Thursday, September 30, 2010


It’s been a long time since I spoke to real people.
It’s been a long time since I did anything that I loved doing.
It’s been forever since I smiled at somebody.
It’s been forever since I made anybody laugh.
I’ve been spending all my time in front of a computer screen.
I’ve not laughed in two months (except for the trek and occasional laughs once in a blue moon).
It’s been a really long time since I had some me time.
I missed my mother’s birthday.
I hate telephones, computers and associated objects.
I’m pissed off and angry at a lot of people and things.
I did not foresee myself thinking on these lines in such a short span of time.
I’m not being what I used to be.
My folks are vaguely aware of somebody who comes home at 10, sleeps, wakes up at 7 the next morning and leaves again at 7.30. 
I haven't fought or argued with my brother in the last 3 months. Infact I did not have the energy to even get up from bed when he was home last week.
I haven’t read a newspaper in 3 months. (Not even online versions)
I need help!
I miss being me.
I miss me.
I think I've become a Zombie.

PS: if you find me, or anybody who remotely resembles me. Please get in touch.
Thanks :-| 

Monday, September 20, 2010

My First Ever Trek

I’m not an adventure person, given an opportunity I’d sleep through the entire weekend or weekdays with little or no contact with the outside world. I had little or no contact with the outside world last weekend, thanks to a out of network prompt. I loved that disconnected feeling, where nobody can ring you at odd hours, where time stands still, and you can see only greenery all around you. It was pristine beauty at its best.

A certain friend of mine who is this major wildlife enthu pattani convinced me to trek. I had my initial apprehensions; will I be able to walk? Am I fit enough? What if I get bitten by random insects?
The worst of all was – the fear of leeches.

In spite of all these nagging questions, there was this tiny voice in my head which said; go for it tiger. Incidentally we were off to a tiger reserve.

14 of us were off to this place in Palakkad called Parambikulam Tiger Reserve. Awesomeness is one word to describe the entire trip. Never in my life did I imagine that I’d love wildlife as much, or have so much fun in a forest.

I agree with G when she says, a forest is where you feel  vulnerable and close to mother nature at the same time.  I know what it felt like when the guide asked all of us to stay where we were, when he said “bison”.
A trek makes you realise that Mother Nature is fragile, and we’ve practically taken our existence for granted. Man probably stands on top of the food chain, but he hardly realises that, his sustenance lies in the forests, which are getting destroyed at a rapid pace.

This was my two day trip to Kerala; trekking, lots of laughter and an experience of a lifetime. You can now safely add me to the list of wannabe naturalists, though the passion can never equal G’s or Uncle’s for wildlife, their existence, and the way they connect to nature.

We trekked through God knows how many kilometres, but it was total fun, the panting, gasping for breath, holding onto people while going uphill and downhill. The leech bites, the insects, the leopard’s paw, the bison in close proximity, the fear that gripped when I saw wild dogs crossing the roads. Nothing can equal the thrill of having monkeys in the dining hall,  and the cuteness of the baby monkey which tried to impress me*.

The laughs I shared over the last two days still resonate in my ears.  The photograph frenzy and everything else that happened over the last two days will remain etched in my memory for a long long time. The sadness that engulfed me when we packed our bags to leave the dormitory called Hornbill.

5 leech bites later, I can say – I love you Mother Nature. But I’m still scared of animals, especially dogs.
Thanks a lot G for convincing me, thanks to all the fellow trekkers, and special thanks to Uncle for making this trip a memorable one.

Cheers :)

*the place I lived in Bangalore before coming down to Madras, used to have hordes of monkeys visit us during the summers. So, the paati of mine made me chant *Ram Ram* every time a monkey in the balcony.   I did not do the same during the trek, because I was busy poking fun at Roo :P

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Peepli Live - A Review

The other day somebody asked me “What was the last movie you watched?” Peepli Live I replied. I hate Village stories can the reply. This is one major misconception about the movie. The characters are set in a village, but the story is contemporary.

Peepli Live is the other side of India; the India Bollywood will not celebrate because there are no Yuppies. The India most of us prefer to ignore because none of us would dare to acknowledge its existence.
Watch this movie just once, and then tell me if you still believe India is an emerging nation, or the entire booming economy theory is a farce.

Think about this; now cross your heart and count the number of times you’ve ignored a homeless person on the road, tattered clothes, and malnourished children with their bones sticking out, construction workers, rag pickers, and hawkers who live in dilapidated conditions.

Peepli Live talks about what drives these people to becoming what they are today.
Nathu and Budhiya are brothers who just lost their last piece of farmland to the bank, because they were unable to repay the loan.

Set in the backdrop of farmer suicides; the director takes a sardonic dig at the sorry state of affairs, without being too preachy or overbearing.

On their way back home, Nathu and Budhiya receive unsolicited advice on the compensation given by the govt to the families of farmers who commit suicide. They pay no heed to this in the beginning; but it slowly grows on them, and Nathu decides to take the plunge.

Nathu declares this in public, and a wannabe village reporter gets a whiff of this, and does what every self respecting media person wants to do to earn a quick buck and his 15seconds of fame. Thus becomes a star overnight.

Farmer suicide cases are causing jitters across the nation, and the news channels make full use of primetime television to air their concerns. With the state elections around the corner, the politicians feel the heat as well, and hence they try and come up with different Yojanas to protect the dying farmers.

The news of Nathu planning to take his life spreads like wildfire all the way to Delhi. This brings in the TRP and sensational news hungry Media Persons, vote bank and caste loving politicians. Vans full of people and equipment flood Peepli. The politicians and the media start their working on business as usual; mudslinging at the opposition and vice versa begins. Media houses take their respective stands to protect their political interests.

In the midst of all this, the real cause of worry is forgotten. The media and the politicians carry out their strategies with the ease of professionals which they are in any case. The entire hungama is properly staged with makeup et al.

Suddenly Nathu disappears and the media makes a quiet exit. The politicians are still a little uneasy. Nathu and Family continue to live Below Poverty Line. But do we really care?

Welcome to Incredible India, where sensationalism is the latest buzz word. Where Farmer suicides go uncared for and we have crores of rupees to splurge on CWG.

I really wonder if this is the *Atulya Mahan Bharat* we are trying to sell to the Western Nations.

PS: The Hindi is a little too hard of the viewer. You may not follow most of it, if you don’t get the basics right. But trust me, it doesn’t even matter. The emotions speak for themselves.
PS1: Hats off to the team for directing something as contemporary as this. Bollywood is waking up I guess.
PS3: You can see lookalikes of Barkha Dutt and Rajdeep Sardesai.
PS4: The Indian Political System is truly rotten.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

We Are Family

My folks celebrated their silver jubilee today. These momentous occasions call for a lot of tear jerking, sentimental speeches which end with *thank you Amma and Appa*. Since we are not a bollywood family, we decided to skip all of this.  25years is a long time, when you have a couple who are as different as chalk and cheese. It still beats me on how they survived, and  in their journey together, they have with them two miniature versions. We the two versions are very happy and blessed to be a part of this journey and the years to come.

Amma and Appa are very very different from each other, opposites in the truest sense of word.

To celebrate 25years, I came up with 25 things that brings out the different aspects in them, and has kept them in good stead for so long. I’m not trying to compare them, but this is my way of looking at things.
  1. Amma grew up in Bombay, and her tastes are predominantly northie, and Appa’s tastes are very stereotypical.
  2. Amma makes awesome northie stuff, I’m sure she says a small prayer before she makes something like Paruppu Urundai Sambar or Mysorepak. She makes this super creamy kalakand, while her mysorepak can be used as a cork ball substitute. (Courtesy A who has spent his entire life so far playing cricket :P). Appa likes *proper* Tam-brahm food.
  3. Amma thinks everything in the house has to be spotlessly clean (hardly ever happens), while appa thinks, it’s ok to be messy. And you know the repercussions, Amma walks around with a mop stick and duster during the weekends.
  4. Amma is super religious, inspite of growing up in a place where the Tam-Brahm population was relatively less; she’s picked up all of it. Appa is more or less agnostic when it comes to religion.
  5. Amma talks a dime to a dozen in no time, appa hardly talks.
  6. Appa is a super strict disciplinarian, and I’m shit scared of him. Amma is the super chilled out person, she sends her warning signals, but will not impose it on you. (heard of the saying – patta than puriyum?, she lives by that adage sometimes)
  7. My folks have a similar taste in the kind of music they listen to – old Hindi and Tamil songs rule the roost. Amma loves old Hindi movies, and appa likes Tamil Movies.
  8. Appa is a geek – I guess all number crunching people like chartered accountants are geeks. My dad can probably talk to numbers, and even live with them. Amma likes anything that’s artistic; more like literature or philosophy than finance.
  9. Amma is chatterbox, this means she has lots of friends, and she finds time to actually keep in touch with them. Appa on the other hand is bloody moody and reserved.
  10. Ok, this one is a sitter; Appa loves sports, and Amma understands zilch.
  11. Sitter No.2, Technology. Yeah, you know the answer.
  12. Another sitter – Amma loves shopping; be it clothes, jewellery or even groceries, she is ready to shop. Appa hates it. I think hate is too mild a word. :P
  13. Adventurousness, by this, I don’t mean paragliding or bungee jumping. I’m talking about the mindset to try out the unknown.  Amma would really not mind taking a bus to express avenue and window shop with me, Appa seriously thinks, its pointless going to such places, and he thinks he’s too old for all that. He wouldn’t do anything outside his comfort zone.
  14. Humour, this is a little tricky. Amma can laugh at just about anything; Appa won’t unless he thinks it’s funny. Appa hardly ever cracks a joke.
  15. Surprises –Amma simply loves them! Be it a greeting card or a gift, you can see the excitement of a 3yr old in her face. Appa is mostly wooden to most of this.
  16. Amma loves travelling, and Appa is a proper homebody. I’m considering packing them off to a vacation by the end of this year, depending on my bank balance.
  17. Temper, Appa is super hot tempered, you name it, and he can get angry at you for it. Amma is the epitome of patience, you can never really get her angry, but once you do, god save you.
  18. Appa is a perfectionist. Seen Bommarillu, and the dad character in that movie, is a clone of the one I’m living with.
  19. Letting go of emotions, if I tell Amma that I flunked a test, she will scream, yell and take her anger out on me. But Appa will give me silent treatment.
  20. Amma is the kid magnet, Appa manages to scare pretty much every single kid.
  21. Both Amma and Appa love reading, only the genres are different.
  22. Amma has a very liberal way of bringing up kids – “you want to do this, go and try it”, is what she says. Appa is rigid – do what I say. And that’s why I fight more with my dad than with my mother.
  23. Appa can deal with animals, while Amma is petrified of them. She hates it when she sees us petting kittens. She once made both of us wash our hands several times, and sprinkled manjal thanni to get us rid of *cat fur*!
  24. Appa is the man of the family, and that’s enough said about driving skills.
  25. Amma is the know it all – PTA meetings, exams, doctor appointments, homework, project delivery deadlines, she knows it all.

Yeah, we are family.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Udaan - A Review.

Udaan is a the story of a young boy  Rohan, who after being expelled from school, returns to what he calls his home – a place which he hasn’t visited in 8yrs.

The movie is raw, intense, strong, in your face and grey. The storyline is simple and candid. The film revolves around an authoritarian straight-jacketed monster of a dad, and a 17yr old with an *udhne ki tamannah* .To this, add one nice considerate uncle, one lovelorn 6yr old, who is his step brother and a friend’s voice from another city.

Rohan dreams of becoming a writer, while the monster of a dad sends him to the factory, and forcibly enrols him in an engineering course. The teen obviously hates all of this, and wants to break free. The movie is so true to itself that each one of us can probably relate to atleast one instance quoted.

The guy is oppressed by all means. The monotony of his life is a stark reminder of that fact. The mediocrity of his life is evident – the early morning run, the car that starts the same way every morning, the boring factory life, and the uninteresting engineering course only add to the misery.

Rohan rebels against his dad in his own little ways; the car drives at night, getting sloshed out and finding company among his college seniors. He finds solace in writing. This is his retribution. His writing is the only means of expression, and his uncle supports him to an extent. But you can do little or nothing with that monster of a dad. This man has his own demons to deal with.

Rohan lives in hope that, there will be a day when he can break free from the clamps of his life, and redeem himself. This is very evident in that scene where he tells his uncle “I’d do anything but stay in this wretched place”. He develops a bonding of sorts with his step brother. It’s truly endearing when the 6yr old is taken under his wings. It was simple candid, and sweet.

The storyline does have the usual lump in the throat moments, but it socks you in your face – nothing is sugar coated. And I think this is what I really liked about the entire movie; the honest and realistic portrayal of life and its naked truth. The characters breathe an amazing amount of life into this.

All of us have had stars in our eyes while growing up, very few of pursue what we wanted. Most of us strayed away, stuck to what the society considers *right*, and then after 5yrs look back at the opportunity lost. The protagonist proves that there is still a flicker of hope deep down there, and it’s never too late.

I loved the last scene where Rohan and his little brother leave the house. It ends on a note that there is life beyond all the humdrum and you can do it, if you believe you can.

Go ahead, unclip those wings, and go on your Udaan!

Peace out

PS: This movie is a perfect antithesis to Varanam Aiyiram where the Daddy-Son relationship is glorified.
PS1: I’m so glad Yash Raj Films, did not produce or promote this movie. Had it been the case, the last scene would’ve extended into a different track, with the stupid moron of a dad changing his mind, and going in search of his kids.
PS2: I could see shades of me in Rohan, the rebellious streak, the - I so want to punch people in their faces attitude. Somehow I never came around pursuing my dreams; I simply modified them to suit my needs.
PS3: This movie is a must watch!

Kaam Ke Side Effects.

Caution: The post and the incidents mention are real, and the Blogger claims no responsibility for the loss of Sanity. None of the facts have been exaggerated.

I completed Q1 of working; the results would be pretty boring. Ideally I'd love to call on a Townhall of sorts, serve you guys high tea, and deliver a speech on   - the Journey so far. I neither have the time or the energy or the money. So, read this, and pass on your congratulations, or condolences. 

The side effects have a different tale to tell.  I don’t know if things like this happen, when you spend a fair chunk of your life in a cubicle. The corporate hullabaloo has got onto me, and the effects are here to see.

I pressed windows + L on my Laptop, when I went to make coffee.

I’ve gotten accustomed to staying late until 9 or more. The security guard now knows, where I stay, and my name goes onto the list automatically.

I was taking care of the Dining Venue for my team workshop, in the process I called up a few decent restaurants in the city to ask for quotes and reserve seats. I did the unexpected – I introduced myself like I would usually do for a project request.  Later I bit my tongue and corrected myself.

I was talking to the mobile service provider a few days back, and those guys wanted my email address to mail my complaint number. I belted out my official id instead of my personal one.

This four lettered word called – Work, gets a reference everywhere irrespective of the context.

I find it weird when if I board  the bus at 7.00PM IST.

I find myself working on deliverables over a weekend.

I dialled 001, before dialling a local number.

Worst case of all – I was pressing my access card against the wall last Friday hoping the door would give way automatically.

Next on the anvil is me standing in the kitchen, placing a glass under the Aquaguard and expecting a cup of coffee.

You get the picture don’t you?

I need rehab or therapy or whatever. Wait on, pass me a bar of Bournville, I think that should suffice.

It beats me how people have worked for a quarter of a century and still don’t have the corporate side effects.

Yeah, thanks.

Now you can watch the trailer of *Va – Quarter Cutting* and celebrate my Q1 of working.

 Peace Out :)

PS: I'm on a mission to *Reclaim My Life*. Tips please!