Friday, June 27, 2008

Life's like that

The other day I was driving down one of the side roads in the madness that is T.Nagar. Thankfully I was on my bike, as is the wont of the public utilities a big portion of the road was dug up bang in the centre of a four way intersection. Being a crowded intersection at as it was in the peak hour, the place was manned by a single traffic cop.

Anyway drivers were driving everywhere possible till it became a stalemate with vehicles jammed in every conceivable square inch of space on the road. Horns blared, load cursed thrown back and forth but no body budged, for there was simply no room. People of all kinds and classes unmindful of the fact that they were on the wrong lane and that they were hindering the onward traffic tried to bully their way through. I parked my bike and started trying to work out some order in the mess. I saw that a couple of auto drivers and another well dressed guy (presumably returning from office like me) had a similar idea. We managed to reroute the traffic and did everything that the poor cop couldn’t do alone. There must have been 300 odd vehicles of all shapes, sizes from 2 heels to 10 wheels that had got piled up but the sorry state of affairs was that only 4 of us were doing anything about clearing the mess dumped by them.

I am no saint,common sense tells that unless somebody did something about the mess, nobody was going home that night. Since even Divine intervention has to be routed through mortal men, I thought that I can be that somebody so that everybody went home. Makes you wonder why is common sense such a scarce commodity these days.

Half an hour of thankless work in the noise, smoke and dust brought some sanity to the proceedings. But what was disheartening was the moment an opportunity opened up again people jumped lanes and tried to start another mess. I was too tired to continue and when I looked up at the other good Samaritans they indicated likewise without even saying a word. No words exchanged we separated and left on our ways.

The entire incident left a bitter taste in me. It is not something new; we are the most undisciplined, uncouth, boorish, ill mannered people and often behave like the scum of the earth the moment we leave the close confines of our homes and our social enclosures. We will not hesitate to trample on our fellow men so that we may go ahead. We believe that self is above all and for self we will sacrifice everything. We point our fingers and roll our eyes at thieves, robbers and other delinquents and tell our kids that they should not grow up like these bad people and we do the same things. Does taking away someone’s liberties and rights and using it illegally become any less condemnable than simply taking the person’s goods? By driving on the wrong lane, we hold up our neighbour’s right to drive and deprive him of the happiness of reaching home on time to be with his wife and kids. It sounds so trivial that you may laugh, but big criminals started with stealing small change once. Yes you can always ask “who is my neighbour?”, you will not be the first (somebody beat you to that question 2000 years ago) nor will you be the last.

You can read this post and do many things. You can laugh, comment, mock, introspect or just move on. If you are one of the few who still believe that live and let live is not a bad thing after all do think what we can do about this. It will be a drop in the ocean, but little drops of water did make the mighty ocean. I was doing my drop in a wonderful initiative called IFix, I’m sure that there can be many more.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The pursuit of happiness

I have not seen the Will Smith movie (surprisingly spelt happyness), but the reviews said that it was ‘tear-jerkingly’ good. Anyway one sure fire way to pursue happiness was a philosophical statement by D. In all fairness I have read the same elsewhere and maybe D did too, but how many of us bring back the knowledge gleaned from various sources when needed and more importantly put it to use?

She said that (I have rephrased a little) “Happiness in life is being satisfied with what we have as we are better off than so many others than being sad with what we don’t have like a few others” another version goes “Always compare yourself with those who are worse off than yourself and feel grateful instead of comparing yourself with those better off and feel dreadful”. Its amazing how profound thoughts of wisdom come at the most unexpected times and places. It was close to midnight and we suddenly felt a little bit hungry (both of us had finished a few phone calls that stretched way beyond our bed time). (After my MBA days I don’t remember midnight snacking). So I decided to get dosas from Kathick Tiffin Center. (If you are from Annanagar, you would have surely heard of it). Anyway after the snack D remarked how blessed we were to be able to afford a midnight snack after the usual dinner when so many others are going to bed hungry or just sustaining on a single square meal a day.

PS: Do check out D’s new blog. It is also a pursuit of happiness.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Bloggers M(eat)ing @ Sparky's Diner

Lemonade is a good organizer and you can take my word for it. Blame it on the fact that she has been twiddling her thumbs too long after having so much time on her hands and so little to do, she hit upon the idea of inviting us for a meeting over lunch. By now I guess you would have understood the headline: it was a meeting to eat and catch up on stories in between.

So the venue was Sparky's Diner, if you haven't visited this place, you should. It is not like any other you would have seen in Chennai. Personally it looks decked up as if one of MGR's or even Ramarajan's costumers had a say in the d├ęcor. Considering that both these heroes had a mad fan following it is not too much of a bad thing. And if you like red shirts, yellow trousers and red and white leather shoes on a mustachioed man you will fit into this place like a glove.

I have been to Sparky’s a couple of times before and I think the menu has been changed. Anyway as the resident expert Anju was in attendance we promptly left the honours of ordering to the expert. So we had the food with lemonade: no, we did not put a straw into the blogger, so please dispel the thoughts, I’m talking about freshly squeezed lemons that result in a lemon juice and for those who were a little choosy iced tea.

Sparky’s Diner has another claim to fame; it is the weekly meeting place of the Powerhouse church which many of you may have read in the Times of India recently. Sunday services are held there every week and some of the worshippers stay back for brunch, (Nifty sales technique if you ask me). Bungi joined us a little late and as always we made a lot of noise. Surprisingly the discussion started off with how quiet things are in Tokyo and Japan at large. It only took a few minutes for me to realize that we will never fit into the place.

Btw if you have heard this joke - why was the lazy man sitting on the beach with his pants pulled down? Answer – he was waiting for the waves to clean his butt. I was told that Tokyo will reduce this man’s endeavours considerably, you have a flush (costing 1 Lakh a piece here I’m told) that does quite a lot, washing, cleaning, deodorizing… Phew!!!! Now don’t ask me why we should talk about the output when we were just starting on the input, bloggers are not always rational. If they were you wouldn’t be reading this would you?

Anyway coming back to the food, I think it was safe to say that it was good and Chef Thom is a testimony to that. True to the tagline “Don’t trust a skinny chef” he lives the part to perfection. Sparky’s is the labour of his blood and sweat and he actually was bleeding as he spoke to us during his many visits to our table. And yes he will tell you what he will not recommend you to order in his place. He is a mean sales man too and managed to get us to buy two of his signature T-shirts. Hey! I thought brand ambassadors got paid. Just got reminded that my Indiblogger T-shirt is somewhere in transit.

All in all it was a good way to spend a leisurely Sunday afternoon and I think it will not be a one off affair.

PS: Photos can be added on request by those in the photograph

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

I'm Rich! Woooohoooo!!!!!

Hey ppl! Guess what came in my mail box today?

Now can anyone tell me a good format for a resignation letter?

Monday, June 16, 2008

Memories of PTC bus journeys!

MTC bus today!

As I was turning into Haddows road today a MTC bus whizzed by nearly missing a few people on the road as is the norm. Just when I was about to curse the bus and its driver and everybody connected to it, my mind drifted back to the days gone by when I used to travel by these buses.

The more my mind drifted, more instances that have been deeply etched in the confines of my memory came out like a mental slideshow. It is amazing how at the most unexpected moments lost thoughts surface and make even poor memory people like me feel good about us. Coming back to the post I thought I will put together a few memorable ones for the record.

It was in the days of khaki shorts and white shirts, the old uniform of Dominic Savio Preparatory school (I’m told it has graduated to a matriculation now!) and its bigger sibling St. Bede’s Anglo Indian Higher Secondary School (100 years now, dear school of our hearts). School was a two stop bus ride from home if you got onto a white board bus usually a 12B or 27D costing 50p or 75p and a single stop if you got into one of the many LSS buses (they have undergone so many prefix and suffix changes that I will leave the numbers alone). The two buses originated from Foreshore Estate and so were not crowded and a boon to school kids studying in Montford, Raphaels, Santhome, St. Bede’s, Rosary Matric and Dominic Savio. The government’s largesse meant that we had bus passes that were originally given at subsidized rates and much later totally free.

The good old Pallavan Transport Corporation buses in distinctive green and white colours were eulogized in a Tamil song where a bunch of youngsters eve tease and heckle a girl in song. The lines go thus”...kai viduvaan kanniyarai Pallavan thaan, kai koduppom naanga ellam nallavar than…” Translation “Pallavan lets down young women (actual translation virgins), we lend a helping hand we are nice guys”. Notorious for stopping beyond the stops and giving scant heed for road rules they were the best forms of transport unless you chose to ride those boxy cycle rickshaws which beyond a point was thought to be for kindergarten students only. Even in half pants we had an image to maintain!

Ok back to the main post:-
Incident 1: I used a bus pass without a photo, but a classmate for some reason I can’t remember did not have one. I suspect he used the 50 p to buy an ice cream and used to hitch a free ride. In those days the conductors were so busy issuing tickets that they used to ask us to tick our passes for the corresponding day of travel. Often many of us did not, just because I was in shorts didn’t mean that I was not lazy, don’t know about others. Anyway at the end of the month the pass may have very few ticks and this was used by my friend to hitch a free ride. All went well till one day one conductor used a punching machine to put a hole in the pass, when my my friend tried to palm off my pass for his trip he got caught or rather we got caught. A sound tongue lashing followed for both of us before we got dropped of at the terminus leaving us with burning ears and a long walk home. That day I knew how much I can do for a friend and when to say NO.

Incident 2: By now I had graduated to full pants and was in the last year of school. We had since moved to Annanagar but since I studied in the “school of our hearts” I did not want to shift. So accordingly I used to take two buses to school along with a small group of friends. It was during this bus ride that love bloomed. No, it was not me but my classmate who was so fascinated by a girl from St. Columban’s school who sat in the same seat in the 7F bus every day. So he wanted to ride only in that bus and I was game. It was a lot of fun. Four guys and three girls settled into a routine of going in the same bus and not doing anything much. Things heated up when on Valentine’s Day when our hero got a big card and thrust it into the unsuspecting girl’s hand when we waited for the bus to start from High Court terminus. She read the card and promptly burst into tears and we beat a hasty retreat. Next day she was not there but her friends had leaned on her boy friends from St. Mary’s AIHS School to arrange a welcome party for our hero. On that fateful day illness kept or hero at home so his friend (not me again) got thrashed in the bus stand, nearly causing a fight between two schools of the same group. Heard recently heard that both hero and heroine are happily married to their spouses and settled with kids.

Incident 3: By now I was in college and much before Sidharth and Trisha romanced in the PTC buses in Aayudha Ezhuthu (the tram in Yuva), an old crush and me used to burn up the miles in the bus, happily talking away time. In those days coffee shops and hangouts were priced beyond both of us and somehow they failed to offer the comfort and privacy (unbelievable but true) of the good old PTC bus. Last heard she is married and settled in the US of A.

Love them or hate them you just can’t do without them, they are the (PTC) MTC buses. The lifeline of Chennai; they carry the hopes, dreams, thoughts, aspirations, joys, sorrows, romances, tragedies and so much more of the average Chennai citizen.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Tagged again! Can you believe it?

Got tagged by Dhanya! I like her blog so I took it up. A bunch of questions with answers that will give you an insight into me. If they don't you still have another 145 posts to read and find out....

I am: ME!
I think: still thinking…
I know: that life is a circle
I want: to retire ASAP
I have: more than bare necessities
I wish: for an ideal world
I hate: deception
I miss: days gone by
I fear: stagnation
I feel: that I can conquer the world if only I get off my chair
I hear: french fries cooking (D at work)
I smell: sandalwood (D used the room freshner)
I crave: for a good book, some munchies and a comfy couch
I search: for above mentioned but list not completed
I wonder: why people do the things they do
I regret: very long list, add to the annexure below
I love: D, Family, home, Melissa…..
I ache: in my back after a long drive, in my eyes after too much PC,….
I care: for those I love
I am not: YOU
I believe: in God
I dance: to my tune
I sing: without a care in the world but always in tune
I cry: when words are not enough to express grief
I don’t always: try hard enough
I fight: for what I believe is right
I write: check my blog headline, replace blog with write
I win: when I decide to
I lose: all other times
I never: go against my values
I always:
I confuse: myself very often with the ideal world and the real world
I listen: less than I speak, whenever I stop speaking that is
I can usually be found: at home
I am scared: that I may give up half way
I need: typing out a long annexure, not able to fit into this post
I am happy about: my history (cant rewrite it, so what the heck?)

Now since I have just tagged a few people earlier, this is an open tag. Everyone is invited!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Tagged again!

Rules of this Tag: Pick up the nearest book.Open to page 123.Find the fifth sentence.Post the next three sentences.Tag five people, and acknowledge the person who tagged you.

I have looked everywhere and cant find a book with 123 pages. Just when I was about to jump from my chair screaming Eureka, my uncle grabbed the book and settled down to a literary feast. Frankly I have no clue what book it was or how it happened to be within eyesight but it had at least 600 pages. So I have decided to settle for the first book that is within arms reach and so here goes...

Turning the pages... Page number 32 and Oops the next page is a huge map stuck to the back cover. Sorry Chriz but if you are a procrastinator, I'm the big brother so I will stop with page 12 (my tag mates may proceed to 123 in their books) and the fifth sentence ....

"The last stop before you reach Mamallapuram would be the serene Tiger's cave (52 km) a half finished private theatre built for a Pallava king. (And all these years I thought it was a temple!)

Mangadu (58 km)
The Kamatchi Amman temple is located here.

Melmaruvathur (62 km)
The famous Adiparashakthi temple is located here."

Shalom brethren, In case you are pulling out your hair I happened to pick up Tamilnadu Map Guidebook of Vishnu Maps Publications, 2002 edition.

I Tag:
1) Oxymoron
2) Mr. Poplatho
3) Lemonade
4) Bungi
5) D

Every time I write an acknowledgment in my projects / assignments it invariably runs like this...
I wish to thank XYZ for making my life miserable by asking me to find out useless stuff about annoying people in total unfulfillment of the requirements of the academic degree.(You know the real words)

But since this acknowledgment is about Chriz, all I have to say is "Chriz thanks for the perennial smile on my face every time I visit your blog"

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

To do or not to do, that is the question

There are times when I wish that I had not done my MBA and had done something else. Don’t ask me what something else is, at this moment I have no clue. No clue is the operative word today and as the name of my Blog goes, I don’t know where I’m going.

Coming to my MBA, I had a good mid tier institute and a got placed off campus in a good conglomerate and 7 years and several job shifts I am nowhere close to figuring out where I am going. The problem with many B-school graduates is that their course insulates them from the world ahead and prepares them for a cushy job in most cases. Campus placement is the buzz word and the raison-etre for many of these institutes.

A MBA degree or diploma (even IIM gives a diploma) can take you places but only to a point and then you are left wondering what next? Ironically most of the top business men and wealth creators have not stepped into a B-school at least till they got their honorary degrees or became guest resource persons. So it appears if you don’t do a MBA you are more prepared to plunge into the world of business. Once you are up there you can any number of degrees or B-schools!

If you are wondering why I’m beating around the bush, its simply because I have been bitten by the entrepreneurial bug some time ago and have come up with quite a few killer ideas, however the fear of the plunge has kept me back and I have seen many others operationalize my ideas and make a business of it. Even now I sit with a few ideas but I need a kick up the butt to go places literally! Part of the blame goes to my MBA where entrepreneurship was but an optional paper and attendance was poor. D often wryly says that I can start a business of generating killer entrepreneur ideas and sell them since I’m got at ideating (got it from the IBM ad), incidentally most of my ideas come when I’m flat on the bed or in the loo.

Will I make it? Time will tell and if you stick around my blog will tell.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Chennai blogger meet

If you are a blogger from Chennai you should have been in Dee Cee Manor, T. nagar (personally the choice of venue was sad) yesterday. The Chennai blogger meet, sponsored by Microsoft was attended by around 100 people. I suspect many of them actually blogged. Though there were people of all ages from school kids to retirees, women were conspicuously in a minority.

A big thanks to Lemonade for initiating the meet and the cool welcome message she gave the gathering. Liked the 1 minute of fame where many got a chance to introduce their blog to the gathering. It was a good evening and the highlight was not the funny play by the Rebelz, an all male cast who came with an equal number of women whom I suspect were their understudies (no they don’t study their unders get a dictionary) but the near riot that Dave, Anju, Bungi, Lemonade, D and I started. We just couldn’t stop pulling each others legs, suspect Lemonade may have grown 1 inch by the end of the evening. I haven’t laughed a lot the past week and if u had read my earlier post you will know why, but I more than made up for it thanks to the above mentioned wonderful people.

I missed Chriz and Gayatri out there; they nearly complete the list of my favourite bloggers.

Thank you one and all for a great evening.

PS. If you have read my post on Sanjooo… you should try and catch the spoof done by NDTV that gave me tummy pain after doubling up in laughter. Here is the plot – a puppet llok alike of Sonia Gandi walks around calling Manu, manu like the original ad. She wakes up a startled Manmohan Singh look alike who apologizes for dozing off. Soniaji (look alike) gives a tongue lashing for dozing off when inflation is shooting up and elections are being lost. The voice over says disasters can strike anytime …and the advertiser is hold your breath LAX New Delhi Life.!!! Price less.
Take a bow NDTV.

Now you can laugh a little too...

Friday, June 06, 2008

"God be with you friend, till we meet again"

A few of my MBA classmates were lounging under the shade of a tree in the hot Chennai sun earlier this week. I shot off my mouth yet again when I remarked, “If Jetti does not meet his target, he will ask Malai, DKR or Will Smith ….” I bit my tongue but it was too late as all my friends gave me funny glances. It is not too often that you see grown up men cry but on that day there was no shame in admitting we all cried for it was the day we were going to bid farewell to Will Smith forever.

What can you say about life when a dutiful son, a loving brother, a wonderful husband, a loyal friend and a caring father was relieved of all his duties forever in one cruel minute? He was attempting to board his car having answered the call of nature when God called him on non negotiable basis. Surely there must be a better exit from the stage of life; being smashed to death against your own car door by a truck driver who apparently had fallen asleep is something I would not even wish on my worst enemy.

In that one fatal moment big Willy was reduced to a mere statistic in the tally of the many hit and run accidents. I will never forget that day (June 2nd) for a long time; there were too many incidents that have scarred my memory. It was only a short time ago when all of us were so full of life and had a blast celebrating Mama’s last day of bachelorhood in Chennai, even on that day Willy rushed home at dawn to be with his family. I still remember the snaps I clicked on my W810i of our class and thought that we made a great team. It was the same W810i that I used to capture the disfigured and lifeless form of my friend in the mortuary to help the cops file the death report. I have never felt more pain than that brief moment when my eyes refused to see what was on the screen. This was not our Will, this was an imposter. Will’s mom made us cringe when she asked us why we had left her son alone on that fateful day when all along we used to be together. How do you answer this question? Even that paled to insignificance when Ice in all her innocence of two years asked us to go and see her father who was sleeping.

They say time is a healer and it took so long to come to terms with reality but will time ever reveal the answers to the questions Will left behind?

My gang – Willy, DKR, Malai, Jetti, Mams, VGS, Tojo, Saran, Pundit, Sasi, Nimmi, Bevuda, Rowdy, Rats, Joller, Max, Kalai, Saurab….., moi will never be the same.

You will be missed Willy.

“God be with you, my friend, till we meet again”