living offline

I am addicted to my computer. Even if I am watching TV or on phone, I need to play around with my fingers on my computer, either you tubing or gaming or something like that. And this includes checking my 5 email ids every 15-20 mins. It’s not that I cannot live without going online, but just knowing that I have the access at hands reach is a comforting thought (there is some reasoning behind my Uncle calling me a ‘Googler”, as per him, I can find him anything he wants online). So, you could imagine what I would have to go through if I am to get past a day without my laptop. And quite befitting the Halloween month, I am having to the horror of parting with my computer.

It all started few days back when I resumed my attempt to connect my laptop to my TV. Mind you my television is a good ol’ CRT TV and for some reason I was not able to get any display on TV though it said in my laptop that it’s connected. I am someone who preferably likes to resolves issues my verbal conversation rather than by email or chat. That’s the reason why I usually call up the customer care of any company for troubleshooting so that I could explain my concerns to them in detail. But for the last one week, I have been on phone for almost 3 straight hours after going home from work with my laptop company customer care. Even by my tolerance level to talking, this has been quite a tedious effort.

So I made my first call to the support team of my laptop makers. One of the major pains of customer service is that it makes you go though all this menu options and voice recognition stuffs before you can reach a real human. And every single time, despite of my best efforts to sound as “american’ as possible, the automated lady on the other end refuses to recognize my menu option. So after all the yes and nos I get connected to a representative who turned out to be located at Kolkata (fortunately, he still had his Indian name intact, rather that a Dave, or Andy with Indian accent). I spend good 3-4 hours on phone troubleshooting my laptop and updating some system drivers and all with no luck. Next day on, I noticed that the fan inside my laptop was making unusually loud noise and my laptop battery wasn’t getting charged though it said so. So I made my second call in 2 days to the company to complain about the sound and charging issue going though all the options which the auto lady utters (including the spanish lady).

Another thing that irks me is that every time you call, you get connected to a different person and you have to start explaining the issue from scratch. This time I was connected to a lady in Canada and it turns out that the pervious guy had updated the wrong drivers on my laptop and she updated the right ones for me. Still my laptop refused to charge. And to add to my frustration, here was that guy from Kolkata following up with me to see if I could get my laptop to display on TV (He seemed more interested in fixing my problem than me).

So, after my 3 call in as many days explaining the story from the prelude to the epilogue to the 3rd representative, I got my laptop battery replaced. Still, even with a new battery, my problem remained unresolved. Anyway, the long story short (I have already lost the credibility to say that!) after 2 more calls and couple more hours on the phone, I had to send back my laptop to the service center for detailed diagnostics. It is expected that I will be out of computer for good 1½ weeks (and it’s been only just 4 days so far!)

Update: Its been a week without laptop and my vitals are all good so far and I am yet to manifest any withdrawal symptoms. I am surviving and weathering through it. Just the fact that I am posting this entry even in the absence of my laptop is proof enough for my well being.


dry spell

Its been years since I have published a post here. In blogosphere, months are the years, days are the months….you get the drift. Its just that I was preoccupied with work and rest. I have never been a systematic blogger, though, even by my standards this had been a long dry spell. A glance through the archive list this page would tell you that I often go through such phases where I just can’t get myself to blog about anything. At times I run out of topics, and some other time I want to write, just that I don’t know how to put it in words. This time the lack of posts has been due to the former during the earlier months and latter in this month. By now you might have figured that, I don’t have any point with this entry and it’s just meant to shake off the cobwebs from this page. I have some quality free time with me now a days and hoping to get few things, about which I want to write, posted.


a mouthful of feet

I am sure I will not be the first or the last person who would have experienced this. You blurt out something and the very next moment regret why in the bloody hell you said that. Not only the whole thing is embarrassing, but your every attempt from then on to save yourself from the disgrace can be equally embarrassing or even dangerous. I, for one suffering from acute case verbal diarrhea, am prone to such situations. And the worst one comes out when I try to make a casual conversation.

It was during my first year in US and I was at my on-campus work place. I was in the coffee bar and I, along with two employees of the plant was waiting for the coffee to brew. Since I was new there, just like all people waiting for coffee in any coffee bar in any work place, those two were chit chatting with me about what I was doing and how long I have been in US. It was a hot summer time and one of the person asked how the weather in India was like. And since I had received so many questions from curious minds in US about India, I started explaining with zeal how much hot the weather in my part of India was. “Is it this bad there?”, asked one of the two. “Its worse, that’s why we are this dark” and immediately I felt the taste of my foot in my palette and a sudden brain freeze. One of the two guys was an African American!! Since nothing I would say from then on could make it any better, all I could do was to conjure up the strength to pour my coffee and just vanish from that room forever. I was never to come across that guy again.

What made me recollect this was a similar incident my brother who was in US few weeks back. This one too, curiously enough, involves brewing coffee. He was at the coffee bar having a coffee. An African American person who was next to him spilled some coffee on his own shirt and was trying his best to clean up the stain. And my brother in an attempt to lighten up went “you should wear a dark shirt like I have; then no one would see the stain”. And that person in his broke English went “you mean……dark?” (it was his first visit to US and as part of the orientation I gave him, being the ‘more experienced one’ here, I had instructed him specifically to avoid any conversation which could be misinterpreted as racial) and immediate he too felt the delicious taste of the feet. However, unlike the not so gracious exit I made, he managed to convey it to that person that he was referring to the shades of shirt.

Though there have been other instances where I have regretted saying something, none has freaked the bejesus out of me like this one. Maybe its one of the drawbacks of having a mouth which works faster than the brain. Or maybe it as a rookie mistake made in an alien nation…or maybe it just runs in the family.


one man show

Houston is one of the few cities in US with a large contingency of Malayalee population. Hence it is not totally surprising that new Malayalam movies release here every other week. Though the movie theater is very close to where I live, I hadn’t seen a Malayalam movie, partially due to lack to company and partial due to the abysmal standard of the movies churned out from my home state off late. So I had pretty much forgotten about it till last week when someone asked in chat if I get to watch Malayalam movies here; if so there was this new movie which was really funny. To my surprise, the same movie had released here and was still playing. Given that I hadn’t seen a Malayalam movie in a theater in a long time and the fact that it was a sequel to a very funny and super hit movie released almost 2 decade back, I had to watch that movie in the theater.

Since it was a Saturday night, I expected many of the mallu families in Houston to flock to the theater and hence I set forth a bit too early so as to get a good seat. Also, it was a good opportunity for me to meet some of my fellow Houstonians from my home state and maybe strike up some conversation in Malayalam. So here I was all geared up headed to the theater.

The theater was surprisingly deserted for a Saturday night. Given that there were Telugu, Tamil and a Hindi movies too playing, I expected some Indian crowd…...nope, none was seen even going out of the theater.

I purchased the ticket and the usher directed me to the theater. I entered the hall and there was no soul there. Here I was all alone in an empty movie hall with about 200 empty seats. I picked the seat right in the middle and settled myself. Minutes passed and start time was near, still no sigh of any other human. It would be absurd to carry on with the show when there is no audience (which has been the case in India) and I was certain that the show would be canceled and I would be refunded the fare me.

As I was thinking of what to do with the rest of the night, now that the show would be canceled, to my surprise, the screen lit up and the titles started to roll and the movie started! And here I was watching the movie all alone in the theater as if it was my personal media room.

To cut short the tale, the entire movie 2.5 hr was played for a single person. It was a unique experience for me. Never before have a seen a movie in such solitude. Did I like it? Not really. Not just because the movie wasn’t as good as I expected it to be, but because I was so lonely. Not that I would chatted through out the movie, but I don’t prefer watching movie in a theater alone. I am sure everyone enjoys the movie in the company of friends and so do I. But this time, I wished there was a stranger atleast.


choice control

“There are many parameters that determine your course of action now a days...…..and your control over those are reducing”, I remarked recently to couple of friends. Though it was one of those comments which I ‘uttered-before-thinking’ (which I do quite often), this one made complete sense when I heard it back as I said. The work and the related intricacies are making the decision making a hard nut to crack. Like, for example, taking some time off or going home for vacation. Other than the obvious difficulty of getting the leave, there are further issues like the stringent rules imposed by the immigration off late. I have heard the horror few people had to go through with the immigration that I am more than willing to put off my travel plans. It is true about life decisions too. The economic situation and the uncertainties associated with it have forced many of my friends and acquaintances to postpone their marriage or relocation or buying a house. Life’s always been about making choices, but think the number of if’s and but’s have increased, which is making the task even tougher. You control over your own life is getting loose.

Then I hear about this former college mate of mine who has decided to go back to India for good. And his reasoning is because he felt like doing so. And how I wish if it was that easy for me to make a decision! For a person like me who finds picking between one or the other is one of the hardest things to do (and would be more than happy if there were no choices), it would be nothing short of a blessing. I am sure it would make my life much simpler.


avan, aval, naan

He was 5’11”, well built, brownish complexion, handsome and smart. She was almost 5’7”, wheatish, lean, beautiful and gracious. We were not surprised when he fell for her. “I was hooked to her the very first time I saw her”, he confessed. “There is something magical and magnetic in her eyes that attract me towards her whenever I see her” he went on, typical of him given how filmi he was.

Invariably I would be there with Raj when we would come across Anu. I swear it was coincidental and not deliberate. In my defense, whenever possible, I used to excuse myself from the scene to facilitate any course of action from Raj, if he may.


“Did you talk to her?” I quizzed

“No da, not yet”, he gave me the same answer he as been giving me for the last one month. Ok, I have been asking the same question to him. Maybe I should rephrase my question.

“Are you ever gonna?” I deliberately put a tone of warning into the query.

“I will, I am just waiting for a right moment.” I think valentine’s day would be the right time”

That’s a whole month away!….i sighed


Namrata Shirodkar in a navy blue mini skirt smiling at me from the wall right across my bed, when I woke up

She was nice, infact, she looks really gorgeous in the pioster; not only on the one on the wall, but also on the 2 which had appeared behind the front door.

“What the heck?”……my eyes were searching for Raj.

“Don’t you think Anu looks like her?” you can’t but agree with Raj, when he puts in such innocence in his questions (don’t believe, try being his roommate for 3 years)

“She might be, if you think so”…the most I can do is to give him moral support.

There is something magical and magnetic in her eyes that attract me towards her whenever I see her”.


“Hey come.. she’s there in the caffeteria”…he dragged me out of the library and threw me behind his bike. I don’t need an life insurance as of now, but if such events are gonna recur frequently, it wont be a bad idea to get one…..a rather big one given the speed at which he was beating the traffic.

“ Why do you need me if you are gonna talk to her”…..i could help wondering.

“She’s with her friend”


“Your labmate Megha”


“So get rid of her from there. I have a thing going on for her, don't you?”

“heyyy, nothing like that!" I pretty much yelled back wondering how he figured!. "So, you want me to kill her?” I had to crack the PJ. It invariably help hide my blushing; as well as change the subject.

“Poda….shut up if don’t want me to do that to you”

“Given how you are driving, I think you are trying your best”


“I will give the card to her today”… I had heard that million times in the last one month. Atlast the day had dawned.

“Good”, atleast I will be spared from now on from your countdowns”. I had to be sarcastic irrespective of the mood of the occasion.

“Its today or never”…he vowed.

When I got back from college, Raj wasn’t home yet. Being an optimist, I assumed things worked out well with his card giving and my best chance of catching him would be in the caffeteria with her.

I don’t know when I dozed off, but I was in the middle of a nice dream – I was practicing dance with Rani Mukherjee; which would have been a nightmare if it was real! - when Raj banged on the door.

“Haaaaiiiii” my yawn sounded like a greeting. “So, how did you give it to her?”

“Naaaaa”…his dejected tone sounded more authentic than my yawn.

“Whats wrong”?

“Nothing”…..he paused ...”I think she is already with someone”

“Oh damn”, I felt sorry for my roomie…"Did she say that”?

“Kind of, she said she has personal reasons, what else it can be!”

“Its her misfortune da, take it easy. I am sure you will find a much better girl”…I had to do my part in consoling.

“Com’on Raj, let’s go out, the beer's on me”, I felt like doing more than just consoling for my dear roomie. I swear, my urge to have a beer after the nap was only a secondary reason.

“It was a good card by the way, maybe someone else can use it”…I hoped my inopportune jokes which usually works its charm in cheering people up with do it this time too.


“Hurry up man, you are getting late for the match”…..Raj shouted over the revving of the bullet.

“In a minute, can’t find my wallet”

“Make it fast, I wanna warm up a bit before the game”…Raj was quite sure of the expectations from the best batsman in the team.

Just as I was retrieving my wallet from the drawer, I noticed a green envelope addressed to Megha under the directory. It is cheap to read others mails, but curiosity got the better of me. It might have got the cat killed, but I had to take my chances. After all it was addressed to Megha. Having decided to find some excuse later for my defense, I opened it. Inside was a small sky blue color card with lamination like finish and written inside in lovely print like handwriting were the words I had come to memorize listening to over the last few weeks.

“there is something magical and magnetic in your eyes which attacts me towards you whenever I see you”


lost in translation

I had a dissapointing revelation few days back!

As most close to me know already that though I am a born Tamilian, I am more comfortable with Malayalam owing to my upbringing in Kerala. That also accounts for me being more fluent, both in verse and speech, in Malayalam than Tamil or Hindi or for that matter even English. Malayalam used to be a compulsory subject for me in school and I can confidently claim that I am pretty good in it (I learned the Tamil alphabets on my own and still can only stutter through reading any text in that language and my spoken Tamil, well, all know how that goes).

I have not got any opportunity to use Malayalam in writing for almost 5 years now ever since I landed in US. I never lost touch with the language (or so I thought) since I regularly read Malayalam news online. But what I forgot to realize was how much I had not used the language in my writing. And to my own horror I realized it few days back. I had to translate some notes to Malayalam and I just couldn’t get the letters right! Usually, I just sleep walk through the words, but this time I messed up the letters with similar looking scripts (and there are quite a few similar looking letters in Malayalam).

I am afraid I have to confess with at most shame that I might be losing touch with my first language. I feel embarrassed about myself since I never expected it to happen…feels almost like what I would feel if I ever forgot how to ride a bicycle. I maybe over reacting a bit, and for as much trivial as it sound, my worry is valid given how much low I feel about the whole issue.

I recollect an incident last year. The last time I had to write something in Malayalam was for Vidhyarambham (Aayitha pooja) and while writing in Malayalam, I misspelled the very first letter wonder I had hard time finishing my studies last year!


i wonder why

I used to be stubborn kid. I have been the recipient of many self inflicted injuries as well as those inflicted by my mother given my mischief. (If anyone is surprised to read about such a version of me should be thanking the god that they got to see a mellowed version of me). I have been very unruly and short tempered which has landed me under an auto rickshaw, on a concrete floor head down from the terrace etc other than the innumerable slaps from mother (well, those are stories for another time).

Sometime in the early nineties, at around the time when the bollywood movie Phool Aur Kaante released (which launched Ajay Devgan as the new action hero), I was at my unmanageable best - getting pissed at the slightest of things and throwing tantrums and yelling to a stage of physically attack - and my cousins gave me the name Ajay Devgan….for being the angry young man I was!

Cut to year 2004, I was at the wedding reception of my cousin at Utah. There I met one of my other cousin’s husband and he remarked that he had recently seen the movie Raincoat and Ajay Devgan in that movie reminded him of me. Mind you, it is a movie where the mentioned actor played a gentle character which a heart of gold.

It was a surprise for all of us present there since he had no idea that I have been previously compared to that actor. And my cousin said “See, we told you that years back!”

In my personal opinion, I don’t think I resemble Devgan in anyways. The only similarity can find is the skin texture we share ….(also, maybe the unconventional good looks too *wink*). Yet it still bewilders how I was compared to AJ all over again. After all those years, my alleged similarity to the actor surfaced again albeit for different reasons.

(Maybe a cue for future filmmakers, who wants to make a movie on my life, whom to cast as the lead actor....or maybe vice versa ;)


the man who wasn't there

Note: Though the characters in the story are real, the incidents narrated are fictional.

He had a noticeable hunch on his back, which was more pronounced when seen from the right side than the left. Sometimes he was seen wearing an orange monkey cap. Other than these, there wasn’t much noticeable about that old man. I am told that he was always found sitting on that bridge over the river. My father says he has seen him there ever since he was a toddler. That might be exaggerating a bit since he himself mentioned on another occasion that bridge was not built till he was in his high school. I think he just meant to emphasis that the old man has been there for a very long time.

I have seen him at the exact spot on that bridge every time we visit our ancestral village with my parents and brother. It was almost a ritual for me to look out through the window of the bus whenever it crossed the bridge. “Wake me up when we cross the bridge” I used to instruct my mom as I dozed off during those 6 hr bus journey.

My father always mention about that great flood of 1970 to everyone, which drowned his village and forced him to move to the city. He says even as the river was overflowing over the bridge, the old man refused from there. He clearly remembers noticing the old man, standing waist deep in flood water near the middle of the bridge as he and my uncle paddled over the bridge on their canoe with all the stuffs they could salvage. As if it was that old man's sole responsibility to stay put. My father appreciate his courage; at the same time,he confessed to us, made him feel guilty - for abandoning his village at the time of distress. When he heard in the radio that his village wasn’t washed away, almost a miracle given the intensity of the flood; he was certain that it was that old man and his will which saved his village.

I believe it was also an act of redemption for him to take my mom, brother and me to his village atleast once a year, visit the temples and meet all his childhood friends, old neighbors, acquaintances or whom ever is left of them. So, even from when I can remember we have been making the trip to that village. And every time we crossed that bridge my father would look out to see that old man; and so would I.

From what I can remember, than man always looked the same, disheveled, and shabbily dressed. He looked weary and tired, but never unhappy. I couldn’t picture him being young. My father said he couldn’t recollect how he looked when young. I believe he was born this old and lived that way his whole life.

I didn’t know anything about him. But his act of defiance against the Mother Nature and the fact that my father admired him was good enough for me to respect him. His constant presence on that bridge made him a cult figure of me and he was an identity of the village whenever I mentioned about it to someone. He was the guardian of the village and I believe his presence there was one of the factors which made us connected to our roots in spite of our city upbringing.

Over the years that village underwent many changes. The panchayat built a check dam over that river not far away from the bridge few years back. And another bridge, bigger one for heavy vehicles was constructed adjacent to the old one. Bus no longer made service through the old bridge and the traffic was confined to pedestrians and light motor vehicles. With less time to dispose in hand with the fast paced life, we switched the bus journey to a faster and sophisticated car trip. And thus we still commuted through the old bridge and never missed the sight of the old man. It was as if, we shifted to car because a trip in bus would make us miss him.

With my studies and subsequent employment, I was not able to make the trip to the village in the last couple of years and I had forgotten about that man for a while now until last year’s vacation. When I was told by my mother that she had planned that trip this time around my thoughts went back to the old man. I realized I never knew him. Did he ever leave that spot? When did he eat? How did he eat? Did he ever have a family? Was he abandoned by them? Or did he abandon them? - I didn’t even know his name. I think I never bothered to know anything about him. I wanted to be detached from him that way. I sympathized with him, yet was not willing to do anything for him. I felt meek and inferior and wanted to redeem myself.

“I am sure that man will be still there on that bridge”. I told my mother, “I think I should give him some money this time” and immediately feared if I sounded like a pompous NRI who pitied the less fortunate, albeit inadvertently.

“Yes, we should”, agreed my father. “And I will inquire more about him and know him better”, I told myself.

A long blast of air horn from a truck behind our car woke me up when we were few mile away from the bridge. “Slow the car when we reach the bridge”, I instructed the driver. As we approached the bridge, I glanced outside to see the man. He was not to be seen. “He’s not there” said my brother. “Not on this side either”, my father said with his head still stuck out the car window on the other side, sounding as if a close relative of his was missing. I could understand, that stranger he has been a constant frame of reference throughout his life; one whom he might have seen more often than many of his relatives.

No one seemed to know anything about him around the temple area. After much inquiry, we were told by the nearby restaurant manager that our old man passed away almost a year back. And no one seemed to care much. He was a nobody to the new generation there. Even to the surviving older folks, he was just a pavement dweller. For some unknown reason I felt that I was more disappointed to hear the news than my father. He was definitely more wiser to know the truths of life.

While going back, I involuntarily gazed out through the window as the car approached the bridge. I am certain I will continue to look for him whenever we cross that bridge. Our future trips to the village will not be the same without that old man on the bridge.

As we were crossing the bridge I noticed the traffic was slow across the bridge. I want to believe it was to pay respect to the man who wasn’t there.


unspoken language

Today at work, my manager wanted me to help him out with some reviewing stuffs. So, I took the material and sat in a empty cube in front of his office room. I was about to return it to him after completion that I noticed someone was already inside his room. So I was there standing on the corridor in front of his office leaning against the wall with crossed legs with a document in one hand and a pen on the other running the tip of the pen going over each line again to make sure I have done a neat work. Just then an engineer passed by me and he impromptu asked ,with a straight face, “Getting ready for exam?” and immediately we both burst into laughter simultaneously. It is not a hilarious incident, but was one of those genuine moments.

Even after he was out of sight I just couldn’t stop giggling picturing myself in his shoes and seeing me standing like that there and I cannot but completely agree with his perspective. t was so true….standing like a college boy right before he enters the exam room, uncertainly going through the study notes for one last time. My body language fitting that scenario perfectly.

It makes me wonder how much your body language and mannerisms can gives away a lot about you. I don’t recollect having seen anyone else in my office who was standing the way I was in the corridor or say, with that kind of body language. I have seen people waiting outside offices, I have seen them with documents in hand; but none ever looked like ‘preparing for exam’.

I do feel at times that I still have that student hangover in spite of having done away with college almost 2 years ago (maybe the after effect of spending a bit too much time there than expected).

It was entirely involuntary from my part to stand there the way I did, but now that I am conscious of it, I do want to change it. Not that there is anything wrong with it, its just that I j don't want it to be that way anymore and I certainly do not know how. It could either be one of the two - maybe there a fine line between acting like a student and a professional which I need to cross....or maybe I just need to grow up!


baby talk

Disclaimer: It is just a goofy post for the heck of it. Neither it made much sense while drafting, nor is expected while reading.

The very first word of a kid holds a special place in the life of his/her parents. And invariably the magic word would be 'ma' or 'pa' (or some other close variant of that). Hence, its of at most joy when he/she starts to talk and they go ecstatic and with much delight they spread the glad news to all near and dear, going over the moon explaining how their own blood called them out for the very first time.

In the last few months, I have been in gatherings/get-togethers where I have come across couple of my married acquaintances with toddlers. And naturally, someone would ask about the kid and the conversation would slip into how the babies are doing their growth developments. In one such gathering the conversation was about how one of the babies had started to talk and an attempt to make him repeat 'ma' in front of the present audience. He did repeat his performance much to the delight of the parents and the joy of the others, but it got me wondering….why is it that the first words of most toddlers are either 'ma' or 'pa'. Why is it always that? And why is 'ma' is the short form for mother in almost all languages around the globe?

Couldn’t it have been the other way round - that sound 'ma' started representing mother since most children manage to utter that sound before any other. Maybe it’s the easiest phonetic that a toddler is capable of producing and hence there so called first word. So the question to ask is not from when the kid started talking, with the word ma; but from when on did ma became a synonym for mother.

I am not an expert of the etymology and no way claiming to be an linguistic expert, but it cannot be just chance that Ma or Pa became mother and father universally!

Maybe some clever elderly in some family many many generations ago might have come up with this idea “first sound produced by all in our family has been ma, since they have been in close proximity with his/her mother, lets make that then synonym for mother”.

.... I still wonder!

(On an personal note, I have been told that my first word was aani or aana. Hard luck either way, since it means nail and elephant respectively in our dialect. Please spare a thought for the horror my parents would have had!)


i, me, myself

Has it happened with you when you did something which you didn’t feel great about but was loved by others? You are given a task which you managed to do just about satisfactorily by your own judgment yet ended up satisfying the others very much. It has happened with me few times in my life and as recently as last week! A trivial example would be during the taped ball cricket I played recently. I had hard time adjusting to this format of cricket and had an ordinary performance. It was much harder and less fun than the real hard ball cricket which I play regularly every weekend. But, somehow, for reasons unknown to me, the captain was so impressed that he wanted me to come regularly. Moreover, he recommended my name to a team in Houston Cricket League (which is the highest level of hard ball cricket I can play in Houston!) who invited me to play for them. Though it has helped me to boost my morale and spirit, the skeptic in me can’t help wonder the reason behind this.

It could be either due to the high self confidence which makes me set high standards for myself in whatever I do - which never makes me satisfied in entirety or the other side of the coin- due to the very low self confidence – that my work is never good enough. Given my track record, I highly doubt the former, and I wish it not to be the latter.

Or it could be due to the low expectations others have from me. They might not have given much into my performance that they were taken by surprise. There is another possibility of some people I have interacted with has low standards set for themselves, but, when it is this random, it can’t be coincidental.

And a third -most likely-reason would be that I just did fine as expected and I am just conjuring up something from nothing.

I used to have a thought process when in school - I used to hope for the worst, be it in exams (or say, when India plays cricket). In that way, if I do badly, it would have been as expected and would have prepared me for it. And if I did well, it would be pleasantly surprised. I know it was a pessimistic way to approaching challenges, but it used to work like charm for me and I have been 'pleasantly surprised' more often.

(It all got messed up once it came to Masters level -I expected it to go bad and it did! Well, that's story for another time.....or never)

Anyway, in spite of all this rambling and confusion, whatever the rationale is; at the end of the day it makes me feel good about yourself and happy for what you have done. Ultimately that’s the only thing that matters. After all, it’s all about loving yourself ;)


sliding doors

Circa 1998:

“Ram and Abu were flying kite in Kutch near the India-Pakistan border. Suddenly a gush of wind snapped the string and the kite fell on the other side of the fence”

This is how a story I had started to write when I was in 5th (maybe 6th) grade began. Unfortunately this is the only 2 sentences this story ever had.

Mind you, it was an period of my life when I had the misgivings of being very imaginative and creative and thought that I had a flair for writing stories and poems. I still have a diary full of my literary works at home. Infact, I was pretty good for a kid of that age (given that I have to confess that I have done grave injustice to the literary world by not letting that side of me to flourish ;)

So, just as I had finished writing this much, I noticed my brother peeping over my head. Before I could act, he snatched the piece of paper from me and started laughing incessantly.

"Amaam, India-Pakistan borderle alluva pattam paratha viduva! Onakku geography ethavathu theriyuma, manda" (Yeah, they let you fly kite in the border! Do you know anything about geography, u fool).

I have to accept that at that age, I didn’t know much about the topography of Ind-Pak border nor about the accessibility and hence I had to believe what my elder brother was saying.

I agree that at the time of drafting, the only basic idea I had was that the two kids try to get to the Pak side of the border to retrieve the kite and are spotted by the army and are thus trapped there. But having been ridiculed for the basic premise on which I was hoping to waive the story, I didn’t have much to proceed and hence I dropped that story there.

Circa 2004:

An Indian movie by the name Little Terrorist gets nominated for Oscars as the best short film. I was surprised to find that the premise of the movie bore an uncanny resemble to the above mentioned.

Well, I am not saying that my story would have developed exactly into this one. Nor I had any clue how to proceed with it. But just the fact that I could imagine a plot similar to an Oscar nominated film, at an age when I hardly knew how to ride a cycle, was quite self astonishing. At the same time I was pissed at my brother for nipping the confidence of a budding author (or maybe even a probable Oscar winner ;)

And the first thing I did was send my brother the synopses of the movie. And his response was "ethu pole oru kathai nee pandu ezuthallaya?" (didnt you write some story like this long time back?) which only aggravated my anquish.

To this day I haven’t forgiven him.


(Anyone is wondering if the title has any relevance to the plot, it is in reference to the namesake movie implying how India would have got an Oscar nomination had I completed that story then :P)


I struggled for freedom and she liberated me;
Only to let me struggle with my freedom.



Her 3 yr old was playing with his toys when the baloonwala came in through the gate. She went inside to get the purse and their life was never the same again.


hits and flops

The posts which have got maximum hits in my blog (courtesy to the sitemeter) are this, and this.

However, in the last one week, my last post has overtaken the collective hits my blog has ever received. Quite amusing that a deliberate malapropism in the title of my post has resulted in a record number of hits. Equally unfortunate that people from various corners of the world are searching for ‘slam'dog millionaire (and my attempted word play has completely missed the mark and flopped!)


slamdog millionaire

Slumdog Millionaire won 4 golden globe and is a mighty contender for the Oscars. More importantly, it brought to India the first ever globe.

The movie has achieved such high acclaim and recognition all over the world that I HAD to watch it. Let me play devil’s advocate here...I felt unsatisfied after the movie. Please note my use of term unsatisfied and not disappointed. Its not a bad movie by any means. It is a nicethe triumph of good against all odds kind of movie, but really is this movie that good to sweep all the awards at the second most prestigious awards in the world? I beg to differ.

It is a well made movie and is well scripted. The story as such is not a masterpiece but the clever screenplay does the charm. I feel that the script takes a bit of cinematic liberties as well as cinematic inconsistencies.....the people talking in English to each other?In Mumbai? That too brothers? Agreed it maybe to cater the western interests, but why then bother providing subtitles when they were kids? And by the way in which part of world is KBC telecast live?

Ok, I might be nitpicking here, it might be a fantasy or a feel good movie, but heck it’s not a realistic movie as the media is portraying it to be. To project it as the true depiction of rags-to-riches tale is absolute rubbish. I have not yet seen the other probable (milk, curious case of.., revolution road etc) contenders for the best movie, but if I go by the past track record at the awards, I am certain that we have come across ‘real’ realistic films . This could, at best, be described as a well made masala movie and so all the hoopla about this being a realistic movie or is a bit far stretched. All I can assume is the westerners were very pleased to see Mumbai as they want it to be seen- poverty struck nation with huge slums and beggars.

I don’t have complains about the acting department. The kid Jamal, Salim and Lathika are one of the best I have ever seen on screen. They were at absolute ease and were literally living in those roles. Same can be said about Dev Patel too. His nonchalance even as he kept winning millions was exactly the emotion I would expect of one who’s answers are based on own life tragedies.

I would call it a a well shot, well directed potboiler with all the ingredients to entertain the audience. It deserves to be a hit, but definitely not a milestone movie. It is one of those feel good movies. Infact it resembled a bollywood movie more (and that could be intentional) but again, thats not one expects from a academy award nominated/winner movie.

I know majority would disagree with my comment on this movie. Maybe the huge hype and rave reviews about the movie made me expect much more it failed to meet my own heightened expectation. I anticipated the movie to be path breaking, whereas it ended up being one in path less trodden.It was a movie I enjoyed as long as it lasted.

And by the way, ARR will win the award even if he’s pitted against all the music scores ever made in Hollywood.....see how much the music is integrated to the movie to know his genius!


revenge, served steamed

Puttu can be as well considered the official food of Kerala. Combined with kadala curry, it forms a made-for-each-other combo which is hard to resist and I can gorge on it for ever. Since the preparation of it requires a special utensil as such, I haven’t had the fortune of eating it ever since I set foot in US. I was spared of the sacrilege of forgetting about such a dish, thanks to P. Ever since he brought a puttu kutti from India after his vacation, he has been bragging about how tasty puttu he makes tastes. Not a single call to Cincinnati has been without him enthusiastically blabbering about the puttu he had.

Adding to my torment was the guilt that I let myself almost forget about one of my favorite dishes, which made my urge for retaliation sky rocket. It was sort of a vengeance for me to get a puttu maker for myself when I went to India last month. Infact, that’s one of the first things I wanted to get from home. And hence I possess now a stainless steel pot and a cylindrical attachment which would create a heavenly tasting food from mere rice powder. Last week I tried it for the first time and, I am not saying because I made it, it tasted awesome! Now that I have experienced the delight, I can completely understand why my friend brags about it. Its hard not to mention and I bet anyone who talks to me in the near future are sure to hear me brag about it.