Monday, December 29, 2008

A "memorable" experience

Lost my mobile phone

Two weeks back, at a wedding reception, I handed it to my bawling little one in an attempt to pacify her. And apparently she dropped it somewhere. Initially I was so frustrated. The phone was already in a condemnable state and I was waiting to replace it, so no complaints there. But I had lost all my contacts! I wondered how I was going to cope.

With the advent of mobile phones, the practice of remembering telephone numbers is almost extinct. You don't need to, anymore. All you got to do is, press a single button to reach a contact.

But can you believe it, I just happened to remember most of the numbers that I constantly use!

Of course, there are certain people whose numbers I can possibly never forget. Joe, mom, dad, sister, best friends. But besides that, I happened to rememer a lot of important contacts. For example, the Electricity board, LPG booking, the butcher, pharmacy, and few other official contacts. I was amazed at my own memory!

Now, how was that possible? It's very simple, actually. I had often used the landline to dial these.

So, naturally, I had to dial every digit. Now if I had never done that, I could not have remembered even a single number.

But I still have a whole load of contacts missing. But I should be having their email IDs, I hope!
And I have a new phone with the same number. So no great damage done!

It's possible that you might also encounter the same case sometimes. So now and then, try to remember phone numbers in the good old way. Writing them down or taking a back up in someother phone is also fine. But there is nothing like the satisfaction you get when you dial a number out of your own memory and get it right!

And you know what, one of my friends was really impressed when I told her that I remembered her number though I had lost it. I was so proud and pleased!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Running Vs Playing

I want to stop running, go back and play.

I am baffled by the rules, I can't keep to the tracks;

The prizes are tempting, but heavily priced;

I am not eager to win, yet I greatly fear to lose

Crowds cheer madly, runners cross me by, eyes on the winning line - which extends beyond the horizon;
laggers are losers, and are forever longers;

I want to stop running, go back and play

some come with roller skates, but many carry crutches.; it's a race most unfair but oh! who cares?
I want to stop running, go back and play
go back where there is still music to dance

Sunday, November 30, 2008

A leaf from an old book...

Thank God, the rains are over. As my friend Ramki put it, it's been raining lions and elephants in Chennai the past week. So much that there was no power for days, no newspapers, no milk, no vegetables in shops and it had been like being in another planet for a while.

But rainy days are always nostalgic. And nostalgia is almost synonymous to childhood memories, which you can't deny are surprisingly evergreen. You tend to forget what you did and where you were during the last monsoon. But you cannot forget the times you came home from school, drenched in rain to your heart's content, or the little paper boats you sailed in water puddles when you parents were not around.

I especially remember one day when I was in class four. It was raining heavily since morning and the streets were flooded. After school, I was waiting for our rickshaw man to come and pick me up. But who turned up instead was my dad with an umbrella! On one hand, I was pleasantly surprised. On the other, I was a little apprehensive because besides that I had an innate fear for my dad (just like several kids of my generation), he never allowed us to get wet in the rain and got furious if he saw me waddling in puddles, which I was then hoping to do, if the rickshaw man did not turn up.

I quietly started walking with him holding my hand. There came the street round the corner, filled with rain water. I was sure my father would turn back and try taking another route or an auto- rickshaw. My dad looked down at me with a mischevous smile. "Thanniyile jal jal nu polaamaa?" (shall we tread happily through this water?) I was overjoyed. I couldn't believe it at all. I hastily agreed with a big grin on my face, before he could change his mind. I can never forget the way I waddled through the flooded streets to my heart's content, alongside my father that day. Long after I came home, washed myself and changed to dry clothes, the feel of the water lingered around my legs. And that daddy appreciated my childish desire to play in the water and let me indulge in it for once, was absolutely heart-warming.

I hope I'll remember this little deed of my dad which made me so happy that day, whenever I tend to make rules for my child, for her own good.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Playing To Your Strengths Pays Off

It’s good to make plans, but sticking to them no matter what, is not. As Winston Churchill said, “There is nothing wrong with change, if it is in the right direction.” And that was how I faced the most pressing hurdle that I ever faced in my life - Unemployment.

It was the year following my graduation. I had a bachelor degree in Civil Engineering. Though I was a good student and had scored well, there was a major problem. It was a time when the construction business was pretty down in my country and job opportunities for fresh graduates in Civil Engineering were almost zero.

I kept looking at the “Wanted” columns in news papers. I sat for various competitive examinations. I even walked-in to interviews that had specifically asked for people with experience, assuming I could win them over with my academic qualification. None of my efforts bore fruit.

Finally I was offered a contract job with a polytechnic college that offered diplomas for various branches of Engineering. As I loved teaching, I gladly accepted the job, though the pay was low. It was fun and I loved the work. But again, my troubles were not over.

The contract staff had to keep a log of the hours worked, get it authorized by the head of their department, and then claim the amount from the office. This process usually took about a weeks’ time. However, several months went without payment. We were told that funds were insufficient and aid from the government was expected. Also, we were assured every penny of our claim, even though delayed.

It was frustrating to work for months together without getting a penny. Also, I was commuting a long distance on bus and it was tiring; I quit the job. Most of my friends were employed by then. It was painful to listen to them talk about their funny bosses, friendly colleagues, and altogether what a jolly or hectic time they had at work. None of them meant to hurt me, but they did, all the same.

It was then that I had started browsing the Internet, and there was this Internet Cafe that I frequented. The guy who owned the place was my friend and he always had an ear for my cribbing about how difficult it was to get a job for my qualification.

One day we were talking about the boom of Information Technology and the spurt of IT companies in our country. That’s when he suddenly said, “Deepa, I have no doubt that you’ll be a very successful woman in the future. But it looks like you have taken the wrong road.”

It took only a minute for me to ponder. The words from a friend, who had confidence in you, were absolutely rejuvenating. I thanked him and headed straight for the nearest computer training centre. I enrolled myself for courses in various computer languages hoping to become a computer programmer or software engineer.

I soon found out that programming was not my cup of tea. I also saw that it was not the only profession in the IT field. There was a special niche for something I loved and was good at.
People with a fair amount of computer knowledge plus good writing skills were sought after for Technical Writing. This profession also required that one has to grasp things quickly and have the ability to elucidate the most complex topics in an easily understandable manner. The job was not as well-paid as programming, but it got me hooked.

I knew instinctively that this was what I was looking after. If at all there was a job in which I could play to my strengths, it was this. I loved teaching, and the job is all about putting things simple for people who want to learn. I then had the necessary computer knowledge – thanks to the courses I had taken. I loved writing and the job required extensive writing.

So, to make a long story short, I became a technical writer and have successfully completed seven years in the profession.

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--I took the one less traveled by,And that has made all the difference.”
- Robert Frost

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Choosing books for children

Anybody who was born in the seventies and eighties would surely remember the big poster size books filled with colorful pictures and delightful stories sold at extremely low prices. Available in English as well as local languages, they were a major hit with schools. We used to get those books every year for various prizes we got at school.

Yes, I am talking about the books published and distributed by Soviet publications. I still cherish several old copies of them. In fact, those books were so kid-friendly that I started reading at the age of four.

Ok, now today if I were to buy books for my daughter, what would be on my priority list?
Well, well, I who hate planning and making lists, relished doing this one!
(Now, this is only for English books. For Tamil books, a post will soon come on my Tamil blog!)

From age 5 to 7
Picture books, Fairy tales, Animal fables
Of course, Enid Blyton books - But I would use my judgement to select her books. Some books are really prejudiced. The following would surely make a great read.

7 to 10
The adventures of Mr. Pink Whistle
Mr. Meddle's Mischiefs
The Enchanted wood
The folk of the faraway tree
After 10
The Naughtiest Girl - school series
Malory Towers - school series
Circus series
The Adventurous Four series
Famous Five series

That should be enough of sweets! Now for some real classics, I would like her to read:
Uncle Tom's cabin
Great Expectations
Oliver Twist
Adventures of Tom Sawyer
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Little Women
Little Men
Last, but not the least, Harry Potter!

That's it! from this point onwards, (or probably earlier) she should be able to make her own choices, and most likely rebuff mine!
I hope my little girl loves to read, but it's alright if she is not really an extensive reader, as long as she develops a taste for good books, and most importantly shuns trash. Right? :-)

Friday, October 17, 2008

Paradise Rented Out...

She discovers the first sprout of life within her body. She does all she can to protect it. She eats and sleeps so that it grows healthy. She takes medicines and essential nutrients. She gets pampered and examined with care, all for the life growing within her.

She carries it and nourishes it with her own blood. She experiences the first ever movement of the life within her womb. She undergoes the pain and agony of labor. She puts her own life in stake and brings a new life to the earth. She gives the little one its first feed after birth.

Yet, it is not hers to claim; and never shall it be. She must hold complete indifference over the child and maintain the secret of its birth. The new-born is but a product of her business agreement.

Why? The egg is not hers; the sperm is not her lover's. She gets injected with both (or may be just the latter, in some cases.) She has rented her womb out for money - of which she is so much in need.

On the other hand, the couple who gave away the egg, the sperm, and probably a great deal of money are the rightful owners of the baby - yes, LEGALLY!

In most cases, I pity both the women. Yes, the latter deserves considerably pity too, if not as much as the former. I can very well understand the plight of a woman who realizes that she can never carry her own child in her womb. It is but a singular grief. She is therefore tempted to the alternative that the advanced medical science offers - to use a surrogate mother. After all the surrogate mother would be only a carrier. The child would have the life and blood of herself and her husband.

But, is it really worth it to put another woman's life in stake for your delight. And will it be a rightful joy, really? Can you hide the fact from the child that it was not you that bore it, but another woman, for your sake? It is certainly NOT like adoption, where the child was not borne for your own sake in the first place. It is a different thing altogether, and much more favorable.

Of course, it is difficult for anybody to give justice on this matter, because it involves two women who both deserve undue sympathy. However, renting out a mother's womb surely does not feel right to me.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


I don’t know how many of us dream every night, remember them, too as if they were for real, wake up, drift off to sleep and continue the same dream? I came to know that a fellow blogger dreams in Technicolor. So do I. My dreams have never been monochrome. My dreams have been most often than not, action-packed, thrilling, enjoyable, and pleasant. I meet long-lost friends, find myself back in school or college, like we have just returned from a really long holidays. Such dreams repeat fairly a lot. And they are the pleasantest. But I do not miss the thread of the present. Actually it’s kind of funny as I find myself sitting in my old hostel room exchanging notes with my collegemates about our present day life too, like our marriage and children! But how we have bunked college for years, and now it’s suddenly our final semester exam and we have to cram up everything at the last minute!

All in all, my dreams are a platform where I relive my cherished past but try to incorporate my present onto it too. So I take assurance in the fact that I am not subconsciously obsessed with the former and discontented with the present.

Friends who visit my page are most welcome to share their dreams too. Would love to hear about them. When I say dreams, it’s the nutty chaotic kind we experience at night during sleep. As for the serious kind, mostly meaning “ambitions” I wish you all success that you realize every one of them.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

UnFair & Ugly

I've been meaning to write this for a long time. So what's this hype (and lots of it) about being fair - and beautiful and handsome? If this isn't an avid form of racism, what else is? I mean, it's natural for a person to want to look pleasant and avoid skin problems and all that. So I am all for marketing moisturizers and other skin nourishing products. But leave alone the invariable display of fair-skinned models, there is a blatant and insensitive propoganda against the dark hued skin. Dark skinned girl shunned by boys and vice versa. Dark people not confident in interviews, insulted by friends, so on and so forth. And it is done in the name of good intentions - "Don't worry if you are dark by birth! We can make you fair within weeks, within days, within hours!!!" To hell with them. This is really a passive apartheid that is going on. We should be ashamed to stand back and watch it happen. Why the hell should a person be ashamed of his skin tone and want to change it? We are all born the way we are destined to be. Who are these marketing giants to seed unwanted anxiety and complex in people's minds? Making religion out of fairness is absolutely unfair. But the society is to blame too. These corporates are just feeding on our long-resident affinity towards fair-skinned people. I say, haven't the Europeans left our land long ago? I donno how we can put a stop to this, and how many of us really want to!

Saturday, February 09, 2008


In the heart of every town It stands,
swarming with crowds in mighty trance;
unperturbed by the cries and noise,
never ever raising its voice.

Men and women, rich and poor,
amass here with equal fervor;
yet it is not in Its power,
to bridge the gaps and make things better.

Little can I comprehend
the solace got from a deity;
surely there can be no form
nor gender to the almighty.

Call me not an atheist,
nor that I blaspheme;
it's just that I think it is best
to wake up from this dream.

Erase all the whimsy lines
that rip apart mankind;
It's time to shrug off old beliefs
and leave them far behind

Think of how much blood is shed
to nurture the sly old trees;
Their roots poison the whole of the earth,
it's time, it's time to cease!

If at all It exists true - and
wants us to know and praise it too,
it's not by praying, not by slaying
but living life each day anew!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Bilkis Bano - Justice restored

Of late, I am often told not to read the newspaper, for it's full of horrendous stories.

Sigh, But when considering a woman ins the same condition who had to undergo such an unspeakable horror... I don't know what to think...seriously.

And today, I am glad that I did read the newsapaper, for I read about justice restored, though delayed, (six years later) And that baby she was carrying is safe; And that her husband was so supportive to her. She had another baby. Surely, life is a miracle by itself. And a healer of its own.
All helpless souls like us can only pray that such history does never repeat itself.
Insha Allah

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Kalluri ... Review

I am a great fan of Balaji sakthivel ever since I saw "Kaadhal" - one of my all-time favorites. He is one of the very very few directors who has got it in him (including tremendous guts) to take Tamil cinema to a different platform.

As far as I have seen, he is the only director who has made real success with realistic approach to films. Show life as it is, show the characters as they are, show emotions powerfully but with no melodrama, and there you are - a beautiful, hard hitting film. And that's what he does. And it's easier said than done. So hats off to him.

He has once more proven that a good entertainer of a film needs no stupid frills like hip-shaking dances (omigod - curse them), stupid punch dialogies, larger-than-life super heroes (let them all be banished to Antarctica) or double meaning comedy.The whole theater roared with laughter each time the annoying duo came up.. "ennanga, neenga sollunga... " :-))

What impressed me most was Kayalvizhi's character and the messages that the film speaks through her. Also, the plight of Muthu's sister was really touching. And the film, was so democratic. I mean, the friends were not just puppets revolving around Shobana and Muthu. Everyone had equal importance, including screen presence all were endearing in their own way.

And Joshua Sridhar's music - man, it's an amazing combo - balaji and Joshua. The song "Sariya... ithu thavara" rings around your ears for days after u see the movie. The song and music just blends through the characters and the situation and gives u the shivers!

All in all, a wonderful, must-watch, movie. Hoping we won't have to call such a movie "different" in the coming years. - I mean, more of such films should be made.

Time for tea? Time for two!

Lone lunches have never been uncommon or unpleasant. Even when work has kept your nose to the grindstone all through the morn, if you just...