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Archive for October, 2009

The Lord’s prayer

Dear children,

I have been meaning to write to you for long. But never got around to it. Now the time has come when I cannot put off the unpleasant talk any longer. I’ve been dreading every second of waiting for this moment to come. Who would have thought that one day the creator would end up praying to his creations? No I’m not on my knees, I’m not rolling around a temple in wet clothes, I’m not going to print this out and tie it with a piece of yellow thread on a banyan tree or brainwash you saying the end is near and you will burn in hell if you do not read this. I am simply sitting in front of my PC and keying in this mail. Yes, it is only a mail if you choose to look at it that way but to me it is more than that. To me, it is a cry from the heart, a plea for mercy and ages of unshed tears put together. Ironic, is it not? To be truthful, I find it a bit humiliating but what has to be done has to be done. Please do not take offence to anything in this mail and go around burning temples, churches, dargahs and other places of worship to showcase your anger at me. Remember children, that we will definitely meet some day. We can settle scores then. Once and for all.

First of all, I have to tell you how difficult my job is. For example let us just consider one day. Today. In Earth, I have approximately 346528364 prayers being sent to me in all possible means every second. Right from how Raju wants help to clear his entrance exam to join LKG to Yangste Ki who desperately needs the rare AB- blood to save her husband who’s in the hospital to Abdul-Muhaimin in the Guyanese river basin who wants to catch a Piranha for dinner tonight. You get the drift don’t you? Add to this the Martians, Venusians and all other life forms alien to you. And then I have to be present at 237252930346297383633 places of worship including churches, temples, mosques, Kabbalah centres, gurudwaras, etc during the prayer times. I have to be there for Mundakarumaariamman kovil கூழ் ஊத்துற function as well as the Ramadan season fasting prayers. I have to be at so many places at the same time that I’m finding it so difficult to be omnipresent. And I have to take up the million identities you have thrust on me, that I am getting a multiple personality disorder. I have to monitor tsunamis, earthquakes, volcano eruptions, flood situations, droughts, famines and terrorist attacks since prayers at a huge scale are directed towards me from regions affected by these. And above all I have to save the ecosystem, flora, fauna and your fellow human beings, who you are so keen on destroying ruthlessly day after day. Tough job? You bet.

I know you have little time for lectures from God (you are too busy killing yourselves in my name). But I have to tell you some more about my job. My job has three faces to it – Creation, Sustenance and Destruction. I would like to believe that you all are being too kind these days. You seem to be hell bent too keen to share my work and make life easier for me by creating and destroying by yourselves at such an astonishing rate. You are, in fact, creating more than I can sustain and destroying much more than I ever want to destroy. For one, making holes in the ozone layer and destroying it never occurred to me ever since I made it. For every new species of fauna that I create you seem to destroy 10 other species and wipe them off the face of the Earth. Most of the rivers I created are nothing but poisonous toxic wastes and mass cemeteries today. And for each and every single baby that is born you destroy the lives of a million others. After all, it did not take ‘God’ to kill 11 million people. It took only one of you – one man known as Adolf Hitler. Now that leaves me with the most difficult job of all – protecting the precious lives that you want to destroy. And this mail is a plea from me to you, to let me do this job.

You know what pains me the most? The fact that most of this mass destruction and cruelty takes place in MY NAME. Children, I was only God. You created Shiva, Vishnu, Brahm, Allah, Christ and every one of those 321721519 identities I have today. Did I ever come down in a cloud and roar amidst thunder and lightning that I wanted to be called by any of these names? You gave me those names. You gave me those identities. You made your rules and religions and now, you use the very names you gave me to shed the blood of millions. You built me magnificent temples, majestic mosques and heaven high churches over the graveyards of hundreds of my children, burying them and burning them under the name of Ram and Allah. Children, remember? I made you. It was not the other way round for you to know or fight over my exact birthplace. You pray to me for peace and prosperity. Then you go out and train your children to become suicide bombers and religious terrorists and call that a holy war. What you forget is that a war is only a war. It can never be holy. You name political groups after me, calling yourselves my army. Then you go around humiliating women, raping them in public, robbing them of their rights and treating them like dirt. Do you not remember children, that one of the very forms you created for me, the Arthanareeswara is half woman? Or the deity you worship in hordes every morning is another woman, Kali? You murder and maim, burn and kill, rape and mutilate and then smugly say, We did it for God. I only have one question. What exactly did I, as God, have to do with all this?

The Aesthetics Atheists seem to be a more peaceful group. They do their work and let me do mine. They don’t pray to me and do not make me pray to them. They seem to be ‘cool’, so as to say in Earth lingo. I have only one request to make of you, my children. Do not think I am being impertinent or rude, but mind your own business please. Each one of you. I know to create, I know to destroy and I most certainly do not need your help. You have done enough damage. Let me undo a little of it now. If you cannot see your fellow men as friends and brothers, at least see them as strangers, but not as enemies. If you cannot serve to protect, you don’t have to, but please don’t destroy. If you cannot treat women with dignity and respect, well, there is only one option – please come to me. There is no place for you on Earth.

This is a prayer, children. To you. From the old chap who has the toughest job in the Universe.

With love (that is running out day by day),

God.

P.S. Can I please be addressed only as God hereafter. I don’t remember all those million other names. And frankly, I don’t care.

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Work and Food :)

Weekends simply fly. Start it with a lazy morning, throw in some household chores, add a dash of afternoon nap and top it up with a visit to the Church/Relative’s wedding/reception and pooh!!! the weekend is gone. Earlier when I used to have a two-day weekend, it used to be heaven. But now having got used to having just the Sunday off, I usually don’t know what to do if I get an extra day away from work! I never knew that I, of all people would say this some day. That I’m bored to be away from work, that I wish we could work on Sundays too. I can see the horror on my own face as I write this, so I can as well imagine the horror of people who know me, while reading this. But now I realise that I’ve begun to enjoy my work so much that I can’t stay away from it. In IT I was just a speck amidst the millions of code writers. All I had to do was change a few lines here, attach XML tags here and there, comment out lines that make problems and create bugs and other insipid, unispiring things which were mechanical, dull and routine to say the very least. Or it could be that, I hated computers and coding and Java so much that I couldn’t enjoy what I was doing, however challenging it was. Now things are different. I know that the job I do would directly impact the functioning of my workplace. I know that people look up to me to bring about improvements and changes and that makes me want to work harder. I know I’m trusted and that makes me more responsible. And above all I’m not micro managed which makes me want to prove myself. Now I know what people mean when they say, ‘Find a job that you love and you’ll never have to work a single day of your life.’ Finally there’s come a day when I can proudly say, ‘I LOVE MY JOB’. What more as a professional, can I ask for!!

The other day we were at Mainland China for an early lunch. I was really excited since it was known to be THE place for chinese cuisine in Chennai. We had to make an advance reservation and was given a time slot and reached there only to find a long queue of hungry people already waiting outside the place. Probably Tirupathi Darshans are easier. We walked up to a Nepali girl dressed up in Chinese traditional wear at the reception to confirm our reservations.

P : Umm, excuse me, we have a reservation for a table for 4. One thirty.
She: Chi?
P : Ughh, pardon??
She: Chi res? (Points to a notebook and looks at P with a benign smile)

Thankfully P had the presence of mind to search out his name in the register and pointed it to her triumphantly. The rest of us look at this fascinating conversation wide eyed. I mean, it was one thing to dress up people in the traditional clothing to get a feel but making them speak in Chinese/Mandarin was too much for effect. She scribbled something in the register. I strained to see if that was in Chinese as well. She smiled again at P and said, “Gow un”. He looked uncertain for a second, then his face cleared up and he rushed us to an empty couch. “She’s asking us to wait!” We were about to sit when the girl rushed up to our side and pointed to the door shaking her head vigorously. “Unnnn!!! Goww Unnnn”
“P, she’s asking us to GO IN!!! It’s English only”, I whispered. We barely managed to keep straight faces as we walked in. It was much more howlarious inside. At the reception at least there was a nepali woman talking in chinese sounding english. Inside it was perfectly Indian men talking in the same chinese sounding english as if they were born and brought up in some obscure chinese province to the north of the Yellow River.
“Wod u lyks huv bozzul wotor ar rezulor wotor?” meant “Would you like to have bottled water or regular water?” szrim sop mil cler” meant “Shrimp soup is mild and clear” The menu cards weren’t much help either. ‘Tsang hi Chicken’ read an item and the description was ‘minced chicken in vegetables/meat of your choice in sauce of your choice’. To know the choices we’d have to ask the service personnel for which you would have to be fluent in Chinglish(Chinese + English) which was a new language they’d invented. After some intense deciphering which would put even Robert Langdon to shame, we managed to order the Chicken Vegetable Clear soup and Duckmeat soup along with Crackling spinach and Diced chicken in black pepper for starters (We basically chose the stuff we could read and pronounce on the menu). From the beginning I had a bad feeling about the Duckmeat soup and when it came my fears were all confirmed. Guess they took the duck out of some dirty smelly pond and cooked it in water from the same pond. The soup was stinking horribly and I had to hold my nose with one hand and spoon the soup into my mouth with the other, all the while giving murderous glances at P who had ordered the thing, wanting to be adventurous. Then I had a better idea and drowned the soup in white pepper. It was more edible after that. The Crackling Spinach lived upto its name. It was crisp and crackling but made me wonder if it was a starter or dessert. It was a bit too sweet to be a starter and tasted almost like Haldiram’s mixed sev. The Diced chicken was heavenly though. It was the right blend of all subtle spices but even that was dangerously bordering on the sweet side. For the main course we were desperate for something spicy and had no choice but to take the waiter into confidence. The menu was no help since there was a picture of a chilli near some names and at the bottom it was explained that one chilli = pungent and two chillies = very pungent. Now what exactly this pungent was, nobody knew and we din’t want to risk the Duckmeat disaster once again. So after ordering the mandatory schezuan fried rice and noodle dishes, we asked the waiter for some spicy gravy choice on the menu.

“Tsoi Hoi Chicken” was his response.

“Err… Is that spicy?”

“Tsoi Hoi Chicken. Chi”

I din’t want to order any dish which the waiter himself had certified as ‘chi’ but I had no choice. So we ended up ordering Tsoi Hoi chicken. After ordering we noticed that in the menu the dish had 2 red chillies drawn next to it, whcih meant it was going to be ‘very pungent’. I imagined something smelling like rotten eggs and ammonia put together and braced myself. But the dishes that came to the table was quite harmless. Tsoi Hoi chicken was a mildly spicy dish that was still sweet but not as much as the other dishes and it went very well with the delightful fried rice. Only then we realised in Chinese meal dictionary, the word pungent meant spicy. But I found even their so called ‘very pungent’ dishes only mildly spicy and the Chinese must also be using more than half of the sugar produced in the world. They practically use it in EVERY dish they make man! But the main course turned out to be delicious after all, and hence no complaints. I hogged like I hadn’t seen food for ages and polished off the meal with some sinful sizzling brownie in hot chocolate sauce. After some word wrestling again with the waiter asking for the bill, we left after paying a hefty 2000 bucks, tax inclusive. It was a bit on the expensive side but one can indulge once in a while, right? Next time have to try their buffet lunch, me and P have decided, so that we can escape the chinese vocab torture and dive straight into the food. Game anyone??

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Honesty ‘tags’ along

*Starts typing rubbing hands with glee and with a stupid grin plastered across the face*


Tagged! Veti has presented me an award (ahem, ahem) which I have displayed proudly below:

honestscrapaward

As a bonus I have a tag to do as well. Thanks Veti, more for the tag than the award. The rules of this tag are:

“When accepting this auspicious award, you must write a post bragging about it, including the name of the misguided soul who thinks you deserve such acclaim, and link back to the said person so everyone knows she/he is real. Choose a minimum of seven (7) blogs that you find brilliant in content or design. Or improvise by including bloggers who have no idea who you are because you don’t have seven friends. Show the seven random victims’ names and links and leave a harassing comment informing them that they were prized with Honest Weblog. Well, there’s no prize, but they can keep the nifty icon. List at least ten (10) honest things about yourself. Then pass it on!”

I love tags. Primarily because it’s easier to answer questions in a readymade format than rack your brains to come up with something readable every other time. But this tag seems like the kind which might end up making me think since it asks me 10 honest things about myself. Which means I have to do quite a bit of introspection at the end of which I’m sure I’ll be just where I started. Clueless. Ok, let’s not get disheartened now. After all we love tags don’t we?? 🙂 So here we go!



1. I am a classic example of an ambivert. I can be gregarious, playful, funny and sarcastic with a certain set of people as much as I can be disinterested, bored, excruciatingly polite with others. I cannot feign false interest in matters in which I have absolutely no interest in, and that includes mega serials, gold jewellery, long and tiresome shopping, etc. I can be as tongue tied as much I can’t stop talking sometimes. Simply put, I cannot socialise for the sake of socialising. And it’s more of a bane than a boon.


2. I am paralysed each morning until I get my hot piping dosage of theobromine and feel incomplete until I’ve read the newspaper from cover to cover. And talking of tea, I go into a trance every time a steaming cup of tea/coffee is thrust into my hands. That’s the time I think out solutions to work, decide what book
to read next, make up elaborate weekend plans and work out experimental recipes. In short, that’s probably the only time of the day I THINK.


3. I am a hard core, true blue Foodie. I love food. Love experimenting with various cuisines and flavours. When making plans for a weekend, the first thing that I plan is where to eat and work out everything else around that. Yeah, I’m that bad! When I’m travelling, all it takes is the sight of a favourite restaurant for me to launch into long monologues about the restaurant’s history, their speciality dishes, and anecdotes about what happened when I was there last, etc unless someone reminds me to stop. Every time I binge out I take this irresolute resolution to cut down but I know it’s only a passing phase. After all, resolutions are never meant to be kept.


4. I love being alone. It does feel a bit weird to say it, but yeah I love the time I get to spend all by myself. I love the days when I used to impulsively call in sick at work in the mornings, pack off mom and dad to work and spend the entire day all by myself. Simply lazing around the house, making scrambled eggs and drinking cold coffee, reading passages from favourite books, sleeping like it’s nobody’s business… I love the silence and solace of it. I’ve been bored with dozens of people around but I’ve never been bored alone. I love the company of my loved ones but I love my own company as well 😛 Like they say, if you can’t stand your own company, who can??


5. I’m scared of technology. Actually I’m diffident of it. I have always had the thought that I’m technologically challenged and its so deeply ingrained into my system that even if it’s something that I know like the back of my hand my initial reaction is to panic when someone asks me anything slightly technical. I may know my laptop inside out but when anybody starts a question like ‘Does your CPU utilisation match…’, next second I’m ready to flee the room. But there is even a positive twist to my technology-phobia. It has made me realise that it’s not always about knowing things but its more about believing that you know them.


6. I’m communication challenged. I don’t call people for fear of disturbing them. I don’t attend calls since my phone is on silent mode most of the time. I see text messages hours after they had been sent and don’t reply because it would be very rude to reply late. Yeah it’s ruder not to reply at all but well, that’s me. Thankfully these days social networking is big. Orkut, Facebook and now the latest in-thing Twitter are god sent for me. Without these I’d be
marooned and constantly missing people I love but never really in touch with them.


7. Confession time! I don’t know why but I really enjoy reading tabloids and all these film magazines with glossy covers and beautiful people on them. Half the time I’m only flipping through the pages and looking at the pictures but every time I see these overpriced glossies on the stands, my hands itch to buy one.


8. I hate my writing (I pretended not to hear that collective SO Do We). Sad, but true. When I hear all these writers and artists talk fondly about their work like they were their babies, I sigh like the Whistling Woods. I am hyper critical of each and every word I write and each time I write a new post, I think it’s so bad that it doesn’t deserve to be put up on the blog. Then I console myself that it’s all that I can do, that I can’t possibly get any better and end up putting it up on the blog, not wanting to read it again ever, pitying all the poor folks who might be unfortunate enough to read it. Pathetic?? I second it. 😐


9. I’m a living example of Murphy’s Law. If I’m happy that something is going fine, it goes horribly the very next day. If I’m glad that my laptop isn’t giving me any problems, tomorrow it’ll crash without notice. I touchwood thinking I haven’t fought with anybody recently and there is a major world war in the cards the next day. If I happen to even think I haven’t fallen sick for long, I fall sick at once. So then, brilliant that I am, I tried to work it the other way round – having all horrible negative thoughts so that they end up happening positive. And then I found out that it doesn’t work the other way round. Murphy never had it easy, did he?


10. I’ve been thinking of some thing nice, but honest, to say about myself all along and I could come up only with this. I value love and respect above everything else. I believe that they are the foundation upon which any relationship can be built. And I don’t think they can be mutually exclusive. Where there is love, there should be respect above everything else. If not, then it is not love. As simple as that. I’m anti male chauvinism. And Anti feminism. I only stand for humanism and mutual respect of human beings.


Sabba!! Done. Not an easy tag at all. Next time I’d prefer easier tags like ’10 favourite restaurants’ or ‘last ten books you read’ or ’10 ideas of how to do nothing’ I really can’t afford to tag unwilling people and endure curses forever after. Been there, done that. So I’ll just let anyone who wants to, take this tag up and bare their souls out. Tchau!

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He he… Adjust please…

I’m fed up with this Indian epidemic. I don’t know if it’s only our national syndrome or pandemic to the world but it sure gets on my nerves. This he-he-adjust-please syndrome. Why do we expect friends, relatives, strangers and everybody else to ‘adjust’ according to our own whims and fancies??

I get into a train, huffing and puffing, bag and baggage in hand, hunt for my seats waiting to crash and I find a couple already getting cozy out there. I check my ticket and confirm the seat numbers again which takes a full five minutes considering I still don’t have a place to keep my luggage (they deposited their 8 bags under MY seat), and all the while the couple is even oblivious to a poor struggling soul standing there and trying to get their attention. After enough polite coughing to stop them feeding Lays chips to each other, they look at me like I was the designated railways sweeper waiting with a broom to sweep under their feet. One even crinkles a nose at me. When I tell them that it’s my seat one of them has parked their bottoms on, they look at me the same way I looked at politicians who wanted Shashi Tharoor to resign over the cattle class remark. The is-this-even-a-problem look. The man looks at me condescendingly and says, “You see that we are together right? The entire family is here. Shift to B42.” And then adds as an unnecessary afterthought “he he.. Adjust Please.” Only then I realise everybody in that coupe was family, thaatha paati, two kids, and the couple et al and I was the lone outsider. If I stood my ground and asked for my seats, they would start Gandhigiri mutiny against me, shoot hostile glances until I felt like I was Kasab in an Indian courtroom, whisper conspiratorially but loud enough for me to hear all the nasty things they were saying and the kids would stamp my feet and throw well aimed darts at me. So I nod stupidly, mumble “no problem” and trudge to B42. All along the occupant of my seat doesn’t even budge and remains glued as if his name was calligraphed there. This happened to me 4 years back and hasn’t stopped happening ever since. I can understand when it’s about children and women thrown alone away from their families, some physical conditions which require help at hand etc etc but even then why do people make requests that sound more like orders? What I find most appalling is that these people even forget that THEY are the ones needing a favour and put on these superior and benevolent airs like they were doing the other party favors instead. After all, I only ask for what I paid for and what is lawfully mine. Is that even too much?

Over the years this phenomenon has been steadily on the rise and has under its clutches not only trains and buses, but also flights (My wife needs to look at the clouds. He he adjust please!) and now gasp!! Movie halls!  The other day I was at Satyam to catch a movie and I find two lovey-dovey people(again! Always?? Why me ??) already making themselves comfortable in A12 and A13, popcorn and cold coffee in hand. The only hitch – I had booked those very seats battling with a bad net connection and shelling out 20 bucks extra for having had the ‘priviledge’ of selecting those seats online. Me and P stand confused in front of the seats cross checking our tickets and seat numbers while inside my instinct screams nooooo…not here…. not again…. The checking only confirmed what I already knew. The seats were ours and whatever little self control I had, teetered on the blink of a rage when the couple tried to crane their necks to look at the Lalitha Jewellery ads on the screen to show us that WE were blocking THEIR view.

I took a deep breath and began politely. “Excuse me, A12 and 13 are ours. Could you check your tickets please?”

The guys gives me a so-you-are-the-stupid-moron-I-have-to-convince look.” Oh. Yeah our seats are D20, 21. Down somewhere there. Can you adjust and sit there?”

Grrrr. I was going to explode. Control. Control. Where was P? He has to handle this. I look around horrified to find that P had already walked away to look for D20 and 21! Now you know what P stands for. Peace loving Extremist.

Deep breath again. “D20,21 seem to be perfectly good couple seats as well. Could you shift to them and let us sit in ours please?”

The girl who was drooling over the jewellery on screen thinking it would be matter of seconds before the pests (us) would be scurrying away, opened her pop corn stuffed mouth now to whine, “But we already sat here!!”

“We already paid for it”

The look that they gave me was nothing short of PRICELESS. Like I was the French bourgeois oppressing the peasants. They scowled, mumbled, fussed and made a big show of collecting their things (must have been really difficult with all those three cartons of caramel/butter popcorn and armloads of sandwiches. Bah!!) and left with scathing looks. And I ended up counting up to ten and then backwards (calming down strategy)for the next 20 minutes, effectively missing out on most of the first half of the movie in the process. P was absolutely unperturbed and was completely engrossed in the movie within seconds. The entire movie watching experience was ruined (added to it is the fact that the movie sucked big time) and left me wondering if all the fuss was worth it and whether I should just have swapped seats quietly. This is one case where the victim always ends up looking like the hunter. Time we realised that our freedom does not include taking advantage of other people’s goodwill and robbing them of their rights. Sigh! At least I think so.

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