Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Prepared for the unplanned?

In today's world, with time being a premium, we spend so much time on planning our lives so that we get more from each day, each hour, each minute.

Time management is one of the most sought after skills, and I doubt if anyone is ever really happy with their time management skills. There is always more to be done than you can plan for.

In all this mad rush to do more and be on top of everything else, life has its ways to remind you that there are things beyond our control and planning, and it often comes as an eye opener.

So just like that....out of nowhere...and for no rhyme or reason...I met with an accident.

Yesterday, on the way back from badminton, I hit a road divider. There is no explanation for why and how. The divider was a prominent one and not easy to miss in any way. It was a combination of me forgetting to turn on the headlights, bad lighting in that area and last but not the least, my carelessness. I sure was in some deep thought when this happened.

And the damages? My car needed to be towed away to the service centre and I ended up with a muscle sprain on my left rib cage and quite a few bruises on my body. I am yet to know how much I need to shell out for the car repair (thankfully its insured) but not having a car for a few days will definitely cause a lot of inconvenience. Added to it is the physical discomfort of wearing a adhesive bandage for the next two weeks to enable the torn muscle to heal.

And all this when I really need to be up and about...and very much mobile, with several last minute things pending before I can shift into my new house this weekend.

So much for planning your life :)

I got quite a bit of interesting advices from my friends and well wishers...right from keeping a driver to donating my car (on account of the accident frequency off late) to not thinking when I drive. As expected, quite a few of my male friends were more bothered about the state of my car than me !! :)

Anyway, they say every cloud has a silver lining....the silver lining here is some time off from work...though I wish the time off was under better circumstances.

At this point, am not really sure when I will get behind the wheel again, but when I do, I hope I am a better driver.

And as for managing my life better, should be more prepared for the unplanned :)

Amen !!

Out of touch?

Two possible reasons why people do not keep in touch.....either they don't care....or they care too much...

So look beyond the obvious...

Monday, March 01, 2010

March and Holi

Time does fly fast. It's already March. The year is no longer "new". Another month and the first quarter will be over. And then we will already start reflecting at what we acheieved and what we missed in Q1. And am yet working on plans and targets for the year. Somehow the onset of March month has also set in a sense of urgency...so much to do in 2010 and so little time !!!

By the way, all the above feelings are only related to office..thankfully :). On the personal front, I continue to take things as they come..each day at a time. Off late I have been keeping busy with setting up my new house, which is quite an interesting though tiring business. I will write about that in detail in my next post.

The real reason why I sat down to write today was because apart from being the first day of March, today also happened to be Holi. I was reminded of how I celebrated Holi when I was a kid..and how things have changed since then.

As a person, I was never naturally inclined towards this festival (have always liked Diwali more). Its a different thing that once I overcome the initial "Holi inertia" and start playing colors, I end up having a great time..always :)

I grew up in Patna where Holi is one of the major festivals, and is celebrated by the old and young alike. Not playing Holi was not an option for everyone, in fact the more you resisted the more you were targeted. And all was done under the slogan of "Bura na mano Holi hai". :)
Our closest neighbors, who were Bengalis, Uncle, Aunty and 2 sons, were the most enthused family in the entire neighborhood when it came to playing Holi. I still remember how every year either "Bengali Uncle" or "Bengali Aunty" (as we fondly called them) or their 2 sons would come and stand in front of the house and urge us (me and my brothers) to step out to play colors. I would stay hidden as long as I could, till Mom would finally throw us out, because they would threaten to come inside the house. As soon as I stepped out, I would be painted within a few minutes and the amount of color put on me would be directly proportional to the time I took to step outside the house.

Having got past the first round of colors, I would instantly start feeling comfortable..how dirty can one get anyway? We would then form a group and go from house to house calling out people and playing with them. The guys would go one step further...putting mud, silver paint and tearing each other's clothes was common tradition. Trying to recognize who was who in the multi colored crowd was always fun. And the sheer sadistic pleasure of putting the darkest of colors on the cleanest of people was unimaginable. This was also the time when you meet and get to know new neighbors and instantly connect to them through colors.

The time of Holi is when winter is just fading out and summer is yet to set in...so we would feel cold when someone threw water on us and hot once the color started dryin on us. Once we had done a round of all the houses in the neighborhood, we would come back to our own and then the slow and long cleaning process would start. Inspite of covering ourselves lavishly from head to toe with coconut oil to be able to remove the color easily later, cleaning oneself would still be a tough task. After several rounds of cleaning with wheat flour paste, soap and shampoo, we would still look like discolored extra terrestrial creatures.

In the evening, we all would wear brand new clothes and visit everyone's houses again (this time we would go inside the house) and play with dry colors or "abeer". We would touch the feet of all elders with get blessed.

And how can I not mention food? Like all Indian festivals, Holi is also a food rich festival. Since this is probably one festival when we do not do any pooja, cooking non-veg is allowed. One of the favorite combinations during this festival is Pua and mutton. Dahi wada, malpua, black chana, gujia were some of the other commonly made dishes in most of the homes.

So colored, stuffed and happy...is what we used to feel during Holi. It would take weeks for the color to go from the body, esp ears and nails. We would proudly show our discolored selves to our friends the next day. It was an obvious indicator of how "well" you played Holi.

This year, Holi was on a Monday. I did not have leave. I had a super hectic day at work and was on calls till 7 pm. Apart from Dahi wada, there were no other Holi delicacies which were cooked today. Of course, I did not play colors at all, playing even dry colors has been banned in office premises for past 2 years.

One more Holi over, one more Holi wasted.

How I wish I could go back in time and to play Holi the way I did when I was a kid....

Saturday, February 27, 2010

More on Playground....

Some update on Playground.

There is a proper board which has been put outside, which confirms that it is indeed a playground...and not a piece of land temporarily cleared to build another high rise. It has put my mind to rest :)

There are karate classes in the evening, some days when I come home early before it gets dark, I can see really young kids in their white outfits with green and yellow belts practising their moves.

Car driving inside the playgorund has been stopped, there are big cement blocks put in front of the gate to prevent that.

And football has started too...since the ground does not have much grass, a game of football is usually accomapnied by lot of dust.

And yes, there are many more morning and evening walkers....

As for me, I still have not gone for a run there (neither to Cubbon Park)....talk about the art of coming up with excuses !!! Will tomorrow be the day???


Some messages can be delivered loudest and clearest through silence.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


I stay in a nice residential area of Bangalore. It is a small layout with narrow tree-lined roads, bungalows..big and small, and a few apartment complexes. If you look down from your balcony, you can see the daily vegetable seller pushing his cart on the road, calling out his stock of the day. Then there is this guy who makes at least two rounds in a day to buy old newspapers and bottles. Diagonally opposite the small road, sits a guy who irons clothes for most of the houses in the area. The neighborhood still has the charm of a small sleepy town while still being fairly close to the shopping malls, supermarkets and offices of big IT companies.

In the two years that I have stayed here, I have relished the peace and quiet of this place, the luxury of being able to sleep till noon without being woken up by the noise of traffic and the sheer enjoyment of being able to enjoy the rain from my balcony while looking out on the greenery below.

Right opposite my apartment was a large piece of empty land, overgrown with wild bushes. The entrance to this area was closed by a gate. There was a small brick tenement near the gate which housed a watchman. Sometimes while having tea in my balcony, I would catch a glimpse of the watchman taking a bored walk near the compound wall. Clearly, he did not have much to guard. I always wondered who was the owner of this wasteland and what plans he had for this piece of property.

A few days back, I saw some activity in the enclosed area, the ground was being cleared with a sense of urgency. The first sinking thought which came to my mind was that a new big apartment complex is going to come up opposite. There goes the breeze and the view !!! I can no longer enjoy a cup of coffee standing in my balcony and will need to keep the curtains of my rooms drawn all the time. I can also forget the unobstructed sunlight which lights up my house during daytime. Such were the thoughts racing through my mind.

Things did not quite go that way though. Yes, the ground was cleared and nicely. To my surprise, the gate and the watchman's hut was removed. The empty wasteland has now become a playground !!!

Now there is a lot of activity in the ground during the entire day, right from sunrise till darkness sets in. I wake up with the sound of people playing cricket, as early as 6 am !!! Till date, I can never understand the love the male population of India has for this game. I cannot imagine how more than 20 people, teenagers and adults, wake up at 6 am on weekdays, that too daily, to play cricket !!! Some addiction !! Then there are some people who play badminton, earlier they used to play on the road in the evenings, and had to stop every time a vehicle needed to pass. Now they have place to play uninterrupted. There is a goalpost for hockey which has been put, but am yet to see anyone play hockey there. Also there are two poles which have been put up in one section of the ground, I think in preparedness for a volleyball court. The younger kids who had only the building parking to play in and were not allowed to go on the road for fear of vehicles, have now found a safe place to freely run around and chase each other. The lack of restraint makes them look happier. In the evenings, when the field becomes empty after dark, I have even seen someone learn driving in the ground.

Isn't it surprising how much change a playground can bring? True, the peace and quiet of my neighborhood is gone. But now there is action...sweaty, tired but happy faces...screams of joy and despair....life in its most expressive form. Maybe one of these fanatics who wakes up at 6 am to play cricket will turn out to be a Tendulkar tomorrow. Someone who never went for walks on the pretext of not having a park will finally run out of excuses and take up walking. And for someone like me who drives all the way to Cubbon Park to run on weekends because she hates running on the road, I can save a lot of time and fuel :)

Never truly realized earlier how important a playground can be. A playground is more than just a piece of land..its a way for life. So let's try and preserve them and keep the child in us alive :)

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Be unreasonable, stay unreasonable...

The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.

- George Bernard Shaw

So if people call you unreasonable, feel proud..and stay that way :)

Friday, January 29, 2010

Babe Aur Bahu?

New soap idea for Ekta Kapoor...."Babe Aur Bahu"

I can already visualise record breaking TRPs.:)

What say?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Conversations - 1

...after the usual pleasantries are exchanged on chat...

He : How tall are you?

She : !!! Is that the first thing you want to know about me?

He : You see I am 6"2...height is very important to me.

She : I am 5"3...I believe I have mentioned that in my profile....

He : Ok. I asked because people lie often about such things in their profiles

She : Oh ok...they can easily lie on chat also :)

He : But chat is different

She : And how?

He : Looks like you are the kind of person who always likes to have the last say.

She : I try to question...

He : Life is not always black and white..

She : Agree

He : Do you like to dress up?

She : Depends...

He : I am looking for someone who can be a babe to me and a bahu to my family...

She : ....

He : Someone who can wear a sexy dress when she goes out with me but is willing to wear a saree on a festive occassion when my family wants

She : ....

He : You see I am looking for balance

She : !!!!

He : You see I have had a bad experience once, so I don't want to go through the same thing again

She : ....

He : I am very clear on what I want

She : Yes..I can see that

He : So what do you say?

She : Trying to understand your requirement. Let me work towards the kind of clarity you have..this definitely doesn't look workable

He : Are you saying no to me?

She : I thought I already did...

Inappropriate content?

One more unsuccessful attempt to get Google AdSense on this blog.

The application was rejected again citing "Unacceptable Site Content" !!!

I have reviewed and re-reviewed my posts and frankly could not figure out what is so unacceptable here.

Is my post on "Sex and the city" is what AdSense considers unacceptable, just because it has the word "Sex" in it? Let me try to rename the above post and re-apply to AdSense. Maybe this time it will work.

And yes, any insights into how to get my application accepted, is most welcome :)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Impressions from Cambodia

When I reflect on my recent trip to Cambodia , I can safely say that there were three things about the place which left a mark on me, and will stay with me forever : temples, history of the place and Buddhism (not necessarily in that order).

I am sure most of the tourists who visit this country might have something similar to say. I am here to share my connection with these things.

Let me start with Buddhism, since for me its the most difficult to explain, to myself or to anyone else. Having visited other Buddhist places earlier (like Thailand..twice), I was surprised to realise the effect it had on me during / after the trip. Was it a function of seeing thousands of Buddha statues and carvings in the temples there? Or did it happen on acount of browsing through countess Buddha paintings and statues to carry back home as soveniors? Frankly I do not know. One thing I do realise that any image or thought of Buddha inspires a feeling of peace and serenity now, unlike earlier. I am keen to explore Buddhism and its teachings, which am sure will be a wonderful intellectual and spiritual journey.

The second impressionable fact about Cambodia is its history. A visit to the Tuol Sleng Genocide Meuseum and The Killing Fields will expose you to the hair raising stories of the atrocities of Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge , which resulted in the death of 25% of the Cambodian population between 1975 and 1979. I did not have the courage to visit The Killing Fields after I had finished with Toul Sleng, it was far too depressing for me to handle. During my trip I picked up a book called "First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers" which describes the the inhuman condiditons which the people of the country were subjected to, under the brutal Khmer Rouge regime. I also saw the movie "The Killing Fields" on youtube, which captures the life of a reporter during the rule of the Khmer Rouge. I would highly recommend the book and the movie (which is based on another book) to anyone who really wants to understand what the country has gone through. Be warned though, it will not be easy on your mind and feelings.

The third thing, which Cambodia is most known for, are its temples : Angkor Wat and the group of temples around it. If you are an Indian, you will be easily able to relate to the carvings of Ramayana and Mahabharata on the walls of the major temples. Most of the major temples are devoted to Shiva, Vishnu and Buddha. Carving and statues of "Samudra Manthan" are pretty common. It's a really wonderful journey and one of the most enjoyable and not to be missed things is Angkor Wat at sunrise.

Walking through the temple ruins, you will be reminded of Hampi several times, and you will be tempted to compare the two places. Hampi is one of my favorite places in India, somehwere where I look forward to going again and again and spending more time each time. By the time I finished Angkor, I still was not able to decide which was better, Angkor or Hampi. The one obvious difference between the two places is the size : Angkor is definitely bigger, the temples are huge and much more awe inspiring in terms of size. Hampi continues to still hold a special place in my heart even after my Angkor trip, and I still cannot decide which is better :)

The above three things more than justify the Cambodia trip for me and the trip will remain one of the most memorable vacations I have had in a long time.

I would want to make a special mention of the people of Cambodia, we had a great experience with them, very polite, non-agressive and hospitable. They speak English with a distinct sing-song tone, something you are bound to catch up within 2-3 days of your stay there :). Last but not the least, a trip to Cambodia simply cannot be complete without a Tuktuk ride, so make sure you don't miss that :)

Monday, January 25, 2010

Sixth Sense

Attempts to rationalise spontaneous behavior and activities of people, is the surest way to suppress sixth sense.

And it kills the fun associated with spontaneity as well :)

Whether the act of rationalising is right or wrong is highly debatable.

Let me just put this down as my point of view. Unjudged.

Monday, January 04, 2010

HNY 2010

Happy New Year to one and all !!!

I know am late on this, but there are 6 more days for Jan to end, so I guess this greeting still qualifies :)

Looking forward with eagerness to what this year will brings...the highs and the lows...and the fun associated with handling both.

And yes, hopefully more posts on the blog....