Friday, June 30, 2006

Memoirs of Geisha

I generally do not comment on any single book I read. This is coz I can never compare and contrast between them. I love them all, bad ones, good ones, funny ones, real life ones, action , romance, sentimental, thriller... Give me a book and my life is made and if it is a book I have never read before I am in heaven.

I won't say "Memoirs of Geisha" was an unputdownable book.... it took me over 3 weeks to finish the 500 pages .
It is not the kind of book I would choose to have read voluntarily but a friend had mailed me the book and I was baised againt it even before starting it. As it went against my grain not to read a book in my possession, I did.

I was surprised by the gentle sensitivity, especially as it was written by a guy. I liked it. It left me with that dazed feeling that I generally get when I read some really good book.

The smooth flow from the youth, innocence and naivete of a young beautiful girl from an obscure village in Japan, to her disillusionment and acceptance into and of the world she is sold to and how she still keeps her outlook and romanticsm fresh despite the obstacles thrown by life and becomes a famous Geisha and more importantly a good person, was just beautiful... sigh!!!

I am flying

I mean seriously flying, ohmigosh!, for the first time in life, alone and to a distant continent. While I am excited, I am also so strung up with nerves, i would probably twang if someone touched me :-p

I have been getting some rather weird advices and blessings. One person even adviced to me to search for a groom there and bring him along, rather than trouble my parents.. hehehe... needless to say, my parents were not happy

Thousand and one things to do and buy. Too many suggestions and not sure which one to follow. Everything in a muddle at home. Learning to cook in the few days left ... its absolutely crazy and i am loving every minute that i don't hate

Anyways will write more on my travels once I reach there and get a li'l settled.

Mean while wish me luck! :-)

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Ah'm Worrid

D'ya know that chennai is one of the most polluted city in the country, if not the world? The perungudi dumping area especially is said to be emitting toxic fumes that are harming the health's of people living around there. A NGO dealing in environment has reported that chennai produces 32 times more toxic wastes than is safe for human consumption... :-(. The government is still ahhh... looking into the matter and its report will be ready only by august end. Till then maybe we can be more careful with our wastes, such as plastics and other non-biodegradable stuff.

The governments in state and central have got an agenda to which they are strictly adhering to. This agenda includes taking revenge on the opposition parties, undoing any good done by the opposition, implementing unwanted schemes, destroying future of the country, taking credit for schemes not implemented by them, and of course making money and scratching each other's back. Its not like the governments before this one were saints, but they were definitely not this blatant. Our country is probably the only democratic country where the people's wishes are absolutely ignored... :-p

On a lighter note, Aishwarya Rai is gonna act as Umrao Jaan in the latest JP dutta's flick.

Its one of my all time favourite movies and I absolutely adore Rekha in that movie. The songs in the it are absolutely tops. I was told Rekha's dancing was not upto par in the movie. Its a good thing I know nothing about dancing, coz as far I am concerned Rekha was just right.

Well, here is wishing the very best to Aish. and hoping she is able to match Rekha's performance

PS: I was unable to add any pictures for the last few days due to some techie error... *phew* that seems to have got resolved.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Campus interview - Nostalgia

The good ol days from college pass before my eyes as I view the ocean of hopeful interviewees sitting in front of me, looking at me like I am some hotshot and treating me with such reverance and respect. It embarasses me even as it amuses me.

I had gone to a campus interview yesterday!

We, the panelists, were all asked to come to the auditorium where the kids were all waiting to be introduced to us. As soon as we entered the hall, the whole student body got up and for a startled moment I just stood there not sure what to do. That was when all my college memories came rushing at me. I too remembered the respect ingrained in us, to stand whenever a teacher entered. It pained me to see all the hopeful faces, for i knew i was going to have to reject some of them. But I was also soothed, for i knew i was going to select some of them and hence change the course of their lives, a very powerful feeling and an even greater responsiblity.

I knew, when i sat at the interview panel, exactly how the kid sitting opposite me felt. I too had sat in their seat and looked up at an interviewer with hope shining bright in my heart. Knowing this was where my life was going to change and a new path was going to open for me. But what I did not realise then was that the interviewer was a human too with pretty much the same insecurities and fears.

It was the first campus interview I was part of. The first candidate I got was a EEE student. God! i think i was more nervous than the kid. Having been a computer student myself I had absolutely no clue what to ask him. I was all prepared for C and C++ and Java, but what the heck do I know about electrical and electronics. I hemmed and hawed and dredged what little i could remember from my UG and got through with it *phew*

There were quite a few funny incidents that I was planning to share with you all, but somehow now it seems cruel to do so for it would be too much like I was making fun of the kids.

So let me just finish it by saying I had great fun and they presented me with a wrist watch for my efforts (a gents wrist watch at that ... :-p)

ps: I didn't realise what an avid blogger i had become until it struck me that i was writing this blog in my mind, even as I was interviewing the kids...

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Autos and I

Every man, woman and child of Chennai has an on-going affair with the auto walas of this noble city. They are the guys we absolutely love to hate. If we are in a temper then what better way to vent it than by arguing with them… and Oh! They love arguing with us too… so no regrets please. If they are unable to get you to argue then they’ll grumble and grumble until you just wanna scream and jump out of the running auto or better still push him off.

So what do they argue about? The primary topic is the auto rate, of course, but politics, movies, stars, the poor status of India, the horrible driving of other vehicles are other hotspots. Oh Yes! All autos are equipped with a meter here too, but that is strictly a decoration piece and if ever an auto guys asks you to pay what ever amount the meter shows….BEWARE!!!

Let me tell you how a person in Chennai travels in an auto from point x to y.
We stop an empty auto on the road and give our destination, immediately the auto wallah names an atrocious amount and then its up to us to bargain it down to something that might edge towards reasonable. Some of the favourite bargaining chips are - one-ways popping up on the roads, the traffic being heavy or traffic being light and hence not being able to get another passenger on their way back, rain, dharna’s and best of all hikes in petrol prices. If 1 re increases per litre of petrol, there is a corresponding raise of 1 re per KM at least. 1 Ltr petrol might give 25 Km mileage but we are not talking logistics here, if there is hike in petrol, there will be a hike in auto rates too, so don’t ask questions.

Once the bargaining is done and both sides are satisfied, there will generally be a monologue on any of the above said favourite topics If you actually involve yourself and start responding, be ready to hang on to dear life, coz the auto wallah is going to get very emotional and start gesturing. This is the time you start remembering all those prayers you were taught by mom when you were two years old.

On the other hand there was this incident when the auto guy agreed to a price but was not happy with it. He grumbled and mumbled and sniped at me hoping to get some raise out of me. I had my mouth shut (and with great difficulty), until he could bear it no longer and he actually stopped by one of the petrol pumps, jumped out and asked me to get out and find the cost of petrol and then tell him how I could give him so less a money. How I got back home is a story for another time.

In fact most travel guidebooks on Chennai will have a mention of its famous Auto wallahs warning foreigners to never pay the asked price if travelling by auto.

Chennaites are so immune to bargaining with their autowallahs that it just does not make their day, if they have not argued with one. It is customary to bargain even if a rare driver asks for the correct price.
The last time I had gone to b’lore, I went from the railway station to BTM layout, a distance of 13 KM by auto. A distance, that would have made the heart of a Chennai auto guy to go pitty pat and ask for 200 bucks at least. But here was the driver in B’lore, who put on his meter, which, to my amazement and crushing disappointment, showed just 75 Rs. Now I could not argue or bargain with such a nominal rate, could I? Oh! I felt so sad.:-(

Sigh! What can I say; the auto wallas of my city have spoiled me for any other autos outside.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Something better than nothing?

I had gone to the central station to get some tickets. Y’all have probably been to the huge multi storied structure where they dish out tickets, right next to the railway station itself. Well anyways, so here I was, and looking around the place like a country mice newly come to the city.
There was probably some big shot coming in that day or maybe there was some threat…but result was that there were loads of Chennai city’s finest all armed to the teeth, moving around aimlessly.

Armed to the teeth, I mean they would probably be better of using their teeth rather than the ancient outdated rifles, which are probably found museums all over the world. I am almost sure that other than India, no where else do the police use a rifle with a wooden butt and a bayonet that looks like it came directly from the British Raj times.
I am not a proponent of violence, but what does a person do with a rifle like that other than look ridiculous? It probably allows 2 bullets after which it needs a reload…well! It can be used as a club quite effectively too.
Will it really help them against the terrorists or whoever, when they guard our head honchos? Those guys who will be armed with state of art weapons?
How many movies have we seen where the villains start shooting with their Kalashnikovs and what-nots while the poor constable is still trying to get his unwieldy rifle to aim?

Hmm! Then again seeing as to how most of our head honchos are their own worst enemies, there really is no need for a security for them, except as a boost to their ego.
That being said, maybe they should at least give these people something that looks like it means business rather than just plain ridiculous.

Oh well! What do I care… if everyone is happy, let them use a Tommy gun too…:-)