Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Chomp! Chomp! Gator Chomp!

A lot has happened in the past couple of months, that I wanted to write about... Most of all about this new place- Gainesville. Well, its not that new anymore. Not that exciting to write about either at the moment. Mainly because the temperature is just not going down, and I am tired of the heat.

While I wait for the temperatures to drop, a lot of work is definitely being dropped on my shoulders. A constant in my life, as I sift through research papers, write project proposals only to redo them, try and concentrate on the lectures is Starbucks coffee. It is what they call the life of a graduate student. Even with all the work its not so bad out here. For one high speed internet is a boon - you don't really feel disconnected (and away from India) till the time you see an empty seat in the bus, the cars stop for you to cross the road and you shell out dollars on Indian spices.

Second, people of Gator Nation are mad about football- that too college football! Having experienced the cricket madness in India, it not surprising to see peole worship their sportstars. What really surprises you is the fact that these stars are freshmen and sophomores, really just college going kids. Its offensive if you talk about anything else on a gameday. Oh and God save you from the wrath of gators if you say you don't know Tebow! Another thing - the team mascot- Alligator. People actually love alligators. You can find one in this stream right next to my department building!

Being a small university town, its cosy in a weird way. My home, which is hardly 10 minutes drive from the university is considered to be outskirts! People are nice and relaxed, and their biggest tension is football. Ooh and obviously the crowd... being a university town, you meet students of so many nationalities... its a great cultural experience.

Right now the only thing that needs to be said - I am enjoying this leg of the journey...

Saturday, June 27, 2009

The market that was

Well now that I am back in Delhi, suddenly there is so much work that needs to be done that I am unable to find time to write. I have my Visa Interview on 8th July and the prep is a big pain. If I list the documents that I need to carry to the American Consulate, it goes on to three pages... And they have their own specification of photographs etc. too. Pain!!

Shopping generally comes after you get your Visa and in my case I should seriously wait and not throw away all my money into new clothes and tit-bits till VI. I am not really sure of finances and it will only be prudent to wait. But you see all reasoning fails when you have money in your account and that too of own earning. So, two days back I dragged my mom to Lajpat Nagar. Its my favorite place to shop(and feast on lip-smacking chats!). Last time I came to this market was six months back, probably before I left for Bangalore, and it turned out to be really long time! And this time I was greeted by a crowd consisting mainly of small shop owners who put there stuff out on the roads and offer some really good value for money, and bargains. You see, Delhi government has set its goal to clean up the markets by removing these roadside shops. and police officers were busy implementing the orders in Lajpat Nagar. A good step to ensure citizen safety!

The market looks barren and unattractive for a shopper like me. All the roadside stalls have been removed. I know the drive to clean the market place is to make the shopping experience more orderly, easy and less chaotic, but I am a true blue lover of this 'chaos' in Delhi markets... Without these roadside shops, it just doesnt feel the same, it has become a desert and quite truly it lacks a lot of bargains, which I guess girls will appreciate more than boys ;)

Friday, June 12, 2009

Its over folks...

Its my last day as BITS student, last day in Bangalore, last day at HP Labs...

There was a nice farewell organised for the interns here. Very sweetly, we were told the important role that BITSians play in the research setup here. Importance of BITS and BITSians is obvious when you sit with 20 people out of which 9 are BITSians and rest are interns. I don't know if this is good or bad- the loss of individuality.

But BITS has given me a lot, and for that I am thankful. The thing about BITS is that it has shown me the path. It has been the guiding torch and the stepping stone. This is why it will continue to hold a special place irrespective of what the future holds for me. It has made me what I am today. I have learnt from my teachers and from my peers. I have made relationships I will cherish for the rest of my life. I have met some brilliant people. As I graduate, I carry with me a part of BITS. Right now, there are mixed feelings. I am proud to have BITS as my alma mater. But I will miss it a lot, at least in the near future.

PS: I am gonna be an Engineer, and a graduate from BITS Pilani - still can't believe it!!

Friday, May 29, 2009


Not calling me often, forgetting my birthday, taking away my favorite ice cream, making me wait for an hour in the scorching summer of Delhi, interrupting me mid-sentence, bitching about a friend of mine, being rude unnecessarily, disagreeing with me etc. are the various reasons I have picked up a fight. On almost all these occasions I have felt that my anger is justified. But then two hours later, after I have had the time to think things over, I realize the stupidity in fighting over these issues. In almost all the cases, the other person has a valid explanation. There are always two sides to a coin and in the moment of anger I forget to look at the other one.

Result: unnecessary unpleasantness

Thus, this whole exercise is a waste of energy and unnecessary rise in my blood pressure. Great health risk if you ask me! For a short tempered person like me its even worse- it happens so often! There is a lingering feeling of anger till five minutes after the fight. Five hours later, the whole episode leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I cool down soon enough. The underlying reason for these fights are generally not worth it - rarely justifying missing out on the good times. And with so much at stake I am left with no option but to apologize. The kind hearted people that I fight with, forgive me most of the times. Well sometimes others apologize too, and then I forgive them :) So I have decided to avoid these episodes altogether. It might get boring like the too-good-to-be-true happy families from Sooraj Barjatya's movies, but I am trying to get there nevertheless. Forgive and forget is the new rule

Monday, May 25, 2009

Happy Birthday

I have been a bit busy with the final presentation and the report. And because of my busy schedule May 23rd turned out to be Just Another Day for the url http://laughsohardyoursidesache.blogspot.com when it should have been a busy day with its first birthday celebrations. Poor thing, when it should have been busy receiving hits and wishes from the readers, it had to lie quietly in the corner muttering wishes to itself. No cake, no candles and no celebrations- and all because I couldn't take out time for my favorite space on the web!

Anyways no more delays...Here is wishing Just Another Day a very happy birthday! May you get thousands of readers, worldwide and may you score tons one after the other. I pray your friends always love you the same- your talks remain exciting, you be the center of attraction in a group. May you express your opinion freely and succeed in bringing to notice the small and big things of life. I wish you lead others in the right direction and provide much necessary food for thought to people. And ya don't forget to have fun along the way...

PS: Its Tanaya and Sandy's birthday today. So a very happy birthday to you guys too :)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Still Wondering...

पल मिलते हैं साथ
-साथ चलते हैं
जब मोड़ आये
तो बचके निकलते हैं
कितने अजीब रिश्ते हैं यहाँ पे...

यहाँ सभी अपनी ही धुन में दीवाने हैं
वोही जो अपना दिल ठीक माने है|
कौन किसको पूछे? कौन किसको बोले?
सबके लबों पर अपने तराने हैं|
ले जाए नसीब किसको कहाँ पे
कितने अजीब रिश्ते हैं यहाँ पे...

खाबों की ये दुनिया है खाबों में ही रहना है
राहें ले जायें जहाँ संग- संग चलना है|
वक्त ने हमेशा यहाँ नए खेल खेले
कुछ भी हो जाए यहाँ बस खुश रहना है|
मंजिल लगे करीब सबको यहाँ पे
कितने अजीब रिश्ते हैं यहाँ पे...

This song was written by Sandeep Nath and Ajay Jhingran for Madhur Bhandarkar's movie Page 3. Lata Mangeshkar's rendering of the song strikes a cord. But I wonder about the veracity of these lines. Sometimes they appear as the rantings of a cynic and sometimes true. I have not been to make up my mind though...

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

But it Rained

Its raining in Bangalore. Actually this is the third time this week. The weather is so good, I want to shift my computer next to an open window. With a cup of hot tea on my table, I want to enjoy the cool air and the mild fragrance of wet earth which I so love.

I have just come back from the cafeteria, having lusted after the overcast skies, wet roads and newly washed trees for around an hour. A thousand memories- images from yesteryear's flashed in front of my eyes in this past hour.

I remember how my mom used to scold me for playing with friends in pouring rain. It used to be so good, surely gross, to jump in puddles of water. Finally when mom managed to get me inside the house, I would be sneezing and she would push me inside the hot shower with a towel and a change of clothes. That hot shower would remove the chill from the body and a cup of hot chocolate would be waiting for me on the table. I would pick it up and stand on the doorstep. Some tiny drops would bounce off the side wall and land on my face.

While preparing for IIT JEE in eleventh and twelfth standard rains used to be a welcome break. A reason for me to take my nose out of the book and take in the sweet smell of first rains. The scorching summers of Delhi used to make it even more special. I would sit on the entrance to the garden and see the grass slowly disappearing in the waters. The leaves and branches of the trees would relieve their parching throats, bending and submitting themselves to the heavy downpour. Sometimes, overwhelmed, a branch or two would break and fall down on the street. And I would just ask mom for some samosas, cheela or pakoras. It would refresh me for another week to be spent inside my room with my books.

And now, I am sitting in an enclosure which does not even have windows to enjoy the view. This centrally air-conditioned building has glass walls and no windows. The only place where I can sit and enjoy is the cafeteria at the other end of the building! Still I find my own ways.

I have always enjoyed the rains, and will continue to do so. In the present circumstances it will require extra efforts from me, a closed concrete jungle that I am living in. I do not in the least bit mind though - anything for that refreshing feeling and that breathtaking beauty of nature that comes with the rains. It can magically pull me away from everything else around me, and make me forget everything... everything!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


AMU - Aligarh

Taj Mahal- Agra

Prayag / Allahabad

Tea Gardens - Jorhat

Thats Tura!!

Bihu - Gauhati

Hawa Mahal - Pink City

Centerstage Mall - Noida

Delhi Metro

Bahai Mandir (Lotus Temple) - Delhi

Sé Cathedral at Goa Velha

Mormugao - Vasco

Brigade Road - Bangalore

I had a chance to experience these places in the last 20 years... all thanks to my dad's transferable job and his daughter's education :)

P.S. Without Google this post would not have been possible. I have borrowed these pics from various sources and I am in no way taking credit for these or trying to generate profits.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Single in the City

BITS happened in the summer of 2005, and ever since I reached Goa I have felt like a nomad. I felt at home at home and also, at BITS - my new home. Before coming to BITS I always traveled with my parents who ensured I was comfortable wherever we went. In BITS, I had many journeys and sojourns, without my parents, and they taught me how to make any place my home. The latest in the list is Bangalore.

Back in December last year, before I left the campus, I knew coming six months were going to be in Bangalore- thanks to PS2. I knew that after spending every single minute I was awake with friends, for the past three-and-a-half years, Bangalore was going to be difficult. without them. Even for someone like me who loves(loved??) solitude. That is the effect college, especially hostel, life had on me.

For those readers who don't understand the closeness and deep bonds of friendship that you develop in college, I don't know how to explain. I can just say, try staying away from your home, away from family after being dependent on them for more than 15 years of your life. Try being surrounded by hundreds of people sailing in the same boat as you. And then try to explain the complications of your day to day (happening?) college life to your family members sitting hundreds or thousands of kilometers from you. Try to stay fresh and alive and happy and perky as you move away from your loved ones. Try it. You will understand. Trust me.

For those who have the experience, well, what can I say, you know the feeling. Those of you reading this, who are still living this rosy period of life, my advice is live it to the fullest. And those of you who are out, you could join me in raising a toast to the days gone by- the golden period of our lives.

Ok enough! I am going off the track... So my campus life is over. It has ended and has brought me to this new stage-Practice School 2. The PS2 program is a weird feature. Actually it is a good entry into the world outside the campus- or a good introduction to the working environment. You are out of college and don't have the option of bunking or sleeping till after midday. You can't or at least wouldn't want to disappoint the host organisation, the BITSian ego in you will make sure of that. Yet, you are not into the corporate world. Unless you are really unlucky, chances are you will have a dozen BITSians for company. Your weekends will still be spent eating out, catching a movie and sometimes sitting on the footpaths (though less often now), with familiar faces. The only change is the background of the image. The objects remain the same.

Now out of the campus, it is a strange feeling of independence. This is the first time I am staying away from the sheltered environment provided my parents or BITS. No restrictions what so ever(except that I need to come to PS everyday!). And I am liking it, as I am sure most others are too. This freedom is even sweeter for my committed friends who can spend more time with their gfs/bfs without the fear of being caught by anyone(of course everyone fears the moral police). There is a lot more for them to do, and many more options to hang out, and more freedom, thus more demands on their time.

So, what happens to me when all my friends are busy with their bfs/gfs? Well, I am alone on the streets of Bangalore(after a point its boring to sit in a 12X12 feet room with three beds). I see many things around me which I hardly notice when I am in a group. I simply love the tiny bird hopping on the wet grass, the small helpless boy in tattered clothes selling tea to get some money for his dinner, the bright yellow shirt a wannabe metrosexual guy is flaunting, the speed at which Honda Civic crosses me, the look in the eyes of the pink faced one year old in his mom's arms, the look of affection in the mother's eyes, the smile on a pretty girl's face as she is busy typing on her iPhone, the assurance of protection that a father offers his son who is firmly holding his dad's hand, the happiness on the face of a young boy of five when his mom gets him a Happy Meal, the fascination on his face when he plays with the toy, the group of people standing on the road to cross the road, in a rush to reach their destinations on time, the guy wearing white shirt and stylish sunglasses at night, waiting for his girlfriend to come and sit behind on his CBZ, the girlfriend who is walking with great difficulty in her high heeled shoes, the last few rays of sun giving a brilliant glow to the sky, the big strong trees disappearing into the darkness of the night, the autowala haggling with two guys for ten bucks...and a lot more.

Sometimes I feel that silence and solitude are the best things in the world. It makes me look at things I often miss in my everyday busy schedule when I am hanging out with my friends. Things outside and inside. I absorb my surroundings better. I just sit at CCD with a book and cappucino. I get to checkout books in Landmark for hours, without having to worry about someone else. I eat what I want, when I want and all I want. I watch the stupidest movie ever made and laugh very hard. I go off to sleep contented in my heart-a weird kind of peace. I don't understand the feeling myself- I wish for more time alone.

And this new city has given me a lot of it, which I have used to reflect upon my past, savour the present and dream of my future. At the end of each day I feel that being a single ain't that bad. At least not in this city full of life and with a head brimming with thoughts.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

My To-Do List

1) Get down to washing clothes. Every two-three weeks when my wardrobe has more dirty clothes than clean ones, I realize the big number I own. And still I feel they are so less!

2) Call my cousins. I was supposed to stay with them in Bangalore during PS, but decided in favour of staying with friends. But they had offered, and they are family. So, I guess its high time I visited them or at least gave a call.

3) Finish the book I have been reading for more than a month now. A million little pieces by James Frey. I am just too tired after sitting in front of the computer whole day to read upon reaching home. But I have to take some time out!

4) Call up some old friends. The short break in winters didn't give me time enough to meet them. And since I have come to Bangalore...well!! This place is costly. I haven't yet received my first stipend. I have a big ego- don't like asking my parents for a lot of money. I spend a lot. These four facts must have made you realize the cash crunch I am facing. So well, haven't called them for quite sometime now.

5) OK. This one is a not 'to do'. STOP EATING JUNK FOOD.

6) Get some exercise. Midsem report, seminar, interviews, a lot of laziness has kept me from it. And I have to still work on the 5th point above. So basically, I have to avoid bloating up.

7) Watch Notting Hill for the nth time. (I just love Hugh Grant)

8) Complete the drafts waiting to be finished and posted on the blogger.

9) Download some nice music... been a long time since I listened to something good and fresh. Right now just can't get enough of old hindi film music. Am stuck.

10) Wish Ramya on her birthday - need to keep this in my head - big day is tomorrow. :)

PS: Don't ask me the reason for posting my to-do list on my blog

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

SPJIMR interview

I had my SPJIMR interview yesterday. My CAT score was poor but XAT score was decent. I have an above average profile and I guess that is why the only MBA call I got was from SP Jain.

My interview was at 3p.m. at IIM Banagalore and I reached there at around 1p.m. I had gone through some forums on pagalguy and read some interview experiences bloggers had posted. There were very few helpful reads, and so I decided I would post my interview experience. Maybe others will benefit from my experience.

SP Jain conducts two rounds. The first round is elimination and the results are declared in 5-10 minutes after it is over. Both, the first and the second round, are group interviews.

In my first round, there were 6 people in my group. But, due to one guy's absence we were five in the room. There were two SPJIMR professors on the panel- a man and a woman. One taught organisational behavior. I can't remember about the other. Both were nice, listening to us patiently, giving us ample time to talk and nodding and smiling at us. That made us quite comfortable. The strange thing was they didn't even ask us to introduce ourselves, just gave a topic for GD.

Topic- What should be government's role for us to come out of recession. Pretty cliched, but even then somehow I could hardly find anything to say. More so, because as soon as I would start talking and make a brief mention of a point, this other guy(for future reference Mr. X) in my group would pick up that point, raise his voice and make us others shut up. I had to stop him once or twice for otherwise I would have been thrown out for not trying to control the situation!! so many complexities. During the GD, they had a look at our profile sheets also ( a questionnaire they had asked us to fill). Next, a 2minute intro and some general questions like why MBA , why marketing and a few others based on our introductions.

Overall, I felt it went OK. I wasn't really confident. Doesn't matter,I did clear the first round. Personally I feel that was mostly because of the second part of the first round- one on one interaction while 4 others are silent spectators as one person blabbers about his/ her career goals, and how he/she has been a great student, has a billion business ideas, has been the integral part of the team and so on...

Jokes apart, it was a nice experience. I interacted with some people who had finished with there second round. Everyone was using one word for it - weird. They were asking people for there opinion on Slumdog Millionaire and if they supported Barack Obama. Few others were asked to define Indian culture, a leader and similar things in a single sentence.

For my second round, there was a panel of two. One of them was a student and the other one didn't introduce himself. I had heard in the waiting/registration hall that one of the panelists was a psychologist! Statistics of the group- 8 people, 2 freshers(both from BPGC- me and Piyush) in a small room which could hardly accommodate so many people. And for my dismay Mr. X was again in my group :| He did his best to interrupt others and kept answering questions meant for others, and when a question was directed at him, he just went on and on and on...

So, the first question- you guys know what a personality trait is right? What is that one trait that describes you best? ... all sorts of answers came up- hard working, diligent, amiable, motivated, inspired yada yada . One guys said he was 'gregarious'. The panelist actually asked him the meaning and if the people around him understood this particular word when he used it !

Next up, So what do u think are the traits of a leader. Some fools gave totally different traits from what they had associated with themselves. The next question was obvious. Do you think you can be a leader, especially as you do not have the one trait you think is most essential for a good leader? Mr X. was one of those who had made this blunder. It was so funny to see him try and explain things in his verbose manner. Actually similar thing happened to me... though I think I handled it better than X. We were discussing Narayan Murthy and Leander Paes as leaders in the corporate world. Next came Anil Ambani and this one word 'enterprising' just didn't strike me. I settled for 'adventurous' - not a bad option, but Piyush definitely bettered it with 'enterprising'. For some 5 odd minutes we discussed the meaning of a cultured individual... I still don't know the different points that arose from the discussion!

It slowly turned to hobbies and interests from there. 6 people had described their hobbies in as passionate words as possible. Piyush was the 7th and I was the 8th. In three crisp sentences he explained how he had been involved with organisation and thus got to be a part of many activities. One sentence about TT and he was interrupted by the panelist. He asked us if we had heard what Piyush had just said and what was to be taken away from it. He even asked us to summarize whatever he had said. For some weird reason Piyush thinks the guy was being sarcastic when he took note of what he had to say. I feel other way. Anyways, mine was the regular answer... my passion for dancing is well known to all my friends... mentioned sketching and painting and a few more things.

The ending was the surprise- the panelist asked the student from SPJIMR, who was sitting next to him to ask a question! The question- While in a group, we try to conform. Conformity leads to reduction in quality of output. So would you choose to be a perfectionist or a conformist? I chose to answer the question first and chose the middle path and so did a few others. It was a unique interview experience- a group interview. The entire thing took around 4 hours and you can't even begin to guess what the panel was looking for!!

Looking back at it, I feel I performed well. I am waiting for the results now, and only then will I know how I performed. And yes, there were loads of BITSians... around 7 I think and one in the same group as me. It made me understand the reach of the BITSians and how small a place the world is, especially if you are a part of the BITS family. I am sure wherever I go from here, I can be assured of finding a BITSian around me. Will never really miss BITS...

I will always have company :)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

A Billion Beauty Queens

Do they have the right to bomb any place they like on Earth? Certainly not...but who will stop them?

Like so many of you even I am against war, or any other heinous crime against the human race. But, war is a reality that we tend to forget. It is struggle for survival, rooted in the human rage, jealousy and violence. A peek into the history of Earth can substantiate my statement. Since ancient times we have been fighting for varied causes. Wars for independence, for food, lands plundered and destroyed for colonization and sheer show of power. Truth is - violence is a drug, and it is difficult to get rid of the addiction.

For some weird reason man has as urge to control. Not his own life, but that of others. Self control doesn't seem to manifest power. The might of mightiest is in annexing and capturing others, the losses that entail are hardly ever considered. He who was once opressed fights against his suppressors and frees himself. He spends some time fixing his life. Before he is able to do so, he realizes that he needs a hundred things to improve his condition, not all of which are available that easily. So what does he do now? Drop the thought of having his wish fulfilled? Should he think of something new that might be more readily available? Wait, there is one more option, that tiny thing out there, was boasting about it the other day. Amazing! His purpose is served. He enters the house forcefully, beats and kills those standing in his way and with his pillage returns back home with a happy smile. I guess the logic behind declaring a war is simple: in order for you to survive you need to make sure the predator doesn't wander near you . Thus, the prey turns predator. As I said, the losses that entail are not in consideration here.

We all know that there is no end to our wishes and desires. As a result, I don't see an end to this activity of war. Led by a few beautiful, beauty pageant contestants, a billion people shout " I want WORLD PEACE" even as we are on the brink of another War. If only the leaders of the world were a part of these billion. Sigh!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

With Love(oops!), Respect, to Mr. Muthalik

With all due love/affection/consideration (or just add any other word you might(not) sound offensive to you), I have a few things I wanted to tell you.

A lot has been said about you and your men after the Mangalore incident. I do not like this. It is obvious that you are unable to understand the true meaning of a Hindu and an Indian. It is obvious you are jealous of Amitabh Bacchan for hogging the limelight. Why should he have all the fun? If he can do a bold movie as Nishabd and stay in news, surely you are much more capable of lowering your standards (that is if you have any). I must say, you are giving him tough competition. He stopped after one debacle, but you are going strong, and with Valentine's Day approaching you are climbing the (un)popularity charts. You have become (un)popular across continents. Please, I urge you to read
my humble suggestions :

1) Why waste your talents over here? You are a great orator. Also, you are confident. Otherwise who would have said such atrocious things in public, even as the entire nation was watching. And these days orating skills are all that are necessary to become a President. Of course, not in India Sirji. Why not try your hand at it? Unlike Advani ji, you won't have to run your own campaign. Your Rama Sene people will do it for you.

2) Have you thought about acting, maybe part-time? If our Bollywood actors can become MPs
and hardly attend Parliament sessions, why can't our public figures become actors? After all you have a fan following bigger than Raj Babbar's and can put up quite a show.

3) Try your hand at writing. Maybe what is difficult to understand from your actions will be easier to understand through your words. You seem to be an authority when it comes to understanding Hindu religion. Let others benefit from your wisdom and knowledge. If Chetan Bhagat can sell his books filled with sh*$ , I am sure you will find a market for your work too.

4) Lastly, if you don't like any of the above, think about Parliament. Announce your candidature for Lok Sabha. A lot of criminals do.Every election . Even if no one wants you as their representative, I guess your boys will make sure you win. They will beat up every voter if he/she doesn't vote for you. No need to waste time and money. Beat up some government ministers and ask the government to make you an honorary member. Move a Bill in the Parliament. But yes, there you might find some problems. Not many of your fellow Parliamentarians will have the guts to support you on that. The Bill will be rejected. Never mind. You are not easily ashamed. So you fight. Move the bill again. Try harder. If the spineless gits in the Lower House agree with you this time, or you make them (of, course by beating them), you might stop westernization of our eastern civilization. Though you should be vary of the likes of Mallya who will be lobbying your fellow MPs. Their profits will be at stake after all!

I will pray to god for your sound mental health. I guess physical health and hygiene will be taken care of by endless supply of Pink chaddis you will be getting as gifts.

With love(oops!) Respect
A 20 something girl from Bangalore

As a single 20 something girl living in Bangalore I am forever scared of what I might face next. Staying away from home, I am working hard, and where I go to chill out or unwind is no one else's business. Last of all Mr. Muthalik. After a hard week, I feel the need to relax. I do not particularly like the family dramas and mindless comedies telecast on TV. I read before going to bed. So generally, during other times, I prefer sitting and having discussions with my friends. At dinner time we go out to eat. Well, we can't really talk can we? For starters, it is not good manners to talk with food in your mouth. Who knows hooligans of Rama Sene might come and bash me up for that. Secondly, the restaurant guys get pissed of if you sit there too long on a busy evening. For a country of a billion people we have surprisingly less number of eateries. So, now what do we do? Where do we sit and talk? The parks are too crowded and too cold in the night. Hey, I don't mind a drink and some nice music, so I move on to a pub.

Saari is the most gorgeous attire but I wear western clothes because I feel comfortable. I love lassi but I like Cola. I have seen F.R.I.E.N.D.S ten times, but I don't like watching Indian TV soaps. The reason is simple, the first one makes for a good laugh and has friendship as its backbone. Whereas, Indian TV soaps have bitching and spite as its theme. Who the hell are you to tell me what to do or not? Will you enter my living room and force me to watch these soaps?? How many people will you police and how many things will you stop?

If you so love your country, you should have started a campaign. I would have been the first one to support you. Generate a feeling of pride for our nation and not hatred for others. One line in Hindi spoken by some unknown aristocrat in some distant country makes you proud. जब बाहर वाले योग को अपनाते हैं तो आप फूले नहीं समाते हो| It is no more a part of their culture than Valentine's Day is of our culture. But, what is wrong if two people want to celebrate their love? Do they have to be married to do that? They love each other and by sitting together if they are showing it, so be it! They are merely showing you what exists there. If you don't like it, don't look at it. But NO ONE has given you the right to tell anyone what to do, let alone beat up women. And please show me our hindu literature which says that beating up women is justified and a part of our culture. It was a shameful act which reflects badly on our Indian culture and ethics. I would love to have a debate with the man who has the guts to bash up a group of women, for WHATEVER reason, and then shamelessly defend it!

मदिरा तब भी थी, मदिरा आज भी है| If you are so against it, lobby the ruling party to ban liquor.

Because you know what Mr. Muthalik, according to you , you have ethics but these pub going women don't. And they are proving it by this pub bharo and pink chaddi campaign. The latter is a very disgusting form of protest. But I guess when the center and state government sit quietly and watch women being harassed, these loose women have to fight for themselves. My guess is they will droop down to your level to teach you a lesson. वो क्या है ना, लातों के भूत बातों से नही मानते|

For you reference Mr। Muthalik:
--> I am an Indian
--> I am a proud Hindu
--> I don't drink
--> I don't smoke
--> I respect my fellow countrymen and women

Thursday, January 29, 2009

No money, Honey!

w: I love that dress! Can I buy it?
h: Its too costly. Why do you want it anyways?
w: Ooh... I am feeling like Italian today... please, lets go out.
h: Not today, Sweetie. How about spaghetti?
w: US these hols?
h: Exchange rate is not favorable right now
w: How about going to Shimla for the weekend?
h: Wait till next week, they will reduce airfare
w: New Al Pacino movie is releasing
h: Cash crunch dear! Will go once I get my salary
w: Call me in the night, when you are free, after your tour. K?
h: Dear, I have very little talk time left. I will call... (hello...shit!)
w: You got me a b'day gift? Are you out of your mind?

h: Umm... I thought I had told you no enough number of times..and its your b'day after all.

Its recession!!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Father and Child

Many of us saw the 44th President of the United States of America take oath of the highest office and deliver his inaugural address from the Capitol. Those who missed it will be reading about it in the newspapers and magazines. Even those who don't want to, will be unwillingly fed the words of the first African-American President of USA, as all the news channels and the tea time discussions between friends are centered around it.

I saw Barack Hussein Obama deliver his speech live on NDTV. Well, this post is not about where you can catch his speech. Neither is it about the influence his words will have on the policies worldwide. It is about something that made me realize the brilliance of Obama as an orator and the skills of his speechwriter (a 27 yr old who goes by the name of Jon Favreau).

Obama thanked Bush for 'serving the nation' and then went on to say that even though USA is the world's biggest power they do not have the freedom to do as they wish to. Even as he was 'mindful of the sacrifices that our (American) ancestors have bestowed' he remembered 'the patchwork heritage' and the roots of his father. He pronounced America to be friend of all 'every nation and every man,women and child' as he alerted his foes. He said US will 'responsibly leave Iraq', 'forge hard earned peace with Afghanistan' but to 'the Muslim world', 'will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist'. The leader of this superpower despite his belief in his 'most prosperous and powerful nation on Earth' admitted that 'everywhere we look, there is work to be done'. He told the citizens to 'pick themselves up', develop a stronger moral fibre, rid of the bad habits and show kindness, by reminding them of the way their ancestors had put the thought of a nation above their individuality. In convincing the Americans that the problems they face are 'real' and that these challenges 'will be met', he also said that it was both the leadership and the citizens that were responsible. His statement that 'power alone cannot protect' them, might serve as a wake up call for the Americans. While he said he won't apologise for the way Americans live he told his 'fellow citizens' to change - a lot of things.

There is a lot more of this 'apparent contradiction' in his speech. But Obama gives his countrymen much needed hope and faith, in this hour of crisis. Its weird, but I was reminded of my father, who when I was a kid, used to explain things to me in this way. He would point out my mistake, tell me I was a good kid and assure me of my capabilities. His words were enough to make me plunge deeper despite having faced failure. He wasn't doing much - just given me sound advice and a much needed reality check, without being harsh. And most of the times, I came out victorious.

I wonder if Americans will be triumphant too

Monday, January 19, 2009

Another decision... really?

They say the only thing constant in life is change. With every change arises the need for a decision.

This is probably one of those things we do all the time without realization, just like blinking of an eye lid. From what to wear in the morning to choice for dinner, every moment of the day requires some sort of a decision from us. Those of you who are thinking "What are you talking about, I don't think so much. I just pick up the first thing in my cupboard and wear it. For dinner, I go to my regular restaurant and order my regular dish. You are wrong there Missy!!", I would like to tell you - you are wrong. You have taken a decision to follow a pattern, which you once decided upon. I decided upon the title of this post, trying to get an easy way out of taking a decision about the title! (crooked and complex!!)

And yes, not one or two, but all these decisions matter - some seemingly less than the others and some appearing inconsequential. One of the biggest decision facing me right now, I guess, is what be the next career move. Like so many others and unlike so many of you, I enjoy everything I do. Hence a whole lot of confusion ensued. I guess finally I am reaching somewhere, or at least I am hoping I will, after extensive brainstorming for the past few months.

Even with all the options open in front of me, it shouldn't have been that difficult to come to a decision. One way out would have been asking my parents to tell me. This is exactly what I did. But they refused to tell me what to do with my life, which is only fair, but ended up making me more unsure than ever. What made matters worse for me during these past months was that, for sometime, I had stopped listening to myself. I was taking the opinion of every Tom, Dick and Harry and in the process getting more and more confused. Family and friends were influencing me more than my liking. Surprisingly, when you are unsure about what to do, others can very easily influence you. If you lack clarity of thought, others just cloud your thoughts further. It might happen that you end up taking the right decision under the influence, but I believe every individual should be responsible for all her/his decisions - right or wrong. Thus, I had to block out everyone from my mind, parents, friends and surroundings - and think for myself, myself. It might sound dramatic but the truth is that I got a singular vision of what I wanted once I put my heart and my mind together.

The power and influence of a decision is felt especially when your life drifts in the wrong direction. This is more so because you sit and take notice of what went wrong. One wrong move, one wrong statement, one unconsidered comment can land you in trouble.

आग का क्या है? पल भर में लगती है,
बुझते बुझते एक ज़माना लगता है|

This ghazal captures the essence so well. A foolish decision can put you in a mess, and sometimes even after desperate attempts you can't get out of it. Well, its not guaranteed that even after putting in a lot of thought you will always make the right decision. All that you can do is be content with it for now, believe that what you have done will lead only to better things and hope that you haven't made any mistakes. Even if you have, don't look back and blame yourself, just learn from that mistake and, if possible, not do it again. Making mistakes is inevitable. Even Sachin Tendulkar goes back to the pavilion scoring a duck.

Another thing that pertains to decision making is prejudice. As one of my friends pointed out, even small prejudices can influence your decisions. But how do you rid yourself of the prejudices, which are harbored in our minds as important considerations and parameters? These bench marks vary from person to person, and I believe (may be I am prejudiced here!) are vital for human thought and perception. So ridding oneself of prejudices and developing a completely objective viewpoint is possible only in a utopian world. After all, human beings are 'programmed' to view things as 'whole' and not bits and pieces. For those of you who look for scientific angles in everything, a study of Gestalt's cognitive rules might turn out to be interesting.

From my understanding, these prejudices arise out of the experiences one has had in one's surroundings. We all, in various ways, are affected by our environment. Thus, our thinking and solutions, for the same problems, too differ. Likewise what we gauge and gain in understanding from the situation is different. This drastic difference in worldly view makes us take different decision. What I think will be good, might not be the best thing according to you. But that is what makes our individuality, and that is what makes us two different people. If you could understand everything that influences my decisions, or that goes on in my head, we would be at the same pedestal - taking the same decision.

And wouldn't that be just too boring??

Friday, January 16, 2009

The Big Shift - from Delhi to Bangalore

2:00 a.m - 11/12/08 : yoyoyoyo... I got HP Labs!

2:15 a.m. - 11/12/08: Shit! I got HP Labs!

This change in my feelings was because most of my friends were not going to be in Bangalore with me for PS2. In fact, most were going to be at their homes... and I was beating myself up for not filling Delhi PS stations higher up in my list... i mean Commonwealth Games Village was giving 17k plus I could have stayed at home!!

Anyways, there was nothing to be done and I could still rejoice about the fact that I got one of the good PS stations. So here I am, sitting on my comp, and unlike many others I can access any and everything. Last week was very hectic though. After finshing my search for a PG acco and getting settled in this new city, I had to go to Hyderabad for my FMS exam (screwed up bigtime)... Well, I was damn excited about going... my first overnight bus journey, alone, and the prospect of meeting my dad and my friends... life was good. The exam was horrible, but then I guess that is what exams are for -performing badly(at least for me, not everyone can perform well). And the best thing in the entire week happened on my way back from Hyd. I was sitting in the comfortable volvo seat, half asleep, when the driver turned on the radio. I guess it was around 8:30 and I was already sleepy. But then this FM station started playing some nice hindi songs. I was enjoying the music; a staple in Delhi, I had heard a hindi movie song after almost a week. As Dil Kya Kare from Salaam-e-Ishq finished, the RJ, in his sweet and smooth voice, announced next he was going to play Desi Girl from Dostana... Well, I really like the peppy dance number and came out of my drowsy state to enjoy the music... Next second, some unfamiliar music starts, I sat up straight in my seat out of amazement. This was no Desi Girl. And then I saw... heard... the driver had switched off the radio and turned on the TV, and he had put on some Telugu movie! At least my three years in campus had made it possible for me to make out that it was a telugu movie, I could recognise a few words here and there...

The best part, while I was listening to Bollywood songs on FM, everyone else in the bus was asleep. As soon as the movie started, all my fellow passengers sat up to enjoy the movie :) while I went off to sleep.

On wednesday, I saw the original version of Gajini, in Tamil, at Dominoes. Oh ya, I forgot to tell you, I havent seen the hindi version yet... six more months here... wonder what they will show me

Friday, January 9, 2009

I love the Useless Knowledge Section on my Blog

With U.S. trademark No. 2,347,676, the sad emoticon ":-(" gets the same protection as a corporate logo or any similar intellectual property. Although seen on millions of e-mails, the mark is now officially owned by Despair—a "de-motivational" company that sells humorous posters about futility, failure, and depression to "pessimists, losers, and underachievers!

PS: Next post on PS2 @ HP Labs on monday