Thursday, March 21, 2013

Appa tie, Amma gown

This post was spurred by some grammar related conversations in the CBC

I  went through college with the tag “Peter” or the longer “Appa tie, amma gown” . If you have not got it yet, my English was flawless and for those who could not follow what I said they thought that this was payback.

It was not a fluke, my parents did not have a convent education but they ensure that my brother & I got one. It was an Anglo Indian school where speaking any other language but English meant you ran rounds around the decent sized play ground. My neighbours were Anglo Indians too, a wonderful couple who also taught for a living in my school, did i forget to mention they had two daughters who were similar in age to my brother and me ensuring that we played & grew up together for a few years. As it was English near home and in school my fluency increased.

But even this upbringing may not have been enough were it not for one unforgettable instance when I noticed that the washed clothes of the neighbour left out to dry overnight were damp from the dew. My limited vocabulary at that time did not include dew, frost etc and since the Tamizh equivalent for these and snow was the same I announced to the teachers that the clothes were damp from the snow. I was laughed out of their home before their daughters, I know it was not intended to mock me but that day I resolved that my English will not make anyone laugh and I took it up with a mission.

Enid Blyton initially and then the syndicated works of the boy & girl detectives along with the daily dose of the Hindu ensured that my vocabulary and my grammar was a little above the ordinary. In high school I had the privilege to study under one Mr. George Francis (RIP) who terrorized every one with his fanaticism for proper English. I still remember the challenge it was to get some in the class to pronounce ‘reservoir’ the way it is meant to pronounced instead of “parrier dog style” as he called it. Mr. George had no qualms in failing class XI & XII students in English and under his regimen I enjoyed myself and usually scored the highest.

I met my first road block in college, one of the finest Arts & Science college in the country and ended up in the self financing stream as Computer Science was not offered under the regular streams. This college was an inclusive college and students from many rural locations studied here. My course had a greater percentage of management staff again from semi urban towns. I realized very soon that many classmates and staff members had trouble following me and whenever I used uncommon words I had to repeat or rephrase sentences usually after the Peter bit.

I realized that after some time I was failing to communicate because my English was no longer an asset and it did not matter to study Computer Science. One day after I realized that it was more important to communicate with my classmates and my friends I started unlearning what I had learnt over the years. Slowly sentences became shorter, vocabulary got reduced but I was accepted because they realized that I was no different from the others.

Things were no better during my MBA days when I discovered that many in my class were engineers and many others were from outside the state. So in a multicultural environment where heavy accents were common I was again a misfit. This time I realized my folly a little faster and again the process of deconstruction resumed. Till date my classmates cannot resist pulling my leg on the way I spoke.

Work ensured that the deconstruction was complete. I had no need for the English of my schooling, the language of the common man was sufficient and finally there was no need to change my words or look at confused faces when I spoke.

Today I struggle with my vocabulary because I do not use much, I have to recheck my spellings for I do not write much and my conversations are in Tanglish because I have unlearned too much and the damage cannot be undone quickly. But some things never change, grammar is still above average and I still frown at bad English when I come across the written word somewhere.  After a moment I sigh and move on.

There may be a day when grammar will be thrown out of the window and this will be spear headed by the Americans who have done everything possible to destroy the language but till then I do my best to be grammatically correct, it is the least I can do to my upbringing.

To finish a small bit of good manners or good grammar, call it what you will from Mr. George Francis.

It is not I (or myself) Raj & Arun went to the beach. It is Raj, Arun & I went to the beach. Put the donkey last always. : )

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

On a day like today, from The Hindu

The Hindu is a daily habit and recent interactions pertaining to one of the younger members of the CBC inspired this post. They are all from the Hindu today but they also follow a pattern...

Does the tag "MLA" give a person the right to beat up even policemen? What kind of jokers have we elected to the halls of power? The fact that they do this is in the full glare of the media shows their scant disregard for the laws and their arrogance.

Recent elections held under the eagle eye of the elections ensured lesser malpractices but it appears that the wings of the EC may be clipped based on the recommendations of the government before the Supreme Court. Hopefully the Supreme Court will throw this out.

Minutes saved by taking short cuts can be very expensive even if time is money. Death because of the illegal crossing of the railway tracks is becoming very commonplace that soon it may not even merit the second page, even if the deceased is a railway employee. You would assume that an employee would be aware of the train timings and the perils of crossing the track.

Far from activism, this withdrawal of support by the DMK appears to be mere opportunism with an eye on the impending elections. The question running on my mind is why now? Why not earlier when the fast ended very fast?

Solution to the current logjam the Congress finds itself in? Pass a resolution in the Parliament expressing solidarity to the Tamils.  The efficacy of such a resolution against another sovereign government is anybody’s guess.  At best it can be public posturing which will help none.

Last week colleges in the state were closed indefinitely to clamp down on the student protests. Admirably instead of enjoying the holidays, some students are still on the streets protesting against the Sri Lankan Government.  Hopefully it will be a peaceful movement across the state.

Timely follow up by the Railway Police has ensured that the goons who beat up the monk at the railway station have been arrested. This act of hooliganism is neither a protest nor does it help in wiping the tears of the suffering in SriLanka, it will ensure that the majority will turn against the Tamils again because of this stupidity.

Do you think that you and I can make a difference to the people who are suffering out there? Sometimes not doing anything can also help.


P.S. Leave a comment if you have spotted it.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Black, white , red and more

In management there are some words / phrases that are red flags. You know those that are causes of concern and if not attended quickly can become a crisis at a later date. One such word is “Try”. Be wary of some one who promises to “try to” complete a task. A “trier” gives himself the luxury of failure because he never promises to complete the task. He gives himself a 50% chance of success and so he will accept failure because he has provisioned for it in his mind.  That is why I think that the “swoosh” and its tag line is the most inspiring line made.

I was surprised to see that the flag of the ruling party has undergone a change. From the usual two bands of black & red with the image of Anna in the centre,

 the flag has become a tricolour of black, white & red with the image of Anna in black in the white band. Also the flag is unusual considering it is a vertical flag. I wonder what caused this change or is there a new party with this flag?  

The latest expose by an online news channel has set the cat among the pigeons. This washing of money or simply converting black money to white has exposed three private sector banks, but if you dig deep the hallowed public sector banks are no angels either. Insurance is used very often to launder. The process is simple ensure multiple cash transactions up to the limit and make premium payments. Soon black becomes white.

We have fairness creams for the face, the underarms and even the privates for women and these days fairness creams for men can also be found on the store shelves. Mercifully they are for the face only till date.
The fact that they are there on the shelves leads to a fundamental question. What makes women buy them? Considering that the products for women outnumber the products for men let me start with the larger consumer group.
I repeat - what makes women buy fairness products? I can think of few possibilities and they are as follows:
  • -          Pressure from the marriage market
  • -          Pressure from the peer group
  • -          Pressure from the men in their lives
  • -          Curiosity
  • -          Low self worth
  • -          Just being silly
  • -          To become successful
  • -          To join the media
  • -          To join the airlines (as claimed in one ad)
  • -          To win a beauty pageant
I will leave “to look beautiful” out of this for I know that beauty has no relationship with colour despite what the marketers may want you to believe.
And for the men who believe in Fair & Handsome, I hope they wake up and stop making monkeys of themselves.

As MJ said “it don’t matter if your black or white”

Images 1,2,3,5,6,7 courtesy Google Images
4 - shot by me

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Love is all around - 'CBC's The Valentine's Day's One post One Scene Tag

This post has been published as a part of 'CBC's The Valentine's Day's One post One Scene Tag'

Read previous scene by Uma Maheswari Anandane  here .....
I have been giving the honour of finishing this story and for a first timer it was a challenge.



“Good night sweet heart”, said Guru kissing the sleeping Yazhini on her fore head and tucking her into the bed switched off the light.


“Is that your idea of putting a two year old to sleep Mr. Guru?” asked Ahalya in mock anger.


“Yes, I tell her a story and put her to sleep” said Guru with a smile. “A  story? The story of our marriage is hardly something you tell to make a child to sleep and the twists that you make up” said Ahalya with exasperation. “And I have lost count of the twists that keep happening with each telling, and how did you become the savior of the world when you cannot even save a seat for me in the kutcheri last Sunday?”


“Come on Ahalya, is it not more fun or would you prefer that I read to her from your Twilight collection?” said Guru with a chuckle while ducking the magazine Ahalya threw at him.


“You men will never grow up” said Ahalya and sat down with an amused look.


“Guru, do you regret that our romance was not as exciting as you make it sound each night?” asked Ahalya with a worried look on her face.


“Not exciting? Sweetheart you were the last challenge, considering that I had to enter into the hearts of your folks, extended family in the hospital before I entered in to your heart. That was enough excitement for one life time” said Guru.


“I loved you the moment you came in to the hospital and stayed with us right through that crisis. Amma was initially shocked but soon she was so impressed with the way you handled everything in the hospital and the reassurance you kept giving us, she never had the time to wonder when did I meet you” said Ahalya with a smile.


“If your thatha had not been admitted to the hospital and had you not taken the Lufthansa that day… I would have left the airport bitterly disappointed and maybe…” said Guru choking on his words.


“You were quite smart Guru, Amma & Appa were raving about you by the time Thatha was discharged and they were asking me to propose when I finally caved into to their questioning and admitted that you had not asked the magic question” said Ahalya with a smile.


“I love you Ahalya and I thank God for that stroke of fortune, if it were not for Thatha’s stroke I may have lost you” said Guru hugging Ahalya. “I love you too, you idiot” murmured Ahalya in Guru’s arms.


“So tell me do you have any regrets?” asked Guru. “Yes! That house in Hawaii” said Ahalya with a mischievous smile. “Oh, you want to live in Hawaii?” said Guru with concern in his voice. “No silly, for me the heart is always in Chennai” said Ahalya with a smile.


The moment of bliss is shattered by Ms. Yazhini waking up and crying out loud.


“Go and continue the story to your princess, I want to know what new twists are coming up” said Ahalya pushing Guru away. The soundtrack of Notting Hill could be heard...

Ahalya smiled in contentment.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

The CBC 3P Post- The Adyar

Nadhiye, nadhhiye, kadhal nadhiye, neeyum penn thaane...


If the line is true, we the people of Chennai have raped the Adyar, here she flows peaceful, beautiful and a potential source of life but deep inside scarred, abused and left to die.

Sounds familiar doesn't it?

Sins of omission can be greater than sins of commission.

(Photo from Vinod VV photography. You can see many more wonderful pictures here)

Friday, March 15, 2013

Enga Area Ulla Varathey!

Have you noticed a street dog? The dog will bark when somebody enters into its area. Unwelcome visitors often get a hostile reception and though street dogs are excellent crime deterrents people cite this hostility as a nuisance.

Lions I am informed urinate to mark their territory and it will be someone very unwise to stray into this territory. Animals mark their territory and unwelcome visitors are shunned for various reasons including security.

Man is a social animal and he also marks his territory usually by a compound wall around his house. Nations mark their territories by the boundaries and it is an act of trespass when someone crosses the border without authorization.  Nations spend a lot of money to patrol the borders to ensure that there is no trespassing of the border.

The recent conflict between livelihood and national boundaries has been hijacked by various organizations. Even though maritime boundaries are difficult to ascertain it cannot be an excuse if the line has been crossed.

From a nation where lines of authority are casually flouted, where a yellow line on a road is perceived as ornamentation, where a stop line is considered to be a design to break the monotony of the tar will people really care for invisible lines?

And can we blame the hostility of the guardians in the event of an actual trespass? Don’t we expect the same from our forces?

Till the world becomes borderless this may never end.





Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Opposites attract?

Opposites attract. Oh really?

Explain this:
  •     XYZ (BE) weds ABC (BE)
  •       EFG (MBBS) weds UVW (MBBS)
  •       MNO (TCS) weds  JKL  (HCL)

And many more (names changed without any requests). Did you notice a pattern? I have, in many of the weddings that I have attended in the last few years. Of these a great many are arranged marriages where the parents have settled on the best fit. I really wonder if two people of similar conditioning are actually a good fit.

Imagine the scenario when two equals are handled unequal roles post marriage, (you know where I am coming from, since you would have read all the women’s day posts) do you really think that heartburns will not be there? Another risk with similar couples is the potential blurring of the line separating work & home. They may forget where one ends and the other begins. Conversations will be a challenge especially if both bring similar experiences to the table.

If variety is the spice of life, it appears that many weddings today run with the potential risk of the flavour going missing one day. I wish them well and I hope they remain happily married.

I remember my friends who got into relationships during our MBA and ended up getting married, all the 5 couples were opposites. Some examples - An engineer with a hospitality professional,  a soft ware professional with a HR professional,  a sales professional with software professional. 

In college at least opposites did attract, after all is it not a law of nature?

Still have a doubt?

 (images courtesy Google Images)