Key Learnings 2007

1.Never pass up an opportunity to get tickets online for a desi movie.Make that a capital NEVER EVER if you live in San Jose or Edison.Unless you have some sort of a weird fetish to be shoved inappropriately, and be "solicited" by a few aunties for their prospective nieces/nephews. Trust me.

2.If you have a telephonic interview,it is perfectly OK to wear your jammies and do away with your contacts.There is one caveat though - You need to brush your teeth before an interview.Don't ask me why though.I cannot for the love of God put a finger on this.If you are in the middle of a stimulating chat or phone call, and you are two minutes away from an interview, use the following algorithm. Believe me, it works.Every single time.

Step 1: Is it an East Coast or a West Coast call ? If it is an East Coast caller,switch off your computer and practice sitting in attention.Take deep breaths.

Step 2: If it is a West Coast caller, pause briefly. While a Gchat discussion about whether the Saravana Bhavan in the City or the one in Oak tree has the world's best Aapam is intellectually stimulating, you have an important mail to send out.Open your gmail, and remind your caller that the interview was scheduled at 10 30 AM EST.Chances are, if you wait long enough, you will get an email profusely apologizing the timezone mix up, followed by a murky description of when the next call could be expected.

Step 3 : If it is a hiring manager upwards of a Director, pause again.Point your mouse to the bottom right of the screen and check today's date. If it reads anything beyond November 20th, you need to make a phone call to the HR.Chances are , you might get a call/email in three days confirming that the HR forgot to check the Director's updated vacation schedule.

Step 4 : If it is a Desi calling, Do not pause.Give yourself the day off,get a manicure , visit the neighborhood candle company,indulge yourself in a meaningless chick flick, you get the idea. Also, just when your face is covered in some gooey , minty green paste, expect your phone to ring loudly. Also, expect the caller to say "Hello, yes, I calling about interviewing. What is the difference between a thread and a process?" "Uhhh.." "OK, that's fine, explain memory management" Well, you get the idea.

Step 5 : If all else fails,stop obsessing over that damn phone, and start singing loudly.

3.Do not attempt to tell resemblances between people. Especially if the "person" in question is a tiny peanut about twelve weeks old, and the photo in question is a black and white two by two ultrasound.Apparently, you cannot, and looks change, too.

4.Barbie Dolls are inappropriate gifts for a two and a half year old girl,because of the choking hazard. Even if the lady in question knows all about princesses,fairy tales, and how to make a "paratha burrito."

5.Evidently, I love getting gifts from guys,followed by a bear hug, and a loud "I love you" that anyone within a ten mile radius can hear.Especially when the gift is a chain made of wool, beads and feathers made by a seven year old, especially for me in his art class.

6.You are not crazy to make thousand and odd mile road trips all by yourself,not when you have the best times of your life almost dying on a delirious canoe ride.Or go on a thirteen hour cross country impulsive relocation trip with a friend, and enjoy it soo much, that your forget all serious license and registration quandaries.Or pull an all nighter with your buddies to watch all episodes of "Ohh La La La".Or stay in bed all day and watch chick flicks with your GFs.

7.It takes a hazardous journey in an ice storm,a cramped car,looming deadlines,bad toilets and food deficit to reiterate to yourself how much you love your music and singing.

8.Well,apparently, if you buy your thesis committee some Starbucks coffee and fudge brownies early in the morning, chances are, you will not be hung by a noose in the town center while everyone takes a free lesson in rock-throwing, with you as a target. Well, brownies, and two papers,three years,and the confidence to write a book on frustration management.

9.Well, I am not always as tongue-tied as the time I filled my blog with cartoons.Sometimes, I can actually write.

10.Oh did you know that a cylinder of LPG in India costs about 500 bucks now? Well, that and the fact that there exists a Santro Automatic makes your idea of a one-way ticket to homeland pretty fuzzy and confusing.

11.Do you ever have the kind of questions that I do ? For example, I have always wondered how people who live alone get dressed to go to parties.Especially that little black dress that you look fabulous in and have trouble zipping up.Or the time you fumble with opening cans.Or the time you need to come back to a warm house and some soup.Well apparently the need to have a great roomie is valid.

12.You know how you play Rock-Paper-Scissors and how scissors trumps paper and so on? Well,Family trumps 'em all.

Taare Zameen Par

No spoilers here, so please feel free to read on !

It was when I was in my fourth standard. I remember Mrs.Ramola, very well. She was my social sciences teacher, and she used to be very fond of me. She was rotund, and had glasses on.Her hair was as frizzy and wavy as mine.She used to ride a bike, and there were times when she used to pick me up from my home, and drop me at school. There were times when, she found me walking on that last stretch to school. She would drop Mrs.Latha , the science teacher, and pick me up and drive that last stretch.

I remember an awful day in fourth standard, it was my Science Quarterly Exams.I received my paper, and it had fail marks on it. I was supposed to have scored 98/100, but my marks were 36. Because I had failed to write the question number for all answers. I remember how my mom cried, ashamed that her house had "a failed" student.Where did I go wrong ? She cried. She cursed me.

I was supposed to be "bright" in school, but it was always overshadowed by my talkativeness,my laziness. There were days when I was made to go back to school in the evening because I had forgotten to note down the day's homework.I got caned many a time. I had issues with my friends, and my mom was always trying to mediate.

It was my 6Th standard, and I was scoring well in Tamil, because my tamil teacher taught my sister, who was always a topper.Until the Parent-Teacher meeting, where my mom casually mentioned all her woes to him - Her first daughter was always a topper, she concentrated, always finished her homework, came home on time,no trouble at all. She spent sleepless nights worrying about her younger one, because I was lazy, did not pay enough attention, picked up fights, rebelled, always playful, did not "sit down to do hard work" and so on.In the next exam, I barely passed Tamil. So much for a helpful mom.

I was always called "bright" by my teachers. Somehow they felt I just did not try hard enough.I remember being called a "problem child" more than once when I was a kid. My childhood was one big blur.The images of my school that stuck in my head was a mixture of standing outside the class, getting hit on the knuckles,getting into fights with guys and so on. But I remember Mrs.Ramola vividly. For some strange reason, she loved me.Once a week, every Friday, she divided the class into boys and girls, and conducted a quiz. I was the star of this session, and everyone looked up to me to win.The days when I was absent, the girls lost.It was the first time I was ever the best at something,and that meant a whole lot to me.

I also remember participating in all possible extra curricular activities, mainly as a way to get away from school. I remember how I used to fear telling my parents about the latest painting competition or elocution , or singing. Invariably after the usual discourse about how I should stop all this and focus on academics, my mom ferried me around. My sister helped with the speeches, my mom heard me sing, and taught me lyrics.And then I started winning some of these.

But academic experiences at that dreaded school only got worse.The competition was fierce,and the teachers , merciless.I did have my favorites, and I learnt from some, I despised most others. It was like I was serving time. But luckily, we moved away to a different city.

My fortunes changed drastically after I enrolled in this one school. The principal was friends with my music teacher and was a great music enthusiast.She was a strong believer in encouraging extra-curricular activities of children.She had heard me sing before,and took me in.Everything started on a positive note. I started participating in debates, quizzes, oratory, and of course music competitions. Those two years saw me on top of the competition circuit in my city. I was looked up to, and respected.

This confidence spilled over to academics, too.I had an image to live up to, and it made me want to try harder.I started going well in school, occasionally topping the class too.I managed to pass out of high school, got into a pretty good college and so on.I cannot imagine going to a better suited undergrad college than BITS.Mainly because I do not respond well to authority, and a "one size fits all" mentality of educational institutions. In that sense, I consider myself incredibly fortunate.I never attended classes, but I performed when it mattered. I cracked some courses out of shape, and never cared about the rest.I was too engrossed in my vocal performances, committees, meetings and friends to care. I had the best time of my life.

Maybe I am a rebel, sometimes without a cause , too. Maybe I am anti-establishment.But that is who I am. I need to be in an atmosphere that doesn't stifle and strangle me to death. Be it work, school or societal interactions.

Today I watched "Taare Zameen Par".I need to own this one on DVD, like RDB.Aamir says, each child is special. I say, Amen to that Brother!I really hope everyone in India watches it. Especially your "Strict Disciplinarian Uncle" and "Orderliness and Regularity Aunt."

On an entirely different note : After a hiatus of about three years, today has seen a return to "personal blogging", a style I thought I would NEVER embrace.Is this style here to stay? Wait and Watch. Happy New Year Folks !!

Veggie and Proud of it

I was born and raised a vegetarian.But, I am a vegetarian by choice. It is not about a religion, its just out of personal choice. And while I am pro-choice about this one and believe that people should feel free to whatever they want to eat,I couldn'thelp but think back at some reasons why people eat meat. My guess is, as societies evolved in different parts of the world, the idea was to eat whatever was available.Like, for instance, where are you going to find fresh, green leafy vegetables in the middle of the Arabian desert ? That , also explains why different religions have different rules about meat eating.

But, in today's world,any kind of food is ready available,regardless of seasons,geography or climate.There is absolutely no dearth or difficultly in procuring food.So my idea is, I am not living near the Arctic Circle, so why should I stop being a vegetarian ?

Oh, and for those people who ridiculously argue that meat helps you build muscle/strength and that everyone *should* eat meat to be "strong", I have only one thing to say : Ever seen an Elephant ? Weighs about 13,000 pounds, and is about 12 feet high?Strength, yes. Guess what an elephant is : A pure vegetarian. So stop being silly and go home.


Courtesy :

Franz Kafka
Charlotte Bronte
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Henry David Thoreau
Sir Isaac Newton
Mahatma Gandhi
George Bernard Shaw
Leo Tolstoy
Mark Twain
H.G. Wells
Henry Ford
Leonardo Da Vinci
Charles Darwin
William Wordsworth
Thomas Edison
Nikola Tesla (Inventor)
Albert Schweitzer

Vincent Van Gogh
Susan B. Anthony
Martin Luther
Clara Barton
Elvis Costello
Dave Davies (Kinks)
Bob Dylan
Peter Gabriel
Joan Armatrading
Davey Havok (AFI)
Siouxsie Sioux
Joe Jackson
Billy Idol
Kate Bush
Chrissie Hynde
Brad Pitt
Alec Baldwin
Pamela Anderson
Steve Martin
Christie Brinkley
Cathy Dennis

Desmond Howard
Edwin Moses
Martina Navratilova
Kathy Johnson
(1980 Gymnast of Year)
Bill Pearl (Bodybuilder)
Alicia Silverstone
Eric Stolz
Jennie Garth
Liv Tyler
Dennis Weaver
Michael J. Fox
Jerry Seinfeld
Brigitte Bardot
Dustin Hoffman
Virginia Madsen
Anthony Perkins
Woody Harrelson
David Duchovny
Richard Gere
Natalie Portman
Ricki Lake
Ted Danson
William Shatner

Tommy LaRussa
Anthony Peeler (NBA)
Bill Walton (NBA)
Robert Parish (NBA)
Billie Jean King
Joe Namath
Peter Buck (REM)
Martin Gore (Depeche)
Fiona Apple
Sinead O'Connor
Boy George
Steve Howe (Yes)
Scott Adams (Dilbert)
Clive Barker
Berke Breathed
(Bloom County comic strip)
Richard Bach
Henry Heimlich M.D.
Donnie LaLonde
(Light Heavyweight Champ)
Dave Scott
(5x Ironman Triathlon winner)
Killer Kowalski
Jack LaLanne

k.d. Lang
Richard Thompson
Lene Lovich
Annie Lennox
Julian Cope
Lenny Kravitz
Prince (the symbol guy)
Captain Sensible
James (whole band)
Belinda Carlisle
Emmylou Harris
Joaquin Phoenix
River Phoenix
Candice Bergen
Larry Hagman
Charlotte Ross
Olivia Newton John
Christy Turlington
Vanessa Williams
Rosanna Arquette
Kevin Eubanks (Leno)
Kim Basinger
Orlando Bloom

Johnny Marr (Smiths)
Meatloaf (?yes!)
Natalie Merchant
Wendy O' Williams
Shania Twain
Jeff Beck
John Lennon
& Yoko Ono
Paul McCartney
& Linda McCartney
Ringo Starr
& Barbara Bach
Princess Diana
Todd Oldham
(fashion designer)
Leonard Cohen
Steven Jobs (Apple)
Chelsea Clinton
Ziggy Marley
Kraftwerk (whole band)
Sarah McLachlan
Eddie Vedder
Robert Smith (Cure)

Amy Ray (Indigo Girls)
Grace Slick
Steve Vai
Paula Cole
Phil Collen (Def Leppard)
Rick Savage (Def Leppard)
Bob Barker
(The Price is Right)
Tobey Maguire
Rhea Perlman (Cheers)
Sara Gilbert
Lisa Rinna (Melrose)
Captain & Tennille
Consolidated (the band)
Don McLean
(wrote "American Pie" song)
Michael Bolton
Lisa Loeb
Marina Sirtis (Star Trek)
Mary Tyler Moore
Marilu Henner
Meredith Baxter
Peter Cushing
Reese Witherspoon

Don Imus
Peter Bogdanovich
Anthony Robbins
(Motivational Coach)
Cesar Chavez
(United Farm Workers) Cassandra Peterson
(the "Elvira" character)
Thora Birch
(Ghost World creator)
Susannah Hoffs
(from The Bangles) Carter Beauford (DMB)
Boyd Tinsley (DMB)
Daniel Johns (Silverchair)
Bryan Adams
Andre 3000 (OutKast)
Steve Morse (Deep Purple)
Lisa Simpson & Apu
"Weird" Al Yankovic
Fred Rogers (Mr. Rogers)
Johnny Rotten
The Roots (whole band)
Minor Threat (whole band)

George Harrison (Beatles)
Jon Anderson (Yes)
Larry Mullen (U2)
Carl Lewis
(Winner of 17 Gold Medals)
Erykah Badu
Bonnie Hunt
Lindsay Wagner
(The Bionic Woman)
Keenan Ivory Wayans
Linda Blair (Exorcist)
Drew Barrymore
Matt Groening
(creator of The Simpsons)
Susan Powter
Traci Bingham (baywatch)
Milo Ventimiglia [GG]
Mike Farrell
RZA [Wu Tang]
Raekwon [Wu Tang]
Ghostface [WT]
Prodigy [Mobb Deep]
Russell Simmons
Spice Williams (stuntman)

Marv Levy (Buffalo Bills)
Gillian Anderson (X-Files)
Demi Moore
Betty White (Golden Girls)
Rue McClanahan
(Golden Girls) Jane Goodall
Dwight Yoakum
Naomi Watts
Michael Tsarion
Don Piraro
(created Bizarro cartoon)

I am crazy about....

This "new" song - Kelamal Kaiyil from ATM. I thought it was Anuradha Sriram, Saindhavi sounds soo much like her.Something about this song is very addicting, I thought. Then I found these lines:

"Kaetu rasitha padal ondrai
meendum indru nyabagam thoonda"

And these lines at the end :

"Paarkum Megangale
pogum nerangale
paarkum Megangale
pogum nerangale
etho nadakinrathe"

and then two more lines - the basic idea being it was mesmerizing. And guess what - "Agaya Vennilave" That's what it was intended to sound like!!! This beautiful Dharbari Kaanada reminds me of the song in the Hindi version of Khushi - "Aye Re Aye Re Khushi" that goes "Dheem thanana dir dir ..."

Darbar is, in itself a beautiful, strong Raaga. Combine it with the pure romance of Kaanada, and you've got yourself the perfect music high. Oh! Life is beautiful !

My Top Five Dhabari Kaanadas :

NataBhairavi Janyam 20 ( Not Karaharapriya 22)
Aa: N2 S R2 G2 R2 S M1 P D1 N2 S
Av: S D1 N2 P M1 P G2 M1 R2 S

1. Malare Mounama : The male aalap interlude ,the liberal use of the G2 Ghandharam.

2.Katre Yen Vasal : Again good G2, but most importantly , the Kaishiki Nishadha Prayoham and the "M1 R2" notes in succession.

3. Nee Katru Naan Maram : Textbook use of the Raagam, it could have easily been a krithi if not for the lyrics.Classic and wonderful.

4. Kalyana Thernila : The "P D1 N2 S" phrase used throughout the song.A simple arrangement, gets the point across as perfectly as the Arohanam itself.

5.Atrai Thingal Vanidam : This is a little tricky, it is probably not even classic Dharbari Kaanada. The "M1M1 R2 S" in the female "Adi thoda,mudi thoda aasai perigida,nerum pala vitha pari baashai" is when the Raaga gently presents itself.Subtle,classy.

Special mention : Sonu's high pitched " Is Pyaar ko mein kya naam dun..." and "Nainaheen ko Raah Dikha Prabhu..."

I am going back to my musical ecstasy... So Long !
High seas and a barrell full of gin,

A full-moon augurs a pirate's sin

Men revel, a booty and yuletide cheer in tow

Morrow brings a sweetheart's shy bow

The hour of reckoning is fast approaching

The crack of dawn and everyone's gone

A glimmer in the mist,like God's own fist

All eyes glued to the thickening mist

A minute, an eternity, what do you know

A beautiful castle and a sprightly doe

I cannot promise you a fairy tale so nice

but sleep o'little one,I will hold you tight!

Orkut Tackiness 101

Three years here and I have gone from being an Orkut addict to an infrequent, reluctant Orkut user. I guess it can be compared to the time you were addicted to F.R.I.E.N.D.S and you thought it was the coolest show in the whole wide world ?(Well, it still is, I own a collector's edition and can recite most of the stuff by rote, but that's not the point!) You then move on to other stuff - O.C, That 70s show, Two and a half men, even revisiting the M.A.S.H addiction.

Similarly I have outgrown Orkut and turned to Facebook over the last year or so. I still have an Orkut account, because, let’s face it, it is still the most popular social networking site in India. And I have discovered that little guy who was in kindergarten when I was the 10th grade school monitor, and such cute stuff.

Now - Top 10 things that make your tackiness monitor skyrocket on Orkut :

1.Really long nonsensical profile names , with sms-ised "speelin lik dis and dat ma bes frnd is gng awy 2day " if you get my drift.

2. Heroes/Heroines as profile pictures - combine it with "shez ma angel luks kewl na" and you have yourself a winner!

3. 136 photos on the album, that would invite an unwitting onlooker to take a look - Only to deal with Surya, Jyothika, Asin(emblazoned with indiaglitz, of course) or a combination of the above three. For the tired eye seeking variety, there is that occasional combat stance of Russell Crowe in Gladiator.

4. A humongous "about me" section - No, I am not talking about verses, poetry, lines from songs and so on. I am talking about pages and pages of misspelled verbal diarrhoea and no punctuation - or grammar for that matter. Followed by arbit URLs and references to testimonials "2 no mor abt me."

5. Passions - a long list of actors and actresses, followed by "franz,chatting,surfin,and ma bike" in that order.

6.256 communities, including “member of too many communities", spamming all these different communities , posting incessantly on "would you date the person above you" or "what song would you dedicate to the person above you" threads.

7. The "ideal match" section - filling it up with "dats a secret" or "will tell when time comes :))" or the tackiest of them all -"keep guessin!!!”

8. Testimonials - huge testimonials with a heart drawn out of zeroes, numerous lines all around saying "love is you" or something to that effect.

9. Couples - putting up same snaps on profile pictures, and having the same profile information, followed by a cheesy "I own this account also."

10. Of course, the hilarious friend requests - the poetry, the lyrics, and the whole nine yards. You didn't think I was going to miss that, did you!!!If you want more, Goltese Falcon has a rip roaring take on "Orkut fraandships".

Over and Out.