Monday, November 27, 2006

The Showstopper!

The situation and the circumstances in which u have to refuse a person something might vary greatly from one situation to another. So u may need to adapt to the situation. However, it is essential to keep the basic governing rule the same – be courteous. There is no need to alter your stand if you are justified in refusing. If you are convinced of your justifications, be firm in your refusal but try not to hurt a fellow human being with harsh words.

“You can only go halfway into the darkest forest; then you are coming out the other side.
We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit” - Aristotle

"Rules, the very mention of the word make u want to revolt and break through. Do this, do that, do not do this, do it only this way and not that way… an endless list. Rules, especially those formulated by others and imposed upon you make you want to defy them. We are forever looking for loopholes to escape from them.

People deride rules as–and-when they are posed. More often than not many are not so permissive to accept the rules posed in favor of the society or community or thyself.

There are many things we use today that have been a result of some great ideas pursued relentlessly by those who conjured them up.. Each and every one of these ideas faced ridicule and criticism when first voiced. One must know that, it is the persistent endeavor that ensured making some of the dreams come true.

Numerous other dreams may have withered at the offense posed in opposition to them and more often than not human race is renowned for having lost many a workable idea at the altar of ridicule.

For today’s life beacons for the most substantial survival attitude from its inmates, A positive attitude has a very strong influence on the mentality and motivation necessary for setting a goal to live and achieve it.

An inevitable emergency could possibly happen to anyone, anywhere. When confronted with an unexpected survival situation man has the potential to overcome many challenges, beat incredible odds, and come out as a survivor. But what is survival anyway?

Survival is the art of surviving beyond any event. To survive means to remain alive - to live. Survival is preparing oneself and being ready in taking any given circumstance, accepting the same, and trying to improve it, while sustaining your life until u can get out of the situation. And most importantly, survival is a state of mind. One definitely must be in the proper frame of mind to survive an unplanned situation. Survival depends a great deal on a person’s ability to withstand stress in emergency situations.

A strong desire to continue living is a must as far as your mindset goes. Ur brain is without doubt your best survival tool. It is your most valuable asset in a survival situation. It isn’t always the physically strong who are the most effective or better at handling fear in emergency situations. Survival more often depends on the individual’s reactions to stress than upon the danger, terrain, or nature of the emergency. To adapt is to live. Mental skills are much more important than physical skills in survival situations.

When times of crisis strike you, all you have to do is to decide with in seconds whether you are gonna say yes or no to the problems that’s gonna end up hounding you!

It resides with what you are gonna do with the problem…You decide to stick to it or discard it instantly at the face of it. Well to deal with the problem would mean your strict presence and your 100% attention to resolve the problem every time it resurfaces.

Choosing to ignore things would only mean that you are very weak to confront your self or others when it comes to crisis management.

Look at your self before you look at others…think …plan…decide and then execute.

Keeping a positive mental outlook is for certain the most important aspect of survival.

But then expecting the positive attitude to serve as the back up factor all the time cannot be practically true. Things do take their own stride in playing its role in ones life. So preparing for the worst and hoping for the best might probably help to some extent.

Controlling your fears and maintaining your balance is always good.

Dedicating this to no one in particular – But to the thin, shapeless AIR….

Monday, November 20, 2006

So much for a VISA Stamping!!!!!!!!!!!!

3.55am Mom: Saloniiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii get up.... its 4am, you got your Stamping today and you’re still sleeping like a lazy donkey!!!!!!!
3.55am Saloni: Hmmm...hmmmm....Ya ma will get up.. gimme 5 mins... 4.00am - Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr... goes the alarm....groggily I stretch out my hand from underneath my cozy covers and hit the alarm clock angrily to silence.
4.05am - Finally, I make up my mind to get outa bed and got up to do some stretch outs....
4.10am - I switched off the A.C pushed away the screens to see the outside climatic conditions and was for a minute taken-aback at the sight of the heaviest down-pours happening blissfully at that early hour of the day.
4.11am - Hmmmmmm... with a deep sigh... I push the curtains back to its place and break into a little jog to attend to my first nature's call of the day!
4.17am - I get out of the loo, having cleared my bowels and try to peek into my bedroom once again to catch-up with a little nap for few minutes.
4.21am Mom: SALLLLLLLLLOOONNIIIIII Where the heck are you??????? Stillll on bed???? Get up you dumb ASS!!!!!
4.21am Saloni: uh-oh!...rghh....errr...uummmm... No mommm...I am up already...and in the restroom brushing... I run into the restroom with my toothbrush and paste and shut the door so softly that she doesnt end up hearing the door-bolt.
4.27am - I am out in my balcony sit-out area with a steaming mug of filter coffee, home made; mom made; fantasized with the purest blend of morning coffee, Suprabhadham (The Morning Raga of almost all the south-indian homes), a beautiful rain and a dim lit street with a couple of early morning birds chirping the dense old mango tree of my neighbor’s.
4.30am - Looked up at the sky, the clouds were clearing up on the east while they were taking in different forms of thick dark grey masses along the west.
4.35am - I found out an elephant, a sun flower, a bucket, a cone ice-cream and a woman holding a baby in those dark patches of clouds....
4.36am Mom: - How long will you take to finish your coffee??? Your hot water is ready... Go get that oil bowl, lemme apply that to your hair, you have ample time, so wash off the oil thoroughly, n don’t be in a hurry...but make sure you are out by 5.15am at the max.
4.37am - I nod my head in agreement and went in to get the bowl.
4.38am - With the usual wish-lists submission to the god and blessings from her end, she worked with her expert hands to apply the warm gingely oil mixed with methi seeds & curry leaves, deep down my scalp, giving me a feel of heaven.
4.39am - with a loud pat on the head, as a finishing note she asked me get-set-go to have my bath.
4.40am - I went in, Took my time to do the best to my hair with the bowl of shikkakai powder and made sure that i was out by 5.20am. Two loud bangs on the washroom door and one call for time-check were a part too, which i shouldn’t fail to make note of.
5.27am - I am out with my formal pants (deep purple) and brand new off-white (Van Heusen) shirt.
5.30am - dried my hair, tied it up neatly. Smeared some cold cream and applied the same on my face. Sprayed the deodorant.
5.45am - Time to pray - 10mins here, Lighted the lamp, chanted the slokas that I knew, Decorated the idols and picture frames of gods with flowers. Prostrated in front of god.
5.50am - Took the akshadai, Came upto dad and mom, and took their blessings as well.
5.55am - Honk from driver, to indicate that the car is ready.
5.57am - Kissed mom, wore the sacred ash on my fore head, one last glimpse at the puja room, Took my purse, docs and walked down the staircase with dad to get into the car.

6.13am - Arrival at the U.S consulate office
6.14 - waited inside the car till
6.45am as it was too early to get to the queue(Well there wasnt any queue at all for that matter!!! )
6.45am - Stood in the queue 7.20am - handbag screening and security checking done.
7.35am - Was made to wait in chairs for the documents checking.
8.15am - All BEP candidates were called separately and were sent in directly to the Visa interview building, where in couple of Indian consulate officers segregated my documents and handed over the entire original and Xerox of my educational/job related documents.
8.40am – Was waiting for my green folder to come back to me with the VISA information slip (Green one for L1 Blanketers to be filled in by the Indian officers).
9.30am – Was given my folder and was sent into counter number 1 for both the index finger prints.
9.50am – Was sent into counter number 4 where in a female consular was to interview me.

The interview is as follows:-
I step forward and place my original educational and job related documents on the counter slab that’s laid in front of me and smile at the officer.
Saloni: Good Morning Officer! How are you?
Officer: I am fine. Thank you. How are you?
Saloni: I am doing good.
Officer: So you are a candidate of Blanket L1?
Saloni: yes, that’s right. Officer: What’s the purpose of your visit?
Saloni: To work with XXXXY.
Officer: And where’s your XXXXY office is U.S?
Saloni: It’s at ZZZZ, PPPPP State.
Officer: Is that the Headquarters’ of XXXXY?
Saloni: Yes, it is.
Officer: So what’s your type of work there?
Saloni: I’ll be there to carry-out the implementation of my project.
Officer: What is your project?
Saloni: WWPPPP. It’s a customer support representative application designed for credit card customers.

Officer: Okay… why have you been chosen for this role at your onsite office?
Saloni: I am a credit cards specialist, possessing a rich experience of 21months in the cards domain. Hence I have been selected for this role.
Officer: How long would your stay be?

Saloni: For 3 years from now.
Officer: Okay Saloni, Congrats, you are through with your VISA, you would be receiving your passport on the mailing address mentioned by you, I hope its your office address.
Saloni: Thanks Officer.Yeah, That’s right. It’s my office address.
Officer: Before you leave, May I know your educational qualification Saloni?
Saloni: I am a YYYY in XXXX.
Officer: Um hmm.. Do you have an onsite supervisor at your onsite location?
Saloni: Yes, I do. Officer: okay that’s it then. You are through. Congrats again.

Saloni: Thanks officer. Have a good day and Bye.

10:02am: I collect my documents and walk out of the consulate office.
10:06am: On the streets of Anna Salai, elated with happiness. Informing the same to my dad who was waiting outside the US consulate office.


Wednesday, June 7, 2006

Adventure of "Guindy - Tambaram" 7.30am Unit! - Relived!

It’s Raining here so madly today (yes, madly I say cause it wasn’t a rain of the normal sort) as if to imply that, the Rain-God however, had decided to let go of his longstanding anger on being so mean to us -- and so he goes splashing and drenching frenziedly, every nook and corner of the oven-baked Land stretches and the sun-tanned terraces of the multi-storied buildings that distinctively stand proof for the overtly populated, ever – buzzing and westernized proviso of this once traditionally enriched and culturally enhanced metropolitan mega-city of mine – The Chennai. Rainy days are definitely a feel good factor and a welcome change for us, who are, always open to the chastisements of sizzling and searing Universal God of Light – The Sun! Eventually taking sometime to roll back to the past reminds me of an almost adventurous rainy day experience that I had five years ago! It was 1999 mid-October and yet again not-so-surprisingly it was pouring down so hard and heavy (I bet hailstones included which I probably didn’t take much time to notice) just to add more to my most renowned and exemplary late-start to the railway station to catch my “Guindy-Tambaram” 7.20a.m Electric Train. I was doing a half-run and half-jog journey across the 100ft road to reach the sub-way and find my way thru’ the tunnel that was crammed with office-goers, college-goers, school-goers, market-goers and business-seekers all heaped up under the single roof of a lengthy stretch in vain tries to be saved from getting sodden by the heavy down pour.

The same sub-way which used to look like a creepy under ground place for all sorts of illegal (business) dealings on all those sunny afternoons was unbelievably over populated with a strong stench of unwashed socks of the school kids huddled towards the corner of the narrow passage-way peppered with the reek of moisture, sweat, unwashed clothes, unwashed bodies and what not’s?! It was 7.13 already and I was still at the threshold of the sub-way and I had a long way to go, though buying a ticket wasn’t a problem because I had my train-pass with me, so that process at least was a time-saver! In the menacing crowd that was unsuspectingly manhandling me from all four directions in their desperate measures to find room in the constricted space available, I was trawling to find my way out of this deadliest trap with quick-glances at my digital sports watch once in 15 seconds and even quicker prayers coming out of my mouth naturally at the time of crisis such as this to get into the 7.20 unit & even hoping to empty my last minute ditch effort at that as long as it serves the purpose in the end to find me in my train!! Slowly trudging my way through the messy mass I was getting restless....and suddenly like a gust of wind from nowhere with a quick-push from a group of ladies behind me I was shoved towards the egress of the eternal sub-way! At the first rush of the fresh air, I thanked the almighty for letting me survive the Tunnel-Effect Syndrome! But then that definitely was not all there was to it! Well in fact it wasn’t even half of what it took to make this incident a wholesome adventure as I called it before! Now comes the most intriguing part where I am to choose between two options: Either taking the long route of walking another furlong surpassing the heavy road-side traffic or to do a high-jump across a 4 and a half feet high wall amidst all the unknown and unauthorized bushes and shrubs and not to mention with a nostril-flaring thick odor of the fluid-downloads done (at morning, noon and night) by our fellow humans in and around the area. For once, being lightweight and athletic did help me in a real-time situation such as this, to go in for the high-jump option, which almost none of the girls who travel by the same transport media as that of mine fail to choose. After having achieved a successful time-saving tactic, I look at my mega sized sports watch to make sure that its still working having lived quite a strong hit against the half demolished side parapet wall. Thanks to god the watch is intact! Defiant as always as I am to my mother’s advise right from rising early from my bed in the mornings to starting out early to reach the railway station in time, as usual it was cringe time to hurriedly recoil all the advises of 'amma' while maintaining a fast gait across the railway gate towards the steps to my platform, I must appreciate myself at managing a prayer cum time-check all at once…oh gosh! It showed 7.23. I split into a quick run down the steps now praying that I don’t end up falling-down face first stepping in a slippery pool of idle waters formed at both ends of every step due to the mad-rain fall…in the past how many ever hours it had been raining for…but thanks to my Reeboks it was very much firm to give me all the grip that I needed to do a safe-landing. Guess I was too young back then to have managed such a remarkable speed. Therefore I reach my platform, and let out a sigh of relief at the notice of my usual train-mates.

A couple of college girls, a vegetable-vendor and a 40yr old lady who works for the “Tambaram” sub-registrar's office. It was that dainty lady who first acknowledged my last minute inclusion in the prolonged wait for the train and ensured me with a soft pat on my shoulder that I haven’t missed it and that the train is delayed due to the wash-out of the tracks at the basin-bridge. Now…Another creep begins to unveil its face slowly when it was not even 2 minutes since I felt happy at having kept up the time before the train reached the station. It was “Will I be able to reach my college on time; which is at 8.30 am?” And it takes 1hr to reach Tambaram especially.... when it’s raining like this.... it would take a quarter more extra to reach Tambaram from where I am to walk again for about 10 minutes to reach my destination! And I immediately skip into a mental arithmetic of approximate arrival time of my train at Tambaram from 7.27am which was what my watch displayed at that point. I was damned sure to be late for a minimum of at the least 10 minutes to at the max GOD KNOWS! Anyways gathering some more energy to withstand the loud and disgraceful barks of my college gate keeper and instructor and the stifled ridicule of my own class-mates as a topping to everything that I had gone through for the past half an hour or so made me emulate a shiver followed by the real one that was due to chillness of the climate and my wet dress. In utter distaste at the mental picture of being ridiculed and yelled at, I feel a sudden urge to hop down the railway crossing and get back to home and produce a leave letter the next day at college saying that I was sick with fever or had a bad stomach pain that kept me immobile. But then that again was an even more irritating procedure, as I must produce a prescription to the college authorities so as to make them believe that I wasn’t being dishonest about my fever. Hell with that. At least going late stopped with few warnings and a minor ridiculing. Consequently, I decide going to college somehow as a much better and a saner option.

With in the next 10 minutes the train comes puffing and gasping, with maximum possible number of passengers foot boarding and clinging to the windows of every compartment from the first to the last as fast as a buffalo walking in the rain. My instinct tells me not to get into this train but as I have no other go if I loose this train…My gut warns me again at least, not this compartment; My usual one. The ladies compartment. But who dares wins, I tell myself - It's going to be crowded only for the next few stations to come but after Airport it’s going to be all right, so I decide to dare. As fast as I can manage, I push across the trampling, squashing, tumbling bunch of ladies fighting with their full force, yelling on top of their voices to find a place inside…I take pride in spotting just the right spot on that compartment - just near the entrance, but not too near. I let myself into the two straps of my legendary black bag and rest my back with a semi-cushion effect that my bag gave my back resting atop the partition between two sitting enclosures.

The next station comes even before I could start feeling comfortable with the convenient place that I found for myself. So I feel all the more happy…thinking after all this isn’t as bad as it looked a few minutes before. Just then from the station by which the train had just stopped emerged a crowd of ladies that I never imagined could fit in 5 compartments of the train.

A female with a hefty built and an unfriendly appearance with a funny face skewed in the process of chewing what looked like a truck load of tobacco grumbled and cursed at the new faces in the compartment for snatching her private little place (the one facing the entrance where my bag and in turn by back was rested upon) that according to all virtual non-existent rule books belonged to her…and showed her full-frustration at placing a huge jute basket full of vegetables on my right foot. Apparently, that took me few minutes to gather my strength to react to the acute pain on my right foot, as a result of the mercy bestowed upon by the hefty-lady!

I tell her she had conveniently rested the basket on my foot and she retorts back asking “Vera yenga vechhi tholayaradhu?? Ingadhan moochu vidakuda yedam illye?” [Meaning:“where the hell am I to put it then? There is no place here to breathe even!”]

Hurriedly without wanting to hear another verbatim to be blurted out from the dear lady I keep my big-mouth shut and indulge in the process of slowly releasing my foot from underneath the heavy vegetable-basket inch by inch. In what looks like a few decades, the train reaches the next station.

To me it only means more crowd. But the hefty lady some how managed to shove in a few lean & wiry girls who work for the leather company next to airport and got herself some place to stand by me comfortably, looking down she pushed the basket towards herself and said “Romba valikuda papa? Vera edamey illayema na yenna panrathu ?”
[Meaning: “does your feet pain real bad? What am I to do dear there was no place around”]

I was taken by total surprise, at her sudden concern about my hurt foot and beamed at her with an assurance that I am perfectly ok and that it didn’t hurt much when in fact it did hurt very badly with a numb-some pain that I was going through I couldn’t actually gauge the depth of the damage done to my poor little tail ender toes.

Having received my endorsement about the state of my hurt leg, she switched on to her ranting again about the new crowds during rainy times giving the usual passengers a big time trouble because of lack of space and about her morbid profit rate at selling these vegetables on a heavy–set day such as this and what wud she do if the rain continues this way spoiling the meager money that she was making.

Although I nodded, I was wondering what a world it is…we wish, pray, chant, do Pooja’s and perform Yagnya’s wishing for rain but here we are when the rain decides to drench us as an answer to all the Pooja’s and Yagnya’s carried out in favor of the same, We LAMENT & CRIB about it. Just another perfect example to the fact, that, Life is always a mishmash of ironies and paradoxes. A sudden jerk of the train brought about with the blow its whistle got me back to the practical world where I found the lady next to me grinning and saying “yenna papa na sollradhu sari dhaney?”
[Meaning “what dear, don’t u think I am right?”]

Well apparently I didn’t know what she was referring to as I had lost myself in my thoughts about rain and its consequences. So I manage with a grin in return and a nod, which made her feel, pleased and kept her happy at that. With that blow of the whistle, I was expecting the next station to approach very soon. Unfortunately which never happened for the next 15 minutes, and I was getting restless, at last when inquired, I was told that the train was waiting for the clearance and it seemed like the dangling half-dead signal had totally broken down last night as a result of the wind blowing at some hundred and odd kmph. Very Insightful – I think – and feel pissed off! After what seemed like hours (Actually 15 or so minutes) we got the manual clearance from the station guard who was late for the day (because of the mad-rain...Ha Ha) and had no knowledge about the knocked down signal, got threats for being reported to his higher authorities for failing in his duties by few of the furious passengers.

Having done all that the train got back to life again and my heart was pounding and racing more than the speed of the train because as for now I was already running late for about 20 minutes and I had 1 more station to go. The rain hadn’t slowed down all the while and amidst all the pushing and pulling and hodge-podge of the crowd there were shouts and screams of missing and broken umbrellas…. Thankfully I was wearing a jacket so wasn’t running the risk of losing one or breaking one.

And the train stops abruptly; definitely meaning it’s not the station where I was supposed to get down and did not move an inch for the next 20 minutes. By now I definitely was undergoing a repetitive stress injury because of the excessive load on my shoulders as a result of my the trekking bag stuffed with my engineering drafter, Chart pipe, books, lunch, water bottle and other college essentials. I was holding on to the central pole at the entrance as if my life depended on it.

Actually it did! The train starts moving (just after my feet go numb and I can feel a 'spring' in them) only to stop midway, a few yards from where it had started to move. Another twenty minutes in the middle of nowhere. I try to perfect my transcendental patience practice. It just doesn't work. I give up.

Every inch of my body either aches or feels funny. I feel absolutely hopeless. And then it was time to get another announcement --- Due to some engine choke-out we were told that the train wouldn’t move any further and that we were to go by walk for about 1 km to reach the last station, which was also my destination – Destination Tambaram! How did I know that something as worse as this was waiting for me in this train journey making my gut feeling come true that I got at the first look of this train propelling itself as slow as it could to reach my boarding point? Nothing worse than being a skeptic, I tell myself…. Too ghostly I say! I start thinking about who said, "Thank God I'm an atheist."

And I find no answer to that so I give up. I surpass. Now, all I can do is eagerly wait for the moment I'll be pushed down by the raging and growling crowd jostling me all over and put me back to square one to trudge my way to my destination once again – just the way it had all started !

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Series of Accidents

The morning bus that leaves at 8.15am from our stop was not all set for a shocking picture that was waiting for us at that half-blind curve before we had another 2kms to cover the last lap of our not-so-F1'ish race to reach office that Tuesday.

It was a gruesome scene of a man lying right in the middle of the road with his head almost severed from the neck and squashed out on the top to bring out all the contents in the most grisly way possible. Lying by his side was a battered bi-cycle and a cloth-bag contents of which were strewn around languidly. It was all fresh and new – the food he had brought for his lunch and his slaughter as well.

Should it be the tanker lorry driver or should it be the cyclist himself who has to be held responsible for this brutal outcome?

I couldn’t digest the picture of this cruel accident that hit me hard; pulling out a strong chord linked to my heart and pushing out all the enthusiasm I had saved in for that Tuesday morning... IT was plainly disastrous!

Believe me I couldn’t have 2 of the 3 meals for that day and anymore than a glass of milk for that night. The same continued for the rest of the week as well..

The very same day while was traveling back to my home taking the last bus for the day which happens to be the one at 11.30pm – I was shocked yet again when I had to see an almost similar accident – but this time the victim was a calf, the horrifying sight of this calf being crushed to an extent that its innards were squeezed out and laid in an awkward position with its eyes half-open in the middle of the same highway, just a couple of kilometers away from the previous accident scene.

And it didnt end here either.... After getting down at my stop from my office bus, I had to get across the road to walk though an alley which would lead me to my home. There was hardly any traffic at that point of time and more so on that not-so-trafficked road that I was trying to cross. I would have crossed the first half of the road, when I suddenly saw a Qualis from nowhere speeding towards me at 80-90kmph on that deserted road, and for a second I thought I was dead.

Hell! It took me one full minute to assimilate the miraculous escape that I had from an accident that would have seen at least one of my leg severed!

I was still feeling the throb in my left knee where I got a close-contact of the Qualis brushing past me. I screamed behind the car with whatever swear-words I could muster-up at that moment, only to see the trailing tail-lights getting far & out of my visibility zone.

What’s with these late night and early morning drivers that they’ve taken for granted, the roads that they drive on is completely theirs and that they care the least for others who unfortunately happen to take the same roads to reach their earthly destination but end-up finding their eternal one!

"Please do not destroy lives even if you cant save them!"

Monday, March 13, 2006

Precision at Pronunciation

I hate this creature that comes to me every morning at my desk just to cross-verify how well I pronounce a particular English word. Belonging to south has given me the best gift of its own prominent drawl on practice of my language.
I agree upon the fact that my English is heavily inflected with a strong southern scent but that should definitely not be a reason for discrimination among others, in the public, on the roads, in the workplace and at all possible arena of mockery that’s available to some, who are constantly impertinent and ever ready to brazen you down even at the least prospect that comes deliberately or by sheer luck on their way…
These cheeky guys often forget the fact that, they are improper, incomplete and highly unacceptable in many ways of their own! Yet, they don’t hesitate to pull that delicate string of disparagement and conduct as though they are the lords or masters of the land of contempt or so they think and behave…

Inmates of the planet of precision they are…..Aren’t they?

Wonder what sort of a sickening, perverted pleasure they should be drawing out this utter nonsense pulled up at people all the time!

Anyways, as a matter of fact, oflate I’ve been struggling a lot to utter few words due to their mystifying phonetic effects, very recently I had forgotten that brinjal was articulated as “Brinj-al” and not “Brinj-ol” and I have no clue of what had come over me, I had been pronouncing it “Brinjol” until recently I felt a little weird about the way I was pronouncing it and got it clarified from a friend of mine…

Hmmm..this very thing about “Yellow” came up today morning with this above mentioned irritating personality I am talking about bugging my life to high hell.. I had lost my beautiful yellow colored deer embossed coffee mug a couple of days ago and have been asking about it to every person that comes into my sight….And so I go to this person which on an after thought I feel is the most awful blunder I had committed till date, to report and enquire about the same, with a weak expectation that he might have taken it as part of one of those usual uninteresting pranks of his!

But I was caught totally off-guard when he repeatedly asked me to repeat the color of the mug, which I presume according to him, I was voicing it as “ELLOW” and not “YELLOW”…and there I was standing bolted to the ground with enormous amount of anger built-up in me and at the same time feeling pathetic about the fact of being unable to voice it for the only reason that he was a senior to me!

He for nuts can’t say ‘sss’ and ‘shhh’ properly and there he is trying to make fun of my accent and usage of my words…

Anyways nothing more to say…Hope people realize very basic things like “Before pointing your finger at the other person always remember there are three that are pointing towards you!”

But….I don’t follow it myself that strictly …Do I… a Big Question Mark ?

Chai.. Chai…Chai….

This post came into existence after a reasonable amount of inspiration that I gathered from my T-shirt quote which read “Chai.. India’s National Drink… Stronger than Vodka, Healthier than Rum, Cheaper than Scotch!”

Hmmm… Very Insightful… pondering on the same lines, relating the above quote to a few real life instances of mine, leads me to an affirmative conclusion on the simple and plain truth about the ever refreshing, revitalising and of course the most sought after hot-drink of the Rest-of-the-India (with the exception of south where in still our trade-mark “Filter Kaapi” continues to rule).

Living in the warm & vibrant western India, in the capital city of Maratha Empire, which is closely associated with the great warrior Shivaji, for an year and a half now (to be more specific) has made me learn and speak fully-qualified sentences in our good-old national language with which my basics were very wobbly & shaky as a result of my only Prarthmic level (meaning Primary education which included reading and writing of Hindi alphabets and numbers up to 100) prior knowledge of the language.

Unfortunate for me, could be because of being a stiff “Thamizhachhi” since the day I remember having gained the faculty of senses, my primary Hindi wasn’t of much help to manage with my day-day talks with the shop-keepers, vegetable vendors, laundry men, servant maid, auto-walas and all the other assorted people of our everyday life!

With lots of difficulty, erring every time with Genders/Tenses/Names of and about living or dead people and existing or evacuated things… Now after 16 months, At least I am sure I can comprehend the language very well to get its full implication, which was nothing more than a meaningless cluster of phonetics thrown at me randomly, before; when I had just stepped in to this all new West-India life in late 2005…

I remembered the day when I made fun of a new class mate of mine in my school who was from Kuwait and knew no more than “Yenku Taamil little little teriyum” – Read it phonetically the way it’s spelled to get the original sound effect of it!

Believe me I was made fun of, the same way I made fun of this guy at my school… when I said “mujhe hindi thoda thoda aati hai” – on hearing that there was an effect of a laughter bomb being blasted successfully and people plunged into the pool of laughter for the next how many ever minutes they can manage in the deafening Laughter-Mania.

(Adappavi makka… Yarukku theriyum thoda thoda atha hai or thodi thodi athi hai nu sollanumnu???) -

Come on dude… I was trying to get gender specific here… Atha – Male , and Athi – Female…. And I frankly didn’t know thoda(meaning little in English and Konjam in Tamil) also had a gender attached to it types…

(Adi-aathi yellam nasama pocchu… keli pecchukku aalayachu!)

Anyways, marching back to our actual topic of the day… Chai…

Apparently, I wasn’t impressed much with the taste of tea as long as I was a pure chennaiite, with no sniff of an outside state, caught in the air that my nose was inhaling ever since I was born.

My first experience with the typical Maharashtrian Chai happened to be in a renowned tea-stall that was the talk of the area in a place called Laxmi Road where all the youth went in for their colossal salwar/chudidhar shopping here in Pune.

It was a perfect blend of Adhrak(Inji), Elaichi(Yelakai) and an awesome flavor of tea-leaves which made the fresh brew taste heavenly – I was simply blown away!

With the taste of this masthi chai still lingering on my senses and taste organs, I got desperate when I looked at the board, having the name Chai marked Rs.4/- at my office canteen’s menu list on my first day of office at breakfast.

As swift as I could, I got the coupon and made sure to be the first in the long queue that was waiting there to pick up their breakfast plates and the tea with nothing more than a flat or grim expression on their faces which I couldn’t relate to before but am very clearly able to now!

“Hey Sal, maybe they traveled a lot before reaching in here, so they are tired or they must be sleepy, so never mind” – I tell myself that and find a comfortable seat with my tea cup with a lot of expectations and anxiousness to take in the wonderful combination of the early morning nature’s beauty and taste of the best brew of the most awaited chai – (after that first experience of mine).

Sitting there…. I took the first ever and most unforgettable ever sip of that most insipid tea by far, giving me a sense of shock and realization at the same time about the T.E.A that I had in that stall and the tea that I had in my canteen!

I gave up on the idea of tasting a good tea after that day until recently, driven forcibly by one of my colleagues to visit a Tupri (Nammuru Potti-Kadai) where the tea was popular in the 5kms radius of the IT Park of which my office was a part of.

I was hesitant and was almost expecting a similar experience that I had long ago on my day-one at canteen… But to my surprise, the first sip of the cutting (half-glass) chai gave me the old revere that I had for the tea I tasted in the Tea-Stall at Laxmi Road.

I was very happy and felt rejuvenated at my unexpected rendezvous with this miniature-heaven in the name of “Tupri” which still continues to feed me with exotic blend of tea that I always longed for!

Finally, Alice found her wonderland, where she would get her unlimited supply of the “National Drink” which costs Rs 2/- per cutting and Rs 3/- per full-glass.

Thanks to my dear colleague who’s onsite right now.

Monday, January 2, 2006

Serendipity in The World of Encryption

I'm talking in cryptic code again but for a good reason, because a lot of grief stems from problems which are too raw to air publicly without hurting the people that I know of.

Writing is cathartic for me.

Someone once said that your writing should never turn into an extension of yourself, and I have a sneaking suspicion I have already broken that rule many times over. Whether I admit it or not, it has evolved into a sanctuary that I run to, like now.

I do not want to go the way of the self-pity because it would only worry me more making me feel very weak and more unwitting to even make a note about that here.

I would usually hesitate to put up such a self-indulgent writing but I think I'll cut myself some slack today. If at all at one point of time I am given any authority in life to wish for something I want I would ask for a world without any counseling/advisory/mental rehabilitation centers.

On Web terms I wish I could permanently disable that functionality for the app users.

I don't need castigation, or criticism, most certainly I don't need pity. Just my own space and time to collect my thoughts and get back on my feet.

These therapeutic, invigorating pieces of words that I splatter on my parchments gives an effusive feel of fulfillment of having broken a decipherable code.

And so I am rescued at the lowest ebb of the whole week. I received a call just as I thought I am all set to crown a spectacularly mundane weekend in the pallid blandness of my gibberish.

I could hear, very clearly only these lines over and over again, which were gonging loudly like the huge bell of a community prayer hall!

“Then” and

It was nice. Absolutely unbelievable and a pleasant experience.

Begging your pardon, I have a penchant for understatements.

Thanks for making my day, I spat out when I hung up!