Desengate de Goa

The Christmas trip to Goa was quite amazing. We had planned for this trip from a very long time. What was planned as a trip needing a tempo traveller turned out to be a Tata Indica trip. No R&D was done for the trip, no planning. We had not even booked for any hotel rooms (Take that for audacity!)

We leave Bangalore pretty late on friday night (as usual all estimates got screwed up) and even an uncomfortable car like Indica could not stop me from having a decent sleep. I was half awake the next morning near Karwar and I was humming the song "I ain't gonna miss her tonight". Hey, I don't seem to remember whose song it is. Have I heard it before? Then, it strikes me that it was some stanza and tune I had composed during early morning sleep! It does not take me even a minute to realize that the inspirations for this song are two contrasting songs - Jim Reeves' "I Miss Me" and Eric Clapton's "I Ain't Gonna Stand It". Its not plagiarism, I try to convince myself. Well, as they say, even a random number is just a pseudo-random number!

We reach Panaji by noon, and we find a hotel room pretty easily (Nothing beats determination - okay, audacity) and we hit Aguada Fort by the afternoon. We have our luncks (lunch plus snacks) at some shack. And walk for sometime on the beach. I am very much a water person, but its one of those days when I don't want to get into water. I just wet my legs with that salty sea water. I sit on the beach, staring at the sea. I love listening to the sound of waves hitting the sea shore. Sea, for me, somehow represents the turbulence of human mind (Well, I know some people say that you can compare anything to anything - like a cycle chain to reincarnation or the lunar eclipse to creative bankruptcy. Whatever, but I love this comparison!) Looking at the sea makes me feel like meeting myself, its very contemplative. Its almost like meditation! After a couple more omlettes, we move towards Arpora Saturday Night Market.

The market was more like any other market, its just that there are so many foreigners waiting to be cheated! The women who sell ornaments, look like illiterate village women, but you should listen when they speak! They could easy be brand ambassadors for Rapidex English Speaking course. I go to the drums shop and check the rates. Too expensive, and its too big also, can't carry it in Indica. Wanted to buy one from a very long time, forget it for the time being! There are so many music shops having great collection of music - Prem Joshua, Karunesh, Buddha Bar, Asian Lounge, Goa Trance. I look at them with greedy eyes, like a kid in a huge chocolate store! One of them is playing Dakini Lounge. I love it!

We reach the end where there is a percussion orchestra going on - the drums and a long wind instrument. There are fire fighters dancing with fire rods and big rings to that music. I capture those videos till my arms pain like hell. I am tapping my foot to the music, enjoying every moment of that evening. When was the last time I was so happy? After the concert, we go and congratulate the artists. I ask him what that instrument was. "Didgeridoo, its an australian instrument" he says. We eat Tibetian momos, egg fried rice and a turkish food called Blinchik (Its was awesome - banana pieces inside something similar to chapathi/dosay, and chocolate syrup and sugar on top. I can still feel that taste on my tongue!) I would remember that evening for a very long time!

After two more days full of beaches, swimming, sun burns, shacks, omlettes and egg sandwiches, we are back to Bangalore. Somehow, I feel relaxed and at peace with myself. I am less irritated, less restless. May be I need to visit Goa once a month. Or how about looking for a job in some software company in Goa?

P.S: I don't like writing travelogues in general (though I started my blogging with travelogues!) But, I just wrote this so that I can read it when I have a really bad day.

Raja & Pinky

My deep "second innings sleep" of monday morning was disturbed by the familiar loud voice. The radio in the volvo bus had caught the signal of some number one radio station of Bangalore (Did you know that there is no "number two" radio station in Bangalore? Every channel claims to be number one!)

Harsha and Shwetha were as loud and incoherent as any RJs (I feel only Sunaina Lal is tolerable, for that contagious energy!) Their job was not only playing bad songs, but to give irrelevant solutions to unwanted problems of useless people. Some guy called Raja had mailed them about his problem!

Raja knew Pinky from the last two and a half years. It looked like they were in love. Or at least they were headed that way. From the last month or so, Raja was not able to talk to Pinky. He had mailed these experts to help him out!

Shwetha was shouting her lungs out "Should Raja wait for Pinky? Or should he forget her and get on with his life? For option A, SMS A to...okay Raja, here is a song exclusively for you...", when I started thinking what I would tell Raja if I ever meet him.

Mr. Raja, if Pinky was not reacheable on her mobile, may be she is using BSNL sim. Ask her to get Airtel or Hutch ;)
Did you try going to her home? If you don't know where she lives, you have wasted two and a half years. Forget it!
Don't you have any family or friends who could help you out? Why are you so dependent on these people with verbal diarrhoea?
Or is this just a way to become "famous"? Honestly, there is no other way you could be famous.
Have you ever thought how Pinky might feel about being discussed on air? If she is sensible, she will dump you for this stupid act of yours.
Who are those listeners who have the time, money, patience and typing abilities, who SMS to help Raja?

I cursed these RJs for their creative bankruptcy and made one last attempt to sleep.

Devil's Dictionary

Running out of original ideas is not the only reason why I am writing this article. ;)

I happened to stumble upon Devil's Dictionary last week. It is a satirical book by Ambrose Bierce , having funny interpretations of English words. There are very few things that have made me laugh whole-hearted and this was definitely one among them.

Here are a few definitions that I loved very much.
Abstainer: A weak person who yields to the temptation of denying himself a pleasure.
Absurdity: A statement or belief manifestly inconsistent with one's own opinion.
Acquaintance: A person whom we know well enough to borrow from, but not well enough to lend to.
Admiration: Our polite recognition of another's resemblance to ourselves.
Apologize: To lay the foundation for a future offense.
Armor: The kind of clothing worn by a man whose tailor is a blacksmith.
Brain: An apparatus with which we think we think.
Congratulation: The civility of envy.
Conservative: A statesman enamored of existing evils, as opposed to a Liberal, who wants to replace them with new ones.
Consult: To seek approval for a course of action already decided upon.
Cynic: A blackguard whose faulty vision sees things as they are, not as they ought to be.
Egotist: A person of low taste-more interested in himself than in me.
Genealogy: An account of one's descent from a man who did not particularly care to trace his own.
Happiness: An agreeable sensation arising from contemplating the misery of another.
Learning:
The kind of ignorance distinguishing the studious.
Logic: The art of thinking and reasoning in strict accordance with the limitations and incapacities of the human misunderstanding.
Love: A temporary insanity curable by marriage.
Marriage: The state or condition of a community consisting of a master, a mistress, and two slaves, making in all, two.
Neighbor: One whom we are commanded to love as ourselves, and who does all he knows how to make us disobedient.
Ocean: A body of water occupying about two-thirds of a world made for man - who has no gills.
Opportunity: A favorable occasion for grasping a disappointment.
Optimist: A proponent of the doctrine that black is white.
Pray: To ask that the laws of the universe be annulled in behalf of a single petitioner confessedly unworthy.
Quotation: The act of repeating erroneously the words of another.
Religion: A daughter of Hope and Fear, explaining to Ignorance the nature of the Unknowable.
Selfish: Devoid of consideration for the selfishness of others.
Telephone: An invention of the devil which abrogates some of the advantages of making a disagreeable person keep his distance.

I am quite a cricket fan myself and I love watching and playing cricket (arguably the best left handed batsman of Kuvempunagar ;))
I don't care if it is a test match or one-day, Indo-Pak series or World Cup. I can even watch the galli cricket, as I adore the art in the game. Its the poetry in the game that appeals to me.

I always considered that Indian cricket team consists of some amazing players, but we are nowhere near when it comes to a good team.
We have never won convincingly for too long and we are never predictable (Its not just a problem with India, but all the sub-continent teams)
Off late, India have been playing pretty badly (as bad as they are capable of) and we are seeing intense reactions from the "fans".

I somehow don't understand many of the logic behind the anger of the "fans"!
1) The most stupid statement I hear very often is "Cricketers are playing badly because they are concentrating too much on advertisements". Come on, can anyone explain this to me? Why will the shooting of an ad, probably for a day or two, when no cricket is being played, affects the performance of a cricketer? If that is the case, a team with the likes of Reetinder Singh Sodhi, Vijay Bharadwaj, Abey Kuruvilla and MSK Prasad would have replaced Australia as the Numero Uno team! Going by the same logic, has anyone observed a decline in the performance of Aamir Khan after he started as a Coca Cola brand ambassador? Stupid!

2) The whole country is shouting for the sacking of Greg Chappell. Not so long ago, the same fans wanted the sacking of Sourav Ganguly. It was the captain then, now its the coach! Why? Why nobody wanted the sacking of John Wright or why nobody now wants Rahul Dravid to be sacked? Just because John Wright was keeping a low profile and now Greg Chappell gets more media attention than Rahul Dravid. What nonsense!

3) If Kaif starts playing badly, why should his house be attacked and cow dung pasted on his photograph? Why are the "fans" so uncivilized? If someone plays badly for long, he will lose his place in the side sooner or later. Simple! Hey, by the way, why don't we attack Suniel Shetty's (Hope I got the spelling right!) house for giving flop movies by dozens!

With World Cup round the corner and the problems that Indian team has right now, we can expect more nonsense in the near future. Long live nonsense!

I looked at him as I locked my computer on this friday evening. He was finishing the final few activities in the project, as he was supposed to leave onsite on another assignment.
I queued Anoushka's Yaman Kalyan and Kirwani back to back in my ipod and lifted my bag. He was playing some old country songs in his winamp, while his IDE was talking to cvs to check in the last set of files.

I entered the cab and removed my slippers. (Being barefoot makes me so happy!) He was tying the lace of his shoes - getting ready for his longest association with shoes, after his high school days.

He is 26, well, an year younger to me. I know him quite well. Its not surprising that we share the same name. People have told me that we are so alike (many can't differentiate between the two of us), but somehow I feel we are pretty different, in spite of all those similarities.

  • He has never seen snow, never been to skiing.
  • He has never heard Prem Joshua (Jeez, and he still claims to have a great collection of music!) Buddha Bar, latino music, Anoushka. He is so far away from the range of country songs and bhaavageethe that I have listened to.
  • He rarely watches foreign films - Good bad and ugly, Schindler's list, Life is beautiful being a few exceptions. I am atleast 300 movies older than him - he has not even heard of Shawshank Redemption, Memento, Amores Perros, Requiem for a dream, Pulp fiction etc. I have seen more Robert de Niro movies than the total number of english movies he has seen!
  • He watches television, though not as intensely as he used to ten years ago. I hate watching TV (perhaps the only proof to say that I am not an idiot!)
  • He thinks that namesdatabase and orkut are the same. (Can you believe that?)
  • He has no idea about cooking. I am more than a decent cook and almost an authority when it comes to egg noodles :)
  • He rarely utters four letter words (and the only word he uses is 'crap') My usage of four letter words can almost match Joe Pesci!

I go on comparing myself to him, and feel a sense of superiority.
But, at the same time, I realize that he was more peaceful, less complex person. I wish I was as tolerant as him - not getting irritated so easily, not saying f@*$ everytime I get stuck in a traffic jam!

The screeching sound of the bus brakes bring me back to reality. And I sense a 28-year old man with the same name as mine observing me very keenly!

December 2002.
It was when a lot of people were quitting the company where I was working. Everyday somebody used to come to my cubicle and say "Today is my last day...I have not yet decided where to join...well, keep in touch" Then, I think I had the concept in the back of my mind. While I was listening to some country song, I just happened to utter the line "Admiration's the name of the feeling that I had". I thought for a while and the second stanza was ready. By evening, I was done with the whole song (including the tune!)

Until late 2004, nobody was even aware of the existence of this song! One evening, there was power cut at my home and I recorded this song in my mobile out of sheer boredom (which I had intended to delete later and forgot!). My brother listened to the song the same weekend, when he was looking at my mobile and he kind of liked it. Even a few of his friends and some of my colleagues heard it and they also liked it. Finally, I developed great courage and sang it in a trip and also on the company anniversary day!

This song, by no means, is completely original. This is inspired by Kenny Rogers' "Coward of the county" (the rhythm), Jim Reeves' "He'll have to go" and Porter Wagoner's "Cold Hard Facts of life" (the mood of the song)

Download the song in mp3 format or zip format .
All of you, including those who have pledged never to leave a comment in their entire life, please give me the feedback.

PS: Volcano Girl is a fictional character!

What's in a name?

It took me a few minutes less today to complete SuDoKu, Kakuro and other puzzles in Bangalore Times. I still had another 10 mins to reach office. What to do? Read Bangalore Times, of course! We all know its a crappy paper, but we all read it (like the old people who crib and watch mega serials and soap operas!)

I expected to read some crappy article like - green is the 'in-color' this season or why pubs should be opened even after 11 or Mahima loves her dog more than her mom or why women are preferring metrosexual male to the ubersexual male or something like that. But, I was disappointed. Today's topic was about Bangalore being renamed to Bengalooru!

One college student was of the opinion that "ooru" would be like village name. Kid, the word for village is haLLi, if you care to know.
Some businessman suggested that government should concentrate on improving infrastructure than on these "silly" things. Mate, its as ridiculous as saying that you stop going to petrol bunk till you find a medicine to cure your hair loss. Why are you mixing two unrelated things?

The thing that irritates me most is that all these intelligentia did not have any problems when Bombay was renamed as Mumbai or Calcutta was renamed as Kolkota or Baroda as Vadodara. When it comes to Bangalore (or Bengalooru), the logic changes.
Many of these 'Bangaloreans' would have a flair for learning foreign languages and would say bonjour (pronounced as bawn-zhoor) more authentically than a Rousseau or an Edouard. No problems for the tongue there, monsieur!
The whole nation has no problem pronouncing Buddhodebo Bhattochorya as correctly as a Mukherji or a Chatterji would do, but pronouncing Bengalooru is as difficult as pneumono­ultra­micro­scopic­silico­volcano­coniosis!
Don't you find pronouncing pizza (as Peed-zah) very difficult? Did Italians never feel that the world would stop eating pizzas just because they are not to easy to pronounce?

Well, the simple fact is that India is very crucial to the global business today and Bangalore is a big brand. And if any company decides to lose millions of dollars just because they find it difficult to pronounce "Bengalooru", they are stupid. They better get an Indian diction teacher for a few hundred dollars!

If you are thinking that I am a regionist (Yes, I coined that word!) you are absolutely wrong. I am proud of my language and state, but I am no fanatic. I have as much contempt for "Bangalore-is-full-go-home" type Kannadigas as I have for "Bangalore-sucks-cribbing" type non-Kannadigas. My opinion is just that most of the Indian city names that the British had changed long long ago don't convey anything about those places. (Like Mysore sounds like some description about a wound) I welcome any change in name that has got meaning (be it Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkota or Bengalooru)

And if anyone quotes Shakespeare "Whats in a name?", tell them that the Bard would not have liked if he was called "Shake sphere" just because it is easier that way!

He is on 49. The innings has been long. He is no specialist, but importantly he has managed to hung in there. Oh, he seizes the opportunity and scampers for a quick single...and thats 50!

No, I am not giving some cricket commentary. Its about my blog! And this is my 50th post :)

If somebody had told me an year back that I would be blogging, I would have told "You must be joking". Well, life has its own weird way of proving you wrong! And here I am writing this post when the entire country is busy bursting crackers.

The English classes in my PU days were mainly of two types - one is somehow escaping from getting caught by the teacher (My PU friends, remember A Meera?) and second is getting thrown out of the classroom. The reason? I hated writing on anything we were assigned. I always thought that writing was not my medium of expression and speech was far more effective in conveying what I wanted to.

But, my visit to Salt Lake City late last year forced me to open my blog. I had a lot to tell and I had no one to talk to. Blogging came to my rescue and I discovered that writing after all was not as difficult as I had assumed. I was pleasantly surprised when people started reading and appreciating my blog.

I still get astonished when I receive hopelessly nice compliments, much much more than what I actually deserve (Sorry, its my honest opinion and I am not trying to sound humble to get more comments ;)) I have got a fair share of honest and very useful criticism (which I really appreciate, so keep them coming!) Google Analytics says that my blog gets around 10-20 visitors every day. The only sad thing is that I don't know who they are! So, if you are one of those who never leave a comment, leave a comment once in a while at least.

The once-reluctant traveler with no destination has decided to continue the journey. The next curve may lead to a complicated crossroad or a dead end. I don't know. But, the actual fun is in the journey itself. Hope to bump into you on the way!

The last week was pretty hectic. We had our company's anniversary day and it was communicated to us just a week back. I was not even given a chance to say no for my performance. My work as such was pretty hectic. I was not getting any ideas. "about:blank"! I tried to do a sequel skit to the last year's "Munnabhai J2EE". It did not excite me at all. I could do a great spoof on Pulp Fiction. Nah, many people would not have heard about the movie, let alone appreciate the spoof. Finally, I started writing a skit about software companies taking underworld projects like supari killings and extortion. It came out okay on paper, it was kind of satirical comedy. A better actor would have pulled it off beautifully, but I was not at all confident.

I was running out of ideas, and more importantly I was running out of time. I was feeling pathetic. I love this phase, because most of the times, it is this phase that gives you different ideas. Just 3 days left, one of my friends suggested to use the concept of multiple personality disorder. Wow! Thats what I was looking for, I guess! It was about an employee suffering from multiple personality disorder - what better way to mimic all your colleagues :D

Finally, I wrote the script within an hour. And I included one of my colleagues for one of the roles. We could practice just for 2 days. I was on the verge of insanity as I walked like one person, smiled like another and thought like yet another for 2 full days. Thank God, I did not get more time for practice!

The show went on pretty okay. But, I looked at the video and felt really bad about my performance. My body language was not at all good and I had screwed up the voice imitation also (Sad, I could have done it so well!) But, in the end, I was pretty happy that I no longer had to walk, talk, act like my colleagues.

Now, I am blissfully imitating Robert de Niro, Al Pacino and Samuel L Jackson from the last 2 days. After a long time, I am feeling great!

Unwanted analysis!

I had been to Chamundi hills this saturday with my brother. We both love to observe people and do unwanted analysis and build imaginary theories or stories around that.

We stopped to take some rest near the 600-mark. A group of middle aged pot bellied uncles were arguing about who would reach the hill top if they started running now and some intense discussion about chicken curries. It got boring after a while and our attention turned towards two vehicles parked nearby. One was a scooty KA-09 EE-33 something. Other was a Kinetic Nova KA-09 EE-38 something.

We started doing our analysis with the minimal details that we had. The analysis made below are highly prone to inaccuracies, due to the lack of details.

  • Since the vehicles are scooty and nova, they must be the vehicles of two girls.
  • Since scooty looks like an older registration, it must be of one of the friends - who must be confident among the two.
  • The second girl had no intention of buying a vehicle. But, her friend would have convinced her that she also needs a vehicle and her father might have also persuaded her into buying a vehicle.
  • Now, the second girl also wanted to buy scooty, but decided against it, as it would look like she is copying the first girl.
  • Also, the first girl would have suggested that a bigger vehicle like nova suits her better (what a nice and polite way of saying she's fat!)

We had enough of this analysis and start climbing. We forgot about those vehicles and our discussion turned towards music and irritating, repititive mail forwards. (Have you observed, that people who send irritating forwards are also the ones who mail very regularly! :D) Now, we reach K900 and settle down. A little away from us are sitting a guy, a girl wearing black planet X shirt and a short-haired girl wearing white shirt.
Now, for ease of typing, let me call them The Guy, Miss Black and Miss White. (There is no racial intent in this naming convention. Its a bit Tarantino-ish and saves some keystrokes)
Here are the facts:
  • The guy is on one of the sides.
  • Miss Black is next to him.
  • Miss White is next to Miss Black.
  • The distance between Miss White and Miss Black is almost twice the distance between The guy and Miss Black. (Almost looks like there are two entities, The guy-Miss Black combo and Miss White)

Now, the possibilites and the analysis.
  • From the final fact, the possibility that the guy and Miss White are a couple is zilch.
  • They all could be just friends and may be all this analysis is totally meaningless. But, such an assumption kills all the fun. So, let us ignore that ;)
  • Miss Black has the most irritating and shrill voice I have ever heard. On top of that, she tries to act cute and bubbly (Blame it on the Johars and Chopras!) And Miss White is actually quite beautiful and dignified. Any sane guy cannot be in love with Miss Black when there is a Miss White. But hey, we all know, most guys have terrible taste. So, the possibility of the guy in love with Miss Black cannot be ruled out!
  • With that assumption, how does Miss White fit into this whole thing? Could she be the guy's sister or cousin or friend? No way, no guy would bring along another person with him. She must be Miss Black's friend (Miss Black would have asked her to accompany her for security reasons and general advices!)
  • Miss Black bringing her friend means she is still in the "is-her-or-is-he-not" phase of her relationship with the guy.

Now, we started coming down the hill. We discuss a lot on the correctness of our theory. I wished to see the guy and Miss Black go in the same vehicle, which would have proved that my theory was right (because he would drop her at her home, which would mean that her parents know and they are okay!) But, the guy leaves on his bike and the girls leave in another vehicle. Miss Black and the guy may be just friends or in the alpha phase of their relationship. But, they are definitely not in the post-beta phase, I deduce finally.

With a feeling of accomplishment and a sense of victory even in defeat, I wonder why its the most stupid and unwanted things that brings us great joy.

In love with K900

"I should go to Chamundi hill sometime".
Perhaps, I had got this thought over a hundred times in the last year. I generally get this thought in Bangalore-Mysore bus on friday evenings, and I had not gone even once!

But, this time I got really disgusted with myself for getting this thought. Call it inaction, laziness, inertia, procrastination or any such crappy word. Whats the use of thought without action? I had to get out of that instant bad feeling. I will go to Chamundi hills tomorrow morning. 'But, getting early on saturday after a strenous(!) journey on friday night might be difficult', my mind made one last unsuccessful attempt to ruin my plans. No way, I am going tomorrow.

I get up at 6.30 AM and reach the base of Chamundi hills. The weather is cool, perhaps the sun planned for a delayed rise over the weekend. "When you are determined, the whole world conspires to help you", I said to myself. There are very few people there, in fact there are more monkeys than people. Less people, less noise, more space - the perfect recipe for my happiness. I turned on my ipod and started climbing the steps.

Prem Joshua had barely finished playing "Shiva Moon", I was near the 100-mark, gasping for breath. Is it the lack of practice? Lack of fitness? Or am I getting real old? I rest for a few minutes and again start climbing. Again at 250-mark, I was as tired as Javagal Srinath on a continuous 6-over spell! One more small break for rest and I am feeling real better now. I reach 600-mark without a break. I sleep on the katte there for a few minutes. Bliss!

The sugarcane juice stall near the Nandi is still not open. A bit thirsty now, I continue the journey. I stop near 900-mark, there is a small passage, that leads to a place where we can sit and see almost entire Mysore. The solitude, the cool breeze, Joshua playing "Secret Place" - simply meditative! I love looking at places from the top - its as if you suddenly have a change of perspective! I sit there for 10 awesome minutes. I am completely in love with this location and I have named it as 'K900' (Kallu bande near 900-mark)

I have done this for the last 2 weeks. But, I am not sure how long will I continue this. I am playing an interesting triangular series with my laziness and my life. And I have a huge reputation for losing in crunch situations. But, who cares? All that matters is the joy of playing!

After all, mornings are not as bad I had imagined! And I have one less reason that makes me feel pathetic!

Year 1999...class ten in some high school...there were 4 friends...
Sheetal Udupa - The sports star of the school. She was a natural athlete and was the best basketball player in the city. The only games she did not like were indoor games like carrom and chess. Nah, they were too boring for her. She was 5' 11'', a cool half foot taller than the second tallest girl in her class.
Nazneen Baig - The class topper. Biology was her favorite subject. To her, parthenium was not just parthenium. It was class 'Magnoliopsida' and kingdom 'Asteraceae'!
Sushmita B - The most 'enthu' girl in the group. There wont be a dull moment if she is around. Her high energy would have made even the punjabis look sober!
Chaitra Narayan - A very normal girl. An average looking girl, moderately intelligent and not particularly talented. You would not have noticed her if she was in some other group.

7 years later...they are now at a "marriageable" age...
Sheetal - Now 6' 5'', she is playing basketball at the state level. She is finding it difficult to find a guy to match her height...
Nazneen - After finishing her MBBS, she is now pursuing her subspeciality in neurology. Her orthodox father is struggling to find a groom for an over-qualified daughter in her community...
Sushmita - She is not getting married in the near future. Its not easy when someone has 2 unmarried elder sisters...
Chaitra - Finished her engineering in some branch in some college. What, where - it did not really matter. She was no longer perceived as ordinary or dull, there was a new adjective - "homely"! She is married to some software engineer, who works in yet another 'cutting-edge-technology' company, settled in Bay Area!

In the world of marriage, there were too many parameters. And somehow, it was not fair...

1) I am on top of the hill. The cool breeze hits my face, I love it. I am briskly descending the steps. Well, I am almost running. I see a few oldies with huge pot bellies, desperately trying to get rid of decades of hard earned fat. A beautiful girl just passes by. I have not seen her before; she is definitely not from my college! I increase my walking pace, I can reach down within 10 mins. And suddenly, I slip, lose my balance and fall down the slope…
…and I wake up! I look at my watch. It was less than 5 mins since I had slept. Not once have I got up in the middle of the night because of this dream. (whenever I get this dream, I get this within 5 mins of sleep) I had read somewhere that this is the most common dream and ‘insecurity’ is the cause for this (Great discovery! No one can prove it wrong, as all the people have some insecurity or the other!)


2) Sometime in 2001. Its my last semester exam. The question paper is very easy, I know answers to all the questions. But, I am very bored to write the exam, I just answered 2 questions for 40 marks and handed over the answer sheet within an hour. The invigilator asked in a surprised tone – “So early?”. “Yeah”, my smile conveys “I just made sure I passed, and nothing else matters. So chill!” Half an hour later, a couple of guys came out and start discussing the answers. Stupid! They are acting like high school kids, analyzing question paper after the exam. I just overheard the answer to a question. No, they might be wrong. I think about the question and realized that I had answered a 10 mark question wrong. I rush back to the hall and ask the invigilator – “Sir, can you give me back my paper? I know the answers to other questions also”. The invigilator just smiles….and I wake up!
(I get slightly varying versions of this dream – like failing a particular subject in a semester – that too after getting the result for that semester!)

These are the only recurring dreams I remember till now. All the remaining ones occurred only once.

3) I am talking to a girl. She tells me – “Abhinay Sanjo ninge sakkattagi matta hathsda!
Do I know her? I am not sure. I don’t remember her face. I don’t even remember how her lips were. But, I vividly remember the essence of her smile. Her supreme confidence conveys a sense of “You can’t hide anything from me”. It irritates me. I have no clue who she is. I have solved a piece in the puzzle – Sanjo is the name of the hospital on the outskirts of Mandya (I came to know this recently, may be I had seen it in semi-sleep state some night) But, who the hell is Abhinay? I did not even remotely know anyone with name “Abh*” then. What could Abhinay have done? How does this girl know about it? And why was she so happy?

4) I jump off an airplane. My parachute opens up and I am in the middle of a forest with obscenely long trees. On my way down, I see numbers like 171, 170, 169 etc. on each of those trees. Does it represent the height? Is it 171 inches, feet or meters? Kilometers by any chance? I land in some place inside the forest, surrounded by a lot of snakes. For some strange reason, I am not scared and come out of the forest. I go to a nearby church and meet Sister Celina. She is the nun there and has two bodyguards, who always wear black suits. She asks me to go take some rest. On my way out of that room, I start mimicking Sister Celina – “Child, you must be very tired. Go take some rest”. And I turn back, and see Sister Celina’s bodyguards staring at me! :)

And sometimes I get this weird thought. That my whole life must be some long dream, and one day I will wake up and laugh at the whole thing - that I thought I had some strange name called Vasuki, I imagined some machine called computer and I thought blogging was for real!

All you Sigmund Freuds out there, can you interpret these dreams?


Chaos

I'm standing in the noisiest street
Searching for a bit silence
Its way too crowded out here
And all I need is some oxygen.

Some say hi as they walk past me
Few smiled and spoke nice words
The handshakes, the smiles and hugs
Made me feel more pathetic.

Couldn't stay for long, I had to run
But didn't move an inch
Is the whole world against me
Or am I on a treadmill?

Feel like I'm falling off a deep cliff
Gravity reduced by a tenth
All the cacophony around me
Fused into a symphony.

I am too tired of the journey
And only a few breaths left
All of a sudden I realize that
I was looking at a huge mirror.


PS 1 : If this does not make any sense, congrats! You are in perfect mental health.
PS 2 : This is not a poem. Its just a combination of non sense and new line characters, for better readability.

Oh God!

"He is a good person, sir. Very God fearing man", the old man was saying to his friend.
"Stupid!", I almost said it aloud, as I heard this conversation.

This is not the first time I was hearing something like this. And every time I come across a statement like this, I feel as irritated. Belief in God is the personal choice of anyone, just like brand of denims he wears or the drink he loves. What has goodness of a person got to do with his belief in God? Don't you think its stupid? Its as meaningless as saying "He is a good person, he has brown eyes" or "He is a good person, his favorite color is green". Stupid!

I know what you're going to say if you think I am wrong. That belief in God instills a fear in man that prevents him from doing bad things. You may be right to some extent. But, I feel being a good person because of awareness or self-thinking is much much better than being a good person out of fear. Long time back, even I was scared of Gods (the attitude you have towards a horrible manager, who has the ability to screw up your appraisal :)), but I am no longer scared of God (assuming that God exists). I don't ask anything from God. I don't think there has been any difference to my 'goodness' factor. I don't know if God exists, and it makes very little difference to me either way. I am an almost agnostic!

Hopefully, someday I would listen to some old gentleman talking - "He is a good person sir, because he is good".
Hopefully!

It was late evening. He stood there in what was famously known as the smoking zone of the cafetaria. He loved watching the city from the seventh floor of his company - from where even the chaos would look to be in such beautiful order. But, he was not happy today, not happy from quite a few days actually. With a cup of hot coffee in his hand and a cigarette in the other, he went into the flashback mode.

He was married for the last four years - and happily for the last three years ten months. Was it a love marriage? It did not really matter, all that mattered was there was love in marriage. He and his wife went to the same college. But, they had not talked much to each other, other than the usual "Hai" and "Bye". It was during their final year project that he got to know her. She was no stunner, no supremely talented. But, there was something likeable about her - she was exactly the kind of person who would appeal more with time. By next year, they were married to each other.

They seemed a great couple. They were quite different from each other, but they complemented each other very well. They had their share of quarrels (mark of a healthy marriage) but they had great respect for each other.

A new trainee had joined his team just a couple of months back. She was the most attractive girl he had ever seen. To make things worse, she was very interesting - she knew so many things, she was perfect! He became obsessed with her, he could not stop thinking about her. He started comparing her to his wife and he hated himself for doing so. His wife seemed very ordinary now - the benne dosays they had every sunday evening, the serials they watched together everyday seemed very stupid to him. He knew he was being unfair to his wife, but forcefully loving his wife was like being dishonest with himself. He avoided eye contact with his wife and every loving gesture from her made him more miserable.

He was considered a good employee at his work place - he was known to have good analytical and problem solving skills. He smiled sarcastically at that thought. The more he thought about this, the more confused the things seemed. He was aware that it was his attitude that is the root cause of this problem, but he was more certain that he had no solution to it.

The noisy alert for the SMS brought him out of his imagination. It was from his wife.
"Missing you. Come home soon :)"

This story or whatever has no resemblance to me or to anyone else. This story is the outcome of something very different that has the same undercurrents as this story.

I...

I am thinking...
why 10.00 PM-10.00 AM appears such a short time compared to 10.00 AM-10.00 PM

I said...
Crap! (I should stop this, seriously)

I want...
a cup of good coffee now.

I wish...
I had more patience.

I miss...
Mysore.

I hear...
the familiar sound of typing a keyboard.

I wonder...
as to why the world is so chaotic.

I regret...
that I have too many regrets.

I am...
an almost complete stranger to myself.

I dance...
when I get the right partner to dance ;)

I sing...
generally when I am alone.

I cry...
Have not cried in years (Cant even remember when I cried last!)

I am not...
What I thought of myself 2 years ago!

I write...
for the sheer joy of writing.

I confuse...
others and myself.

I need...
Music for my survival.

I should...
Be more patient.

I finish...
Writing this within 5 mins.


I tag anybody who comes across this and finds it interesting!

Nostalgic

"They now have boards all around this place"
"Look at this Mantapa-like structure...it was not there when we were here right?"

"They now have the reception in the entrance lobby"
"Sad. Guys can no longer sit and chat on the katte"

"I still remember my first day here. I had come to pay the fees"
"I had met you at the same place. I had asked you where 'B' section was"
"Oh is it? I dont remember that"

"Computer labs have not changed."
"Hey, this was my cobol lab. Uff, how I used to get tense before those lab exams"

"'V' madam is still here. She is a senior lecturer now"
"Yeah, she was beautiful"

"Is that BCJ?"
"I think so, he used to take physics, right?"

"They have mesh all around the PS block"
"Even the place where we used to sit is blocked"

"Remember this cycle stand?"
"Of course, here is where we had taken HL's photo ;)"

"PS block. Whats the first thing that comes to your mind?"
"Definitely MM. She had sung 'Raat Shabnami' in Jayciana. Do you remember when we had seen her first?"
"Not sure. Was it near the stairs?"
"No. Dont you remember? We were in the drawing class. She was sitting outside on a bench. Maroon color dress. Aah!"

"Cycle stand seems very organized now."
"Yeah, it has lost its charm"

"Given a choice to live your college life again, would you live it the same way?"
"Yes, mostly the same way. May be I would read better for the exams. You?"
"Hmm, I would live it very differently. I feel I was so stupid then."

"I think its getting late. Shall we move?"
"Yeah. Oh crap, I should have got my camera"

I had been to my college today with my friend Bata. Still feeling a bit nostalgic and reflective, I have randomly compiled some conversations that we had.

I am angry...

Last friday evening...
9.30 PM : Still in office, attending a client conf call
10.30 PM : Call ends...got into a citi taxi...heading towards majestic
11.10 PM : Got into the 'Airavata' bus at the bus stand
1.30 AM : Reached Mysore...passing in front of the beautiful Mysore Palace...I take a look at the Chamundi hills even in that semi-sleeping state
1.50 AM : Having dinner at home (or is it saturday breakfast?)
I just get this thought - that had there been no call, I would have been home on friday night itself, rather than on saturday early morning...

This friday evening...
6.15 PM : No client conf call today...good! I can reach home on friday night itself :)
8.25 PM : Can you believe it? I miraculously reach majestic, the bus taking a painful 40 mins from Corporation to Majestic (The irony of physics being, even 5 kmph is considered the 'speed' of the bus!)
9.30 PM : No signs of any bus at the Mysore platform (The guys behind the counter, as usual, give no details about the bus) A 'Mysooru Mallige' comes along. No! I dont want to go in that zero-leg-space, sleep-unfriendly bus. I stay in the platform. Still no signs of a deluxe/volvo bus. I see 2-3 deluxe buses for smaller places like Sirsi and Kumta. Whats wrong with Mysore? My restlessness is slowly turning into anger. I switch on the ipod to divert my frustrated mind. I finish listening to the entire Buddha Bar 1 collection (starting with my current favorite - Sida Vodjani's "Straight to the heart")
10.30 PM : A 'Mayura' bus is in the platform, when I was almost on the verge of a nervous breakdown. The bus takes another 35 mins to depart.
11.05 PM : A couple of spanish songs later, I am asleep.
1.35 AM : Reached Mysore, proceeding to the pre-paid auto stand. Some old man is quarreling that the rate decided by the pre-paid stand is wrong. Some more minutes wasted. Finally I get into an old auto (must have been from an era when people used basic for programming) The auto driver unusually takes a relatively longer route to my home (and of course, the gas gets over midway and he changes it there!)
2.00 AM : Reached home! I feel clueless and stupid.

I am still angry. Why is the world where I live so chaotic? Why is it that I have to spend so much of my energy on unwanted things? Or have I become so impatient and intolerant?

Any Idea?

Have you observed, that in almost all the Andhra-style restaurants, they would have placed the plantain leaves on all the tables. If you happen to order anything other than meals, they would remove the leaves and get the plates. Dont you think this is highly inefficient? They can have the plantain leaves only for those people who happen to order for meals, after taking the order.

Why is such a highly infficient method so widely used? Please enlighten me if you know the answer.

Its a bright sunny morning. You start on a trip with your friends/colleagues. Its barely 10 mins since the vehicle started. Suddenly, A, with all the enthusiam in the world, comes up with an innovative idea that Antakshari be played. Suddenly, a bunch of people, probably less enthusiastic than A, but as stupid as A, agree to this great idea.
"Blah blah blah...blah blah blah...shuru karo antakshari...leke prabhu ka naam", the group utters these stupid lines.
B, sitting at the window seat frowns, feels utterly helpless and thinks for a moment if jumping off the running vehicle is a better option. Why Antakshari? Why not just talk? Why not dumb charades? Why not pull somebody's leg in the group, some interesting conversation or nice humor? Or some divine silence when looking out of the window? B has no answers!

If you resemble A, dont take the trouble of reading further and sending me hate mails.
If you empathise with B, you are not alone. Welcome to the tormented club!

I have always wondered how a game(?) like Antakshari could appeal to so many people. I am still searching for answers! Any Indian language has 50 odd letters. And any person with some liking for music will know atleast a 1000 songs. So, mathematically speaking, any person knows 20 songs starting with any letter. Whats so innovative in that? Anyone can play this for atleast 2 hours without running out of songs (thats the sad part!) There is no excitement, no twists-n-turns, no sense of unpredictability. Thank God, no one tried has Antakshari with English songs!

Someone from Team A sings a sad song, team B follows that up a pop song, which will be followed by a classical, then a hip-hop and so on. And on top of that, you cant stop clapping to the song just because you dont like that particular song. Stupid!

To me music is not just timepass. Music is very thematic. It sets up my mood. Though I listen to almost all kinds of music, I would never listen to a latino number when I am in the "Shishunala-Sharif-songs-theme" mood! I know people who have not yet closed their browser window might ask me to be cool, take things easy and not expect people to have a mad liking for music like I do. I agree, but somehow every time I catch a glimpse of Deewane-Parwane-Mastane on TV, and look at those pathetic faces in the audience clapping at this stupidity, I cant help but say...
Crap!

Swapping

I dont know why none of the women organizations have criticized the usage of the word "wife-swapping". This particular usage assumes that a woman is a man's possession and he can swap his woman, like a commodity, as per his wishes. I consider this as a great disrespect to women. I feel we should fight against banning this word and replacing this with a more respectable phrase like "criss-cross-partner-exchange" or "mutual-consent-partner-swapping" or anything like that ;)


What do you say?

You've Got Mail

Got this idea when I watched the movie "You've Got Mail". This is not a spoof per se, as that movie was quite good. Its just that I got this weird idea - well, I must say, its my version of "You've Got Mail".

Our heroine is X (as per the biological conventions and it also reduces typing effort) You can call her Kathlene Kelly. Or Pooja Malhotra, Simran Oberoi or Sonia Agarwal - if you are a huge bollywood fan and it suits your sensibilities.

Our hero is Y. Or Joe Fox. Or Raj Singhania, Vikram Chopra or Rahul Saxena or whatever.

X is a typical fun loving girl, taking life as it comes and living every moment (whatever that means!). She likes to tell that she loves travelling (to prove that she is passionate and fun loving) and her favorite book is "The Alchemist" just because it is one of those over-hyped books and gives you an "intellectual" image. She is considered beautiful because of her ability to carefully choose far far uglier girls as her friends!

Y is not your typical hero. If you have named him as Raj or Rahul, think again. It just does not suit him! He is the kind of guy who sees the whole world in 0 and 1. A computer geek. Networking genius. He is considered to have very poor social skills, while the fact is that people are reluctant to approach him. Thats expected when someone knows everything about IEEE 802.11 at a time when his peers are struggling to learn the formula for methane!

X and Y finish their PU and join the same engineering college. Y falls in love with X (thanks to her bad-looking friends). But, X hates Y, she thinks he is a bookworm, arrogant and boring. After a few unimportant scenes (or item numbers/songs if you are from Bollywood), X gets a dial-up connection at her home. After checking her mails and sending a few e-greetings to aquaintances (oh yes, having teddies, roses and a loud song too!),she enters the chat room!

She logs in as "brownie_chubby" (For those of you who are interested in the logic behind that id, brownie is her dog's name and chubby is her pet name) She sees a peculiar name called "lan80211". Whats this 80211? Well, it must be that he was born in 1980, on Feb 11. Wow, Aquarius! (The stupid girl has no idea about 802.11 and it happens to be our Y!)

They chat for a few days and become friends (or friends?) One day, they decide to meet at some place. She takes less than just a couple of hours to get dressed and reaches the meeting place. She is shocked to see Y standing there! Y, all the way knew that it was X (he had done some research on knowing her dog's name and pet name!)

X is convinced that the person who she was chatting with cannot be Y. She suspects that he hacked into that id. Whatever technical explanations that Y gives makes her suspect him even more. Y has no ways to prove that he is actually that person.

Not every love story has a happy ending. More so in the virtual world!

I dont know who made this statement, but how true it is! I have observed people's photos in their albums, messengers, blogs, orkut etc. And they say so much about that person. Here is an attempt to consolidate all those random thoughts.

Disclaimer : This theory, "Photo analysis" is intended to be complete non-sense. Any deviation from this or resemblance to any person snapped or unsnapped, is purely coincidental and unintentional!

No photo - There are many types of people belonging to this group. Vast majority are outright ugly and have very low self esteem. Some could be the secretive type, who don't open up to people. Very few are mysterious and love playing 'mind games'. Some schools of thinking place lazy people also in this group.

Close up photo - Most of these people are very confident about themselves(people who are looking into the camera). They love to be liked for the "person" they are. A small section(people who are looking away) are people who fear rejection. They would have agreed for a close up snap, even though they are not comfortable and end up looking away from the camera.

Backdrop photo - These people want you to know whats happening in their life. They consider that "person" and "events" are inseparable. People whose pictures are taken inside Colloseum, in front of eiffel towers, or skiing are undoubtedly this type.

Group photo - They don't have individuality and can easily be influenced. They like to be identified as part of a group and not as an individual.

Constantly changing photos - These people are very vibrant and are always "on the move". Some of them are addicted to attention and a compliment is the passport to their heart.

Unrelated photo - These people have the photo of some child, a mountain, a flower or a Hritik Roshan as their profile photo. These are the 'day dreamer' types. Many of them live in an illusionary world and think of themselves or aspire to be to what they have as their photo.

Most of the people belong to more than one group mentioned above. So, how do your photos look like? ;)

Crime Diary

I had scripted this piece quite sometime back, but today I got the time and motivation to record this.

So, for all Crime Diary lovers, here is my version of Crime Diary (with due respect to Ravi Belagere)

It is available in mp3 format as well as zip format.

Yenjaai!

Still Alive!

I walked as fast as I could. Got inside the apartment and locked the door. Still breathing heavily, I tried to comprehend the strange events in the last 20 mins. I tried to put different pieces of my logic together to see if it makes any sense.

Its been quite sometime since I had gone for swimming. I decided to go today even though it was cold. There were very few people in the pool. By the time I had my shower, even they were gone. I was alone in the pool. Great! Not every day you can have the whole pool for yourself. Three dudes, who were smoking, were sitting outside the pool, accompanied by three girls. I started swimming.

Did I hear something? Yes, I heard it more than once. I stopped and looked around. One of the girls was telling something to me. "Your swimming trunks are cool". What? The black trunk with small green circles I was wearing, was actually pathetic. May be she is trying to make fun of me. Thats okay girl, you can be mean, but you cannot irritate me! "Oh Thanks", I replied, faking genuineness as well as I could. The plump girl who commented was at least twice my size(let me call her "Bad Taste Belle" or BTB for easy reference) I call her "Belle" because her friends looked outright scary!

After sometime, all those dudes left the pool. I swam for some more time continuously (the water was pretty cold, so stopping in between was not the best idea) I could hear BTB's friends making lot of noise, I could easily make out that they were looking towards me and making some comments. It was getting darker and the noise was increasing. I finished one more length and came out of the pool. Even the girls got up and started to leave. I avoided looking towards them.

"Hey, can I have your phone number?", BTB was showing the black mobile in her hand.

"Sorry, I don't have a phone". Thank God, I had not got my mobile to the pool!

"Oh okay", she seemed surprised. She could not understand how a person can survive without a mobile. "Hey, you are looking sexy!"

What??? Is she drunk or drugged or plain dumb? She looked as if she could be any one of those. How can a person who never exercises and eats unlimited butter nan and panneer butter masala ever look sexy to anyone? But, who cares! If I had to choose between a true comment and a nice comment, I would pick the latter ;)

"Oh thanks", I was still surprised. On my way out, one of her scary friends even said "Good night".

As I started walking briskly, I started sweating even in that cold weather.

Had I given my phone number, the next call would have been about "Your place or my place?". Don't tell me that I am just imagining. She was definitely not asking my number to discuss about servlets or country music!

I just imagined myself tied by a rope to her cot. Did she have cocaine with her? Or ice knives in her refrigerator?

The Indian Embassy could have got a call about me the next day - not because the visa or I94 got expired - but the man himself!

What if her scary friends had drugged me and dumped me somewhere on the freeway?

All these may seem too far-fetched imagination, but the lonely swimming pool, the bold plump girl and her scary looking friends were enough to frighten anyone.

I had trusted my "instincts", instead of "basic instincts" ;)

And I am still alive!

My outlook express was not responding from the last 25 mins. It was trying to receive just 2 messages. "Did anyone, by mistake, attach Windows Vista to the mail they sent?", I managed to smile even in that frustration. Finally, outlook finished the job. They were 2 forwards!

The first one had the subject "Best Friend". The content was usual - "I am fortunate to have such a friend like you...friends are God's greatest gift...friends make everyday like a sunshine day...if you get this mail back from someone, you know that they also consider you as their best friend...blah blah blah..."

Whats new in this, you might ask. All these quotes were written in images! Add to that, "A - accepts you as you are, B - Believes in you....Z - Zaps you back to reality" (Oh, I hate these "expansion creativity", let me try something like that, for LOVE, L - Life becomes beautiful, O - Offers meaning to our existence, V - Very valuable, E - Enchanting experience)

Crap!

The second one was a PPT, about "Did you know?"

Did you know that those who love others are the ones who are in need of love the most?

Did you know that people who wear yellow dress are bubbly?

Did you know that people who wear black dress love solitude?....

And the quotations having an image of a couple, a girl in yellow dress, another in black etc.

And the most irritating thing is, I had received the text versions of these umpteen number of times! Before I go further, let me make it very clear. I am not against forwards, not even against large attachment forwards, or any form of communication. I am not a great communicator myself and no expert by any means on this subject. But, I just wanted to write about the thoughts I had and to provide an outlet for my frustration.

I feel the most abused communication form is SMS. Blame it on the hutch and airtel offers of 100 free SMS for 1 rupee daily!

  • You are sitting in a boring conference call. (Hey, is there anything called an interesting conference call? ;)) You want to tell something funny to a friend sitting in the other end of the room. Yes, SMS is a great tool!
  • You are on the way home, but got stuck up in the traffic jam. Send a message to your mom, saying "Stuck in traffic. May be late". Perfect!
  • You are planning to go to a movie. You SMS your friend, "Wanna join for the movie tomorrow?". Your friend has no idea what time is the show or what movie you are talking about. If he is also a SMS freak like you, he will reply "Which movie?". At Least 10 SMS flow around to decide something. A single call of less than a minute could have decided everything! My belief is that call is the better option for a two-way communication, and not SMS!
  • Are you one of those who sends 10 Santa-Banta jokes everyday? If you are, for heaven's sake, please remember properly, you might have forwarded the same jokes by email a week earlier.
  • If there is something visual, like the picture of a heart using * and #, send it by SMS. It makes sense!

Coming to mails. If the mail is about quotations, they can be sent as text message. You need not have the pictures of babies, mountains or dancing smileys or a PPT slide to convey that. But, if you are sending top view images from Google earth of eiffel towers, taj mahal etc, yes, it makes sense!

Let me talk about communication in offices.

  • If there is something crucial and urgent, its better to call the concerned persons or go and talk to them in person. Mail is not the best option (Many email clients are configured to check mails every 30 mins, and not many people change that!)
  • If you want to get clarifications from someone at a different location, use voice chat or call them. Dont keep on IM-ing for hours!
  • If you are trying to debug something with a person at a different location, use IM along with voice. Voice - to describe things and IM - to copy the stack trace, log contents etc.

To summarize things, I believe communication is mainly about to whom, what and how.

  • To whom - Know your audience beforehand. If the mail is about some virus threat, send it to all in your mailing list. If it is about best friends, send it to only best friends or even good friends, not to acquaintances at least (I cant believe anyone having 50 best friends)
  • What - Send messages to only those to whom that message matters. Don't send all messages to everyone in your contact list. There is no point sending a forward about Thirupathi Balaji Darshan to your atheist friends!
  • How - No means of communication is bad. Think for a moment. Use the most suitable one.

Do I make sense?

You might have known people telling personality traits based on sun signs, moon signs, date of birth, year of birth (oh yes, its a chinese one). I have seen personality tests based on color preferences, answers to particular questions etc. I even had a DOS application which told about your qualities based on the way you built a house!

But, I always wondered why people never analyzed based on people's mail ids. Here is an honest attempt at a never-done-before task.

Disclaimer : This analysis is obviously prejudiced and has no scientific explanation. Any hurt, sadness or anger caused to anyone is purely accidental and simply unavoidable!

If your primary mail is Yahoo...

You love stability. You take calculated risks in life. You dont believe in sudden changes, and you think that hard work is the only way to success. You balance your personal life and career very well. The only regret you have is that people dont give enough credit for what you are worth.

Romance : You make the best pair with people with Hotmail ids. Gmail is also favorable, with some compromises needed. Avoid Rediff types.

If your primary mail is Gmail...

Ambitious is the word to describe you. You are never happy with what you got and aspire for something extra all the time. You are considered genius and maverick by your peers. Your friends somehow find it difficult to understand you, your eccentricities and you have your fair share of enemies as well. You are very dependent on the attention you get from everyone.

Romance : You hit off well with people with Yahoo and Rediff mail ids and not with Hotmail.

If your primary mail is Hotmail...

You prefer to live in the past, most of the times. You are content with what you have got. You feel that having too much only complicates life. You love to daydream and live in a fantasy world. Your friends consider you as indifferent and resistant to change.

Romance : You get along well with Yahoo types. You find Gmail and Rediff types as very eccentric.

If your primary mail is Rediff...

Most of the persons in this group are females or someone with strong feminine qualities. You believe that speed is everything and you are extremely spontaneous. Great starters that you are, you tend to lose that enthusiasm midway. You tend to do many things at one time, which lands you in trouble.

Romance : Though there can be some fireworks, you will have an exciting relationship with Gmail types. You feel that you Yahoo and Hotmail are pretty boring types.

If you have keep on changing your primary mail ids frequently...

You are very fickle minded. You are very flirtatious. You dont feel interested about anything for a long time. You get bored very easily. You dont believe in settled relationships and you have very low emotional intelligence.

Romance : Though you have greater chances that you end up with people similar to you, people with Gmail ids can have a positive influence on you.

If you just have a corporate mail id and no personal mail id...

You live in a world of your own. You hate meeting people in general. Some of you may even be autistic. You are very career oriented and you have very few or no friends. You are gloomy most of the times.

Romance : Learn to smile first. Or else, forget about romance!

So, whats your mail id? :)

It was 8.41 PM. I paused the Spanish movie I was watching. My mind tried to make one final attempt to trick me. It could not find an excuse - the weather was not cold, there was no rain, none of those possible excuses. Procrastination! What a beautiful word for the quality I hate the most. Nothing could stop me from swimming today, I said to myself.

The swimming pool in the apartment was open from Sunday, but I somehow kept on postponing (Yes, I even postpone the things I love the most) There were very few people in the pool. All the "sun-desperate" people had left. After taking shower, I dived into the pool. Water has so much life. I bet, you cant feel depressed there. Aah water! There are very few things that can make me more happy than being in water. I know, all those Linda Goodman followers will say that me being a Cancerian is the sole reason for that!

The pool was quite small, may be 40 ft length and 20 ft breadth. I finished to and fro journey of the breadth. And I was floating on my back. The grey clear skies, a bird on a delayed return to home...serenity. A loud kid started screaming, as if determined to ruin my enjoyable late evening. Then, I covered the length and stopped a while in the middle, when I heard a voice.

"Its pretty cold here, eh", the man was almost shivering.

"No, if you stop swimming, you will feel cold. Keep swimming, you will be fine", I said, passing on the gyaan that my swimming coach had given me long time back.

I swam for a few more minutes. The Gods, I don't know even exist, seemed to listen to my prayers. The loud kid left the pool. I lay there floating on my back, all alone in the pool. Time ceased to exist. All I could listen to was the sound of water waves generated by the beating of my legs. A thousand incoherent thoughts running in my head, which surprisingly, seemed to make absolute sense!

Back into the apartment, with smell of chlorine and a sense of accomplishment, I started thinking of ways to trick my mind not to skip swimming again tomorrow.

Dear user because of sudden rush of people signing upto orkut is come to an attention that we are vastly running our of resources so with in a week any one who does not receive this scrap will be deleted of our server . We know that you are still using this account We want to find out which users are actually using their orkut accounts so if you are using your then please send this scrap to every orkut user that you can if u do not pass this scrap to anyone then we will delete your account

Just follow these simple steps.
1. Click on the "Messages Tab" in your account.
2. Click on the "compose mail" option which is the last one of the four icons you see together.
3. Select "all friends"
4. Cut and Paste this mail
5. Send it........

This is the content of the mail I received from two persons in just a couple of days, and I am sure I will get a few more copies of this in days to come. I could not help but remember Divya. Yes, Divya Singh of Siemens fame! The pioneer of spam mails, the savithri of 21st century, whose husband has managed to survive from the era of dial up connections and reached the era of broadband. I sometimes wonder why people are so scared. Or is it the ease of "Forward" button? I always see mails like these with lot of skepticism. I generally google to see if it is a hoax mail. Let me analyze the above mail.

  • If there is a sudden rush of people signing upto orkut, what will the guys at orkut be doing? The CEO would have thrown a party to all the employees! They will obviously like more people registering with them.
  • Assuming that orkut does not like lot of people signing up, they will stop the registration or else allow restricted sign-ins. Why will they delete the existing users?
  • The space taken for your account is for your details, friend list, community list, scrapbook, testimonials, lists and album. I bet, this wont take more than 10 MB per person. Do you know who runs orkut? Yes, its Google, who revolutionized mailing service with the insane act of providing a giga byte to each user.
  • Let us think for a moment that orkut will decide to delete all inactive users. They might check as to when you logged in the last time or the last time when your profile was updated or the last time you scrapped or tons of options like that. Definitely not by this message!
  • Even if orkut decides to do anything like that, wont they send these messages directly to you, instead of asking each one of you send to all your friends (thereby misusing the already "low resources" that orkut has got)
  • Still, if they delete my account, as feared by many, I will have no regrets. I would not like to be a user of some hopelessly illogical service anyways.

How about 'thinking' a bit before 'forwarding'? May Divya's memory fade away. Amen!

Spam Spam

I always wondered as to which was the most spammed mailbox. Is it yahoo mail? Or Gmail? Definitely not Hotmail (as it does not have enough space for normal mails at all :)) I have found out that, my physical mailbox at the apartment is the most spammed. Surprising?

I have not read the Internet spam mails in detail, but from whatever I know, they can be broadly classified into 2 categories - money power (low interest rates, great mortgage prices, win 10 million etc.) and muscle power ('enlargement' suggestions, v!agra etc.)

But, physical spam mails I get have much variety. And each day I get around 20 mails. Most of them dont even know who lives here and they start with "To the resident at apartment #...."

Here is the sample of a few mails I got.

  • "Have you seen me?" is my favorite. It will have the picture of a 10 year old chubby-cheeked girl who was lost in 1998. How are we supposed to recognize her now? She could have turned out into a shapely lass, losing all her baby fat. Or she just could have "blown out of proportion", who might look like a brand ambassador for Burger King's Triple Whopper burger!
  • This is from a restaurant called Rice King.

Open hours :- Mon-Thur : 11.00 am - 9.30 pm, Fri-Sat : 11.00 am - 9.30 pm

I did not understand the reason for not writing Mon-Sat : 11.00 am - 9.30 pm

  • "Chat in places you never dared to before", seems to be the new mantra of T-mobile 'Heaven on Earth' plan. I suspect that it is 'Heaven to Earth' plan, to beat the competition of life time sim cards.
  • Get the perfect WHITE smile! (just in time for the summer) - I had no clue as to what has white teeth got to do with summer.
  • "Ready to have a blast this summer?" The fat lady on the ad actually looks like exploding any time!
  • "Do you get heartburns?" If so, call us and if you get qualified for our research, you will be compensated for your time!
  • The majority ones are about best deals on shopping, varying in price range, but all the prices end with 99 cents. Most of them are from "Shop Wise" and "Smart Buys". Dont you think they are oxymorons? ;)

As I started carrying the huge pile of spam mails to the dustbin, I badly missed the "Empty Trash" feature that I have in my Yahoo mail!

Two Good and a Bad

I thought of writing on 3 Google tools I happened to use recently. I am not planning a techiezation of my blog, so all those people who love the non-technical nonsense I write (oh, I love that illusion, I still cant digest the fact that people don't like my blog), I will be back with some non-technical stuff soon ;)

Writely

Its been more than 3 months since I had read about Google taking over Writely. They had stopped the new sign ups, till their merger with Google is complete. However, those who had already registered before this, had an option to send invites to others to join. Somehow, I was getting restless to try out Writely, so googled a bit yesterday and found someone, who sent me an invite. So, here I am, writing this blog using Writely.

You must be wondering what exactly is Writely?

  • Writely is an online word processing tool. (Well, why do I need that, I have MS Word, you might say! Hold on, I am not done yet)
  • You can collaborate, so that multiple people can edit the document, providing visibility to everyone.
  • You can publish the document, so that others can see it.
  • It integrates with blog. Whatever is typed here can be published as a post to your blog easily.
  • You can upload a word document from your machine and edit that in Writely. And you can export the documents edited here into RTF, Word, OpenOffice or HTML format.
  • Lastly, and my favorite is, you can see the different revisions of the edited document.

Writely has many googlish features like auto saving of documents at regular intervals, use of AJAX, tags - and of course the obsession with 'beta'.

If you want an invite for Writely, leave a comment in this post, along with your mail id (I promise, this is not a trick to get more comments in my blog ;))

Google Pages

I always felt I was homeless in cyber-space and I knew for certain that I don't need a palace! All that changed when I opened this blog account. I could give my blog address wherever they asked for my web site. Still a blog is a blog is a blog, and not a web site. But, I had no plans of registering a domain name for myself. I am not at all a "happening" kind of person and I wont have interesting things to tell very regularly. Add my incurable laziness to that, having a web site is not at all feasible. Google Pages solved the clash between my "wants" and "needs".

Google Pages helps you build up your own web site, and you don't need to know HTML! It provides a space of 100 MB, and you can even upload files (a video footage you captured from your new mobile, or a speech by you which can motivate the generation Y or a PDF document you want the world to see etc)

If you are willing for a professional web site like having a blog in that, huge space, guestbook, look and feel of your choice etc etc, I dont think this is for you. But, if you are an uninteresting yet greedy soul like me, this is for you! Check out my new unfurnished cyber home.

Google Desktop Search

Last week, I had installed Google Desktop Search , or Google Desktop 4, as they prefer calling it. There was this biggest motivation for trying it. Windows XP has probably the most screwed up search feature, of all the Windows versions (The option "A word or a phrase" does not work most of the times. Not to mention the irritating dog that pops out to tell that no search results were found. Oh, I hate dogs!) The last time I had tried Google Desktop (I think it was version 2), indexing was hopeless. They claim that its better in this version, but I could not try it because of their most favorite feature - Google Gadgets (Is it not the same as plugins in older version?)

Want a clock on your desktop? How about a calendar, a WiFi indicator, a TV, or anything else you can dream up? This is what Google claims.

Tell me, how many times in a day would you look at the calendar? (You can always click on the system tray time icon to see the calendar)

Its okay to see a jazzy clock for the first time, but it gets annoying after sometime. Do you really prefer knowing the time from a heart shaped clock? (For all those die hard romantics, Valentines Day is still far away, use Windows system tray clock instead)

There are so many other gadgets which are very primitive like winamp plugin, RSS reader etc. And there are some useless plugins like Weather forecast, chinese checkers, latest news, Word of the day etc.

As far as I am concerned, a good software or tool (and even persons ;)) should make it difficult for me without them. But, it did not take even 2 seconds for me to decide that I am uninstalling Desktop Search from my machine. For once, even Google showed that they are mortal!

Quite recently, I overcame chronic orkutophobia and now I am a permanent resident in orkutopia.
It’s a nice place, with lot of fun (oh, I love scrapping!) and I am totally addicted to it now. I was wandering aimlessly from the last few weeks here, searching anything that comes to my mind and I observed some interesting things. Here they are:

  • Sharukh Khan is a member of orkut and most of his friends are from Pakistan. I am surprised that his Indian fans are not aware that he is tech-savvy. The only celebrity friend he has in orkut is Mona Singh a.k.a. Jassi. There is one more profile of SRK, not sure which is real.
  • Who are Rani Mukherji’s celebrity friends? Ganguly and Amisha Patel. Rani is also a part of Kajol fans community (surprise!)
  • Ganguly profile and pics are mostly about Chappell bashing. His celebrity friends are Sachin, Dravid, Amitabh Bachchan, Abhishek Bachchan, Akshay Kumar, Kareena Kapoor, SRK.
  • Abhishek Bachchan has only 2 heroines as his friends – any guesses? Your answer is wrong. Its Mallika Sherawat and Diya Mirza.
  • Mallika has more hate communities, time to get dressed girl!
  • Kareena Kapoor and Shahid Kapoor are members of Emraan Hashmi community :P (Is that the reason why they were caught on camera?)
  • Surprisingly, Esha Deol has a bigger community than Hemamalini (Can anyone explain me why so many men have pathetic taste?)
  • Ash has more members in her community than Sush, but Sush has no hate communities!
  • Dino Morea is still a member of Bipasha Basu community. :-))
  • Can you guess which sports have the biggest communities? The biggest is basketball followed by soccer, tennis, baseball. But, cricket has thrice as many communities as basketball.
  • The most hated sport was cricket. There are 17 communities of cricket haters. There is only one small community of soccer haters. There were no communities, which hated tennis, baseball, basketball or hockey.
  • The popular Indian cricket players according to orkut are in this order – Sachin, Dravid, Ganguly, Dhoni, Pathan, Sehwag, Yuvraj, Laxman, Kumble. Bhajji is the least popular, way behind Sreesanth, Munaf Patel, Balaji, R P Singh. Harbhajan is so unpopular that if you search by his name, the first community that is shown is of the singer Harbhajan Mann! ;)
  • Greg Chappell has more hate communities than fan communities. Hmm, one incident seems more important to people than the accomplishments of the entire life.
  • Gavaskar, Kapil, Vengsarkar have fan communities. Amarnath, Kirmani, GR Vishwanath have missed the bus.
  • Which cricketer is the most hated? No marks for guessing – its Ganguly. Next in the list are Dravid, Sehwag, Sachin.
  • Well, Himesh Reshammiya evokes strong feelings from people – there are an equal number of fan communities and hate communities.
  • There is a community called “Autistic Pride”, and it has only one member! So meaningful! There are lots of one-member communities in orkut. I even saw a zero member community!
  • Which city has the biggest community? Take 5 guesses, I bet you are wrong even on the fifth attempt. It is Karachi.
  • The biggest community of a software product? – Its not windows, its not office, it is Adobe Photoshop.
  • The chocolate that tops the list – Kit Kat.
  • 2 of the top 4 communities about politics are “Hate Bush” communities.
  • Most popular hobby? Photography.
  • Who has the biggest community in music? Bob Marley.
  • The biggest community is a Spanish one I guess called “Odeio Pessoas Falsas”.

Don’t tell me I am crazy. You did not know so much about orkut, right?

Auto Manja

Disclaimer: All the characters in this story are fictitious and an outcome of the writer’s retarded imagination. Any resemblance to any person driving an auto, traveling by auto or unaware of auto is, as usual, mere coincidence.

It was late Friday night. No, it was almost early Saturday morning. I got down from Airavatha and hired an auto. The driver looked very familiar. I could see a similar flash of recognition on the driver’s face. Yes, it was Manjunath, also known as Manja. I went into an instant “flashback” mode.

It was in the mid 80s and there were not many houses in my locality at that time. Next to our street lived Manjunath. Manju, as we called him, was a year elder to me, though he looked 4 years elder. He was well built and always short-tempered, a trait which was hereditary. I used to call him for playing cricket with us in the evening. He was a match winner, not because of his superior batting or bowling abilities – but because of his ability to fight. He would come in handy for close calls like run outs, stumping etc. Had he been an international cricketer, ICC would have banned him for lifetime for his misconducts on field.

After a few years, we stopped playing cricket (thanks to the irritating cricket-hating fat lady next to my house, who used to take away the tennis balls every time it went inside her compound). I used to meet Manju on the road once in a while. He had a new set of friends now – Naaga, Budda, Loki, Koli, who all had a reputation of smoking and drinking, even before entering high school.

Once Manju, or Manja, as he was being called now, came to my house along with his friends – “Aunty, Ganapathi kundristhideevi”. Like any person in the locality, we donated some money, to avoid disappointing Ganapathi and Manja’s friends. The “Vidya Ganapathi Bhakta Mandali”, headed by Manja, constructed a huge ‘pendaal’ and got many orchestra groups and drama groups to perform for a week. In the remaining time, they were dancing to some loud songs (they called it “ricaald” – their pronunciation of the word “record”) Manja fought with a couple of his friends the same week, which I later came to know as something regarding mismanagement of Ganapathi funds. Somehow, Ganapathi was not pleased with this and made sure that none from the “Vidya Ganapathi Bhakta Mandali” passed their exams.

A few of his friends had left him and he had made some new friends. Some younger “wannabe-Manjas” in the locality started calling him as “Anna” or “Guru” whenever they met him. The road-end “Saraswathi Provision Stores” had become his default hangout place, where he demonstrated to his friends, as to how to create a ring from smoke.

Surprisingly, he finished his tenth in the third attempt and he was not seen often near that provision stores after that. He had joined some JOC college. Somebody told me that he was going out with some girl and he was spotted at the nearby temples with that girl.

After a few months, I saw Manja near the same provision stores. He looked drunk, his clothes were shabby and he looked completely Devdas-ish. His girlfriend had dumped him and married a guy of her parents’ choice. That was the last time I had seen him. I later moved out to Bangalore and lost track of Manja.

“Saar, do you come so late every week?”, Manja interrupted, breaking my flashback sequence.
“Yes”. He seemed better than the last time I had seen him. His auto was decorated and was in good shape. You can tell about an auto driver looking at his auto!
On one of the mirrors was a photo of Upendra and the slogan on the glass read ‘Love is blind’.
“How are you Manja?”
“Life is going on saar. Got this auto on loan. Dad is not that well nowadays. All my friends are gone now. We can only depend only on our family…” he was getting philosophical.
“Do you like Upendra?”
“Uppi sooper saar. Hudgeerna sakkattagi baythane”, he smiled.
I was in front of my home, as the auto stopped.
As the auto sped by, I could not help but notice the statements on the mudguards, even in that dull streetlight.
On the left was written “Thande Thaayi Aasheerwaada”. On the right was written “Preethisidha hudugi kayyi kottaLu”, with an image of a knife piercing a heart!

I was planning to write a blog on this from a very very long time. But somehow the narcissist in me kept on writing articles just about myself. Unlike me, this is something very useful and interesting. Yes, you guessed it right. I am talking about Opera – my favorite browser.

Before I start…
1) If you are one of the persons who are fed up of my excessive admiration towards Opera (without even bothering to know why I admire), this article is not for you!
2) If you are one of those persons who use Internet once in a fortnight just to check mails, this may not be so useful to you.
3) If you are one of those millions who still think that Internet Explorer is the only browser and don’t feel a need to change just because you can ‘browse’ with IE, this is definitely not for you (its like saying there is no difference between a 486 and a P4, because you can play Paratroopers on both ;))
4) When browsing with IE, if one of your windows hung and it killed all other IE windows, and you had felt completely hopeless and angry looking at that stupid blue icon “e”, this one’s for you!
5) If you are using any other browser other than IE(like Firefox), but having an open mind that there can be a browser having better features, this one’s for you!

Well, what can I say about this amazing browser? That it is the fastest browser on earth? That it has so many features that I have lost count? Its totally customizable? (With due respect to Erich Segal, this is not plagiarism. Its just a mere coincidence that he was as awed by Jennifer as I am by Opera!)

What do I like the most about Opera? Here’s the list. (and all these features in less than 5 MB)
1) Opera does not ask you to browse as ‘it wants you to’ – it gives you the freedom to customize ‘the way you want it’. You don’t want a button – remove it, you want to place a toolbar on the bottom instead of the top, you want to have a close button for every tab – yes, its possible!
2) Opera has a wand, which helps auto-filling forms.
3) Has an inbuilt RSS aggregator (though it is a relatively new feature and I am sure, will be enhanced in future versions)
4) Has mouse gestures to open, close, refresh page, open links etc.
5) You can include additional search engines, within a minute.
6) If you have 3 sites opened, and you want these to be opened at a later time, you can store this as a “session” and whenever you need, you can open that ‘session’ (Its an amazing feature, which I don’t think Firefox has)
7) Did you ever see something interesting in a site, which you wanted to copy for a later use and opened Notepad, copied it and wondering where to save that file? Forget it, Opera has “Notes”. Select something and do a Ctrl+Shift+C, and it copies to your note inside Opera (Yes, Firefox does not have this too)
8) Opera has a full fledged mail client facility (I have not tried this, but read that its good)
9) Did you ever feel that some sites have very small or very large fonts and you wanted that to be displayed in a size you like? You can use the zoom facility in opera.

There are tons of other features which I simply love, about which I thought of writing in detail, but came across this amazing link (I am an Opera user from more than 3 years and I felt I knew almost everything about it before going through this link. How wrong was I!).
Read it when you are free, you will know why I am an Opera fanatic.
30 Days to Becoming an Opera Lover

If you want to know why Opera is better than Firefox, read this
Comparing Opera and Firefox

Visit one more Opera lover Vijay here.

I don’t say that Opera is perfect (few sites don’t open in Opera, google talk chat from browser does not work etc.), but the benefits are so much that you will ignore those (for such rare scenarios, we have our pathetic IE anyways)

Long live Opera!

Its one of those afternoons when I had gone out to eat. I was at Wendys. Its kind of ‘okay’ place – not as good as Subway and Burger King, but far far better than McDonalds. There is a pretty long queue. As I wait for my turn, I take a look at the wall displaying the different varieties of non-veg burgers, that I will never be trying. I reach towards the counter and I suddenly see this lady.

Our eyes meet for a moment and both of us have this “oh-no-not-this-person-again” expression on our faces. You cant figure out how old she is - she could be a teenager, a middle aged woman or an old lady. She looks like an alien who has missed her spaceship and failed to adjust to this strange planet. If you don’t believe in mutation, you have definitely not seen her!

I reach the counter, a little bit uncomfortable, knowing what exactly would happen in the next couple minutes.
“Hello, what would you like to have sir?”
“Hai, I’ll have a veggie burger, without meat”. Quite redundant information – ‘veggie burger’ and ‘without meat’, you might say!
“A wha’?”. She goes blank, as if I talked to her in Sanskrit.
“A veggie burger, you know, just the bread and vegetables in that, no meat”, I try to manage a smile.
“We don’t have a veggie burger”, she still seems to be wondering what kind of a person she was talking to.
“Umm, well, umm”, I feel totally embarrassed, not knowing how to explain her. Am I supposed to say ‘Give me a chicken burger without chicken’ ;)
Suddenly, she seemed to remember the burger they had prepared for me the last time.
“So, what do you want, just the bread?”
‘Yes, give me half a pound. Parcel!’, I said to myself. “Yes, the bread, and the vegetables”
“Tomato?”
“Yes”
“Onions?
“Yes”
“Pickles?”
“Yes”
“Cheese?”
“Yes”
“Thats it?”
“Yes, thank you”. What more could I ask for?
“Heres your bill sir, $3.20”, she gave me the bill. “Marie, a burger with just tomato, onions, cheese, pickles…no garlic”
I thought of telling her that garlic is not non-veg, but kept quiet.

As I waited for my burger, I started memorizing what I need to order the next time – “Gimme a burger with cheese, tomato, onions, pickles, and no meat…”

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