Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Ente Keralam

A place that never ceases to amaze visitors. Right from the unbelievable greenery to the extremist population, each and every aspect of every day life in Kerala is a novelty to the unaccustomed eye.

In most towns, the roads are so curvy and slopes are so steep that they have more blind curves than an average hill station! Besides, the average speed of vehicles on road, especially cars is 80 kmph. In the plains, the roads seem to be precariously placed on the water irrigated fields like floating threads and in the hilly area, there are houses on top of hillocks that have hand made roads that put the best of brakes are gears to test. Well, it takes some skill to drive here, hats off to those who possess these skills. I know quite a few who do- a good number of my cousins.

While driving on the roads of places like Kottayam, you see sign boards on the roads indicating curves ahead as 'Z' in various angles.
You would think thats an exaggeration. Although, after you go through the curves, you wonder if the 'Z' has done justice to the curves, because by the time you finish one, your body would have swung towards atleast four different directions.

One other thing that is simply amazing about this state is the food. God's own indeed. Its a foodie's paradise. Few dishes that I consider truly out of the world - tapioca and fish curry (kappa meen curry), paalappam and stew, buttermilk curry with cucumber/white pumpkin, duck curry with parota/chapathi. Actually, the best of kappa meen is available in the notorious toddy(alcohol) shops, the second best is home made. and dont even get me started on their home made wines!
It is with much self control and that I am wrapping up this topic. this list and detailed description can go on for miles.

Politics. Every single individual is a strong supporter of one or the other party. They have sharp views on leaders and policies and they consider politics very much a part of daily life, unlikeTamilnadu where politics of the state figures nowhere in day to day conversations.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Monday, September 22, 2008

Everyone hates me!

Oh Monday.. its not your fault honey. If it were any other day in your place, i am sure everyone will hate that day. Come on cheer up, I hate to see you so sad. Listen, I just want you to know that we dont have anything personal against you. In fact, its not about you at all.

The problem is entirely on a different plane. I will try to explain. Well, I do not intend to scare you, but there is no other way to make you understand, I think i will have to say its name. Brace yourself, Monday, I will just whisper it in your ears. Its called..WORK. Oh sweetheart, please dont cry. No no baby, it wont hurt you, really it wont. It eats only people, sometimes it just stresses them out, it sucks up their personal life. It also puts in a lot of hate inside people, that makes people hate others, and thats how we hate you. You see the connection now? Does that make you feel better? Honey, believe me when I say, Its not at all about you, but I am sorry, we hate you.

You see its a completely different matter that I would not hate you so much if i just sat and finished that report my boss wanted instead of writing an ode of hate to you. But you know us, we are people, we are like that. We need someone to blame. As much as we hate you, we still need you. and besides 'blues' cannot sound better without you.

and hey, if it makes you feel any better, think of it this way, no other day enjoys so much of attention like you do. Who? Saturday and Sunday?? oh oh, they are just jealous of you. Dont you listen to what they say. You are the most popular. Do i like them? oh no i dont, not at all. Well, maybe just a little. but hey, remember - You are still the most popular. Everybody hates you! you are the best! Are you cute, you ask? Of course you are! you are the cutest of them all!

Monday is the best! who agrees with me? lets vote and cheer up poor monday!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Online application for voter id

I got this info just today, if you do not have a voter id yet, you can apply online in this link: http://www.elections.tn.nic.in/

I think other states may have similar pages, this is specifically for the Tamilnadu state.

A colleague gave me the link, and being the responsible citizen that i am (ahem..), I am sharing it with you. but hurry, the site says the option is available only till 20 Aug (wednesday). You need to have a scanned passport size photo of yourself to upload in the application form.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

whats a perfect day

This blog is late by a day (not that someone was waiting for it anyway..

Yesterday, was THE day. just the thought of it fills my heart with joy.
no, im not talking about the olympic gold. Thats national joy, of course i am happy about it. Kudos to Abhinav Bindra, and good luck to Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore. I hope he betters his Athens silver to a Beijing gold this time.

here, i am talking about a single soul's jubiliation. the 11th day of August, year 2008, i started from home, 9.15 AM in the morning, and , AND not a single red light stopped me en route office, even though the roads were crowded with vehicles. it was just green, green and more green. is this really my city? sometimes, we get so lucky that we are surprised, words fail us.. thinking abt yesterday, oh it chokes me.. sniff..

im not putting this up here for the heck of it, just needed to remember that days like yesterday do happen, they havent stopped making them yet.

thats not to say that i was on time. i was late to office, but thats a different story you see.

on second thoughts, this whole thing of one waying the city roads is not so bad eh.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Mashing it up by Elliots

When we want to celebrate Chennai, what do we do? We go to the beach! Obviously.
So thats what a gang of us were doing on Saturday evening at the Elliots beach, among the incessant waters, countless people and the delicious roasting corn. The waves and the amazing stillness before another break-out of the waves.. Ah Chennai. Ya, this well frog knows no better :) frankly, i dont care to. I am happy with ma Chennai!

After walking aimless on the sidewalks we settled at MASH to snack. This is one place that I had always wanted to go to. because it has an open design, totally taking advantage of the sea breeze, was higher than ground level (first floor) and had a table that ovelooks the road, the crowd and then the sea itself. and as luck may have it, we got that table. I could not ask for more. But more happened, the heavens gates opened and it started pouring. It was amusing to watch the over-crowded beach emtying in under 20 seconds as people ran for cover from the rain. As for me, I sat at the table with stowaway drizzles patting me now and then. The place had a good roof, it never leaked for the water to get in.

Now about the food. Mash has one of those amusing menu cards with the likes of 'Jame's Bondas' and 'Aachi kari stroganoff'. We settled for fish n chips and a panneer sandwich (for the unfortunate veggie). With 3 of us and 2 dishes served on the table, of course a lot of fighting and haggling followed with the food disappearing in a matter of seconds leaving us with ‘Is that all??’

I dont remember if the food tasted good, so no comments on taste or quality. actually, the food was gone even before there was a chance for evaluation.

Friends, waves, food and a drizzle - a perfect weekend, stuff that totally guarantees future nostalgia!

As we were still lazing on the verandah, my friend got a call from home ordering him to get back home. His folks were worried. Bangalore had a series of 8 bomb blasts on Friday, and today (Saturday) Ahmedabad had 18. it was all over the TV news. All the blasts were aimed at civilians, all in highly public areas. There was an expert panel on TV and in their opinion, Chennai is probably the next targeted city.

Where would someone plant bombs if the target was Chennai? Spencer plaza, Pondy Bazar, Marina, Elliots....Silence prevailed as we looked out at the waters.

’Err..Hey its nearly 8’
‘Ya, getting late’
‘We better leave’
‘hmm yeah’

With the showers ending their performance and just a slight drizzle playing, we went our ways. That doesnt mean my future nostalgic moments are spoilt, just that we have one more item to add to the exotic list, bomb threat! well, not very exotic if u ask me

Friday, June 20, 2008

Three mistakes of my life by Chetan Bhagat

Option 1. Heavy, hard to understand, complicated.
Option 2: Funny, simple, for kids.
That was desi English fiction for you. Then Chetan Bhagat happened. Well, he happened over two (or 3 ) decades ago, but he surfaced as a novelist with “five point someone” and then quite a number of Indians read Indian authored books. His writing was termed as witty and dark. His funny lines oozed with sarcasm, but that was what exactly made us laugh.

Yes, somewhere on the road to civilization in the recent century, comedy turned sarcastic. Ironic eh..

Then he wrote “One night @ the call center”, a book that represented/reflected the state-of-mind of almost half of the confused generation x in the country. similarly witty, dark writing. The end of the book is impossible, it had God calling up the gang to a mobile phone to settle things. but then, that’s why its called fiction! I didn’t mind the God character in the book. He’s equally funny as the others, he can stay, no problem.

So! 2 books and I was hooked. He announced his third book last year. I read it in some tabloid. I kept checking the stores/websites but nothing happened for sometime. I just wished he would just hurry up and release it. I want to read it I say!

“Three mistakes of my life” a book about Cricket, Politics and Religion hit the Mumbai stores first. May be because Rupa&Co (the publishers) are based there. Chennai and I waited for a week and I got hold of the book as soon as it was stacked up on the shelf.

Expectation is a funny thing. Its like eating a candy and then sipping on a sweet drink, the drink isn’t sweet anymore. After I finished reading this new book, I still was thinking about the first 2 books. Unlike the time when I read the second book and it took the first one’s space in the mind’s Chetan bhagat’s book section. It just felt like an extension of five point someone, as if Alok, Ryan and Hari had started a business and the three mistakes is actually their story. Or perhaps Vroom and Shyam went to Gujarat and took up a trade. Only this time, the wit was not as witty as before. Is this what people call run of the mill?

The same seemingly weak protagonist (Hari in Five point../Shyam in one night../Govind in three mistakes..), the same seemingly hopeless friend who hatches up seemingly smart plans in the ultimate crisis (Ryan/Vroom/Ish), the same lady love who initiates the moves all the time (Neha/Priyanka/Vidya)

The official third book didn’t leave me waiting for the fourth; instead, I am still waiting for the third one. I wonder if he has announced his next book yet.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Lord of war

You can never force someone to fall in love, but you can definitely improve your odds

From movie 'lord of war'.

more:

the secret to survival, never go to war, especially with yourself

How many car salesman talk about their work?
How many cigarette saleman? Both their products kill more people every year than mine. At least, mine has a safety switch. If those guys can leave there work at the office. So can I
(**the guys occupation is selling guns)

Google says Andrew Niccol wrote the script for this movie. If you happen to read this and if you know other movies (good ones) this person has directed/written, please let me know.

Friday, May 16, 2008

The Macaws

About a month ago, a lady walked up to me and pointed on the word on my well worn-out t-shirt’s sleeve. “Great fonts. ‘Macaws’, Do you work for this company?”
“Oh no, this is not the name of a company. ‘Macaws’ are a kind of multi coloured birds.”
“I see, so you have birds for pets?”
“Not really. This is a group’s name”
“A rock band?”
:) “ No, just a group of students”

**********Flashback***********

“Maakkaas?” my sister made a show of suppressing her laughter.
“Uh no. its Macaws..say ‘Ma-khaus’. Isn’t it cool?” that was me trying to make her see how seriously out-of-the-world-ly cool the name that we had chosen for our group was.

We were a group of 11 odd MBA students and were doing a truly no-nonsense project for the Electronic Corporation of Tamilnadu. More than half way through the exercise, we realised that we didn’t have a group name! No identity, no brand, not to mention a lack of total focus of contemplative collective mission and…well, did I tell you that I was doing my degree in management?

After days and nights of bashing of a poor group mate's brains - courtesy 'follow-ups' by moi, up we came with an innovative and catchy name.

“Maakkaas!”
“Nooooooo! Macaws! beautiful, multi-coloured, vibrant, new world..
“Parrots!” said my sister with a made-up sneer on her face. She was clearly enjoying this.
“Er..Well, they are birds..ya, sort of.. parrots. But they are colourful and intelligent and..
“hee ha ha ha…Maakkaas”
“Aaaaaaah”

Teena came in later that evening and I hurried up to her to show our rad group name.
“Hmm, what does it mean?”
Super, so here was a person who was really interested in the details. I explained to her animatedly.
“Sounds good..makas”
“Oh nooooo. Its macaws! Say..
“Oh ok”

At the final event, all of us were sporting brand new t-shirts that had the Electronics Corporation’s logo on one sleeve and “The Macaws” on the other and spent a good part of all the days we were at it explaining what our group name meant to anyone who cared to ask. Somehow I never got tired of explaining to people what the word meant, but it sure freaked me out when they mispronounced it.

It was a refreshing feeling to hear this stranger pronounce it right :)

Sneha

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

DDD. Dreams that go Down the Drain

“1500 rupees for just the application form! Can you believe this?” He said, more to himself. All kinds of expense calculations going on in the back of his mind. “Anna university’s BE applications cost less you know” He rested his chin and stared at nothing particular. “I cant imagine what the fee must be.”

More calculations, more thinking, then he got up and inhaled deeply. “He really likes it you know. I think I will be able to put him in the music school if they believe in EMI” He was smiling now, not a worried smile, but a happy one.

That was my friend, making a decision to enrol his son in KM Music academy – a music school by A R Rehman. (No comments on the holdings, I have no clue).

Now it was my turn to ponder.

I counted the number of things that I let slip by because I lacked the money, the courage, the initiative and lot of other abstract adjectives I prefer not to write here. I looked around and saw some mirror images of myself – people who do not realise what is important to them (most times) and live only half of their allotted lives. I also see some people running after things, which after they get, are left to gather dust.

Who is doing the right thing? What is the right thing? Do we recognize the things that are important to us from the lot of million others that are not? If we do, what are we doing about it?

My brain also dusted off and popped into my thinking stream a line that one of my friends had said a long long time ago – “If you really like something, you better put in some effort and money into it. Or else, you bet your *** you are gonna regret it someday”

I wonder... how did i respond to her? It was a long time ago and I dont remember, did i make it clear to her that im not into betting? Well, I hope i did...

Monday, May 12, 2008

Regional religion

**Disclaimer: This is not a ridiculing note, but an observation of a passer-by, i.e. me**

This is the neo age and dont think that its just the cars, suits, furniture and a countless other things that are custom made. We also have for you, Custom made... Gods!

Santhome Basilica, a temple of Christian Catholic faith and a monument of great touristic interest houses a statue of Mother Mary, in a glass and wooden dome within the church campus. This Sunday, she was wrapped in a bright purple saree complete with bright golden coloured zari work.

This is the Tamilnaattu Mary maatha, custom made for the Tamil people. I wondered how they dressed her up north.

An year ago, when a European colleague came visiting India, he was taken around Chennai for the traditional go-around of the city and on Sunday, keeping his high Catholic values in mind, the manager made arrangements for him to attend the sunday mass in one of the churches nearby.

Monday morning saw a grumpy European Catholic in the office. He was disappointed and depressed to find Mother Mary "strangely clothed"!

Well well, I told you, just an observation, remember?

Monday, April 21, 2008

Getting over first love

Pentax P 30, regular steel body, 80S make, Japanese, K mount SLR, as is lens 50 mm. no fuss, nothing grand. But i cannot put into words the feelings i have for this inanimate friend of mine. Countless are the memories i share with it.

My first memory of this camera was when I was a kid of maybe 5 years. We were at the zoo and my father was trying to take a photo of the hippopotamus. he was pointing the camera precariously into the wide well like structure where the hippos were kept. I was looking at him (not the hippos) worried that he might drop the camera. I did not take my eyes of him till he had finished taking multiple angle shots, put on the lens cover and had strung the camera safely onto his neck. I do not remember anything else we did/saw on that trip, my only memory is a Pentax P30. By the way, the hippo shots came out remarkably well. Dad is great at it. I am still working at it.

Dad was very posessive of the equipment, he never liked anyone other than himself handling them, so naturally, for a good part of my childhood, I could only long for it from a distance.

It was precious and I knew it. It is not unusual to consider anything that is not easily reachable to be a 'purpose of life' of sorts. When I was in the tenth standard, I took my first shot with the cam, that was one of the best moments of my life. that particular frame never got developed though :)

From then on, I captured in our backyard, a red ant carrying its food, bright red hibiscus in the morning sun, a silky green bug resting on lime green gooseberries and many more memorable shots - memorable only to me ;) My mom took one look at the ant's picture and asked me 'why cant u take normal pictures, of human beings?'

It was in the first year of my college that I had the camera all to myself for 2 consecutive days. I had to beg and plead with dad. It was a photo competition in an inter collegiate meet conducted by another college in town. My camera was the object of envy of atleast 50% of the students who took part. those two days were bliss. I clicked and clicked till the end of the day, I was happy and content, I didnt want anything more, my mind reached a point where it did not matter to me whether i win. But I won. Another best moment..

Once i moved away from home, it was a challenge to get dad to depart with his camera. But i did manage the undoable sometimes :)

With time and usage, the equipment has slowed down and now, even after getting multiple services done, I am unable to get clear pictures out of it. It is sad, it is heart-breaking. I still have strips of the LR44 maxell batteries that the cam uses. I cannot amount how much of money i have spent trying to get it into shape. I loaded a new film into it yesterday though i know it will be either over exposed or under exposed, the output will be grainy and distorted.
It feels like having a lover with Alzheimer's. You know you are losing him, but you cannot stop trying.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Vanakkam Chennai

"The Times of India" comes to Chennai, and how! Jingles on radio, ads on TV, hoardings on the road - these are just the regular ways any product is publicised. The Times of India's publicity for entry in to Chennai has just proved that Times is indeed part of the intelligent media brigade.

Apart from the regular ways of marketing, Times is also promoting the newspaper, through events. Here are just two observations from a Chennaite who has got minimum media exposure.

Usually in TN, when we move into a new locality and occupy a house for the first time, we visit the neighbours/get the neighbours visit our house.
Times has got ARRehman performing live, for free! Those who need passes have to collect them from the newspaper's office. What a way to say "we have arrived!"

Today when I stepped out of the apartment building for the morning walk, a bright white and cheerful kolam with "Times of India" awaited me at the porch, where they usually have the kolam drawn. From thereon, I saw this happy kolam announcing the Times at every doorstep! This is some work of SOME brain! Really, what an idea! the last time i was so impressed with a marketing idea was when i saw small boards tucked onto gates saying "Do not park in front of the gate". The board and labour sponsoerd by a company that proudly displayed its name on the board. Fair enough. You take a social issue of warding of unwanted vehicles parking in front of building gates, bundle it with publicity to the sponsor and perch it free of cost on the front gates of buildings. all are happy (except few owners whose gates' paints were minorly damaged)

I wondered what would have gone thru the discussion when the creative team working on the campaign for Times had the brainstorming. 'OK so we are going to Tamilnadu. What do tamils like? what kind of ppl are they? what do they do?..they like music, they like Rehman. So pull in Rehman. They draw kolams everyday, they wont be offended if we draw a kolam announcing times in front of their houses!..' and so on.

The creative team has done its work, will the product itself be as good in understanding us? It remains to be seen if Times of India can gather up the kind of loyalty that The Hindu has among Tamils.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

good-better-best. late-later-hopeless

A colleague who loves reading heavy philosophical books had insisted that I read one of his favourite books, light from many lamps. And ‘read’ I did, just that I took about 8 months to finish the first half of the book. My usual reading time for fiction is 3 days to one week per book, but philosophy has to sink in deep, and that takes time, doesn’t it? You gotta make allowances ;)

Although I didn’t think I would like to finish the book, I am slowly realising that its OK to read it as I am in fact liking it. For one thing its not the average Donald Trump or Shiv Khera type of literature (if you can call it literature, that is). It’s a collection of interesting excerpts from a lot of writers (all American though) and its not all pep talk. It narrates lot of incidents as they happened in people’s lives.

One story that influenced me is about an inscription on a garden wall. One day, a very busy doctor receives a letter from one of the old patients. The patient, a young woman narrates how she had seen a writing on a wall in a garden and thought it might be relevant to the doctor. “Enjoy yourself. It is later than you think”

The doctor put the correspondence aside and tried to forget about it, but it refused to get away from his mind. He was getting old and he had always wanted to go for a holiday. Since he thought his patients needed him, he never gave too much thought about his dream. But, from the time he read those words, he was restless. He kept thinking, “Really? Is it late already?” then he decided that “maybe it is later than I think”

He decided to take the long pending holiday, he wanted to visit South America. He met his friend and asked him to join him in the vacation plan and later, showed him the letter. His friend initially said he cannot go, he wont be able to spare time, he is too busy. Later, they sat in silence, each in deep thought. Then he said “What is that thing again that woman said? ‘it is later than you think’? Well..”

And so they went to South America, and enjoyed their vacation by doing everything that the country had to offer them, as they enjoyed the peace, they felt their burdens slip off.

At his death bed, the doctor’s friend’s best memory was the days spent in South America. “I am so happy that we went to South America. I thank God we did not wait too long” – these were among the words he spoke in the last few hours of his life.

Lots of things I read affect me, some do not, and some I pretend that they didn’t affect me. But this short story went deep inside, made changes and made me do things I would not have done on a normal course. I am glad I read this, because I am glad with the results I have due to my actions. Not all that I did worked out the way I wanted, but not even one will make me regret later.

Thought this would be nice to share with few others. So here i am, spreading the message, Go ahead, enjoy your times ppl! I am afraid it is indeed later than you think!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Excerpts

Eleven minutes by Paulo Coelho

I stood for a long time by the roller coster and I noticed that most people got on it in search of excitement, but that once it starts, they are terrified and want the cars to stop.

What do they expect? Having chosen adventure, shouldn’t they be prepared to go the whole way? Or do they think that the intelligent thing to do would be to avoid the ups and downs and spend all their time on carousal, going round and round on the spot?

Life is a fast, dizzying game; life is a parachute jump; its taking chances, falling over and getting up again; its mountaineering; its wanting to get to the very top of yourself and to feel angry and dissatisfied when you don’t manage it…

The Hungry Tide by Amitav Ghosh

As we were drawing closer (to the mangroves which were notorious for tigers), Horen looked at me. ‘Sir’ he said ‘now the time to go ashore is at hand, tell me, do you feel the fear?’

‘The fear?’ I said ‘what do you mean Horen? Why should I be afraid? Arent you with me?’

‘Because it’s the fear that protects you sir; its what keeps you alive. Without it, the danger doubles’

‘So are you afraid Horen?’

‘Yes sir’, he said. ‘Look at me. Don’t you see the fear on my face?’

And now that I looked more closely, it was true that I could see something out of the ordinary on his face – an alertness, a gravity, a sharpening of the eyes. The tension was a kind that communicated itself readily. It didn’t take me long before I could say to Horen, truthfully, that I was just as afraid as he was.

‘Yes Horen, I feel it’
‘that’s good’
It’s a lazy afternoon, I am sitting huddled with my fluffy pillows in the depths of the couch. Its drizzling outside. The breeze is cool. I get up lazily and walk to the windows, I release the curtains and they drift up lightly in the breeze. I feel the cool rain drops on my palm as I stretch my hands out of the windows. I step out on the balcony, the drops spray on my face, I cant help a smile..

I step back in and make some hot chocolate. Music plays and mingles with the rain’s rhythm. I am back at the couch with a hot cup of chocolate. The book I am reading is hilarious. By the time I finish half of my drink, and two pages of the book, I laugh out aloud at a well written joke.

I finish my drink and 3 more pages, I sink deeper in the pillows and doze off…things are good, things couldn’t be better. Or, can they be?? May be, I cant make up my mind. Well, it would be better if things were even better..i am losing my head…then BANG! I open my eyes and stare at my 15’’ monitor, turn and see the pile of papers at the desk. The time is 2 pm on a hot Tuesday. I am far from my tasks targets and farther from weekend.

The last time I looked at the clock, it was 1.59 pm! I have to make few difficult phone calls. I have been putting it off for later since morning. Should i do it now, or should i finish the mailing first. I need to do a report, should i do that instead..I cant make up my mind.. I close my eyes and try to wake up in a different world. It doesnt happen :(

This is not fair

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Kite runner

Finished reading the kite runner by Khaled Hosseini. The story is set in Afghanistan. The time spans before the war, during the invasion and during the Taliban. One of my friends who had read the book had described the book as 'interesting'.

Before I started reading, i had read the reviews that were printed at the back cover. One of the newspapers had called the book 'painfully honest'. I wondered what that meant, but found out soon.

Its one thing to tell a story as a third person, by naming the protagonists as A, B and C and say A hurt B, so A was such a kind of a person, whereas its an age apart to tell a story as "I did this, I could not stand up for what i loved, I was a coward". Since I had never read anything so honest, the book impressed me. More than the story, it was the narration that i liked. The language had been kept very simple. The book also gives you a quick account of Afghan life during the Russian invasion and the Taliban rule, of the kabab loving-community and their values, their short-comings and misgivings, their life and death.

The one line that lingered in my mind long after i read the book came when the first gun shots were heard in Afghanistan- that was the time when Afghanistan was like any other peaceful country (i swear it was difficult for me to imagine a peaceful Afghanistan). The children were terrified when they heard the gunshots and they huddled together and their care-taker tells them that the sound is because 'they are hunting ducks'. The author says 'they were foreign sounds to us. the generation of Afghan children whose ears would know nothing but the sounds of bombs and gunfire was not yet born'

Yes, an interesting book, but also deep, dark and disturbing. but i believe you wil grow a little wiser after you read it

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Her pets, her life



Few images linger in your mind long after you see them. Few moisten your eyes atleast for a moment.

This is one such photo, published in 'The Hindu' on 25 January 2008. The picture shows a woman hugging her pets for the last time, just before she hands them over to the health workers, who would eventually kill them. The killing or 'culling' as they call it is going on across the country wherever there has been signs of the bird flu.

the photo was taken by Arunangsu Roy Chowdhury. it brought tears to my eyes, just thought i would share it with you.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Foodie alert

There probably isn’t anything I enjoy more than talking about food! Imagine my joy when I found this website that has the food joints, cafes, bars all listed down with address and phone numbers and a few reviews :)

burrp.com is a total foodie website, though very few Chennai joints have been reviewed, they do give you a fair idea of what to expect regarding cuisine and prices. And of course, spreading the love, I am gonna do what I think I can do for the site- talking abt food. In fact, I have already written reviews for few food places in Chennai :)

It is classified on the basis of cities. The cities listed are Chennai, Bangalore, Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkota, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad and Pune. I noticed that cities like Mumbai and Bangalore had more active people on the site. I saw many reviews and also more joints listed there. In any case, the Chennai space is not bad at all!! I have not found any other website that’s exclusive for restaurants and cafes and burrp.com is gonna do just great for me :)

So next time you are looking for some place to have coffee/lunch/dinner have a peek at this site. And if you did visit any interesting restaurants, share your experience on the site by writing a review.

I just noticed the number of smileys i used in this post, my maximum so far in a single post i guess. Well, it happens. 'Food' is one of the only two topics that deserves so many smileys. the other one is, of course 'guys' ;)

Expert opinions. On resolutions and the city weather conditions

This morning when I went for a walk, I started sweating within about few paces. I loved that fact! My heavy duty (walking!) exercise was making me sweat! But as I was listening to the news on my headset radio, I slowly I realized that the humidity today is 88% and that’s why I was sweating, not because of my "work out".

'Oh yeah', I thought, 'I live in Chennai'. And my beloved city is just turning to be its tropical worst; we are at the end of January and that’s just the end of the hot weather and the beginning of the hotter one. Come March and…no, I don’t want to talk about it, not yet atleast.

With a sudden rush of urgency, I realised that I had been planning a day trip to Pondy, then a trip to Thalavoi and more places that aren’t really at their best during the summer. Oh! I thought, I have to rush, those place will be unbearable by next month. I had started planning these trips ages ago. I remember postponing these trips last year because of the summer and now here I am, again doing the same thing.

I should have taken a resolution this new year. Something like ‘I will do what I plan to do and will never postpone it’. But now January has almost ended and which idiot takes resolutions well into the year anyway?? Just 11 more months for the next new year, I will take my resolutions then. Hey, I am not postponing, its just that, this is just the logical thing to do, don’t you think? Resolutions aren’t exactly effective if they aren’t taken at ‘new year’. this aint an excuse, this is.. "Logic"! you get my point, right?? ;)

Sneha

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

And the worst book I ever read is…

If God was a banker. Author: Ravi Subramanian. Publishers: Rupa & Co. Shelf price: Rs.195 (Rupa style)
**Disclaimer: This is only my personal opinion. this is not meant to offend anyone**

First things first. Mr. Ravi Subramanian cant write a book. Its truly unfortunate that he decided to. Rupa & co surprises me! They are the same people who have brought out great books time and again and I definitely did not expect such a bad publishing from them.

I guess the author is a banker and an MBA grad. For the only saving grace of the whole work is the tid-bits of information that he has written on banking and the few strategies employed during the emergence of retail banking in the country.

The book is so bad that it has put ideas into my head. I have been thinking…why don’t I write a book? If Rupa can publish this book, they will sure consider my scribbling, wont they? and if the book does get published, it is definitely bad news for you all, because you HAVE to read it! Dont worry about paying, i will send you free copies. and then i will call you up to discuss what you think about charecter X or the situation Y. If you say you have not read it through, I will be deeply hurt, and will call you again after few hours to see how many pages you finished reading! (evil grin)

I remember the time I started blogging, I used to worry my close friends to read the trash I used to write. My blog entries never take more than a few minutes to read, but a book? Hee hee hee

On second thoughts, since this is just the start of the year, I have decided it is not good to have such evil thoughts. This is the happy new year and such malevolent actions right at the beginning of the year may bring me bad luck, so I am shelfing my book ideas. This is a temporary arrangement and I will let you know when i cease to be good. Till then, have a happy new year!

Sneha