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Archive for October, 2005

sparkling wishes

30 October 2005 7 comments

Recently, one of my friends asked me if I am going home for Deepavali. I wondered, “What home? What Deepavali?” If there is one thing an MBA at a prestigious institute ensures is that you forget what it means to have holidays. We have classes on the day of the festival! Once a term starts, time just flies and the only holidays are 26 Jan, 15 Aug and 2 Oct. During my college and work days, Pongal and Deepavali were always at home. Except for two of my birthdays, I spent my precious birthdays at home with Abi or/and my parents.

I am not one of those souls who miss home so much. In fact, there are times when I go for long stretches when I don’t speak to any of them. Three months is the maximum time I have had, without seeing one of them. This time it is different. My third birthday away. My first Deepavali away. I will see them next, probably in the middle of next year. This means a gap of almost 9 months. They ask me if I have got new dresses. It’s been quite some time since I have bought new dresses for occasions. I get them whenever I feel like. Jo got a new shirt for me last on one of my birthdays.

Deepavali reminds me of my bus rides back home. Tickets at KPN were always at a premium. You never know when they start their bookings. There would be some one you know in the bus and the night was spent chatting. The bus always takes a long time to get out of Bangalore, through the Silk Board junction and Electronic City. What a relief it is to read Tamil after the border. Supper most often at Hosur at a Saravana Bhavan(not the original one)! As it gets more dark, the noise of the crackers reminds you of the festival. After a unusually dumb movie, the bus stops at Salem. An early morning tea break after Virudhunagar. As it dawns, I stare at all the posters of the movies that are released today, making a note of which one to see later that day. I always take the bus to Tirunelveli, because there were no direct private buses. Getting down at Tirunelveli or Kovilpatti and catching a bus home, I end up at my home by 9.

After emptying my dirty clothes and the sweets, it is time to feast on idlis and vadas, all the while watching the Deepavali special programs. Abi checks up my purse for unusual stuff. I always wonder what she expects to find in that. Amma feels my hand, happy to see me. Appa asks me about the journey, very typical of him and Thatha gorges on my sweets. I call up my friends who are also at home and we fix which movie to see for the day. Biryani time for lunch. It is a habit to watch a movie on the first day with the crowd in the theatres of the town. If the theatre allows, we whistle, hoot and behave like hooligans. We sometimes go to the beach after the movie and have tasty parottas.

The train back is fully packed, with people from Tirunelveli, Kovilpatti, Sattur, Virudhunagar and Madurai, all boarding on the way. Macroons or murukkus, we happily chat, look at the charts, walk through the lengths of the compartments for several times and pull each other happily. Some times it is cards or it is plain ogling at the playful couple, who don’t mind having public displays of affection. Aavin milk at Kodai Road to wind up the day. Every one is reminded of work for the next day. When you get down at Bangalore Cantonment and hear the Kannada auto drivers speaking Bangalore Tamil with an aamavaa, everything is forgotten and it is a fresh day in Bangalore.

Happy Deepavali folks!

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Categories: Family, Friends, Travel

Tie trouble

25 October 2005 6 comments

We graduated to the knotty ties from the plain old ties(POTs) in Class 9, which Mooku would remember. Kishore of SK fame, Guru and he would come to my home on the way to our school. One of them would help me with the simple (complex to me) knots and we would proceed. I never learnt to tie a knot because there was one of these kind souls around every time I wanted to. I was glad when I moved to the new school which did not require us to wear a tie, leave alone knots. I was relieved. I belong to that school (sic), which believes that shoes and ties are not for the Indian environment, more true for the humid locales of Tamil Nadu.

Over to Guindy. Placements and ties are closely tied to one another. In our final year, I managed to learn to tie two different knots. But I was nowhere close to a perfect knot. So it was either my classmates or my wingmates who ensured that I go well-tied to the interviews. I was out of the process at my third attempt luckily. Come February and the GDs that came out of CAT 2000. Once, I had to request a fellow candidate to help me with the tie at the interview centre. Soon I hit upon the solution every ignorant ‘untied’ soul knows. Never untie a knot tied once properly. This worked for me like a breeze every time later.

I was unfortunate that my company did not insist on us wearing ties. The idiot I am, I had unknotted the ties and kept them neatly folded. For all the few GDs that came my way during those years, Alex was my support. I am thankful to him for the fateful knot he tied four years ago, which also helped me get here. I had it preserved through the years till a month back when I pulled the narrow end a little longer and lo, I was lost again. In one of our classes, I had to borrow a tie and requested the owner for the knot shamelessly. He wondered sarcastically if I really worked for four long years, without knowing how to wear a tie.

Our placement committee sent us a HowTo for a Windsor knot recently, courtesy this site. I failed miserably when I tried to do it myself using the instructions. I went and asked Govar who is one of the resident expert knotters here. The knot was perfect. I tried to learn after five years and realised that I don’t have the knack for the knot. Alexander himself could only cut the Gordian knot. History might be different if he had been asked to tie a knot! All said, both my ties are now knotted and I would not disturb this for a long time. Folks, wish me luck for an important week (summer placements) at school.

Categories: Me

Lovable Rascals

21 October 2005 12 comments

You have heard the term before. Girls adore one and it follows that guys want to be one. Movies want to portray them. Remember Karthik in Mouna Raagam or Shah Rukh in DDLJ. See the difference a simple adjective can make to a not-so-nice word. Though I doubt I can become one fully, I have always played a part-time role of a rascal. More than that, I have always had good associations with one such rascal at school or college. It was Class 8. We had a new boy in our class, one who had joined our Hindu co-ed school from a Christian boys school the previous year and had failed to pass. A teacher means a lady in most parts of my town and so it was only teachers in our conservative school. This guy always had red eyes. He would booze and smoke, not to mention the various things he taught our ‘nice’ guys. Strangely, a girl in our senior class fell in love with him. It was one time I felt that things in real life imitate the ones in the movies. Here is an evil guy with all the bad habits in the world and a girl actually falls in love with him. Maybe, he was her lovable rascal.

But the ones I get associated are typically bank-benchers, witty, last-rankers and sometimes do charm girls with an ease. If it was Senthil in my Class 8, it was Siva in Class 12 and Lingesh at college. I hit off pretty nicely with these guys. I am not sure if they fit into a ‘classical’ definition of a lovable rascal, they are still my lovable rascals. Senthil, the policekaaran magan (son of a policeman), was brought up by his strict mother. He washed his clothes when we were in Class 8. I was a mother’s pet as long as I was at home, not even bothering to eat my own food myself. I envied him able to do most of his things himself. He took me to his home on the beach, just opposite the Collector’s home and we had a great time watching the waves lash the sides of his home.He did not study well, but our relationship thrived well after he failed in Class 9. I was in touch till I was in Bangalore.

Siva had just taken over his dad’s lathe shop and just wanted to pass his Plus Two exams. He had cordial relationships with all the teachers (oops, sirs) in the boys school I was now studying. He was forever late to the classes, never did the assignments and even got the questions for future exams from the teachers themselves. He had a hectic time running the business alongwith doing his schooling. But we were friends. He used to study at my home, help himself to the puffs (patties in Indore) my amma treats me and take me to all the nice parotta joints in our town. Ask Rani about the lovely parottas Thoothukudi is famous for.

Lingesh is another of those lovable rascals I am pals with. It is always one guy at a stage in my life. Lingesh is from Nagercoil, with those Mallu touch (malayala karai oram) fresh in him. Once he joined the famous civil engineering college in the state, he enjoyed himself just like so many and got into most of the playful things one could do. But he was so nice at heart. One girl in our class adored him and did so many things for him. I felt nostalgic. But both of us were good friends. We used to go together to the lunch pizza buffets at Pizza Time, to the Shakes and Creams juice parlour in Adyar and treat each other. A month ago, this lovable rascal called me from Dubai where he works as a civil engineer.

What memories it evokes when I think of the nice times I had all with these sweet people. They taught me the other side of things, how life evolves if you have a strict family, if you don’t have it in you to study, if you have to run a business at a young age, if you get influenced early and leave it to fate to run you. Do you have any ‘rascals’?

Categories: Friends

A micro-finance primer

18 October 2005 1 comment

“The Poor and their Money” is the title of a book I recently found at our library. All the business papers talk about microfinance being the next best thing. Major Indian banks like ICICI Bank are active and have been working with NGOs. After economics and operations, finance is one subject I can identify myself with. Having my Appa as a practising investment consultant and four years of experience with personal finance (especially when the stock markets have grew almost thrice so that any fool should have made money), I am familiar with quite a few terms and know a few tips. Finance is most certainly a function with high returns. For instance globally Citibank leads the Forbes list. Financial institutions and energy companies dominate the list, in assets or profits. Of course, an MBA gets easily into the former and does not have to worry about the pay.

Microfinance is an emerging discipline. It has the charm of finance, of playing with the money and also has the nice feeling of helping the people at the bottom of the pyramid. It helps the poor to manage their money. But by definition, the poor have little money and so the discipline itself seems to be a paradox. Rutherford argues that for the very reason that they have little money, it is of prime importance to them to manage it properly. He goes on to talk about how the poor save money, what kind of institutions (the so-called MFIs) exist to serve them and how this could be best done. His experience is largely based in India and he insists that his book is not strictly academic. The book is a breeze to read and has just more than a hundred pages. You could download the book here on the net. This post is intentionally short as I am still getting used to the features of WordPress and I also have my mid-terms over the next two days. Interestingly, finance is the first of the lot!

Categories: Books

I wish…

17 October 2005 5 comments

I have waited for so long. I wanna kiss her now. I feel like nothing. I must get into the airplane and become an actor. Some day I will be the streaker in the Chepauk stadium. I shall go back home and do nothing. I will live through life on my wife’s dowry and on my dad’s wealth. I will go back to my village on the banks of the Tamiraparani, learn to swim in a river and make a living with buffaloes. I shall walk around the world in eighty minutes (Ganesha style) for a crack at the Guinness records. Everything is clear and hazy. It is easy to make mistakes. I shall go ticketless on the Himsagar Express and get caught. The RPF might consider it a serious offence and I will have a stint at the Tihar resort. I shall survive on an island in the Palk Strait with me and a few Milk Bikis biscuit packs. Nothing is in the game. I will take to salting in the Rajasthan desert as a pastime. I will soon get bored. I shall go to Arunachal Pradesh, the land of the Rising Sun and go rafting in the white waters of the Brahmaputra. I will come back to Indore on the back of a camel and be a true Malwi tasting heavenly malpua and shikanji. I shall go insane for a long while and write a great book. When I am sane, I shall get married fast. I shall still feel like nothing. Relax guys. I turned 26 today.

Categories: Me

Born again…

17 October 2005 2 comments

Jax gifted me an invite to Word Press. So nice of him to share his only invite. Here I am off with my new address on the web. I shall continue with my birthday post from my old site.

Categories: Uncategorized