Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Guest Post -- Tiger Tales

Here is another Guest Post, this time around it is about saving our tigers. This post is by Gitu, who turns out to be a really good friend of mine, an ardent wildlife enthusiast, animal lover and voracious reader.

Tiger Tales

Hi all! :)

This is my first Guest Post, thanks to Sandy girl, and its about a subject I'm very passionate about. A serious post and that is such a welcome change. By the time Sandy publishes it, their numbers would've dwindled to lesser than their much publicised 1411, but I guess we should just keep trying harder.

Only 1411 left, of the majestic Indian tiger. Speak up, blog or donate!

I am doing my bit here; least that I can, hoping to make some difference.

I support the cause, because I truly believe that this animal, who we rightly call the king of the jungle, is definitely worth it. I have not had many tiger encounters, in fact, I must say, I have not had any, face to face. But I’ll tell you how close I have gotten to it.

We were trekking in the Western Ghats, a little into the core forest, on foot. There was this huge tree, one of the deciduous ones, with big trunks. At a height of about eight feet from the ground, a pair of paws had dug into the bark, and torn it under the path it had traced. Imagine that perfectly made creature on its hind legs, marking its territory, and roaring so loudly, the entire forest trembles. Just hearing that roar, trust me, would send a chill down your spine. You can hear it even if you are standing over ten kilometres away. And after the tiger roars, you can hear a pin drop. Even the winds stop blowing. If you are close enough, you might even feel the earth shake mildly.

I read somewhere that nobody, not even a human, can roar with such intensity. Our lungs are just not as well equipped. They are hard to spot. Unless they allow themselves to, that is. After all these years, I have never spotted one in the wild. They command respect. One too many times, we have stumbled across tiger kills, fresh kills and decaying ones, the hunted, almost always as big, or bigger than the hunter. They do not hurt humans, except if it is a man eater in question. In fact, we never know how many times we might have walked past one, and not known it. That is one strange phenomenon about the forest, every step you take, you would feel a hundred hidden eyes following your every move. I have never felt more vulnerable, or humbled, in all my life.

A lot of us would wonder, why on earth do the WWF and Aircel give us tiger stats? I mean, how on earth can people like you and me, cushioned in some metro, save the tiger? And, hell, why should we?

Tigers are territorial-Each tiger’s territory may span hundreds of square kilometres. When these territories diminish, gradually, across the fringes, man-tiger conflicts occur. And sooner or later, the tiger may start devouring cattle, and get itself trapped and killed. Another tiger would claim the same territory, and history would repeat itself.

Why bother?

Every human being must take alarm because, forests are our lifeline. Once we trekked along the Aliyar dam, to the place of origin of the river. You wouldn’t believe it, it is a small, sprinkling fountain. If the canopy of trees above disappeared, the origin might just dry up. I was at a talk given by Mr Dattatri, renowned conservationist. He had mentioned that, at the rate at which we were responding to these crises, a world war can be predicted, not between nations, but between humans themselves. Within families, friends, neighbours. For things that we take for granted these days- air and water, which are supremely necessary for the very basis of survival.

A call to save the tiger, is a call to save the forests, their only habitat. This in turn is an opportunity for us to save our own skins. The idea of the ‘next generation’ facing the brunt is passé. There might be no next generation, at the rate at which we are conducting ourselves. You and I cannot go hunting poachers down. But we can definitely do our bit towards keeping the forests intact. It is all a matter of strength in numbers. And, please, never ever say, ‘What difference can I make?’. You never know.

Our resources are depleting. When people say, reduce, reuse and recycle, they mean it. Next time you brush your teeth, make an effort to close the tap when you don’t need the water. Harvest rain water. Recycle used water, for washing your vehicle or filling the flush tanks.

When demand reduces, supply would too, automatically. Same goes for paper. Never ever waste it. Recycle it, whenever possible. And please, say no to plastic. You get this sense of accomplishment when you walk out of a store carrying your purchase in your hand, after refusing the carry-bag, ‘No, no plastic, thank you’. Bless the electricity, save it. And the fuel; you would have heard it all from varied sources, so I wouldn’t bore you anymore. I just want to emphasise, again, when you save the forests, and all the inhabitants, you save yourself. We humans are selfish, let us do this now, for our own sakes!

- Gitanjali

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Heights of Fitness Freakism

Gomukhasan – aka the Cow pose. A very simple no nonsense asana, it is as simple as crossing one knee over the other. This was at 11.30 last night, when the fitness freak in me suddenly woke up. Yeah, I know I’m a little mad, but I had no idea I could be this mad. End result: I twisted my right knee, which promptly went into the swelling mode. 2 rounds of eucalyptus oil, moov massages, 1 Imol tablet and 12hrs later, the swelling refused to budge.

At 11 the next morning, I went doctor hunting. My Gynec had left for the day and the family physician had a huge line of patients. I went to the other lady doc in the same lane. Over the next ten mins, I recited the same thing I had been parroting all morning. I tried an asana and I hurt my knee.

She threw a couple of piteous glances at the swollen knee and gave me two options. A) Medicines – which take at least a week to show their effect. B) Two injections – back to back shots for immediate relief. I chose the latter, despite the fact that I hate them. Simply because, the wannabe workaholic realized that I have a presentation on Monday, and that the junta in the college was full of – heartless old men.

I braved myself, rolled up the tee and said here you lady; stick in the ammunition.

15minutes later, I had two injections on my lower back. Only consolation is; I did not cry. She asked me to see her 4hrs later for a re-check and guess what? She gave me two more injections

Good thing is that the presentation has been mailed to the Project Guide, and the HOD. I’ve conveyed the bad news that they would miss the opportunity of shredding me into little pieces.

Little did I realize that simply crossing my knees would cause a ligament tear. Bad things happen to good people. I feel like throwing up every now and then, thanks to the heavy doses of injections. I survived on bread and milk the whole day. No yoga or gymming for the next 7days. Forget it! Even walking is banned…

Inspite of all the cribbing, I’ve been yapping and messaging all day. And if old men insist that I have to attend the review on Monday, I’ll have to drag my mom along. You think it will add some sympathy? :P Hope it saves me from being shred.


PS: Karthik Calling Karthik songs are really nice. Is Karthik Gay? Then why is he calling his namesake? :P
PS1: If I'm asked to come to college on Monday, I will go limping limping and stand in front of the panel and say- "Aaj maine God se kuch nahi maanga, sirf haath jod kar is review keliye thank you bola" :P
PS2: Yes Gitu, you can also limp along, and say my Mom is taking care of you.
PS3: The lady in the picture is not me. I clicked on the first picture google threw at me.
PS4: I better go and sleep now. The medicinal trio effect has begun, I feel drugged already.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Encounter Specialists

I was at the Gynec’s clinic, waiting for my mom to return from the diagnostic center. And to break the comfortable silence in the room, the doc tried to strike a very amiable conversation. She first asked me about the placements, I gave her complete defiance.

Seeing my progressive disinterest, she popped the tried and tested question – so kanna, what plans for v-day? I thought I hadn’t heard the question properly, she pressed on; its ok, I won’t tell amma. (Yeah right! Old trick but it doesn’t work here) so to save my nonexistent social life from coming into focus, I deftly handled the question, by telling her that I had lots of project work to be completed and I had no time to waste.

Say Hi to my Gynec who doubles up as my – career counselor, dietician, stylist and fitness instructor. The latest addition to her portfolio is – being a matchmaker. She links every activity of mine to one final destination.

Welcome to the world of professional matchmakers. You will find them at the following places – family functions, somebody’s marriage, a ceremony, temples, or even a friendly get together. These women need not be your relatives; they can be friends, acquaintances, and even colleagues. And they have taken upon themselves the task of finding the perfect guy for you. In any of these places, there will be groups of shrewd analysts.

Every conversation struck among a pair of women would be laced with this unwritten agreement of – an arranged marriage.

Their finding the ideal match methodology is simple; calculate your average age, and with this in mind, they’ll add your height factor, the weight factor, family background, the educational qualifications, and also the general reputation, did I forget something? Yes – complexion. Voila! The ideal guy is ready.

With the initial research complete, they approach the bakra’s mother or close relative. The deal is presented like it’s a deal from the Godfather himself. What truly amazes me about this bunch of women is the consummate ease with which they rattle off names of guys, their professions, family information, their siblings, sometimes even the number of ex- girlfriends.

There are chartered accountants, software engineers who are still a major draw,, some MBA’s and; all of them come with trademark characteristics of being good looking, chamathu, and earn pot loads of money. They make their young prospects sound like they’ve been insulated from the big bad world for as long as they’ve existed.

I’m not anti the traditionalists, I admit that there are guys who look adorable in their veshti and shirts, and given an opportunity, I’d shamelessly blow a flying kiss at them. What really puts me off is, pushing them off like they’re up for pantaloons end of season sale.

When you make your stand clear, the women are quick to brush it off as unrealistic expectations, and if you still persist, they’ll proceed to blame bollywood and western culture. I fail to understand why these women are obsessed about packing me off. Did my mom or my perima pay you something? Don’t you have families and careers to worry about? What happened to discussing recipes and that sickeningly sadistic mother in law? Somebody should create an incubator to swallow all these women, when they huddle together.

If you were still wondering about my Gynec, she has expressed interest in joining my power yoga class. Well, my dear lady, wait until I break your back.

And next time I see any of them in visible proximity, I will scoot!

Peace Out.

Friday, February 12, 2010

A Tag

A tag from Venky, and it's been lying in my drafts for ages now. Thanks to the lack of ideas, here goes the tag :P

1. What is your current obsession?

A. Power Yoga!

2. What are you wearing today?

A. 3/4 ths and T-shirt

3. What’s for dinner- Make that breakfast?

A. Upma, and I hate it. My mom has been making it very often these days. Baah!

4. What’s the last thing you bought?

A. Bus ticket?

5. What are you listening to right now?

A. Aaromale

6. What do you think about the person who tagged you?

A. Nice guy. Konjam lazy :D

7. If you could have a house totally paid for, fully furnished anywhere in the world, where would you like it to be?

A. You sure? Chennai- Make it the ECR, facing the coast. Unlimited food, clothes and petrol for the bike :P

8.One thing you wanna change about yourself ?

A. Stop worrying too much, work down the temper.. Well, that’s that.

9. Whose company do you enjoy the most?

A. A lot of people. Everybody has their own advantages

10. Which language do you want to learn?

A. Tamil (Read and write), you have no idea how difficult it is to manage not knowing the language. Re-learn Sanskrit.

11. What’s your favourite quote?

A. Just because I don't care doesn't mean I don't understand.

Homer Simpson

12.Would u cook for me?

A. Absolutely!! :D

13. What is the right way to avoid people who purposefully hurt you?

A. Zoning out!

14. What are you afraid of the most?

A. Failure…

15. Who do you want to meet right now?

A. Right now? Nobody.. I’d like to meet an interviewer who’d give me a job :P

16. What is your favourite colour?

A. Purple, Black, Blue, Pink

17. Give us 3 styling tips that work for you.

A. Style? LOL… I’d rather answer questions on Core Finance :P. I wear what I think looks good on me.

18. What is your dream job?

A. English Teacher, Chef.

19. What’s your favorite magazine?

A. You want me to say HBR? It’s a journal. I love Readers Digest.

20. If you had $100 now, what would you spend it on?

A. Convert it, buy clothes, save some and eat out.

21. What do you consider a fashion faux pas?

A. Mis-matched colours and guys wearing funny accessories.

22. Who according to you is the most over-rated writer?

A. Hmm… I don’t know.. But Chetan Bhagat writes like he’s penning a script for a Hindi movie.

23. What brings a smile on your face instantly?

A. Chocolate, Coffee and Conversations.

24. A word that you say a lot?

A. Bloody. Add anything you want after that.

25. What kind of haircut do you prefer?

A. That reminds me, I need a haircut :P

26. What are you going to do after this?

A. Start working on my project.

27. What do you do when you are feeling low or terribly depressed?

A. Talk!

28. What makes you go wild?


29. What are your favourite movies?

A. I wouldn’t say too many to name. I’d say I’m lazy to type. Anything that’s feel good, funny and comes with free tickets :P

30. What inspires you?

A. Anything that’s challenging, and involves thinking and doing.

31. What do your friends call you most commonly?

A. Sandy and I’m Sandhya.

32. Would you prefer coffee or tea?

A. Coffee coffee and more coffee.

33. Which other blogs do you love visiting?

A. Any blog that’s interesting. And I vehemently hate blogs with bad English!

34. Favorite Dessert/Sweet?

A. Give me both :D and please forget the diet.

35. How many tabs are turned on in your browser right now?

A. 5

36. When you looked at yourself in the mirror today, what was the first thing you thought?

A. I need a haircut.

37. Favorite Season?

A. Dec-Jan for the chilly mornings

38. Last movie you saw?

A. Rocket Singh on a DVD.

39. What breaks your heart?

A. Sometimes when you know you’ve given your best and it still falls apart.

40. Which was the last trip you took..??

A. To college for a review that never happened.

41. Favourite book?
A. Make that books… Too many to name and too lazy to type.

Rules for those who are tagged :-

1. Respond and rework – answer these questions on your blog, replace one question that you dislike with a question of your own, and add one more question to the list.

2. Then tag a new set of people.[Break the rules if you want but do Answer them all]

And I'll tag-- whoever wants to take it up.


Saturday, February 6, 2010

Lion King & Poor little Simba.

After the cola debacle, I sent this frantic mail to the boss in the internship company, to materialize the boon offered to me on the last day – and that was; you can do your project in the same company. Awesome I thought to myself, known people, known company and a really good brand to bank on.

I met him on Jan 7th to finalize the topic, and I was offered “New product development”. So the project was all set to roll; I fixed my next appointment with him and I went back home a happy girl. The product given to me was bio-chemistry or biotech related. My chitti pats me on my back and says – take it up! “Lovely topic, you’ll learn a lot and once you do a great job, they’ll absorb you in.” So this was the RAW deal, and I was on cloud nine.

There were two things I had no idea about – a ) The product was an enigma in itself. b) All my lessons in marketing had been very very text-bookish, plus I knew a lot of examples, thanks to the case studies. The project was made to sound like, I was Harry Potter in search of those horceuxes, and I was game! There was a concept jumble in my peanut sized brain and I had to sort it out.

So like, any sensible project intern, I start off with the literature review. I read up on random articles, scientific publications and lots of googling later, I was ready with a 30page report about the product, how we can use it, and the potential uses to the customer. This was named technical research. I mailed my project guide in college and went to meet him with this huge grin plastered on my face. He reads thru my notes, and gives me his signature dirty look; which meant, I was ‘screwed’.

Project Guide: Sandhya, are you a scientist?
Me: No Sir…
PG: Are you a bio-chemistry student?
Me: No sir…

After this; He got back to his usual gyaan giving self and complimented me on being a very imaginative person, and how I should channelize my energies on working on the management side of the project and not burden myself with the technical aspects. I was also made to borrow the 11th edition of Marketing Management from the library and read out the passages aloud.

With this, I meet Lion King in his office and tell him that I need a report on the product technicalities, so that I can start working on the management aspects.

Lion King: Looks at me, and he says – this is what I wanted you to do ma; come out with a marketing report.
Me: But sir, you said it was a new product, and you just gave me the name, and nothing more. And you also said, decide on the sources and all. So I did a technical research.
Lion King: (Sheepish grin) heheheheh
Me: So what next sir? I have a model of NPD; we should start off with it sir. Lion King: I have a report on the initial stages of the product, read it and come back on Friday.

Lion King: You read the report ah ma?
Me: Yes sir. But if the product is ready to be manufactured, we need to start with the concept development stage now.
Lion King: But what about basics ma?
Me: What basics sir? (Bloody confused)
Lion King: The marketing things ma..
Me: 4Ps , 3Cs and STP Sir?
Lion King: yeah yeah.
Me: Sir, But I need more information on the product. I have to meet the R&D people and find out the features of the product.
Lion King; that and all you don’t need ma. Do google search that is enough.
Me: (Not giving up) Also, I have to go on Sales visits and find out the customer needs.
Lion king: Listen ma.. You go to the medical shops and collect data on the products available.
Me: Yes sir..
Lion King: Come back on Friday ok ma?

Note: the Boss is not going to be at the office on Friday.

One month into the project, I realize that my boss is a lot like Dilbert’s Boss. Are all bosses like this only? Or is it that I get the best of the lot?

As of today 10.00PM, the status of my new product development is- NO product
The topic is super good, and a blank canvas has been handed over to me. It’s like having a bag full of atta; I can either bake cakes, or make rotis, or add veggies to them and make bajji or make dosa, or make some savories out of it. Likewise – here is a product, I have to develop variants of it, price it, package it, brand it, advertise it, sell it and identify buyers, potential customers. And the boss thinks google will help me. If only the boss listens to what I have to tell him.

The project means the world to me for one simple reason – a great project guarantees a job.

Ende guruvayurappa!!

Ende Bhagwathi Amme!

PS: Now I know what to gift my boss: Dilbert comics! :D