"I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free."
Michelangelo
Welcome! This blog is about my random thoughts, colourful pictures and paintings, some of my pencil drawings, reflections on things I feel strongly about and my experiences as I journey through life. Hope you enjoy it. Feel free to add your comments and suggestions, but please refrain from spam, racist or uncomfortable comments. Thanks for visiting!

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Bye-Bye 2011, Hello 2012!

The year 2011 has come to a close and I have to say this year has just passed away too quickly.
There are many bitter sweet memories this year and I wish I had not made too many rash decisions. I hope I act very sensibly the next year but also have loads of fun and not let go of the opportunities God sends my way.

But looking at the bright side, for just a couple of months I had some joyous moments with great new friends at work who were so kind and loved me unconditionally. Thanks dears!! And despite the dilemma and lots of troubles, I have bought a flat although it is being built. (I'm not going to think about mortgage!)

The best bit - I discovered blogland and I have had such fun visiting all the lovely blogs. This was a new world where very nice people posted beautiful things and are always very polite, encouraging, inspirational, optimistic and talented.  I really appreciate all your kind comments and visits and enjoy reading your posts and seeing the world through your pictures. I hope to continue this journey and meet lots of friends next year too!




Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Merry Christmas!!!

Christmas is in the Air!

Let the true spirit of Christmas
Of kindness and mercy
Love and joy
Light and Happiness
Enter your lives
And for ever lie
In the beats of your heart.
Merry Christmas!

And I would like to share with all my lovely friends in the blogland, the optimistic section of the Christmas poem "Christmas Bells" by H.W.Longfellow.


I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along
The unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Till, ringing, singing on its way
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime,
A chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!


Saturday, 17 December 2011

Woman Drawings


There is in every true woman's heart, a spark of heavenly fire, which lies dormant in the broad daylight of prosperity, but which kindles up and beams and blazes in the dark hour of adversity.

Washington Irving


(Please click to enlarge)





Mirabai
I drew Mirabai with her statue as a reference. Unfortunately, I didn't get the hands right :((



Monday, 12 December 2011

People enter your lives...



People enter into your lives
Some say for a reason
Some stay for a season


So here is a question that I always wonder at - why do some people enter your lives? At the beginning of the acquaintance, you are shy and they simply barge into your life. You hardly know the person in spite of liking them for some reason or other. I am not talking about friendships that are born out of necessity - most of them tend to fade away like a mist on a winter morning but without the beauty that exists as long as it lasts.


This kind of friendship is where you know that you are different from the other person, yet the very nature of the person - truthful, honest, very solid as the woods of the forest, the aura around them that they are inherently dependable, a fall back if you ever need one, a support to cling to in times of  tempestuous storms. And then gradually as time passes by, they grow on you and at last, you lose the shyness, get comfortable, share your innermost thoughts, reach a stage where you even know the reactions of the other on a very basic level. You not only share a good laugh or a lovely chat but being with the other person or hearing their voice makes your day and it brightens up the dull monotony that has turned your life to a mere existence.


And suddenly there comes a day when you go your separate ways with nothing but beautiful memories.


Oh Life is so unfair!


Monday, 5 December 2011

Pencil Drawings II

Here are some of my pencil drawings.  It was the first time after my childhood that I used color pencils even if i did not attempt any shading technique with colors. I had fun doing my favorite Ariel mermaid drawings.










.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Changes...

From the advent of time
Change has been our way of life.
While some species are extinct
Some others endure and thrive on...
Children become adults
Birds leaving their nests.
Distances are conquered
Worlds are discovered
Language and Laws
Culture and Conventions
Desires and Dreams
Are constantly on the mend
We turn a new leaf
Discard the old
And embrace the new.

Like the mist on a mountain
Change creeps up behind you 
And all of a sudden you realise
The past is long gone
The future has arrived.
Even as the world evolves
Somethings remain solid
Like the earth beneath our feet.
But, the mystery of life,
The quest for understanding,
The search for self
Are always relevant no matter the age.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

In everything give thanks...

I think this poem is very well suited to give thanks for all the good things and every blessing  bestowed upon us this year. At this point in my life, this poem is so fitting.  Happy thanksgiving everyone!

Gettin' together to smile an' rejoice,
An' eatin' an' laughin' with folks of your choice;
An' kissin' the girls an' declarin' that they
Are growin' more beautiful day after day;
Chattin' an' braggin' a bit with the men,
Buildin' the old family circle again;
Livin' the wholesome an' old-fashioned cheer,
Just for awhile at the end of the year.
Greetings fly fast as we crowd through the door
And under the old roof we gather once more
Just as we did when the youngsters were small;
Mother's a little bit grayer, that's all.
Father's a little bit older, but still
Ready to romp an' to laugh with a will.
Here we are back at the table again
Tellin' our stories as women an' men.

Bowed are our heads for a moment in prayer;
Oh, but we're grateful an' glad to be there.
Home from the east land an' home from the west,
Home with the folks that are dearest an' best.
Out of the sham of the cities afar
We've come for a time to be just what we are.
Here we can talk of ourselves an' be frank,
Forgettin' position an' station an' rank.

Give me the end of the year an' its fun
When most of the plannin' an' toilin' is done;
Bring all the wanderers home to the nest,
Let me sit down with the ones I love best,
Hear the old voices still ringin' with song,
See the old faces unblemished by wrong,
See the old table with all of its chairs
An' I'll put soul in my Thanksgivin' prayers.

Edgar Albert Guest

Friday, 18 November 2011

Hope

"Hope" is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops—at all

And sweetest in the Gale is heard
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm

I've heard it in the chillest land
And on the strangest Sea
Yet, never, in Extremity,
It asked a crumb—of Me.

Emily Dickinson

Without hope, there are no dreams of tomorrow.
Dare to dream, dare to hope.


Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Orphanages - Service to mankind or Booming business?

The best opportunity life can provide you is to serve your fellowmen.

Childhood is that stage of life when one is helpless and if not entirely, atleast partially dependent on another for living. Being orphaned at birth or the formative stage of life when one is extremely vulnerable is the worst imaginable plight. Orphanges are considered a sacred place and those who run are well respected and revered for dedicating their lives to helping kids.

Wanting to sponsor a child, last week I went to a renowned orphanage at the outskirts of the city that has been functioning for over 40 years. After the sponsorship, we were given a tour of the place. The home for the elderly admits only paid members and pensioners. And 200 kids lived in the ashram. While there were vast playgrounds and a huge dining area, it was a rude shock to see the sleeping quarters of the children. It was a small hall with doors on either walls and a very tiny 2*2*1 feet shelf on a cupboard to hold all their belongings. The worst of it is that forty students share this hall and sleep in horrible bunkers. But the home boasts an extensive collection of birds - almost of all types including a number of peacocks, parakeet and exotic birds - a personal hobby of the fellow who runs the place. 

While one can argue that a life of luxury is impossible for kids in welfare, a healthy environment, good food, education are bare essentials for growing up. And considering the donations received by the place, it is reasonable to expect  healthy accommodations.

I do not want to believe that the donations are not spent on the kids welfare. But I couldn't help being suspicious. I am planning to write to the owner once I receive the details of the kid I have sponsored.  I'm helpless on what to do in this matter and only hope and pray that everything is well.

Monday, 31 October 2011

Eternal Friendships

Friend - that one person who is always there for you rendering unconditional support, never ending fun, advise, laughter and love. But is it everlasting? Not all friendships are. Some are seasonal - just as the seasons come and go, so do these friends vary. They are like stars in the sky, innumerable and easy to find. While some have the vibrant colors of a rainbow, the sunny warm shine and smiles of sunflower, others blossom our hearts and sometimes, we even find solace in the stark, bleak, wintry person who inspite of the chill, calms down your passionate nature and makes you see sense.

Unbelieveable as their company is, exciting though the conversation is and heart breaking the split from these friends is, be it due to geography or any other flimsy reason, the drifting apart becomes permanent.

But some friends are always there for you no matter what. You may fail to notice anything special or exciting in this friendship but they are there, like the aerial roots supporting a banyan tree.  They are far and few, but finding one is a rare treasure indeed. To them the distance doesn't exist, you may be as different as a cactus from a rose or a calm spring from a roaring ocean in a stormy night.  But in their sturdy nature and strong hearts, you begin to see light and gain peace and contentment. 

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Anger - How to overcome it??

There are two things a person should never be angry at, what they can help, and what they cannot.
                                                                                                                                       - Plato

This post is only for people who realize that they get very angry at times and are unable to control their actions. I came across these Buddhist ideas to overcome anger and enable us to lead peaceful lives. I am a long way from actually practising any of these ideas but thought it would be a nice reminder online.

Every action of man is triggered by some need. Most of the destruction in the world, be it from the wars that annihilate nations to a mild rebuke is because someone, somewhere feels insulted, willful, unhappy, disappointed. This makes them angry and in turn destructive. But in truth, a person who is angry suffers. He is unable to handle his suffering. His pain is so great that he wants the person who he believes, has caused his suffering to suffer in return.

Realising that "Suffering" is the root cause of  anger and it cannot be lessened by abusing others is the first step in overcoming anger. Every man is haunted by remorse sooner or later. "If your house is on fire, the most urgent thing to do is to go back and try to put out the fire, not to run after the person you believe to be the arsonist". 

  • "Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way". Unhappy childhood might be a cause for easy provocation. Realizing that we have no control over our past, but absolutely responsible for our actions in the present and future.
  • "We are what we eat" - This is not the motto for just the physical well-being, but also emotional. The book recommends a vegetarian diet with less salt. Boiled vegetables, salad, greens, milk - a well balanced diet  is the best. Drink plenty of water and fruit juices. Eat less and chew your food very well.Be mindful of your chewing and appreciate the taste of the food. Avoid alcohol, meat and spicy addictive food.
  • "Speak when you are angry and you will make the best speech you will ever regret". Never do or say anything when you are angry.
  • Do not "Vent" your anger:When you are angry, do not vent it out - by hitting something, boxing, slamming the door etc. The relief is transient  and only because you are tired. By these means, you are not calming or reducing your anger, but merely rehearsing it. 
  • Practise Mindful breathing - Deep breaths that emphasize that you are alive and that there is a pleasant world around you to explore.  Exercise 30 minutes everyday and practise deep breathing whenever possible through out the day.
Everyone must have come across these ideas at one point or another, but remembering this at the time you are angry is crucial. For this to be a reflex, you must practise.

While few are capable of breezing through annoying situations, others fret and fume incapable of controlling their anger.

Learn to "Let GO and Be PRESENT". 

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Bleak Thoughts

The dark hours are endless                                            
the dull gloomy days drone on
in spite of the tropical weather of the city
the entire year has the coldness of winter
although the unforgiving cold northerly winds
are far removed from my geography
i constantly feel them in my heart
i bend unconsciously against the terrible cold 
as if im walking on a hard terrain
the merciless winds cutting across me
biting my skin creeping into my clothes
making my very frame shiver.
I feel a chill even at midday 
when the harsh sun beats down 
on the bare heads of commuters
i dont open my umbrella
i decide to walk on in the burning sun
hoping it would numb my pain.
I welcome the pain
believing i would reach that point
when more pain means nothing
so heavy is the burden in my mind
the lead stone in place of my heart
that i cant help but cry 
out loud for some mercy from somewhere
that would put out my misery
and deliver me from Earth.

Friday, 7 October 2011

Navaratri - Golu 2011

Of all the nearly twelve festivals we celebrate every year, Navaratri is is my favorite and is very special to me. The reason being, it lasts longer than any of the others (nine days), extremely colorful, fun with delicious sundal and puttu prasadams in the evenings and ends with holidays - especially the Durga/Saraswati  pooja.



  



 

 


 

 


 
 



Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Red and Gold Season

Autumn is my most favorite season of the year and the red and gold colors always weave magic. Here, the rainy season has started!! To me, even the words October and November always bring back memories of my childhood spent happily indoors eating pakoda and drinking tea wrapped up in warm woolen clothes while the rain pores outside, beating over the window panes, the whoosh of the wind and the trees in my garden swaying to the music of the stormy winds.Here are some fall pictures.








Saturday, 1 October 2011

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Photos from my travel - Swisss Alps


Here are some pictures taken during my travels. Hope you enjoy them. Click to enlarge.







Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Puppet Prime Minister Of India

The "post" of President is considered "dummy" in India, as in the president does not have much influence over the running of our country and the real power is vested with the Prime Minister and the cabinet ministers. However, it is a common knowledge that our Prime Minister (Indian PM) has been a puppet ever since he took office in 2004.

Puppet Ministers are common place in Indian politics and there have been some curious cases of stand-in puppet Chief Ministers in our nation's history. This situation however is not the same as the stand-in O.Paneerselvam when Jayalalitha could not hold the post of Chief Minister of TamilNadu due to the corruption cases.  Nor is this same as Rabri Devi, stand in Chief Minister of Bihar, who took on the role as her husband, the ex-CM had to face corruption charges. These people are not in the same league as our PM, who is educated, intelligent and capable of fulfilling the role he is chosen for. Atleast with the others, we all knew what to expect.

What bewilders me most is his repeated claims of innocence, as with the 2G scams or his ever-changing stance in the Lokpal Bill.  Is he just a mute spectator or is he actually party to all the white collar crimes that go on in the name of a democratic government? If he is innocent, why has he still not resigned and exposed these unscrupulous activities. I believe he was chosen because of his clean track record and his expert play-acting - a perfect combination to hoodwink the people.

I felt proud the day I knew Dr.Manmohan Singh was the Prime Minister, having read about his humble beginnings, academic excellence and esteemable career. You see, most of the politicians in India are uneducated, have a history of crime and violence and are not fluent even in their native language. But I was ashamed when he chose not the role of a PM but the role of a "puppet" in the hands of a power-hungry, totally corrupt government of the Sonia's Congress Party. It is high time he resigned or admitted that he is as corrupt as the rest of the lot.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Business Tactics Uh!!!!

So far, I have seen some weird, funny things going on in my job and like any sector, there are several inside jokes in the Software Industry, some of which you might have received by email, like the ones involving project planning, documenting, implementing, testing and the result being something that is entirely irrelevant to the requirement.

There are obviously several ways to procure a business - you agree to generate a software for a client, even if it is not at all necessary. Something that is existing might very well do or in some cases, the whole project is totally unnecessary except for giving work to those who hold jobs with the client themselves.

This was a scenario I came across for the first time in my limited five and a half years experience. Now, in this case, the client already has a software in some technology that generates a report. The IT guys who are employed to seek business convince the clients that they would generate a software that would improve the performance of the report generated, that is, generate it in a short time, less servers and so on. The client finally gives in and provides a document that was created when the project was initially commenced. 

One of the important things about documents is that even the ones who wrote it cannot tell you what they are all about, none of the changes are all entered and it is simply an overview of what the entire project was about. The long and short of it is you cannot write a code with the help of the document especially for an existing project whose report is currently used. 

The only other way is to refer the codes and identify the process, input, tables involved, etc., But these will not be shared as they are "IP" Intellectual Property of the clients. So, there is no idea of the inputs, the processing logic and what the output consists of. You only have a few documents with basic information of what the report must contain and a sample report with data. But you need to do everything to generate the report that is exactly like the one they are currently extracting. 

This is all very well - after all it is business, you find a way to give them what they want or you sell them what you have. But one thing that the manager said was indeed the height of ridiculousness. "An engineer must create things from scratch, only a layman works with everything in place". 

Really??? In this case!! 

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Democracy - The people and the lizards

I was reading the fourth book "So long, thanks for all the fish" in the trilogy (yes, you read it right) of Hitchhiker's guide to the Galaxy. This series is about the adventures of the human after he escapes from Earth, minutes before its demolition by the Vogons with the help of an alien. It has a delightful dialogue that sums up accurately the state of democracy in all the democratic nations of the world. Nowadays, no country is an exception.

This is the exchange between the human Arthur Dent and the alien, Ford Prefect when a robot lands on the planet from an alien land.

            "I come in peace," it said, adding after a long moment of further grinding, "take me to your Lizard."

            Ford Prefect, of course, had an explanation for this, as he sat with Arthur and watched the non-stop frenetic news reports on the television, none of which had anything to say other than to record that the thing had done this amount of damage which was valued at that amount of billions of pounds and had killed this totally other number of people, and then say it again, because the robot was doing nothing more than standing there, swaying very slightly, and emitting short incomprehensible error messages.

            "It comes from a very ancient democracy, you see"

            "You mean, it comes from a world of lizards?"

            "No," said Ford, who by this time was a little more rational and coherent than he had been, having finally had the coffee forced down him, "nothing so simple. Nothing anything like so straightforward. On its world, the people are people. The leaders are lizards. The people hate the lizards and the lizards rule the people."

            "Odd," said Arthur, "I thought you said it was a democracy."

            "I did," said Ford. "It is."

            "So," said Arthur, hoping he wasn't sounding ridiculously obtuse, "why don't people get rid of the lizards?"

            "It honestly doesn't occur to them," said Ford. "They've all got the vote, so they all pretty much assume that the government they've voted in more or less approximates to the government they want."

            "You mean they actually vote for the lizards?"

            "Oh yes," said Ford with a shrug, "of course."

            "But," said Arthur, going for the big one again, "why?"

            "Because if they didn't vote for a lizard," said Ford, "the wrong lizard might get in. Got any gin?"

            "What?"

            "I said," said Ford, with an increasing air of urgency creeping into his voice, "have you got any gin?"

            "I'll look. Tell me about the lizards."

            Ford shrugged again.
            "Some people say that the lizards are the best thing that ever happened to them," he said. "They're completely wrong of course, completely and utterly wrong, but someone's got to say it."

            "But that's terrible," said Arthur.

            "Listen, bud," said Ford, "if I had one Altairan dollar for every time I heard one bit of the Universe look at another bit of the Universe and say `That's terrible' I wouldn't be sitting here like a lemon looking for a gin."

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Who is an Accomplished Woman? - Then and Now

If you have read Pride and Prejudice, you would never forget the "accomplished woman" scene. This was the general idea of an accomplished woman in 1800s.

'It is amazing to me,' said Bingley, "how young ladies can have patience to be so very accomplished, as they all are."

'All young ladies accomplished! My dear Charles, what do you mean?' (says his sister.)

'Yes all of them, I think. They all paint tables, cover skreens and net purses. I scarcely know any one who cannot do all this and I am sure I never heard a young lady spoken of for the first time, without being informed that she was very accomplished.'

'Then,' observed Elizabeth, 'you must comprehend a great deal in your idea of an accomplished woman.'

Oh! certainly,' cried his faithful assistant, 'no one can really esteemed accomplished, who does not greatly surpass what is usually met with. A woman must have a thorough knowledge of music, singing, drawing, dancing and the modern languages to deserve the word; and besides all this, she must possess a certain something in her air and manner of walking, the tone of her voice, her address and expressions, or the word will be but half deserved.'

'All this she must possess,' added Darcy, 'and to all this she must yet add something more substantial, in the improvement of her mind by extensive reading.'

In India, in the 1800s an accomplished woman, in general was someone who sang songs in praise of God in her pooja room, who cooked delicious meals, took care of the house and her kids/siblings (if she was unmarried). She was supposed and expected only to be devoted to God and her family.

In 2011,  you have the "top ten list" of powerful women (doesn't matter if you are corrupt!) in the world, sports athletes, science, literature, music and every other field imaginable. I don't know about the accomplished woman, or whether there is such a generalized term.But the first word to describe a "modern woman", (in any continent) as any website would tell you is "Beautiful", glamorous, who always looks like she is in her twenties. She is also expected to have an education, comfortable income, do/handle household work/staff, cook meals, take care of kids and a million other things. More like a multi-tasking Barbie!

This is definitely not my definition of an accomplished woman, just what women are expected to be today and what they are forced to become - although, one could argue that they themselves are not objecting much to this idea.

What do you think?

Thursday, 1 September 2011

My Travel Sydney, May 2011

These are some pictures from my trip (official, just an excuse!) to Sydney in May. Instead of boring travel logs, I thought pictures would suffice. Click to enlarge.

Harbour Bridge

Opera House

Blue Mountains

Three Sisters
There is a cableway ride in Blue Mountains with a beautiful view of the Three sisters and the valley. The cable ride has glass floor and it was a beautiful, thrilling ride.


Me



Blue Mountains

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Hilarious!!!

Those who do not understand Tamil or watch the comedies in Tamil movies, please excuse. You might not get the joke.

Last week, one of the cleaning staff tailgated in my project cubicle at work. She was collecting coffee cups and did not have the access for our cubicle. So, I happened to give access.

The next day, she was waiting for a bus at the bus stop on my way to work. She was in her sari and not in the usual hideous uniform that the MNCs provide the cleaning staff with.

If there is one guaranteed way for a girl to turn all heads in Chennai, she could simply choose to wear lipstick or sunglasses or really high heels. I was wearing all these, so everyone at the bus stop were tuned in to our conversation.

On seeing me, she smiled and since I couldn't recall her face, I blinked uncertain if I'd met her before. She said by way of greeting, "Ennaga enna theriyalaya??? Nethiku koda parthingalae... Nama rendu perum ore office la daane work pandrom."
Translation:
"Dont you recognise me? We met yesterday. We work at the same office".

I still couldnt place her. She continued  "Ore building daan.. Second floor daan.." (Same building, second floor)  I was invariably reminded of the Vadivelu comedy in Marudhamalai (when he goes to the market to collect "mamool", bribe). " Ettaya anda pichakaran pakathula poi nillunga, vyabaratha mudichitu varen.. sillarai illa rendu perum sanda podama pirichukanga..." and Vadivelu saying "Oru adhikariya epdi nadathanumnu unaku theriyadu?? Avanum nanum equala??"

I was struggling to control my laughter. At this moment, the air-conditioned public bus arrived and as I was about to get in she said "Inda bus la enga poringa??? idu vela romba jaasti... saadha bus leye polame.." (The fare is very high, its better to travel by the non a.c bus with much lower fares)

I also remembered the Koundamani comedy (he is a rickshaw guy) where he is fooled by the beggar women who poses as a bank clerk. :)))) I was sure everyone else who were tuned in thought I was an impostor ;))

I couldn't help it... I laughed all the way to my work.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Random musings I - makes not much sense

There is a belief in Hinduism - "Everything is already decided and we are just living out our lives as preordained". It doesn't say by whom - not God or any supreme power. Its just that whatever is happening now, whatever decisions we make or the road we take is already decided. We merely do whatever we are supposed to do. It goes on to say that there is no point in crying over spilled milk - because you are supposed to spill the milk. Further it advises you to get on with it and go on living as you are supposed to do.

When we look at the concept of time travel or space travel or time-space theories, you can go back in time or move forward. The course of the events is already decided. So no matter what you do or not do, does not change anything - the outcome is always the same and somehow everything eventually sorts itself out or not. You just can't do anything about it. You simply live out the life in the time you are stuck with for the present and the future may take you further to the past or to the future or whatever it is supposed to do.

There is also the quote from Swami Vivekanada "We reap what we sow. We are the makers of our own fate. The wind is blowing; those vessels whose sails are unfurled catch it, and go forward on their way, but those which have their sails furled do not catch the wind. Is that the fault of the wind?....... We make our own destiny." And there is the Road not taken.

So which is true - Do we make our destiny or is everything the way it is supposed to happen the way it does?  

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Irksome incident

This is an irksome and hilarious event that happened today. If you have sensitive ears, please quit reading :)))

I had to return a laptop with the bag to the IT department in my office which supplied it for an onsite assignment. The laptop bag had a slight tear where the stitching had come off  the lining in one of the smaller compartments.

The fellow refused to take the bag and said it was not the bag he had given.  When I asked the moron if I had to pay a fine or repair it, he asked me to take it with me or leave it anywhere or escalate it. He also said the fucking laptop bag costs $120 - ha! when u buy it on a wholesale??? Bullshit! And this happens in a top ten Fortune 500 company!!!

To check if the laptop was working fine, he checked for scratches, the light and the catch to open it!! And its a f***** computer manufacturing company!!

This was the response email for the call (apparently you log a call for every single goddamn thing, get it approved by two managers and face a SOB while returning/receiving, even the Vogons would have had less paperwork) -
Serial Number xxxxxxxx  returned to xxx Stores, SINCE THE xx business Nylon Backpack xxxx 5/17/2011 Loc:xxx  xx Flr/xxx  RETUREND TO STORES IS DAMAGED AND WILL NOT ACCEPT THE SAME. HENCE THIS CALL IS CLOSED.

I had to speak to the manager, show her the bag and tote it every place, send a couple emails before the wa**** took it.

WTF????

(Appending post)This happened after I published this post initially.

The guy's manager rung him and he said it was totally damaged and she ordered him to discard the bag in the repair section :) I'd be delighted the day I resign this miserable f***** job.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Best Romantic Hero - Heathcliff

Of all the romantic novels out there in the world, I'd say "Wuthering Heights" is by far the best. Yes, it is a gothic novel and deals mainly with jealousy, revenge, greed but the reason is Heathcliff's love for Catherine. They are true soulmates. Heathcliff's intense love for Catherine lasts three generations across which the story spans.

An outline of the story:
Heathcliff is an orphan brought home by Mr. Earnshaw to Wuthering heights. Hindley, Mr.Earnshaw's son is jealous of his father's affection for Heathcliff from childhood and treats him a servant after Mr. Earnshaw's death. Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff are thick as thieves from childhood. She marries Edgar Linton as Heathcliff is reduced to a mere servant without manners or intelligence by her brother. Due to a misunderstanding, Heathcliff leaves town and returns after six months, rich and intelligent with an outward appearance of a gentleman. Events happen and Catherine dies heartbroken. The rest of the novel is about Heathcliff's revenge on Hindley and Linton and their next generation for separating him from Catherine and ends with Hindley's son and Catherine's daughter getting married.

The best lines from the novel say it all:

Catherine:
"It would degrade me to marry Heathcliff now; so he shall never know how I love him: and that, not because he's handsome, Nelly, but because he's more myself than I am. Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same; and Linton's is as different as a moonbeam from lightning, or frost from fire."

"Nelly, I am Heathcliff! He's always, always in my mind: not as a pleasure, any more than I am always a pleasure to myself, but as my own being."

What were the use of my creation, if I were entirely contained here? My great miseries in this world have been Heathcliff's miseries, and I watched and felt each from the beginning: my great thought in living is himself.

"If all else perished, and he remained, I should still continue to be; and if all else remained, and he were annihilated, the universe would turn to a mighty stranger: I should not seem a part of it."

"That is how I'm loved! Well, never mind. That is not my Heathcliff. I shall love mine yet; and take him with me: he's in my soul."My love for Linton is like the foliage in the woods: time will change it, I'm well aware, as winter changes the trees. My love for Heathcliff resembles the eternal rocks beneath: a source of little visible delight, but necessary. Nelly, I am Heathcliff! He's always, always in my mind: not as a pleasure, any more than I am always a pleasure to myself, but as my own being.

Heathcliff:
'You teach me now how cruel you've been—cruel and false. Why did you despise me? Why did you betray your own heart, Cathy? I have not one word of comfort. You deserve this. You have killed yourself. Yes, you may kiss me, and cry; and wring out my kisses and tears: they'll blight you—they'll damn you. You loved me—then what right had you to leave me? What right—answer me—for the poor fancy you felt for Linton? Because misery and degradation, and death, and nothing that God or Satan could inflict would have parted us, you, of your own will, did it. I have not broken your heart—youhave broken it; and in breaking it, you have broken mine. So much the worse for me that I am strong. Do I want to live? What kind of living will it be when you—oh, God! would you like to live with your soul in the grave?'

"'And I pray one prayer--I repeat it till my tongue stiffens--Catherine Earnshaw, may you not rest as long as I am living; you said I killed you--haunt me, then! The murdered DO haunt their murderers, I believe. I know that ghosts HAVE wandered on earth. Be with me always--take any form--drive me mad! only DO not leave me in this abyss, where I cannot find you! Oh, God! it is unutterable! I CANNOT live without my life! I CANNOT live without my soul!'"

A moonbeam is beautiful, but it never has the same intensity, the savage hotness of a lightning. Their love was an intense, passionate lightning that burns the soul, bringing to the surface, the deepest emotions, the feelings which you never knew you possessed or even imagined you might possess. It was not a gentle stream but a stormy ocean.

The gentle, passionate Mr. Darcys, Mr.Knightleys, "Daring in love and Dauntless in war" Lochinvars are all dream come true, but given a choice I will happily choose myself a Heathcliff anyday.

Friday, 19 August 2011

Losing Passport - Down my memory lane

We decided to go on a weekend trip to Sweden and Norway (actually, Gotenberg and Oslo). One of our friends (S.) was in Gotenberg on an onsite assignment and we could stay at his place and sightsee. Having reserved the flight tickets, Su, Lav, J, A and myself started on the early morning of a Saturday from Luton and reached Gotenberg. We spent the day and the next sight seeing Gotenberg, the beautiful archipelagos and islands of Sweden and Oslo. On Monday evening at 7:00 PM we had to board our flights back to London.

We were exhausted on Monday morning and decided just to have a wonderful lunch and idle away. In the evening at half past four we planned to go out and return in time for our flight. I took my passport in my camera bag with other odds and ends you usually find in a girl's purse - some cash, a few coins, lip gloss, mobile...

In the tram, we were playing and taking pictures while someone casually took off with my camera bag. Luckily, my camera was spared. We noticed the bag missing only when we had arrived at our stop. It was then that I realised, I also had my passport in it. Two of us went to the central station which was the bus's final destination, two of us to pack the bags now that our plan was ditched and me and S, our host, the guy who was primarily responsible for losing my bag, and I went to the information center.

Here was my situation - An Indian who had come to work in London on a work permit and lost my passport in my trip to Sweden on a tourist Schengen visa. I had to go to work the next day and no one can know about this at my office.

Now I am all for the "QUEUES" and waiting your turn but in such an emergency, no way!! I do believe there should be an emergency counter just for such situations. So, after endless enquiries and copious tears, we managed to get to the police station. Only, no one had any idea who should handle a passport theft :) ->  Is it the local police station or the other police (incharge of some higher jurisdication, I'm not sure of the name)?
Finally, a sweet police woman asked me the details for the report, filed the complaint and even called the airlines to appraise them of the situation.

The one silver lightning was I had a copy of my passport and all the relevant visa pages. So in the airport, I was given a boarding pass. The Swedish authorities were very good and gentle and even apologised for my inconvenience for the theft in their country when I was a visitor. However, as they were not sure if someone would be in the UK airport to check my visa copies, they were afraid I might be detained and not let into the country.

Hence, I spent the night at my friend's place and flew the next day to London. This was only possible as a person high up in the Scandinavian Airport Association (or something) had directed everyone to check my passport details before hand and ensure I have an easy immigration check. I had no trouble getting into UK without my passport as everyone were informed of my plight. Easy Peasy!

My dear friends were very anxious about this whole episode, kind enough to pitch in with the additional expenses and were very happy when they met me at Luton that evening. From that time on, I never trust S. with my passport bag ;))) and always carry a copy of my passport in all my bags.

P.S: I got back my camera bag with my passport in it sans mobile, as someone had returned it to an information center. I was fined (a paltry sum) for losing my passport! I was also spared all my odds and ends and the dumb thief didn't take the cash.


Monday, 15 August 2011

Bhaja Govindam - M.S rendition

The first time I heard the Bhaja Govindam song when I was six, I was hooked. For the ignorant souls, it is a devotional song composed by Adi Sankaracharya about 'Bhakti' to lord Krishna, Govinda. It emphasies that the devotion to Lord Krishna is the first step in the path of spirituality towards attaining moksham - spiritual absolution.

It was the first song in the audio cassette followed by the Vishnu Sahasranamam. Both are rendered by the legend M.S.Subbulakshmi.The significance of this audio version is that one of the timeless, classic song explaining the Bhakti margam is sung by M.S. When singing a devotional song, perfect rendition of the raga, tala, shruti is just not sufficient. The singing must capture the essence of the lyric, must move the listener to the poet's imagination which can be achieved only when it is sung with Bhakti. The lyrics sung by the distinct exceptional, ethereal voice of M.S drips with her devotion to Lord Krishna and transports one to Vaikundam - the abode of Lord Vishnu.

This song remains my most favorite song - a ray of light, hope and comfort in the bleak darkness. A lifeline whenever I feel desolate, hopeless and lonely. Hope you enjoy it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wHoZz0o1_Mg

Unfriend a person on Facebook

When C. told me she was going to unfriend one of her best friends in Facebook, it got me thinking - Why does a person unfriend someone in facebook?

I can understand the feature being used when you accidentally accept a friend request but later realize that you don't know the person - although this seems such a lame reason. Ideally, you have to verify if you know the person, whether you have mutual friends before accepting a request.

The common reason seems to be when something goes wrong and you no longer want the person to know what you are up to. But when you go to the trouble of searching for a person in facebook, as in this case, and sending a friend request to them, have some really memorable memories as a friend, received timely help from them, why would you want to unfriend the person for a reason which is not life threatening or base treachery?

It really baffled me. This person had helped her when she none to turn to, had loaned quite a bit of money when no one bothered, yet now that things were not well, she wanted to unfriend the person. "It was one of the means of showing displeasure", she said. I found it downright insulting, a slap in the face.

Well, I do hope she comes to her senses...

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Behavior of People commuting buses in Chennai - Thuggish

I am sure everyone has taken the public transport at one point or another in their life. And I am equally sure that everyone would agree that it is a nightmare in Chennai.
I have lived in Chennai most of my 26 years and fortunately had to travel only for shopping or on the weekends until six months ago when I changed jobs and started working for a software company that does not provide transport. The six months have been an eye opening experience for me.
Everyone in Chennai knows that the roads are deplorable and the sewers on the streets even in the best of summer days. People blame politicians for the bad roads, the sad condition of the buses and generally anything that is wrong. But seriously, having a comfortable journey to work is not a miracle and does not need perfect roads or clean buses.

You just need to have some consideration for your fellow passengers. There is no excuse for leaning over others or stamping their feet just because the bus is crowded. Inertia is not an excuse to fall on a person in the blistering heat. And when someone asks you to move aside, they are not to be blamed. I wonder if by some perverse sense, they actually enjoy brushing against another in the sweltering climate.

Adjusting does not mean having to put up with fellow passengers trying to crush you in a non-crowded bus or allowing someone to push you around while they scramble to get a seat. My purse was once stolen in this rush.

Even as a bus enters the stand, people rush to get in. Even before the bus is empty, the crowd tries to get in without waiting for everyone on the bus to alight. There is a thing called "QUEUE".

Surely the government is not responsible for a person spitting out of a bus window not bothering about where it might land.

I used to pity the poor and so called lower classes of the society. But as I have observed, the unruly behavior and the unclean habits of these masses are the major reasons for discomfort in the MTC buses.

These are really basic manners which even children are supposed to know and follow.Before blaming everyone else for the problems, people need to change their behavior and be disciplined. Just adopting a few basic manner lessons would go a long way in making  everyday journey pleasurable.