Sunday, November 26, 2006
there's fm radio in chennai (yes, its time it started behaving like a city if it wants to be called one.) with more channels coming up of late. am told theres radio city as well as radio mirchi. i jumped with joy and clapped my hands with glee when i heard the news... strained my ears with childlike expectation to hear something other than tamil in the airwaves. i have nothing against tamil or tamil radio... but public demand seems to have everything against what is not tamil. radio city as i knew it to be never got to be so here in ammaland... in the days of yore it did have a mix of hindi, english and tamil for about a month; until it wised up and started playing only tamil... its ad revenue probably hit new highs after it learnt the rule of the land :)
makes me wonder if the local populace loves the language truly, madly, deeply or mere hypocritic hatred for something else - am tempted to use the word "foreign" in context of hindi. as a show of hands, i would vote for the latter. hypocrisy? yes, that too. why? heres where we go on air :)
theres this channel whose name i couldnt care to note, where its jingle starts with the schummacher song and proceeds into a hindi intro... it lights up my face... but what follows is a barrage of tamil movie pieces (my understanding of music refuses to let me call what they air songs) its just the jingle... i dont understand this. if all they play is tamil songs, why resort to hindi and english as a crowd puller? seems like the listener is aware of this music but still wants only tamil. a couple of RJs get into what seems like a warzone. i sit tensed. but the crowd seems to be laughing in tandem with the chaos... oh! so thats how their jokes sound!? ok :)
then there is this song which has adnan sami's voice (i think). probably the movie demands it or its this guy's style, the tune had to have a northy feel in it. there seems a desparate desire to ride the populist wave, but also an insecure yearning to look beyond the moat. but this doesnt last for long... what follows resembles a masai hunting song. am sure they have one, if not they might as well borrow it from here. but my fellow passenger seems to be having a gala time lip-singing it... wow! this guy actually likes this!? he even affords me the horror of a jig. michael jackson is put to shame...
this is where cnn-ibn fits right in. it seems the southern states had a golden jubilee month celebrating their "southernhood". i wouldnt comment on the skewed manner in which the research was carried out... nor will i attempt at understanding why rajdeep sardesai felt jolly glad about 36% southies polled wanting hindi made compulsory in schools while "only" 45% wanting it to be a voluntary subject. what i would like to understand is the need for such a program in the first place :P do programs like these hold any water when basic demand for seclusion and exclusivity glare at you in the face?
Thursday, November 23, 2006
yup, good 'ol double-o-seven gets the vernacular tongue :) personally i couldnt care less about the tongue he speaks... what tickles the funny bone is how these news channels target it...
casino royale hits theatres in andhra dubbed in telugu (well before the english version makes its way there)... so our news reporter gets first hand reviews from our telugu speaking fraternity as they step out of movie halls. the audience is only too glad to pitch in and tell us how good it is to hear bondgaru... ironically, audience responds in er... english :)
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
well, here i was waiting for my 10:15 cab and as soon as i notice the vehicle at my doorstep, out i jump and board it. "ramesh sir? central station?" - me says, "not ramesh. central station, yes." and off we go. for a place like chennai, i was mighty impressed by this chap's punctuality! now these cab guys need to keep informing their control room of their pickups and drops... so while our man kept bellowing into his wireless "saar 411, on drip! number 411, on drip!" (took me a while to realise he meant we were on our trip!) though all we heard was the control room howling into the radio set that his customer was pretty pissed that he wasnt picked up... about 20mins into our trip i get a frantic call informing me that the chap on the other end was at my residence waiting to pick me up... now what are the chances that two individuals call the same cab service, from the same area, at the same time and head to the same destination? :)
that settled, i finally make it to chennai central. i must also add this trip truly deserved being labeled unusual. its not always i book my tickets in 3rd AC, but the times i do, my co-passengers ensure am not left unamused :) we always have a crowd that has this glaring misconception that as one shells out that extra money for that extra bit of comfort, one is obligated to talk in english - which may well be a verbatim translation of one's native tongue. in steps our protagonist huffing and puffing the hot madras air...
bloke: (looks up at the coach ceiling) "AC ij not on?"
lady: (not to be left behind) "it has just been on-ed. it will take some time to get cold."
mind you, we are in an AC compartment. boasting expensive gadgetry is second nature. so out comes our bloke's cellphone. now it is imperative he lets us know it can play songs and more than proves it to us with his hits of kumar sanu...! i had to burst that bubble - my ego was being called names here! so out come my iPod and PDA phone... there! :P and as the journey proceeds into the night, its time for all to hit the sack... we have the best saved for last...
bloke: uich ij your borth?
lady: (pointing at two of them) thich and thich
Thursday, November 02, 2006
well, there was nothing of that sort. v in raleigh mentioned a community celebration at a local park where the indian community organised more like a fair. fireworks? nope. stalls with goodies to eat. why no crackers here? well, i guess they are allowed only on the 4th of july. fire trucks take positions before the crackers.
did something i hadnt done ever before in my life. something that would make folks happy. went to two (not one but two) temples on Diwali! well, the first one (in sunnyvale) was more of an aberration to the definition. looked more like a garage or warehouse converted into a make-shift holy dwelling. seemed like every conceivable Hindu deity was brought together and cramped under one roof. immensely sacred or claustrophobic, i couldnt gather. arrangements and puja seeming more of a matter of convenience than anything else. took a while for the girl to realise that the holy water is given first and then the prasadam. yup, thats the purist in me talking. then again, its also common sense. giving them the benefit of doubt, probably they are doing the best they can.
off to livermore - and i was in for a pleasant surprise. shiva-vishnu temple, supposed to be quite popular, and a comforting sight too. place to wash your hands and feet before you enter, elegantly attired priests, sricharanam et al, the calming smell of incense/camphor all around. felt at home. the place did keep pace with the times. brochures and banners replaced by snazzy LCD screens. tirupatiesque laddoos at $5 a piece. irresistable :) and this one just couldnt escape my eye... archana tickets starting $51... was used to seeing Rs. 51 onwards... are desis in US rich enough to shell out $51 per archana!? no wonder this place looked all decked up! dwarfs the sunnyvale experience hands down.
but a pleasant place this. leavng me with happy thoughts :) an hour and a half long drive each way, well worth the effort! happy diwali to everybody and a great year ahead :)
Sunday, October 01, 2006
1. no matter who you are... if you look anything close to an indian, a gujju will always talk to you in gujarati. you may respond in anything but gujarati, but it doesnt matter. you get more questions in gujarati. switch to guestures. only to realize how pathetic you are in dumb-sharades. you are now facing a barage of questions in gujju...
2. business centre at singapore airport transit lounge i try to kill precious time. and the type of links i find in IE history... http://www.amishapatel.com... granted some poor bloke must be one helluva die hard fan, but this one's a killer. http://www.oriyamatrimonials.com...! now here's one desparate suitor who wants to make best his/her transit time!!
Thursday, September 14, 2006
lets start from the beginning. get yourself a gas connection. theres an energy crisis it looks like; no new connections are doled out anymore. am ready to pay i say, "no saar. ille." hmm. should i buy a microwave now? naah... too much of an investment. hey! theres that electric rice cooker lying at home, that should do some good :) so off i go home & pick it up with fantasies of penning down the next cookbook bestseller. tarla dalal, make way.
so i arm the kitchen with MTR pulliogare (just add rice!) powder, lemon rice paste, pulao powder, veggies, the works... er dude... pulao works differently am told. it needs the cashews to be sauted, onions to be shallow fried... it wont work in a rice cooker. why? thats the pulao you normally know. have you tried without the rigmarole? the truth is, am already kicking myself for picking up this stuff. but; theres always a first time for everything. then again, am reminded of the immensely learned Sir Humphreys... "you should always do new things, but never for the first time"...
all said and done, it was an experiment i wanted to indulge myself in. measured the rice, chopped the veggies, laid out the spices (read: OTC masala powder.) felt like the druid with the cauldron. yeah, post menhir crash. knife for sickle, veggies for herbs. i had my roman soldier marked out too. good friend & roomie c. "oooo! this is so much funnnn!" and in they all went piece by piece into the pot... and look for the plug. ah! its all there in the kitchen itself! now why doesnt this damn switch come on? wont budge come what may. ooo... the switch's stuck with grime. damn the previous tenant! hmm... need another plug... now you know why one shouldnt watch TV while cooking!? and aglow came the lamp... impatiently looking at the clock as the minutes tickted by, me fuming and fretting in sync with the lid. and finally... thack! there. its all ready. but the roman had already hit the bed.
it was necessary for him to wake up. as noted earlier, it was c's turn to taste it first. not that his verdict mattered much, i wanted to see if he changed colours and started flying. he did neither. life is boring i tell you. soon out of a slumber, he's a man of limited vocabulary - no salt. ah! well now, where did i put that lump of white powder? nowhere. it was still in the container. out you come... pulverized and sprinkled all over... there! tarla dalal, make way.
now this being a family space, i'll spare you the gory details. day two was just as uneventful. only this time i had to look for the lump of masala. strangely enough, the onions i had put in seemed to have disappeared while inside the cooker. not a trace of them roots! c still doesnt fly. i think rice was too pasty and made him heavy. next time, lesser water. tarla dalal, make way.
day three, c isnt sleepy, wide awake. i ask his choice. home food or eat out? boss, am feeling healthy today... lets eat out.
Wednesday, August 09, 2006
i certainly seem to be in a minority 'cos there was no dearth of tickets to get back here on a monday morning. the problem however lay in reaching b'lore. for someone like me, who is always quite kicked about online bookings, it was overwhelming to find a private tour operator offer such an option!
now this travel operator's site gives you a lot of options... but considering my timing, wasnt left with much. so here i was, looking at a volvo service with just 1 seat to go. gleefuly i decide to go ahead with the booking only to be shown a message that i wasnt eligible for the said seat. the reason? the seat adjacent to the lone one i chose was taken by a female passenger!! wow!
frankly, am at a loss for words here... not that i was overly joyous with the thought of having female company for the trip... it is imperative that i must remind the reader here that i do not abhor female company. not the least! but its the other way round that disturbs me. then again, my past observations of female transit on the b'lore-chennai route certainly makes me not look forward to such company. takes me to the one-liner "99% of the women in this world are beautiful, the rest travel b'lore-chennai"...!! grrr..
but i am deviating from the point here. my angst was about not being given that ticket... it merely reflects the kind of "culture" found in this part of the country. custodians of culture and tradition is what they like to think of themselves. somehow they need to convince me of the culture they are protecting when their very backyard is one overworked sleaze factory.... does it unsettle them that this little secret of theirs is out in the open?
oh btw, they allow a female to sit next to a seat occupied by a male... funny.
Saturday, July 22, 2006
this thought was triggered by an article about chennai being a rude city. the summary said "the frenetic pace of city life" and it spoke of chennai. i couldn't read any further. i had to sit up and take notice of the "frenetic pace."
it wasnt about the etiquette of the city. i fully accept and expect the average tam in chennai to be rude. fortunately all my tam friends here are above-average :-) (devil, i can see your horns grow) :-) for someone coming here from mumbai, i've been groping on chennai's arm to feel its pulse. from the walk on the roads to the service in restaurants/stores. the whole place seems to be moving at 6fps.
one ought to be more considerate though. you do find pace here. but one also needs guts to look for it. try the roads for a change. its a dragrace against the lights. and doesnt matter if you are on the left side of the road. on-coming traffic is legal. after all, its the frenetic pace one has in this city... who has the time to go around and take a 'U' turn? and yeah, it wasnt a cycle coming my way, it was a rick :-)
Friday, June 23, 2006
this certainly seems true for those headed towards the IT oases. and rather striking in the traffic strongholds of k r puram, marathahalli, airport road, hosur road... find them flooded with bumper to bumper altos, zens and santros. not to forget the thousands of yellow board sumos and indicas (indicae!? :D) (tata motors is surely laughing its way to the bank!) but forget the taxis here, lets look at the altos, zens and santros. each can hold upto 4 in cosy comfort. why dont they car-pool!?
but no. they insist on getting their own rs.3-4lac vehicles, pay about 53 bucks a litre and spend hours cussing at the bumper ahead... what a pleasant way to start/end your day at work! i was aware of paying for your entertainment, but you also pay to screw your mood? as if a day at work wasnt enough to do the honours!
they all come up with excuses that they are forced to match their timings with the others... given a normal working day, how difficult is that? and bring in some urgency and emergencies and you always have a cab/rick to do handle them. would you still not end up saving time/money? dunno... please let me know if i have a flawed reasoning here... oh yes... money wastage was never a concern here :D
for those wondering how i manage... well, i use a private bus along with 25 others. and my paycheck doesnt give me the luxury of investing in a car... not on bangalore's roads for sure!
Thursday, June 22, 2006
Tuesday, June 06, 2006
colleague 1: is there a world animals day too?
colleague 2: thats everyday.... this section is the carnivores... that one has the omnivores....
Saturday, April 22, 2006
the lanes, by-lanes and just about any path that leads to that place sports loudspeakers. you really need to pump up the volume. after all, heaven is way up there & the gods are a bit hard of hearing. saar, its all part of the festivities saar! reminiscent of the days in mumbai when prayers to Ganesha included "tu cheez badi hai mast"... guess the slokas, mantras & bhajans could get a bit monotonous eh? the gods need some entertainment too. yo baby!
but gulshan kumar came to the rescue pretty early in the scene and a local influence is not far away. a kannada rendition on the tune of "babuji zara dheere chalo" is the perfect crowd puller. did somebody say belief and devotion was all that one need to have? dude! get a life!
noise pollution is it? call the 'for-your-service-and-protection' police station and here's what you get... "saar, protest against this, you for sure would get beaten up, even we wouldnt be spared! forget it saar..." i am all for the hafta system now.
gen-prev raised a toast when bangalore clamped the 11:30pm deadline on pubs & discs.... he he heee.... what goes around, comes around :) praise the lord! cheers :)
* an incarnation of Devi
Thursday, April 20, 2006
never did one realise that someone's death could be so scary, and ironically, bring you close to your own. it was an inflamability test for just about anything they could lay their hands on. he was buried but bangalore burned.
they mourned, they say. and insisted that others were ordained to do the same. it didnt matter if he meant nothing to the others, it was made sure they felt bad he wasnt anymore.
like a scene out of moses, it was the passover of the plague. anything that carried his picture survived. the rest had a gravestone ready in its name. the mob didnt realise the joke was on them. companies closed early and carried annavaru with them. they thought it was in respect for their star.
they took a cue from mumbai, where they couldnt care less before bringing down a hospital for their leader didnt survive an accident. not that they repented it later. the law there learnt and wised up though. only, their counterparts here dont like to learn from others' mistakes. they like their name in blood. be it at the cost of being sitting ducks as they get pelted by a mob.
sorry, i forgot. thats how funerals happen here. you know, just like that da. adjust maadi.
Tuesday, March 28, 2006
me thinks: i say, he ought to visit a dermatologist!
c. 2 to c. 3: i am told your cubicles are gonna be named after cartoons.... (pause).... i mean the meeting rooms are....
Friday, March 17, 2006
Wednesday, March 08, 2006
the two months that i've been here, seen 2, witnessed one and was almost part of 2. but i was nestled safely in a cab... those on the receiving end were bikers. as my cousin retorts... need not worry. with the pace of the traffic, you cannot go fast enough to hurt yourself! a minor brush here & there, thats all.
it seems delhi has some 27k kms of road & manages some 1000+ collisions in a year. b'lore meanwhile with 4.5k kms of road does approx 750. that in fact makes me wonder about delhi... with 27k kms of road, do those buggers go around asking for a bump!?
Saturday, March 04, 2006
with this day assigned to getting myself one such account, i set out to befriend our friendly neighbourhood SBI. now i find following trends in the banking industry as much an activity of interest as one would look at compost formation. but i was told that they are one of those rare banks with the distinguished privilege of according you that coveted account. never once did it occur to me that it would lead me into a treasure hunt. the hunt seems to have ended, the treasure however, opting to remain elusive.
i was also told that SBI is no longer the geriatric laggard we had so nonchalantly accepted. they are off on a massive roadtrip to change customer perception. i would rather they stop burning ad fuel and got to work. "200 years of service", is what their banner proudly proclaims. i am ready to accept the 200 years part of it. as for the service, if there is one, someone forgot to put the customer on the list of beneficiaries.
enter SBI branch #1. the clerk is rather forthcoming in driving you away. in the absence of a signboard, he expects me to posses telepathy and realise that he doesnt deal with new accounts. i wonder if he hides a fly swatter under his desk. the manager had a wiser disposition. my guess is, footprints of irate customers on his backside has done the trick. volunteers to part with the secret that one can no longer open a ppf a/c there without having a savings a/c in that branch. i remind him of an absence of such a mandate. their "computerised" system just wont allow he bleats! oh btw, with computerisation they mean a passbook that a computer prints for you. look ma! no hands! the realisation that i do not hold an a/c in SBI compels him to give me the look of a crock choking on the piece of cattle it has just dug into. expecting me to give that life saving thump on his back. i say, what shred of imagination is it to expect every bloke in this country to hold an SBI a/c!?
enter SBI branch #2. this one has a signboard that says "enquiry". man at desk repeats manager 1's story but he seems to follow indian cricket fielding. points me to another staffer i would rather meet. and much like the behaviour of the ball while india fields, i eagerly roll over to the designated boundary. the lady there is trained like a parrot! well, so was i & i remind her of the absence of the rule. she's quick on the retort that well, thats how things are done in this branch. for further issues please approach the manager. damn! this is a cricket loving branch!
had read somewhere that this is how the old banks justified the absence of an online face. now they have it, but thats more of a reluctant favour meted out. the old banks believed in the personal touch that their employees were capable of and something the private banks lacked. 'when you discourage people from visiting the branch, how can you have that human touch!?' they might argue. well, point noted, but i am not in a barber shop to discuss my life's maladies with him. besides, i certainly dont fancy sitting at a counter plastered with notices & rules wondering if there's a banker behind it somewhere. i.e., if they have the inclination to look beyond their ledgers as they juggle 'tween the red & blue ends of a smudgy pen. i would rather peep into the viewing hole of a solitary confinement cell. that surely affords a more exciting view.
but that was branch #2 staffer's idea of customer contact. she wanted me to visit as many SBI branches as i could & figure out which one would use a system that doesnt mandate an s/b a/c. lack of time & the futility of it made me abandon the treasure hunt. might as well call the investment agent. he's known to "fix" things.
Wednesday, March 01, 2006
write in prose & then chop of some pronouns and adverbs at your fancy...
then refer the thesaurus for some bombastic words for the rest...
presto! your very own poetry ready to serve....
Sunday, February 19, 2006
yeah, its about the silver jubilee celebrations. i have nothing against the foundation or ravi shankar. i merely question the event. so if some bloke wishes to start a charade of blogspace-dirty-linen-washing, please spare me the bandwidth.
firstly, i was amazed doordarshan actually changed its regular show timings for a live telecast of the whole program! someone please lemme know the trps for this. coming to the way the entire program was compered. one announcement in english followed by another in kannada. i believe that this foundation is a global one, so by set theory, holds a whole lot of indians too. i dont know how many indians can speak english, let alone kannada. why didnt they try hindi & english!? i spotted a bus from ahmedabad head towards jakkur. would like to know how many of them understood either versions!
wouldn't even want to comment on how or why, what a 3800 strong menagerie of musicians conjoured up can be called a "symphony". my sense of music is not impaired.
found a whole army of popular individuals, people who on various occassions have been referred to as spiritual gurus, godmen, politicians, celebrities, statesmen, etc. dont know if they were invited or they too got themselves that all-important pass. what was the big idea in calling them on stage anyway!? all they did was talk about ravi shankar and er... world peace :p
that brings me to the whole raison-de-etré of this exercise. was it for the foundation to blow its own trumpet? or call the world there & make them blow it for them!? leaves me with a lingering thought. why were there praises for him more than the concept? or was all this just to eulogise him or the foundation? a case of large scale self-advertising perhaps?
Wednesday, February 15, 2006
i was rather anxious to know how one could get to ITPL from the main city bus stands. here's what the site suggests...
1. if you select a place close to the centre of the city which doesnt have a direct bus, here's what you get "Reach one of three the central bus stations - Kempegowda Bus Stand /Shivajinagar Bus Stand /K R Market and then, take a connecting bus."
2. if you select the kemegowda bus stand, you are offered a couple of options which are of no good (you would reach ITPL in time for lunch). so you select shivajinagar as departure & ITPL as destination. check it out :) "Reach one of the central bus stations - Kempegowda Bus Stand / K R Market and then, take a connecting bus."
3. now select k r market and watch the fun :) "Reach one of the central bus stations - Kempegowda Bus Stand /Shivajinagar Bus Stand and then, take a connecting bus."
then again, wonder how many IT professionals in b'lore depend on BMTC to get around, and how many of them would even bother looking it up here. i for one, tried to depend on it and was pigheaded enough to look it up here :p
Wednesday, January 25, 2006
Monday, January 23, 2006
Thursday, January 19, 2006
now this whole thing about experimenting with the bmtc spawned from my cousin's wild idea of making me travel to his place from office. that evening i did wonder why i had the privilege of leaving office early. banashankari to kamannahalli. if my geography serves me right, its like somewhere in south of bangalore to the north east. on the map it looks quite a reasonable distance. but there's that minor issue called "scale" that makes it all so unreasonable! i get the first inkling of distance when i see the ticket. Rs.11. wow! some distance. (strangers note, bus travel in b'lore is quite cheap. so Rs.11 on a ticket means FAAAAR.)
there's an interesting thing one should note about b'lore buses. winning a jackpot in vegas is easier than finding the routes written in english. yes, they do have numbers on them, in english. at times at three different places on the bus; and quite possible, all three different numbers. a flash of ingenuity made them put the number behind the bus. (BEST in mumbai has it in the front and by the door) whats the big idea in putting it behind the bus!? hey dude! this is the bus you just missed! was it the one you were looking for? too bad! there are bus shelters, but not one will you find that tell you the routes that come there. why? search me! but thats a consolation. until a few years back the best way to look for a bus stop was to find a tree with people huddled around it. a chipko movement of sorts :)
anyway, so started my journey spanning the city. you are told the journey time is 45mins. the unit of measurement also varies. what we commonly know as 1 second, lasts for 2 here.
then the passengers too are quite an enthusiastic crowd. bmtc buses dont have a bell. so the conductor needs to whistle (using a whistle or his fingers or just the avian mating call shriek) and the driver gets his cue. so you will find those who've mastered the art of miming the conductor's whistle :) rest is history. of course, there are also those random cases where drunkards wriggle their way in and get thrown out just as religiously!
i am given a landmark to lookout for. a huge watertank. "get off at the stop after the signal once you see this tank" i am told. i spot the tank but in my excitement of finally making it there, forget the other detail. that makes for a healthy evening walk. one that guarantees to work up an enviable appetite.
there's that thing about bangalore neighbourhoods too. almost all lanes & by lanes look alike. i thought i knew my cousin's locality. i see this ad sign "CMR Institutions" and am doubly sure now that i am in his area. the fact that CMR could have a very strong marketing team behind it skips my mind. only to realise that the ad signs appear on more than one road in that area :) i eventually resort to something my chromosome combination forbids me.... ask for directions. what do i do!? i carry a screwed up compass in my head! knocking it doesnt tilt the needle in any which way! and guess what, asking directions does help :)
why didnt i call my cousin? well, i have this thing with cell phone batteries you know... :)
Wednesday, January 18, 2006
Tuesday, January 17, 2006
well, opportunity presents and he's not the one to lose it. speeds ahead into oblivion. we catch up with our man at a signal. hmm. poor chappie. not fast enough. tsk tsk again. but he's got a lot of time to reflect on life while he waits for the reigns to be pulled off him again.
admiring himself in the mirror, he notices a minor aberration. that little bit of nose hair. hmmm. whats that doing jutting out like that!? well, the whole world was celebrating pongal*. our man decides to reap a different crop. twang. ouch! (or a sound similar to what you hear when johnny bravo raises an eyebrow) and off comes that dangling nose hair. and admire at it he does!! wow! (sheesh... puke! puke!) goes on for quite some time oblivious that he's being observed :)
he does turn around eventually. well, buddy, its more than the accent that you've shown off today :)
* pongal - the beginning of the harvesting season.