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Archive for December, 2005

My blog mates

30 December 2005 15 comments

Abi always checks my purse when I get home. Some day, she expects to catch me with a girl’s photo. I should plant one for the heck of it. The other day Jo was bored and pestered me with who the ‘characters’ on my blog are. After a good laugh over her choice of words, I proceeded to tell her about all my blog mates. Since it is the year end, I will repeat the same here.

Mooku is my schoolmate. When he first saw me in Class 8, he considered me a useless creature. He later realised he was wrong. That was when he was really wrong. He boasted that he could cycle to Tiruchendur (40km from Tuticorin) and back in less than a hour. After a few years at MS, he is now at least real.

A, after her initials, was 970005 at Guindy and I was at 007. We were classmates from our first semester. At Guindy, we get into the discipline from the second semester. As she happened to be so ‘close’ to me, she was one of the few girls I had spoken in college. We were together in a few projects. She pepped the two of us in our three-member team for our first speaking assignment at college. I think, it was some comprehension course. I discovered her again through Technorati. She was always a letterly girl. Her posts are long and a treat to read.

Gopi, known as a torchman to my Guindy friends, has always remained a Kovilpatti boy at heart. My wingmate in my final year, he is another of his kind.

Saranya is the friend of my best wife wife of my best friend Kishore, his Rani. After marriage, he and I have not spoken at all. 🙂 She must be a good wife. She writes from her heart and she is my best friend’s favourite blogger.

J is Rani’s sounding board, I think. She, Rani and Kishore were at Chromepet. I would have spoken to her a couple of times there. When I met her at Kishore’s marriage, it seemed as if we were buddies who haven’t met for a long time.

Jo is the first girl I called a bitch (on her face) and we remain mutual pets ever after.

Symphoney and I joined work at the same time, fresh from campus. He is a sweet chap just like the Coimbatore Tamil he speaks. He used to be a gym freak, the only thing I remember about him.

Jax is the good man Alex’s good cousin. He has gifted me several things, like a first day last seat at PVR Bangalore for Chandramukhi and a WordPress account (when it was invite-only). His now-revamped bookshelf is one-of-its-kind and worth a visit.

Me probably met me on Rani’s blog. He shares my love for South Indian food and a disinterest for some of these campus events. He is the only one I haven’t met. I know little about him. He must have studied in Arlington.

Blogs are a part of my life. The secret thrill of reading others’ diaries is now gone, the many things that I think of posting, the stupid stories that I force on you, the laughs that cheer some of my days, yes, this’s the online diary for me. Here is wishing all my blog mates a wonderful 2006 and many more posts and comments from all of us.

Update:

Of course, as some one who remembers only the most recent things in his life significantly, I forgot to mention Alex and Saravana, two of my regular readers who haven’t commented in a while. Alex is my first yogi and he has occupied my mind ever since our free days at a three-star hotel called Capitol when we came to Bangalore to become geeks. Saravana from Namakkal (read like the Dhanush’s movie name) and I competed to be the coolest boys of our batch in Guindy and he walked away with the title easily. I have hardly seen him ruffled. There are plenty of silent souls on my blog (most of them being my Indore classmates) whom I wish a pleasant and patient fifteen more months with me.

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Categories: Friends

From logs to loves

28 December 2005 3 comments

One-five-three = “I-loves-you”, all written with the help of of tiny hearts.
This was how they indulged each other. This was the way they expressed their loves. It was beyond love, they too felt. Love was mundane.  The tiny hearts melted her little heart in cold America.

She called him up. For the first time, she was stuck for words and heard hearself stammering. “Do you mean it?”, she choked. “I think so”. They spoke for four hours.

Their long posts in the joint blog announced their union.  Blogdom celebrated the news virtually.

Categories: Creative

A log of love

16 December 2005 7 comments

He was yet another geek. Being a busy soul, he was chatting, checking his mail, listening to music, surfing at ease, watching live scores and attending to his work. More often than not, he prided himself on his multi-tasking skills. Yes, he was a creature of the modern times. One day, he was googling on cycle thieves and he spotted a post on a blog. It was link at first sight. He was impressed with the way the girl expressed herself. He read all her posts from the first year and started to like her more and more. He wanted to associate with her. Lo, he jumped onto the comments page and said, “Hey, I like the way you write. Keep writing!” On his way back home, he was reading her every word in his mind. It had been long since he read any thing and this girl was like a fresh whiff of air stimulating his senses.

She liked comments on her posts and so she said, “Thanks. Welcome.” and forgot all about it. He was excited that he had got a reply for his first comment ever. The next day he was inspired to have his own blog. He set up one and made a quick post. He went to her latest post and mentioned his blog space. In the blogosphere, guests are highly respected and hospitality is virtuous. It is customary to reciprocate visits and comment too. She dropped on to his blog and made a namesake comment. They were in different time zones and so he saw her words the next day. He wanted to write more for her. He told his brother about these incidents faithfully.

His comments on her posts soon started getting personal. He was warm, courteous and pretty affectionate. She liked the attention. His posts became better as days went by. Their blogs were increasingly popular more for the comments they traded. After a couple of weeks, she sent a mail to him. They exchanged mails for just a day. Their comfort levels had increased exponentially. It seemed that they were long lost bosom pals. From posts to mails to chats to calls, they progressed quick and fast. The fact that both of them stayed away from home helped. He stayed late at office and browsing centers to stay in touch. She had always laughed at faceless interaction and here she was in an engrossing virtual relation.

They maintained that they were good friends. To celebrate three months of their friendship, they inaugurated a joint blog. Boy, that was the most awaited event in the blogsphere. The posts now progessed to a higher plane and their readership soared. Who does not like warm tales of banter, with a decent amount of pulling cheering up their days? Four months later, she sent a teddy and chocolates on his birthday. He was at his office and was disappointed with her choice of gifts and he spoke harshly when she called to wish him. When he reached his rented flat, he found a cake from the best baker in town, a bouquet of the choicest flowers, a couple of books he always wanted to read and the latest gadget he had eyed on. He ran to the nearest browsing center and thanked her for five minutes at a stretch, without letting her speak a word. She was happy at his happiness.

It was time for her birthday. Could he come up with some thing better? He mailed a couple of her friends. When it was midnight there, it was mid-noon here.

“Boy, ISD?”. “Yes, sir”.

“Hey, happy birthday”. “$#@#$@#”

“Open your door”.

All her friends were standing, with a card holding one letter in her name each. They helped her to another room, where they cut the cake. His gift was an Indian post card, with just three numbers.

[To be continued…]

[This post is inspired by the countless souls in Tamil cinema, who have treated us to every form of love, the long distance, love at first shoot, telepathic, psychopathic, physiotherapic, dumb, deaf, blind, calf, puppy, …]

Categories: Creative

Maheshwar – a forgotten capital

14 December 2005 6 comments

Lest I forget, here is the tripsheet of our latest jaunt from college. November 20 is the date. It is yet another wintry Sunday. I have an early breakfast and gather the other two. I also borrow a camera for our trip. His Pulsar and my Splendor are our trusted companions. It is 10am by the time we start. Curse our luck, my bike has a flat tyre. I ride the deflated bike to the railway gate, where we get it repaired. A big nail has made the tube useless and we get a new tube. It is the third in the life of my bike. After an hour or so, we start for our chosen place. It is now quite hot by now. The vagaries of extreme weather are visible in our city. We have a few grapes before we start one more memorable ride.

Maheshwar is our chosen picnic spot. Google tells us that it is about 100km away from here, 15 km away from NH3 (Agra-Bombay AB road) at Dhamnod. We fill petrol about 4km away from Rau. At Mhow, we take the by-pass road and find it full of lorries. The roads on this part of the country are definitely not worth writing about. It’s indeed strange that they call themselves NHs. We pass Mhow soon and stop at the lake past it. We whizz past ITC echoupal on our way. Our next stop is Manpur village, about 20km away from Mhow. We have tea and ask our way to Maheshwar. We are not even half-way, though. All the usual guides say that there is only one route. But our teawallah and another guy who looked like a typical village president (?) tell us there is one more route, which is better than NH3.

Never the ones to miss taking the road less traveled, we ventured on via the Narmada Project road from Manpur to some village. This is the same route we had taken to the Sitala Mata waterfall in September. We go past the right run to the cascade and motor along. The road is definitely not wide, but there is a lake along and quite a few pleasant sights. The road is lined with trees on both sides and we are enjoying the experience. I wish that it should have been raining. The countryside would make for a much better viewing experience if that were the case. We meander along the secluded road, with hardly any one for company. We find a medium climb coming our way and ride up the hillock to come to a gate which says “Private road” or some such sign. We clarify with a watchman that we are on the right track. There is a pressure tank of the Narmada project here. This place is also called Wanchoo point, one popular spot for the militarymen from Mhow. In spite of the fact that it has not rained for more than two months, this point looks green. By the sheer fact of its height, it indeed is a nice place to spend some quiet time admiring the sheer delight of the Malwa plateau.

Now starts the descent. We find a few big pipes down the mountain. Maybe, there is a dam somewhere. There is no need to ride the bike now. The road carries the bike. After a few winding turns, we get to the plains where it is really hot. It is more than a hour and a half. We ride fast till we reach the Badwah-Maheshwar/Dhamnod road. Here we take a right turn for our destination. This road completes the circuit. Indore to Badwah (on to Omkareshwar), Badwah to Maheshwar, Maheshwar to Mandu (via Dhamnod) and Mandu to Indore (back via Dhar). These four places make up all the well-known tourist spots within 100km south of Indore. You don’t have to touch Mhow too. On the same route, we stumble upon Mandaleshwar, another historic town on the banks of the Narmada. Taking the advice of a local, we do not stop and proceed to Maheshwar about 8km away.

We are famished after an hour of non-stop riding in the sun. We start to see few ads for the famed Maheshwari handloom sarees now. By 1.30pm we get to the Maheshwar bus stand and ask our way to the Ahilya Fort, our first spot for the day. We ride through the narrow road through the village and go up the road to the fort. Laboo’s cafe is a prominent eatery just in front of the Fort. A helpful tourist guide offers his services, though we decline it. We have Chota drinks at the cool drink bar outside. On the owner’s tip, we want to have our food near the bus-station. We have vegetarian North Indian food and come back to the fort. It is about 2.30pm now. We see a few saree shops. I think of getting a saree for Abi, now that I will be going home in December.

Fort Ahilya is an expensive resort (for my standards), named as one of the New Year destinations in this week’s Sunday Express (No.21). We get inside the fort and walk to the Narmada. There is a decent crowd, enjoying a pleasant Sunday afternoon with home-made food. We get into the Rehwa society saree display center and I am pretty shocked with the prices they display. The sarees start at 1500 and the salwars at 800. I am tempted since they accept Visa cards. We are not allowed to see the weavers from arms’ length as there is no official to permit us. We take a couple of pictures from behind the grills. The society also offers us coupons for free boat rides on the Narmada. We are glad that we have come here. Anything free makes good sense. Our next halt is the Narmada boat ride. We have a delightful 30minute ride. The view of the ghats and the fort from the boat is scenic. We are not sure if we should tip the friendly boatman. We don’t.

We sit inside the fort and take a few pictures. We go to the Ram Mandir. I take a short nap, pretty tired from the ride and after. It is 4.15pm. We take a look at the handloom shop right at the entrance of the fort and feel that they are also priced on the higher side. So I put to rest any shopping plans and we start our long ride back. 4.30 is when we start. We now take the other road, hoping that we won’t have to take the steep climb up if we traverse back on the route we came by. 15km from Maheshwar is Dhamnod on NH3. We turn right to Mhow and Indore. We go non-stop. The wind gets chilly pretty sooner than we think.

6.30pm We stop at the ITC echoupal, planning to have a look. We see the food court. First is food, then comes shopping. We are surprised to see South Indian food. The first order is for the idlis and the vadas. The sambhar is amazingly tasty and I decide to dine there. One onion oothappam is all I need along with a glass of fine lemon juice. We step into the mall and find it stocked with a lot of things. We pick up a few including a football and ride back in the cold and the dark to our havens in the hostel. Thus ends the last trip of this term.

PS: Of course, you know where to find the pictures.

Categories: Indore getaway, Travel

Moving on…

11 December 2005 11 comments

Jo dearest,

You are moving. After four years of doing so many things, you are shifting. The first move , just like the first love, the first job and the first wife is always the most difficult. You leave behind a lot of memories. The messages we exchanged mindless the work, the calls we traded at odd times and the trust we reposed in each other – memorable in a single word. We never worked together, but we have no cause to believe so. I don’t know what you wrote in your farewell. The cliche goes, the world is a small place and you know better. It is never easy to part. Whatever you have learnt will keep you in good stead. The lady who pepped you up when you were down, your first mentor who bridged the gap between school and work, the guys who tried to charm you, the freshers who looked to you as their god, the managers who you admired, the friends who made so many of your days, the girls who laughed with you, …

Admit it, you got a pretty good break (more than two months) between jobs. What a feeling it is to enjoy a break in these non-stop days. No alarms to wake up to, no bothersome bosses, no meddlesome colleagues to poke their noses into your matters, everything at your pace. I hope, you enjoyed your break very well. If I were you, I would have whiled away the time without a care about the unpredictable future. You watched Iranian movies, read books worthy of your time – you did better.

Butterflies in your stomach! Stars in your head! But you will adapt. A new corporate culture, a new role, new work in New York and most importantly, a change that will stimulate you, keep you on your toes and just keep you moving. You will find new lunch mates, new loo faces, new pantry people, new friendly guards and pick up new relationships that matter. You shall make a flying start, with your flight fares reimbursed. I wish that you keep your momentum and make a mark.

Just remember, work is mostly about people. Liven up your spirits. Enjoy your time at work and enjoy yourself. Keep your work and life separate. There is no one more important than you. Keep your soul free, as you told me. Never give any one more space in your mind for her to niggle you. You might find a friend for life, very like me. Watch out for special things. Let the girl in you roam free. Let the lady in you show them what you are made of. Both of them make a pretty combination.

Good luck, my dear Kutty!

Love,
*spark*

PS: All my readers, please wish Jo who joins a new company tomorrow.

Categories: Friends

Book reading and recommendation tool?

8 December 2005 10 comments

I have been using All Consuming to save my list of read books. I have not been very impressed with it, though. I cannot recommend books to my friends using it. I am stuck, call it the lack of alternatives. Jax, a book fan himself with a neat online bookshelf, recommended Chain Reading (in Development wow) to me. Looking further for similar tools, I chanced upon Library Thing (in Beta huh).

Evaluating the three, I can say that AC is woefully out of date. I had added Archana and Jax as my friends so I can see the books they read. The best thing about CR is you can store an unlimited number of books. Other features include your suggestions to friends, your recommendations and of course, the list of books you have read. But it is not a Web2.0 application. LR boasts that it is like Flickr, my favourite online photos tool (recommended by Alex), has tags, a graphical shelf and is linked to Amazon. But the catch is you can only store 200 books free. I wish Google buys it and makes it fully free 😉 Do you guys know similar tools? I am waiting.

Update: I signed up with CR late night, pretty impressed by the list it offers. Jerret of CR clarifies below in a comment about the various features of CR. So far, so good! Jax has brought out his old forgotten post on CR today. It contains a comprehensive list of what’s there and what he wants.

Categories: Books

20 minutes

6 December 2005 11 comments

After 005 has tagged 007, here is a Dummies’ guide to me. I start this at 4pm and I shall write whatever I can in 20 minutes, edit it later and post it.

  1. These days, I feel like a hypocrite. I need a separate post to explain it, when I feel like.
  2. After seeing the Motorcycle Diaries recently, I have liked South America better. It was always my dream destination, the Copa Cabana beach, the land of Maradona, the domain of beauty queens from Venezuela. Some day, I will go there.
  3. I like to keep my inbox clean. That translates to no unread mails.
  4. This blog has become an extension of my letters. Now I don’t have to mass-mail people, just like wordpress advertises. My old readers like Abi and Ramya, who I used to write letters till the time I was in Bangalore, are yet to adopt this medium though.
  5. I don’t believe in (hard) work. I can only work for a limited time.
  6. I write more than I talk 😉
  7. I love train journeys any time, with a book and a close friend so we can sit at the stairs in the night and whisper tales to each other.
  8. I can adjust to any place quickly. At least, that’s what I think.
  9. I am a simple boy who wants to make a lasting splash, not a dash to the end.
  10. I am so wedded to the concept of travel, applying it to life too not getting too involved or passionate about any thing. Thatha appreciated me for it. Only I know how I suffer when I get attached.
  11. I remember telling Abi once that I won’t suit an MBA as it requires talking too much. Now I can only laugh over it.
  12. At the end of the day, time is the only gift I can give my well-wishers. Call me stingy.
  13. Food and books, as most of you know, keep me going. Await a post on the eateries in Indore I have been to.
  14. I haven’t bought a single book in Indore, not even a magazine.
  15. Not in my dreams I would have thought I would like Iranian films. I have avoided ‘classic’ arts films and preferred to see Tamil movies which I understand better. ‘Children of Heaven‘ has made me yearn for more.
  16. I am an early boy, early to sleep and early to rise. I have done this at all times, in Guindy, at work and here too.
  17. I have tried my hand at cooking and I used to carry my lunch to office. Ah, I inspired one of my female married friends to start cooking too.
  18. I used to be mad about word games – Scrabble, the Hindu crossword and similar things. Now I only do the Jumble sometimes.
  19. I have been collecting articles on growing children ever since college, especially the ones by Aruna of Indian Express. Reading is not the real thing, it’s the doing.
  20. It is 4.20 now and all I can say is I am not a man of 20 minutes.
Categories: Me