Wednesday, November 16, 2005
Every morning, I wake up and make my way to the bus stop on the other side of the road. I use the overbridge. Every morning I cross her, exactly midway through. Indian lady, early 30s. Everyday, she smiles at me, I smile back. Its an expression of familiarity, just that I don't know her, yet. And yet, in the strangest of ways, we have formed a bond, of brief good mornings.
Yesterday, I was a few minutes late, and she came a few steps ahead. Our secret pattern was dented, ever so slightly. On seeing me, she gave me the biggest, widest, toothiest grins ever. I could see her breathe a sigh of relief.
Sometimes, I wonder if I should stop and talk to her for a brief second. But I am usually in a rush, and in all likelyhood, so is she. We don't have time. We never have time.
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
Tuesday, October 18, 2005
Monday, October 17, 2005
Two bloggers were jailed in
In an isolated set of incidents, an institution, their ads, and bloggers’ opinions on it have wreaked havoc in the Indian blogosphere creating heroes and villains alike. The incident, though not as serious as the one in
What bothers me here, is our Opinions, strong Opinions, our expression of those Opinions, how much are we are entitled to express in the public domain, and how much restraint should be practised.
I spent some time mulling over it. Under a broad generalization, there is an inherent contradiction in my opinions about the above incidents. On the one hand, I feel the Bloggers (A) had to be reprimanded since they shouldn’t have expressed their opinions the way they did. On the other hand, I could join the peace march for Bloggers (B) and brandish a flag about their right to express theirs…
I eventually figured the key to untangle the mess, to put things into perspective. Abstract and fragile as the idea may seem: its what we call the Social Responsibility. Bloggers (A) didn't use theirs, Bloggers (B) were acting on it. Simple.
With great power, comes great responsibility.
Thursday, October 13, 2005
Friday, September 30, 2005
First rays of the sun hit the snow-covered peaks and it looked like someone set it on fire. The full moon was still waiting, as if to witness it. Words can't do it justice so I let the pic do the talking, but in short: the view took my breath away.
The picture is a bit grainy and asymmetric, and there are two street lights standing right in the front in full view, but this pic was the first one taken, and here the moon is in all its glory. Which makes it Perfect.
Thursday, September 29, 2005
So, in what seems like a good attempt to assert their unique identity, they use the maple leaf. In fact, Use of "use" would be an understatement: they overuse the maple leaf. So from the flag to the plastic leaves which decorate shop windows, to boxer shorts: it is the maple leaf everywhere. And then there are the subtle variations: Maple syrup in bottles shaped like maple leaves, Cookies shaped like maple leaves stuffed with maple cream. Surprisingly, I didn't see as many "real" maple trees. The only leaves I found shaking and swaying in all their glory with the wind were the ones on the ubiquitous flag.
Wednesday, September 28, 2005
Phase 1: 5 am, Changi International Airport, "Pre"-check-in procedure for a US bound flight.
She: Ma'am, could I ask you a few questions
Me : Sure.
She: "You are travelling to US"
Me : Is that a trick question?
"Yes." *Smile* "On transit to Canada."
She: "So what are the contents of your bags?"
Me : Oh, you don't want to ask a girl that!! At this moment, I make a mental check -- Zillions of clothes- winter clothes, going-out clothes, sporty clothes, shoes,.... did I forget anything? "Just Personal stuff!"
She: So, who packed your bags!?
Me : "Me, of course." Is that a rhetorical question?
She: Did anyone else give you anything to take with you?
Me : How I wish! A few more clothes would do me no harm. "No."
She: Are you sure ma'am?
Me :Sure, confident, lock kiya jaye? " Yes, very sure."
She: Do you have any electronics with you?
Me : Just a digital camera!
She: Ok, from now till you board the flight, please don't accept anything from anyone!
Me : *Kinda scared by now* I was just planning to get some books from the book shop, and theoretically that would be accepting something from some one, right? (Ha ha ha, the Smart alec strikes back!)
She: Of course you can.
Phase 2: Around 6 am. Boarding Gate
He: Miss, can you take off your shoes, belt, jacket and also remove all the cellphones, coins, knives, swords, bazookas, Ak-47s, matchboxes, lighters, fire extinguishers, nailcutters etc. from your pockets.
Me: Ok. Wow! Thats a long list.
*I trudge across and pull my shoes on.*
She: Can you take off your sneakers again?
Me : AAAAArrggghhhh. "Yes, of course."
She takes it and puts it on the table, then takes a small piece of paper and touches it all around my shoes. She puts the paper on a measuring device.
Me: MY SHOES DON'T STINK!
The machine label says something about "radioactivity". 3..2...1..*Beep*. She nods. I put on my shoes.
Me: Thanks and have a nice day.
The adventure had just started.
Friday, September 02, 2005
Friday, August 19, 2005
Even if you are not obsessed with the shoes, or not obsessed with someone who is obsessed with the shoes, still if you would notice, the Manolo, he has a strange way of writing.
Wednesday, August 17, 2005
Slipknot was here yesterday, and under a lot of restrictions, they performed in front of few hundred people. I have never seen a Speed Metal /Nu-Metal live act ever before, so it was a one-off experience.
The live-show was incredible, with few of the nine-member masked band doing nothing on stage except walk around jump on and off everything and emote the lines. You really open your eyes and watch. When the vocalist speaks, there is a dramatic helicopter sound in the background, to corroborate his dramatic lines like, "We have a big family of friends". It was no wonder they have been voted the Best Live act.
But... the big but comes right here..... It was no music... 30 minutes through the show, my ears became comfortably numb, I couldn't cope with the 450 BPM, and my breaths and heartbeats were seriously out of sync. Some years ago, I would have probably enjoyed it, but now, I think I am growing too old for it. Give me some good old-school rock/metal anyday.
There were adrenaline junkies all around, and as I have wondered before, I couldn't understand the point of mindless fan following.
Friday, August 05, 2005
My dad's is a huge family, so as expected, I have lots of cousins. My cousins are a wide age bracket too: The oldest being 50 and youngest 15. And the motley crew includes: a teacher, a lawyer, an activist, two PhDs in Maths, one pursuing PhD, one doctor, three engineers, one MBA. For now lets focus on the cousin who is an activist: She is the only one who is different. She works for Women's rights with one of the Communist Parties. She was married to a gentleman who happened to be Gen Secy of the same party: a big man. Now he is no more. I have never met her. She is a lot older and any important event when I could, I always had exams. But I would like to discuss a lot of things with her, today. I would like to listen from her about what drives her. I would like to know why she doesn't desire that her children live a life with simpler pleasures.
I would like to ask her why she believes that brandishing the flag would give women the power they need. Do these women seek it in the first place? Would the reservation in LS they demand create more cases of "Rule by Proxy"? What about ensuring they deserve it? What about the country? Doesn't the power to change come with power itself?
Because, as I see it: all things around change, but the activism remains in this sort of static plane: it does not change with time. As in the movie. "Idealism for the heck of it" is not convincing to me. But I guess thats what our parents generation was gifted by their parents.
I am still confused about all the above, and hence, I reserve my opinions on the activist, Siddharth till a later date.
The only character I truly identify with is Vikram. He is born in a middle class family in a small town. His intelligence, humor, ambition, predictable dreams, love and his "desire to fit in" is all typically middle class. He is brash, he is shameless, he is clearheaded. and he is the one ultimately at loss, always.
The character which grew was Geeta. At least thats what the director tried. Initially blinded by love, and later discovering the bigger purpose, she was there to save the day. She didn't stay back because of any idealism, but because she felt the need to. But I guess women are like that. It helps that the actress is a spitting image of Smita Patil.
Wednesday, August 03, 2005
Sunday, July 31, 2005
When the book first came out, it was meant for young adults. Now, over a period of seven years, those people must have grown up. But still, that doesn't necessisate the tone of the book to change. It will still be read by other young adults. But it, looks like JKR forgot the above equation, and wrote a book devoid of "charming" humor (puns intended!). I wonder what would have happened if Enid Blyton had done the same with Malory Towers. Harry Potter & HBP is as dark and depressing as it could be. In certain parts, its slightly too dramatic.
Storywise, its a book where she has put the premise straight, parts of stories from the previous parts are re-told. Ron, Hermione and Harry seem to behaving as adolescents. There is some inconsequential icky-wicky romance. A character is killed. Another character is killed. The book doesn't finish with the usual face-off, but goes into a lot of detail about what happened in the past. In short, all the loose strings are tied up, and the stage is set for the seventh part.
It will be a long wait!
Friday, July 29, 2005
Now things have changed, there is SMS, and email, and the mother of all wannabe-generators: Social Networking. That place is a cheese-factory. With unlimited access, every Tom-Dick-Harry swears that a life long friend sheep (sic) is possible. But, what really infuriates me is the way they murder the language. For the love of English, if it wasn't for the distance, I swear, I wouldn't regret weilding my Hattori Hanzo.
Received this on my scrapbook a few days back:
hi ,Jokes aside, it took me a good thirty seconds to figure out the written words. I pity the guy: his SMS-ing thumbs have spread the disease to the other fingers, and now he cannot type straight.
u don know me i at dis point soi m nt goin 2 ask u 2 b my frnd......as frm ur profile i know what kind of gal u r....
realy interestin info abt u... if u mentiond abt u true den we r realy going to b frnd in future as l im of same type person as u r....... if u want me to describe me n u in a single word den the word is................ diversified.. isnt it.......
waitin for ur reply......
this cud b d begining of an never ending frndship.........
n i hope u believe in dat....
Thursday, July 28, 2005
Tuesday, July 26, 2005
Mr. Lance Armstrong, I salute you!
Good Sports, are there any better "sport"s you are looking for?
Monday, July 25, 2005
I sketched all evening, creating black and white "imperfect" impressions of everything within eye-range. My hands were black and grubby, and a few stray fingerprints adorned all my sketches: looked like a criminal had left his mark, but I felt happy.
The last sketch I did was a self portrait, without a mirror. Now, I don't particularly like looking into mirrors. So I sketched this big mass of hair for starters, and did some pulling pushing this side- that side: used my fingers for the shadow effect. Made a face. And voila, it was done.
Now, every budding artist needs an admirer. So, here comes A, who looks at my evenings effort, and appreciates the last sketch: Hey! Nice! That looks so much like Michael Jackson? Especially, the hair!
1) Charcoal is not my medium
2) Need to change my hairstyle.
Saturday, July 23, 2005
Monday, July 18, 2005
Some days I bear the burden of a thousand suns, and the words flee away, for fear of being charred to dust.
Memories… they cloud my mind… Raindrops wash them away?
Memories of hot summer afternoons in a haunting town, now dead. Even ghosts wouldn’t live there anymore.
I remember, the mirror on the parapet, and my uncle looking into it, as he lathered his cheeks and neck.
Three wheels being pushed around in circles and the screams in the courtyard. “Wheeeee”.
My old grandmother, watching over us. So old that she didn’t seem to get any older. She squatted with a hunch, singing her favourite song in her concerned voice. Dirt inside a Beautiful box. And a beautiful cover on top. What’s the point of this?
Two birds, thankfully distant, singing slightly off key.
“Krichikoo, krichikoo” – the hand pump’s worthless attempt at melody.
The distant elongated groan of the em-powered pump from the neighbour’s wall. That was our wall too. And so was the well with the algae on the inside walls. Half this side, half that side. And the mango tree which grew on that side, but dropped fruits on this side.
I remember the summers, so hot that the breaths would burn our nostrils, and the “cool” stories that never ended for days. Stories of devils, and daredevils, drowning men, and happy children. The dolls got married, human beings too. And left. What’s left? Nothing!… Only the rusty memories of a childhood long lost. A winding river. A convoluted past.
The new Harry Potter is out. Excitement surrounding the launch of the new book had already reached fever pitch. >And now, we, the lesser mortals, or Muggles, as they refer to us, are back to being exactly that: Lesser Mortals. Manipulated by a web of words and a web of Worlds, we predictably rush to acquire this intricately designed story which reveals only bits and pieces. I wonder if JKR has performed the Imperius curse on us.
I picked mine up yesterday in KL. Buying of the book involved Curiosity, Truth, Betrayal, Peer pressure (from my 12 year old niece) , few of the deadly sins and a twisted ankle... It also involved a careful selection of love potions 1, and few charms2 and a remote book store where the copies would still be available3. I had to convince people I needed the book, and I needed it now: I made a sad face, asked 'em to enjoy a cuppa coffee while I rushed to the book store.
Obviously, I started reading it right away. Faced an initial hitch with some characters I had forgotten, but now I am in the groove. Currently, I am somewhere on page 260 out of the 600-odd. No reviews yet, but I would be benchmarking it against "Prisoner of Azkaban". Frankly, the fatter sequels didnt please me as much. Hope this one is not as disappointing, though it seems a little dark at this stage.
My niece just mailed saying she knows who is going to die next. I think I-know-who. But seriously, after "Serious" Black died, no-one else seems as important any more.
For now, the lines between reality and fantasy are vanishing.
2. Girl Charms
3. Like Chacha Choudhary, Mera dimag computer se bhi tej chalta hai
Monday, July 11, 2005
Read this one, if you have lots of time to waste. I read the title, and that was enough for the day :) Now I am waiting for the movie to come out... I can almost see Tom Cruise successfully hamming his way to the Best Oscar for the Actor in a Leading role.
Thursday, July 07, 2005
As I was shamelessly ego-surfing yesterday, I chanced upon this. Imagine the state of my mind. First I thought there was another person with the same name. Then I realised its impossible: with a first name which sounds deceptively Arabic, and a family name which rhymes with Caeser's wife's name, it is just not possible. I carefully looked, and from what I remember it was: shock, surprise, joy, amusement...
These were a set of paintings done by me when I was ten. My drawing teacher told me that he will send it to Japan and I should tell the kids there about my life. I was excited at the prospect. I thought for a long time, before deciding what I wanted to paint. And when I did decide, I painted these snapshots of my life, then, at ten. Growing up in a small town, these were things that mattered. They are not an exact replica of my surroundings, but these are pretty accurate impressions.
With the help of my father, I scrawled small descriptions to help the Japanese kids understand whats going on, which now seems very strange!
The puppet painting was my favourite. The saree the "girl puppet" is wearing is called Panchali Saree, since you have 5 colours in it. And there is a rangoli on the floor where the women are dancing. I guess, even then, I paid attention to details.
After all the effort, I was curious whether they saw it and/or appreciated it. But, I never heard from them again. I dreamt of my puppets on and off. Probably happy in an alien land. And the shepherd, my mother's favourite, was duly replicated, and still adorns her bedroom wall. Then I grew up and it didnt matter. Till yesterday. Things came full circle yesterday. I am a different person now!
Well, for one, I am proud. I won the first prize (special award). *Pat on my back*. And also, I am grateful, I'm planning to mail them later today, and thank them.
***Edit: Did I ever mention that my favourite word is serendipity?
Translated into now suddenly a-la-mode English...
One says, it is for the "love of games."
So Paris lost. Now gin, no more gin for you, only stout. And as you would have liked it, no sin for you either (with spanish chicks). For me, for now, I will stick to the language we all speak well...
After the euphoria, we have now come to the part I like the best... Conspiracy theories.... Its 9:30 in the morning, and we just started. Work, I mean. My boss thinks the Panel is headed by americans who hate the french, and they are all primarily Anglo-saxons.
Will keep you updated.
Tuesday, July 05, 2005
Singapore is hosting the IOC session where it will bi decided which city: Paris, NYC, London Madrid or Moscow, will get to host 2012 Olympics. All celebrities, big and small, have found their way to the island. Beckham has arrived, to be joined by Queen Sophia from Spain, Senator Hillary, Jaques Chirac among others.
I am rooting for Paris. Now the transformation is complete. I work for a french firm, root for the french car, the french city, speak the language. Yikes!!!
I am excited. As usual. As in my nature. My colleague doesn't have an opinion. I find it strange. How can one not have an opinion in a competition! When I am watching sports, even though I dont know any of the players in the game, I still make up a preference on the spot. Thats how it is, isn't it?
BTW, the flower in the logo on top right, is Vanda Ms Joaquim, Singapore's National Flower.
Monday, July 04, 2005
The movie is good, with a crisp narrative, and Spielberg's signature special effects. In addition, there are no doomsday-movie cliches-- there are no politicians pointing on the map, no people from India praying in front of Taj Mahal. But I find the end a little too abrupt. Almost as if some movie-auditors said, "Ok dude, you are over your time-limit. Now cut the crap!". Whoosh, they all lived happily ever after.
Actingwise, Tom cruise is good. Dakota Fanning is about as annoying as a ten year old can get.
But the concert certainly had its share of "moments"...Not one, but many... In any case, sleep beckoned, and I couldn't watch the whole thing. From what I saw:
*Notable lines-- An awkward Bill Gates speaking the same awkward lines on stage as Brad Pitt who said it like he had them memorized for a Sanskrit Exam.
* Notable modesty and the lack of it: Respectively, A very modest The Edge from U2 saying "We may go down in history as a band which murdered Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club band", and the punk-y Greenday guy saying "If there are fans of Greenday out there who don't know anything about Africa, they will get to know because WE played here". Hello Mister, do you having any clue who you shared the stage with.
*Notable "Show(wo)manship": Madonna! She had like a whole bunch of Chorus singers, and stage performers. I mean, ooh!
*Notable Haunting voice: Dido-- "White Flag" and "Thank you!"
*Notable Non-haunting voice, which would make even Happy birthday to You sound like a dream: Bono. (Is it ok to admit I nurture a tiny crush on the guy?)
*Notable bad-hairstyle of the century- Bob Geldof.
Caught the "Floyd" performance on the re-run. Yes, the guitar sounds the same, but the voices are lost. Slightly
Wednesday, June 29, 2005
Thursday, June 23, 2005
2. Was walking with full-ishtyle into the lift (on the client side), and my pointed high heel got stuck in the gap in the lift door, and refused to come out for a full 20 seconds. Ooh, can anything else be more embarassing?
3. Bliss is... to wake up familiar song on the radio (alarm), in an alien land. The song in question being..."Sultans of Swing".
4. Also read: an amusing full-page-article on gender-bias....how the law leans towards the fairer sex, and women get away with murder, literally... Two women accused of infanticide got away with a "few years". Their post-natal depression was to blame. Men on the other hand will be charged of a second degree murder in a similar situation. Hmm...
5. Also also read: an article about the questionable questioning methods used in Guantanamo to find out "details" from "supposedly" 20th hijacker... I leave the rest to your fertile imagination...
*edit* Finally remembered what I wanted to say! After successfully braving/avoiding the sars and the avian flu virus, I have received another one now from sin/gin. I cannot but get infected... Wait for the symptoms now!
Friday, June 17, 2005
Years later, I haven’t still outgrown it, I am not 26 yet! I am still amazed at the simplicity and clarity of it. In any city I visit, I think of the verse for a few seconds, and I imagine whether that is the spot where I am intended to live this scene.
Vikram Seth is the master of simple verse. Its difficult to find someone so effortless. The poems are in the face, no hidden connotations, nothing to give students nightmares before board exams. Simple thought process in which alien words are joined together and they become partners in rhyme! And you smile, surprised at the effortlessness and the genius and the intended humor.
Some men like Jack
and some like Jill;
I'm glad I like
them both; but still
I wonder if
really is an
enlightened thing --
or is it's greater
scope a sign
of deviance from
some party line?
In the strict ranks
of Gay and Straight
what is my status?
Stray? or Great?
After years, I have been gifted a copy of the Golden Gate, by Vikram Seth, a little too late, but its great, still on page three, need some time free! Damn--Mine sounds like a limerick ?
Well, its a novel in verse, and its something you discover page by page. This is about a stud in Silicon Valley:
He goes home, seeking consolation
Among old Beatles and Pink Floyd -
But 'Girl' elicits mere frustration,
While 'Money' leaves him more annoyed.
Alas, he hungers less for money
Than for a fleeting Taste of Honey.
Murmuring, 'Money - it's a gas! ...
The lunatic is on the grass,'
He pours himself a beer. Desires
And reminiscenes intrude
Upon his unpropitious mood
Until he feels that he requires
A one-way Ticket to Ride - and soon -
Across the Dark Side of the Moon.
Are you Smiling yet?
PS: Senthil, Thanks for the gift!
Thursday, June 16, 2005
Nuno Bettercourt was here day before yesterday, with his band "Population 1". The whole population wasn't present, so it was like a private performance. Moreover, the Band carried their own equipment enough for a big Auditorium, so they literally brought the house down. Hard Rock lived upto its name that day! Apart from doing some stuff off their new *yet to be released* album, they also did some older Extreme songs. No controversy, plain unadulturated (adult-rated?) Hard Rock. And I loved it...
More than words was done with a twist. On an electric, it still sounded divine, he let the crowd sing parts of it, and he did the harmony on it. Standing 10 feet from the stage, I got gooseflesh, I swear....
In this small island all we get is small events. Never something biiiig... No Joe Sat, No Mark Knopfler! Hmm..
And the guy looks like an angel (with a nosering), and he sings like a dream.
This time Dude missed the show!
Tuesday, June 14, 2005
This is soooo hopeless that I don't even feel like brandishing the feminist sword.
Prana Priya? I mean, gimme a break!
Paris Hilton is engaged to Paris Latsis. Do you notice, the possibilities are immense:
If she changes her name after marriage, she becomes Paris Latsis too.
Thankfully she is not indian, cause if she was, she would have to take her husband's first name as middle name, and she would be called Paris Paris Latsis.
Imagine the phone calls they receive:
-Who do you want to speak to?
Hopefully they will use their head and be imaginative with their kids names... and the first born son doesn't have to be named after the father (or the mother!).. Don't even think about the daughter: its bad enough that she might inherit her mother's looks (or worse still, the brains!).
Sunday, June 12, 2005
Image source: danbrown.com
I finished reading it. I wouldn't say it is mindblowing, but it is a good read. And I like the whole thing about Ambigrams (like the one on the right!), I am going to do some research on it, and maybe try creating one for my name.
What I find amusing about Dan Brown's writing is that, apart from being predictable, has also has a wierd way of throwing in trivia between his story. Imagine... you are deeply into the character and the clock is ticking, the bomb is about to explode...you are running out of time, you get the adrenaline rush... you want to run.. panic... act...
If Dan Brown had to narrate it, typically, the story would go like this:
The events of the night were playing in his mind like it was a lifetime. He could have never imagined how close he felt to her. He was on the verge of panic. He was choking on his own adrenaline. Adrenaline, he thought, from Latin ad+ renes... on the kidney.... He wondered how many people knew that. But, right now, he had no time, the clock was ticking!
Okay, bad example! Will fabricate a better one soon.
Wednesday, June 08, 2005
Sunday, June 05, 2005
Image from: UN World Environment Day
Reuters gives numbers: To me these don't mean anything since nothing ever seems to be done about them. Most developing countries/cities seem to skip the relevance of nature when doing the urban planning. When I moved to Bangalore, the garden city of India, it was clean and green. Then they started the massacre on double road. 3 years later, the face of the city had changed. Unfortunately, it is irreversible, and it is frustrating that as an individual there is little you can do about it.
Singapore is indeed the Garden City. For every tree cut, three others are planted. Tropical weather and round the year rain is conducive to sustaining a green landscape. Garbage is non existent. Having no natural resources of its own, everything must be recycled: water, paper. Utopic? No. Here, the environment faces demons of a different kind. The Chinese have humongous appetites for exotic food (read: endangered species), and wouldn't stop at anything to savour their delicacies like Sharks fin soups. Sharks are caught, fins hacked, and they are left to die. Its strange bigger organisations like Disney don't take a stand on it.
I am not willing to sound like a cliched newspaper article, but I would still wish everyone reading this blog would glance through this , and find one little thing that they would like to adopt to do their part. Its a request :)
Wednesday, June 01, 2005
While under a damn tough course on Natural Language Processing (NLP) under a super-absent-minded-professor during my masters, I learnt this: The frequency of occurence of a word is inversely proportional to the information contained in it. For example, since the words “the” and “by” occur very often in language, they contain very little information . These will not help you discriminate one context from the other (and hence are excluded by search engines). On the other hand, words like "Camera" or “Photography” occur in very specific context giving us a lot of information about the bigger picture. After stating this, my professor then felt proud to reach a partly-poetic-partly-philosophical-partly-insane conclusion of: "The words which don’t occur in language (meaning, frequency of occurence is 0) have the most information (~ infinity)". [Or to quote the mushy Ronan Keating song, You say it best, when you say nothing at all]. At this point of time, he was very amused with himself, and he laughed and laughed and laughed. And then paused for some time, and finally said, “The time when you don’t write anything on your answer sheets, you know everything”.
I was confuzzled. This simple principle had then opened up a variety of thought for me, and I remember spending a few minutes thinking about it.
Now, I can list my favourite words under the simple premise of the fact, that trapped within a few characters is an entire concept. Hence my favourites: Serendipity, Chiaroscuro, melange and kiasu. Needless to say, I find very few occasions to use them.
Then come words which are neologisms, words that do not appear in the dictionary but should. I remember having this book called sniglets (circulated with a Readers’ Digest subscription in those days) which had a big set of these words: priceless gems with illustrations. I read it over and over and laughed everytime, since these words were very accurate observations of life in general, and were a story by themselves [Eg, Yinkel - n. A person who combs his hair over his bald spot, hoping no one will notice.]
After many years, Merriam Webster has published this list and this. Guys,Wordsmiths and Joke lovers--- feed on it. From the list: I have heard Chillax being used for sometime now. I borrowed “confuzzled”. I particularly like “Polkadodge”.
[For the curious: Prof. Lua Kim Teng retired later that year. I passed the course.]
Saturday, May 28, 2005
Well from what I heard from the fan, Marty is currently in Japan, speaks fluent Japanese, and is trying to make it big in Japanese Pop. Though he is absolutely unknown in Sushi-land, he supposedly left Megadeth to pursue his long time goal of doing Japanese Pop, and World Music. Shocked? Me too...
To add to the shock value, he is a big fan of Jay Chou (the Taiwanese Pop star), and thinks that guy is a genius. (I really really beg to differ!). Also he claimed to derive his musical influences "at times" from Britney Spears. I think by this time, the devoted fans in the audience must have had a cardiac arrest. But it seems they didn't bat an eyelid, since they were too much in awe of him to even register the statements he made...
I think what he said was true and honest, what he must be believing in, and it takes a lot of guts for a rock-er to say so. Or maybe not! He is the man on the stage after all :)
Monday, May 23, 2005
Ok, that was a futile attempt at being funny, but the list is worth a quick scan. In any case, I haven't seen most of the movies on the list: maybe because many of them seem to be strictly arthouse cinema, or because most of them were made a zillion years before I was born.
Predictably Present: Godfather, The Good the Bad and the Ugly, Casablanca, ET, Pulp Fiction, Star Wars, Schindler's list and Psycho.
Pleasant to Find: Drunken Master, Lord of the Rings.
Plain unpleasant to find: Nemo. ('Tis gud alrite, but all-time greatest? I beg to differ!)
Surprisingly Missing for me: Life is Beautiful, Braveheart, [few others...]
Surprisingly Missing for critics of the critics writing the list: Gone with the Wind ( Reuters )
Our Pride: Apu Triology, Nayakan and Pyaasa.
Update: While looking for the country of Origin of Kandahar (also in the 100), I found another list of Best and Worst movies. This is a list of more recent releases, and ratings are supposedly based on critic's scores. Quite predictably, Godfather tops this one.
Sunday, May 22, 2005
For one, the whole dollar dream concept is full of contradictions from the very beginning.
We used to have this English lesson in 10th, on Brain Drain. My mother being the english teacher taught me the same. But in the same breath, she never stopped short of praising/feeling proud of her ex-students who were "doing-oh-so-well" in the US. I still don't know what any of them were doing, what their job profiles were.... but they were doing well by the sole virtue of the geographical location. And then there were these uncles and aunts who came back from abroad, full of nice smelling soaps and shampoos and deodorants... Somehow, any attempts by the people writing textbooks were not as convincing. Now, my teacher is having a tough time teaching the same lesson to her impressionable kids (nothing changes in India?). With her daughter chasing the supposed good life, its not easy at all. Needless to say, my mother is very happy that her only daughter is doing well.
Hopefully, there won't be any Freudian explanations to this one: nobody told me to come, I was convinced by this idea we all seem to be born with, I came myself. I couldn't be different, I couldn't risk being left out. The only thing "different" I did was: despite an admit in the US, I came to Singapore. While most people were supportive or neutral to my decision, few came up with ideas that stumped me. One person (close to me then) laughed at me, and said I must be nuts - Singapore is for second rung students, people who run out of choices, for losers. Few others of a similar opinon were thankfully a little more euphemistic. It was strange seeing the pride in them, on prophesizing my not-so-shining-future on the basis of physical coordinates. This was clearly no land-of-opportunity. Clearly, for them, the vivid dollar dream is very monochromatic: it excludes the dollars of any other colour except green.
I did come here full of dreams. The university, in theory, taught me a lot more than RV ever did. (Experiences are another tangent!) I did research on something that I always wanted to do, wrote a few papers, and travelled a good bit of the world presenting them. I don't deny that the opportunity here is tremendous, more than what is available to an average student in India. I am grateful for them. Things which were beyond my league seemed possible and in course of time, happened. I am not sure whether I still look like an underachiever to my friends in the land of opportunity. I know that one person transiting in Singapore (US-India trip), within 15 minutes of being here, told my friend-- "Dude, get a life!! What the hell are you doing in a place like this!!". I also remember that on my trip to US, a friend pointed at Starbucks and said, "That's a coffeeshop, you know". I don't have the heart to tell him that there is one inside the Forbidden City (in Beijing) too. Another person spent some time charting out my life since "Eventually, you have to be there", the statement padded with the very American "you know what I mean". No, actually not, what do you mean?? I don't seem to know how come the people "there", bound by limits of that one country have seen everything, and me in this small island-country, despite having so many stamps on my passport ain't seen nothing? Why must we all lust for the land-of-opportunity?
The PPP is true, it exists, but People in India refuse to believe it. People (Auntijis and Unclejis) consider people living abroad successful since we earn big money in Indian currency. But we pay 3$++ for a coffee, as against 30 rupees in Coffee day. The practical Fx conversion rate is roughly around 1S$ = 10Rs. You also cannot afford the services here, meaning: no dhobi/cook for the bachelors. What I pay for my room, will fetch you a whole furnished apartment in India. The 6 figure salary comes with a hefty tax. My cup of coffee comes with a tax. I will probably never own a "dream" house with a huge garden. It took me 9 months to get my dream job. Its not like in India, that companies are lined up at your door waiting to take you in. You need the precious something called "Work-ex" which I lacked. In India, an MBA with no work-ex is still paid a premium salary!! Medical bills? I still lug my yearly supply of medicines from India. Its wrong to say we, the people abroad, have it easy. The people here are not the same, society is non-existent. And I miss my family and friends! Holi, Diwali, Janmashtami, Ganesh Puja, Ugadi all come and go, and I sit and wait for Chinese New Year. I don't know what kind of comforts I am seeking! Is this the reality of my dream...?
At times, I feel terribly guilty. But I cannot go back, because I like my job, and with the huge number of applicants in India, I have no chance of getting a similar one in India. I do not feel safe there either. Yes, in my own country I don't. (Have you read the papers off late?) Feminist ideas aside, the competition & the comparision kills me, "He was a worse student in class, but is doing better now", "Oh, you know he has bought a house/bike/car", "Oh he just got his H1B stamped" .
People still in India, working in the ubiquitous software companies are weighed down by peer pressure. They are depressed because their friends are in the US... they don't want to be left out, and are willing to let go of opportunities for it. A few are waiting for the H1B stamped, waiting for the salvation, the good life. When they go, they won't ever come back. If they do, they will be even more full of comparisions and the desire to go back. Whats the biggest contradiction here is that, while abroad many of them wouldn't even live the good life they wanted. They will crave for desi food, look for desi people, and ensure their children go to desi Schools and learn enough desi stuff. They will complain: "The dal here doesn't taste as good as the one in that dhaba in Indiranagar". Then, the chase for the green card will start. You have heard it all before, it is just the same old story, this is no different...
It is not a hamlet-ian dilemma of whether to get into this or not! The question is very direct-- Is this really a dollar dream?
(This is an unfinished piece, rather a work in progress... got too emotional to finish it)
(Disclaimers & Clarifications: Friends, It may not necessarily be you I am talking about or quoting, apologies for any "controversial" statements: it was totally unintentional. Also that, I am not trying to make a point or stir up controversy, I am just describing a thought process, based on bitter-sweet experiences. It's not to judge anyone, but more to discuss my internal contradictions and dilemmas....)
Thursday, May 19, 2005
Meetings are a waste of time. You spend much more time sending minutes of the meeting generally being nice to each other, and using all kinds of ambiguity to compensate for the lack of knowledge. The meetings were held in a small room with no windows and 20 people. I think my brain wasn't getting enough oxygen, so I "forever" had this terrible urge to yawn.
I also thought about the fact that to keep up with conversation, you have to hoard up a lot of useless trivia in your minds. It varies from the make of cars to make-up. And then there are these whole load of people from Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter and the très-à-la-mode Star Wars. Kill me if you want, but I didn't watch Episode I and II, (for reasons unknown). So I have no idea why Anakin Skywalker chose to become Darth Vader. Sometimes I wonder if for him, it was a simpler choice than me choosing not to keep up.
I discovered the blog of Darth Vader: It should make an interesting read for the fans of both blogging and starwars alike.
Also, during an intent tea break discussion with people in KL, I discovered that people in Malaysia are fluent in Hindi Movies, and know/like the Miss-World-lady-in-movies-very-pretty-one-ah (aka Aishwarya Rai) and of course, Shahrukh Khan (GodBless!)
PS: I am not too happy with my writing style, where i spend too much time detailing every little thing I can remember and getting back to the "original point" again and again. I am wondering where this influence comes from.
Lo and behold, no sooner than I had posted this blog, rediff came up with this one
Friday, May 13, 2005
xXx 1 was in its own league. A set of visually stunning stunts, joined together by a non-existent storyline. During training at CTS (Whites Road Office), after a tiring day of learning soft skills, we watched it in Satyam Cineplex (Bang opposite the office). 40 minutes through the movie, everyone was sitting there, doing those fake laughters at the jokes, trying to feign understanding of the storyline. Alas, there was none. And so this guy goes, "Does anyone have the faintest idea of whats going on...?". That was when it became fun. Few people left-- maybe frustrated by the movie, maybe by us. But, that was one memorable evening in oft-cursed-for-lack-of-fun Chennai.
In any case, the second time around I watched it for a friend, for complete lack of occupation, and it was a riot (again).
I went for XXX2 with NO expectations, only to waste some time... Well it was worth it... I haven't laughed harder in weeks. Its a new triple-X (I resort to writing it this way for known reasons)- the new guy supposedly has more attitude- and slightly better storyline (In the sense that there is a storyline).
As far as characters go, there is one chick who hands him fancy cars at the drop of a hat, and he comfortably goes and totals them up. There are a set of brothers, who talk in their lingo- and its straight from metal to rap as soon as they come on screen. It also is full of ridiculous dialogues like "Don't do it for the red-white and blue, do it for yourself", and "Else brotha, freedom won't be free", and the my favourite, "triple-X, what sort of a name is that? It sounds like a p*rno-star" :))
Its not a weekend movie, the one you would queue for. Only if a break is needed, the money will feel worthwhile. People may have apprehensions about wasting money on this one, but, a good timepass movie never harmed anyone.
PS: Ice-cube is cool...
Monday, May 09, 2005
Our pal karakoram has taken to philosophical meanderings, left the tribal community for the elitist... and decided to pull his xanga site down. I wonder why someone who was an avid admirer of xanga, who swore by it (still does) , would do something like this. Or will he?
Update: May 10th, 3:48 pm.
He did!! God Bless!
My little nieces have grown up. When I saw them first, they were small and I could carry them around. One of them had just learnt how to speak. And she used to spend her time looking at melting ice, not able to understand how miraculously, it turned to water.
Now, they email me regularly, but, much to my exasperation... one says "COOL IT!", and other after having shortened her name to something incomprehensible, wants me to create an email ID for her called "littleangel_scorpio".
Generation gap? I think, I have some growing up to do here! Whatever!
- I had fun in Paris, lots of it. But, I don't miss Paris at all. AT ALL! The excitement in life comes out of adventure, yes, but I had enough!
- The gruelling 13 hour flight was further ruined by this li'l girl who was suffering- her ears hurt. It didn't help that her parents were sitting across the aisle from each other, and decided to spend the night whispering to each other in french. Given the strong "s" in french, it was not exactly worth the whisper, since It was like a snake with a bad accent or something.. to top it all, the guy bumped into me, and stepped on my glasses. But I kept my cool. Beemar bachche ke mata-pita ka saat khoon maaf. In any case, now I am sleepy and without glasses, both of which don't help the overall situation of being blur.
- On board I watched:
- "Finding Neverland" (good!). I like Johnny Depp.
- I love Huckabees, (I heart huckabees) which may be good, but its one of those stimulating movies about *Why do we exist*, a little abstract! Can someone tell me something about it, please? And Yeah, I like Mark Wahlberg!
- Bits and pieces of Meet the Fockers: a movie which I was trying to avoid. I am through with Ben Stiller brand of humor. Though, I like Robert De Niro.
- Tom and Jerry, and some OOOOLD Disney animations, eg. one about how to play golf [which I remember watching on a Sunday morning on DD]
- In the real world, I am still confused about what to do, how to do, and what I was doing before I left.
- K, I prefer blogger!
- Why is it that my blogs are written with this *negative energy* thing around it? Meaning, I haven't said anything nice about anything!
Tuesday, May 03, 2005
Monday, April 25, 2005
Vinay has an indepth analysis of how the rule changes affect the F1 Scene - I would agree with most of it. F1 is about speed and technique, and not about stress testing of the car.
Though people would kill for the opportunity -- watching F1 live is not as exciting as watching it on TV. You can see only a part of the circuit, and with the affordable tickets - you cannot see the finish line either- there are no screens. The noise levels at first seems awesome, but by the 20th lap it kills. Laps are difficult to figure out, also who went for pit stop, who retired, who did what. When Schumi was leading, you could figure out by waiting for his car, but the rest - usually no idea =). Your race is restricted to the part that you can see-- more like spot the car competition. Not as cuticle-chew-worthy either. And also, you have to go early, and wait for hours -- if you really are worried about the race itself, stick to TV.
But having said that, watching F1 live is totally worth the experience, the cars on display are mindblowing. Walk through the pits is mindblowing. For the guys, an added incentive are the Malboro chicks, wearing oh-so-short skirts. The smokers hearts flutter even more. I got to see/hear the mostest-cutest Raikkonnen. The whole ambience is *mindblowing*, since you see/meet/hear fanatics from all over the world, and the town is painted RED. It feels like it is a religion. Isn't it?
Saturday, April 23, 2005
I had created this Id on blogger/blogspot eons ago... so I don't deny I am slightly prejudiced.R and S have been arguing so I sampled xanga. Y!360 was ruled out since I feel too many choices are not too good either. With all disclaimers, here goes the opinion on xanga:
Apart from the adivasi hoolalala name there are a lot of other things against Xanga. Shom says xanga is very "15 years old". I agree. With the smileys and eprops and those blinky blinky things all over, somehow it feels like another social networking place where there is no chance you will be hidden. For someone who secretly dreads being found out, xanga is not the place. You can't be serious either. What do I say? Today I am thinking deeply about the futility of life. *sad smiley*
I don't like the "linking system" of subscription either. I still don't know how you can do it on xanga, but I want to be able to blogroll other people with my own comments. I like editing the templates too. Its quicker. Comments [yes, round won by shom!] -- even LJ allows anonymous comments.
What I do like about xanga, is for one, the image uploading. its a lot easier there. And the fact that I can add what book I am reading and what music is playing. Its kinda fun, since it is a more generic indication of the mood, than the words I write. There is no way I can be serious on xanga, hence all things colorful come out. The background/template that I complained about so much, is not bad either. On blogger, every amar-akbar-anthony has the same serious dark background as me. I think like the foreigners clapping after a confusing "fusion" performance, we [Amar, akbar, anthony and me] try to look serious and intellectual here. Why the hell are we sitting and thinking about the futility of life!!
So, as of now, confused, and since I have too much of blogging to catch up on-- me and my alter-ego remain.
Friday, April 22, 2005
The last time I read this book, I would say I was still a child, and I didn't understand the irony in this children's book. I didn't understand the French either. The French are perfect at what they call irony [For us, we could call it subtle sarcasm. My boss disagrees. He says irony (ee-ro-nee) is different, and spends a bit of time trying to explain to my singaporean teammate the nuances of this form of humor.]
Anyways, coming back to Le petit prince: A few favourites from till wherever I read the book.
'Language is the source of misunderstandings.'
'What are you doing here,' he asked the drunkard...
'Drinking,' replied the drunkard, with a gloomy expression.
'Why are you drinking?' the little prince asked.
'To forget,' replied the drunkard.
'To forget what?' inquired the little prince, who was already feeling sorry for him.
'To forget that I'm ashamed,' confessed the drunkard, hanging his head.
'What are you ashamed of?' inquired the little prince, who wanted to help.
'Of drinking!' concluded the drunkard...
and the best:
Grown-ups like numbers. When you tell them about a new friend, they never ask questions about what really matters. They never ask: "What does his voice sound like?" "What games does he like best?" "Does he collect butterflies?". They ask: "How old is he?" "How many brothers does he have?" "How much does he weigh?" "How much money does his father make?" Only then do they think they know him.
If you tell grown-ups, "I saw a beautiful red brick house, with geraniums at the windows and doves on the roof...," they won't be able to imagine such a house. You have to tell them, "I saw a house worth a hundred thousand francs." Then they exclaim, "What a pretty house!"
Thursday, April 21, 2005
These days, in bookshops, you find more copies of books elaborating on the Da Vinci Code than the book itself. The above article is worth a read only for the hype [read: controversy] that the work of fiction caused - shaking everything right up to the church (lest people seriously start believing the written word).
As discussed in the rather long article here, I also dont particularly agree with the interpretation of the famed "Last Supper". The M [or V for that matter] could be totally unintentional, or maybe to add a sense of symmetry to the painting. Maybe it stands for "Mo". hehe.
Tuesday, April 19, 2005
I also got my fill of crusading today.
I went to the doctor, and his assistants reminded me yesterday and today of my impending appointment at 1145 am. Stickler for time that I am, I left all the work aside [The buck was still with me then], I reached a good 20 minutes before the designated hour. And guess what, I wish I had gone late....I had to wait there for a good 45 minutes. The potpourri which i couldnt smell, some boring pamphlets were not helping the situation. Though the plan-your-wedding magazine on the table did evoke some bride-like feelings for me. Not the coy type, the samurai sword weilding Uma thurman brand. I swear I wanted to pull out one!. After having to wait a good 20 mins more after the doctor saw me, for some stupid blood test which cost me a fortune, I decided to give in to my very humble desire of putting my point across: Of why the doctor's time is precious, and mine not so much, and if they could remind me half an hour before the appointment lest the doc have to wait, why they don't inform me if the doc is busy, and I might have to wait. Having put the point across with all my cool [*pat on my back*] - I felt happier than ever, came back with renewed joy and enthu to pass the buck [ I wonder if it was the 8 ml blood slowing me down!]
Sunday, April 17, 2005
Well I have lost touch over time. Last I went to India, to catch up with friends and Family in India, I decided to catch up on my annual share of TV. As expected, the story of the soaps hadn't moved in 14 months. Some characters had changed, some remained, some new people were playing old characters. Jassi was still the ugly duckling nurturing her love for Armaan Sir. [ I was like, get a life girl!]. Music channels: the movie songs were ok, the music video's didn't seem too much "For-the whole-family's-viewing-pleasure"! I switched to News. And, was I disappointed.
News and the presentation has changed in India over the years. News channels have doubled. From what i saw, There was/is too much sensationalism. With the scroll *BREAKING NEWS* below the screen - some headline was being presented [Frankly, I dont think it was important enough]. Reporters were running every where - covering every little itsy bitsy detail from Kareena Kapoor getting a shoe bite to the situation between Israel and Palestine in the same breath. I was confused. I still am! The fine line between the reality and entertainment seems to have vanished. We have so called "sting journalism" trying to catch the reality of entertainment. Its not only TV, its the news papers too. Times of India (online) seems to have become a tabloid [reporting "Camilla wears the same dress thrice"] - feeding on reel-life people's real life details. And all seem to be very unapologetic about it. To get back to the point: As I channel surfed, I ws shocked at the situation to say the least [May be I wasnt watching TV at the right time?] As I looked for familiar IDOLS on Tv I wondered if this is what India wants, Indians want?
So Mr. Sardesai, is starting another channel. I wonder if everyone is waiting with bated breath on what he comes out with.
(Comments are welcome!)
Wednesday, April 13, 2005
The recipe for the Singapore Sling:
- 1 1/2 ounce gin
- 1/2 ounce Cherry Herring brandy
- 1/4 ounce Cointreau
- 1/4 ounce Benedictine
- 4 ounces pineapple juice
- 1/2 ounce lime juice
- 1/3 ounce grenadine
- dash bitters
Its kinda sweet- in fact a treat for the sweet tooth, but worth every sip. A must try, especially because it derives its sweet name from the the island!
The Singapore Sling was originally created by Mr. Ngiam Tong Boon for the Raffles Hotel in Singapore[In singapore, anything called Raffles is Premium], somewhere in the early part of 20th century. Most websites and recipe places say that there of disagreement as to how closely the current version of this drink that is served at Raffles is to what was originally served. The original recipe was supposedly lost and forgotten and the drink that they currently serve at the hotel's Long Bar is based on memories of former bartenders.
Saturday, April 09, 2005
Hokkien adjective literally meaning, "afraid of losing". A highly pejorative description beloved of Singaporeans. Possibly the defining national characteristic. The nearest English equivalent is "dog in a manger", though even that is pretty mild.
A simple example would be queueing up all night for some "limited offer" stuff. Or, to grab freebies by the dozen, eat enough of the "free food" sample so you don't need dinner, polish off office stationary as if markers are going out of style. And of course, not to buy things which are not on sale. I wouldnt think its not something new - all cultures have our share of kiasu-dom to various degrees, but I guess are not shameless enough to admit it and more so, find a word for it.
I have heard both kiasu-dom and kiasu-ism. I guess because we are kiasu enough not to let go of either of the suffixes.
Here is the A-Z of kiasu-dom/ism:
|Always must win||Never mind what they think|
|Borrow but never return||Outdo everyone you know|
|Cheap is good||Pay only when necessary|
|Don't trust anyone||Quit while you are ahead|
|Everything also must grab!||Rushing and pushing wins the race|
|Free! Free! Free!||Sample are always welcome|
|Grab first talk later||Take but don't give|
|Help yourself to everything||Unless it's free forget it|
|I first, I want, I everything||Vow to be number one|
|Jump queue||Winner takes it ALL! ALL! ALL!|
|Keep coming back for more||Yell if necessary to get what you want|
|Look for discount||Zebras are kiasu because they want to|
|Must not lose face||be both black and white at the same time|
Thursday, April 07, 2005
The deal is this: I couldn't sleep at night. Kept thinking about a lot of things- more than necessary. So, I am little blur today. [In singlish Blur: Used to describe someone as rather inept or in a world of his own. May also be used to describe the feeling of being dazed] Have finished all the required work in the same feeling of daze. Last night, I flitted from subject to subject: some technical, most reeking the overrated nostalgia. And then I wondered, if my ever nostalgic self would like to go back to the place where I started.
To make matters worse, this old batchmate from school buzzed me on Orkut saying “Hi! I know you remember me! You look very different in your picture!” I must have spoken to him not more than 10 times through school, and here he was. I had to try hard to remember him- [Needless to say, he looked very different in his picture too!]. I am not sure whether I am happy about getting this fragile[-as-an ego] link back. I had top secret identity in School – I was geeky/ gawky (CIA) agent, now I try to dissociate myself from. It doesn’t look like my friend lived a vagabond existence like I did and hence, he is still in touch with a lot of people from school. I am sure through him, I am sure I will get back many other links which I am not sure I would want any more. In fact, I am quite sure I don’t want them any more. Love, hate, indifference – all was good while it lasted – now it seems too complicated for forging a new friendship, and too difficult to avoid this one! Lets see!
Wednesday, April 06, 2005
Shomo specifically said:
"Write, write.... don't miss out on these moments, and today's memories...."
Well today I make an attempt- not to miss documenting today's memories, but to document the memories of the days i miss.
The first post on this blog was a few years ago. I still am unclear why I never had any desire to write. Off and on, reading other's opinions and musings out in the open made me wonder if I was brave enough to put my life and more so, my precious thoughts under public scrutiny. But then again, I am no British Royalty to merit such attention. For all practical purposes the only people reading it will be people I know, I love, I care for, I have, I want, I resent. How can I express an opinion or a thought in an isolated (and more so, in a politically correct) context? Frankly, I shiver at the thought of people reading this and knowing me better than they need to. It felt diificult then and now, I (re)start with a little bit of apprehension.
As of today, in a relignment of priorities and thoughts, I have stopped looking for the purpose here, I am doing it for the heck of it. Makes my task easier.