Friday, November 23, 2007

Office attire

The company I work for is a privately held French firm. The partners are all naturalized French citizens - they of Lebanese descent. Most of their families, and those of many of my colleagues are still in and around Beirut.

It's a cool place to work. They let us be. As far as attire is concerned, they don't care one bit. We dress to our nines only when we go to the client side. Rest of the time, everyone is casuals - Jeans and t-shirts, even on weekdays. Yes, they are nice to us. Which is why I was stunned when I saw my teammate wear "Israeli Defense Forces" T-shirt to work. I casually asked him if he didn't think that it was kind of inappropriate. He said "It's just a T-shirt man! My friend got it for me". Following which, he hurled a mild accusation at me for making a big deal out of it. I smiled and changed the topic. I admit, I have heightened sensitivity to things, but somehow this unnerved me, and I began wondering how much are our T-shirt messages meant to demonstrate what we stand for. Maybe it struck me as odd because I feel the company is being nice to us by not insisting on proper business attire, and my colleague shouldn't misuse this freedom.

It really is a T-shirt. There is little reason for one to be sensitive, or to believe that it portrays ones allegiance. Like a foreigner wearing a t-shirt with a bold "Om" emblazoned across it, doesn't mean he believes in Hinduism, or is remotely spiritual. The figure of Ganesha has become more or less a commodity, till a bunch of religious fanatics find it on a piece of clothing and create a furore. We argue - it really is nothing but a t-shirt.

And yet, I still feel that there is a thin line between coolness and impropriety.

Now playing: The Beatles - While My Guitar Gently Weeps

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Linking park

I can't type Linkin Park without making a mistake.
Anyway, I went for the concert two days ago. It wasn't because I still listen to them, it was because I listened to them eons ago, and I wanted to watch them then and hence had to watch them now. For completeness.

Lights were fantastic. Really really well done. I was truly impressed. Sound was ok, though A claims it was better than many other concerts he has gone for. The vocalists are mindblowingly good. Considering that having two vocalists (and their egos) may be a bit too much for a band.
Oh and the turntables and the DJ were in a position which rightfully belongs to the drummer. The drummer was kind of sidelined. At one point of time, there were major drum-rolls going on, and we caught the drummer getting a drink, and we figured why he was placed in a corner. Rest of the band kept themselves occupied - they changed guitars as often as they could even between songs. For appeal. (Heh!)
Much of their stuff is programmed, so it gives little scope for improvisation or interaction with the audience.

So that's that.

As an aside, what's with the encores? The bands pretend to go off stage without performing their best-selling/most-popular songs, leave the guitars on stands, and then the crowd will scream and clap. Then they will come back on stage and play three whole songs.
Mockery. I can't stand the farce of encores anymore. I am yet to experience the euphoria of a genuine encore.

How dare he?

Was rushing to work this morning, late and stuck in traffic. As usual.
At the traffic light, there was this old man behind us on what I would call a luna/moped/what-do-you-call-them-here.

And he was whistling. A song he liked perhaps. And he was whistling. With ups and downs and vibratos. Like there was no tomorrow.

How dare he? How dare he enjoy the morning rush?

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Om Shanti Om.

No review, just notes.
  • Its like a big party that you have been invited to, and everyone seems to be having a whole lot of fun, and you do too. But at times one just has to stand in a corner and wait to get noticed. It's full of in-jokes that only a die hard Bollywood fan will appreciate. It's full of these moments that one will remember and guffaw about, but the story-telling is very average. The story is obviously predictable, that's what Farah Khan intended to do. The point being that the this predictability doesn't have to be in the face.
  • Shah Rukh Khan: In a place which seems to be reserved for people with connections, he has really made it. He hams, overacts and does all that people claim that is SRK. He is a natural in the role. I love him.
  • Deepika Padukone: We argued over whether she is hot or cute. Sam summed it up rather well "She is trouble". I am not qualified to rate her talent, but the thing about her is that she's got the appeal, the aura of a star. She walks into the screen, and you stare at her in wide-eyed amazement.
  • Songs:
    • Dard-e-disco: Ok only. The song was not a stand out. Even the choreography very ordinary, especially by Farah Khan's standards. I prefer the others.
    • Deewangi Deewangi - I love that song. However, it's not actually 31 *stars*, it's less than that. Aftab Shivdasani and Dino Morea are stars?!?
Having said all of that, I love the movie. It's full paisa wasool.
I might even watch it again.
I am not watching Saawariya. No chance in hell.

Friday, November 09, 2007


Diwali is supposed to make one nostalgic, and homesick. Sadly, it doesn't do anything for me. Not any more. Have been away from home for far too long. Nine years is a long time. In any case, the hostel Diwalis can hardly be counted as proper celebrations. We walked up and down in our new clothes, jumped and danced around a little bit, and then went back to our rooms to gossip about the warden. Oh and we visited our local guardians. But, that wasn't really home.

For me, Diwali is supposed to signal the onset of winter. If there is anything I miss, it's the crispness of Diwali air. The chill you feel after you have finished bursting your stash of fire-crackers and have settled to see those black tablets conjure up long snakes. Yes, the ones that burn their way out of fire.

But I don't feel a strong wish-I-was-in-India sentiment anymore. I am fine here. Here is where I want to be.

Maybe I really have moved on. Maybe there is no going back. I can only visit, but I can't lead my life here thinking about how much it was better back there. Because even if I go back, it won't be the same. I think the harshness of it struck me when I went back home after the first semester, and I realized that time hadn't stood still. Things hadn't waited for me to come back and continue from where I had left them. Ma had found use for the cupboard that once belonged to me - she had stuffed linen in there.

Anyway, I have cooked up my own ritual for Diwali here - I wear a sari, go to the temple and pray. And pray hard.

Here's wishing all the five devoted readers of this blog a very Happy Diwali.

Counting Sheep

Confucious says: Don't hold on to a post too long, else you will hate it.
I hate it. It pretends to be informative and intelligent and worse still, funny.
Anyway, since I put in all the effort typing it, I will post it here. For completeness.
No, its not another pint of whine about Insomnia.

Now that I have ruined the opening gambit, I might as well tell you that it's about the NZ landscape. The rolling plains with balls of wool. For miles and miles. Speckled landscape. Dotted eyes.

In that country, the sheep outnumber people by 10 to 1. If they were not the aww-inspiring mild mannered creatures of our metaphors, I would be scared.

Far away from civilization, we focussed on subjects in sight - the sheep. The conversation ranged from bitching (Why don't they get tired of eating?), to curiosity (Is grass sufficient nutrition for them? Do they have boring lives?). The sheep were judged, classified (the ones by the highway, the "City sheep" - confident, conversant - they flock to look at us, as opposed to the ones on the off-roads, the "country bumpkins" who run for their lives instead of making good use of the photo-op). Their enclosures were judged - crowded ("Downtown Tokyo") to sparsely populated ("Singapore CBD on a Sunday afternoon"). Jokes were created ranging from bad (Sheepish grin/ Silence of the lambs - DIY jokes) to worse (Why are songs by Meatloaf not kosher for the sheep?) . There were some games too, but trust me, no counting or throwing of sheep was involved.

We went for a farm adventure, which promised us the real thing. As the farmer took us around his never ending acres, the complexity of it all struck home. Farming is far more difficult than studying/working can ever be. Farming needs common sense which as we well know, is in short supply and that itself should discourage anyone with the herd mentality.
The amount of effort needed for a human baby from conception to infancy - now imagine managing 3000 sheep through their pregnancy and raising 4000 lambs through infancy (?). And that doesn't even include the circus of worrying about their healthy diet, how to gather them together to shear them and the selection process of which ones to keep. (Cows are much worse, anything and everything scares the crap out of them.) Anyway, I dont think I could have ever been able to take that kind of stress. I am glad my teachers warned me when I was young, that if I don't study I will have to become a farmer.

And now that I am noticably in love with the species, please don't throw any sheep at me.

Now playing: Om Shanti Om - Om Shanti Om - 02 - Dard-E-Disco

The gate

Written a while ago, after looking at the new structure at the entrance of the alma mater. Very emotional moment that.


Once upon a time, there was a fragile looking board, faded, rusted, stood in a corner. The name was written on it.
More than an institution, it was our passage to adulthood.
A fancy structure, an arch of stone, now marks the entrance. And a slab, also of stone, bears the name. Etched and fitted with metal letters. Shining. Tall. Promising matching futures all the same.
And an MBA school sits where Dreamland once used to be.

I can still see us.
It wasn't time that was passing by, it was you and I.