Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Book review

The Bankster

This is the first book by Ravi Subramanian that I got to read. Based on a Indian banking setup, this story revolves around unraveling the sequential murders of the employees of the bank and the motivation behind the murders. The book starts with a good pace , introducing and acquainting the reader with some of the characters in the story and the regular day at office..But until the middle of the book, there seem to be some rhetoric keeping the reader in suspense which can border towards boring and makes the reader ask :Ok, so what are you trying to say here?" . A few pages can be boring, but from the middle of the book, the pace picks up and makes the reader curious to keep reading to know how the puzzle will be solved. This is a fairly decent thriller and I would recommend this book for a quick read set in Indian context

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Short story

V and S are good friends and they decided to purchase an apartment and zeroed in on one and paid the advance. A little later V changes his mind and decides to withdraw from this one and chooses to buy elsewhere. Reason being most of the owners of the flats in this complex belong to the community/region as S,and V thinks he would not have company or would feel out of place.. Anyways,he finds another one where most of the owners belong to his community and in no time,Vand his wife settle in the new place..Only to realise shortly that due to the unknown ways life unfolds for each one of us,most of V's acquaintances happen to live elsewhere and not move here for various reasons..V now gets to live with neighbours who belong to a diverse ethnic groups.

The above story s based on. Real life incident Zi heard today,tweaked a
Title bit..I couldnt understand to what extent people crave for community based links even after securing so called higher education,high standard of working and living conditions

What  does our education/value/family system provide us if they can't teach and help us to co-exist with each other . At what point do we as humans start differentiating and basing ourselves towards religious/ethnic groups? What's the point of rocket science and technology innovations that happen every other day if we lack the basic human instinct to treat and consider all as mere humans..too many questions in my head..good night .

Sunday, July 7, 2013

A random post

Weekend was quite hectic  , what with all philosophy , status-quo, questioning discussion with the better half on Saturday ( the long hours of talking, thinkinga nd listening tired me out :))  and the stock-piling, random shopping and house-hunting on Sunday is also taking a toll on the body..So, this is a random post of my observations this last 2 days :

- That maids also feel the 'Monday-morning blues" the day they return to work after a break. So, I assume, irrespective of whatever work we do, the blues still exist..Yeah..why cant we have a simple world where there is no competition, no need to earn/slog to lead a decent living and that there is equality everywhere..

-That it is OK to ask the price of every vegetable in Hopcoms before you buy. I kept asking the price of vegetable before I asked him to pick some and put on the weighing machine. The guy started getting a little anxious when I asked the price of the 10th vegetable that I was buying, bit if he doesnt put up the price tag or a board that displays the cost of each item, how are the customers supposed to decide which one to buy,that too in these days where veggie prices are sky-rocketing..

-Was shocked to find that a small sccop of icecream in Baskin Robins cost 110 bucks..I thought Hagen Daz  has such expensive ice-cream and the quality of their product too is quite supreme. Been a while since we went to BR, since we are Corner House loyals these days, but just for a break, went to BR and decided never to return here. The quality is not great either. When asked why it costs so much, they say this flavor is a "divine" one and so is the cost !.

-  Sale season has begun this year and there is sale in every shop that you turn to. And these shops are teeming with people. There are more men in the ladies section than women themselves, all them dragging bags and searching through mounds of clothes .. If only they allowed to capture a few pics, I would have..Even with me, S  goes through sections and picks out clothes which he likes. There are many men who do that. But, today whatever I saw was heights..I saw a few men rummaging through the pile of clothes and looking at each one of them to check if that would suit the person for whomever they are choosing, I saw men in leggings table, where they were suggesting what their female shopper should take.

- Finding a house for rent in Bangalore seems to be a herculean task these days. All brokers also take holidays on weekends when we have time only on weekends. It was quite startling to hear questions from the broker asking for our age, which companies do we work for, which caste we belong to (I had told we are vegetarians prior to these questions)!! All of these even before seeing the house. From when on, did the brokers and owners start asking for such details even before taking a look and liking and willing to rent it out. And what rudeness is it to ask for caste details. What is the use of education and living abroad and claiming to be living in a open-minded society when our own minds are really small..I just cudnt take it. And as long as whoever is renting pays the rent, how does it matter which company he/she works for? And looks the tenant might have to take permission from the owner before switching jobs or even before appearing for an interview call..Huff..Just unable to take all this..

More later..Have a Good week!

Movie Mania

Movies are not a regular part of my life off-late..While growing up, during those doordarshan days, we would wait for the Sunday evening movie and the occasional viewing in theaters..Looking back, I can say that I had visited the movie halls more number of times during growing up years than in adulthood years so far. Then came the Sun TV and all other channels under its hood, movies became a routine then..But the boredom struck soon and though there were movies that were telecast round the clock, the interest waned..
Thanks to a few acquaintances these days, I do get a regular supply  of movies , good print that too within a  short period after the movies is released. I had posted about "seasons" here : and now, its the movie season that is going on at my end..Heres a list of few movies that I watched recently  and my take on them:

Chennaiyil Oru Naal: Heard this is based on a real-life incident, though I havent yet googled to verify the same(quite surprising considering my affinity to open up google for anything and everything) . Its about how the heart of one patient is transferred to another from Chennai to Vellore. A little too dragging in between ..You feel as if the director is taking through every single stretch of the Chennai-Vellore route, at times. If its indeed a real story, I fail for words as to what to attribute to the parents of the one whose heart is going to be removed while the patient is alive.

Viswaroopam : Yes, I watched this one only last week, though this one has been with me for a long time now. I read reviews of this one while it was released and didnt get the urge to watch it then. Btw, what in the movie has made kamal spend 100crore for this one? If you can point out, I'm curious to know. The first song , the kathak one, is pleasing to hear and the choreography is done well. Other than this, was there any other song that can be repeated over and listened to? I don't remember now..And Andrea's role in this movie is no insignificant.What is Mr.Kamal trying to convey here , for all the hype around this movie.

Raanjhaana : Danush's acting is good..Though the story line is one of the typical ones, boy -loves-girl, girl-loves -someone else, boy is mad about he girl etc, for the elements of muslim-hindu and the elections ,the benarasi slang etc, this can be a one-time watch movie. A good time-pass though.Sonam Kapoor's acting is also good. And music is also pleasing to the ears.

Kai Po Che: A bunch of new faces. It says this movie is adapted from "The three mistakes of my life" by Chetan Bagat. I havent read the book and started watching without any expectations. A bunch of fresh faces, three of them. Untill the middle of the movie , there is the story line of these three friends wanting to make it in life, their business in sports academy and how one among them is a cricketer and finds a young talent and coaches this young one. After the intermission, you kind of start getting a hint of what is to come. The story covers cricket, the sabarmati incident followed by Godhra and some tid-bits of crush and love. a good movie to watch.

Soodhu Kavvum :  Quite a different genre in the regular love-story movies in Tamil. A little hilarious too. Story revolves around how a group survives by engaging in kidnapping without getting caught and what happens when they kidnap the finance ministers son. As I mentioned, different from regular stories and can be watched once.

Neram : The story of this movie is what happens when a person's time is not well and if at all Mother Time decides to smile on you, then, how things take a turn and life looks suddenly brighter . A different genre and good to watch.

While on movies, I remember going to an evening show with my garndmother for the movie "Paati Solla Thatadhey" and crying in the middle of the movie wanting to go to home and be with Amma. And also remember accompanying the newly-wed aunt and uncle to Anjali. As a womens team, along with amma, aunt,granny and cousins remember watching Vetri Vizha in movie theatre. When we were a little older, the oldest cousin accompanied all of us younger ones to Ponnumani. And Thevan Magan was watched sitting in stool  in the last rows of the fully packed theatre.

During VCR/VCP days, watched Alaipayuthey in cycles for 7 times. Mouna Ragam is one movie which I love to watch anyday. Remember calling up the cable guy umpteen times as to why cable signal is not proper when Mouna Ragam was being telecast many years ago when a cousin was visiting us. A very mature beautiful love story in it.

Want to hit thebed now. More on movies in another post.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Time to Stand and Stare

Invariably, most  of the work-days, irrespective of whether I wake up early or not, I always rush in the last moment and make S wait for me..I can count the number of days when I have left the house first and S has followed me..So, what makes me rush ? I spend some time in the mornings to just stand and stare :)

 I spend precious morning time to stand and stare..Yes, it has become a habit now and I don't seem to have qualms about spending time not doing anything productive, but just stand and stare..

A few random observations that are registered in my mind while I involve myself in this activity:
-- crows cawing,
-- dogs playing run and catch
--the sound of train and people standing near the compartment doors and their expectant faces(though from a distance)
--the car cleaning boy who is growing taller day by day
-- the milkman who checks the token and puts in that many number of milk packets
--paperwala riding with a little boy in the pillion and this little boy gets the practical experience to throw papers even upto three floors 
--random uncle and aunty walking with hand-in-hand 
--uncle with a huge dog going on a jog
--IT/BPO employees getting ready and waiting for their pick-up vehicles even before the sun is out day in and day out.
--little children with back-packs all ready to face their day
-- the thatha who inspite of having trouble in walking properly, makes it a point to carry flowers in his head and shout "ooa ma oova.."
-- granny who carries real huge load of palak and sabzi and flowers in her head every single day
-- the palak wala who stops his bicycle in a corner to releive himself..(eeks..seriously since then,I have stopped buying from him!!, but no point in feeling disgusted..such is the state of our country where these street vendors have no choice )

Anyways, do I get any work done in this "observation period"? ..Nope..Do I get some kinda peace ?..Hmm..I really dont know..but what I can say is, doing this does clear my mind even if it is for a brief period..I just dont think about anything..not even the fact that its getting late to office..My mind just goes blank when I indulge in this morning routine of observation..I also relax myself saying that I might not have the luxury of engaging myself in this routine once the baby arrives, untill then, i tell myself to take it easy..I dont remember how this habit got itself established or how long have I been engaging myself in this, but just wanted to record it here..

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Spine Poetry : My first attempt at it :)

Just thought will make an attempt at this one..and here it is..I opened the cup-board that has been converted to store books and formed this one with the 3 books that my eyes fell upon:

"The Kite Runner's Known Turf is Kashmir"

And immediately, the enthu levels raised and I wanted to form another one: so, here it goes:

"My friend Sancho lives in The House of Blue mangoes" 

I know I have relaxed the rules a bit by adding a few words in between to form a meaningful sentence. Since this is the first time, I think thats ok :)

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Carelessness and me

Many a times, I am called a "sandeha praani", especially when it comes to double-triple checking if the doors etc are locked when we go on a journey , check if whoever is accompanying me has got the balance change from the cashier, look out for any items that have fallen off or misplaced while coming out of a restaurant etc.. As much careful as I'm in the above circumstances,  equally careless I'm on the rest of the occasions.

I've lost many such materialistic stuff due to my carelessness.(: . When I loose something, the guilt or the sadness of parting with the stuff is more severe when the loss is due to my carelessness than otherwise..
I lost a gold chain during my train journey from Chennai to Bangalore years ago. I realized that I had lost it after I came near Jayanagar from Majestic. I couldnt do anything..I thought briefly about going back to Majestic and searching the train (it would take atleast 20 mins in the traffic-less mornings and I remembered that the train would stop at Bangalore for 30 minutes before it started its way to Mysore), but somehow felt it to be futile and dropped the idea..I felt very bad about losing it, but I couldnt do much about it..Yes, I should have checked on it before leaving the train, but it is another  fact  that I woke up after the train had long stationed at Bangalore central . So, I had to get out of the train before it moved again..such tired and drowsy I was after all the roaming around in Chennai the day before the travel. Since that episode, I always make it a point to check on my neck ,hands and ears before leaving the train.The point here is, I regretted for not checking on it while leaving the train , but I was convinced that it was stolen. But the guilt was not that much when compared to when I lost two of my gold- earrings right when they were placed at my bed-side table.

Yes, first time when one pair of ear-rings got lost, it was quite certain that the maid's daughter who had come in only for that day and absconded the next day had taken it..For how else one could explain the sudden disappearance of the jewel when I saw it on Saturday and didnt find it on Monday morning and no one even entered our house. This time, I kept thinking for a long time that I could have had the jewel to myself if I had placed it inside the cup-board instead of the bed-side table. Since our maid is quite good and I assumed that her daughter also would posses a good character, I didnt bother about making sure that I kept these costly stuff locked in. Mil repeated numerous times after this episode asking me to put every single thing, even if they are a few coins , to put them inside the cup-board and keep them locked. I nodded my head very well and in fact followed this in the immediate aftermath of this incident . But slowly, the old self showed up again and after a year, on a fine day, I happened to place another ear-ring on my bed-side table and viola, the maid's daughter comes in and the ear-ring is no-more..I felt terrible on myself for being so careless and not learning from the mistake even after experiencing a similar incident earlier..Even now, the thought about losing the second time makes me feel so damn bad about myself..It was due to my sheer carelessness. Though it was a theft, I could have easily avoided it , having experienced it once earlier..

Today, I got the balance change from the bus conductor during my morning travel and instead of placing it inside the wallet, I stuffed the rupee notes into my mobile pouch..I knew that it could fall anytime, but due to sheer laziness , I just stuffed it then..It fell down a couple of times when I fiddled with the phone in meetings, but still didnt put the money in its right place..I remember seeing the money being present until about 4:30PM or so..and viola, when I leave the office for the day at around 6PM, it is missing..The change is smaller in value (about 55 bucks), but I felt terrible on myself for being so damn careless..

There have been many circumstances where I've felt more guilt and generally scolded myslef for losing something due to my carelessness rather than if the loss has been due to someone else stealing it away or losing it inspite of being careful from my end..If I do my duty properly, the bad feeling tends to subside quite soon and if not, it persists a long time..

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Vacation and post-vacation musings

  • Simply feeling the wind on the face and allowing the wind to carry you in its direction ...Bliss!!
  • Burying your face in amma's neck and her fragrance makes you forget all your worries, even if its brief..
  • A very recently acquainted stranger handing you a string of "madurai malli poo " , in its bud form, strung closely only when you were thinking of stopping by the flower vendor and buying a string..Ah..such simple joys :)
  • Maid whom you thought is not going to return for work comes back with a big box of assorted sweets that you like, gundu malli freshly plucked from her garden and says she remembered me asking for some sweet in the brief time that she stayed with us..
  • Getting the list of things to buy and do from Amma and exploring the tiny streets of the town you grew up in without a care for time.
  • Devouring food prepared by Amma day in and out and actually getting a feeling as if the digestive system and the stomach are posing a huge wide smile.:)
  • Spotting half-saree clad girls in TVS-50 and reminiscing the days I drove the TVS -50 and realizing what a great mistake it was when I adamantly refused to wear half-saree..
  • Asking for a re-cap of the events that happened in the mega-serial from Amma and sister from the last time you watched it..and passing random comments about the characters in the soap.
  • A long drive with Appa with both of us enjoying Ilayaraja's music 
  • Travelling by the local "mini-bus" listening to  Ilayaraja's songs blaring at full volume
  • Bumping into a school classmate after a decade or so and being comfortable in my skin
  • Not missing the husband for the most part of the time while I was away and thereby allowing him to work and be at peace without my pestering even if it is for a short-while
I went to my parents place after 6 months(this is a huge gap for me between visits, for even wen I was at hostel, I used to visit once in every 4.5 months) and I'm back now and feeling very home-sick..In my case, I only feel that even though the number of years that I have flown the nest only increases year after year, the home-sickness after I return does not seem to reduce each time (: Not sure if I'm weird this way ..As a result, I have a gloomy face and mind which puts off S. Need to work on this part ..