Archive for the ‘Life’ Category

Random 10…

The Zero-man tagged me with a tenner: 1 to 10 – what do the numbers tell about me?

Here goes:

1 hour and 13 minutes past midnight many years ago. Nothing much happened. I was born.

2 minutes to decide on the house I purchased. Just opened the balcony door and I was sold!

3 shots of any liquor is enough to knock me out

4 cups of green tea  a day

5 years since I moved to Chennai from Bangalore…many people  thought I will not last 3 months!

6 bottles of cologne/deo in my cupboard…more to come

7  will be my name if I ever rename myself. No I am not on weed

8 minutes is the maximum I take to cook anything

9 days since I watched TV

10 kilos I lost just in March

Tagging the only Vrijilesh I know.

Thank God I’m Single!

Bought a four-pack Duracell Alkaline battery set for my camera at the local departmental stores this morning. 

Late this evening, as I  emptied the pockets of my jeans to wash it, out came the store reciept for the  purchase:

img_0055

Had I been married…would have had a lot of explaining to do! eekie

PS: The store clerk typed DUR into the system and probably selected the wrong one!

Something wrong with the world today…

 Something wrong with the world today
I don’t know what it is
Something’s wrong with our eyes
We’re seeing things in a different way
And God knows it ain’t His
It sure ain’t no surprise
Yeah!
We’re livin’ on the edge…

 I used to get a kick watching the video of this Aerosmith song (Livin on the Edge).  Especially the scene where lead guitarist Joe Perry is playing a lead guitar solo in front of an oncoming train. The lyrics play out today as the week culminates with all its events. Mumbai, Chennai and the world…something is wrong.

It is an end to a busy week at work fighting a mutually unacknowledged war. A silent battle against possible events of a bad world economy rendered vulnerable by the bad policies of some influential governments that had no time or foresight for economic stability. We were fighting against time and our own sagacity and resourcefulness to keep our heads afloat and protect our workforce from the ignominy of the pink slip. Despite the reassurances by our prime minister and finance minister, we cannot escape the flutter of the butterfly’s wings. The flutter caused by one nation’s failure to control events has generated a ripple that hit other nations like big waves. The thread of bread as I put it goes long. In my industry one man’s desktop data advantage is another’s bread for the day. It stretches from US to Chennai. From Chennai to God knows where. The chain goes on. I am a client to one and a vendor to the other. I do not go down the chute alone. I drag people along with me.  And I get dragged by others.

THE WATERS AIN’T SAFE ANYMORE

For those outside Chennai, this would automatically refer to the audacity with which a bunch of fidayeens came ashore at Mumbai and ran amok with ammunition. For those in Chennai, you should add cyclone ‘Nisha’ and its deeds that went unnoticed to the world in general thanks to some gun-toting idiots. The cyclone brought with it a rainfall that was unusual in both volume and timing. The ripple of butterfly’s wings elsewhere is causing changes in the weather pattern in the Bay of Bengal that is causing cyclones at odd times and devastating effects. Entire standing crops of rice have been rendered waste and the ripple continues to roll ahead with possible food scarcity, loss of livelihood, price-rise and all the socio economic ills. The cyclone that was brewing up for quite long came and stayed for long, discharging a ridiculous amount of water all over the city and the state. The result was a huge waterlog all over that caused life to stand still in Chennai. Roads became rivers that drowned cars and buses. The authorities switched off power supply to prevent electrocution. Shops closed, water supply ceased and people were imprisoned in their own homes without help and support. Imagine the plight of the poor in shacks and huts or shanties by the road. I wonder what happened to them and where did they all go. What will the farmers do whose crops are all gone? This was not the first time for Chennai. It was the third one in the last 4 years of my life in Chennai.

As for Mumbai, I have no idea what to say. Thanks to the house arrest by Nisha, I have had no TV at home. I am sure the Barkhas, Prannoys and Arnabs have said a lot with their exclusives and in-your-face commentary. I have nothing to offer in this regard.

The capitalist world never reveals its excesses but the unchecked freedom that the capitalist governments gave banks and financial institutions caused them to act recklessly and fall big, taking down whoever was associated with them.

The same capitalists’ refusal to pare down their own excesses with respect to environment is causing the ripples in the environment. The ripples (that a few of us care to think about and term it as climate change and global warming) are slowly turning waves of change that are materializing into things like untimely cyclones in Bay of Bengal. It is a grim situation for a nation like Maldives whose newly elected leader’s primary task is to find his people a new nation because the existing one is going down into the sea thanks to the rising sea levels at the equator caused by melting ice at the polar caps which are being subjected to heat from the oceans that are warming thanks to the persistently growing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere that is causing the trapping heat from solar radiation within the atmosphere.

Well I might be wrong in describing this scientific chain of events but in a bigger sense, I am worried about the inter-links and technical advancements we have so eagerly built all these years. They are of no use when it comes to sustaining life. We celebrate global inter-connectivity and technology convergences but it was not my cell phone with, GPS and internet that connected me to the rest of the world in the time of crisis (when I was trapped at home thanks to the flood). It was the lowly landline phone that people hardly use these days that helped me reach out to my family and friends. The cell phone’s battery did not last long enough in the blackout.

We have come out of the old economic ways to inter connect using technology without homogenizing our disparate economies. We have entangled demand and supply forces far too much to cause a global meltdown with just one event.

The Mumbai terrorist attack is the result of poor interlinks. Our ideologies, political motives and insecurities often fuelled by economic needs have led us to the political posturing that rubs off wrongly on some. We’re seeing things in a different way and God knows it ain’t His. Yes it is not God’s but our own excesses as human beings that led us to the incidents of “26/11”. Our inability to live together in a connected world. Our inability to read and understand each other’s minds, our reluctance to let go things that do not have any value, our lack of faith on others with respect to our own faith. Those who caused the carnage are but a bunch of brainwashed idiots. The ones who sent them to this ‘glorious death’ are manipulated by the machinations of their superiors who in turn are manipulated by someone else. The chain goes on and covers everyone. Even Osama Bin Laden is influenced. In the olden days, you either knew the truth  or were ignorant. In the modern world, you have television and live media. Between them, truth changed. It is now the lie that is believed until it is altered.

We are living on the edge.  We are playing our guitars while the speeding train is approaching behind our back. Our ways of life and times have changed. We have rubbed off a lot of insularity from ourselves and have altered things so much that it is hitting us back. A time for introspection. A time for a new global spiritual consciousness.

Photo Walk: Nageswara Rao Park, Chennai

It is Gandhi Jayanti today. I decided to do something I had not done in years. Parks were always my favourite places to visit as a kid. I remember one where I used to play as a child and the smell of wet grass was always so sweet.   So I decided to relive those pleasant memories with my camera. There are many parks in Chennai but I chose the somewhat historical Nageswara Rao Park in Mylapore. It gave me an opportunity to  ride the suburban trains of Chennai (including the elevated MRTS) too (a future subject for a photo walk…or a photo ride).

Presented here is the photo walk:

The board at the park. Though made of brass, it was in a precarious position. For those unaware of Kasinadhuni Nageswara Rao Pantulu, he was a freedom fighter , the inventor (if you please) of Amrutanjan pain balm and the founder of Amrutanjan Limited in 1893.

A game of volleyball was in progress at the end of the park. Looks like these boys play here regularly.

The park had a shady choupal too. But there were none sitting on it this evening.

Point taken. Apt advice. But where are the flowers???

Well, here they are, the flowers….Pale Pink Mussaendas (Maw-zin-das?)  in their full bloom.

Park and chess…! I was wondering what this sign meant.

It meant these…little concrete tables with chess boards. Bring your own pieces, find a challenger and get going!

There was this huge chessboard too! But no chess pieces…just a little girl playing what seemed like hopscotch.

…and someone playing badminton.

…and in quiet corners, there were those who bought the privacy for each other.

The health-conscious folks of Mylapore are all here thanks to its long pathways.

These could do with some walking too as the weather is so good.

I was acually looking out for him…the iconic man-in-the-park-with-a-newspaper.

Hmmm…Wet, green grass. How I wish I could roll in it.

Flowers blooming and continuing the cycle of life.

How thoughtful…apart from sponsoring the upkeep of the park, they also share some good historical trivia with the visitors.

Fresh fruit on sale just outside the park.

…and the balloonwallah too!

The Sub Way

Day 15: 119.6

Jared Fogle lost 240 pounds living on 6 inch turkey subs at Subway. He walked as much as he could, rather than using transport, and would walk up the stairs rather than take an elevator. He also ate baked potato chips, which are offered at Subway, and drank diet soda! Now if you ask me that is one crazy diet plan!

I like to have the Subway salad once a while. Especially with corn and peas.  I like the way the cut their tomatoes and cucumber. I have noticed that a lot of people ask for the cucumber and tomatoes to be left out of their sandwiches though they demand a lot of olives, jalapenos and those awful sauces. Probably because they do not get to buy these for home often. I leave out the onion, jalapenos, olives and bell pepper, but I like the pickled gherkins.

But I can never live on a Subway diet though. It is too boring. Food should never be treated like a chore even if you are on a plan. On the contrary, food should be the most creative pursuit. Even though half of my experiments end up as disasters:-)

Here is my own salad  recipe:

Moong sprouts,

Diced cucumber,

Diced apple,

Pomegrante pearls,

Cherry tomatoes,

Black seedless grapes

Mix all of them on a bed of lettuce

Add salt, pepper, a dash of lemon juice and chaat masala!

Voila! You can refrigerate this and have it as TV snack whenever you want (leave the apple out if you wish to refrigerate or replace with diced pineapple).

By Cycle

Two human inventions I hold in high esteem : steam locomotive and bicycle. Both represent a peak of human achievement. Both of them are the most beautiful machines ever. I could not never get the first one. So I bought myself the other. A silver and yellow thing. Yellow (Maillot jaune) in the honour of Lance Armstrong. Of course, mine is a terrain bike and not a race bike, but what the heck. Bike is a bike.

The first day was torture. I could not pedal for more than 10 minutes. And whoever invented bicycle seats must have been a sadist! But now it is all right. Nothing equals the feeling of my heart pounding away after a hard bout of pedalling. I bought it for three reasons

1. Physical workout

2. Petrol prices and pollution

3. Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead: “Bicycles are almost as good as guitars for meeting girls”

Bicycle Quotes

  • When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race.  ~H.G. Wells
  • Bicycle is a curious vehicle. The passenger is the engine – John Howard. US Olympic cyclist
  • Get a bicycle. You will not regret it if you live. ~Mark Twain

Day 10: 120.6

Dus Dus ki Daud

I am tagged on the run. With nothing much to do, I complete the tag:

10 things you do not know about me:

1. I am claustrophobic as well as scared of depths and snakes!

2. My ears are pierced

3. I barely passed 12th std maths exam. I still have dreams of sitting for the exam without preparation!

4. I almost became a trainee journalist with Economic Times. The stipend was not enough to sustain me in Bangalore and so I had to give it up.

5. I was slim and handsome once upon a time.

6. I get scared watching horror movies…shit scared watching them at night!

7. I was a Kishore Kumar fan first and then turned into a Mohammed Rafi fan.

8. I am peeved that my parents gave my elder brother a sexy name (Gautam) and me a regressive one (Ranganath!!!). But I like my surname Eunny.

9.  I do not have a four wheeler driving license

10. I used to be crazy about Madhuri Dixit’s navel!

Redux – The Time Lost

Date: June 11, 2008

Age : 33

Relationship Status: Single (Again)

The most common question friends ask is was how I felt.

How does one feel – Bitter? Relieved? Happy? Poorer? Sad?

I felt indifferernt when the news reached me. Just another day in my life as it was expected.  Then I felt most of these. I am relieved that I do not have to go to court anymore. I am happy to come out of it without any alimony . I feel poorer, my lawyer feels richer. I am sad as I am alone.

All the bonhomie I received tell me I am supposed to feel great. It is bachelor redux. I can flirt, date and who knows…fall in love. Now everyone likes redux, gender notwithstanding. But what about the four years I lost. Yes that is what makes me bitter. Four years of nothing. Four years of waiting for a court to tell me I can go and play around. Those four years cannot be returned to me.  Those make the time lost watching others get married, enjoy marriage, have kids and make their life . I can never be 29 and eligible again. I am 33 and probably eligible. Still…a time to rejoice. Time to slim down, clean up the house and start all over again. Wish me.

Track Music

Some things always remain a favourite since childhood. Like the thrashing of an Alco Diesel locomotive!

Gift

A few weeks ago, my friend and colleague Syed returned from Saudi Arabia after spending nearly a month with his father there. He brought me a gift, a metre long, flat piece of wood with a curved head. The head had deep grooves sawed in that made the whole thing look like a human hand without a thumb. He had purchased from a curio shop in Riyadh after he found a similar one at his father’s home. The wooden hand was meant to scratch one’s own back where the human hand does not reach. Unusual it may sound but Syed brought me a very thoughtful gift. Months ago, when we were having an idle chat, I was telling him of my troubles with the muggy hot summer of Chennai. The weather made me sweat profusely and caused prickly heat on my back right in the middle (on the spine). In a bid to generate some humour, I narrated how difficult it was to scratch my back. Syed remembered it the moment he saw the wooden hand at his father’s place. He found the shop that sold it and bought it just for me. Ever since, the hand has always been a faithful companion to me when I am at home.

One of the most ridiculous gifts I had received was a wall clock. I have heaps of them- all gifts. Some of them were good initially but the Chinese craftsmanship soon emerges and one day I found my current clock running an hour ahead! I tried adjusting it. Two hours later it was back to its naughty game. I gave up. With a wristwatch, cell phone, computer and 24 hour TV to tell you the time, clocks have become ornaments. Yet the single most common wedding gift one gets is a nasty clock. The second most useless gift would be photo albums or frames. Seriously, what am I to do with 22 photo albums that I got as a gift on my wedding? All my photos are on my computer or a DVD.

Speaking of wedding gifts, I had to be a part of this Great Office Collective Wedding Gift Committee with great reluctance many times. Pool up money and buy something useful for the poor bride/groom. Pressure cookers, steel cupboards, microwave ovens, food processors, even bed and mattress! The choice has to be made by the committee consisting of the recipient’s colleagues who pool up not more than Rs 100 or so to accumulate into something big! I wonder how a groom would appreciate the spanking new idli cooker with just wedded wife arresting all his attention. Yet the masses never give up. This whole collective bargain system beats my objective of gifting. It just reduces buying a gift as a formality and absolves all those penny pinchers from the hard task of spending value for value. I would rather stick to the cash gift/voucher thing. It is more practical for both sides. I have deliberately not discussed the Office Collective Gift Scheme of jewellery. I would digress badly and turn nasty!

But why should one wait for an event to buy a gift? If a gift is a personal statement why treat it like college wall graffiti? An occasion might be apt for a gift but the exclusivity is lost. The key to a woman’s heart is an unexpected gift at an unexpected time. That is not my line but one from the movie Finding Forrester starring Sean Connery. Well I never looked for a key to a woman’s heart even though I made gifts to women before. But the words-“unexpected gift at an unexpected time” sound true for anyone. How could I expect Syed to gift me a back scratch one fine day? The act of buying a gift is equally interesting. So why does one buy a gift for someone? If it were a woman, probably the key to her heart. But why does one buy a gift for a friend, a relative, a teacher, even a stranger? Well I buy a gift because it is there. I have no pre-conceived notions to pack into a gift. It just happens. Like the book on potted plants I spied in a book store. I just bought it as I felt it would make a fine gift to someone like my mother. Most of the time, I just happen to chance on something that reminds me of someone and I buy it for them. That is the way to gift. Not planning to give a gift and landing at a curio shop to buy something apt (and cheap).

Some of my favorite gifts include a pair of jeans. Nothing can go wrong with a pair of jeans. Everybody has one and yet would love to have another one. Jeans are tough and long lasting. They make an excellent personal statement for one both-a smart thing to give or receive. Jeans just absolve embarrassments.

Potted plants! Now that is one lovely gift you can think of, especially a flowering plant. Better than just flowers that wilt in a day. Potted plants live. They are the safe pets for some who cannot afford to receive a pet puppy as a gift. But it would not go down well with some people, like your unkempt bachelor male friend (or a cow). The standard gift for elderly people has been long decided by my family tradition….fruits! Another excellent statement to make. Stay healthy and sweet. Nothing beats the sight of a small basket of fresh and red apples…not even the most elegant roses that look like dead birds a day after. Apples will not last that long either. They would be consumed happily.