Tuesday, March 27, 2007

I miss....

"Sir , We need an address proof to open the account . Do you have a passport?"

She called me sir and then gave me a nice cute smile at the end of the question .I wanted to flirt with her but decided not to because I recently changed my flirting policy after a lecture from my mother ..but temptations... you know...Christ. Save me.

"Yes I have . here is it "- She browses through the last page.

"Sir , this wont do .The address is of Delhi. Do you have a driving license?"

"Yes I have that too. here is it "- She looks at it and frowns.

"Sir , this wont do the address is of Chennai. Do you have a voters ID card?"

"Yupz "- She looks at what is written suspiciously.

"Sir , Is this Malayalam?. The address is of Ernakulam."

I stare at her sheepishly and nods my head.

"Sir , you have anything else ? Ration Card , Electricity Bill,Telephone Bill ..". She again gave me a nice smile.

"Nothing , Recently I moved to Mumbai " I didnt reciprocate the smile. All these smiles in fact implies that I am a potential client that will help her to achieve her sales targets.{I am glad that I never had those things since I would have lost some time with her and some cute smiles}

"Sir , In that case you will be having a rental agreement?"

"No , I have attached myself with my friends. My name is not in the agreement"

Oze(Freerider ) , I was too lazy to explore for new apartments in Mumbai and attached to one of my friends.

"Sir , In that case come with the bank statement of your salary account after one month. I will take special care about opening an account for you in this branch and here is my number in case you need any help."She sounded too aplogetic.

"Ok Thanks but I don't need the number , I will come after one month." (There was too much tempation to take the number but blame it on the new flirting policy)

Again one more cute smile . I decided that I should mark visiting the bank ( meeting with her) in my PDA . Some policies remain only policies, especially a flirting policy I have conceptualised and created!

It has been a wild , exciting , noisy , confused and tumultuous pan Indian journey for me and my bike for the last five years . A journey that started from lush green paddy fields in the outskirts of Kochi taking both of us through Chennai , Kozhikode and Delhi and me through Pune , Ahmedabad , Calcutta , Indore , Bangalore and now Mumbai.

I miss Kochi

The traffic blocks in the north and south overbridges , the international stadium where I used to go for walks , the ships and breezy rides through marine drive , the long queaues infront of St:Antony's church in Kochi making me wonder what makes people pray so much and what were they praying for.I miss the cool ,fresh , youthful and warm atmosphere in the queen of Arabian Sea.

I miss Chennai

I miss the bike rides over Gemini flyover , the crowds in Chennai Central and Tidel Park . Adayar , IIT and the gajendra Corner. I miss the tasty shakes and ice creams in Shakes & Creams , the special masaladosas in Saravanabhavan , the visits to Spencer Plaza and Isphanani center and the choir in the St:Teresa of Avila church on each Sunday.

I miss Kozhikode

The Mithaitheruvu (Road of Sweets) , the beach,the Biriyani in Bombay hotel , the food in the famous Sagar hotel, the most decent and helpful autowallahs in India , those mosques , churches and girls who covered their faces with purdah.

I miss Calcutta

The tram , the yellow taxis , the metro , the horse carriages , the British buildings , the communist inscriptions which made me feel at home evoking memories about Kerala and I miss the debates with bong Intelleigensia on why communism did not spread in India.

I miss Bangalore

The exasperating traffick blocks near that 'always being constructed' flyover , people who were extremely proud about being stuck in traffick block and who debated with me on whether it is a sign on India's progress or booming middle class in the 'IT' city , the mallu restaurants in Madiwala and IIM Bangalore campus.

I miss Delhi

William Darlymple wrote in The White Moghuls "In modern Delhi an increasingly wealthy Punjabi middle class now live in an inspirational bubble of rising shopping malls, espresso bars and multiplexes. On every side, rings of new suburbs springing up, full of call centres, software companies and fancy apartment blocks, all rapidly rising on land that only years ago was billowing winter wheat. These new neighbourhoods, most of them still half built and ringed with scaffolding, are invariably given unrealistically enticing names- Beverly Hills, Windsor Court, West End Heights- an indication, perhaps of where their owners would prefer to be, and where, in time, they may eventually migrate."

The Funjabi (Food+Punjabi) Culture , CP , Delhi Metro , Karol Bagh , ISBT , Kamla Nagar , DU North Campus , the malls and the girls .

I just started to enjoy Mumbai

Hustle and bustle of the most energetic city in India , always abuzz with activity.Misty Musty Premier Padmini taxis which give a feeling that it may fall aparat anytime during the ride.Cafe Mondegar and leopold Cafe in Colaba , the street merchants in footpaths , the crowded streets , the choice in dining options , the theatres and plays . But I have the unusual luxury of 15 minute distance between the home and office in my bike and is not using the famous local trains .

There were few things that were true in all these cities .

I could find Mallus , Chinese food & cockroaches in each city

There was a hospital , bar and a church close to my place.Every Weekend I drank at bar and went to church on Sunday and sometimes got treated by Mallu nurses in the hospital.

There was at least an Andhra Mess / Ududpi Restaurant or Mallu food joint close to my place.

I used a KL registration vehicle in all the cities where I stayed more than one month and my motorcycle holds the credit for being the first Mallu motorcycle to roam India . It has been to three metros in India along with me.

I had my own chances to go to US and Gulf but was never motivated to go outside India may be I never viewed it as a parameter of success . I want to and may eventually go back to Kochi but I think I will explore India till then.

Inspired from this post

Monday, March 26, 2007

The Namesake scores over Shakira

After witnessing India's depressing but {almost} expected defeat in the hands of Sri Lanka and burning few posters of Sachin Tendulkar , 2 posters of Dhoni and no poster of Kumble (It was done in TV by some body else in various parts of India)there was a serious choice to make between watching Shakiras belly dancing or Mira Nair's Namesake to rewind and come out of depression.Shakira came with a costly tag of minimum Rs.2000 ticket attached to it and according to one of my wise friends who has been cheated {he claims by two gals } who was along with me while making the choice between Shakira and Namesake spending money on Shakira or any women is like drawing lines in water .The only other thing that can be compared to this is a bet on Indian Cricket team before world cup 2007. Lot of hype and no tangible results. I don't exactly agree with him but I do agree with him about the futility of wasting time{not only money} on Shakira and some other women in the world . After hearing about lot of break ups {which comes attached with tears and heart breaks of friends} which in turn means long phone bills of consolation for me, I have concluded like this blog that affection may matter more than the object of affection, and experiencing the feeling of loss is important, and not the loss itself, so that you wont make mistake a second time.So all guys and gals don't worry if you lose her and him. It happens you know.

The loss I mentioned is not the loss of identity that you face when you become an ABCD {American Born Confused Desi} and the loss of an ABCD is the essence of story in "The Namesake" . Once again Rediff.com and Rajeev Masand of CNN IBN agree on this movie.I have always admired the movies of Mira Nair . Be it Salaam Bombay! (1988) , Mississippi Masala (1991) , Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love (1996) or Monsoon Wedding (2001) the characters , the sets, the costumes and the script boast of palpable Indian authenticity which fits into various parts of the story completing the jigsaw puzzle giving us a film worth watching. These days I can't think about an authentic Mira nair film with out her authentic Indian touch . In the same way I can't think about a Karan Johar flick with out his authentic wedding group dance .

It is always interesting to compare when any book is made into a movie with respect to the characters, story line, plots and sub-plots to check the effectiveness on celluloid as they do in my imagination as a reader. The first movie that I saw which was made from a book was Mathilukal .The story follows a writer (Basheer) himself who lands up in jail and meets a woman on the other side of the wall separating their jails (men and women). Neither has seen each other, nor do they know much about the other, but they end up gaining a connection although separated by the wall.I started thinking about the woman after I finished the story but I started thinking about the wall after I saw the movie.In the movie the wall symbolizes both unity and separation. It is only through the wall that two people met. yet, it is that same wall that kept them apart when the writer is released on the day in which the lady was supposed to give her reaction.The memories of something is being thrown repeatedly in the air at the end of a movie is still vivid and still I remember it because i started comparing it with the story as soon as the movie ended.

It is a totally different experience when you see life being induced into the characters on screen who are familiar to you through the pages of the book.The adaptation of the same story when it is loosely adapted can be starkly different as in that was seen in Kaliyattam and Omkara on how Shakespeare's Othello was adapted.The challenge for any director is in maintaining the consistency of the story as has been imagined by all the readers who would have read the book. Mira Nair never disappointed me in any of her films and The Namesake exceeded all the expectations.It is a must see if you like seeing good , serious Indian English films.

No wonder I could connect to it so easily as I could see the the many of my U S residing family members in so many characters . There is this feeling of 'being lost' that you experience and see in people when the cultures collide and if you know anyone like that this movie is a must see.It is not worth seeing if you are someone who like an SRK flick or a Mohanlal masala.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Cricket Complaints 2007 world cup

As an Indian I do have my share of complaints when any cricket tournament is going on in any part of the world.I had been Suppressing it for so long fearing the severe backlashes that I may have to face if I opened my cricket pandora's box. Enough! I got a forward in the morning and seems I am not the only person who is having cricket complaints about worldcup 2007. Mukul Kesavan says that " The subcontinental cricket fan is a lazy, pampered know-nothing who thinks he owns the cricket teams that he supports. "

#1 . I hate noodle strapped Mandira Bedi speaking so much female non sense beside an eternally confused Charu Sharma in Set Max.(Female non sense implies adoring the shirt worn by Dean Jones , the hair style of Mr:Memon and exhibiting the sarees in strange colors making a digg at Charu Sharma making him even more confused)

#3 I hate when players get out cheaply and the advertisement that is aired when the new batsman comes in shows the same player who got out hitting all the balls in advertisement for a six.( Rahul "All Out" Dravid did it twice for Samsung and AllOut )

#3 I wonder about the effort behind analysis like this that comes in once in a while during these days. (How come people have so much time and passion to write so much crap and ending it with a Vande Matharam)

Here is analysis regarding chances to win the World Cup 2007 for India :


Year 1981
1. Prince Charles got married
2. Liverpool crowned Champions of Europe
3. Australia lost the Ashes
4. Pope Died
5. 2 years later India won the world Cup!!!

Year 2005
1. Prince Charles got married
2. Liverpool crowned Champions of Europe
3. Australia lost the Ashes
4. Pope Died
5. 2 years later India will win the world Cup


1982 Football World Cup won by Italy
1983 Cricket World Cup won by India

2006 Football World Cup won by Italy
2007 Cricket World Cup: INDIA

Reason 3:

1983: India has lost the only first match in 1983 world cup

2007: India has lost the only first match in 2007 and will not again

Still doubtful??? Watch out on Final Day

Knock out Punch:

1983 ? India stopped WI from winning World Cup for 3 rd consecutive time
and since then WI has been in doldrums!
2007 ? India stops Australia from a 3 rd time WC ? and then ???

lets hope for the best

? only subjected to its win against srilanka tomorrow.

Vandhe Matram ( come on India!!!)

#4 . I miss Harsha Bhogle's characteristic style and the only place where I saw him in anything related to world cup was in an Usha Uthup Song dancing along with Gautam Bhimani. His dancing skills are not as good as his TV charisma by the way.

#5 . I detest the types , kinds and the variety of analysis offered by all TV Channels . Wish they had the same passion about analysing the Nandigram killings so that culprits could be brought to light. (Some channels even offer live astrology predictions on what is going to happen next)

#6 . I hate when everyone from my boss to the taxiwallah who drives me around in Mumbai gives a suggestion about whom to include in the Indian cricket team and select their own team with their own set of reasons. ( Obviously people like Dravid and Chappel who should hear these suggestions are far away in West Indies.)

#7 . But Still , I love people and scenes like this when a 270 pounds of quivering man meat flung itself through the space-time continuum, defying Newton’s assertion that gravitational force is proportional to mass, in the process giving us glimpses into the crazy world of sub-atomic particles plucking a catch out of thin air. ( Quote Courtsey : Greatbong )

and forwards like this .

Whatever , Please come back soon , dont waste too much time hugging and huddling around West Indies like this .

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Comrade Achu - CIA Journalists & Chikungunya outbreak

Comrade Achu has added one more quote to his golden quote collection by discovering the CIA links of Kerala journalists.

Last golden quote was on how the out break of chikungunya . Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan has blamed the previous Congress-led United Democratic Front(UDF) government for the outbreak of chikungunya and dengue and other dangerous diseases in the State's health scenario. The conclusion that we can derive for the chikungunya quote was that the virus was dormant in the UDF regime and became active in the LDF regime.

Unfortunately there seems to be a problem in concluding what comrade intended on the CIA quote unlike the chikungunya quote.

Classical Marxism postulates that when an idea ( Karl Marx calls it thesis) clashes with an opposing ideal ( the anti-thesis) , what emerges is not the victory of one over the other , but a synthesis which combines the best of the both world views.This synthesis is the result of class struggles ; but over time , this becomes a new thesis , clashes again with the anti thesis to form new synthesis.This process carries itself till a perfect society , the so called Marxist - Utopia (What George Orwell called it in the book 1984 ) , emerges .

Left - Wing Scholars from the two monolithic red parties in India in cluding C M Achutanandan say that , India is far far away from this (supposedly) ideal state of existence and as a result the class struggle against the bourgeoisie have to carry on.

In this context CIA is an imperialistic agent which is opposing the class struggle ( since it is against American imperialism)when communists like Achutanandan are trying to achieve the blissful state of Utopia in Kerala .

Unfortunately there seems to be a difference in the way in which Classical Marxism postulated about the clash of ideas and the resultant synthesis and the way in which it is being done in Kerala by Comrade Achu and gang. I am not saying that CPM should preach and practice classical marxism but they should least be doing is stopping gimmicks and hullabaloo over chikungunya agents and CIA journalists in Kerala. This is a party that has always opposed change irrespective of the chnage being constructive or destructive.They have not only opposed computerisation in 1980's but also have opposed the tractorisation of farms in 1970's and even asked Microsoft to log out of Kerala recently.The quintessence of communist ideology is embracing change for the creation of Utopia while in Kerala it is more about opposing any change (without considering the whether it will be progressive or destructive) by being the first party to call for a bandh or hartal whenever a change occurs.The primary parameter for any decision for CPI(M)(or for that matter any other party) is the effect on vote bank and voters and I find the diatribe of Comrade Achu about CIA journalists in Kerala ridiculous and silly.

Not only that , CPI(M) is one of the biggest capitalists in Kerala if you consider the assets . It has an amusement park , a television channel and several other assets spread over the prime locations in the state.Obviously the reason that you can state is that Without capitalism, you cannot bring about socialism in a feudal society and for that party itself turned into the biggest capitalist in the state.

Human nature is essentially selfish and "profit" appeals to be the instinct that drives any transaction and for people like comrade Achu and parties like CPI(M) more value creation come through attracting more people to their archaic ideologies . It does not matter how communism is followed in the state , what matters is periodically reminding the people that they are communists by blaming journalists as CIA agents and asking Microsoft to log out of Kerala.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

What Men do on International Women's Day?

Woke up in the morning and opened Economic Times and I got the surprise of the day when I saw headlines like.

Women make good brokers ( Ya , all those marriage brokers in Kerala who wanted hefty commissions were women according to my grandmother)

Working women: Not a rare specie (Giant Panda is a rare species these days but all the women I knew have worked hard all through their life .)

Emotions of women drive finances and we know that ( No idea , but in my B School all good looking women went into banking jobs in Mumbai , Delhi and Bangalore and the weaker sex is selling soaps and toothpastes in rural India)

Can you think of a world without women?
(Pretty difficult , are you implying that men may have to do reproduction also)

Seeing the expression in my face the as is always helpful house mate (He is a nice guy , not like the people who wrote those articles) remarked.

"Today is International Women's day "

International womens day is as difficult a concept for me to understand as Malayalam is to Manmohan Singh.

I came to office and met this bubbly lady . The first thing she told me instead of the usual Good Morning was "Wish me".

"Is it your birthday , today?"
"No , Today is International Womens Day"
"Brr... Happy International Womens day , whatever...Why do you think women have a day dedicated to themselves?"

"For so long, men with their powers decided to keep women from freedom,expressing their minds,and even...the right to live. It is for this that Women's Day was created, to help those enslaved women free themselves from the shackles of bondage;from the atrocities and injustice that society has imposed upon them. This day is to be celebrated till the day women are at par with the men and then come to an end"

"Were , you a member of CPI(M) at any point in your life?"

The Look said it all.I didnt have the courage to ask any questions again. But international womens day seems to be really tricky . What will women reply if you wish them "Brr... Happy International Womens day" , they may just say a thank you and give a smile . It is not like "Merry Christmas" and "Merry Christmas to you too" . Somehow the concept seems to be having a gender bias.

I started thinking about somebody who wrote this in a blog.

My wife and I have the secret to making a marriage last:

1. Two times a week, we go to a nice restaurant, have a little wine, some good food and companionship. She goes Tuesdays, I go Fridays
2. We also sleep in separate beds. Hers is in Sydney and mine is in Melbourne.
3. I take my wife everywhere, but she keeps finding her way back.
4. I asked my wife where she wanted to go for our anniversary. "Somewhere I haven't been in a long time!" she said. So I suggested the kitchen.
5. We always hold hands. If I let go, she shops.
6. She has an electric blender, electric toaster and electric bread maker
Then she said, "There are too many gadgets and no place to sit down!". So I bought her an electric chair.
7. Remember.... Marriage is the number one cause of divorce. Statistically, 100% of all divorces started with marriage.
8. I married Miss Right. I just didn't know her first name was Always.
9. I haven't spoken to my wife for 18 months. I don't like to interrupt her.
10. The last fight was my fault. My wife asked, "What's on the TV?".... I said, "Dust!"

The person who wrote this is an Australian and as you know they are very aggressive people but it seems he is not able to manage a woman. I dont know what this guy is doing on an International Womens Day , but deciding that I was the only person in the earth who is not aware about international womens day , I did dome search on the net and came across this article called "Fight Back" posted bv By Freedom Road Socialist Organization which underlined my suspicions about communist origins of International Women's Day.

The article ' Fightback' says "On March 8, millions of people across the globe will celebrate International Women’s Day. Protests, events and declarations will recognize the contributions of women as leaders of progressive movements past and present and advance our demands for change in the future."

Good. Now Let us see what else happened to men in our office.

At lunch we had special tasty chicken biriyanis and women in the office ate them celebrating International womens day . Though most men too ate chicken biriyanis some men had to be happy and contended by staring at those chicken biryanis while they were eating the usual sambar rice that they bought from home since they forgot that there is a day dedicated to women.Apparently all the people who work in the pantry , who made Chicken biriyanis and served it were men.

At tea time all the women in the office came together at the ground floor office and cut a very special cake AND ATE IT TOO. Guys just stood there and wished and cheered all the women.

I went to Rediff.com in the evening to check the days news and they were having discussions simultaneously on topics like

Proud to be a woman? I Enjoy being Single

If you go through the comments section you can understand that it is a nice way to ask whether suicide is better than murder ?

If you are a woman , "Brr... Happy International Womens day , whatever..."

If you are not , A very happy International Womens day . You can eat chicken biriyanis and wish and cheer the women eating cakes without tasting the cakes shouting "Brr... Happy International Womens day , whatever...".

Ladies , Happy International Women's Day :) ( You can wish me back if there is a men's day ever :P ) and can read this wonderful post which celebrates womenhood

P S:Think this is a nice day to wish the only woman in my life , my mother .