harry Potter (Yes, I bought it! And yes! I have it on pdf too). I must admit the fake was better excepting the snogging scenes. So did not feel that immense satisfaction as I had felt after the fake which I know Rowling has written.

Clients who do not pay me in time should have a curse put on them! I think I would go with the Imperious curse…make them go into their accounts section and say my payment is priority no. 1 even if filing returns is a day away 🙂 and I know how to make it work: I need to Mean it…guess that little problem is solved then. Actually it is just one client so far but I guess such news will spread fast and I will start getting advance payments. I do not understand why I should keep following up for my payments. It is a solid systematic process..makes no sense to have human intervention there! I am going to start putting late payment fees now 🙂

Unprofessional people with no value for their or my time put me off like Karan Johar gets put off by Himmesh Reshammiya….he hates him, still has to work with him. That is where the whole problem is.

Right now, only so much bothers me. The list was huge, but I just had some home (mom) made sweets….guess there are somethings that can make everything get right!

July 29

Summa summa souk

It is my half year anniversary and we are returning from our lunch date at Souk. For the ones who don’t know, it is a restaurant at the Taj. They serve Lebanese food and being vegetarians also, we were not disappointed. We got a sea facing table and sat there drinking (juice) and as they would put it…kabhi hum unko, kabhi sea ko dekhte hai 🙂

Anyways, it was beautiful and more as it was a surprise… It also happens to be the place we went to on our first date – when I had kinda made up my mind afterall 🙂 on that day, I had decided that there is no man in the world like him. Today as we go back home, with him driving and singing ‘didi tera dewar deewana’ in a nasal twang, I am quite sure.

Now he is crooning, ‘Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a match, find me a find, catch me a …..’

July 26

I am going ‘environ’ mental

I guessed right! Most of us suffer from a lack of a bigger goal. So, just when the aunties are thinking that my next big goal after marriage will be to have a nice chubby baby, I start learning Spanish. It is  sexy language. It rolls on your tongue and my south indian drawl don’t seem to be a disadvantage at all 🙂
Well, I have been at that for some time now and I can easily ask for my favourite food, the bathroom and the direction if I ever land up in the Andalusian desserts. But you know how it is, when one goal gets accomplished so easily, you start setting higher goals. So, as I am toiling away on an Excel sheet for a Welingkar project, I start thinking about some environmental aspects of the projects and factor in the environmental cost of the project. That is when my next big inspiration hit me.

It is called the ‘Environmental Index’. If you google this word, you will get book indices, how o preserve jams and fruits, the Tasmanian devil and history books in the library. None of it is what I am talking about. What I am talking about is nothing short of a revolution if done right. The EI is an index that tells the layman how much of the environment he is affecting. It is a figure, that ranges from 1 to 10. 1 means it is safe for the environment and 10 means you are causing the earth to shut down. Let me explain it with an example.

You go to a grocery store to buy a carton of milk. There are 2 brands. One company has environment friendly processes (good waste management practices, recycled paper, etc.). The other does not. Now both have been audited by the EI body (which is more objective than the ISO 14000) and they have been given the EI of 1 and 10 respectively. So as a environment-friendly consumer, you will choose Brand 1. This is in the very near future and can be done by tweaking the ISO 14000 also.

But here is my dream:
An EI meter installed in everything. You take a cab to work instead of the train and you know exactly “how much” damage you have caused (instead of just a vague remorseful pit in your stomach). You listen to music in your desk from your phone instead of a walkman, and you know how much of the environment you have saved by not using the disposable batteries. You wipe your hand on a tissue instead of showing it under the hot air jet and find out whether you did wrong to the environment.

The funny thing is, all these things are not at all far fetched. It is very easy to find out how many units of electricity are consumed, how many trees are cut down and weigh the two. It can even be monetised and paid back to the consumer with minimum EI as incentive. If there can be a monetary value for ‘carbon credits’, I am sure, this is not far behind. So I am scoring the planet for people and organizations that have researched the above. I find it very hard to believe that no one has thought of this by now.

You read about global warming and its ill effects. The UN is setting down norms for pollution, hazardous waste management and also is extending information to those interested in slowing down the march of global warming. The threat of global warming existed 10 years back when I was in school and it still does today. Then we were allowed only till 2060 to live. Now they have given us more time. Sadly, the awareness has not gone up as much as the water level in the Arctic zone. It is very very sad, but it is also very true that today the only reason one would talk about conservation of power and anti-pollution campaigns is to gain popularity and be seen as the cool one. Yet, having cried myself hoarse for more than 15 years telling people to switch off the power, not litter and recycle, atleast now, I know that it is not something like the UFOs and little green men. It is a real issue that needs to be tackled.

I am looking forward to working with my types on advanced Excel sheets putting indices and calculation matrices for each and every item known to man. If the environmental index does not work out, be sure to find my name atleast in the ‘Mental Index’.

July 24

SD 1

Sexual discrimination….Aah! my favourite topic.

Well, being a true Gemini, I have exactly opposite views on the same. This is why I do not enter into debates. I may just change sides anytime. Anyways, just as I am fighting my own demons on this topic, I come across this article in the Times about Harry Potter fans. Check this out – A family with a copy of the new book. The caption says – Pallavi Phatak, told her husband to take care of the children for the day, as she picked up a book from Strand

This caption is all wrong. This is what it says (actually this is what feminists like me would like to read in it;):

A woman’s job is to take care of the children

She should not indulge in things that are categorized as personal entertainment media

If she does, she should be guilty

She should probably read it to her daughter. How can she, a grown woman, neglect her daily WORK and read a children’s novel?

Oh, her husband is so supportive because he is seen smiling in the picture…He is giving her a chance at being herself…a chance she gets only when she is in the shower J

Well, if the caption captures the woman’s emotion, then it is really sad. It is great that she TOLD her husband to take care of the kids, but is it really something that needs to be told. I would like to see a picture of a woman telling her husband that she will take care of his office while he reads the book.

Yes, I don’t have much responsibilities and I “shall know” only once I start having them. All the women who do not really know me well like my family does, publicly hope that I would wizen up to the real world problems that are there for women. I say they are a problem only if you let it be. But they shake their head in sadness seeing my future in their tired eyes and thinking how they said the same thing when they were my age (or much younger).

Yes, there are ONLY two sects of people. Not Hindu, Muslim, black, white, upper-class, lower-class, haves, have-nots, tech-savvy, tech-illiterate or HP lovers and haters. No, there are only two sects of people and only on the basis of these two can there be any differences in two human beings. Otherwise, God created everyone alike. These two sects are: Man and Woman. A very wise lady in Tamil literature said this. And I agree completely.

Yet, would you say that the post of Prime Minister of a country as head of country and the President of some other country again as head of country would be different. NO. They are equal, but different. They are equal in rights and privileges, but different in the ways they do things. Just because I happen to be CEO of a company, can I life my own laptop like the next male CEO does. No! Just because I am an equal, does it mean I can drive a car? No!

Yet, I am as special and a man is. I am as important and I would like to read Harry Potter with just as much peace of mind as my man would.

Also I must tell you, the book we bought has been successfully torn into two parts because of our pulling for equality. So I am reading the first part, while he gets the ending, Can you believe that? He gets the ending. Aw…sexual discrimination!

Disclaimer – My husband is not like that described above and that is probably the reason I fail to understand how other women put up with sexist men. If he was like that, maybe I would have given up and adopted the ‘Life’s like that (huge sigh)’ attitude. I am telling you, that would have been easier 😉

July 23

House Shopping

So,we finally decided that it is not fair for Deepak to travel so far for work everyday! I mean, the guy is never in time to cook for the night. Because of this,we nave been ordering food everyday. And as a rule, I do not like outside food.

We set out to look for houses in Kalina on the suggestion of a good friend. Unlike Chembur, Kalina does not have many houses on lease. So, of the small choice of 5 houses that we were shown, we really liked one.

But what is funny is that no matter how the house is- bad, sad, stinking locality, wierd neighbours, leaking roofs and seeping walls- there is no difference in the rent of a great house and an excuse of a shanty

Moreover, the brokers have little role to play as the owner of the house demands high rent and a higher deposit. It all started when the Mncs came and started taking these houses on rent. The deposit they are willing to pay is ranging around 5-10 lakhs. That Bombay’s real estate rates are ridiculous, I have been hearing since I had ears. Imagine what would happen if -there is a regulation that brings down all the rates and brings tl – at par with the other metros? That would be murder. The only reason many people do not come to Mumbai is the exhorbitant property prices. The city has to have ONLY one disadvantage and this is it .

It is a premium I am willing to pay for this great city. Ok, I shall hold on to that Cheerful patriotism till my new house in Kalina is floating in the rain water that our great city does not want to let go of.

July 15

Harry Potter and TOOTP

Yes, TOOTP! Sounds weird, but is cool!

The director has done a very good job of focussing on one line of the story instead of talking about Hermione being a union leader for the dobbies of their wizarding world.
So the movie finishes in 2 hours and THAT is the only disappointing part. Dumbledore, Minerva and Trelawney have small parts to play. The one who has a big role to play is the giggling, bright-eyed, perfect pinky, Dolores Umbridge.

You know when I read the last book, I really felt bad for Umbridge being killed by the death eaters, but now I don’t. She is so evil and pink at the same time. Yes, she is a pink pain. And one feels so much hatred for her that each and every single paisa you spent on the movie becomes worth it when the Weasley twins give her OWL supervision a little friendly visit.

I know I am talking as if the story itself was released yesterday. No, I have read the book twice, but never managed to see beyond the disciplinarian and scheming methods of Umbridge. But when you see her in person, God, the woman is MAD. And by the way, kudos to the actor who played her. Good casting. Bravo! As they would say it.

But like I said, the movie concentrates on the main story line and only the elements required for it to serve as a prequel to the next in the series is retained. The execution is dark till the time that the Weasleys have fireworks and the music and tempo of that scene is so brilliant, you feel you are standing there on the holy grounds of Hogwarts and cheering them on. The scene leaves you with such a broad grin and mirth that it does not at all feel weird when the people in the theatre start applauding. I guess anyone could get blown away by that.

Another gem of a scene, is when Sirius Black just dies abruptly and passes into the veil. The music and silent screaming of a shocked Harry is rendered very well.

The visual effects are mind blowing as usual. Tonks is very pretty and unexpectedly so. The locations are breathtaking, especially their flying in an out of London. The very fact that I saw it twice in one day says it all

July 11

Till death do us apart

It is not such a nice thing to do when you are halfway through your lunch, but I did it anyways. I took the death test.
It claims to be Harvard tested and all that. And what do I get : a big red box that says this –

According to our research, you’ll be dead by

January 2064

at age 84


According to the website, I have already spent 32% of my life. I would NOT have calculated that. This means almost one-third of my life is over.
Well, thats a sad thought!

Also I am going to die due to cancer……..I don’t mind dying at 84, but not with cancer. Ramdev baba, here I come!

I have 20000 days more to live and can you imagine that when I die I would be gearing up for my 57th wedding anniversary celebrations???

God, why did I not get married a little earlier in January, why the 29th?

Take it…make your day!
http://www.okcupid.com/death

July 10

Urbridled Joy

As I was working on a project from home, I hapenned to get a bit lonely. My house is in the middle of all activity, but becasue of the proximity of a jungle-like private golf course, it is so quiet that I need the TV to drown out the silence. I hear the fridge all the time roaring away, the washing machine deafens me and the fan drones on and on and makes me go to sleep. So I usually need some intermittent noise which I would not want to particularly listen to but still which will keep my eyes open when I am dying on a report. It is but natural that I would choose to switch on Doordarshan on TV for this very purpose.

Only today my timing was all wrong. I swithced on the TV not even looking at it, prepared for some horrendous low volume dialogue delivery on an afternoon soap and what did I see? There was a black and white drawing of a railway station and the tracks were leading out of the drawing. Yes, anyone who is old enough to read this knows what I am talking about…the classic Malgudi Days.

Now, it may not be as dreamy as ‘The Wonder Years’ or as hillarious as ‘Friends’, but R K Narayan sure knew what could make one glued to this writing. Here it is: my assignment that I am trying to make good time on and there on TV is Malgudi Days which may not be on when I do have the time. So I guiltily shut the lid of my computer and look side ways at the TV.

It is the episode about this cricket team formation. Just as I begin to draw similarities between the houses portrayed there and those in the villages in South India I visited recently, Swami gets all thrilled about the first official match that they are going to play and he takes off his shirt. I have just enough time to think ‘Oh boy! This guy is really excited isn’t he? I mean, who would take off their shirt for something like that. I am sure times have changed now!’. I havent had time to finish this thought, when the scene merges into one with the entire group of 11 boys running down into a river. The bank slopes into the water and the boys all completely bare bodied are running into it like it is their natural calling. The roll and tumble into the river with such exuberance and happiness. The episode ends with that, the loud train hoot and a boy’s voice calling ‘Swamiiiiiii…..’. And I am caught off guard by this absolutely shameless display of pure joy. It has no boundaries, no thoughts attached, no social overtures, just a plain group activity that brings unbridled joy to all concerned.

I do not know if the boys in the serial were such good actors to fake the look of pleasure or they were really just told to go have a blast, but I do know one thing: After all these years of runs and re-runs of this TV show, just seeing the last most unimportant part of that episode which may have been included as an after thought really gave me a jolt of merriment. I can now continue my work, with the feeling that life after all, is not that bad.

June 26

Arial View

Sometimes it so happens that you are so removed from the surroundings and yet the place has a tremendous effect on you. Today I stepped into a magical place…I say magical because it looked like magic to me, a lay person, who does not have too much to contribute to this mighty world.

I went to a place in Satara district where Koyna and Krishna river meet. As the care got parked outside the tourist spot, I got a phone call from a family friend who had a career choice to make and wanted my advice. We talked about it and it was going nowhere. Most of what I said she agreed on and vice versa and yet we were unable to decide whether she should go in for journalism or economics! And as I absent mindedly stepped into the beautiful breeze, it was like a mentos ad ‘dimaag ki batti jalade’. I got an answer for her problem and she agreed to it 🙂

As I slid the phone into my bag, I looked up to see a beautiful scenery. The confluence of the two rivers was so beautiful I could not believe it could be in this place I was standing in after a hard day at work interviewing rural people. A shallow stony beach led to the plain water. On the other side, an uncultivated and virgin land spread across the horizon. A small tomb marked the place with serenity. As I shifted my gaze to this side of the river, I saw tall trees all over and it looked like different landscapes from different lands had been grafted on this one small hillock. Tall, short and dense trees dotted the whole place. Big birds circled over the trees continuously waiting for something.

I heard a man shouting at the skies. He started throwing food on the ground. Soon all the birds circling the nearby hillock came flying into the clearing where break crumbs and chapati pieces lay. As they came closer I saw they were eagles. They came flying, picked up the round bread pieces in their clutches with lightning speed and flew so low that I felt they would fly right into all of us gathered. They flew with a steady flight gliding over us. I looked up to see an eagle floating effortlessly over me blocking out the dying sunlight. It bent its neck all the way to its feet to peck on the bread. In this pattern around 100 hundred birds flew all over the place forming myriad patterns on the blue sky. Then they took their flight to the water and while the eagles just flew at one orbit over the brown water, other water birds joined them and like an orchestrated dance, dipped into the water to pick on the fish that watched stunned from the water surface as the dance took form of its death ceremony. After some times, all birds joined in and the noise and the twitter was enough to make me move to he garden area.

The trees in the garden were even more noisy. Looking up I could not see any birds at all. But on careful inspection I saw small birds teasing sleeping bats that hung carelessly from the highest branches of the trees. They were yawning and stretching out their wings as the birds tickled their bellies. They were getting ready for the evening ride. As the sun set slowly, I drank in the small setting that seemed like a time away from time and a land away from the ground on which my feet stood.

June 23

The sweetest thing

See I cannot blog too much about my brand new niece without getting full permission to put up her photos. Well, she is a geminian girl like me). So all comparisons will start now and I really wish it did not happen.
Anyways, thats the reason I feel sooooo faaaar away right now. It is worse when it is coupled with being away from your husband too. But she was born and I had to leave for work. And I know that for as long as I live I will miss not being able to look at her long enough on the first day that she was born. That initial yearning cannot be filled by the years of cuddling her that I have ahead of me.

It is a special relationship and I know it will always be. I just do not want to be all teary eyed everytime I talk about how anxious we were when she was born and how our hearts missed many collective beats if something wasn’t alright. I just hope I can be a cool aunt 😉

How can you love someone who you do not even know? When you do not even know if she likes your kinda music, if she will be politically opinionated, if she will sweat too much, if she will share your likes and dislikes, if she will tell you all her secrets and come to you for help, if she will trust you and have faith in you, if she will be a spoiled brat or she will just be one dull boring relative 🙂

How can I already love her without having all these answered? This is what they call impossible love….finally I know what it is!

The Sunday Brunch

It is very difficult to write on such a full stomach! But I shall oblige. Do you know these big lavish sunday brunches at good hotels! Well, they kinda close the kitchen by 12. So when we woke up at 11 today morning (what? I had late nights all week!), we was quite hungry and late for everywhere.

So I arranged this lavish spread and this is what it included: (Most of these not prepared by me)

Sweetened Yogurt
Assorted Dryfruits
Nachos and Dip
Cornflakes
Chocos
Masala Omelette
Toast
Amul Butter
Fruit Yogurt
Low fat Milk
Khara Biscuit and chips with Tea
Fruit Juice
Jam and Peanut Butter

And it looked like this, all tagged and arranged

June 15

Dragging myself out!

It is Friday and I have just about repaired my neck from Wednesday’s journey! But it is time to go again. Deep in my sleep I dreamt about times to come. I am not being poetic, but you know you are dreaming of future Bombay when you see your future house in a loft of a small room.

Anyways, the alarm went off and through one ultra-strained eye I saw the time. It was 5:30 am. Now for many this would be a normal waking time, but for me, it is a time when my insides are completely at rest. The shrieking alarm coupled with the Nokia torchlight shook me out of my hibernation with a cruelty that only a bus conductor can don when your stop comes. I bravely hit the snooze button (God save the Snooze button) and sank back with my mind vaguely calculating whether a snooze is of 5 minutes or 10 minutes.

When it rang after ten minutes, a wave of foreboding washed over me and I sat up cursing the fact that I did not have my own private jet to take me to Baramati. I remember seeing myself in the mirror ad thinking dramatically, ‘Foreboding washes over me!’ That word, ‘foreboding’ was so apt for me at that time I thought. Then realising that I was not waking up so early to start framing my blog entry I got ready and packed a school bag full of my travel essentials.

Raj National Express has an office just a jump away from my house. So I hopped in there and thought, ‘What do you know. May be I can stretch and catch up some of my sleep in the Volvo’. I must admit I was a little surprised when the ticket to Pune cost me only 200 bucks. The photo outside their office looked like king fisher seats. A bus pulled in and I hoped this would not be it. It looked like an ST bus all painted ad air conditioned. And as I still am under the influence of Shani planet, this was my bus. And those seats in the photos were really those of Kingfisher.

So, as one may guess, instead of stretching and sleeping, I am writing this post. Not that I am very particular about the comfort of a sleeping place, but I have to keep awake to watch the ceiling fixtures of the bus which clatters with a promise to land on me.

June 14

Dapoli

After three months of being a total ‘anti-lavanya’, traveling by cabs and soaking myself in air conditioning, I let myself fal back to my old self.
I took a state transport bus to Dapoli and travelled for 6 hours on a breath taking road. Did you know that simple seats are better than semi-luxury coaches that have pathetic dirty cushions which are excuses to shield painful steel rods.
Dapoli is a place in Ratnagiri district of the Konkan belt that boasts of a beautiful agricultural universities. For being Ratnagiri, I did not see the sea or ship building yards or mango trees…or thats what I thought was there at Ratnagiri.

Well sea or no sea, it was breath-taking – because there were these beautiful clearings every once in a while that looked like they were copy pasted from some place else. From the ghat roads, I could see a small patch of water. The bus made its way right to the water body. It was a place hidden from everywhere else – bordered with palm and plaintain trees (???). There was nothing nearby other than a boat on one end and dam-like structure on the other. The water was calm and it mirrored the hills of the other side.

A little while later, we came to this patch of land that just stands out of its place. I never saw that tree in that area before.  There were these shirt trees with flame of the forest type of leaves. The trees were almost bald and the brown orange leaves were evenly spread all across the ground. In the dying sun light it looked even more beautiful.
It looked like fall had just kissed this place good bye while it was monsoon everywhere else.

Traveling has become so natural for me that this year’s first mangoes I had when I was in Nairobi (in the middle of winter) and the first rain this year was in Malaysia…and then at Ratnagiri…well, however great these places may be, home is where the heart is 😉

June 11

Blogger’s Meet

For months my good friend Nandan has been trying to get me to go to the bloggers meet and I always had only one problem – I was always out of town. Last Saturday when I was informed about the meet I actually toyed with the idea of going. I do not know if this happens to others – but there is anxiety laced with foreboding when I know I am going out to meet people out of the web world. Which is another reason that I was one of the first people to have a homepage (it is easier to be yourself behind a computer screen). Thus I had two lives as every nerd does: one offline and one online – and the two never met.
Well, this Saturday they were forced to meet. The marketing consultant who was a very people’s person was made to merge with a shy blogger who would never have gone to a pub int he first place. I got my husband along to help me in this metamorphosis. It was easy to woo him once I told him the venue 🙂

As I entered, I saw this small huddled group of what looked like writers, journalists and serious bloggers. I was reminded of a Ryze Mixer and boldly went up to them and introduced myself. Through the darkness, I could see smiling faces. These were the faces of the people who in the next two hours would enter my world and make me feel as if I knew them all along. Very friendly, very warm and at the same time interesting to talk to. The pressure to socialize is just right – you need not speak to anyone, no one knows you, you can talk about who you are in the context of something other than what you do and you can leave having made friends….its a win win all along.

Obviously when I told this to my non-blogger friends, they were aghast that we meet outside the wired world. But for all those who thought bloggers’ meets were just a bunch of journalists discussing the future of India, this was an eye opener. Also, my husband promises he will come to all the future meets even though he does not blog – because that is what it is: it is a forum of the coolest writers who do not write about anything in particular but just love to write and be read and who love to meet people offline too.

Long live the bloggers!

June 09

Nostalgia revisited…well duh!

You now how nostalgia is! When I see an older relative switching channels to watch old actors and actresses dressed in pink PVC pants and prancing around disco lights, I am thinking ‘Yeesh, who would want to see this?’
And then I go ahead and change channels to see Rani Mukherjee and Bobby Deol dancing in Mauritius. My inner voice says ‘Yeesh, who would want to watch his girl in a miniature version of a dress dancing to a badly sung song?’ I know – me.
Its just that the song was a hit when I was in college. In college, I wanted to fall in love, dance in short skirts and lay on a raft in the middle of a white-sand sea. So when I see it now, I am taken back to those days and so even if it is totally out of style, the nostalgia widget embedded in my mind comes on alive and makes me feel good.

And in other news, I have kinda realised those college dreams…i fell in love, went to Mauritius, (ok I did not dance cos there were too many people around) and lay on a raft in the middle of the sea (in a shirt skirt 😉

I was listening to Shakira’s first album some time back and I remembered listening to it in college. I thought she was ok, but she wasn’t doing it right, she was not stretching herself to the limit. For instance – if the melody could be 100%, she would go to 98% and stop short and return to mediocrity. She should really have gone that extra 2% and burst out of her comfort zone, I remember thinking. And every time that happened, I would yearn for more, I would want to listen again and again to just get to that tipping point and imagine it going beyond the ordinary. And I would imagine how it could go and whether it could have been better. And after all this analysis and imagination, I finally get it.

It is a tease….that what it is. It is like every ad, trailer or demo you have seen. You see it and you want more. And it worked beautifully. Now I think her music rocks and she did the woman-staring-at-you-sensuously-from-the-front-page-of-a-magazine thing quite well (if you know what I mean 😉 )

You cannot afford to have even one negative thought

Hey,

Long time readers! I mean..its been a long time, my dear readers…not that I am referring to you as my long term readers! I was reading some old blog posts of mine and I am thinking that if spaces is still around when my grand children are around, I can show them what I was like when I were little … little younger!

Oh there I go again, I promised not to write about me getting older by a year last week. Ok, I am depressed about that and thats all I shall divulge.

What i am happy about is the wonderful weekends I am having! Did you know you can travel anywhere as long as a camera has been there. For example: In the last month, I have been to South East Asia, interiors of Dabhol, the zoo in California, the boys loo in MDI, etc etc. Yes it is like the times when TV became popular….I wasnt around then, I am now…and I am experiencing the most powerful and dynamic revolutions of all times. So all through my low times, i think about the good technology surrounding us and then I dont feel so bad…. (sung in ‘These are a few of my favourite things’ metre)

So when Robin Sharma said in the voice of Julian, ‘You cannot afford to have even one negative thought’ – he knew what he was saying. So, when I go to the Himalayas, I am going to be sure to take my O2 with me 🙂 But I digress. Have you ever flown over grass, ever floated over sea weeds without knowing how to fly or swim…well, technology makes it all possible. See this….

…..We left for Genting Highlands which calls itself an ‘Entertainment city’. From afar, you can see, looming above the road trail, a city of giant wheels, space propellers and roller-coasters blending in with the mist. It is like a fairy tale and the evening fog helps it remain that way. But though you can go by road, we chose the cable car (the fastest in the world) and kept climbing the steep ascent to Genting. Once there we got a wrist band that allowed us into all rides.

At every step we stumbled into games and rides. The queues were serpentine but the enthusiasm could not be dampened. One could go for the same rides again and again and again till all the adrenalin had left you and started floating away in the lazy Genting sky. Yes, lazy as it would seem when you are temporarily afloat and the roller coaster is diving from a height above the clouds.

We sat on seats that roamed over the whole landscape with just a chain attached to a canopy, we raced over small coffee and corn shops, we scraped the rain sprayed ground only to be tossed up again by an unseen hand, we shot ourselves up into space and stayed there for an endless time and then came down with zero gravity only to be plummeted again into nothingness. We sat on an ancient roller coaster that clanged with all its old steel rods holding it in place till your heart screamed out in the thrill that the sounds gave. We rowed a slow boat into a conveyor belt that took us 20 feet high only to drop us real fast into a pool of water. We tried to scare ourselves with the pirates and other creatures that leaped out at us in a dark room. We sat mortified by the dinosaurs and prehistoric creatures spewing water, fire and short blasts of air at our faces in the 4 dimensional movie. It was one of the days when it did not matter who we were or what we did for a living back home. We were just like the kid in front of us or the old guy behind us, all just waiting to be thrilled and chilled.

Shivering due to the cold, we retired to dine at the indoor theme park which is filled with replicas, cafes, shops, rides and pathways. It was like eating on a busy road with the best brands from around the world. No sooner than had we eaten we went to see the play ‘Fly’ which was a magic show combined with great acrobats. We saw with gaping mouths, people disappearing, reappearing, being cut and joined and flying away to oblivion. The acrobats glided in an out of the stage on ropes, roller skates and giant trampolines. As we sat in that huge auditorium filled with blue light, our bodies sank into the seats, our minds relaxed after all the thrill and our eyes unable to take anymore of the incredible sights slowly shut close. The last thing we remember seeing was this sight as we sat in a cab and drove to the hotel – the city of Kuala Lumpur and the Patronas Towers in the distance as they lit the stone grey sky with a brilliant unearthly white.

I would not entirely do away with the theory that it was all a beautiful dream. But if it is, I do not mind sleeping all through my life.

May 31

Education is the only way out

What is the singlemost important thing in life? Each one of us has a different answer for this. Yet the averages come to this list: money, health, principles, happiness, quality of life, status, power, knowledge, (in no particular order), etc. For one who has none of these, it is a vicious cycle.

The term ‘vicious cycle’ was first introduced to me in school where we learnt about Indian farmers and their debt situation. It was said that the farmers who are already poor have to wait to sell their crops to get money for daily needs and end up taking loans at high interest rates/mortgaging their land, they are not able to repay it due to low produce/price and end up taking up more loan, even when they die, their children inherit the loan, thus forcing them to toil early on in life to pay off the debts and fall in the same vicious circle that is continuing for generations. I understood the concept perfectly. Back then everything was black and white. The circle was complete.

At an age that I hardly understood the meaning of love and sacrifice I wondered why my maid kept asking us for an advance to pay her daughter’s tuition fee! I was appalled. I realized she made Rs. 200 a month per house and she probably cleaned 4 houses. Out of her Rs. 1000, she wanted to spend Rs. 100 on TUITIONS? How preposterous. Knowing girl child education was free I felt she was making a very extravagant attempt at educating a child who does not have access to any educated person or books or even the English language. That is where lay the answer.

She was making a huge deal to educate her girl child and that too without any shortcomings. So what if after 10 ten years she was married away to an engineer who worked in a manufacturing setup! Returning from the wedding I thought to myself, what a waste of education! But my maid did not. My illiterate, tribal, below the poverty line maid who did not have access to Nehru’s writings. She knew, she somehow knew she was right. I now know why!

She broke the cycle. Not her daughter. She made a sacrifice. While it would have been easy to have her child accompany her and earn a little more, she let her child stay in school. Irrespective of the girl’s absolute disgust towards studies, she forced her to learn from other sources. She broke the cycle by doing exactly what the government wanted her to do: give schooling to her child for free.

While we say free, we cannot negate the opportunity cost that it burdens some parents with. For many of them, the girl child becomes a helping hand, a baby sitter, a cook, a company for the old…anything but a child. One and sometimes a couple of generations have to give up the most important thing in life because they are fighting for a long term cause. A fight they do not even know they can win. A small distraction, an unwanted relationship, an accident, anything can mar the beautiful freedom they fight for. What is in it for them?

Educated till the 3rd grade, the girl child (now a married housewife) knows counting and calculation. She keeps tabs on incomes and expenses of the household and budgets her husband’s hard earned money.

The girl, educated till the 5th grade knows the importance of washing hands with soap before a meal. She protects her family’s health.

Educated till the 7th grade, she understands the meaning of right and wrong, morals and principles and passes them on to her children early on in life.

Educated till the 8th grade, she knows the meaning of contraceptives and ensures a happy married life with one or two children.

Educated till SSC, she works part time as a peon in a nearby school while her children study. She now can buy good quality goods for her family with the added exposure and financial freedom.

Educated beyond that, she could become anything…she could start a business, she could volunteer as a social worker, she could teach, she could work, she could just mind the house full-time. But she will still be the source of power that her entire family revolves around.

She will be different from her predecessors. Her knowledge will not be based on religious texts or folk lore alone. Her methods will not be dictated by traditions and blind faith. She will not kill her child by not reading the expiry date on the medicine. She will not take her husband’s bashing when he comes home drunk. She will not put her health as the last priority no matter what everyone says. She will not blindly follow her father, husband and son. She will not re-enter the cycle.

May 17

The Homepage is dead, long live the Homepage

Aaah, those old days when we used to compete with our college-mates on who has the coolest homepage. Yes, a homepage – where you put up your photo, a brief description about yourself (you could be your virtual self, write any incredulous thing about yourself and you were forgiven), your school time poems, your favourite star’s photos and other such highly important stuff. And we had these super-long addresses that we had to kinda compete with each other to remember. They were mostly on geocities or rediff and went like this http://homespages.rediff.com/members/grinds or if you were really doomed http://eo.yifan.net/public_files/webpages/users/l/lav/index.html.

Now it is a blog (though it was originally supposed to be an online diary) or a profile on orkut or a mini website or a full blown portal…but never a homepage. I was retouching my WORKSCOOL webpage and I was reminded of a design I had used long long ago and I was sure I did not have a website or a consultancy…I though for long before remembering that it was in my college days and it was for my homepage – a place for my poems and articles.

Oddly enough, many people visited it despite the long url. They wrote it in their notebooks and typed it on to their internet explorers. We used mails very sparingly those days and very few had homepages. So, it was quite a novelty. Today with links in every email, cross-commenting, rss, search engine keywords and a paid website, I don’t think anybody has the feel it used to have. Ofcourse there are many more people who I do not know who visit my page (Again, courtesy Google Analytics!) and the world shrinks very fast when that happens. But I miss that apprehension and the feeling of not knowing what is going to happen next when I first started using the internet. Connections would take atleast half an hour to get established as there was only dial-up. Random pop ups and ads that I did not know were ads gave me my most prized email ids. I learnt much more from cached webpages than from textbooks. All the email accounts that could not be POPed or SMTPed were accessed, the emails were quickly copied on to notepad and deleted if not required. No unlimited nothing. No free wi-fi, no firefox extensions, no you tube, no nothing. And yet, it was new, it was wonderful and it was the beginning of a revolution.

As a generation, we have been part of very very few revolutions and this is one of the biggest. Yet to my great concern today, when I consolidated all my online avatars on lavanyadeepak.com, I somehow missed out and did not include its earliest predecessor – my first homepage.

PS- You can find a somewhat old version on http://welcome.to/literart

May 08

Brand Equity Quiz would have been less taxing

Ever tried calling on a Hutch (Orange; a cellular service provider in India)* hotline? No, it is not like a Reliance (A Verizon equivalent in India)* hotline, where nobody knows anything…
In fact at the Hutch Inbound Call Centre, the problem is that everyone knows everything.
Everytime I call, I feel intimidated by the kind of information they have on me. In case my blogs get deleted, one could excavate their records for dope on me. It is even more intimidating than the credit card company guy calling in an confirming your lats 4 digits of the card. I mean if he knows the last 4, what stops him from knowing the first 12, the CVV number and the expiry date?

Anyways getting back to Hutch –
Remember the days back then when we had oral exams and God forbid your name started with an “Aa” and you were the first student to be called for questioning. Well in the adult world we call it quizzing and only people who are left un-scarred from the oral exam syndrome can get themselves to face a quiz master. But what can poor-lurking-behind-the-limelight people like me do? Even if I would want to stay away from quizzing, I cannot if I have a Hutch connection. When you call Hutch, they tell you to dial your own number. In case you were wondering, they got this trick from ‘Kaun Banega Crorepati’ (An Indian equivalent of ‘Who wants to be a millionaire’). One has to display fastest finger first capabilities or the over friendly woman will say ‘Sorry’ in a tone that mirrors that of a a flirtatious receptionist when asked what she is doing that night. But, I digress. Once you have keyed in the number, the options are read out. You have to choose the category quickly. If you miss you end up speaking to the customer care executive. “Care”-this word needs revisiting. You know these Mafia movies in which the Boss asks whats has Gustapolis done to the meddling Gonzalves? And Gustapolis says, “I have taken CARE of him”? Yes, it is in that sense that care is used here you see.

So this is a sample conversation:
Sukanya: This is Sukanya. How may I assist you?
Lavanya: Hi. I am having a doubt about the tariff rates!
Sukanya: I am extremely sorry maam (???). Can I have your phone number?
Lavanya: Sure…it is XXXXXXX
Sukanya: Your name maam?
Lavanya: (Ok, you definitely have not logged into your system) Lavanya Panchapakesan
Sukanya: Ok, Miss Lavanya Panchapakesan, can I address you by your first name
Lavanya: Please
Sukanya: Ok, Lavanya we will definitely look into your doubt. But before that for your account safety, can you confirm your date of birth.
Lavanya: (Ok, now which one have I provided them with…official or unofficial?) Uh…5th June, 1980? No, 4th June 1980
Sukanya: (Grave Silence…probably alerts the police and the Interpol)
Lavanya: (Triumphantly) 4th June 1980
Sukanya: (Now realising that this is no ordinary customer, it could be someone trying to steal records of tariff rates). Can you provide me with your complete billing address?
Lavanya: ok…my address is XXXXXXX
Sukanya: (Before one can get too comfortable with the address) Can you give me your landline number?
Lavanya: (I abruptly stop saying the address and start with the number)
Sukanya: (Not yet satisfied) What plan are you on?
Lavanya: (Stumped, confused, convicted and ashamed of myself) Uh…thats what I wanted to know from you!
Sukanya: Sorry maam, for your account safety we need your correct details.
Lavanya: But…
Sukanya: Sorry maam, can we assist you with anything else?
Lavanya: No, just this…
Sukanya: Sorry maam, we cannot (Silence)
Lavanya: Ok, let me try to remember, some Rs. 249 rental and Rs. 30 for hutch to hutch???
Sukanya: Is it Rs. 249 rental or Rs. 149 maam?
Lavanya: Uhmmm
Sukanya: Sorry maam, for your account safety we need your correct details.
Lavanya: You do know that I can call you back with all the right answers right?
Sukanya: (Silence…she guesses the Interpol will also not be enough)
Lavanya: Oh come on…(I bang down the phone)

When questions come flying and you know the other person has a computer with all the answers and you are in a traffic jam without clear connectivity you feel like this the writer of this hindi ghazal:
ainaa mujhse meri peheli si soorat maange
mere apne hi hone ki nishaani mange
(The mirror asks me for my original face…it asks me for my own identity)*

*-For the benefit of my fans abroad (Courtesy: Google Analytics) who may not be Indians or understand what happens here.

April 26

Window View

Taking off into the air in a plane is always a gleeful experience. Of course for this you need a window seat. So just when you think you are ready to get all adult like and start sitting on the aisle seat, stop yourself and relish the window view.

You start spotting well known buildings and hoardings at first, then marvel at how long the roads are and no matter it takes that long to travel to office. As you climb higher the tin roofs and winding water bodies reflect the sun in full blinding you for a moment. The buildings all look exactly like the models my sister used to make while studying architecture. The arrangement of the land plots are so beautiful when witnessed from such a lofty perspective. Then you start counting the bright blue swimming pools and wonder at their sizes. Trains looks like tapeworms and sometimes when you take off at night the fast approaching puddles of light thrown by neatly arranged lamp posts look amazing. The scintillating multihued lights that outline a city at night throw their brightness into the night sky. The sun lights the earth all day and at night the city gives it back to the atmosphere.

April 21

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April 17

My Report Card

My Bilirubin finally came down to 1!
Bilirubin is an indication of…..wait! I had that by heart and now I know why I did not choose Biology as a subject. Let us just say Bilirubin is an indication of whether I can start working again after my jaundice. I always thought it was discovered by two scientist friends- Billy & Rubin…like Levin Rubin. And I thought why would someone name such a thing after oneself. But it has nothing to do with names.

Anyways, this is a great day in my health history. Do you know what it is like to go for an exam in which you know you have prepared quite well, but the pass percentage is just so hopeless that you will fail anyways? CAs may take note: I finally understand your pain.

Taking a blood test to check one’s jaundice is like taking the mock CATs. One never knows why the score goes up or down. Only post mortem tells you what is wrong. And the next time when you get THAT right, something else goes wrong. It is as difficult to get a good score. The only solitary difference is that in jaundice you would want to reduce your score.

But like as IAS student I kept at it….and kept taking the test. All’s well that ends well. My count has finally come down and I am hoping it is here to stay.

April 14

Why women need to be super-women?

Marriage gives you an understanding of some amazing new facts. It gives one an idea of what men will/can do and what women can/will/learn to/are expected to do. You must’ve guessed my gender by now…

Now, while as a species men have stopped adding any new feathers to their caps, women have gone ahead and done all that and more and blah and blah and blah. Women can do all that men can do, only better 😉

I am not going to indulge in male bashing as my best friends and the love of my life are all men. This is about something else (for once).

This generation of men is exactly like the earlier. They do the same things and don’t do the same things.

They DO: work, hang out with their friends, watch sports, news and like beer.

They DO NOT: sign up for singing classes, have a mani-pedi appointment every month, socialize unnecessarily with relatives and put down the toilet seat.

For all the things that they do and do not, we love them-because they are predictable, understandable, all the same and a little messed up. A woman in their life fits like a glove: she brings newness, beauty, kindness, society and love into their lives.

Now let us try this for women.

Sampling Technique: Convenience

Sample Cluster: Working Women

This generation is not exactly like the previous.

They DO: everything

They DO NOT: work as male models

And they are unpredictable, cannot be understood easily, all very unique in some way and try to never be messed up. (I am trying to portray this as a third party which I am not….but it helps in reducing bias)

A man in their lives brings them at times a free coolie to lift heavy luggage.

So though the men have remained the same, women have gone ahead. They can and do most things men did till now and seeing this new evolved chore-possessed do-it-all woman, men are smiling to themselves and retreating into the couch a little more. For centuries they have been nagged and a little more will not change them in any drastic way.

But for centuries now, women have been asked to and expected to deliver more…make that “do more” than their mothers. And they have been listening, learning, evolving and now they have styled themselves into super-students, super-wives, super-bosses and super-mothers: thus becoming super women.

One would say they want everything: A family, a well rounded well balanced life, children, a fulfilling career, everything. Well, as I see it, it is just that there are so many things to want and take today. This same class of women could not have all these not because they could not manage everything. One mother managing 15 children in one man’s salary is in the same league. It was because the avenues were not open, the society was not so tolerant and education had not reached them. So when they got the opportunity, they grabbed it.

It is probably easier to be a super-woman in a society that is willing to accept it…but then we would probably first have to find life on mars for that. It is as difficult in USA as it is in India. Only the degree changes. But this kind of life is so challenging and enriching that it is the ultimate goal for most women. The ones without this goal are seen as aimless, ambitionless existences that are famously called “the behenjees”.

They start out at the age of 20-21, being highly motivated (mostly by being daddy’s girl and being brought up as a boy). They rise in studies and career and are becoming super-girl. Then marriage comes: They find who it seems at that time is a super-boy and get married. When the powers combine….the world is saved once again.

Then the urge to become a super-mother kicks in. But bad news is: Work has to take a hit. Paternal leave helps the father get involved, but the burping and the pushing is what women are best at. This is when the optimization starts. It becomes very difficult to manage everything. Yet once a super-woman, always a super-woman. The ego and will-power drive her on and on and on: Children grow up, get married, settle down, have children and those children start talking.

The super-woman of today lives a colourful life on the outside and a crumbling one inside. One in which she missed her child’s first words, her sister’s convocation, her husband’s office farewell party and all the precious quiet and timeless moments alone with herself.

The beauty of being a woman is not in trying to better men at their game (though we know we can do it). The truth is men and women are created differently: Any unisex jeans will tell you that. The reason is that they are good at different things. Women can do many things at once and also have a more fulfilling life if they did not find the urge to follow men in their path to success. The uniqueness and wonder that a woman is, is known in her various manifestations: with varying degrees of girlishness, womanhood, youth, motherhood and livelihood thrown in. The beauty is in the way one mixes these to get to the person she is.

April 08

Ok, moving on to my jaundice!

Remember when I said school and college was fun!
Maybe it was…for others…
Children who were allowed to eat pani puri from the road side stall…children who would drink juices from the nukkad juice wala cos they were thirsty, children who would drink from anybody’s bottle!
You know all that time, I said to myself, “Its ok Lavanya, its good you arent doing those things! Cos thats not what health is amde of…One should always be careful about the WATER you drink…atleats the water!”
So I went on through life’s schools, colleges, excursions, sleepovers and everything without breaking that code of conduct.
But I did not expect that at the marriage hall, there will be lurking ONE solitary jug with infected water…the only water that was not served by the extra cautious caterer….the water I drank when I was sitting pretty in my room ready to take the wedding vows!
And now I cant work and I am taking REST till I get better. You know God’s joke is so loud and clear….
If I had done all those fun ‘pani puri’ things in school and college, I would have got jaundice then.
And at that time, missing school due to an illness would have been soooooo much cooler than missing work! I actually like working! Baaaaawwwww—haaaaawwww!

When the world goes vela!

You know what was the best of times….school and college time!
I mean THAT was fun you know! Or maybe I was just so creative back then. Check out this hand bag i made from old bad floppy disks. This was at a time that people used floppy disks and thus they were not looked upon with distaste and hate as they are now!
March 28

Look what Deepak got for me Part 1

Hi,
Words are out! Pics are out! Videos are in…..
So Deepak got some stuff for me from the land of impossible technology…no I am not talking about your office but Hong Kong. This is the first in that series…
It is a digital photoframe….I had seen in at VU which is a store at CrossRoads 2, Mumbai where really cool stuff is displayed. And he remembered that and got it for me…it is….actually i’ll let YouTube say the rest!
March 22

This Holi, colour me yellow!

Nandan, Sneha, Namita, Anukul…everyone was down with jaundice. So all 5 of us all yellow : it is like someone dropped 4 drops of yellow dye into your blood stream. So fascinating are the chemical properties of bile that over all the years that nobody could come up with a cure for jaundice, many so called tantrics came up with tricks that promised to cure a patient of the deadly disease.

One of the more popular tricks goes like this:
The patient is brought into the room and told to stretch out his hands. The tantric says some mantras and pours water over the hands and washes away the jaundice. As a proof the water that falls from the patient’s hands is yellow. The patient is happy and is asked to take a little rest.

What actually happens is the tantric pours a solution of NaOH. Bile present in the blood system reacts with NaOH reacts and turns yellow. And anyways jaundice gets cured with rest and good care.

Caveat the jaundiced!

March 19

Gimme some Credit!

When I stopped working as a salaried person, I realised one of the biggest advantages was that I was not on the hit list of credit card companies. The only thing I was registered on was my Reliance phone and they weren’t too keen on selling their database to the icicis looked like. Well, I gloated in this great sense of achievement till I took a Hutch connection around 8 months back.

So now I got atleast one call from each of the credit card (cc) companies asking if I wanted one. Now you must understand the situation I was in: newly engaged, wanting to book tickets to fly to meet his parents, buying presents off the net, etc. This was coupled with the fact that my fiancé would always pay through one of his numerous ccs and get huge benefits everywhere. I was getting into the net alright.

The main reason for having a cc: credit, did not catch my fancy as my karmic nature took over reason everytime to say ‘You have to pay sometime: better now than later’. I love everything postpaid as it is unlimited and they don’t treat you like second class citizens…e.g.: postpaid phones, no lounges, no free theatre tickets, higher rates. But in case of a spending account, a prepaid / debit card helps keep everything in check 😉

Now, getting back to my situation. I was drawn by this gleaming piece of plastic. And some lucky cc sales rep called one day shuffling through the ‘Will never convert’ list and asked me if I wanted a card. I said Yes. It caught him off guard for sure. He grew cautious and he asked me for my details and then if I already owned a cc! I said No. He said, ‘We shall get back to you’. Logic is that if I do not have a credit card already, I am not credit worthy enough to have a new one… This is what Ms Excel would call circular reference.

So just like my mom has no clue on how to recharge a prepaid phone, I have no idea as to how cc bills are paid. Last month we made big expenses in Mauritius through my husband’s cc and now it is time to pay. The day he left for Hongkong, he looked at me and said, ‘Could you pay these off for me?’

Now, I never thought it would be so difficult…I just had to find out the balance on the card, the bill date and then where I could pay it….seemed simple for a 26 yr old.

I started by calling the cc phone service of these companies. One needed a telephone pin, one needed the expiry date, one needed the birthdate. Thankfully I had some of these with me. The worst is when this information which you would think would interest no one other than the card holder is not given so easily.

So I call up HDFC bank and want the balance: they have no automated systems, it goes directly to the call centre employee. She gets the card number and asks whose name the card is in. I say it is my husband and she says she would not give me the information. I told her I had all the details, but because her highly sophisticated ear could understand that I was no man, she refused to give me the information. ‘Sorry madam, you husband would have paid in advance’, she said. A little after I put the phone down I realised she meant: He ‘should have paid’ and not ‘would have paid’.

I think I prefer the impersonal scary voice commands more than such sloppy service. I mean I have to give them some credit.

March 18

In praise of the Lord

Sometimes it just so happens that all the healing touch, all the medicines, all the tests and all the logic cannot cure you of something as simple as a stomach ache. Last evening I let a scathing tongue rule my thoughts….I still blame it on the medicines and the tasteless food I am having!
I was having an evening sit out with my parents and my grandma when they said that today’s generation will not believe in God until they fall head first and realize that there is more to life than just plain logic. You can imagine how a 26 yr old MBA mind would have reacted to that. There I was giving out theories that our whole society is based on negativity and fear. You people pray to God out of fear not out of love, I said, silently wondering when last I even peeped into the elaborate Puja hall in my own house. I must admit I felt a little guilty that I was in neither of these two situations: there was no fear and there was definitely no love there either.
I brushed aside the thought hastily saying tomorrow I shall probably go to the temple…I love God right! All through life, I have thought of God as my friend….I remember times in my life when I wasn’t so busy doing my worldly everyday thing that I actually had a one-way (half-duplex) talk with God and I thought it was the right thing to do and believe me, I never had Jaundice then. So here I was probably needing a little divine intervention and not paying heed to that side of me at all.

As usual we went off to sleep and for three straight hours I was wondering how does one person with only two flimsy hands soothe the ache of a tummy and a back at the same time. I walked around in the dark, sat down, checked my temperature, woke my parents up and basically did everything that I thought would help. Now you must remember that I love sleep and something that keeps me away from it is absolutely unacceptable.
So I was in such a state, extremely giddy with sleep but nursing an unbearable pain, when I almost dreamed of a bit of parchment like paper float down to me and on it was a long forgotten verse of prayer that I had heard someone read out in one of the pujas around my marriage. Like in a trance, I started mouthing the words before I realized what I was doing….. I kept repeating it with one word missing, till the whole verse was clear and I was chanting in my mind. I know I chanted for atleast ten minutes because I was so conscious suddenly of the decreasing pain. And all this time I was thinking, “Argh! Why did I not think of this before?” And then I realized I did not think of it anyways.
I drifted off to sleep after this and the pain was gone. I had once read a book about how pain and disease are quite psychological and if we tell ourselves we are fine, then we can heal physically. I know how intense this pain was, it could not have gone away by me trying to psyche myself out of it… and just before I slept off, I promised God I shall write about it as a thank you note!
March 15

My first post after marriage

There are many things to report. It all started the minute I left my parents house to go to the marriage hall. I went with my varied set of bum-chums and relatives to this place, which would over the next two days, see me getting all married. So the marriage happened with its usual fanfare, the photos are here.

As in every marriage, there was the pain and the happiness, the joy and the sorrow and I cannot say it enough, but it is one of the few times when every single emotion comes together in a whirlwind and sweeps you off to the highest point of your life. And there you are gloating in all the limelight and the next thing you know, is just one vast empty hall. Everyone prods you to start off your new life and disappears into the background. So here we are, looking around for our best friend or a favourite relative and wondering where they went. And the best friend or relative is thinking we have more important things to think of. Believe me, the bride and bridegroom are the least busy. You can call them two hours before their marriage and they’ll still be in a situation where they can talk to you. So, the next time you don’t make it to a marriage just call – no time is too bad.

So from the marriage, we went for our honeymoon. Before I was married it would make me extremely uncomfortable when my marrying friends would discuss their honeymoon plans. Thus for the benefit of my unmarried friends, I shall say no more than that it was real good fun. We saw the beaches in Mauritius and wildlife in Kenya. The photos are here. And oh by the way! A couple of lions were on their honeymoon too 😉

I figured that after a month long hiatus from work, I would not exactly want to do the 8 hour thing too soon. And yet I was happy, I could meet all my work colleagues. So I went to work and had a viral infection – that set me back by one week. Then I went for 3 days and was then diagnosed with jaundice. I guess drinking from the same pond as the zebras did not help. So here I am sulking away. Unable to do anything other than dictating to my computer the story of my life, since I left. Great many happy things have happened and they have been shadowed by my bothersome health. As someone said, “It was the best of times it was the worst of times.”

All this would not have been as bad had it not been in the second week of March – when one usually has to declare their advance tax. To quote PG Wodehouse, as regards income tax – “Thank goodness I am an individual, I pray that I may never be a

Corporation. It seems to me that some society for the prevention of cruelty to things ought to step in between the authorities and the corporations. I have dug deeply into the matter, having enough troubles of my own, but a casual survey of the laws relating to the taxing of corporations, convinces me that any corporation that gets away with its trousers should offer Hosannahs.” So God Almighty, saw me brooding over nothing but my health and said why don’t we give her some real problems.

March happens to be the gloomiest month of my life. It is the month that I realise that if you did well, you pay tax. And I don’t really mind coughing up the amount. The problem comes when I have two calculate and keep track of my expenses and come up with the exact amount before today. This is where the TDS comes to my rescue. In some of my most sincere dreams, I see TDS as some form of Angel that comes up to me and says, “Don’t worry sweetheart, we have been deducting all along and you wont have to pay a thing. In fact, we have deducted so much that you just have to fill in a refund form – if anybody has to pay, it is the government.” Thats one light moment. Though it is really a stinker that I havent got my refunds in 3 years and I don’t mind that either actually. Just keep away from me…but why put me through the pain of keeping track of all expenses and calculating to the last decimal if my form is just going to be tossed aside as a rare case of refunditis.

In other news, I may be shifting my phone provider from Reliance, because I get annoying messages in the middle of the night about cricket updates and winning trips to Malaysia. If you give me free tickets to my dream destination, I wouldn’t go. I am supposed to be very strict about my water sources. It is so difficult to get water in other countries – you have more chances of getting dehydrated than getting a glass of water. Here we guzzle by the litres and there, I have to be at the mercy of a tiny juice glass and the waitress who does not speak English. They have beaches, bathtubs and swimming pools full of water, but bottled water is hard to come by. After making sure that you REALLY do not wish to have beer or whisky or wine, they will pour you sparkling water (read club soda).

So next time you go are wondering what to get your good friend for their honeymoon and married life, just deliver a 20 litre can of bottled water to their house!

January 20

Comments…ahem ahem

This is probably one of the best invites that we have seen: Best sums it up

Congratulations! I would have loved to savor all the delicacies but am thousands of miles away to do that. Best Wishes

Urmila, Lavanya’s friend

Wow! this is really well oraganized – Ajay Singh, Lavanya’s Friend

Ah, woman after my own heart!! God bless you for publishing the menu.- Narendra Banad, Common Friend

Great site. You’ve just earned yourself some wonderful memories – Amit Puri, Lavanya’s Friend

as always… am very impressed (with the card and the
blog).
– Hoshedar, Lavanya’s Friend


Hearty congratulations and the website is amazing:) – Vandana, Lavanya’s Friend

an awesome blog u have put in – Shyama, Lavanya’s Friend


The website also is too gud 🙂 – Sachin Jain, Lavanya’s Friend


The blog is pretty creative – Gaurav Pant, Lavanya’s Friend


That blog is a good idea :)… – Ankur Huria


awesome!….u guys are off to a flier! 🙂 – Vijit, Lavanya’s Friend


WOW is a small word for the wonderful blog you guys have created. The
ceremonies page takes the cake though! You have explained the complicated
procedures in the most lucid and clear language. Just cannot wait to attend
your big day. – Mayura, Common Friend


Also checked the blog. very innovative, very nice, very you. – Anuradha Mahesh, Lavanya’s Colleague

I like your blog…how do you find the time?
– Radhika Sohoni

awesome mail and awesome website – Priyamvada, Lavanya’s Friend

Am really impressed and appreciate the efforts you have put in for the invitations. Have never seen anybody else doing a better job of it. Love the wedding blog, as well – Ruchika, Lavanya’s Friend

ur bog is really cool – Vibha, Lavanya’s Friend

It was very creative and interesting – Poonam, Lavanya’s Friend

And yeah, lovely website yar. I am sure you have designed it. Creativity ! Lavanya you are a genuis – Saikat, Lavanya’s Friend

Megha and i throughly enjoyed the blog. Excellent. Keep it up. – Kittu & Megha, Lavanya’s cousins

Hearty congratulations and excellent work on the blog. very interactive and fun –  Kartik, Deepak’s Friend


your website was really good…actually its very nice to see the enthusiasm – Shobha, Lavanya’s Friend & Colleague


Such a lovely site – you are admirably organised! – Prithvi – Common Friend from ISB

Your website is lovely. Here’s wishing you guys all the best, always.
There’s nothing quite like being young and in love and knowing you’ll always be together 🙂 – Nasreen – Common Friend

Well done…it is a really nice site – Kaushik – Common Friend from ISB

I like d arrangement – Puja – Lavanya’s Friend from Welingkar

i love the site 🙂
its a labour of love 🙂 – Sneha Srivastav, Common Friend from Podar & MDI

Cool blog!
Looks great….And you are right, you dont need to go shopping when you have a whole family of shoppers at your service!!! ha ha – Nirupama – Lavanya’s Sister

Gr8 sho…. good to read….- Pankaj – Lavanya’s Friend from MDI


How did you manage such a decent looking website. It looks good, looks like a fluke – Yash, Close Friend and Confidante

Simbly Awezome i say – Shalini, My Friend and Collegaue
“She is a creative person with a sharp mind, a simple heart and a liking towards singing and writing.” Lavanya, did you write that about yourself? Considering that you “like co-ordination”, I figured that it was you who wrote the blog. Way to be humble. Just kidding. – Nishant, my bro from US

Fabulous idea. Splendid execution – Suresh, My Jijjaji

The webpage is truely FANTASTIC, ( i did try to lookup synonyms for Fantastic, source: http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/fantastic but this was the best word)
nice color balance too,
The MAP is Awesome, supper cool, mindblowing, etc, etc, etc….. ( feel like outsourcing the map work to your company. 😉 )
my dad says that its simply superb !! All the best ! – Ganapati, My Best Friend


January 13

Guru

So I saw Guru. Ash acts in this one for real…don’t judge her by the intro song with the rain as the supporting actress. That’s one of the two senseless songs in the movie. But otherwise the movie is decent. Its obviously dhirubhai ambanis story…so for all those bschool students, when asked to write an essay on business icon of their choice, we know that would be. Hey if gurcharan das’ book was made into a movie by mani ratnam, I would know exactly how india was unbound 😦
Also, if rahman continued to give such music there would be no need for other directors….maiyya maiyya is brilliant and so is tere bina. God. I guess I am mighty impressed. Some dialogues are amazing, the kissing and dying scenes are irrelevant, vidya balan and madhavan are vague and untrue characters, mithunda is mithunda and abhishek in his older version is ugly. One just realises how good acting can make all the Bachhans look good….all of them.
Mani ratnam rocks.. The movie is very inspiring, makes one want to sit till one in the night and write the review for imaginary readers 😉

school

Today I went to my school to invite my teachers for my marriage. As I was entering the ground where my huge school (read factory of intelligence) stood, I had this weird feeling that though I spent 13 years there, I did not remember it that much.

I entered my secondary wing as even though one learnt more in primary and loved one’s teachers more when one was young, one would need to shovel down memory lane too much and track them down real long for just an invitation. You see staff, peons, primary teachers change jobs…but the ones that stand like monoliths in the old school halls are the secondary teachers and they were always there and they will always be. And this feeling washed over me a rich comfort that I don’t get when I go to my clients’ office every month and see a new receptionist!

So as I made it to my secondary wing, a life size mirror greeted me….a mirror on which I had seen myself steadily go from pig tail to double plaits in my 4 years of final schooling. A mirror which would see a throng of girls and boys trying to make it to their classes before the bell rang…a mirror that sometimes was the only witness to me rushing up the stairs when everyone had their eyes shut in prayer. Today I walked alone, but slow reading the proverb written along side – Today’s trees are yesterday’s seeds.

The faint feeling of familiarity came to me when I saw the conical trees from the veranda of the school and the huge ground beyond. I had spent a million moments staring at their golden green shoots in spring, wet dew in the monsoons and the dirty brown hues in the winters. I had always looked at them for inspiration (the truth is if you look out of any classroom window you could see them…and I used to have my sights trained on anything other than the board and the teacher).

No one in the staff room on the first floor…prelims are on, so all the teachers are supervising. I take the side stairs to the second floor. Deja vu- this connects primary and secondary through a small door. This stairway haunts me in my dreams..sometimes when I just stare at something, it flashes in front of my eyes. In my dreams, I take the door to the primary section, pass the small lobby, pass the classrooms where we sat, the principal’s office, take the red-yellow-blue-green painted stairways and go into the smaller playground.

Today the trip was like in the dream….going to my past! But as I saw the door, I did not pass it. That memory of primary should never be over written by anything else…even a more beautiful primary wing would not do! The chipped walls, the superficial oil paint, the names on the wood panels on the walls, nothing should change in my memory.

When I finished inviting and made my way back the smells of the famous IES canteen batata wada chatni took me back some ten years!

The rip to my school was thus a very interesting one.

December 13

your website was really good…actually its very nice to see the enthusiasm – Shobha, Lavanya’s Friend & Colleague

December 08

Some more comments

Such a lovely site – you are admirably organised! – Prithvi – Common Friend from ISB

Your website is lovely. Here’s wishing you guys all the best, always.
There’s nothing quite like being young and in love and knowing you’ll always be together 🙂 – Nasreen – Common Friend

Well done…it is a really nice site – Kaushik – Common Friend from ISB

I like d arrangement – Puja – Lavanya’s Friend from Welingkar

i love the site 🙂
its a labour of love 🙂 – Sneha Srivastav, Common Friend from Podar & MDI

Cool blog!
Looks great….And you are right, you dont need to go shopping when you have a whole family of shoppers at your service!!! ha ha – Nirupama – Lavanya’s Sister

Gr8 sho…. good to read….- Pankaj – Lavanya’s Friend from MDI



December 06

Blogit

Here are some comments on the Wedding Blog from my friends and family:
How did you manage such a decent looking website. It looks good, looks like a fluke – Yash, Close Friend and Confidante
Simbly Awezome i say – Shalini, My Friend and Collegaue

She is a creative person with a sharp mind, a simple heart and a liking towards singing and writing.” Lavanya, did you write that about yourself? Considering that you “like co-ordination”, I figured that it was you who wrote the blog. Way to be humble. Just kidding. – Nishant, my bro from US

Fabulous idea. Splendid execution – Suresh, My Jijjaji

The webpage is truely FANTASTIC, ( i did try to lookup synonyms for Fantastic, source: http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/fantastic but this was the best word)
nice color balance too,
The MAP is Awesome, supper cool, mindblowing, etc, etc, etc….. ( feel like outsourcing the map work to your company. 😉 )
my dad says that its simply superb !! All the best ! – Ganapati, My Best Friend

December 05

The Countdown begins

So, now everyone is asking if I have finished shopping for clothes!
See I have an arrangement with my folks…they like shopping, i dont. I like co-ordination, they dont. So they will shop for all and sundry and I shall make my card, invite list, choose back drops and music to be played and make my wedding micro site…
Yes! Its here, its live….its my all new ‘Lavanya and Deepak’s Wedding Blog’: complete with what our backgrounds are, who our parents are, our long drawn rituals and their significance, the menu on the day’s you will be coming, the invitations, flight schedules from major cities on those days, accomodation details et al….
December 04

Dhoooooom

Dont watch Dhoom 2!
And for all those who think the kisses were obscene, there was something even more obscene throughout the movie, Ash’s acting!
Anyways, enough of this…what is the matter with me.
I can never see a movie and say it is good! What expectations am I having? And from who?
Aah, I just think that the last movie I really enjoyed was something I saw on Cable and it was a regional movie. The think I enjoyed was the completely nonsensical plot and story line. See, I enjoyed it because I paid only Re. 1.32 for it….not Rs. 200 per ticket.
October 21

The festival of lies

No, this is not one of my attempts to show the darker side of this well lit festival. Just wanted you to read it 😉
Well, for me, this Diwali happens to be real special because the ‘deepak’ of my life is lit. So had I put this corny line as the subject, would you have read so much?
Now that you hve invested enough time, here’s wishing you a happy diwali and a bloggy new year.
October 19

governmint

We always think that these government clerks who sit at these offices will be inefficient, work-shirking, bored and thick skinned people. Well, that’s why every july, I feel this terrible tiredness come over me when I realise I have to make a visit to the income tax office. That’s the only time of the year I crave to be employed by a company which has a CA taking care of everything…they just need your signatures. But not me. I have to fill it up myself, take the photostats, stand in queues (where I can bet I am the only girl and the only graduate) and handle these babus who will say yeh format juna ho gaya…
Then they will nod for any other questions you pose becaue their pan-filled mouths are programmed to open for just about 5 seconds for them to lash out the verdict that you don’t update yourself with healthy doses of pink newspapers. Then they have to spit and answer your silly questions and they don’t get too happy about it.
So with all this sickness in my tummy, I braved my way to old customs house for filing my service tax returns.

The line was long as usual. But the officer there just cleared it in a minute. No sluggishness, no lack of information: he just kept directing people, arranging and stamping papers and clearing doubts while people queued up quietly to get a glimpse…he was a saint for my efficiency-starved eyes.

Now I have done this exercise thrice and I go without address proof or pan card (when the instructions are pasted over every inch of the place) and I never mind being told off by him or return back to submit the papers because when the stamp is put and your case paper tossed into the heap of accepted documents, your heart feels this great thrill, contentment and deep respect for this man who represents the good side of our government.

October 10

The non-particulars

I think it is easy to be simple
Its just our mind that wants a little complexity now and then.
A little more, a little spice to pep up an otherwise obstacle-less life.
It should not be considered wrong to have an easy life without major obstacles. Some have it, some don’t: that’s all there is to it.
But the main thing is not whether one has problmes, but how one reacts to them. I am sure you would have heard this a million times. Well I saw it in action and now I believe in it.
If you saw a person and felt they had problems, it is mostly because they show it and make themselves belive it more than it is true. But if one just stops believing that the problmes were so big int first place, they do seem to stop existing. I am not saying run away from them. But stare them at the face for what they really are: hidden opportunities and make the most of it. Cliched, I know. But it is, until you start believing in it.
I don’t know how well you can make your mind believe you, but the trick is to play mind games with yourself. If you truly tell your mind that nothing ios wrong, then nothing WILL be wrong.

October 01

The Bridge across forever….

2 no trump is 11 to 13
Four carder heart
Transfer to…
One club, one no trump
Its all sequence
1 club 1 diamond 1 no trump 2 club, we play transfers over all of these

‘Yeah right’, I am thinking as I sit by my fiance’s table while he plays bridge.

Not that I understand any of it, but it is nice to be around something that no one thought of educating me about!
Cricket, hockey, chess, badminton, I know a great deal about such games that I don’t know about bridge.

First of all, they have 2 sets of cards: one fancy beautifully printed ones with special chose number, signs and designs and the other the normal playing cards.
Second of all, these cards come in marked boxes in which banks and big business houses choose to advertise. Some even sponsor special boxes in thir corporate logo colors 😉
(hey I can’t help diverting into marketing thts my livelihood)

Someone comes up to me and asks is I would like to take a partner for the game and I say ‘I don’t play. Just came to watch’. One raised eyebrow. What? Don’t you WATCH cricket? Do you have to play to be involved? Correct justification, wrong reason. The real reason was I don’t know how to…simple!

Frankly, I haven’t seen such a quite game. Chess pieces make noise you see.

Ow! One set is finished and the partners argue out their best strategies. In the civilised world, I never imagined I would be at a loss to understand something SO MUCH.

There are 4 sindhi women, 12 gujarati people, the remaining are maharashtrians and south indians from IIT and VJTI. So I am assuming this is for the highly intelligent and sharp only. That’s the reason it was kept from me for so long.

A hard working tournament manager runs about the tables keeping everyone busy. He glances at me suspicously as I am making notes.

Its a sunday afternoon and its a sleepy rainy one at that…and I am liking my seat, its comfortable, so cushy, so cool and cozy….cards are falling in my head…falling through my eyes…can’t ….. keep them …….. open…………… Ca…n….’………t……………..

September 30

Kuch bhi to nahi badla

Nothing has changed…
I still have the same worries
The same insecurities
The same passions
The same fetishes
The same dislikes
The same cribbings
The same prejudices
The same fears
The same principles
The same theories
The same sympathies
The same longings
The same hates
The same ignorance
The same rationality
The same lack of it
The same loneliness…

Just that I don’t have the time for it!

It is not that all these vanish once one’s search for a life partner finishes, it just fades into the background and one fails to see it in light of much better things at hand.
They do resurface adding on new emotions as life goes on. They will always be there like a loyal friend or foe!

Thus one doesn’t really change and life’s unending mill churns out day after day in blinding speed; its difficult to know when one phase ended and the other began; making me think that probably they are just merging phases with one long story line linking them.

There is no past that can be undone;
No future that can be written
For when we are born, we bring with us the same person who we die as!

September 29

Health and other forgetfulness

Dear all,

I wish to highlight in this space today something that we take for granted..our health.
I am on the healthiest diet one heard of.
I have had all the chocolate I could have had in one life time
I don’t drink addictive drinks
I don’t smoke
The milk I drink I get from my dryfruit milkshakes and unlimited bottles of energee
I have a healthy dislike for pickles
I don’t have too many fried things along with my food
I don’t drink water just before my meals
I take calcium and iron supplements daily
I practice pranayam (breating exercises)
When I go for buffets, I have fruits and desserts
When I go to marriages, I have salads and not oily preparations
I dotn snack at all times, only 2 meals a day and a times a mid day sandwich

Yet
I have a heamoglobin level of 7
My calcium reservesnare depleting and any bone rupture never heals
My cuts don’t clot easily, so I don’t even want to think of my platellate count
I have an upset stomach twice a week
I have poor eyesight
I have perennial colds
I exhaust easily

So all you people with a good immune system and those born with good health, don’t spoil it with bad food and even worse habits. Take care of your health before you hit 40, or else you will not realise when you turned too old to start!

September 05

Rock and Metal

I like Rock
I like Metal
Who’s talking about music…
I am just drooling over my Solitare ring and my fiance’s platinum ring…
Yeah thats right, for an entire month (after my engagement) i am allowed to beave boastful, bragging, shamelessly clueless about ithers’ feelings and extremely selfish…hee ha ha ha. Whoever said the best period of my life was after my engagement and before my wedding knew this! I’m loving it..para pa pa pa..hoo hoo
In other braggings, I went to watch my fiance’s (Deepak’s) bridge tournament…and then took him shopping for clothes for ME. This was followed by a lavish housing society dinner at our Ganpati celebrations, where he was showcased for other mortals to take a glimpse.
Ahem, I think I will leave you guys now to envy, curse and ‘put nazar’
Ta ta
July 12

BOMB…eh?

Is it:
Courageous Bombay?
Great spirited Bombay?
Back on track Bombay?
Resilient Bombay?
Brave Bombay?
Helpful Bombay?
Amazing Bombay?
NO
Its more like:
Tired Bombay!
Dont-have-the-time Bombay!
Callous Bombay!
July 05

Water in my head

We Mumbaikars finally got some sense into us…
So after last year’s scary monsoons, I found myself thinking a LOT before venturing out and sat home instead.
And then I realised that THIS is exactly what people in other cities DO.
Guess, it does not do us harm to behave normal at time 🙂
I was all set to leave for Kolhapur the day the rains started lashing Mumbai. Being project leader, I did not want to sound faint hearted, but something in my head (apart from parents and fiance) told me that I should not go and the very next day they say on TV that Kolhapur is flooded.
Now it is good to listent o media at times, but dont believe everything! For example: The whole of Matunga is not drowning, so I am alright and alive and kicking (not in water of course!)
So Ta
June 28

There’s good news!

Only 2 things in life are worth waiting for….
One: Your life partner
Two: Technological marvels
And guess what! In this past week itself, I got both…
Let me first tell you about the O2 Xda Exec that I bought….
If you are not already drooling, then its a PDA phone with all computing features built in
It has a full fledged keyboard and you can browse the net, take notes, makes word and excel files, view PDFs and PPTs, listen to music, shoot short films, etc etc etc
…and I got it for a steal :))))))
Seriously, so so so happy that I cant take my eyes off it….
Regards
Lavanya P
PS-Ahem, in case you were wondering about the Life partner part, well, at the cost of sounding shameless, here goes… 😉
His name is Deepak. He is 27 and works in Bombay. He is originally from Chennai (IIT Madras), he worked in Infosys and then did his mba from Indian School of Business (ISB, Hyderabad). We are planning to get engaged in August :DDDDDD

I am beyond happy for this….
Everytime I want to take a snap of ours with my new O2, the light is bad or we look unphotogenic, so I gave up trying to get a perfect snap of OURS. Since you already know what I look like, here are his snaps taken at ISB and Infosys
Byeeeeeee

June 22

Life, love and other such paraphernalia…

When peace pervades all over

And my soul is lifted above

The material world, I fall

In untainted love.

June 01

Fanaaaaaaaaaaaaah!

Kajol is world class material, what is she doing in India? Well, actually its good she is here, or else seeing Aamir Khan fake tears would not have been worth it. Its not about the story line being too weak, or all the characters being too shallow, or that great actors are wasted on side-stories…its about ONE lady who overshadows the great Khan.
The impish ease with which Aamir Khan falls in and out of love, the arrogant knowledge that Kajol will not pull the trigger at him…all played well, but leaves you with little empathy for his character. On the other hand, Kajol who is a single parent bringing up a well mannered child is endearing….all in all, making whatever her character does in the movie the RIGHT thing! But I doubt an Aishwarya Rai would have been able to carry it off, especially when Aamir Khan is usually so good…I cannot imagine he could ever be topped, and that too in the same film, and moreover by a female actor… Haw! wow, my ego feels great! Bravo Kajol. Amazing come back. She is getting an award.
But please don see this movie with your sweetheart, lest you get some WRONG ideas about love! Whoever wrote this story has never been loved: not by his parents definitely! What irresponsible parents is the thought that irks one throughout the movie. Suddenly, my parents (irrespective of the little space they give me) are the best in the world! So, this movie has to be seen by young parents. They can learn a thing or two about how to take care of blind children.
One lesson for parents from this movie: If you behave irresponsible, you will float in ice
May 28

Yes its true

We are all alone in this race…
The sooner we realise this the better!
Sometimes looking outside the bubble into the harsh sun is not so comforting…
May 23

Getting older

I may just as well accept the fact that even though 26 isnt such a great age to be; it is inevitable. How else will I go on to have a mid-life crisis! If a quarter life crisis is this bad, I do hope I have friends at that time to get me through.
Letting go of your past can age you dramatically in a few days or even hours. But on the brighter side, when I am 52 and I am trying to make a compilation of all the blog sites I have had, I will find this post and think “Wow! The youth of 25! What was i sad about?” So with that thought, I live the last fortnight of my 25…
May 11

the usual rantings……

From the hot sun to holy baths at Rameshwaram,
from the pure waters of dhanushkodi to the waterfalls of hogennakal
in 20 days i saw it all….
be it life threats by local DMK affiliates (in ramnathpuram) or two rupee fans…
well, long stay away from home taught me something very important…
i am the bloody jet setting type i never wanted to be…waaaaaannnnhhhh!
No, something more important, that it is destined when you can die,
not when DMK wants, not when your SUMO driver wants
you just die when the flight gets delayed when you are reaching home and someone has been waiting 20 days to see you 😦
April 24

Phony

Many of us have lost our mobiles, but this story is very different.

I am again on a rural binge and travelled to Dharmapuri (3 hrs away from Bangalore). Before I went Namita was eager to know when I will change my Reliance LG phone and i told her since I am going to villages, I dont want to carry a new phone, what if it gets lost. She frowned and I said, “Dont worry, I will leave this in Dharmapuri, ok?”

Now after 5 days of field research in Dharmapuri, we were waiting in the hired car for the bus to take us to Bangalore. And when the bus came, I got up and my phone fell in the bus stop and I boarded the bus. As I settled my baggage, I realised my phone was missing. My colleague in the bus called up the driver and alerted him. For 20 minutes till he came back, the phone lay there silently in a bus stand without anybody picking it up or it ringing or any bus smashing its delicate body into wires. Driver searched and retrieved it and has it as I write. Fortunately, the same guy is driving us in Coimbatore where my next study is, so I am getting it back.

Whats funny is that when I realised the phone was missing, my colleague panicked and called, but I had this ultimate sense of peace descending on me….I just thought of 2 days without a mobile phone (on roaming) and I felt heaven!

But its been a day and a half now and my fingers are itching and my work is getting stuck up and I realise that I really dont want heaven. Evil are the ways of satan, I say!


April 24

Posted on 12th April, 2006

Today I declare that all my sorrows have been dissolved and I have become whole again. Blissful happiness, shameless mirth and a feeling of irrepressible joy sprung out of the distant past and ricocheted all over me drowning me in rays of my own sunshine!
I wish that all of you experience such happiness in life for which there is no rhyme or reason or justification…
March 25

Kids

I always maintain that kids are the cutest things to have around as long as they are not your own. So, I went to see this Song and Dance performance of my niece at her play school. And the kids. They were all so cute and prettliy dressed and naughty and full of enthu.
Then one kid falls and everyone laughs, or all the kids start emulating the star kid at the centre…and at times I felt that they are toys. They are like live toys which have much more potential than plastic toys or pet animals. No one treats them like individual people. I feel children should be treated like adults, talked to, asked for opinions from and not booed or cheered like animals battling each other. And just as I was chewing on this thought, one dance session ended and a parents came to the dias to give a testimonial. She said, “This playschool is the best! Last play school that my child went to…she just spent time and learnt lots of fun stuff, but this one analyses the kid and we come to know in which areas the child’s development is lacking and we can work on it. So, I really think the school made a lot of effort in analysing the child.”
Applause!
And now I feel that a toy life or an animal life is better than being treated like a case for the psychiatrist.
March 20

8 months to open my eyes

It takes very less time…
To be what you want to be,
To try everything you wanted to try,
To do everything you wanted to do,
To live life on your terms.
8 exact months is all it took for me…
But, even a lifetime is not enough if you do not realise this one plain fact: IT DOES NOT MATTER!
Aah, the time spent on all the “big” decisions of life, when in fact only the small ones are in your hands.
Small pleasures, small egos, small angers and small…very very small lives. “Thats all there is to it” like Nandan says. Someone once said, if you imagine your size as a % of the size of the universe, you will feel so small, that you will not exist in your own imagination. And you realise that if the definition of decision is true, the big decisions DO NOT EXIST…
So in all smallness, I am happy that I do not need to become serious about anything. Who are we fooling?
March 07
Whew!
February 21

Technology…I love you

Its all about realising what makes you happy and going for it….for women my age, it is mostly clothes, jewellery, shoes, work, spouse, romance, children, blah blah blah… and each have their tenure
Clothes: for the first time I wear it
Jewellery: for the time that others eye it
Shoes: As long as it does not bite and the brand name is seen
Work: As long as I get paid to do what I like
Spouse: As long as he is good to me
Romance: As long as I feel butterflies in my tummy
Children: As long as they are not mine
Blah: As long as I am the one blah-ing… 😉
Neways, today I found what really really makes me happy and what is the ONE thing that is stopping me from going to Himalayas right now (for the unitiated few, I am gonna give everything and go to the Himalayas soon) is technology.
Yes, like is very evident from my Drool List, I dig technology. I know technology hates me, its one-sided this love story of mine. Pure lust is when I see a good software or a tablet PC (for the ones who came in late, I always wanted a Palm Pilot, but I dont now, as my hands have grown too big for them). And using technology for work is what I like most. Everyone could have a thing for great cell phones, but this is something else. My dream world of technology driven work environment will be when voice command types my mails (yeah, I know it already exists and thats why I am retyping this blog entry), any customer has a tag to him and is identified at every time of contact, excel functions dont eat much memory, no consoles are used, everything is by sight or touch or speech recognition, and i could go on and on. I have hapazard knowledge about all technology, but being the less than perfect person I am, I am getting there. Today I got access to an ftp site of a client and I can just upload anything I want, just a click away…thats what I call technology. I love it.
February 11

Airpoort

Ok, seen the movie The Terminal with Tom Hanks and Catherine Zeta Jones! Well, the whole of last month I was Tom Hanks…I spent 8 days in Mumbai and the remaining all over the country, thus visiting and revisitng the airport so much that I started feeling I live there. Now, definitely many people who trvael a lot feel that way, but you always think this will not happen to ME! Those travelling, jet setting people probably have no life, I thought to myself till half a year back…now I KNOW they dont.
If it was possible, I have become half of what I was…now Angelina Jolie could adopt me as I definitely qualify as a Somalian.
Ofcourse, the experience is GRRRREAT and all that shit, but oh how i missed bombay and the comfortable fullness of a content tummy when you eat home food.
Ok, no more ranting..lets get to the good parts
After Kolhapur, I went to Bangalore, then Muzaffarnagar (crime ridden and dangerous), Delhi and then Hyderabad.
Bangalore gave me cold, flight to Delhi in Air Sahara (they did not gimme ear cotton or candy even after asking thrice…sob sob) made my ears choke to death, Muzaffarnagar aggrevated the cold and when I came to Hyderabad, the combination lock on my bag locked me out. So, I have apparently not finished ranting after all.
But hey, I met my cousins, was gifted a can of Pepper Spray for Delhi, stayed at a PG of a friend in Delhi, talked for the whole night with my room mate from MDI in Noida, met some really barve girls in Muzaffarnagar villages, saw dons with AK 47s in their cars and made some great friends.
And here in the photos section is proof
January 11

Rural Plural

A nice weekend in the hills of Kolhapur. I went to Kolhapur for an Intel Rural Marketing Project and then crossed over to Nagpur for a seminar and flew back to Mumbai last night. I generally have uneventful trips other than scary flight rides, but this one tops the charts, but later on that. I was doing a project which required me to test the current conditions in rural villages in Kolhapur regarding health, education and entertainment and how technology can help them. Kolhapur is prosperous to a large extent because of the sugar belt. I have spent 2 months earlier in rural India (UP to be specific), but these four days made me remember everything…Some observations about rural Kolhapur:

  1. There are various types of scarecrows: Rich ones(with sleeves that flap in the wind, so crows think it is a human); Poor ones (they cannot afford to waste a whole garment, so they make do with a hole garment, with no sleeves or head just a pole with cloth tied around it); Innovative Ones (two small sticks and a long stick in the centre and a saree spilt over it to look like a hooded woman working)
  2. Try saying this 10 times – ‘Rural Plural’….what happens was what I was doing the first day in a Marathi speaking community. But then I realised, my Marathi is not all that bad: We were doing a focus group discussion on health issues and I was able to ask questions about stuff I havent even asked myself without battling an eyelid. Poor villagers. After 4 days, I could not speak Tamil to save my life. God help me when I go to Madurai for the next round of research.
  3. Villagers dont take no for an answer: If you ever go to a mildly prosperous village, they will not leave you unless you eat at the Sarpanch’s house and if you are in a poorer village, then you have to have snacks and tea atleast…or they just pout, no false smiles, no ‘Please do come’ without meaning it
  4. Never wear socks to villages, HOWEVER cold it may be. And if you wear shoes, they should be slipons, because noone wears shoes and you have to remove it everywhere you go.
  5. In most villages, you will not be able to find a non-Maharashtrian. They all speak Marathi and nothing else.
  6. They can tell you the names of different Microchip companies
  7. They do not need cellular network inside the village. Any small child will go deliver the message.
Anyways, the list is endless and I cannot remember all of it as I had to travel to Nagpur immediately after that. Now, the hypotenuse is the longest arm of the triangle. I was reminded of this in the hard way. Maharshtra is a triangle. And from Kolhapur to Nagpur via Nanded is the hypotenuse. My logic was that instead of going from Kolhapur to Aurangabad / Pune and then from there to Nagpur is going to take more time. Because I was told in School that Arm 1 + Arm 2 > Hypotenuse. But in Arm 1 and Arm 2, Volvo buses ply, in my hypotenuse route, I travelled for 23 hours by non Volvo ST Bus. (Yeah, that’s almost one full day)
Disclaimer:Yes, of course I tried the trains and flight schedules from all points, but nothing could reach me at 5 in the evening to take the session at 6. So, bus was the safest route.
Anyways, I reached the venue at 7:30 pm and gave the lecture by 8:30 an fled for my flight back to Mumbai scheduled to depart at 9:30. (All along I kept thinking, 23 hrs in bus for a 15 minute presentation, and within 2 hours I’ll be in Mumbai as if nothing had happened). I was outside IMA Hall Nagpur when I saw the time and for the first time in my life I panicked really bad. I said I was supposed to be at the airport right now. And then I looked around and the panic really set in. No auto in sight. So I walked down the road to the way I thought the airport was in (there was noone on the road to ask, but neat roads I must say) and then I found this auto and surprise he knew where the airport was, but he had to take a stop to fill his fuel. I was muttering to myself “God, just get me checked in….and I will forgive everything”. Then he did not have change for 100. I left it with him and gave him a silent sign of “go ahead, fleece me, I am helpless, but still, if it does not hurt you, can you pray for me?”. I guess he did, cos when I went in the counter for Jet Airways was closed. But I found the Club Premiere counter, walked up smartly and said, “What’s wrong with your tele check-in numbers.” So, they said, “Go in for the security check maam”.
I secretly thanked god and the auto driver and sat inside the lounge and at 9:35 pm, I was busy on the phone with my friend when he asked me “When is your flight you said?” And I suddenly saw that the queue was finishing and there was noone left in the lounge save me. I said this was not possible and asked the security guy. He says, The indicator is spoilt, so we could not display the status. Ofcourse, they did not think of calling out either. So, I said “This is one of those days” and let it pass. In the flight, it was freezing and the food was horrible. Considering I had had only 2 packs of biscuits and Moong Dal the whole day, I could have eaten anything but that. SO, I took out my shawl and dozed off. And just before sleeping I whispered a prayer to God, “God, please let it land safely”. So, God I guess had already made his plans for me, but this innocent prayer from a hungry shivering devotee was too much for him to take….so he made major changes in all his other plans, and the plane hovered over Bombay for an hour before landing. Remember, I had prayed for Land Safe, not land fast. Always with God, WYAFIWYG – What you ask for is what you get.
Now the taxi driver does not want to take me to matunga. It is 12 midnight and he is making faces and noone else will take me because HE was in the line first. Then the fat police an tells me that I will take down his number, if he does anything we have his details. Sure, I said and hopped on, thinking that this was the icing on the cake. The ride was smooth, but he asked for 200 rs, because he was being victimised by my staying in a close-by place like Matunga. I almost dozed off hearing his arguments. Then I paid him 20 Rs extra for the trouble of driving me and got off. When I reached home, I stretched out my ruined back on the bed and shut my eyes. The last thought in my mind, or was it God’s whisper, “Hey, see I did not let you die” And with that thankful note, I slept.
January 01

I am sorry…I just don’t belong

No sacrifice is sweet….There is hurt, regret, attachment, sorrow, loss and self-pity. Renunciation then, being a superior form of sacrifice, should have been painful. But fortunately and surprisingly, it is not…
Renunciation started when i realised that I am holding on to the wrong things for the wrong reasons and for too long. Once the feeling of renunciation sets in, the whole world ties itself up in a tight knot and becomes this small transparent ball…. I am outside looking in, i dont belong anymore….not even as much as I used to.
This ball is humming with action, its vibrant and throbbing with life…the second is actually of a second there. But for me, everything is happening in a slow motion. Each second counts on for a minute, the strands of logic and reason stand loose and open to examination to my keen eye. The clarity is so much that it feels dream like, very distant and yet so close and real… Yet, life goes on like clock work, only everything is new, very important and even the mundane holds much promise….but no attachment.
I always wanted to experience, to feel new emotions, to live life to the fullest, but now there is no want left in me…
In fact nothing is left of me, other than this gaping hole, where my ego, pride and negativity used to reside. and it was so much a part of me, its like i have given away the ring or something (please refer to lord of the rings), yet the effects of what have been ingrained in my personality are so strong that it will take a while to fully wash away the venom. I am being self-desructive in telling people who are my friends that I had venom, what will you think of me? and i am saying that I am being self-destructive to protect myself from what you will think of me, and then i grow tired of these silly mind games, which neither do i play well nor have the liking for…. it is plain boring to think of all the logic and go four to five levels deep into ‘i think, what he thinks, what i think he thinks, what he thinks i think he thinks…’  depending on the other person’s logical prowess…its far more simpler and liberating to stop the games and be yourself and accept it.
Truth has hurt me, but like the doctor’s injection…pains today, benefits for life.
Truth has left me lonely, but I am better off lonely with it than surrounded without it.
Truth has destroyed me, but I am better off like a annihilated phoenix that can rise again than someone bordering on destruction all life never knowing when the axe will fall.
Truth has left me powerless and thank it for that, I dont want power anymore.
No expectations, no wants, no desires, no fear…
It is so simple, I have always seen glimpses of it through out life, but never embraced it fearing it would steal me away from life’s bounties…but no more!
December 21

Email Jargon

Dear Reader,
Ever noticed those automated signature lines????
Lavanya Panchapakesan
CEO
WORKSCOOL
09XXXXXXXX
This E-mail is confidential and only meant for intended participants…blah blah blah..
Yes, it gives a very formal look, but every silly forward you get has this tag line below it…and i know the mail is intended ONLY for me as i can see atleast 30 email ids in the To: column.
Hmmm…ok, if by now you have not  noticed, this is a damn stupid entry and he only ulterior moive to write that was to
a) get you to know the name of my consultancy’s name (my best friend thinks its cloud 9, its not…its WORKSCOOL)
b)get the website address on it. Well, its on its version 2, so do check it out 🙂
No more
October 29

Fight Flight Freeze

The scariest flight till date. The more frequently you fly you give up the thought that anything will happen to you in air. I had too, till today. The flight was full, we went on the runway for ten minutes after which we were informed that there is a technical glitch and it will be solved soon. Soon came after an hour when we were asked to deplane. The word seemed so alien to us passengers hat we could not believe that we were being told to get off the plane. By that time, I had switched on my laptop, put on real player and was already half way in finding out how Beyonce was being a naughty girl. And everyone started getting up while the purser kept repeating the instructions. So, we disembarked and landed up in Bangalore airport at the exact time that we were supposed to be in Bombay airport. So, we went from departure to arrival in an hour and a half

The best was yet to come. We were told there were problems in the flight which were being resolved. Seriously, none of us wanted to be in that flight. So, the solution was that we wait for a flight going to Delhi to get ready and we replace those passengers and they instead of us wait for 2 hours at the airport. So, finally at 6:20 we boarded the second flight after a series of deja-vus. And the flight takes off at 7. The Bangalore sky then decided to play games. So, here we are all strapped to the flight adamant that no matter what we will not ‘deplane’; and the lights are off, the plane has been airborne for some time now and I can see the ‘turbulent’ sky outside…

The flight wings are giving short blasts of white light into the night sky which illuminate nothing but cities of indistinguishable clouds. It feels like we have entered a deep hollow of wind and night. Now comes an eerie red blast that lights up the wings against the sky. It looks like a semi-dysfunctional neon sign on a sleazy bar. At least the effect it is having on me is similar. Now suddenly there is a pattern emerging in the sky. There’s a lightning which draws lines and shadows across the landscape. And now the plane lights and the lightning are playing juggalbandhi while I look on petrified. I can see streaks of rain clouds rush past my window. Now the cabin lights have been put on. My senses are coming back to normal. My fingers are crossed.

October 11

Its an HP

Its finally here! My baby, my laptop…
Its been a loooong wait as I was out of station and I had booked it long ago…so when I returned from my exile from the South, I got it!!
Its so beautiful and precious and so cute and light and efficient and … ok, i have already done a puja and annointed it with hymns and material that will keep evil eyes away… ha ha ha, so get as envious as you can! cos this baby is mine 😉
Well I am a Tamilian so we have this Saraswati Puja in which we keep all our books and tools and all, so its locked up in that…so I cant see it till tomorrow…so I am making do with my desktop…god! Technology sucks when you dont have it 🙂
Anyways, I gotto go think of what I’ll call it, any suggestions?
September 08

Blast from the past 🙂

When money means nothing anymore
When bad luck and fate cause no fear
When the mind knows no bad or good
When there is tranquil far and near
When there is nothing I hate
When there is nothing I blame
When there is nothing I want
Be it power or fame
When there is nothing I’m ashamed of
Nothing that I pride upon
When there is day, no night
Neither twilight nor dawn
When peace pervades all over
And my soul is lifted above
The material world, I fall
In untainted love.
:):):):)
September 04

CHANGE OF LIFE

Hello!!!! It has been a long long time since I have posted because it has been a uphill walk for me and a down-country drive. I am in the south of India as I type this…having been commissioned by one of my clients to work here. I am covering six cities in two months. In the middle of all this tumult, crossing borders and maddening travel, my heart has found its place. It is not Bangalore, the hep new destination, it is the old and unchanged Tamil Nadu. Yes, all those who know me would not believe this, but I find a comfort here that I have never found even in aamchi mumbai. Maybe its the language thing, becasue Bangalore just repelled me with its Hindi-Kannada speaking auto-drivers, pollution (cough cough) and uncertain climate. One year back I would have wanted to go to Bangalore and stay becaseu in my mind it was still this beautiful city with trees, lakes, uphill and downhill roads and small bungalows. Now its just a mess. Along with wiping out all my earlier memories of bangalore, my trip there has shown me that it will never be the same again. So, when I come to Chennai and find that it has not changed, it feels rejuvenating.

Mumbai is no doubt the best, but did you even think how cheap this place is? You get fantastic balcony seats for Rs. 70 in the prime theatres of the city. Everything is relaxed. Probably it is a tourist’s view point, but I dont think I would mind staying here…. for now…and probably for good!

August 10

Return of the…

Went to pick up Sumit from the airport…coming from bangalore…well, expected to see the guy who meant so much to me to walk out of the airport..instead out walked a cool dude, in a jacket with glares carrying a guitar on his back  :O
Bangalore has lost and Bombay has won. All my friends have come back…well, almost all. And almost all my prayers have been answered. Thank you God!
August 08

Found Love!

I have lost all hope.
I have found love.
It was pure once.
It is dark and dirty now.
Its a creature that gets its oxygen from the little bit of sympathy that still borders my heart.
No compassion, no passion, no selflessness, no pure feelings are left for it to survive here.
I used to know the white form.
I used to be its constant companion.
I knew people who knew it.
Now I don’t.
The viel has been lifted from everything.
Its probably even more uglier than hate, pride, ego, wickedness and evil because they are pure emotions which I am still capable of.
But this tainted and maimed love, I don’t want.
If that’s the best I can have, I would rather never use the word again.
August 01

Aaargh

‘Aaargh’ is the word is use to describe what one month of self-imposed vacation PLUS two days of rain-imposed vacation can do to a human soul (well, that is considering I am still human).
Ok, for all those of you who feel that you are over-worked and don’t get a break, hate your boss cos he doesn’t give you any respite and who just wanna get away, one piece of advice… ASK THE MET DEPARTMENT FIRST.
Here I was taking a well-deserved (my parents don’t believe that) one-month vacation. Yeah! I can afford to do that you see (Evil laugh!) and I geared up for action just when August 1 arrives. Then the whole city gets a vacation when I am enjoying the last vestiges of the same. Beleive me it feels unfair when that happens. Ok, so I make appointments and alland am prepared to restart work when the D day comes and keep praying through the weekend that Monday clears up.
So after the second flood, Mumbai is coming around. And so are the TRP ratings. News channels are more than prepared to air stuff now. And are making a good game of it. Needless panic and inappropriate news. If somebody tells me that Matunga is flooded when I can see it is not, I am probably not going to believe the news again. But the limit is when they tell me Worli is flooded and show me the SEA instead. Well, not NDTV’s fault if they are based out of Delhi. They actually think King’s Circle is in Parel. (It’s not in case you were wondering. Its a part of Matunga).
Ok, I have digressed and I must log off, gotto catch the news!!!
July 29

Aapki Ladki Sayani Lavanya


Yes, you hear me everyday on FM Radio, Mumbai. I may be loud and sometimes irritating on the nerves, but I have a theory on why I am like what I am (or any Radio Jockey for that matter). It goes like this:

• The RJs were a nuisance but everyone then wanted to become and RJ
• So the government made a provision for at least 10 RJs per radio station
• As with all reservations, it wasn’t followed to the hilt, but they gave jobs to lesser talent
• This low talented crowd spoke such rubbish that they had to screech if anybody had to hear them
• Radio stations were all depending on good songs to make money
• Then the songs got bad at the same time
• So people kept switching Radio channels impatiently all the time
• This wore out the radios and their demand increased
• The Chinese engineers realized this and introduced the country to small FM radios which cost Rs. 50 to Rs. 70.
• Now more people had radios than shirts on their backs
• To cater to more listeners, the radio stations were increased
• The frequencies were crammed. You had a 88.1 and 88.2 and 88.3 all playing New Hindi Film songs
• With this, the quality of reception decreased
• So to be heard, RJs had to raise their voices…..


So that’s why we RJs are loud.

For those friends of mine, who did not know I am THE Lavanya from the radio, and are feeling quite red in the face now, red from embarrassment, I can only say that if you believe everything you read, GOD bless you :)))

July 28

HBP

What is the HBP? If that’s a question, just close this window…
I have a theory on this one:
Dumbledore is not dead becasue…he can’t be. That liquid he drank in the cave is the last portions from Elixir of Life which he gets from Nicholas Flammel which makes him alive enough to last till the last book is written. Then when Snape kills him (sorry you guys who haven’t read it as yet), he acts as though he dies because its all well planned and staged between DD (Dumbledore) and SS (Severus Snape). All this has been done so that (a) we are all in shock (b) Because only then will we buy the next book.
So suddenly with DD gone and SS so clearly the killer, HP will try do two shikars with one pathar: SS and Voldemort. As SS has now proven his solidarity to Vold…shhhhh, nobody will doubt him. As for the members of the order and the ministry, they are useless anyways. (Sorry Fudge, always liked you.) So they won’t harm SS in any way and with DD out of the way, Shhh will target HP. But as DD is not actually dead, he can be helping from behind the screens. But the plan is so well staged even HP won’t know.
He will finally uncover the horcruxes in no time in classic Rowling style with luck, love and Hermoine basically. And since SS is actually good and DD isn’t dead, and Shhh will be a worm again,e evryone will live happily ever after.
Other theories that are doing the rounds:
The liquid that DD drinks is a horcrux. Wrong. Because DD under the effect of the liquid pleads to HP to KILL him. If soemone else would go into the cave and get killed, it means Shhh is killing a part of himself deliberately because that’s how he has made the whole liquid-protecting-the-locket system.
HP is the penultimate horcrux. Well, then we know for sure there will be only 7 books. Choke. Choke. Sniff.
RAB are the initials of Sirius Black’s brother. Ok, great. Now one horcrux is in 12, Grimmauld Place. I seriously don’t want to be taken into the house again. I’ve had enough of moth eaten curtains that whisper and Kreacher.
_____________________________________________________________________________________
Now I have a theory.
What if before starting the last book, Rowling realises she already has everything in life, enough money to last generations, fame and prosperity; and she stops short of the last book, becomes a sanyasin and goes to the Himalayas???

Fllllllooooooddddddddddddd

For all people, who did not wet their feet on the 26th and 27th July, 2005 in Mumbai, shame shame! You missed some amazing things…
Amazing how:

  • Manholes are in places where you walk everyday and never notice
  • Its ok not to pay any attention because there are self-appointed manhole alerters waiting to tell you that
  • My building stays so above water level that even my car’s tires don’t get wet to an inch
  • Once I get out of my building, I’m wading and swimming
  • How many plastic combs float around in the water (well, better than seeing a corpse! Actually, I would think they would remind one of Inferi, but they are eerier, and that is discussed in the book section of this blog)
  • The power in the legs of people, which motivates people to walk 30 kms. Soem people actually realised yesterday that they could walk to office everyday instead of killing themselve sover parking space
  • The great Mumbai spirit that we hear about from everyone in power. Well, its the easiest city to manage, because even if you don’t, people will manage themselves. Ever wondered how that spirit has become Mumbai’s handicap now? Anyways, no serious Govt baching on this blog
  • Two days school holidays are ONLY for children and teachers
  • The very next day, water receedes and you can’t even imagine that it was flooded till recently
July 26

Oru Nanban Irunthal

For all Tamil-illiterates, there is a song from a Tamil movie Enakku 20 Unakku 18 (which means I am 20, you are 18…for those wondering, it is very far removed from the musical Sound of Music). Well, what excites me about this song is that it endorses my view on friendship pretty precisely and musically (its music being by A R Rahman) and the best part is I could understand 90% of it.

The song is called Oru Nanban Irunthal which means If you have a friend… It goes like this:

If you have a friend
If you have a friend
You can bear the whole world in your hands
I’m Tamil illiterate
I’m Tamil illiterate
We can write the direction in our names

Just as River names are mixed in the shore
Our lives are mixed in this friendship
Friendship is our address
This is the first lesson in life’s studies

The poorest man in the world
Is a man without friends Hey!

(If you have a friend)

Putting our hands on each other’s shoulders
Talking whatever we felt like
We went around the place
We all slept in one person’s house
Under the blanket of friendship (cute!)

We feel even love in this life isn’t so beautiful (please forgive)
We feel our friend is our only own in our life

(If you have a friend)

Inside hearts, inside hearts; Feelings feelings to tell
The friend is the only one
Shame on me for not learning my mother tongue properly
That is the flavour of friendship
Life’s paradigms may shift, but friendship’s doesn’t

In the days where I can’t make this one out
It is only the friend’s face that we won’t forget

(If you have a friend)

The poorest man in the world
Is a man without friends Hey!



July 20

Frosted

Frozen, frosted, wilted
My soul for want
Of a little sun
The rays of a smile
The warmth of a touch
The light of infatuation
The heat of addiction
The burn of falling
The scorch of love
A verse that does not rhyme…man, I must be blue.
July 07

You asked for it

When I was ranting on and on about how I have so many things to do as yet, I got this one realisation: (its kinda long, so it won’t fit in a sentence…here goes)

Everything that I have asked for in life, well, touch wood, but that very same thing has landed on my LAP when I feel I really want it. I am not talking about that fancy handbag or that nice shirt which I could get if I put in the effort when it was in fashion… no, I am talking about the big things that don’t come your way everyday. If there is a person I want in my life, he finds his way into it. If I want an educational qualification that is kinda coveted by many, well, all I have to do is fill in the application and wait. I got a dream job (which I got up screaming out of). I wanted to get into research and here I am. If I saw something that I wanted to do, I was shown a way to do it in the most spookily convenient way.

Well, the point to be taken is that when you ask for it with earnest, you get it. Pretty much like the phrase “You ASKED for it”. It’s called plagiarizing, but Paulo Coelho says that when you really want something badly, the whole universe conspires for you to have it…and I always thought – that can’t be true. Life would be so simple, we would just keep wanting things badly and keep getting it. But I realised I don’t ask for EVERYTHING…infact, I rarely *ask*, even after knowing that everything that I wanted badly has been mine. And the logic amazes me (well, the fact that I am thinking of the logic in a logical fashion amazes me even more!!!): I am scared to ask too much. I am scared to cross the limit. I definitely dream more than others, but I keep it within my safety level. I am afraid that if I ask for a lot, it will be too good to be true, too good to last and I may probably just finish my quota of good things in life.

What’s holding me back are the unknown factors, the vast quantities of xs and the ys and derth of ks in the equation of life. Can’t life just unfold and can’t something just tell me that its ok, just keep going and you will reach where you want to be even if you don’t know where you are going…well, I wish…

PS- Disclaimer-All parties involved in business and similar serious matters with the author are not to take the above as rantings of a confused lunatic mind, but the uneven thoughts that fill the landscape of one of India‘s great thinkers of the future.

(Disclaimer to the last bit – I do think a great deal about my future!)

July 01

Life Online

Have you ever met a friend online?
The chances are u’ll say Of Course.
There was a time i was registered on penpals.com. I made two real good friends there and some pains too. But what i got in return was much better than the efforts taken to block email addresses.
The point is after 7 years, i ventured in again…not to find a friend, but to spend my vela time. so the last thing i expected was to find a good decent person a few thousand miles away doing the same thing. I was talking to a mirror of myself….in a different place at a different age.
Its beautful, u just have to look and there life is waiting to give you all good things. If you stay away thinking god knows what creeps are out there, thats what u’ll get.
These “friends” have a great potential at becoming better friends than my school mates or singing class buddies becasue i have something in common with them. i am willing to experiment and look beyond.
As I always say, Never shame an experience, learn from it.
June 18

It Rains!

Rain…..wow! Its still one of those things that hold the ultimate magic…monsoons, the time to play, the time to dream and to fall in love all over again. There just something so beautiful in the air, the dust settles, everything is so clear and fresh and washed clean. It’s a pity schools have started; this is a pleasure that should come in the vacations. I’m too old to be in school, too young to mother a school child, but I think I’m just right for the monsoons.

Listening to Taal songs, having soup and pakodas, that’s my recipe for the monsoons. No work feels heavy, everything is laced with light heartedness. Life doesn’t seem so serious anymore.

I can let that first heavy drop sink into my hair
and take the next fast one right between my lashes
The third sweet one can pass my lips and
the rest can drench my soul in beauty

June 12

Monk selling his ferrari

I have been gifted the book for my birthday and I took it with me to read at all odd locations like the train, the waiting lounge and all other places where you can show off your book to complete strangers…

And then, I met three people at my client’s place who had the same book and never read it fully. They could only finish half the book….Seems pretty funny, since the very essence of the book is that one must take time out for themselves from their busy lives.

When I heard of this book, I thought to myself ‘Everyone knows that…you need to take time off for hobbies, family, birds, trees and music…and sometimes for yourself too’. I mean, it’s the normal way right? But no, it doesn’t look like when I look around.

When kids are in school they have 5 hours of studies and 2 hours of play and 1 hour of TV and then swimming, singing, piano classes…alternate stress, which is sorely lacking in a young executive’s life. We work, talk on the phone, eat, sleep…which one of these is supposed to be the hobby, the music, the birds???

It probably the beginning of all stress, white hair, wrinkles and cholesterol (ok, ignore that one!), but this is the foundation of the health for life. Just like we had protein when we were growing, we need to have priorities when we are stepping into life in the big way. Priorities are of course different for different people, but if you told me that ‘Microsoft PowerPoint, Monthly sales figures, late night office dinner parties, checking your mail 100 times because there isn’t any work that day’ are your priorities, god! Am I sorry to touch the wrong nerve here.

Yes, we are all in this for the ‘paapi pet’ (sinful stomach would actually be a better alliteration). But one should know where to draw the line. Once you spot this thin, dainty line, you will know what I am talking about. Or else, not long after, you will think, I was just 24 yesterday, when did I become 58? And you will retire to an empty life, because you never did fill it with anything other than work.

So, please go pursue a hobby, take a day off just like that some times, spend the evening just before your big presentation with a friend, write letters and look at a tree some time..blah…blah…blah…I could go on, but you must get the point now.

And mind you, I too work 17 hours at a stretch on days, I work almost all Sundays. I don’t have office timings. But I know I have a life, I have work, plentiful and exciting work, I have friends, I have hobbies, I know some birds and trees and………most of all, I am going to finish that book and not leave it in half.

June 04

Soni Sony

I bought myself a Sony DVD Player. Its beautiful. Its sleek, silver, not too heavy and just the right price. Got 5 VCDs free with it too (Of course, pathetic movies!!!).

It feels nice to own a piece of technology. Soemtimes, I feel that every investment that I make should be on technology. There isn’t anything else (clothes, jewellery or anything, not even platinum) that can give the same kick.

But knowing how technology reacts to me, I shy away. I am sure AI (read Artificial Intelligence) has taken over long before it was slotted for, because every piece of gadget behaves real funny with me. Here’s praying that just for once I am not jinxed. Keeping my remotes crossed.

June 01

Matrix Part 1.5

I saw Matrix Reloaded yesterday on HBO. I went thru quite a lot for it…

First, I fought with family and convinced them that this movie is better than k serials and yoga channel.

Second, I explained the entire matrix 1 story and linked it to hindu philosophy (more on that some other time).

Third, I kept my phone off the buzzer

And what do I get? My Matrix was Reloaded on a 14 kbps dial up connection. Well, as usual it did not get reloaded fully. The last scene went by in a jiffy.

Now, when this movie and its sequel released, I was working so hard, I thought I did not even have time to go to the ATM. So, it was normal that I was caught by surprise when it said in small green letters, “To be concluded”.

My mind went back to good ol DD (read Doordarshan) days when they showed half a movie one week and the remaining half the other. But this can’t be possible on HBO. So, after a long calculation I guessed that it probably is a three part movie and now that I have convinced myself so, I can actually faintly remember that it was a wierd kind of a strategy. Am i right?

May 31

Birthdays

Mine is on 5th, i.e. next Sunday. So all those who forgot, kick yourselves. While I still maintain that getting old isn’t a thing to celebrate, it keeps coming every summer. and before you are even awake enough to realise that you are getting nearer to death, someone calls and wishes you. Not saying, don’t wish, cos afterall, me is human, with human wants and needs and super-human desire for attention.

For all those ignorant about this though, I could give ya one decent fact about birrdays and star birrdays (the one according to your regional calender).

|Real Birthday – Star Birthday| = (Current Age) – 19*k

Read: The number of days between your star birthday and your actual date of birth is equal to the difference between your age and the nearest multiple of 19.

Well, I was teaching Maths for some time, in case you were wondering

May 25

yes… its on

Never thought my first entry would be from a beauty parlour and from my Wap enabled phone. ok that’s for an introduction. shows that i care about how i look and i am into technology…deadly combo!!!


Well, both are not true…appearences are deceptive and written descriptions even more so. So one word of caution: don’t believe anything you read here 😉


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3 thoughts on “August 2007- May 2005

  1. Wow, wonderful blog layout! How long have you been blogging
    for? you make blogging look easy. The overall look of
    your web site is wonderful, as well as the content!

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